Wednesday, July 8, 2009


Over this past weekend, I was at an outdoor festival where the band Heart was playing on the main stage. Some of you will remember Heart from the late 1970's through the early 80's - I was surprised by how many songs were familiar to me (Barracuda, Magic Man, Crazy on You). Heart features the Wilson sisters - Ann and Nancy - who were one of the first female rock and roll bands, paving the way for others to come.

It was a beautiful evening, and as Ann belted out her songs, I couldn't help but think how great she sounded and how great she looked on stage. Ann is a larger woman, and as she rocked in her black sequins, I felt her power.

A few days later, I was looking up the name of a song I had forgotten and came across this entry in Wikipedia:

As a child, Ann was teased for her size. She revealed that in the seventies she would starve herself to stay thin. When Heart created a comeback in the mid-eighties, Ann had gained a significant amount of weight. Fearing it would hurt the band's popularity, record company executives and band members began pressuring her to lose weight. In music videos, camera angles and clothes were often used to hide her weight, and more focus was put on her sister Nancy. Ann stated she began suffering from panic attacks due to the stress caused by the negativity surrounding the issue.[2] She underwent a weight-loss surgery called "adjustable gastric band" in January 2002[3] after what she calls "a lifelong battle" with her weight.

I felt so sad after reading this brief entry. Here is a woman who has empowered others - what a shame that, according to this information, she has gone through life feeling shame about her body and struggling with the diet/binge cycle.

I hope Ann has been able to make peace with herself. I hope she knows that it is our culture that is wrong - not her. I hope she knows that she hasn't failed diets; diets have failed her. I hope she knows that the deprivation of diets only trigger overeating, and that there is a way to honor her own hunger and be calm around food. I hope she knows that it isn't fair for people to judge her by her weight, and that she can cultivate wellness at any size. I hope she never stops singing.

Eat well! Live well! Be well!

1 comment:

Debbie Gross, LCSW said...

What an interesting blog! So often we see a celebrity, and don't realize the pressures she faces behind the scenes by those around her. Thanks for enlightening us that we are great at each and every size!