Creating Eating Disorders in our Children

A few years back some of my clients had mentioned reading the book Skinny Bitch and just the title alone caused red flags and made me want to run in the opposite direction.  Honestly at the time I just wanted to ignore the whole hoopla and not spend energy on such a negative connotation.  And why on earth would anyone want to be known as a skinny bitch?   However, since David Beckham’s wife happened to be carrying a copy with her while being photographed by the paparazzi it became a hit.

Recently, a few adolescent girls showed up in my office with restrained and disordered eating after reading this book.  Could this catchy title be having a negative impact on adolescent girls who are still growing?  Furthermore, did the authors intend this read to positively impact the health and vitality of a generation of young women through SELF-LOATHING?

Since I wanted to decode this book for them I checked it out of the library last week and here is my assessment:

Save your money since I do not recommend it.  The authors are two former models whose tag line is “stop being a moron and start getting skinny.”  Of course these catchy lines can be appealing to young girls but with the potential to cause real harm to the reader.  There are chapters on the horrors of meat, the dairy disaster, and others whose names I can’t even write in a blog.

Each chapter is written in less than desirable language.  I had to put the book down since it actually both sickened and repulsed me.  One chapter even discussed how disgusting breastfeeding is which was the final straw.  Since lactation have been proven for decades to benefit the infant’s immune system and health, not to mention contribute to wonderful mother/child attachment,  it is beyond imagination how two females could write this chapter. 

My reason for this blog is not to call attention to this book, but to ask Moms to prevent this book from coming across your teen’s eyes.  It is irresponsible, and basically “food porn.”

It is one thing to believe in being vegan or a vegetarian but to become an evangelist to young girls in the name of becoming thin is irresponsible at best.

Finally the book speaks in demeaning language to “encourage” becoming skinny.  Research shows that beating a body into submission with shaming or critical language actually encourages overeating.  The rebound effect can be devastating at times. 

Having a healthy relationship with food is not about beating yourself up, or eating meat or vegetables.  It is not about scoring “extra credit” for fasting (one of the points in the book).

Healthy eating is about embracing whole real foods that are unadulterated as much as possible.  Weight loss and management is about enjoying good, nurturing one self through the process, and overcoming the hurdles each week that lead you to your goal.

Finally, I realize that funny titles and salacious verbiage can be appealing, especially to our youth.  However, it is not always appropriate to make money or notoriety, by potentially causing duress or shame, especially when serving up damaging nutritional advice.  Social media is a powerful platform, and one we should participate in with great responsibility…especially with respect to our youth.