Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Bethenny as a role model?

I'd like to start this off by saying that I love my friends who love Bethenny and I hope that none of them take this post as a personal insult!

I follow Bethenny Frankel on Facebook and Twitter. She can be funny, and her daughter is adorable. Plus, it gives me something to talk about with my friends, who are big fans. I have more than one friend who has said that Bethenny inspires her eating disorder recovery. I guess we all have different role models (mine are probably my therapist and nutritionist, but plenty of people look up to Jenni Schaeffer, Oprah, and other celebrities or semi-celebrities who they may or may not have met) but something has just sat with me as not right about this weight loss idol being a recovery role model.

Bethenny denies having an eating disorder, even denies having ever had an eating disorder aside from some occasional bingeing. The books she markets appeal to those considering recovery from anorexia and bulimia largely because she makes it appear that you can have it all – you can be thin and eat delicious things.

The first truth that I think people need to understand is that we can’t all be as thin as Bethenny. She writes Naturally Thin, but it’s important to realize that most people cannot be that thin HEALTHILY. Naturally, maybe, if you consider deprivation to be natural, but not healthily.

The thing that really ticked me off recently, though, was a post that Bethenny made on Facebook. She said that there’s nothing like starting off a Saturday morning with pancakes, even if they’re not real ones. Then she gave her recipe for “faux pancakes” – basically egg whites and sweetener. A truly healthy person would eat the real pancakes if she was craving pancakes – or maybe eat one pancake and some yogurt and fruit on the side. There are all different ways to integrate a food like pancakes into your life. By only eating “faux pancakes,” you are giving pancakes the “bad food” label.

There have certainly been foods that I have labeled as “bad” in my life, and avoided. However, I was never a diet idol – although I do like to think that some people look up to me as a recovery role model.

Bethenny really encourages an unhealthy attitude towards food and eating, and those who think her attitudes are healthy probably have their opinion colored by an eating disorder or the diet culture of the world we live in.

So I want to leave you with this – pancakes are delicious. Not good, not bad, but delicious. And if you like them, eat them. If you’re going to follow Bethenny, remember that she is not some amazing superhero who has figured out the secret to being thin. Remember that every body is different and your mind cannot be healthy if being thin is your top priority.

If you want some sound advice on moderation, check out my fabulous dietitian’s blog!