O is for Overweight

Ten to fifteen percent of Americans have an eating disorder.  On the other end of it, 61% of us are overweight or obese (myself included).  That means that only about 25% of people are in “normal” body weight range or have a healthy relationship with food.

These numbers seem pretty staggering to me.  I think back to the books I read, and most of them describe their characters in a way that makes them sound like they’re in that 25%.  If the characters do have an eating disorder or are overweight, it tends to be the focus of the book.

I’m not saying that this is wrong; I’m simply trying to look at things in a different way.  Do we want normal characters, or perfect characters?  Personally, I love the escapism that books bring.  I love being able to escape into a book for a little while and not have to worry about real life.

However, isn’t if flaws and quirks that make characters memorable?

What brought all this to mind was an article I read by a woman who is in recovery from an eating disorder.  She says that reading books about eating disorders can be triggering, and that anything thorough enough for the general public reads like a “how to” manual for anorexics and bulimics in training.

Pardon the pun, but it’s food for thought.


4 comments on “O is for Overweight

  1. Scarlett says:

    It’s definitely true that raw writing about eating disorders can be triggering–especially because many of the writers (in memoirs or autobiographies, of course) still haven’t really gotten healthy, and fall for the temptation to subtly brag or compete. But it’s irresponsible to blame the writers for something that’s really quite internal. I’ve had readers complain to me that my blog is “triggering”, because it’s very honest about my life with an eating disorder. I take measures to avoid being competitive (no weights, no pictures) and I avoid giving anything construable as “tips”, and still people claim they’re being “triggered” by my writing. Yet it’s their choice to follow me or google ED-related search terms that will lead to my blog, just like it’s their choice to check out ED-related material from the library.

    Sorry for the tangent…but yeah. 🙂 Great post!

    • doreeweller says:

      I agree with you, and thanks for the honest opinion on the subject. Personally I believe that the more open and honest we are about these issues as writers, the better chance we have to open dialogue, that it holds out a hand to bring someone somewhere out of the darkness.

  2. Wow – this is very interesting.. I never really thought about certain material being a trigger for an eating disorder.. putting it into context I can relate to, I can totally understand that.

    To Scarlett – that is sad that people would blame your blog as a trigger. We all have a choice to read, watch or listen to whatever we like.. I am an alcohlic, if I read something drug/alcohol related and it gets to be too much, I stop reading.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s