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Obsessive dieting.


nokoanna

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I've been poking around the Pinterests of various fundie royalty. Katie and Kelly Bradrick, Blair Tsantles, Lindsay Disharoon and so on. And it strikes me that they're quite obsessed with diets and healthy food. Don't get me wrong, I try to exercise and eat healthily myself, but they seem so focused on it. Everything is vegan and gluten free, leaving aside the fact that you can be an unhealthy vegan quite easily. And the exercise tips all involve doing x amount of jumping jacks first thing in the morning, and rebuilding abs after childbirth. I guess what worries me is that they feel this pressure to loose weight after each birth, when they are averaging one birth a year (at least Kelly is). Their life must be an endless stream of either being pregnant, or trying to lose the pregnancy weight. Ugh, I suppose they hav a "duty" to stay attractive for their men :puke-front: Maybe I'm reading too much into this.

It's also rather depressing to see Kelly's ideas for a dream home, knowing that she's married to someone who couldn't be bothered to get her a proper water heater :evil:

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suppose they hav a "duty" to stay attractive for their men Maybe I'm reading too much into this

Ugh, I have a similar opinion and hope the seconded is true.

I have heard it is easier to get back to a healthy weight after pregnancy if the mother is at a healthy weight before conceiving. A baby a year looks exhausting. I am surprised they have the energy to exercise. (In my opinion, I think having a few toddlers and a newborn would be enough exercise. But, I am not a mother.)

I hope they are staying healthy.

(Bolding added by me)

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I have heard it is easier to get back to a healthy weight after pregnancy if the mother is at a healthy weight before conceiving. A baby a year looks exhausting. I am surprised they have the energy to exercise. (In my opinion, I think having a few toddlers and a newborn would be enough exercise. But, I am not a mother.)

A few toddlers plus a newborn is physically exhausting but doesn't actually get you a lot of exercise. The lack of sleep combined with eratic eating often means a slowed metabolic rate which means you gain weight. There was a really interesting study done comparing being a SAHM to other "professions". It showed that it was the most physically and emotionally tiring of all career options but gave the least exercise. Not that any of that matters - I just think it is interesting and I am married to a chemist who does this stuff as a career. (Think Leonard Hofstadter of the Medical/Chemical world.)

On the obsessive dieting thing, my fundy SIL made sure her kids only ever ate "healthy" food. Unfortunately healthy food does not equal a healthy diet. It is terrible to see the affects that this has had on my nieces and nephews. The eldest has type 2 diabetes because her kidney and liver did not grow correctly. She is unbelievably skinny because she can't process enough food to provide correct nutrition. She also has major teeth problems because the enamel on her teeth did not form properly. (Keeping sugar out of the diet doesn't help if the teeth don't grow properly to start with.) The medical problems continue throughout the family. I'm not sure how typical their eating habits are in fundyland but they are certainly typical of all the fruitloops in my family.

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I don't follow any fundies on Pinterest, but that is all that fills my feed. I think it's more of the current fad, paleo, ferments, ab crunches, thigh busters etc. It's all rather boring, I usually go onto their main page and unfollow those boards, I just want the craft, sewing, knitting stuff...

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Meh, none of this is surprising. One of my biggest gripes about Pinterest is that it's like Heaven for a conservative Christian. I've found some cool stuff on there since I've figured out how to use it, but it's like no matter what I'm looking at I see a bunch of completely unrelated Christian-themed pins.

You probably are reading a bit too much into it, because that's just how Pinterest is. But it certainly says something about conservative Christian culture, and American culture in general, doesn't it?

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Sarah Mally always strikes me as someone with eating issues. Anorexia was linked to godliness at one point in the Catholic Church, a symbol of self sacrifice.

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Looking back I think Kelly and Lindsay seem more "normal", but Katie has some boards with "normal people food" (one of them actually called that) and very few pins, and then some boards with "healthy mama food" (all of them called that) and a ton of pins. Like I said, nothing wrong with wanting to be healthy. But why the focus on just mum? Blair has a lot of exercise tips, once again healthy in and of itself. But I can't help thinking of her as the younger sister of "princess" Kelly and seeing it in that context. I hope you're all right, and that I'm overthinking it. And anyways it's not like what people pin necessarily indicates how they live. (E.g. Kelly and all her many DIY pins, I can not imagine her having the time for that) :)

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What I find fascinating is that these women are latching onto what are typically liberal fads (at least in my world). I guess crunchy types abound in fundie land!

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It's probably the only thing they've got going on in their lives that they have much control over. It's like the only interest they're allowed to have outside of homekeeping and childraising (and Bible reading).

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It's probably the only thing they've got going on in their lives that they have much control over. It's like the only interest they're allowed to have outside of homekeeping and childraising (and Bible reading).

This. If that's what is ok for them to care about and what they can actually control, then that is what they will pin. A lot of what they're pinning in relation to workouts and food is what is being pinned across the board on Pinterest. Pinterest reflects current trends, as someone said above, so it's a variety of people pinning those same items. I'm pretty crunchy and very liberal, but I've repinned some of the same items that an ultra-conservative, likes to hunt and loves Jesus, police officer friend pinned. She and I disagree on politics, religion, women's rights, and feminism, but we like the same protein shake and workout ideas.

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If they really are doing a lot of post-partum jumping jacks and crunches, they may not be doing themselves any favors. After four children, I had severe pelvic prolapse that required surgical repair. I found out at that point that jumping and crunching actually damage your pelvic floor, rather than rebuilding it. And I had done a LOT of jumping and crunching as a martial artist. I thought I was making myself strong, but I was just hastening the day when I'd need surgery. There are better and safer ways to strengthen your core and rebuild aerobic capacity. I know this subject has come up before on FJ, but I really wonder how these fundie women are going to feel a few years down the road. Some people have strong resilient connective tissue that somehow withstands multiple, closely-spaced pregnancies--but most of us don't. Pelvic prolapse is no fun. And you can't fix it by exercising. True, you can tighten up weak muscles to some extent with kegels and so forth. But once those ligaments are gone, they don't come back.

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What I find fascinating is that these women are latching onto what are typically liberal fads (at least in my world). I guess crunchy types abound in fundie land!

In my area, if I take up a freecycle offer for some sort of fermenting starter, kefir grains, kombucha scooby, ect.. I never know if I'll end up at a liberal, or even hippie house or a very conservative Christian house. (last one was at a house with Obama stickers on their car. When I picked up cloth diaper covers it was a woman with 4 starstep young children in a frumper. I think that it's been more liberal people who have picked stuff up from me, I actually think that one of them was somebody who had gotten some stuff from me when I lived near San Jose.)

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Reminds me of the phrase "muesli-belt malnutrition".

Children have different dietary needs than adults. Period. They need more fat. Their food needs to be more calorie-dense.

I also have issues with simply eliminating major foods without having a clear reason to do so. I have a niece with a severe peanut allergy and a nephew who is intolerant of wheat/gluten, dairy, garlic, eggs and citric acid. For THEM, the restrictions are necessary and have some objective basis. The flip side, though, is that it makes it that much harder to ensure that they get all of the nutrition that they need. It's not something that you want to do on a whim. Most gluten-free baked items, for example, taste horrible, and in many cases rely on tons of sugar. They also tend to have very little fiber. Being a vegan is hard if your body doesn't process carbs well (eg. if you have PCOS) or if you are anemic.

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Reminds me of the phrase "muesli-belt malnutrition".

Children have different dietary needs than adults. Period. They need more fat. Their food needs to be more calorie-dense.

I also have issues with simply eliminating major foods without having a clear reason to do so. I have a niece with a severe peanut allergy and a nephew who is intolerant of wheat/gluten, dairy, garlic, eggs and citric acid. For THEM, the restrictions are necessary and have some objective basis. The flip side, though, is that it makes it that much harder to ensure that they get all of the nutrition that they need. It's not something that you want to do on a whim. Most gluten-free baked items, for example, taste horrible, and in many cases rely on tons of sugar. They also tend to have very little fiber. Being a vegan is hard if your body doesn't process carbs well (eg. if you have PCOS) or if you are anemic.

Seconding all of this. Also, while I do think this whole issue is a trend in the broader culture, as it seems everyone I know is affected by it, I also think perhaps fundies take it on and spin it in their own way. I have seen fundie lady blogs talking about watching their figure as part of their duty as a wife, to be attractive for their mate, etc. I think it's all part of the package of female submissiveness and perfect motherhood, as well as a larger trend.

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Ugh, I have a similar opinion and hope the seconded is true.

I have heard it is easier to get back to a healthy weight after pregnancy if the mother is at a healthy weight before conceiving. A baby a year looks exhausting. I am surprised they have the energy to exercise. (In my opinion, I think having a few toddlers and a newborn would be enough exercise. But, I am not a mother.)

I hope they are staying healthy.

(Bolding added by me)

It may be they are staying attractive, but it makes me wonder. IN olden days one thing that was thought to prompt anorexia was a girl who had no control over her own life, or thought she didn't. But, no matter what, she could control what she allowed herself to eat or keep down, and how much she would exercise. I have no idea if that is still part of anorexia "theory" but in lives that are constrained, and directed by their fathers/husbands, the whole race to be thin/diet the tightest, etc may be one area they feel they can exercise control--and "compete" on their own.

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I could see how if you were having a baby every year or year and a half you would be worried about the weight gain. If you just kept 10 additional pounds with each baby - and you have a dozen babies ...

For me, I had my kids young and lost the weight really quickly, I also didn't gain weight until they were past the running after phase. I think if you have a lot of little kids and take them places like the park and for walks you'll burn a ton of calories - if you don't do that sort of thing I guess you wouldn't get as much exercise, but wouldn't just the up/down/lifting/chasing of little kids keep you in shape ?

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Seconding all of this. Also, while I do think this whole issue is a trend in the broader culture, as it seems everyone I know is affected by it, I also think perhaps fundies take it on and spin it in their own way. I have seen fundie lady blogs talking about watching their figure as part of their duty as a wife, to be attractive for their mate, etc. I think it's all part of the package of female submissiveness and perfect motherhood, as well as a larger trend.

I support this wholeheartedly. My cousins became born again thirty years ago and the three women went from normal weight to borderline anoxeric in three years. The three of them dieted rigorously after babies (and there were plenty of those) and two seemed to me anoxeric at various stages. Now in middle age they are painfully thin, their bone density has to be compromised after a lifetime of avoiding regular meals.

Of the ten (now adult) children, four are female, they too are very thin while the males are all slender but of normal body weight.

Having grown up alongside the women it's my observation that initially they were dieting to be thinner, then becoming frantic with normal weight gain during pregnancy so they tried to limit it, then it became to quote Mustang Sally "part of the package of female submissiveness and perfect motherhood".

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I'd echo the people who mention control--that certainly seems to be part of it.

I think money is another big issue. When you're on such a tight food budget, it's easy to get incredibly obsessed about food. Granted, that sometimes leads to purchases that are more expensive individually, but if it's put under the heading of "natural health and doctor avoidance" they might just roll with it. A juice fast might not be cheap, but it's cheaper than actually seeing a doctor.

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