An open letter to Rush Limbaugh
*I am responding to this which was shared with me by Fit Villains*
I am not a fan. But of all of the ridiculous things you have said this tiny soundbite marched me straight over to my soapbox. In a few short sentences you illustrated, in my opinion, what keeps women feeling badly about themselves and Americans unhealthy in general.
First of all I dont understand how Michelle Obamas work to encourage healthy eating is overstepping on the governments part. We should eat healthy. We would all feel a lot better. But you can eat whatever you want. You have that freedom.
Your challenge; If were supposed to go out and eat nothing, if were supposed to eat roots and berries and tree bark, show us how, is so ridiculous. Mrs. Obama has openly encouraged Americans to eat healthier. She has grown a beautiful garden and has children and adults alike learn to tend it. If that isnt showing you how to eat healthy I dont know what is.
But eating nothing? Becoming healthier is certainly NOT about eating nothing. Losing weight, seeing health and performance gains and improving overall well being is about eating quality foods. Eating nothing is a serious eating disorder that can result in death. Eating roots, berries and tree bark is a bit of a stretch too, dont you think? While I cant speak for the first lady, I would imagine her diet does not consist mostly of tree bark and I have never heard her advocate a diet ofwillow parts. There is certainly nothing wrong with eating berries.
Then you go on to say she doesnt look like she takes her own advice and couldnt don a Sports Illustrated cover. Now my friend, you are an asshole.
I realize there is nothing the Obamas can do that you will approve of. I realize your show is about being outrageous for ratings. I get that. But you have made startling implications (or rather perpetuated existing cultural notions) that serve no one.
#1 You assert that healthy eating is restrictive and limiting.
It isnt. The American diet has changed from whole foods, as in natural foods with pronounceableingredients, to a processed pile of junk that resembles a science experiment. Which is basically what we are doing to our bodies: conducting a science experimenton what happens when our food sources revolve around clever marketing and profiteering and not health. That said, eating healthy is not in the least limited to berries and tree parts. Nor does it rely purely on salads and fat free dressing. But people like you make it seem so all-or-nothing, making it harder to begin to understand what makes a healthful choice. Statements like that encourage us to give up before we even try.
#2 You assert that to believe in healthy eating requires 100% adherence.
Clearly you are not concerned with eating for your health. Fair enough. But for those of us who are, hearing that Mrs. Obama eating ribs makes her a total hypocriteis discouraging. And despite itsredundancy; ridiculous. Perhaps Michelle has learned how to enjoy food without guilt. Perhaps she indulges occasionally. Perhaps she has a much healthier attitude toward food than most of us. Its hard enough not to fall off the wagon after one unhealthy choice. We are riddled with guilt all the time. Thanks for adding to it.
#3Sports Illustrated cover models are the ideal and to fall short is unacceptable.
Excuse me while I try to tame the inner mama bear beast ignited by this. Michelle Obama is a beautiful woman. She clearly spends time working on her physical fitness, so much so that her arms are the inspiration for countless upper bodystrength routines in current womens fitness magazines. She is healthy looking and svelte. When public figures like yourself attack a beautiful womans physique for not living up to swimsuit model standards it makes me want to cry, scream and vomit all at once. Because I was once a little girl who got that message loud and clear and it took me 26 years to put it out of my head. I spent the majority of my life dragging myself through the mud for not meeting such narrow standards of beauty. And now I have a little girl. So women whoare strong, confident, smart and beautiful arent good enough for the likes of you its beyond infuriating.
When Michelle Obama and her vegetable garden are a threat to personal freedom; when eating healthy = eating bark; and beautiful, smart, healthy women simply arent good enough I worry for my daughter. What kind of message is this for the world? And what even is your point? Does Obamas dinner plate threaten you in some way? I just dont understand.
The obvious response here would be to attack your physique/looks/food choices. But I dont care. I dont care what you eat and I stand behind your right to eat it. I dont care what you look like and your health ison you. But your assertions are far more meddling and harmful than Obamas hoping we eat some vegetables.
For my former fat girl self that hears only your message that nothing is ever good enough. For my professional role asI hope to help others not give up on themselves and the health of their bodies. For my child who I am determined to teach that her worth has nothing to do with her ability to model swimsuits: F&*% you.