Gay & Lesbian Services of Western New York

Do Fruit Loops Make you Gay?, Part I

OK, now that I have your attention, I want to spend the next two editions talking about body image, cultural messages to be super thin if you’re a girl, or buff and six–packed if you’re a guy, dieting: what it does and doesn’t do, and some thoughts about food and nutrition in general.

So, now I am a nutritionist…ah, no, but I have spent the better part of my professional life working with bulimics, overeaters and chronic dieters. I have also spent the last 12 years involved in natural body building or the nutritional, non-additive way to achieving a buff and toned body. So what follows is food for thought…oops, sorry, I couldn’t resist the pun.

Current research suggests that close to 20 percent of teen girls use some form of over the counter diet formulation ( either appetite suppressants, metabolism boosters or fat and carb blockers) to try to achieve weight loss. These products have shown little real benefit related to their claims however, they will significantly reduce the amount of money in your wallet. Most of these products have a monthly price tab of $15 – $35. A lot of money for no real result not to mention that some might even be dangerous. High blood pressure, heart attack or dropping dead have been real outcomes with some of these formulations.

We live in a culture where super thin for girls is “beautiful” combined with a quick results mentality, “I want it now!” Thank god the runways in Milan, Italy have now banned under weight models…a start. The body and the brain are developing through out adolescence and into the early twenties. Nutrition is a necessary ingredient for our developing bodies. So, when our bodies need good nutrition the most, instead it is subjected to starvation, herbal concoctions, binging, perhaps purging, supplements of all kinds, high caffeine drinks, junk food and the like. I know…I am at risk for sounding like I am about to go into the food pyramid lecture… ah, yawn! I am not about that at all, but I am about real knowledge about what are the real effects of what we “think” we are doing to our bodies.

For instance, did you know that the body gives up muscle first before it gives up fat. YUP! And did you know that when you diet you actually command your body to retain fat. YUP! And your body wants to survive so it will hold onto that fat just as hard as you try to get rid of it. Did you know that the leading cause of obesity is dieting. YUP!

Ok, so you don’t have time for breakfast and you try to eat a modest lunch and the result is that at 4 PM or at 8 PM in the secrecy of your room you eat an entire box of cookies or a large bag of chips. This was a set up that started with missing breakfast…your body will resist your attempts to starve it into looking like the current poster girl for the Eating Disorders Unit.

There are healthier and, believe it or not, even easier ways to make peace with your body, have good nutrition and even live with what you have. Stay tuned to the second installment on this topic. Oh, and guys, you out there that feels you are too skinny or wants to be more buff…I will have some ideas for you as well.

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