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Too Fat for Fifteen-Too Much for Me to Watch.

Posted Apr 01 2011 12:00am

        Let me start this out by saying, I was an overweight teen. I was an obese adult. I KNOW firsthand what these kids are going through on a daily basis. I was bullied, I was depressed. I hated a lot of what makes your teen years so fun for so many. I put up a huge front. I became a "goth," figuring that if everyone saw the black clothing and steely makeup first, they'd notice my weight less. I remember one day looking down at my gym teacher's attendance book to see "freak" written by my name. (The kids took attendance in this class.) I went to the locker room and cried. Bullies are bullies are bullies. This is why on one hand I watch Too Fat for Fifteen…Fighting Back and I think, "Wow, these kids are really brave to put their story and struggles out there for everyone to see." On the other hand I also think, as I am watching a girl have a moment on the scale I have had several times, peeling off tee shirts hoping it's .5lbs worth of clothing, "why does this show exist?" Is it really so that we can cheer for them and provide a cautionary tale about the toll of childhood obesity, or is it so we can all feel a little self-righteous? OUR kids would NEVER get that big. They'll all be SUPER active and eat REALLY well.

    Last year, when teens were asked what they wanted to be when they grew up, the #1 answer given was "famous." Not a doctor or a lawyer or even an actress, they want to be famous. In this day and age, that clearly means "by any means necessary." It seems as though their parents are also encouraging this. Seriously, what parent says to themselves, "I am going to let a reality tv crew from "Style" follow my overweight preteen/teen around and document their every move." That seems perfectly rational. *eyeroll* Once you meet the parents; you understand. These people are awful. One mother tells her kid to avoid dressings and chips while they party down on pulled pork and macaroni and cheese; one mother mocks her daughter's new recipes and then declares them "delicious" when she adds more salt and seasonings. These parents want to be famous just as much as their kids. It's truly sad.

    The Wellspring program is by definition a DIET. It does not seem like a lifestyle plan. It is all fat-free this and sugar-free that. If I have learned anything by keeping the weight off for 5+ years, it's that you need a sustainable LIFESTYLE. You need fat in your diet to keep you sated, and to feed your brain. If you don't, you're going to get grouchy and you're going to fight back against the things that may be the best for you. (like running a 5k or waking at 5 for a spin class) It is no wonder these kids are fighting back–against the program. They feel deprived. Who can stand that feeling? How many people do you know that are chipper and happy when they are quitting smoking? ZERO. Same principal. Trust me, I've done both.

    I now know that I NEED to exercise every day to stay healthy and to be able to eat some of the things I enjoy. I know that I need to talk about my feelings to keep them from consuming me. I know that I need to distract myself when I am bored to keep my hands out of the fridge. These kids may or may not learn this. For their sake, I hope they do. I hope they also can do it without the cameras.

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