Saturday, 2 October 2010


When I first heard of Jackass let's say I was profoundly challenged. I found it unfathomable, upsetting, scary and nerve janglingly unbearable to watch.

I know I must be entering a period of calm because recently catching them in full flow Jackass 2 I found myself poleaxed with laughter. I even came to be impressed by the way they started off their stunts with a look of intrepid yet earnest endeavour set on their faces. Rather than abject terror or requiring one's mater.

I wasn't fully reformed because I felt the creep of anxiety catch up with me after a while but up till then, laughter muscles work out. )))) Shiver (((( I hope I don't have cause to use that term again anytime soon.

During the recent spate of explosive feminist v fatness blog warring (yawn) I noticed a comment to the effect of "whatever you (FA) do, please don't say dieting is stupid". I'm afraid if there is one thing dieting is, it definitely is that. Hiding it from yourself and others leads in part to the sensitized state that makes the reality of dieting harder to face. There's no need to feel shy you are not alone, there are many flailing around in the stupid with you.

Whether it’s those claiming dieting has a positive effect that can be studied and refined to make it work better; stop laughing in the corner. Those who claim the jury’s still out on its ‘efficacy’ those who’ve done it-guilty. All validated by rank and because of that not any intrinsic merit we are forced to take it seriously.

And yes, I was aware of how stupid calorie restriction was whilst I was doing it but I was thinking that using healthy eating, instead of a slimming plan was not in the same ball park.

Whoops a daisy!!!

No one is owed pretence about the truth of dieting, it is too much like hard work and too distorting of the truth in ways that is doing too much harm to others obscuring consequence from them.

When we ignore or overlook what we are doing to ourselves especially in the negative, the mind can tend to project that knowledge onto to something or someone else-usually someone felt to be critical- in an attempt to get us to confront it. These feelings are mostly dieters own reactions to what they are doing to themselves, this is upsetting because they are not being acknowledged, not because others are taunting or ridiculing them.

That sense of being carelessly treated, mishandled somehow is a product of their own thoughts and actions, trying to model a sensitivity in others which you are denying yourself is a bit pointless if you intend to continue the same way. You're asking them to both support what's hurting you and tip toe around the effects of that. It’s a pattern similar to people with low self esteem, when you attack yourself from the inside, the mind can heighten a sense of injustice around you, it's as if by trying to get you to reject injustice from outside you will apply that within also.

It is your right to diet but insisting others collude in this is asking them to join this attack on yourself and that is worse than the choice you've made because you are directly accountable for the consequences of it in a way they are not.

Its also coming at the expense of all those who may really need to understand why they are in the state they are in, in order to begin their own healing process. The conceit of dieting is by its very nature way too high maintenance, it's unreasoning and unreasonable and asks too much from those unwilling to suspend disbelief to the extent demanded.

I used to ask why (oh why) would the Jackass guys want to send themselves repeatedly into self contrived chaos and pain? I tried to put it down to some kind of male bonding/testing rituals; I was definitely a little offended at what seemed to be the celebration of pain.

Now I can see the jackass in me sailing into every tranche of nutrition inspired mayhem with a similar look of earnest pilgrimage to my will inspired destiny plastered on my face, no doubt.

It reminds me of watching a documentary about this famous rock band and their prodigious drug taking. One of them 'died' after an epic bender and was lucky enough to be resurrected in hospital. On leaving he went straight to his dealer. I was appalled but it dawned on me how reminiscent this was to the ruthless dedication to keep on dieting, no matter what it does or is doing to you that is found in so many.

The funny thing about all these attempts to link being fat to drug addiction is it's actually dieting and its attendant 'withdrawal' phase, accompanied or not by FA that fits the addiction model far more closely. Probably the reasons people get addicted to drugs are similar to the reasons why people diet on regardless (and cannot shake anorexia, strange as it may seem, it's about a sense of control).

The 'no diet talk' rule reminds me of people saying that they had to leave behind everything that reminded them of taking drugs to get 'clean'. The issues with triggering, talk of trying one more time, or slipping back to dieting, ditto. It's the promise of being able to change your circumstances that is so seductive and hard to resist. Look at Oprah, she has never looked more absurd than in her endless diet campaigns, and I include her I am god phase (is that over yet?) Doing something promises relief from anxiety. Especially as we are taught we can if we put our minds to it, we have free will. We certainly do, but that doesn't mean we have free will only in the forms and ways we assume.

If what looks like the exercise of free will, command and control style, leads to chaos and anarchy rather than mastery then as counter intuitive as it may seem we need to expand our range and sense of what control actually is. It's not what appears on the surface that makes it control, it is what is delivers.

People, namely women, could look upon their diet efforts-if they insist- with a similar sense of the ridiculous as the Jackass crew. Maybe recognising and being at ease with the patent absurdity of it all would reduce the damage. We are not just defined by what we do, there's also the matter of the attitude we bring to it.

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