At the time of posting, my installment in this series about Laura Dolson didn't catch much flack. Of course later it was picked up on a bit, but in general I believe the lack of "backlash" on this one was that it spoke of an obvious truth -- and about someone who doesn't seem to have an active "internet personality" presence. By that I mean Dolson blogs semiregularly over there w/o mentioning much about her personal weight issues. Said weight issues one would have pretty much no idea about looking at her (likely Photo-shopped) face shot. And let's read her bio, shall we?
Laura has been developing health and education Web sites for over 10 years. She was a writer and cancer support provider at Mediconsult.com, and has taught health and nutrition classes at a junior high charter school in California. She has been focusing on low-carb and low-glycemic eating for over a decade -- investigating the emerging science related to low-carb eating, writing articles to help people change their diets, and developing healthy menus and recipes.
Hardly an impressive background on the issues if you ask me (and her degrees in physical therapy and clinical psychology offer up not much more in the way of qualifications). I bolded/italicized the part that is important here. Since she has neither the education nor true research background to investigate emerging science and such, why is she writing articles to help people change their diets? IOW - adopt a low carb diet. Surely we're going to learn more about Laura's personal experiences with eating this way that would cause About.com to hire her to share her knowledge and experience with others? Reading on:
From Laura Dolson:
Welcome! I invite you to share my low-carb journey. My goals for this site are to: 1) help you to find out if reduced carbohydrate eating is a good alternative for you 2) get all the best information about low-carb eating 3) make it as easy as possible for you to make tasty nutritious low-carb meals. Along the way, I'll share my new discoveries with you, from the science journals to the kitchen.
OK. Now with the words "my low-carb journey" we get the impression Laura is a low carber herself, but can you be a little more specific? To her credit, Laura doesn't describe herself as some sort of weight loss success story, but why not state that she's been following the diet for improved health and achieved nominal weight loss? I've yet to see point (1) addressed seriously by any of the LC advocates. If I've missed some sort of check-list on Laura's site, please do link to it in the comments. There seems only to be the implication that LC is not only healthy but healthIER than whatever way someone is currently eating. I'll pass on commenting on point (2) and merely state about (3) that perhaps she should stick to this angle.
I'm sorry folks, but it is disingenuous to advocate a lifestyle without at least being upfront about what it is doing for you. You wouldn't stand for it from a fat doctor and you shouldn't excuse it from a fat web journalist.
I'll have a few closing comments, but first the subject of this installment, because this is the important point. I recently came across this post of Laura's. A website called www.lowcarbism.com posts feeds of which three are from Laura. Apparently some of her "hot" posts are "republished" so that they show up as NEW. This appeared at the top of the list yesterday, even though it's 5 years old: The Low Carb Difference - Working With Your Body. In this we are treated to pseudoscientific mumbo jumbo of yet another angle on that metabolic advantage schtick.
Supply Vs Demand
In the more traditional approach to weight loss, the main focus is on rationing calories in one way or another - the diet centers around changing how much you get to eat. Low carb diets, on the other hand, seem to work at least partly by improving satiety – in other words, changing how much you want to eat. Another way to look at this (for the economists among us) is focusing on limiting the body’s supply of food vs limiting the body’s demand for food. This is something that all the low carb diet authors talk about, in one way or another.
You can go read the whole thing if you like, but this paragraph is sufficient to get the gist. You see? LC will magically alter what your body demands, you'll eat less (shhhhh .... don't tell a certain diet book author or three), and you'll be working with your body to achieve a healthy weight. How's that working for Laura though? Don't you think she should at least let folks know this doesn't always work or work very well to get you to near an ideal body weight?
And here's where my critics will accuse me of being mean, rude or picking on Laura's physique, body type or whatever. To those I would say they need to do a little soul searching and get real. True there are different measures to what one finds attractive in body types -- in others or desired for ourselves -- and it's just plain reality, even with surgical intervention, to obtain a certain body type that is not in our genes. I grew up in a neighborhood where the majority of women were top heavy with no butts and skinny thighs. Even at 105 lbs my thighs did not resemble these ladies'. If only JLo were around back then .... But in any case, folks seem to think that it's somehow out of line to look at the results someone obtains from their lifestyle they promote to others. That last part is key. If you're promoting something -- especially in the interests of health and, let's face it, weight loss/management -- your looks matter and if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen and find something else to write about. And if you can't stand the scrutiny that comes with being a celebrity of even minor stature, perhaps the limelight is not for you. The "I'm only trying to help people" line is just lame.
I'm thinking Laura knows she's fat and everyone else knows she's fat and that seems to be OK for all of the fat low carbers out there because she's a nice lady and you feel good being overweight and never hungry. If you're happy with your lifestyle and your weight then be proud and open about it and go out into the webosphere and sing the glories of the ultimate health benefits of eating almond meal pancakes vs. potato latkes. Join up with Linda Bacon to promote this WOE to her members!!
But this defensiveness over my merely pointing out this hypocrisy and lack of full disclosure only shows the degree to which I'm hitting at an uncomfortable truth. The defensiveness is not merely sticking up for oneself ... that's the real kicker. I'm not one to hold my tongue when I feel I've been slandered or misrepresented. But I'm being accused of doing things in this series I never did. For starters, I hardly "discussed" quite a few of those who appear to have been mortally offended by my supposed doing so. I dropped a few names and made a few publicly available pictures accessible in one place is all I did for the most part. One commenter even expressed her apparent boredom over my "nothing new" expose of Jimmy. So why is anyone even offended by it? I'm just highlighting that we all struggle, right? Because I'M NOT the one stevia-coating the whole truth to maximize the "buy in" ... that's why.