Thursday, June 30, 2005

The question was submitted to the board. They answered it. Someone even wrote in and went into more detail for her. I felt like none of the answers so far were good enough. So I wrote in my own, we will see if it gets published (or how much of it).

Original Question
Dear 100 Hour Board,

I need to lose weight. I'm 24 and I weigh 175 lbs---and I'm a girl. I don't think that the goal of losing 35 lbs is too lofty. That would put me down at a healthy (and yet still hefty) 140 lbs. So I've started to make positive diet changes (not fad diet---but just good, responsible eating choices). I've also started to exercise.

My question concerns the intensity of my workout. When I choose the "Fat Burn" option on the elliptical machine, it says that I need to maintain a low heart rate---only 127. To tell the truth, it's hard for me to keep it that low. The first time I worked out, when I wasn't concentrating on going slow, my heart rate would get up to about 170. Then I'd have to force myself to go slower again.

Now I know that I've heard that for losing weight, you want to keep the workout at a fairly low intensity, but why is that? Don't I burn more calories when I go faster? Do I really have to exercise at such a low intensity if I want to burn fat?

- Phatty McPhatt
My reply

Phatty McPhatt (and I won’t call you dear),
I was so infuriated by your name and some of the comments that you made in your question that it took me a few days to cool down enough to send this in to you. I took some time to look up a few statistics for you. I will give you those and then let you know what got me worked up so badly.

* The average American woman is 5'4" tall and weighs 140 pounds.
* The average American model is 5'11" tall and weighs 117 pounds.
* Most fashion models are thinner than 98% of American women.
* Four out of five American women say they're dissatisfied with the way they look.
* On any given day, almost half of the women in the United States are on a diet.
* Almost half of American children between first and third grades say they want to be thinner.
* Americans spend over forty billion dollars a year on dieting and diet related products.
* Between five and ten million women and girls in the United States struggle with eating disorders and borderline conditions.
* One million boys and men struggle with eating disorders and borderline conditions.
* The number of people with eating disorders and borderline conditions is triple the

Sources: Crowther et al., 1992; Fairburn et al., 1993; Gordon, 1990; Hoek, 1995; Shisslak et al., 1995., US Department of Health and Human Services, HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report 1998, Treatment Advocacy Center, 1999, Smolak, 1996., Mellin et al., 1991., Collins, 1991., Shisslak & Crago, 1995.

So there are the statistics. We are a nation obsessed with models like Kate Moss and Gisele (women who will not even release their weights to the public because they are so painfully thin) The average American woman is 5'4" and 140 pounds. You can’t be much shorter than that, and if you are taller than you will carry around more weight than someone like myself who is only 5’2”.

I was infuriated by your insinuation that 140 lbs is a hefty weight. I graduated from high school at 140 lbs and I was gorgeous. I filled out my clothes and had breasts, and hips, and thighs and I look back at those days and envy what I was before I came to college and stopped being so active and hit the 185 lb mark that I am at now. Yes, 140 lbs is hefty, for a 10 year old. For a 25 year old WOMAN 140 lbs is beautiful. You will have hips for bearing children, and breasts for providing life for them. You will fit into your clothes how they were meant to look, and the men around you will appreciate you for the beautiful daughter of God that you are.

How much do you know about Marily Monroe? Did you know she was 5 feet 5 ½ inches and weight 140 lbs? Pretty average I would say, and yet she was the sex symbol for an entire generation. Maybe even more than that. In 1999, Marilyn was voted the 'Sexiest Woman of the Century' by People Magazine.

I am not sure where you are basing the assumptions that 140 pounds is “hefty” (my best guess would be from the monster that we call the media), but I suggest you check out the article found at http://medialit.med.sc.edu/pre.... Also, look at the page found at http://homepage.mac.com/gapoda... (Caution, woman in a bikini is pictured, so do not visit of this will be offensive to you). They took an absolutely gorgeous woman and destroyed her. All in attempt to make her look perfect. They fixed her belly-button for Heaven’s sakes. What could possibly have been wrong with her natural belly button?

And yet after all of this you made the biggest mistake of all. Your name. Phatty McPhatt. Maybe it was meant as a joke. It wasn’t funny. I weigh 5 lbs more than you do, and every day I fight the urge to hate myself. I fight the urge to call myself names (Fat, ugly, un-loved, you name it) and hate my body, instead of respecting the beautiful temple that our Father in Heaven has provided me with. I can run, and jump, and spin in circles. I can laugh, joke, cry, and climb up to the Y if I so fancy.

So maybe Elle and Marie Clair won’t be approaching me for cover shoots any time soon. But even if they did, I would tell them no. Because I don’t need that. Phatty, I hope that you will seriously consider your attitude about yourself and what is normal and right for you. Someday you will have daughters of your own, and I hope that you can help them to proud of themselves and their strong beautiful bodies as well. No matter what size they are.

Please also see sites- Adiosbarbie.com and about-face.org

Sincerely (very sincerely),

One who believes in the power and beauty of a real woman

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