Sunday, March 20, 2011

Big Heaping Bowls of Lies

I am trying to type around my cat. Not so much fun, actually. :P

Have you ever watched food commercials and been astonished at the amounts of food heaped everywhere? Bountiful piles of food all around, feeding us the comforting lie that if we just indulge in those piles of food we will be happier, healthier, more beautiful, have a happier family life and a better marriage/relationship.

I feel that advertisers are part of the evil that is the obesity epidemic in this country. Am I blaming them for my weight problems? For the weight problems of everyone in this country? Around the world? Certainly not. At least, not directly. But I am handing them some of the culpability. It is their job, after all to make whatever product they are charged with selling to look irresistible, make us believe that we can't live without it. That our lives would be empty, our health would suffer, our beauty fade away, our families fall apart without this product.

It is  the advertisers' job to make us want the product. And they do their job beautifully. Unfortunately, they so drastically distort reality to the point that we consumers have some to see the distortions as reality. And therein lies the problem. And their culpability. We have been brainwashed to believe that if we use this overpriced "Beauty Fliude" hawked by such and such a fah-fah French(ified) company that we forty something gals with our fine lines, beginnings of wrinkles, our starting to sag jowls and baby wattles will instantly look like the precisely styled, airbrushed, carefully lit, digitally altered teenager in the commercial and print ads in our favourite fashion mags. Now, I am not saying that taking care of our skin is a bad thing. I happen to believe strongly that we gals should take the best care we can of our skin. I have a good routine and am particularly fond of certain Neutrogena Ageless Intensives and Loreal Youth Code products. They work for me. Do they make me look like that unrealistically perfected teenager? No frakking way. Nor am I deluded enough to expect them to. But I do think that they aid, somewhat, in my looking and feeling the best I can, for my advanced age.

Thanks to commercials we believe that if Bob-Mr. The Biggest Loser trainer-Harper is digging into an enormous, heaping bowl of oatmeal or oat based cereal squares and is fit, muscular and healthy, than we will be, too. The simple fact of the matter is, those commercials are a lie and they are doing us a grave disservice. They are, in fact, doing us a great deal of harm.

How, you ask? How can oatmeal be harmful? How can healthy oat squares cereal full of good for your bod whole grains be a bad thing? The simple answer is of course, they aren't. When they are eaten in the correct portions. But the portion distortion shown in those commercials would be hilarious if they weren't so damned tragic. And the fact that a much respected trainer is endorsing these huge portions of an otherwise very beneficial food is, in my opinion a travesty.

On his show, The Biggest Loser, Bob Harper teaches the contestants about nutrition and portion control. How to eat the right things in the right amounts. Crucial things for obese persons to learn, yes? Yet, in his commercials, he is seen digging joyfully into huge bowls heaped high above the rims with oatmeal studded with those oh-so-healthy blueberries and crisp, woven oat squares swimming in milk while faded, sunlit scenes of healthy, slender, active, golden people flash across the screen around him and while we watch him running lightly, strongly across the landscape. And we are expected to swallow this bullshit. Hook, line and sinker. And swallow the cereal in such massive amounts, too, it seems.

The proper portion of oatmeal is 1/2 cup. Of most cold cereals? 3/4 to one cup. I am sorry, love-bugs, but those quantities don't come anywhere close to heaping high above the rim of a large, over sized cereal bowl. And for Bob Harper to allow such an obvious distortion to be made in his name, with his hard won image makes me respect and trust his word less than I used to. And makes me wonder just how good his word really is if he is willing to sell it so cheaply. Maybe that is crazy thinking and talk. I am full of crazy, which you already know, if you have been reading my nattering for any length of time. But I just happen to believe that if a highly visible and respected fitness trainer is going to endorse a product as healthy, he should insist on showing that product in it's correct portion.

I own a set of dishes that have bowls about the same size as the ones seen in those commercials and I can tell you for an absolute fact that one portion of oatmeal or cold cereal doesn't look like those commercials when served up in my bowls. So, if you see those commercials and want to buy and eat the cereals, by all means, do so. They are yummy and good for us. But measure carefully. And maybe use a smaller bowl.

Proper perspective and realistic expectations. They are crucial. We have to be able to sift through the idealized and distorted "reality" of advertising and glean from it the real truth. Because God forbid they actually show us the truth. Unthinkable! Think I'm full of shit? Just try to make your mascara make your lashes look like the commercials and print ads that drove you to run to the department store or drugstore to buy that brand and apply it, in hopes of long, thick, lush, waving fans of lashes. lol Mascara is a good thing, my friends. I won't leave my house without it. But unless you are willing to apply false lashes every day, don't expect any mascara, no matter how expensive or graced with some fancy French unpronounceable name to make you look like those ads.

Perspective. You have to have it. Because the advertisers won't give it to you, my friend. Not for your face. Not for your food.

It is a nice day, today. Overcast but pleasant. Windy, on and off. We are expecting lower temps for the rest of the week, starting tomorrow and some rain, too. Happily, it isn't supposed to get cold enough to snow. Do not want cold. Do not want snow. I like rain, tho. :D

It is a lazy Sunday in this household. Pookey slept until just a few minutes ago and has finally dragged himself out of bed and gotten himself some food. Pizza rolls. Healthy late brekkie, huh? lol Willy Dog is lying on the sofa, hogging the remote. Sabryna is passed out on her beddies and I am sitting here, unshowered, hair all piled up in a scrunchie, needing desperately to pee typing this. I slept until almost nine-thirty myself, this morning. I guess I needed the sleep. Gar!!! The water! It runs through me! BRB.

How many times have I seen Beverly Hills Cop? Enough times that I can run the lines with the movie. *sigh* Husbands and remotes. There outta be a law. A law, I say. Right now, Willy Dog is passed out cold. Snoring. But, if I were to pick up my remote (yes, we each have our own remote) and even think about changing the channel, his eyes would pop open and his remote would automatically, instantly be pointed at the TV while his glance would slide over to me, as if to tell me that I don't dare. You think I'm joking? :P

I think it is a man thing...

The movie has ended and he is on to baseball. Bleargh. And snoring, again.

Yes, that is how long this fucking post is taking me to write, edit, re write. I swear, I could give birth faster and more easily than I can write a blog entry.

Oh! And, after ten thousand typos and typing at a speed that makes my normal typing look like the speed of light, I did kick the cat off me.

He wasn't happy.

Too bad.

Just click Publish Post, Erika. You have done all you can. :P


  1. Don't get me started on advertising - it's a big pet peeve of mine too. My problem is with women's magazines - with one of the biggest culprits being Women's World Weekly that consistently features a huge slab of cake on the cover next to the latest diet.

    Apparently the perfect woman is rack thin and eats cake.


  2. Man-o-man, no wonder that took you a while to write. It's fucking beautiful! What a great job you did. You put it out there and took it on.

    You are SO right. When I took advertising in college, we learned about the dirty tricks admen use to get us to buy. Scarcity in one big one, and one I'm not immune to. Apple is doing it now with the iPad, making it seem hard to get, when they could make millions and sell them all in a week to everyone who wants one. But then they wouldn't be extremely rare and desirable, would they? So with the heaping portions of luscious burgers and fries, the steam coming off them, the colors a riot of green, orange cheese, red tomato, golden bun, sesame seeds, and on and on. What's more beautiful at 10 p.m.? You must have one.

    You're so right about portions. I didn't know that about Harper's commercials. That's disgusting, playing games with people's heads like that. I thought he was on the average person's side, too, helping them to get healthy. But I've seen Jillian's ads for supplements, which have nothing new or unusual in them, but calories, cheap vitamins, and a very high price. They're merchandising their names and reputations for a buck. Now that I think of it--you're right about trusting them less. What else will they say or do for money?

    This was a wonderful, wonderful, blog entry. Thanks, IQ, for writing it. For this reader, it was worth all the effort you put into it.

  3. great post, Erika! I remember a teacher I had in junior high that was teaching up about falseness in advertising... and I remember him saying never trust when they say things like "now tastes better!". They are IMPLYING it tastes better than before.. but could be that it tastes better than poop. Ya never know.

    I haven't seen those commercials with Bob Harper.. but that truly disappoints me.

  4. Totally with you on the portion control, I often look at my sad bowl oatmeal and think about Bob's commerical - mine never looks that good!

    Love your blog, glad I found it!

  5. It's funny how since I have been on track, commercials about food seem unappetizing and the "bigger is better" theme for most fast food feels so distant now. Do I still want a dripping burger with melted cheese and a fry? Hell yes! But the need to be stuffed with those things just has lost its appeal..... Gosh I am craving a burger now. Crap! I think talking about food makes me want it more than the T.V. now.

  6. Love your blog! I am your newest follower! :) Erin

  7. Well said, Erika. I have to agree with you. Ever notice how huge those frozen dinners look when advertised on tv? The real portions aren't enough to feed a goldfish. Or I'm a pig. One or 't'other.

  8. I totally agree with you about commercials. I've gotten kinda anti Biggest Loser show lately though. I feel like it's nothing but one big commercial to see their products and some of the stuff that some of the former contestants have come out and said... IDK. I think it was a good thing in the beginning but got out of hand.

    I know EXACTLY what you mean about the TV remote. My exhusband was that way. He controlled what we watched on TV and what movies we rented and what movies we went to see. I still remember clearly the feeling I had standing in Movie Gallery about a week after we split... I suddenly realized I CAN WATCH WHAT I WANT! I had been looking at his type of stuff and didn't see anything I wanted to see and it hit me like lightning from above. Really. That was an awesome feeling. LOL. I came home and deleted all of the sports channels off of the TV so I didn't even have to pass them flipping channels. I could go on and on. Sorry :(

  9. I see my spammer hit you, too. Wanna buy some vitamins? Is there any way to block these idiots?


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