Jewish women and obesity - Pounds vs Personality

By RebDee Latest Reply 2015-03-06 16:29:48 -0600
Started 2015-03-02 18:50:58 -0600

I just read this article about Jewish women and obesity. While it does not mention Diabetes, I thought it was interesting enough to discuss on this forum. I know that as a child, I was skinny and forced to eat everything on my plate or I could not leave the table until I did. As I got older, and as a mother, I gained weight and eventually as a widow I became obese. My diabetes manifested itself only about 20 years ago and I am now 72. So here is the article:

11 replies

MarkS 2015-03-03 08:58:27 -0600 Report

Thanks for the post RebDee. All the information in your post and those below are so accurate. While I am not Jewish (my ethnicity is Polish Catholic) all of our celebrations did center around food - and oh what fantastic eats we had! As I think back on my childhood and reminisce about all of my friends and their backgrounds (e.g., Italians, Slovacs, Germans, Russians - Cleveland was and still is very ethnic) what I remember most is the food. But yet when I remember those families that were "American" there celebrations had food but not the excesses we did (Mom and Granny never wanted anyone to go without or go home hungry). And, while I was allowed to fill my own plate my wife (she's a half-breed: half Polish and the other half is a mix of Irish, German, and French) says that her Mom filled the plate (to excess) and they had to eat everything before they could leave the table. Fast forward to now, we always let our children fill their own plates (turns out kids are pretty smart when it comes to the amount they need to grow) as long as they at least had some of everything that was on the table. And it was interesting because both our son and daughter went through a pudgy phase but we never made a big deal about it and now as adults they are normal to actually somewhat thin (in my opinion). It is sad that too many people (not just women) base there value on their appearance. And regardless of ethnic origin, this has to stop (and, yes, most of it is probably fostered by men who are most likely overweight); in my opinion, everyone is beautiful made in the image and likeness of our Creator.

valentine lady
valentine lady 2015-03-02 23:56:27 -0600 Report

Hi RebDee,
Hey sister…I'm a Jewish woman. All these years I thought I was an
Italian woman. LOL. Seriously, how shameful our Mothers were by forcing us to eat. All for the sake that children were starving. In Japan. I wasn't a skinny kid but I Wasn't't over weight either. I Beca.e obese in the later years of my past marriage. I was miserable and food became my friend. After several years of fighting with my weight
I'm finally loosing it. 90 plus lbs. so far. But in the meantime diabetes, high blood pressure, hypothyrhypothyroidism, and a few more things cropped up. Well everything is now stable. Of course I'm on medication for everything but diabetes. But I have no one to blame but me my Mother piled on my plate made me eat every bite. But I
can't blame this on her. I truly believe our Mothers the best they could with the information they had they had then. Hugs, VL

RebDee 2015-03-03 00:16:27 -0600 Report

Dear VL: Whether you are Jewish, Catholic, Italian, American, Spanish, French, etc. it was the sign of the times that Mothers said, "you must eat everything on your plate because the children in Europe/China/etc are starving.? I never understood how my eating would help those children. But I did notice that not once did the mothers say, Eat all of the food on your plate because the children of America are starving. But in truth, there were many then and many now here in America where they are starving for lack of food and many who eat the wrong things because they eat what they can get easily, that which is cheap, with no regard to the consequences of illness. Starvation is a big factor nowadays in the children of American, in the Appalachian Mountains, in the towns of the American Indians, in the inner cities where jobs do not pay enough to keep the family in good food.
Of course our Moms did not know what would happen if we "cleaned our plates." My Mom wanted me to eat so desperately that she would take my dinner to different neighbors where I then would be invited to dine, What my Mom did not know then was that I didn't like what she made so when I was invited to the Italian family, I ate pasta, and when invited to the Greek family, I had bakalava for dessert, etc. etc., etc. But I understand whey she did it, because I was skinny. Sure wish I was skinny now.

valentine lady
valentine lady 2015-03-03 10:09:29 -0600 Report

Hi RebDee,
Back then everyone was pretty much kept in the dark about "the bad stuff" that went on in America.
Children starving here was a big cover. Our government wanted us to believe were a great and mighty nation. There was no such thing as starvation among our children. Today we know different. We are a great nation but we do have
faults. I sponsor a little girl from here who's family is dirt poor. I chose an American child because of the growing problem here. I realize there is starvation all over the world. But we need help here as weall. So, yes our Moms over fed us but that's 10 fold today. Look at our obese children.
These Mothers today feel bad if they don't give in to their children. Food wise I mean…and the TV has become our babysitters. With games and regular programming our children do not excersise.
So we can blame our Mothers but what excuse do
we have for today's Mothers…

As for you. Don't wish you were skinny now. Your beautiful as you are. You have worked very hard to get where your at. Next your tummy tuck and you'll be model beautiful. I never was obese, then I turned that way. I can't blame my Mom for that. I alone made food my friend to fill an empty hole.
Hugs. VL

RebDee 2015-03-06 16:29:48 -0600 Report

Much of today's children, sit and watch tv or sit and play games on the computer and do not play outside such as jump rope, running races, hide and seek, etc. We were always outside and doing things which we now call exercise. But now we don't do those things. What a shame.

RebDee 2015-03-02 21:45:32 -0600 Report

I realize that this article has ramafacations that go beyond the Jewish religion but I got it from a Jewish newspaper so that is why it has Jewish overtones.

Today on the news, there was a picture of Cindy Crawford that was somehow stolen from the photographer and fixed so it looked like Cindy was not only fat but misshaped. Then the real photo was found showing Cindy as the beautiful well shaped woman that she is.

But not all of us can be a Cindy Crawford, and sometimes it takes a bit of help in the way of diet, exercise, good habits, and yes, even surgery to make us look and feel like we wish to do so for whatever the reason. I had my bariatric surgery because of my obesity and diabetes. I plan to have a tummy tuck, not so that I look better, but because all that extra skin makes me feel worse and I need to feel better.

Pegsy 2015-03-02 20:18:45 -0600 Report

I did not grow up in a Jewish family but you and I still share a very common background. I too, as a child, was VERY skinny and forced to eat everything on my plate and could not leave the table until I did. Worse, I didn't get to choose what went on my plate or how much. My mother frequently loaded my plate up with foods I didn't like. If I complained, she piled on more. I began gaining weight with my first pregnancy and I was obese by the age of 40. My diabetes manifested itself about 2-3 years ago and I am now 55. I've lost over 90 lbs. and have my glucose under pretty good control with careful diet and medication. It has taken a great deal of soul searching and habit changes to eat less and not feel obligated to eat every morsel on my plate. In fact, at the beginning of my weight loss journey, I made a point of leaving a small amount of food on my plate. It was an emotional/control thing. It felt good to do it and I had the control now. :~)

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2015-03-02 19:27:19 -0600 Report

Hi Reb, I have Jewish friends who are females and this article sounds just like them. However, I would not just label this for just Jewish Women. I think it is just a female thing. I hear it in all cultures.

If you look at the true reason for "Fat Talk", look at the media. Everything is geared towards women so thin they could use a Cheerio for a Hula Hoop. I think only recently someone used a curvy model.

Women will go to extremes to be thin and look young. It is so bad, preteens are dieting out of fear of gaining weight. They are also having plastic surgery to fix eyes, noses, ears and lips.

While at the Flea Market, a mom bought jeans for her daughter. When she tried them on in the restroom, they looked horrible on her because they were too small. The daughter was chubby and burst into tears when her mom told her she was too fat. A lady came out of the stall and told the mom to never say that to her. I told her to look in the mirror and tell me what she saw. The girl said she saw a fat kid. I said that is strange because I see a very pretty young lady. She said she can't wear the pretty clothing like the skinny girls. The other lady said she runs an Etiquette Class for young ladies and would like her daughter to join she would take her free of charge. The mom finally agreed to it. I told her if you want jeans with rhinestones, make them yourself and you will have something none of your friends will have. I took them back to my table and gave her some rhinestones someone gave me. I told her to go home, look at clip art on Google Images, print it out, cut it out and trace it on her jeans an fill it in with rhinestones. She could even make a matching T-Shirt. Two weeks later she was back to show off her outfit.

I totally agree, it is past time to stop complaining about thighs, butts, noses, eyes and lips. Beauty comes from within. There are tons of plus sized women who are far more beautiful than their thin counterparts.

I don't think this is limited to just Jewish women. It includes all races of women who send mixed messages to their daughters. Not every human being is ever going to have the perfect body shape, or weight. It is what it is. All it takes is wearing the right clothing, makeup and how you carry yourself. You may not think you are beautiful but someone else will.

Jibber Jabber
Jibber Jabber 2015-03-02 19:53:11 -0600 Report

Weight to me is a very touchy difficult area when it comes to kids…There is a fine line between making a child feel beautiful (and they all are) and NOT being honest with 7 years old grandson was a bit chubby for a while…probably because when he first moved down here he didn't have many friends…so there was not much running around outside with friends..My daughter and I struggled with how to handle it…and just decided to tell him the truth..he wasn't getting enough exercise and he was playing too many video games and spending too much time in the house..We told him his weight was not healthy…and then we asked him to help us come up with a plan…he is a smart kid…we researched on the computer together…even though I knew what we were going to find…we wanted him to feel like he was discovering it for himself…HE decided he would only have dessert on days he got enough exercise…and HE decided he was not going to eat a lot of the bad foods…so NOW when he is getting full he will say something like..:grandma I am getting full..I am going to finish my broccoli and the last bite of chicken but I am not going to finish my rice… forward 6 mos…he is no longer chubby…the issue of childhood obesity has to be dealt with…but not by insulting our kids..

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2015-03-02 20:05:25 -0600 Report

In most cases parents are responsible for what the kids eat. If the parents don't control what they eat or send them out to play you can't fault the child.

My neighbors niece had 3 grossly obese kids. To this day the oldest is so grossly overweight, he can barely walk. The two daughters are the same way. She never fed them anything that wasn't greasy or fried the entire time they grew up. She got mad with doctors, school psychologist, school nurses and anyone who said anything to her about their weight. I don't ever recall any of them ever being teased when I worked at the school they attended because they had tons of friends.

I am not a parent so I really pay no attention to kids not in my family or kids of my friends. The only time I say anything is if the kids are being abused or neglected. Other wise I am not fond of children.

I do know one thing insulting kids or adults when it comes to weight is not going to help them. You can't shame people into losing weight. It never works.