Thursday, September 08, 2011

atb2: the thin commandments

I am beyond excited to announce that Darryl Roberts, director of America the Beautiful (ATB) is at it again. This October, Roberts will officially premiere America the Beautiful 2: The Thin Commandments (ATB2). In case you don't remember, I wrote this post about ATB back in 2009. I'm glad that Roberts decided to pursue a follow-up to ATB. While I don't know Roberts personally, I did meet him at a screening and exchanged a few emails with him regarding his films. I consider him a kindred spirit of sorts. If I were a filmmaker, these are the types of films I'd be doing.

ATB2 addresses America's obsession with thinness. For a synopsis of ATB2, go here. It's definitely an issue that is near and dear to my heart, as I firmly believe that fat does not necessarily equal unhealthy and skinny doesn't necessarily equal healthy. Health is way more complex than that. I'm embarrassed for people whose understanding of health is a simplistic as this.

This brings me to a related issue. Recently, I was engaged in a conversation with someone about health and eating. In the course of our conversation, I shared that I've been actively working on changing my eating habits and such. I then admitted that on the road to healthy eating, I eat very little rice (as a Filipino, this deserves some major kudos), noodles, pasta, and bread. Though I follow a mostly primal menu, I still have my fair share of cravings for sweets. In particular, I have a weakness for dark chocolate. Granted, I'm not perfect. I like a sweet every now and again and as you may know, I'm a cupcake girl - especially with good company. There are different ways of understanding food. On one hand, food can be seen as fuel. On the other, food is part of a greater social experience. As an island girl, I have absolutely no objections to this second point. However, with my old age and state of health, I just can't have desserts the way that I used to. These days, I can literally feel my body swell with certain foods (especially anything cake-y or bread-y or rice-y or noodle-y or pasta-y). Though challenging at times, I try to monitor my sweet intake. As I was mentioning this, I was actually kind of proud of myself because compared to three years ago, I eat WAY less sweets and processed foods.

In this conversation about health and eating, this person proceeded to accuse me of being a junkie, and declared that I am addicted to sweets - especially dark chocolate. She then said that if I truly cared about my health, I needed to learn to handle my addiction.

(shaking head while resisting every urge to grab a machete to violently chop someone's head off) W.T.F. Really? ME? A junkie-dark chocolate-addict? Whoa.

Technically, I should brush this off my shoulders. For some reason, I can't. When she accused me of being a junkie, she made me feel like a half ton misanthrope who spends her nights alone in a corner hating life while diving in head first into vat of ice cream while violently chomping on an array of fast food from KFC, Taco Bell, and Pizza Hut. She made me feel like a heartless barbarian who would give up a member of her own family for a slice of cheesecake. She made me feel like my eating habits are so out of control that I need to be locked up in an institution because I'm such a menace to society.... In short, she made me feel ugly and that I deserved to be a fat.

According to, the definition of addiction is as follows: the state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming, as narcotics, to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma. For the record, I can assure you (and this person) that my days and weeks without dark chocolate or sweets does not cause me or anyone around me "severe trauma." Further, I'm not enslaved by my occasional desire for sweets or dark chocolate. While food addiction may be a reality for some, I'm positive that I do not fall in that category. Just because I value food and happen to be fat, doesn't mean I have an uncontrollable addiction to it.

Perhaps food isn't the issue at all. While I can't easily change someone's ignorant views on food and health. I can certainly be mindful and keep better company...


Lyn C said...

How about eliminating the starch and sweets completely most especially if you have Diabetes? Your body might react differently if you eat sweets and starches.
I know that there's no cure for Diabetes. Would the Lean Out Program help keep the Diabetes under control so that it doesn't interfere with your fitness, social life, work or plans for the future? Or is it better to just take medications to keep it under control and still eat your sweets & starches?

(**hoping I don't get my head chopped off**)

j-ro said...

Lyn - I'm operating under the assumption that these are a series of sincere questions and not intended to, like said person in post, insinuate that I am NOT doing enough to handle my diabetes. Apologies for such harsh tones. Please know they are NOT directed toward you. I'm just tired of people who actually think they have some right to determine the state of my health/body and attribute my state of health to general laziness. I'm also tired of people assuming that I actually ENJOY taking diabetes medication just so I can have some chocolate. It's bullshit. To answer your questions, here it goes...

I've tried doing the whole absolutely no starch and sweets and limited my carb intake to about 30g/day. I lasted about three weeks. In that three weeks, I learned a lot. (1) I was a cranky bitch who smelled like beef jerky and eggs. (2) I couldn't use the bathroom regularly and it added to my bitchiness. (3) I was better off adjusting to around 50-80g carbs/day if I were counting (these were mostly coming from veggies and the milk from my daily latte). I adjusted after those three weeks for sanity's sake. A few months later, with a primal diet, I did the blood work. While my cholesterol levels improved tremendously (and without meds), my blood sugars were virtually the same (they were slightly lower than the previous test, but not as significant as I was hoping). This really disheartened me because the numbers just didn't make sense.

To clarify, I actually like the Lean Out Program and I've been regularly checking my blood sugar levels with my meter. (Yes, my finger tips hate me right now.) Yes, I've seen an improvement in the averages, but it's the HA1C numbers that I need to check and ultimately matter. I won't go in for testing until after the Nike half.

In my ideal world, I'd like to be medication free. (In fact, I think the meds are partly the reason why dropping actual weight is hard for me at the moment. But that's another discussion...) However, given my state of health, I'm not sure if that could happen. Again, only time will tell. For now, I'm handling it one thing at a time. My first goal is to hone in on the diet. The second is to get rid of the byetta. The third is to get rid of the metformin. This does not, and will not happen overnight for me. But I'm willing and am currently putting in the work. I just wish people (especially those who aren't diabetic and don't know a damn thing about it) would lay off me and STOP attributing my diabetes to my being fat and lazy. I attack this notion because if only fat attributed to diabetes, then EVERY fat person would have diabetes. Clearly, this isn't so.

Personally, I'm not a fan of taking meds just so you can have sweets. It's illogical and only benefits drug companies who aren't interested in actually making people healthy...

Finally, I'm tired of having to defend my body to people who clearly don't actually care about my state of health. On top of putting my health in order, I'm needing to purge the bad crap out of my life. (But you and I had this conversation before, no?)

Hope that answers your questions:) Yes, you may keep your head:)

diana.grace said...

Can we say...PROJECTING? That lady-ahem, person- is totally projecting onto you. I like that you say food is social and also necessary. Its people trying to make you(you & people in general) think that food is a NEGATIVE.

You know what's a negative? The way that food production in this country in so shrouded in politics and money and the appearance of choice. Even if you were trying to (as an example) follow the "healthy commandments" (as dictated by the government) the food pyramid or rectangle or whatever- you might still come across insane levels of sodium or fats or whatever. Seriously, if cows aren't supposed to eat corn- I'm sure human beings aren't supposed to eat that much corn as well.

For the people who judge you- do they know how much you work on what you eat? Do they know how much measuring food or fiddling around what juicer or blender or whatever works for you best? I'm glad that not only do you eat healthily and workout and all that sutff, but you're also informed on food issues.

I personally don't think a health revolution can happen in this country until we get a food revolution. Food addictions are a SERIOUS issue. People do have food addictions. But there's a difference between food addiction and having food advertised and almost shoved down your throat. And there's nothing wrong with a little chocolate. How about we take the extreme and say that person go eat a cheeseburger? Maybe that person will be more happy and less judgmental.

j-ro said...

Diana- I agree. A food revolution is definitely in order. If we focused the conversations around the quality of food and how that relates to one's health lifestyle, we'd be much better off. Alas, a lot of health debates revolve around thin-ness which to me, is stupid. It's like fashion designers have joined secret forces with health care professionals and this is the current state of uninformed health we're in. With that, I'm really excited to see how ATB2 handles these issues:)

Lyn C said...

Thanks for saving my head lol :)