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Backlash Abounds: Marie Claire Asks If “Fatties On TV Should Get A Room”

Mike and Molly show about Couple: Overeaters Anonymous

People often ask me the type of comments that could impact a developing child’s body image…here’s an example.

So anyway, yes, I think I’d be grossed out if I had to watch two characters with rolls and rolls of fat kissing each other … because I’d be grossed out if I had to watch them doing anything. To be brutally honest, even in real life, I find it aesthetically displeasing to watch a very, very fat person simply walk across a room — just like I’d find it distressing if I saw a very drunk person stumbling across a bar or a heroine addict slumping in a chair. –Maura Kelly, Marie Claire Magazine

Some people press “publish” before they think.  Kind of like pressing send on a text or an email that is simply verbal diarrhea, rash or rude reaction, or discriminatory aggression.  I think what Maura Kelly of Marie Claire Magazine wrote in her blog post yesterday is all three.  Her over 500 commenters really told her to shove it (and worse) after as she gave her two cents about the TV show Mike and Molly, a show about a couple who meet at Overeaters Anonymous. Read more

Three More Great Reviews of Good Girls Don’t Get Fat

Today’s Reviews of Good Girls Don’t get Fat: How Weight Obsession Is Messing Up Our Girls & How We Can Help Them Thrive Despite It
5.0 out of 5 stars Dr Robyn Silverman is transforming what we teach our girls is beauty, October 26, 2010
This review is from: Good Girls Don’t Get Fat: How Weight Obsession Is Messing Up Our Girls and How We Can Help Them Thrive Despite It (Paperback)

Good Girl’s Don’t Get Fat is a tremendous edition to any parenting book library. The view of beauty is taughtGGDGF Cover (hi res) not innate. Who is teaching our daughters about true beauty – you will be surprised. Dr Robyn Silverman has been a guest on my show The Coffee Klatch and speaks beautifully about the struggles our girls face. Theses struggles are not just in our teens, it starts early, very early and Dr Silverman has taken great time and care to document the lives of hundreds of girls and their battles with weight and their self impression of beauty. Good Girls Don’t Get Fat is an eye opener for parents…(read more…)

(2) On: It’s My Genre Blog

Are you a girl?
Are you the parent, grandparent, friend, teacher or caregiver of a girl?
Do you know any girls? Read more

Latest Reviews of Good Girls Don’t Get Fat

GGDGF Cover (hi res)This book is absolutely amazing, and I strongly recommend it to everyone. One of the things I admire most about Good Girls Don’t Get Fat is that it doesn’t just talk about how bad things are, it gives concrete suggestions for improvement! That’s what we need. The book is available in any format you can imagine. Pick it up. It’s an easy read, and wonderful. –Cynthia Armistead

I’m so grateful that Dr. Robyn put this book together, I’m grateful for her hard work and dedication, I’m grateful for her determination to help girls feel better about themselves. So to all my girlfriends out there…the women I know who have daughters, I want you to know that this book, Good Girls Don’t Get Fat, is approved by me! It’s a great book and it will help you to know what to say to your girls, how to empower…and it will help you to know that you can say; ‘Dang, you’re good looking!’ no matter what the size is of that label. Go get this book!” –Sara Cook

I’ve been so honored with great reviews of my body image book;  Good Girls Don’t Get Fat: How Weight Obsession is Messing Up Our Girls and How We Can Help Them Thrive Despite It. I would love to hear what you think too!

Here are two wonderful reviews that came in today!

The first is from GoodReads.com:

10/23 Cynthia Armistead gave 5 stars to: Good Girls Don’t Get Fat by Robyn Silverman
recommended for: everybody; status: Read in October, 2010

This book is absolutely amazing, and I strongly recommend it to everyone. Yes, I said everyone. If you are a human being who is reading this post/review, you Read more

Fighting Weight Obsession: The Video and The Words (Good Girls Don’t Get Fat by Dr. Robyn Silverman)

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tmxq4VfA6LU]

I had this video in my heart for a long time as I wrote my book, Good Girls Don’t Get Fat: How Weight Obsession Is Messing Up Our Girls & How to Help Them Thrive Despite It. We need to tell all the girls in ourGGDGF Cover (hi res) lives how beautiful and amazing they are.  But just as important, we need to tell ourselves.  Remember, our daughters, nieces, grand-daughters, students, and girls we mentor need to know that WE believe girls can be beautiful at a variety of sizes. Do these girls know that you believe that YOU can fit into the definition of what beauty is? Can they? Tell a girl she’s beautiful today. And then, go look in the mirror, and tell yourself.

Here are the words to the “Fighting Weight Obsession: Good Girls Don’t Get Fat” video, as requested. And may I take this moment to just send my appreciation to all those who have reposted the video, talked about it, and praised it? Thank you so much for helping to send the message.

There was a time when we  loved looking in the mirror. Remember? We’d strike a pose, sing into our hairbrush, and call ourselves “rock stars.” We’d kiss our reflections and smile at the person staring back at us. Read more

Weigh More? Get Paid Less (unless you’re a man)

Blog_meangirlsSnarky comments. Curled up lips. Whispers. “That look.” People ask me where we learn the “fat is bad” so early. Studies tell us that 3-6 year old girls are worried about being fat. Studies also tell us that children who are considered overweight are more likely to have fewer friends, be teased, drop out of school, and even attempt suicide. (see my video that tells more)

And it continues. I mean, children grow up.

And in our culture, many don’t grow out of social norms, they grow into them. Discrimination continues to follow people, especially females, into the work place, making it difficult to secure a financial future. In particular, people who are considered “overweight” are not hired as often, are paid less, are charged more for employee insurance coverage, and are more likely to be fired because of their appearance than people of more average or low weights.

Perhaps that’s why it’s not all that surprising that a new study shows that very thin women are getting higher pay than women who are considered to be at a more average weight. And the men? The opposite. Very thin men are paid less than their average-weight peers. And the more they weigh, the more they get paid.

Studies even tell us that people who are considered “overweight” are less likely to secure jobs in the first place—their thinner peers are being chosen over them. What’s going on here?

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Are School Lunches Killing Our Kids?

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P-mYAoWu-O8]

Coming off Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution last night, many Americans are reeling over what the schools are finding to be acceptable lunches for our children. Here’s just a few reactions on my Facebook Fan page:

…it made me so sad to see that the women working in the school kitchen were so hostile and took his efforts as a threat. It’s like they don’t want children to eat better. And those regulations HAVE to change. First, children do not need the grains, especially not in the form of white flour pizza crust. People can get all the fiber they need from fruits and vegetables. It was just sad. –R. Capella

…The school administrator said it was a requirement that the kids have 2 ‘grains’ with every meal and that pizza they give the kids daily filled that requirement more than the healthy meal he was serving. –J. Pimentel

There was so much resentment and pushback from the people in town who either didn’t see their school lunches as a problem or didn’t see a change worth the effort.  Is there a real problem here?  The studies say yes.

According to a recent study out of the University of Michigan, middle school children who eat school lunch rather than bringing their own to school, are more likely to be overweight or obese and have more health complications such as high levels of “bad” cholesterol than their “brown-bagging” peers.  Many are concerned about children’s heart health as more children are being put on medications for cholesterol that were previously slated for adults.

Participants: 1297 6th graders

Findings:

  • 38.8% of children who ate school lunch were overweight vs 24.4% of brown baggers
  • 25.8% of children who ate school lunch were MORE THAN TWICE as likely to consume fatty meats and sugary drinks than their peers who brought lunch (11.4%)
  • Only a measly 16.3% of children who at school lunch ate vegetables– while children from home ate about 6 times as much– at 91.2%.

As a child development specialist and body image expert, I want everyone to feel good about who they are AND I want them to make healthy choices.  When they aren’t given healthy choices and they aren’t taught to eat in a healthy manner, how can they take care of their bodies?

What do YOU think?  Answer here or join the conversation over on my FaceBook Fan page!

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Too “Over-weight” to fly? Open-mindedness meets safety question

BigmanjpgAs we’ve been discussing open-mindedness and opening up a few cans of worms this month, I thought I’d bring another baffling issue to light. There has been a great deal of debate about a man, categorized as obese, who was recently a passenger on a plane when a flight attendant too this picture.

According to Kieran Daly of “Unusual Attitude:”

This is sent to me with the absolute assurance that it’s a genuine picture taken by a flight attendant at American Airlines. The F/A took it to show her manager what was happening on the aircraft (757???) and why she was unhappy about it. Seems the guy paid for only one seat and the gate staff let him board.

Safety and Comfort vs Rights and Discrimination?

Discussion about the rights of the passenger vs the safety and comfort of other passengers has been laid on the table. How should the issue be dealt with given that passengers are getting bigger and the plan seats are getting smaller? Should the passenger pay more for double seats? What adjustments should the airline’s make? And how should the airline deal with the passenger next to a person who is taking up more than the seat for which he paid?

With an eye on character and an open mind, what is the answer, in your opinion? Remember, children are looking to us to help them critically think about what is fair, respectful and right. Ideas are welcome here or on Facebook!

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The Power of Zero: Fat Talk Free Week Video

As the guest body image blogger for today’s End Fat Talk campaign for Fat Talk Free Week, I really got to thinking about the power of that little size zero in the lives of so many girls and women these days. Such a round number, and yet such a strong dictator of straight lines for all.  Positive body image can’t exist among the masses if we are only celebrating one size.  For the good of our children– for the good of those we love– for the good of ourselves, let’s throw the fat talk where it belongs…in the trash.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4CuMJybvAh8]

The Power of Zero: The Quest for The Perfect Straight Line

Am I fat? Do you see these rolls? Can you believe how fat my butt looks in these jeans?  My goodness; where do we get this stuff? Fat Talk has become so prevalent that it has become more normal to have a conversation about bumps, bulges, and unsightly cellulite to well, not.

scale_cryI guess this must be our quest for perfect, isn’t it? The perfect zero. I can’t believe I’m even saying that. It used to be a bad thing to be thought of as a zero, now it’s reached godly status.  And the more the better. If 0 wasn’t small enough someone invented the double zero. The triple zero. What’s next? Do we need to start using sizes like 0 to the power of 10? It’s enough to drive a person crazy.

And remember when a 10 was the magic number? Now, that little straight line in front of that zero is scoffed at—berated—and coupled with rolled eyes and an inner body slam—ouch!– on how we could let ourselves go.

A zero—perfectly round and yet demanding of only straight lines. Yes.  The quintessential shape for a woman…is the non-shape.

Now I don’t want to sound like being a zero is bad.  It’s not.  But I would like to put back on the table that it is only 1 little number.  It is neither inherently bad or good—it just is.  And the other numbers we agonize over? They’re fine too.

But it is quite obvious that we play math games with ourselves while in the privacy of our own head or publicly hanging with other women. We subtract points off our self worth as our size and weight go up.  We add them back in as those numbers go down.  Somehow, all the work we do—all the people we touch in our lives—all of our achievements, our successes, our triumphs are trumped by any extra pound, inch, or rising size. Sadly, our self worth becomes the casualty.

Beach Fun Barbie blonde

And you know what? The only ones that can stop the power of zero is us.  Yes, there are men telling women that nobody wants to see curvy women on the catwalk and that Barbie needs lipo on her supposed cankles —but at the end of the day, it is us, girls, women, and yes, those who love them that have to stand up and say “enough!”

Yes. Enough.

I have heard enough.

I have seen enough.

I am enough.

It is Thursday of Fat Talk Free Week. If you have been successful at stifling the inner critic in your head or the body basher in your life—congratulations—keep going.  Not just this week but every week. This is a life long commitment to body esteem.

And to those of you who haven’t gotten there yet—can I just say it now? You are enough. You are powerful. You are amazing—straight and tall to bodaciously curvy. It’s time for you to say it.  Say it out loud.  To your friends. To your family.  To the girls and women who study with you—work with you- laugh with you. Say it. Say it now.

And then, listen. After all, you need to hear it too.

Dr. Robyn Signature

Avatar Diet: Being thin in "second life" can make you thin in your first?

Credit: RTI International

Credit: RTI International

The Avatar Diet: Does this Avatar Make My Butt Look Big?

Dr. Robyn Silverman

Trying to get rid of that belly fat? Looking to thin down those thighs? Want to straighten out your body image and “combat obesity” while looking at your computer screen? It’s time to join the virtual world!

If you were ever wondering if a vitual representation of oneself (Second Life) could really have any influence on the fitness or appearance of the actual person in real life, according to one study out of the Journal of Virtual Worlds Research, it can.

The researchers at RTI suggest that having a physically fit and thin avatar may just be the next thing to put this “obesity epidemic” behind us.  I mean, who needs Atkins or South Beach when you can have The Avatar Diet? The researchers found that having a thin and physically avatar fit may encourage individuals to become healthier and more physically fit in their real lives.  Yes– that’s right– people are more likely to engage in physical activities in their real lives if their avatars in Second Life engage in physical activities.

“Based on these preliminary results, it seems likely that virtual reality users may adjust their identity to be consistent with that of their avatars,” –Elizabeth Dean (research survey methodologist at RTI and the study’s lead author)

The results suggest that 80 percent of respondents who reported high levels of physical activity for their avatars reported participating in high levels of physical activity in their real lives. This is where it really gets strange for me though– this link is suggested to be causal (the avatar is thin which causes the person to go and get fit too)– rather than a simple correlation (the avatar is thin AND the person is thin). It seems logical that if someone was to make a representation of themselves, that if they were “fit” and going to the gym, they would make their avatar do so as well.  It would “represent” them.  Not sure where the causal link idea is coming in– especially because good research does not suggest causation– simply, correlations.  But I digress…

Another aspect of the study showed that if the participants were interviewed by a thin avatar for this study rather than an obese avatar (this is just getting strange), the participant would be more likely to confess a higher BMI (Body Mass Index).  In addition, almost 3/4 of participants, when interviewed by the thin avatar, told the interviewer that their avatar was also thin.  But when interviewed by the obese avatar, only 1/3 of participants described their avatar shape as thin. Apparently, people like to bend the truth about their own bodies in Second Life around thin avatars.  Geez.  Just like high school again.

Interestingly, the virtual world is becoming a place where some health professionals are sending their clients for treatment.  Since people are apparently influenced by their avatars, and want to live up to what they put out there in the virtual world, hanging out in Second Life could make a difference in one’s first.

Are they creating virtual gyms and virtual low cal meals too? This one remains to be seen.  Considering that this study was only done with 27 participants (a very low research number which provides very low power to the results), we can’t totally buy what these researchers are saying. And of course there is the lingering question– does size really matter?  Does it really have to?

But no doubt, people will give “avatar diet” a shot.  No quick pill to lose weight this time– just a quick dose of Second Life.

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