Monday, April 2, 2018

Keep Your Diet Culture Off My Toddler

"Your words cut deep
Your lies are fueled by your need for deceit
Too scared to speak
You're only alive when you torture the weak
Now hear me roar" -- "You Want a Battle?" Bullet for My Valentine

My normally cheerful toddler had a very tough morning the other day. After I made the horrible mistake of taking away the iPad she was watching videos on, she couldn't stop having a tantrum. I was on my way to the gym, and thought the poor kid might calm down when I put her in the car and put on Amazon Music's Toddler Time station. Alas, it wasn't to be, and I eventually got so rattled after an 45 minutes of this screaming that I had to pull over on the side of the road and get out of the car until I could calm down. This is all a long way of saying that I had a very challenging morning, so I was relieved when T finally calmed down when I pulled into the gym parking lot and she realized she'd get to press the elevator button.

When we made it into the lobby of the gym, T was understandably hungry and I gave her the two snacks I had packed for her. She asked me for more food, but having none -- and trying to forestall a continuation of the tantrum, if I'm being completely honest -- I bought her a cookie from the gym's market. Of course, it's a market at a chain of gyms, so all of the food is packaged high-protein/low sugar foods. I bought her a protein cookie, which will hereto be referred to as the "Fucking Fake Cookie," or FFC. You'll see why. T was happily munching away on the FFC when a woman came up to us and said to T, "Oh, you're so cute! You're SO LUCKY you can eat cookies."

I instantly thought, "Not today, Satan!" and this conversation transpired:

Me: "You can eat cookies, too."

Nosy Lady: "Oh, I can't," she laughed. "If I eat one cookie, I have to eat the whole box!"

Me: "I used to think that, too. The interesting thing is, if you give yourself permission to eat what you want, suddenly the cookies become just another food and not a big deal."

Nosy Lady senses what she's gotten herself into and says, "Oh, but I'm a sugar addict."

Me: "If you give me your email address I am happy to send you a link to some journal articles that debunk that."

Nosy Lady: "I have a doctor's appointment! I have to go!"

Me: "Bye," but I really am thinking "CU Next Tuesday!"

The article I was threatening to send her was this. The TLDR is: "We find little evidence to support sugar addiction in humans, and finding from the animal literature suggest that addiction-like behaviours only occur in the context of intermittent access to sugar. These behaviours likely arise from intermittent access to sweet tasting or highly palatable foods, not the neurochemical effects of sugar." This certainly is true in my experience, but I'd rather talk about that in another post.

What bothered me more than this woman's phony science was the fact that she came up and tried to involve T in this nonsense. First of all, let's be honest: she wasn't trying to lecture T, who isn't even two. She was trying to lecture T's fat mom, but was too pathetic to take me on directly (#lame). I shut down diet talk fast when it's directed at me, but I move at warp speed when it involves my children.

I can't say this often or vociferously enough: I consider dieting and diet culture the worst thing to have infiltrated my childhood. My kids will be exposed to this so many places, our family won't be one of them. My husband and I are committed to keeping this garbage as far away from them as possible.

I feel like there are some days that God tests you, and this was one of those days. The fun continued: I had posted a pretty innocuous meme on Facebook exhorting people not to comment on people's weight loss. You can take it or leave it, but one person commented with some really fat-shaming and stereotyping comments, which royally pissed me off (I know, I know, that's what I get for posting on the dumpster fire that is Facebook).

The coup de grace on this really shitty day is that the FFC caused T massive diarrhea because it was full of sugar alcohols and inulin and things that are really not great to consume. I was covered in poop moments before needing to leave to pick up my older daughter from school, so I was late getting her.  The poor kid would have been better off if I had brought some Oreos for her.  I'm sorry T for feeding you fake food that messed with your tummy. At least I fought the good fight against diet culture.

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