MEET ESTHER TAMBE
Esther Tambe is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist based in Long Island, NY. She received her Master’s degree in Nutrition with a concentration in Exercise Science from Long Island University. She also received her bachelor’s degrees in Nutrition from Long Island University and Health Science-Public Health from Stony Brook University.
IN THIS PODCAST
- An important reminder
- Experiences at weight loss camp
- The dangers of weight loss camp
- Relationships with family members
An important reminderIt is important to remember that weight and health are not the same thing and should not be equated.
Unfortunately we live in a very fatphobic society whereby somehow health is determined by one thing, thinness. And again … the bottom line is that weight and health are not correlated. (Dr. Castagnini)You simply cannot look at someone and make a claim about how healthy their body is. It is impossible because health comes in many shapes and sizes. The diet and a large part of the medical industry want you to believe that health looks a certain way because it makes them money to sell you products that are designed to fail.
Experiences at weight loss campWhen the guests were children, they started going to weight loss camps between the ages of 9 and 15.
“The whole concept of fat camp or weight loss camp was not something that I was comfortable with and it had been a topic in my family that was hard to hear.” (Guest)Whilst many of the ideologies around weight loss camps were unhealthy, a number of the women who attended developed a sense of community. For many, the experience was polarising, where they enjoyed the friendships that they made there, but the actual reason for being there was wrong.
“It does expose you to a binge-restrictive cycle…but in reality, the environment wasn’t realistic.” (guest)Most decisions in the camp were based on reinforcing restrictions. Often, this came about through a schedule of rigorous exercise and calorie counting. This created a dangerous psychological environment because weight loss was validated and praised by the people who ran the camp.
The dangers of weight loss campSeveral of the habits and characteristics of their eating disorders were developed at weight loss camps.
“I remember hearing this one girl, she was sitting out from exercise because she had taken too many laxatives, and I was nine, so I didn’t know what laxatives where. And then, that just put this weird little curiosity in my head… and I started using them, and I was 11.” (guest)The camp enforced an unhealthy relationship with food and exercise by first encouraging girls to exercise, then doing a weigh-in, and finally, by skipping the subsequent meal.
“So that just set up the pattern of “hey, if I skip a meal, I’ll be thinner”. (guest)
Relationships with family membersFor many of the girls, there was an expectation to please their parents by coming home thinner. The focus was more on their bodies than on how they felt about themselves. However, the camps themselves employed false marketing by appearing to be about health and nutritional education. Usually, though, the camp counselors were often underqualified and promoted unhealthy and damaging information.
“No credentials, just they’ve maybe read a book, maybe they went online… teaching impressionable children about nutrition.” (guest)Whilst parents believed that the amount of money they paid guaranteed their children would be well looked after, in reality, there was a lack of transparency around what actually happened at the camps.
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- DIABULIMIA: MEG HENKENHAF'S STORY | EP 147
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