Friday, 14 February 2014


Rachel Frederickson caused consternation by recently winning the show Biggest Loser. Not because that show's an abusive race to vomit fest, where psyched up gym bunnies reveal more than you want to know about their mental profile. More due to her looking a bit ravaged in the process.

The show's set around fat people competing to lose as much weight as possible via serious calorie restriction whilst overdosing on exercise. Frederickson began at 260 pounds or just under 18 and a half stones/117kg and ended the show at about 150.

She returned to film the episode that crowned the winner (her!) at 105 pounds/just under 7 and a half stones/46 kg. Drawing gasps of shock even from the wing-ding gym torturers who see nothing wrong with driving people to physical, mental and emotional breaking point.

This unfeasible tv proposition achieves its popularity through the sight of punishing consumption. In the guise of fat people starving and purging away their sinful "unhealthful" countenance. Though, never unhealthful enough not to drop dead under conditions that would fell many of those baying for their sweat. This serves to purge collective guilt about rampant consumption and avarice. The voiding of fat bodies becomes an exorcism of everyone's suppressed sin and above all, fear that payment/punishment will be exacted at some future point.

It's a relief to see fatz getting slim because it means everyone else can save themselves too.

Kind of stupid, but, whatever.

I've always been averse to those who conflate thinness with anorexia, even before I got not all anorexics are slender. I am not censorious about a person being classed as "underweight". I don't even think people shouldn't be "too thin" if they want to be-providing they are not tearing themselves, I don't believe its necessary as long as you're at a certain metabolic place. People smoke and drink to get drunk after all.

I'm also wary of remote diagnosis of ED's and any bullshit concern trolling. However, there are reasons to suspect something may not be right here. I must admit, something about her attitude to weight loss in the preamble set off an alarm.

Still, I dismissed it as, me judging in retrospect. Then I saw her. And no, for me any way, it's not about being a white woman thing. I still remember the shock of seeing the late Luther Vandross after what turned out to be one of his latter weight loss diet efforts. I knew instantly something was very wrong. His face looked cadaverous.

And anyway, you may have noted this kind of weight loss endeavour can take it out of many people's faces.

In Frederickson's case, I can honestly say there are grounds for genuine concern. Her face is gaunt, it isn't just thin. I don't feel that's any more of a gratuitous reference to her thinness than noting a face bloated with fluids- has to be an untoward referencing a person's fatness. Though I daresay it might sting.

Here are a few thin people who's faces aren't. Thinness does not suck the matter out of a body and a face, often the most telling of all, wasting does. She may re-gain some weight in due course. The extent of her ability to exercise may well be based on her prior (relative) inactivity and she was in a competition with a large prize. Maybe she gained it to lose it, who knows?

If she's okay, then I apologize but it's worth her and others in a similar situation just being aware, of what her activities maybe revealing. It'd be easier to deal with on this side of it, than the other.

People actually die young from anorexia nervosa (it's a pathology, not a person) rather than merely being a much touted promissory threat. 

Those trying to turn all observation of people into "shaming" (see comments) are revealing not only their wonky eye sight (what is it with people of all weights who cannot see individuals once they categorize them as weight pawns?) But their tired projection onto fat acceptance/fat people, crafted in the reverse of their own hating.

When it is a rejection of the basis of defining people the sum total of good/bad habits.

There is no point in ignoring signals of distress. That's not what is meant by refusing to define people as inherently pathological based solely on their weight. Thin and slim people are allowed to be what they are. Fat people aren't, therefore reference to the latter tends to have an agenda absent from more legitimized bodies.

I do not define thin people in my head, as a class of disease. They are not all the same. I'm not in disagreement with their bodies. Plenty can be sprightly and robust as anything at 105, usually those who are that way naturally, for want of a better word.

Anorexia has been policed into disconnecting it from weight loss dieting for quite a while now. Weight loss dieting impersonates anorexia. We are expected to believe that restricting calories and exercising to lose weight has nothing to do with the so called mental illness of anorexia. When it so obviously does.  The temporary proto-anorexia of eat less do more until you've expended the weight you wish to lose didn't really matter, when it was presumed to be a temporary one off.

The real problem arose when it was realized this didn't accord with bodily design.  It's designed to restore any loses and mostly does.  The instruction morphed to keep dieting-for life. Or "lifestyle change" that is what turns a dieter from a temporary user of anorexia, to someone who intends to pursue it as way of life.

That will beat most people up until they tire of this, but those with anorexic susceptibilities will find their bodies succumbing strangely to this pressure. No-one knows exactly why. My feeling is chinks in their defenses (against lost weight).

People like Frederickson should not become pawns in worthless weight battle trumps.

If she is slowly being pulled under the wheels, now's the time for her to cut herself loose, whilst that still makes sense (to her). Because it might not later.

BL's process has uncovered someone with some combination of this quirk in a way that it could not quite avoid. It's wryly amusing to think that could be the beginning of its undoing. After all, who cares about fat bodies being wasted? It's only when the size enters legitimacy does pain become real.

They couldn't tell by looking at her previous 18 stone frame. Nor could you tell when she was a college athlete that she could become fatter than most fat people in few years. This urge to re-feed after athleticism is not unheard of, though it's put solely down to emotions. Sometimes the body has a little bit of a plan. 

After famine there is feast. And again in the case of this particular famine.

So, whether she's sailing close to the wind is of course her affair and I truly hope she's not overwhelmed by the attention which is getting out of hand must admit. She should not be criticized or attacked, but merely informed. With the obscurantism surrounding anorexia, it's only fair that both she and people similar situations realise the possibility, so they're given the chance to act from an informed basis. That's all.

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