Thursday, July 16, 2009
Several months ago I had the pleasure of speaking to Mandy Katz, reporter for the New York Times. She was writing an article on "diet cessation," - a term I love and a subject that was a perfect match for The Diet Survivor's Handbook.
After a couple of months of hearing nothing back I assumed that I would not be in the article - I've learned to do the interviews that come my way and then let go (as best as I can) with no expectations.
So imagine my excitement when I came home a few weeks ago to find a message requesting a picture of the cover of The Diet Survivor's Handbook and a picture of myself for the upcoming article. I let myself believe that our book would really be in the NYT, with an opportunity to reach a lot of people. A few days later, I received an e-mail from Mandy for fact checking - not only was she accurate, but I really liked the quote.
In the back of my mind I always knew that until it's in print, anything is possible...but I have to admit that this time, I counted on it. It's really a dream for an author to be in the New York Times...along the lines of getting on the Oprah show (something I also aspire to do!) I let my publicist at Sourcebooks know about our good fortune, my photographer, David Sutton, asked if he could announce it in his newsletter, I added it to our Diet Survivors Group quarterly e-mail (www.dietsurvivors.com/contactus/index.html), and waited for July 2nd to arrive.
Alas, the article lost out to a more urgent topic of the day: vampire chic! I knew that it would be in the Thursday style section, so once again, on July 9th, I checked first thing in the morning...but no article.
I came home yesterday to two emails from the reporter, Mandy Katz. The first said that the article would definitely run today - July 16th. Hooray!!! But then I read the second, which she was kind enough to send me personally. At the last minute, the editor needed to shorten the article, and, unfortunately, I didn't make the cut. That's the way it goes in journalism. I knew it could happen, but still...
As I told Ellen about it, she reminded me of her close calls with her book, Beyond Measure; New Yorker Magazine and Men's Health both planned to use her quotes and mention the book, but it never happened. She also reminded me that as an editor, her friend, Beth, is on the other side, and when there's only so much room on a page, something has to go.
Despite my disappointment, I am thrilled that this article appeared in the New York Times, giving credence to the work of so many who are helping people to stop dieting and feel comfortable in their own skin. I hope you'll check it out at:
(and if you check out the comments, I'm #19!)
Eat well! Live well! Be well!
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. She underwent a weight-loss surgery called "adjustable gastric band" in January 2002 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!