fed up movie review

“Fed Up” Movie Review: Childhood Obesity (Documentary 2014)

Fed Up Movie Review: When I first saw the trailer for the documentary Fed Up, I became frustrated and anticipated the barrage of anti-obesity rhetoric we’d be bombarded with in relation to the film’s promotion.

I actually thought very carefully about whether I would subject myself to the film. With few sanity points to spare, I wondered if it was worth it. But, I also wanted to address the film and knew I couldn’t in good conscience discuss it without watching it. So, I sucked it up and dragged along my fiance too.

Executive produced by Katie Couric, Fed Up seems to be in contest with the documentary produced by HBO and the government and released two years ago called Weight of the Nation. While both Fed Up and Weight of the Nation have obesity as their rally cry (and both start nearly identically by flashing alarming obesity stats on the screen with a solemn voice telling us how we’re all going to die from being too fat), Fed Up’s villain is the government, whereas with Weight of the Nation, the villain is calories. Both films frame obesity as a public health crisis, thus reinforcing the idea (and falsity) that our current weight-focused paradigm for health is valid. You can read my review of Weight of the Nation =&1=&, but I’ll give you the low-down: I detested the series.

Fed Up Movie Trailer

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kirstie alley jenny craig

Why I Have a Problem With Kirstie Alley

Dear Kirstie Alley,

I saw your recent commercial for Jenny Craig where you ask Jenny if you can “come back home” to her program and exclaim that you’re not “Circus Fat,” you “just” want to lose 20 lbs.

In a recent interview, you try to back peddle from the heat you’ve taken for your comment and stated, “That’s how I see me…I grew up [in Kansas] in a generation of not overweight people. … I grew up in an era where my dad took me to the Kansas State Fair or the circus — they had actual fat ladies in the circus.”

Kirstie, there are so many worse things to be than “circus fat.” For example, being a woman with a huge platform and financial means to make the world a better place and instead of using it to do so, using it to validate a culture that privileges thin over health and thin-beauty over…well, everything. That is much worse than simply being a person with a body larger than you’re comfortable with.

Kirstie, if the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, you’re either insane or you’ve convinced yourself that YOU were the problem and the diet wasn’t. I want to assure you that the diet is the problem and remind you that there has yet to exist a reputable study to prove that diets work long-term to maintain significant weight-loss.

To the contrary, most dieters regain more weight than they lost. Given these odds, you have the choice to either accept the body you have now and focus your energy and resources on making peace with your body and then moving on to accomplish worthwhile goals while being a positive example to the young women and men who look up to you; or, you can resign to spending the rest of your life, and your time, resources and platform, on a diet plan that requires that people suffocate their biological survival mechanisms (hunger cues & satiation cues) in exchange for pre-calculated meals so that one is forever reliant on a frozen meal, rather than his or her own body, to dictate how/when/how much to eat—and do so knowing that by condoning dieting and body dissatisfaction, this is the example you are setting for others.

Kirstie—our culture’s fixation with thinness and, conversely, our demonization of fatness, is the REAL problem. There is no wrong way to have a body. I repeat—your body, just as it is right now, is FINE. My friend has a wonderful exercise where she lists all of the amazing things her body does for her—blinking, heart beating, blood pumping, etc.—to put into perspective what a treasure it is to be EMBODIED. I encourage you to do the same thing. We were not all meant to be the same size (just as we were all not meant to be the same height and color) and none of us should live in a world where it’s acceptable (even popular) to body-shame one another.

*Related: Fed Up Movie Review

You are allowed to do whatever you want with your body—that is feminism 101. You are allowed to diet until the svelte Jenny Craig cows come home. You are allowed to hate your body and to continue to toil like Sisyphus with the boulder of weight-loss dreams. But remember that the body is political. Remember that as a public persona, you have young, impressionable minds taking in your every move and your every word.

And, I’ll tell you from experience—wanting to just lose XX lbs is a dangerous game to play. I played it, became bulimic and was willing to die to be thin. I’ve won the game now, but it wasn’t by losing weight—it was by forfeiting the game. And I’ll tell you one thing—I would much rather be “circus fat” than be a clown for the $66B weight-loss industry.

If you would like two suggestions on how you can use your platform and means to promote body positivity, there are two documentary campaigns seeking backing right now that do such a thing and, unfortunately, neither is near reaching their goal. I wonder why…why isn’t it as sexy and popular to promote self-love and body diversity as it is to jump on the dieting bandwagon?

Article by Missy W.

drop dead diva review

Drop Dead Diva Review: Season 1 (Netflix)

Drop Dead Diva Season 1 Review: This show has blown my mind in such a positive way.

So, here’s the gist of the premise: Deb Dobkins is a thin and conventionally attractive model who dies in a car crash on her way to audition to be a prize model on the Price is Right; Jane Bingum is a fat lawyer who is shot in her office by someone intending to kill her boss. Due to a kerfuffle at the gates of Heaven, Deb’s soul is returned to Earth, but…wait for it… in the body of Jane Bingum. This is so hah-hah funny because Deb is a model and Jane, being fat, is probably the worst thing that could happen to her (sigh). Let’s get over sad this set up is, shall we?

I have to say this show does not shy away from tackling the complex issues related to being a fat woman in America. Instead of focusing on Shallow-Hal-like depictions of fatness that are one-dimensional, offensive and unproductive, Drop Dead Diva tackles things like sizeism, the pitfalls and dangers of dieting, the absurdity of clothing stores like A&F and the popular conflation of thin and healthy.

While Jane seems to work for a corporate defense, she takes on cases defending the underdog as well as suing on behalf of the underdog (I don’t think this is a realistic depiction of law firms, but let’s run with it).

Drop Dead Diva: Weight Loss Themes

Here are some of the awesome fat-focused themes introduced in DDD (*spoiler alert* these will tell you all the juicy stuff that happens, so read at your own risk!):

  • The pitfalls & dangers

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unacceptable levels documentary

Unacceptable Levels Movie Review (Documentary)

Unacceptable Levels Documentary Review: There’s a new documentary out that I wanted to share with you called Unacceptable Levels. This documentary delves into the issue of synthetic chemicals – where they’re coming from, how safe they are and how they’re affecting us all. Here’s the trailer:

The impetus for Unacceptable Levels:

Ed Brown wondered these same things after his wife suffered two miscarriages (they now have two beautiful children). But instead of just wondering, he traveled around the country read more

ok to be fat

Why It’s Okay to Be Fat Review (TED Talk)

Why It’s Okay to Be Fat Review: Golda of Body Love Wellness gave a TEDx talk called, “Why It’s Okay to Be Fat,” which you can watch below.

Golda did such a wonderful job explaining why dieting is harmful and why body shaming is harmful. Her solution: instead of weight loss, why not focus on healthful behaviors? Contrary to popular belief, focusing on healthful behaviors is more healthful for people of all sizes than attempting to lose weight. [see here for evidence-based research]

It is a reality check for me to read through the video comments and see the horrible and disheartening comments left by innumerable people exhibiting these common misconceptions EVEN after hearing Golda give such a well-researched talk:


1) Fat (however this person defines it) cannot be compatible with health.

Truth: Fat can absolutely be compatible with health. We have reputable evidence to prove that overweight and even class 1 obesity can be fully compatible with health AND even protective in clinical cases. Did you know that overweight bodies have lower rates of mortality than normal weight (by BMI standards) across the board?! Did you know the underweight population, while a very small group, actually have the same # of deaths combined as do obese people? But you won’t hear people rallying against our underweight population. Why? [more on this to come in my documentary; for now, watch Dr. Saguy’s talk on why we frame fatness as a crisis when it’s much more complex than that & question perhaps ask if obesity is the peppered moth of the mobile age]

If you are looking for an evidence-based way to live healthfully, I recommend the Health At Every Size(R) approach.

2) We should all strive to be thin because that is what is attractive.

Truth: “Attractive” is malleable, political and usually steeped in sexist, classist and racist contingencies. Thinness has not always been considered the pinnacle of attraction (this is actually a rather recent phenomenon). What is attractive is usually tied to economics. Thin is currently revered in the U.S. because it’s a sign of status & privilege (whereas, elsewhere, it’s a sign of poverty and rotund bodies are revered). Also, keep in mind then that thin does not inherently equal healthy  and that the pursuit of thinness is, arguably, never healthy (should we diet, become disordered eaters and/or hate ourselves thin? That would not be healthy!); “beautiful” does not inherently = healthy. And, lastly, we have not found a healthful and sustainable way to make fat bodies thin (yes, there are some outliers).


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Moving Past the Fog of Unhealthiness

When I am unhealthy, I can often look back and recognize a fog. A mental fog that weighs me down so much, it becomes a physical attribute. I don’t necessarily notice it every minute of every day. But it’s there. Lingering. A constant sluggish feeling that hovers over my life.

Like I’m always playing catch-up. Moments experienced through a tinted filter. The opposite, when I’m in a really good place with my health, is a refreshing feeling. I feel light, quick to respond. Experiences are crisp and sharp. I feel free.

I want to be healthy for myself.
I want to be healthy for Francisco.
I want to be healthy for my marriage.

I want to be healthy. Healthy physically, mentally, spiritually and financially. I want to feel free in life; not weighed down by the fog of unhealthiness. I want to rise above the haze I often feel as a result of my unhealthiness.

I worked out 3 times last week and so far, 2 times this week. Sunday, I made it to the gym even though Carlos was out town (usually I would use this as an excuse to not workout.) I dropped Francisco off at the daycare and even though he hated it, I took the 30min for myself to sweat. This morning I also went. At 5am. Which meant Carlos got up with Francisco. Carlos is more of a night owl (I am the early bird) so I appreciate Carlos being willing to wake up and hang with Francisco.

2 times this week. Not as much as I’d like but I’m still taking it as progress. We are going back to Minneapolis tomorrow so I my goal will be to work out before a half-day of work which will get me to 3 times this week. Although in the back of my mind, I still continue to crave getting up to 5 times a week.

I’m tracking my food. I’m focusing on being balanced and while I still need to work on decreasing my fat macro, I’m doing very well with not overdosing on processed carbs every day. My eating focus is eating balanced, real food. Not low calorie, not low fat, not some fad diet. Just balanced protein, healthy carbs and good fat.

It’s a slow uphill battle. Fighting toward healthiness when unhealthy habits seem to feed off each other. One decision in the morning can throw the rest of the day off-kilter and seem absolutely impossible. Every day can start with the same good intentions but intentions don’t mean much if it isn’t followed up with action.

Every day, the goal is to continue to move past the fog of unhealthiness.