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AngloFiles in NY Times: Health/Size Message Going Mainstream?

October 4, 2009
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An update from my version of Fleet Street:

You might know that, away from AngloFiles, I moonlight for New York Times Styles. A topic I discussed there a short while back, “Tossing Out the Diet and Embracing the Fat,” resurfaced today in the Times Magazine’s Ethicist column, in response to an inquiry about a possibly anorexic fitness buff.

[Coincidentally, a fat’s-okay source featured in the Times article’s sidebar, “Fat-O-Sphere” blogger-author Kate Harding, also got heavy press this week, not on fat but for views on Roman Polanski. She’s all over the web, on the “Today” show (video below) and quoted in a hard-hitting Wall Street Journal commentary about moral midgetry in Hollywood.]

My Times article explored a recommendation that people ditch dieting in favor of non-restrictive eating, on the grounds that dieting doesn’t work and fat in itself doesn’t pose a health hazard. The “Health at Every Size” philosophy holds that fat and thin people alike should focus more on what’s good for them, physically and mentally, than on body shape. That may mean ditching junk food or taking up a sport, the theory goes, but not to lose weight.

In his response to this question — posed (here’s another coincidence:) by my good friend, Sarah Reed — The Ethicist made a major nod toward HAES ideas:

Besides my day job as a lawyer, I teach fitness classes for fun. A woman who looks anorexic shows up for a particularly challenging class. I feel this is a health risk and would like to ask her not to attend. O.K.?

T.E’s recommendation — to require a doctor’s note from every member of the class — was ridiculous. (I know I wouldn’t bother to get one, even if my ex-Marine boot camp instructor asked very, very nicely.) But his closing comment, “Inappropriately vigorous activity can be risky for an out-of-shape person of any size,” seems to me an indication of the stealthy advance into mainstream society, for good or ill, of Health at Every Size Precepts.

In closing, here’s love-yourself feminista-fatospherian Kate Harding in that Today segment on Polanski. Warning to sensitive (sentient?) readers: Do not — repeat: DO NOT — continue to Mayor Willie Brown’s defense of Polanski, if you want to keep your lunch down:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Kate Harding on “Today.” “, posted with vodpod
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