Weighing Our Lives

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Reflections On Weight Watchers In The Family

My stepfather died a few weeks ago and I flew to California to help my mom begin to gather together her belongings, in preparation for moving back to Texas to be closer to family.  She’s 82 years young, and while still very capable of being independent, she needs to be around loved ones if she ever does need help.

As I was sifting through her things, I encountered various renditions of food scales.  Which got me thinking.

A Witness To Weight Obsession

Mom was a weight watcher from way back.  Images from  my formative years include her bouncing her butt on the floor to somehow get rid of fat.  And of course, the diet aids — from Ayds (chewable candies that were supposed to control appetite) to Metrecal (the first liquid diet) to Tab (the first big-selling diet soda).

All hallmarks of the beginning of American women’s obsession with weight.  An obsession that’s only increased as societal ideals of thin, supple bodies have crashed headlong into an environment of poor food and sedentary lifestyles.  Leaving us dazed, confused and unhealthy in its wake.

Generations Of Women Struggle With Food, Weight, and Body Image

So what’s the moral of this story?  I’m not sure.  The different food scales on Mom’s garage sale table just started me reflecting on how my generation of women has misdirected so much of our productivity, time and talent.  And the young women of today don’t seem a lot further ahead.  It’s past time to get this problem solved.

No tips for doing that from me today.  This whole blog for the last five years, and the almost 40-year history of Green Mountain, offers our thoughts for doing so.  A lot of great organizations are working on the problem, too, from eating disorder associations such as the Binge Eating Disorder Association (for which I’m privileged to serve on the board of directors) to size acceptance advocates such as the Association for Size Diversity and Health (which we’ve been members of since its inception).   And all the groups working to clean up our food supply (which is part of the focus of our Food as Medicine program).

What do you think needs to be done to solve the problem?


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