November 20, 2019

Intermittent Fasting and Health: My Thoughts on the Today Show - Dani Sherman-Lazar

Jenna Bush Hager and Hoda Kotb weighed themselves on live television before starting intermittent fasting.  
 
This act was called “brave” and “bold.”
 
Outlets called this “a moment of truth” as if the number on that scale meant EVERYTHING.
 
The cohosts held hands before stepping on the scale. And the number was, of course, shocking to both of them (because scale numbers always are), and then they ridiculed themselves.
 
“Wait, I don’t think these are right,” was Hoda’s immediate reaction.
 
 And now, they will embark on their diet journey. 
 
To be honest, I don’t think stepping on that scale was brave at all. In fact, I think it was kind of the cowardly thing to do.  
 
I think the brave thing to do would be to NOT step on that scale. You heard me correctly! Because not stepping on the scale would be taking a stand against diet culture. 
 
By stepping on the scale, these two women inadvertently put out the message that their weight is their worth. 
 
Roxanne Hartman, RD, CEDRD-S, ERC’s Nutrition Director, shares her thoughts on this issue, “It’s dangerous to put so much emphasis on the number on a scale. There are so many other markers of health and putting all the focus on weight makes one lose sight of an overall healthy lifestyle. If you’re making sacrifices in your eating, mindful physical activity, and/or mental health just to lose weight, you’re likely to end up more unhealthy and unhappy in the end.”
 
We are more than body parts that need to be fixed.
 
These women, in the end, claimed they were doing it to be healthy — so, I ask, why the big weight reveal and self-ridicule? I’m all for feeling good and trying to be healthier, but dieting, including intermittent fasting, is a trap. 
 
On the topic of intermittent fasting and health, Hartman responds, “The best recommendation for a healthy diet is to eat frequently (every 3-4 hours) and to include a variety of foods and nutrients. Restricting intake can actually slow down your metabolism and may lead to overeating later in the day. Intermittent fasting definitely shouldn’t be practiced by anyone with an eating disorder.”

We are more than an unattainable body type. 
 
Our children are forming a relationship with food. We don't want them thinking that they have to lose weight to look great. But this is what I predict — Jenna and Hoda will probably lose weight, and everyone will compliment them, including on live television, and it will make headlines.
 
And those impressionable little boys and girls watching, who want to feel good about themselves, and have people notice them, will think losing weight is their ticket to happiness and acceptance. And maybe they go on to develop an unhealthy relationship with food, and it turns into an eating disorder.
 
Intermittent fasting can be a slippery slope. 
 
I once was that impressionable young girl. So now, I fight for her. I fight for all those out there like me — the sweet, impressionable, insecure, perfectionists out there. 
 
Let’s face it: Jenna Bush Hager and Hoda Kotb are so much more than a number: they are mothers, smart (with a gift for gab), and beautiful. And I’m disappointed they’d reduce themselves to this. I thought we’d come such a long way in the body positivity movement, but if a big network still isn’t on board, we have a lot more work to do. 
 
intermittent fasting and healthDani Sherman-Lazar is an eating disorder advocate, Vice President of a transportation company, and a mother to two daughters. Follow her on her blog Living a Full Life After ED and on Facebook. Her book Living FULL: Winning My Battle with Eating Disorder is available on Amazon. 
 
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