Parenting is the hardest job I’ve ever had and will ever have. It’s made even more difficult by the constant interference of media. Especially when it’s bad media. When the media makes me #ashamed to be in the media business.
Why am I hashtagging #ashamed? Because of this:
The State of Georgia has taken it upon themselves to place billboards such as this all over in hopes that it will shame parents, or their children, into looking at their weight issues and make them “deal with it”. My friend Leah brought it to my attention again, here: http://www.mamavation.com/2012/01/shaming-the-fat-kid-is-not-solving-the-obesity-epidemic.html.
Quite frankly Georgia, you piss me off.
Do you know what it’s like to be President of the “but you have such a pretty face” club?
Do you know what it’s like to be told “I’d date you, but you’re too heavy”?
Do you know what it’s like to be told that if you lose thirty pounds, someone will buy you a new wardrobe?
Do you know what it’s like for your boyfriend’s mother to look at a photo of you and say “she’s pretty, but don’t you think she could lose some weight”?
Do you know what it’s like being told “I can trust you with my boyfriend, because he’d never date someone like you”?
Do you know what it’s like to be out in public with your husband and people don’t assume you’re together because of your weight?
I’ve had a weight problem my entire life. My sister has always been much slimmer than me. I ate less, exercised more and yet was shopping for “husky” jeans while she was shopping “for cute” clothes. Believe me, that’s enough to damage the psyche of any child. Throw in the above and a million more things I could add and there is damage no child will ever recover from.
Believe me, my weight in the beginning was not a lifestyle issue. No one in my very large, very active family was heavy except my paternal grandmother.
As an adult, having seen these advertisements on the interstate in Georgia, I was gobsmacked. The audacity of these legislative suits who thought an ad campaign shaming children, embarrassing them for their weight problems, was a good idea is beyond reprehension.
Do not get me wrong, childhood obesity is a serious problem. Shaming a child with a weight problem is not how you deal with it. The shame makes the weight worse. Don’t believe me? I know what I’m talking about. The shame makes that child seek comfort. You know how that child finds comfort?
It’s a twisted, two-headed snake. You have to have food to live, but not live for it. However, it doesn’t matter how smart the child is. Food causes a chemical reaction in the body akin to a high.
An opioid is a chemical that works by binding to opioid receptors, which are found principally in the central and peripheral nervous system and the gastrointestinal tract. The receptors in these organ systems mediate both the beneficial effects and the side effects of opioids.
Let that sink in.
Food for me is a drug. I didn’t realize it until I was sitting in bed the other night reading Dr. David Kessler’s book “The End of Overeating”. However, it’s not like I’m eating all the time, or binging. It’s the opposite. I have to have my trigger foods in the house.
When I have a food that is high in fat and sugar, I can’t stop eating it. I know I’m full. My stomach and brain don’t make the connection.
I’m a drug addict needing that high.
But, in order to get that high, since I was already accustomed to the previous level, I have to eat more. Even though my stomach is uncomfortably full, my brain doesn’t register satiety. It’s like a smoking gun and I like the smell.
Robert Downey, Jr. described addiction as having a loaded gun in your mouth and liking the taste. He is right on. I like the metal in my mouth, finger on the trigger. It tastes good.
Seeing this happen to other children is UNACCEPTABLE.
If this campaign speaks to you, and you’re moved by my words, then join us. Let your opinion be heard tonight on Twitter and Facebook. Let them know what you think, how you feel. Join my friend Leah Segedie and others as she leads us in a Twitter chat tonight from 9-10pm EST using the hashtag #ashamed.
If you would like to voice your opinion you can do it directly AT The Strong 4Life Campaign.