Random Thoughts – Randocity!

Brooke Bates: Dieting failure?

Posted in Health, health and beauty by commorancy on May 31, 2010

I had recently watched a documentary that discussed Brooke Bates. At the time, she was 12 years old when she had liposuction to remove 35 pounds of fat. She was 220 before the surgery. After the liposuction, she began to gain the weight back and opted for lap band surgery to help her slow food consumption. The one thing that I didn’t see discussed was proper food counseling for Brooke or her parents. It may have happened, but it wasn’t discussed in this film. While dieting is part of the answer, the whole answer is in getting to the bottom of the eating and ultimately teaching Brooke (and people like her) about food.

Exercise alone is not enough to prevent weight gain. Why? It’s actually simple, more calories in than expended. The FDA and food industry conspire to keep us fat. Perhaps not intentionally, but then again who knows. The issue, though is that we see commercials showing us ‘healthy portions’. Yet the packages contain 3, 4 or 5 servings. But, the package appears as though it’s one serving. In fact, much of the front of the packaging is designed to mislead you into believing the package contains only one portion. Worse, though, is that many packages are extremely perishable once opened. So, you eat it or toss it. This perishable nature of the foods leads us to eat the whole package to keep from throwing anything away. Bad move, calorically. So, these are two strikes against the food industry… first, misleading advertising practices and second, packaging foods to intentionally spoil rapidly once opened.

The reality, though, is that restaurant portions are not healthy portions. If you visit any restaurant, the portion size is usually 900-1200 calories just for a meal. One meal. Multiply that times 3 + snacks. That’s 2700-3600 calories a day in meals alone (assuming 3 similar sized meals). Add snacks and you’re likely well over 4000 calories! That’s over twice the recommended calories for an adult (let alone for a child). Prepackaged food portions don’t really fare much better if you’re not looking at Weight Watchers, Lean Cuisine or other intentionally designed lower calorie meals. For example, Marie Calendar’s and Stouffer’s regular meals are exceedingly high in calories per portion.

Looking at FDA’s recommendations of at most 2000 calories a day, I’d suggest with our latest sedentary lifestyles, it needs to be lower than that. Perhaps 1500-1700 calories a day just to maintain… and then even less to lose weight without adding substantial exercise.

There is no way to maintain weight, let alone lose fat, other than to calorie restrict. And, restrict we must. That said, the food and medical industry makes that exceedingly difficult. Not only do restaurants make it difficult, but so do prepackaged foods. For kids, it’s even more difficult because of school cafeteria food and vending machines. The foods they are serving are very calorically dense and processed. That is, these foods contain far more calories than these children should be eating in a single meal. But, this information is not being taught to children. Children see the portion sizes the cafeteria offers and the knowledge is implicitly taught that this is how you’re supposed to eat and these are the foods you are supposed to eat. Sorry, but pizza, tater tots and chicken nuggets do not make for healthy meals. These are meals that should be offered as a treat, a birthday dinner or other special occasion. These are not the types of foods that need to be served every day. Yet, here we are. Children need fresh, not frozen reheated foods.

Worse, our doctors tell us to lose weight. Yet, the medical industry tells is we are unhealthy when we do calorie restrict. How is that? You want us to lose weight, yet when we do we are eating unhealthy? That doesn’t add up. The diet that McDonald’s is serving is healthier than a calorie restricted diet that helps us lose fat? These are all mixed signals. Advertisers show us and tell us one thing. The medical industry tells us another. Our doctors tell us something else. Worse, no one really helps us. We’re actually left to fend for ourselves on finding our way. Because no one can agree, most people just naturally assume that what the restaurants and packages say is the truth. Hence, we are obese because of misinformation, lack of proper information and the need for convenience. After all, it’s far easier (and cheaper in many cases) to drive through McDonald’s and pick up a meal than it is to make something from scratch.

Anyway, as far as Brooke Bates, was liposuction and then inserting a lap-band the answer for Brooke? Clearly both she and her parents thought so. What does that mean for the rest of Brooke’s life? She has still not been taught the proper information about foods. With proper food counseling and teaching proper nutrition, teaching about calories and combining that with testing resting metabolic rate, a diet could have been devised to help Brooke eat the things she likes (in much smaller quantities) and still have the body she wanted. After all, if you want to lose the weight, you have to put your mind to that goal. Not for just a day, not for a week, or a month, but for the rest of your life. Dieting isn’t as much about restricting foods as it is rethinking your outlook on foods so that food consumption becomes a lifestyle for the rest of your life. Dieting isn’t temporary. It’s a permanent way of thinking about food that must start first with rational thought and then put into action through proper food consumption. Knowledge is the key and that’s where a successful healthy food lifestyle must start.

9 Responses

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  1. Cindy Bates said, on October 9, 2013 at 10:38 am

    My name is Cindy Bates. I’m Brooke’s mom. Just wanted to say Thank you for the above comments.
    Quick update on Brooke. Its been 7 years now and she has continued to maintain her weight. She exercises several times a week, college student and is engaged to be married. Many Thanks to Dr. Robert Ersek for stepping outside of the box. Truly changed Brookes life and mine too. It was in God’s hands from the start and it was the best decision that ive ever made.
    Cindy Bates


  2. Cindy Bates said, on October 8, 2013 at 9:03 am

    My name is Cindy Bates. Im Brooke’s mom.
    Thank you Kindly for the positive comments! Just a quick update on Brooke…
    Life is great for her. Continues to work out daily and has maintained her weight beautifully. She’s in college and is now engaged to be married.
    Thanks again.


  3. SteveF said, on December 19, 2010 at 2:56 am

    Check out to http://www.oa.org. For the majority of people with weight problems it can be summarized as “It’s what you’re eating and it’s what’s eating you.”. Most people eat due to cravings which in general are caused by stress. The stress is what’s eating you. And what is it that we choose to eat when we’re stressed? Not fruits and vegetables. If people could deal with their stress (depression, anger, rush hour, work, money, etc.) and learn new behaviors (make better healthier choices). Overeaters Anonymous is a 12 step program that costs you nothing. No joining, no paying fees, no paying for food…simply helping people learn to deal with what’s eating them and how to make healthier choices. http://www.OA.org


    • commorancy said, on December 19, 2010 at 3:25 am

      While I don’t intend to bash OA here because overeating is a problem, the issue isn’t really about stress or overeating, it’s about propaganda. TV advertising (and other forms) always portray slim individuals eating said food items like Pringles, Big Macs, drinking cokes and even consuming things like Captain Morgan. The issue is less one of stress and more one of naivety and societal pressure to fit in. People simply don’t understand food or food consumption. Schools simply don’t teach proper nutrition to students. So, when students arrive into adulthood, they don’t know how to eat healthy or properly or even how much to eat. It has nothing to do with eating fruits and vegetables specifically, it has to do with the types of food that the food industry offers, specifically that manufacturers produce and restaurants serve. When you eat out, are you offered fruits and vegetables as appetizers or even on your main course? No. At least, not often green leafy vegetables (other high calorie dressed salads) or healthy fruits. Instead, restaurants make way for baked goods and decadent deserts. With vegetables it’s usually potatoes or broccoli and, less often, green beans. It’s only when you get to the 5 star restaurants that you find much healthier ingredients. But, fast food almost never offers green foods other than salads with dressings that have more calories than a Big Mac.

      As far as eating, most people simply don’t know how to eat because they don’t understand what they are eating. For example, a Big Mac with cheese is 704 calories. That’s 1/3 of a daily 2100 calorie a day diet in just that burger alone. If you add small fries (230 calories) and a small coke (150 calories), that raises the total to 1084 calories in one single meal assuming that’s all you eat. That’s just over half of a person’s entire daily calories for a 2100 calorie a day diet. Eating at home doesn’t fare any better. When people eat at home, they prepare meals sized like restaurants because, again, that’s what they know. You see a meal at a restaurant, you assume that’s the proper portion size and you make it that way. It’s a lack of food education combined with advertising propaganda and a big helping of societal pressure.

      It really has little to do with stress. If people were to become properly educated about food in school, they would emerge as adults able to properly control food consumption. You have to learn the right habits in order to properly exercise them. Unfortunately, the food industry has been teaching us bad habits for so long, we have come to accept it as the norm. We need to reeducate ourselves on proper food consumption and nutrition to understand how to better control our own bodies. The food industry doesn’t want this because they stand to lose a lot of money. Were people to suddenly cut back on their food consumption, we would see a huge number of food industry failures and a huge food industry recession.

      If you really want to eat healthy when eating out, you eat off the kid’s menu. These portion sizes are more the size that an adult should be eating at a meal. Most kid sized portions are about 200-300 calories per main course item. Restaurants tend to also offer fresh fruits on kid’s meals as desserts where adult menus almost never do. It’s actually very hard to eat properly when eating at a restaurant unless you fully understand the calories of the meal in advance.


  4. Brooke Bates said, on September 16, 2010 at 7:45 pm

    I would like to tell you that you did a good job on the article though!


  5. Brooke Bates said, on September 16, 2010 at 7:40 pm

    Hey! i’m Brooke Bates! i agree with alot of your stuff but i want you to know that i had been on a Diet since i was 4 years old! i was on the jump rope team and tried my hardest at everything i did…Sadly nothing worked Until i turned 12, worked up the courage to ask my parents for Liposuction and made the big decision. Liposuction saved my life! :).
    As for nutrition i know how to eat and what it takes to lose weight. I agree with you on americans in general not realizing the portions given, nor realizing how bad fast food is. Fast food kills.


    • commorancy said, on September 18, 2010 at 11:39 am

      Hello Brooke. Thanks for stopping by. I’m glad you liked the article and I hope you continue to achieve success in your weight loss goals. It’s tough to lose weight with all of the industry propaganda, but learning how to properly eat takes time, effort and the quest for self-knowledge. Once you realize that what we have been taught over the years is wrong, it’s a lot easier to see how to eat properly to lose weight. Note that I’d be happy to discuss the food industry, nutrition and how the food industry conspires against us. Just let me know.

      Again, good luck in your goals.


    • Oskido said, on October 8, 2010 at 7:11 am

      Hi Brooke,

      I watch your doccie last night and thought to myself how sexy you look now.For real that liposuction did wonders .By the way i am writing you from Johannesburg-South Africa.

      You look stunning girl !


  6. Margaret said, on August 18, 2010 at 9:23 am

    I don.t know if u will c this. I just saw the dvd on ur surg. I’m 68 yrs old, granma. Here we r in 2010. I believe u did the best thing for u. God bless, I hope it’s gotten easier for u to keep weight off. Have a wonderful life and don’t forget ur Creator.


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