Tag Archives: Michelle Allison

[On Reading]

This week, I’ve been reading Bee Wilson’s First Bite, which is the fairly masterful book everybody asks “have you read…?” when I say I’m writing a book about how we learn to eat. This is actually a reread and I am once again dazzled by how poetically Wilson writes about scientific findings. Anyone who has to read medical journals on a regular basis knows that scientific studies are mostly written in the least exciting language possible, but Wilson has a real talent for turning those dense nuggets of research into accessible stories. She also tracks down some of the most incredible early research, like a 1926 study by Dr. Clara Davis, a pediatrician from Chicago, who “borrowed a number of infants” (mostly orphans) and fed them in controlled laboratory conditions for six years, in order to understand how our appetites and food preferences develop.

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[Never Say Diet] Permission to Eat, Granted

iVillage Never Say Diet permission to eat Virginia Sole-Smith

One thing I’ve been thinking about a lot lately is how much easier it is to talk the talk on the positive body image front than walk the walk. When I’m tucked away in my office, downloading all these thoughts into blog posts and articles, it’s pretty easy to feel great about my body, because it’s like I barely even have a body. I’m more like a head and a set of hands attached to a keyboard. (That got weird. Stop picturing me as floating Futurama heads with hands!)

But when you go out into the world and start interacting with people, it gets a lot trickier. Some of my friends know I write about this stuff all the time, so they get very defensive, adopting a sort of “I want to rag on my body today, so shut up and let me!” crouch before I even say anything. This is fair. I am the sort of person who frequently says too many things far too emphatically (especially if wine is involved). My friends are probably right to try to stave off my soapbox moments before they start.

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