Monday, March 17, 2008
9 steps to an eating disorder by age 12
This is verbatim, from the Proctor & Gamble site for young girls - Being Girl.

I was going to highlight the worst, but I just ended up highlighting all of them. I am disgusted. As someone who has struggled with an eating disorder for a good 20 years, this is exactly the opposite of the message we need to be sending peri-pubescent girls. And what the fuck does the war have to do with any of this?

I just don't know what they are thinking.

What Does the War Have to Do With Your Weight?

Are you one of the millions of teens who overeat when they are under stress? If you are, we've got some good news and some bad news. The bad news is that rarely in history has there been a more turbulent time. Since 9/11, it seems as if the problems of the world are growing larger and scarier... and looming closer than ever before. The good news is that you are not alone. Fifteen percent of Americans confessed that after the towers fell, they turned to comfort foods while another 14% reported eating more sweets. Two months after the terrorist attacks, one in ten Americans had gained weight. Anyone versed in psychology is familiar with the relationship between mood and food. Whether it's the war with Iraq, hard decisions abut college, or troubles with friends, some of us use food to provide the good feelings we're missing. Sweets help fill the emptiness and soothe us when conflicts and pressures threaten our stability.

We might know that we're eating when we're not hungry, that we're eating to combat feelings of depression or anxiety, but that's not enough to get us to stop. With half of Americans already fighting the battle of the bulge, and over a third of Americans classified as obese, it's important not to let our emotions contribute to bad eating habits that will only promote even more bad feelings. Here is some advice from the experts about what to do when you're tempted to use food to make you feel better.

1. At the moment you grab for something to eat, tell yourself you can have it if you still want it but you have to wait 30 minutes. The craving may pass, you might get distracted, you might become wise enough in that half hour to find a more life affirming way of getting rid of that creepy stress. (used by every anorexic I've ever known)

2. Write down everything you eat. Icky, we know, but we also know there's no better substitute (except looking at yourself in the mirror naked), that's better than tracking what goes into your mouth to get you into the habit of thinking before you eat. (Ew - looking at yourself naked is double+ icky)

3. If you're already in the habit of having snacks at a certain time, shake things up. Change your routine. Plan ahead to keep yourself occupied during that time. (Don't eat snacks - keep yourself so busy you forget about your hunger entirely)

4. When we're eating out of emotion, rather than hunger, we're practically unconscious of the amount of food we're inhaling. Only eat when you're sitting down and paying attention ONLY to the food before you. (great - talk to preteens about inhaling food...appropriate.)

5. Post-It notes are great for reminding you of the right thing to do. Stick them on the bathroom mirror, on the inside of your locker, on your computer. Be creative with your reminder. "How hungry are your really?" "Exactly why are you eating that now?" "What will the scale say tomorrow morning?" (I'm speechless.)

6. If you know where your most challenging places are, stay away. If you're aware of the time of day you're weakest, prepare for it ahead. Never shop for groceries when you're hungry. (because 12 year olds are shopping for groceries?)

7. Exercise. For a hundred good reasons. All of which you already know. (you lazy fat ass 12 year old)

8. If you really try and can't stop obsessing about food, don't despair. Indulging doesn't make you a bad person. You have the rest of your life to renew your commitment to your good health. (You have the rest of your life to become a good person who doesn't indulge. That is what this is saying -- isn't it?)

9. If you sense this is a problem you can't get a handle on, maybe you need to speak to someone who can help. There are dozens of licensed, experienced professionals who have successfully shown others how to slay this dragon. Ask for help. (Especially your friends who can teach you how to chew and spit. Or throw up. Because every 12 year old I know is going to go ask for professional help with her body image issues.)

Kate, Harriet, Rachel, and Paul, have all commented on this issue already.

If you are as horrified by this as I am - please write to: (this is all directly from Rachel at the F Word

Here are the so-called “experts” behind the site. According to one profile, they’re headquartered in Cincinnati. Address snail mail letters any or each of the following:

  • Dr. Iris Prager, beinggirl Content Manager
  • Tina So, beinggirl Interactive Marketing Manager
  • Jamie Kissell, US beinggirl Interactive Marketing Manager
  • Janis Carter, beinggirl Interactive Production Manager
  • Sonya Kirkpatrick, beinggirl Marketing Specialist

And also, Melanie Healey, Group President, Global Feminine and Health Care

One Procter & Gamble Plaza
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
United States

Suggestions on how to phrase letters of complaint can be found here. Remember: it’s important to express and articulate your concerns and outrage, but ranting vitriolic letters are often highly ineffective.

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Blogger Terri said...

OMG! I am floored. As a Girl Scout volunteer that works with older girls I am disgusted that this sort of thing is out there. Write a letter? Oh Yeah! Everyone involved is going to get a letter, in every form possible.

Blogger Kath said...

Oh that's just horrifying.

Blogger MonkeyGurrrrrl said...

Wait - are those the same folks that print "Have a Happy Period" on their maxi pads? Doesn't matter; it's the same idiocy. So the next thing you know, teenage girls are the ones *causing* the war. Why the f*ck not?

You know, reading this post made me aware of just how long I've been dealing with the weight issue - more than half my life, a good 30 years. Can you imagine if I devoted all that time and effort to more positive pursuits?!

Blogger Allison said...

As I continued to read, each "suggestion" just got worse. Unbelievable.

Blogger JenL said...

I found your blog via CAP and needed to comment.

I am just appalled by that article. It just made me want to cry that some group purportedly trying to help young girls is doing so much to hurt them. Your comments on it were dead on.

I think I will be having a long chat with my 14 year old stepdaughter when she visits this weekend.

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