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Figure Magazine: Eat Rice Cakes

I'm not sure how I feel about Figure Magazine, the ad-magazine-thing for Lane Bryant and Catherine's, publishing what amounts to diet tips.

You can nibble on foods that taste naughty but are really nice. ... If you want something salty, such as potato chips or French fries, try ... rice cakes.

This piece is called "Curb Your Cravings - Really!" in their Food and Nutrition section. (They have a Food and Nutrition section.) Talking about nutrition and health isn't bothersome, but the whole "naughty" and "nice" language is problematic.

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onceupon's picture
onceupon
July 13th, 2007 | Link | I'm sorry, RICE CAKES?

I'm sorry, RICE CAKES?

Figure has always been a substandard replacement for Mode, but this is really ridiculous.

wysechilde July 20th, 2007 | Link | Language

"Naughty" versus "nice" foods is bad enough, but what I especially hate is when food is characterized as "sinful." It just reinforces this notion that dietary choices reflect moral fiber -- which obviously isn't true, since I myself am a 250# Mother Theresa! And please let me add that rice cakes are one of the worst snack choices for a Type II diabetic like me. (I'm better off with a handful of nuts, despite the extra calories.)

jenhuff July 14th, 2007 | Link | rice cakes are nasty

rice cakes are only a good substitute for styrofoam

jportnick's picture
jportnick
July 14th, 2007 | Link | Cravings

In my experience cravings aren't tied to hunger as much as they are to semi-starvation. When I wasn't getting enough to eat I had some powerful cravings for particular foods. Now that I get enough nourishment throughout the day, I don't crave much. I do get hungry and certain things sound more satisfying than others, but there aren't many times when I have a powerful "gotta have this one food" feeling.

This recommendation is just another way of discouraging women from nourishing themselves with real, nourishing, satisfying foods when they are hungry. The backlash is the high rate of eating disorders we see today, and the even higher ones we'll see in the future.

Jennifer Portnick
Personal Trainer (who is fat)
San Francisco, CA

wriggle99 July 14th, 2007 | Link | Rice cakes, take them on their own terms!

I like rice cakes with lovely butter on them, or with melted cheese on top(a bit messy), and /or ham. They don't of course substitute for french fries etc., they justify themselves on their own merits ( or demerits!). Smiling

labrat July 14th, 2007 | Link | How come you skipped the

How come you skipped the complete yummie list?

So when the munchies strike and your desire for salt or sweet demands attention -- and you know that a stalk of broccoli or carrot stick isn't going to satisfy -- just make a smart choice. You can nibble on foods that taste naughty but are really nice. Here are a few ideas:

If you want something salty, such as potato chips or French fries, try:

A handful of salted, roasted almonds
A single-serving bag of pretzels
A single-serving bag of light microwave popcorn
A 1-ounce serving of baked tortilla chips or potato crisps
Rice cakes
If you want something sweet, such as chocolate, cookies, or ice cream, try:

A small piece of bittersweet chocolate (the more intensely flavored the chocolate, the less it takes to quell your lust)
Sweet-flavored rice cakes such as apple-cinnamon, caramel, or chocolate
Dried fruit or fruit leather
Sorbet -- it's nonfat and comes in flavors such as lemon, mango, raspberry, and chocolate(!)

More "good food"/"bad food" health marketing propaganda, huh? Christmas isn't for months - what's with the "naughty/nice" stuff?

Can't fool me into buying into the idea that their approved junkfood is any "healthier" than my preferred junkfood.

God doesn't strike me down when I eat a cookie and a rice cake isn't the ticket to the pearly gates.

jportnick's picture
jportnick
July 14th, 2007 | Link | How about, if you want

How about, if you want something sweet like chocolate, have some chocolate and then go on with your day.

Jennifer Portnick
Personal Trainer (who is fat)
San Francisco, CA

beakergirl July 14th, 2007 | Link | Maybe I'm in a minority, but

Maybe I'm in a minority, but I sort of like rice cakes.

Not as a substitute for nourishing food, though.

I get really frustrated with those "diet tip substitute" lists. Sometimes you do not want a "substitute."

I also have problems with "naughty" and "nice." Does that mean I'm good on the days I eat rice cakes and evil on the days when I eat french fries? What if I eat a rice cake with a french fry on top of it ?(that actually sounds really nasty, but whatever) .

Food is not moral, not immoral. It is neutral. What is immoral is telling women to suppress natural hunger in the interest of trying to fit some kind of not-on-this-planet standard of thinness.

rachelr's picture
rachelr
July 14th, 2007 | Link | I agree with the problematic

I agree with the problematic language - one of the things I've tried to do since seeking treatment for an eating disorder is to stop looking at food in bipolar terms: "good" foods and "bad" foods. Once again, this demonstrates a case of what's bad for skinny people is good for fat people.

And I like rice cakes, too, especially Quaker's chocolate ones. The plain ones are good with sugar-free jelly on top and peanut butter.

BabySeal July 15th, 2007 | Link | "How about, if you want

"How about, if you want something sweet like chocolate, have some chocolate and then go on with your day."

Perfectly put, Jennifer. All this agonizing over food and the naughty-or-nice psychotrips have nothing to do with health and good nutrition. I think it's a way to occupy people's mind with made-up worries and anguishes, thus distracting us from the issues that really matter on a personal and social level.
Also, in my experience, substituting a food for the one I crave doesn't really work. I've been down the substituting route in my dieting days, and I recall I actually ended up eating more if I tried to substitute, because I'd try to eat something "nice" to appease my craving, but since that wasn't what my body wanted, it kept sending me signals till I gave up and ate the "forbidden" food or resigned myself to be craving and cranky for the rest of the day.

nobluz July 15th, 2007 | Link | Yet another list of good/bad foods.

OMG, I am so overjoyed that yet another writer has enlightened us with a heretofore undiscovered list of "what not to eat" versus "the better choices." Nothing says immediate craving satisfaction like a nice morsel of dried fruit lovingly preserved with sulphates or a sheet of that teeth-clinging fruit leather. *sarcasm intended*

I think some of that crap, rice cakes, fruit leather, fat-free butter, etc, actually tends to be comprised of edible plastic. This stuff had no/minimal dietary fiber, and a sure-fire way to ensure you will eventually have a "semi blocking your intestional freeway."

I agree with Jennifer who says "How about, if you want something sweet like chocolate, have some chocolate and then go on with your day."

rebelle July 15th, 2007 | Link | I also like rice cakes--then

I also like rice cakes--then again, I also like plain, rolled oats. What I don't like are the same weight loss tips over and over and over again, presented each time as though they are something new and exciting; as though you are being let in on a little secret.

Here's my secret: When I want a French fry, I eat one. When I want a rice cake, I eat one. Oooo! Maybe I should write a book and charge $19.95 for this amazing secret to banishing cravings forever. But from the looks of previous posts, it seems many others have already figured it out. Good job, ladies!

Kunoichi July 15th, 2007 | Link | Fat free butter?!?!? WTF is

Fat free butter?!?!?

WTF is fat free butter? How is that even possible? What is it made out of???

*shudder*

goddess's picture
goddess
July 15th, 2007 | Link | Okay, so we're discussing

Okay, so we're discussing the article called "Curb Your Cravings--Really!" But, how to curb the mother of all cravings: starving yourself on a diet? I don't know about you, but that's what got me into trouble for a long, long time--craving the control, craving the instant gratification of a brand-new chance to follow my craving for the fantasy good life I'd have when I got thin.

And, BTW, my own opinion is that Figure Mag probably doesn't "think it's a way to occupy people's mind with made-up worries and anguishes, thus distracting us from the issues that really matter on a personal and social level." I DO think that's going on on some level all over the western world--I'm just not sure whom to blame within the vicious circle. Re the mag: it's first and foremost a market-driven thing; some poor freelance writer with no health insurance is trying to make a living by writing to the magazine's specs. And some badly paid young editor is looking to fill the mag. Up at the top, the mag owners are looking to get rich. Diet articles, increasingly those that are uncleverly disguised as something else, always sell. Just look at the covers while you wait to buy your groceries. If enough potential buyers of magazines demanded a no-diet rag that targeted women of substance, we'd have one. Even the clothing industry eventually figured out that larger women had money to buy decent, attractive clothes.

sannanina July 16th, 2007 | Link | WTF is fat free butter? How

WTF is fat free butter? How is that even possible? What is it made out of???

Well, obviously not everything named butter is butter these days. Just like fat free sour cream is not truly sour cream (and of course you taste that)... I am trying not to lean out of the window too far here, but honestly, I think that this particular brand of fat fear is a very American thing. I have seen fat free (or almost fat free) yogurt or milk in Europe, but at least that is still possible to produce. I never saw anything a ridiculous as a supposedly fat free fat (since butter is defined as a dietary fat...)

But, how to curb the mother of all cravings: starving yourself on a diet? I don't know about you, but that's what got me into trouble for a long, long time--craving the control, craving the instant gratification of a brand-new chance to follow my craving for the fantasy good life I'd have when I got thin.

That is a very, very good question. The idea that you "just" have to starve yourself to get a happy life is indeed hard to get rid off. And it is connected with something else: The thought that fat people who publicly speak up against their discrimination just have a "victim complex" or just want to excuse themselves is ridiculous – not only because sizeism is real but because in a way it is far easier to tell ourselves that our life would be great if we just lost weight and to follow that idea or - respectively - wallow in self-hate and tell ourselves that we are "too weak" to do so. Unfortunately, many people don't see that. There is no instant (or relatively little) instant gratification in loving your body how it is and openly claiming your right to do so without being "punished" by society. Of course, the ultimate goal of these actions is a better life, but looking at the older generation of fat activists, for many of them at least the public part of this might mostly lead to the gratification of the younger generation’s needs, yet they keep on fighting.

Meowzer July 16th, 2007 | Link | Isn't Figure magazine

Isn't Figure magazine published by Lane Bryant? Does anyone here besides me think it might be...er, contrary to their best interests to publish diet articles? I mean, if everyone got down to and stayed a size 6, they'd go out of business, wouldn't they?

DeeLeigh's picture
DeeLeigh
July 16th, 2007 | Link | Nobody is going to go from

Nobody is going to go from plus sized to straight sized by eating a few rice cakes instead of a few mini-chocolate bars, and I'm sure they know that.

JeanC's picture
JeanC
July 16th, 2007 | Link | I think they are counting on

I think they are counting on the yoyo factor. Their customers diet down, the diet fails and they get fat again, so they have to go back to shopping Lame Giant for new clothes, then they read the magazine again with "new & improved" diet tips and start the whole vicious cycle all over again.

goddess's picture
goddess
July 16th, 2007 | Link | "There is no instant (or

"There is no instant (or relatively little) instant gratification in loving your body how it is and openly claiming your right to do so without being "punished" by society."

Actually, I've found a lot of instant gratification in loving my body how it is--it's like relief washing over me, letting go of the self-recriminations. And then I get to enjoy looking in the mirror and moving on out into public spaces. (It's a hell of a lot less instant to be waiting to get thin!) Of course, the part where it gets less fun is when you become a more assertive activist and really threaten the status quo more directly.

"The thought that fat people who publicly speak up against their discrimination just have a "victim complex" or just want to excuse themselves is ridiculous..."

Honestly, do black people just want to excuse themselves? Or gays? Or differently abled people? Or Native peoples? Or women? I hope in my lifetime I'll get to see fat people organize properly, rise up angry, and be seen as an oppressed minority.

Also, rachelr, thanks for the hard info!

wriggle99 July 16th, 2007 | Link | Round and round we go......

craving the control, craving the instant gratification of a brand-new chance to follow my craving for the fantasy good life I'd have when I got thin.

Amen goddess! except I would say craving the illusion of control.
Thinking back to my diet purgatory, I remember reading these things over and over, why, 'cos they are unnatural, and unwanted. The mind seeks to shed this information, asap, 'cos it knows its shite, regardless of your own pretences.

TariRocks's picture
TariRocks
July 16th, 2007 | Link | I like ricecakes, but...

I think maybe Figure has been caught up in the same thing most fashion-oriented magazines get caught up in....catering to the focus-group-tested preferences of its readers (or possibly of its advertisers). Sadly, I don't think that plus size fashion and fat acceptance necessarily go hand in hand (though wouldn't it be nice if they did?). In fact, I'd wager that women who are more inclined to read fashion magazines (plus size or otherwise) probably are generally more likely to also be vulnerable to diet-oriented marketing and language, and the good/bad food/behavior crap. I also think that - as heartbreaking as I find it - most women buy into the morality of food and eating, and these kinds of tips are exactly what I think most women want to see - ways to be "good" while eating foods that taste "bad." You know, subvert natural urges, trick the body, and generally foster distrust between mind and stomach - that sounds to me like a surefire recipe for good health and wellness.

I think it's sad that what really has the potential to showcase beauty in all kinds of shapes and sizes, and encourage people to embrace a positive attitude about their bodies, their health, and their habits (eating or otherwise)....doesn't. Makes me want to write some letters.

rachelr's picture
rachelr
July 16th, 2007 | Link | Isn't Figure magazine

Isn't Figure magazine published by Lane Bryant?

Yes, Charming Shoppes owns Lane Bryant, Fashion Bug and Catherine's stores, in addition to a new intimate-apparel chain launched last year, Cacique. They also own the British Monsoon Accesorize chain.

I worked for Charming's credit bank which services these stores for 6 years doing print/publishing and design work. I remember when the company purchased Lane Bryant and Catherine's. Their junior and miss sizes weren't selling so hot, but the plus-size clothing was going like hotcakes (I have no idea why, I hate their plus-size clothing). They saw that their way to riches was to takeover and dominate the plus-size market. And they did - last year they generated an estimated $2.2 billion in sales.

wallflower July 17th, 2007 | Link | I like white cheddar rice

I like white cheddar rice cakes. I like the crunch and the salt of them, but I don't confuse them with actual food. They're very pricey though, for the amount of snack you actual get out of them, and for the same money you could get a huge bag of pretzels. I agree that it's kind of like eating tasty styrofoam, I wouldn't recommend them to anyone who didn't actually like them.

Most of the time a craving for a particular food is because your diet does not have enough of something in it. I crave sweets a lot of the time, but that's because I don't get enough food (due to being too poor) and I'm trying to fill up the caloric lack with sugar. The best way to curb cravings is to try to eat a diverse selection of foods, don't starve yourself (if you can help it).

The advice for chocoholics about the little bit of potent semi-sweet though is sound, dark chocolates are packed full of anti-oxidants and are actually very good for you. Chocolate with a high concentration of milk solids doesn't have the same health benefits. My personal preference is for very bitter chocolate though, 70% or higher cacao, I find milk chocolate to be bland and unsatisfying, I'd rather have one small square of the concentrated stuff than an entire bar of the weak stuff.

katrina July 17th, 2007 | Link | like asking star jones for her weight loss tips lol...

which is scary because she's coming out with a diet book....I guess a gastric bypass how to won't be included?

Aldi's has these great rice snacks from Fit and Active, they are good as anything. I like low calorie granola from Quaker Oats...those things rock too.

*cough* but we all know fat people don't eat healthy..come on people Sticking out tongue lol

jportnick's picture
jportnick
July 17th, 2007 | Link | Is that true? Star Jones is

Is that true? Star Jones is coming out with a diet book? I don't know how long she can carry on the charade that she just took up pilates and started eating more veggies and suddenly got thin!

Oh, for shame.

Jennifer Portnick
Personal Trainer (who is fat)
San Francisco, CA

katrina July 17th, 2007 | Link | oops I goofed..

She is talking out to a magazine about her weight loss but she won't address it in a new book she wrote about getting married.

I did read she said she only lost it through a strict diet but the article says " Reynolds, who has said she had medical intervention for her weight, said she has no qualms about viewing photos of when she was very heavy." Good heavens, she needs to pick a story and stick to it!

http://www.starnewsonline.com/article/20070716/APE/707160701

Marshfield July 17th, 2007 | Link | For anyone with blood

For anyone with blood sugar/insulin issues, rice cakes are a one-way ticket to ravenous hunger accompanied by mood swings. Great diet tip.

diane July 17th, 2007 | Link | Actually, outside of the

Actually, outside of the good/bad catagorizing of food, which to me is just stupid. I thought the article pretty useful. I never thought of rice cakes before to use as a snack, I always thought they'd be high in carbs. I'm kinda insulin resistant, so balancing carbs works for me. Not everyone wants to have a snack when they get the munchies that's high in calories/carbs and will ruin their meal. So I don't consider the article as giving "dieting" advice. Besides, I went out and bought some rice cakes and it was just enough for that 3pm lull.

Also, my experience mirrors the articles findings that food cravings occur, at least for me....due to

"Plunging blood sugar levels. You may experience a midafternoon slump from about 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. and find yourself pining for a nap.
Moods. The munchies often hit when we're stressed, upset, or bored.
Hormones -- so what else is new?
Researchers believe we may crave chocolate or high-carb foods to raise levels of serotonin, known as the "happiness" hormone, as a way to counteract the weepies and/or grouchies that hit with PMS.
In short, cravings aren't so much a hunger issue -- they're an emotional issue. Experts say that when you're physically hungry, you'll eat anything, but the munchies are usually food-specific."

Now whether some of their research data may be questionable (don't know..didn't look it up), and certainly the cutsey comments by the female writer are certainly annoying to me, I found the overall article useful and from my experience spot on.

MizB July 17th, 2007 | Link | Go Figure (or not...)

MizB

You know, this good food / bad food crap, the life-partner of good girl / bad girl thinking about eating behavior just gives me the pip! It colored my youth and helped define my relationship with my mother (we were good girls and bad girls together).

I went to the Figure website and this magazine is positively disgusting. I assume it's geared primarily to young women who are tipping the scales at wildly enormous sizes like 16, 18, 20, even more!!! Figure has nothing to lose (all puns intended...) by encouraging their readers to be good girls; they can good themselves down to a size 12 before yo-yoing back up -- and buy quite a lot of new clothes inbetween.

The only really sensible eating advice I ever got was from a shrink who specialized in fat and it was geared not to weight loss, but to taking the stress and shame out of making eating decisions:

1) Eat what's "humming," not what's "beckoning" -- Humming is a desire for a particular food that comes from within -- like when you wake up with a burning desire for a corned beef sandwich. Beckoning is eating in response to outside stimulation, like walking past a bakery or pizza parlor and their attendant aromas.

2) Eat what you want, but be willing to try eating less in two different ways:

a) Once the initial hunger has been satisfied but you still have food on your plate, ask yourself: Will I feel cheated if I don't eat this? If the answer is yes, then eat it. But sometimes the answer is no and you can comfortably, voluntarily put that food aside for another time.

b) Start out with a smaller portion than you think you want, but give yourself permission to eat more if you still want to. Sometimes you will, sometimes you won't.

I bring this up because whether one is fat or thin, eating in America is loaded with angst and that bogus sense of good and bad. I'm a very fat person and have no intention or desire to be thin. But that shrink helped me take the "you can't eat that!" out of my daily decision-making. I eat less than I used to when I was TRYING to eat less, and find that foods I used to shun as "diet" food, like fruits and vegetables, are often genuinely humming.

The bottom line is, when I stopped hating fat and hating myself for being fat, the truly unhealthy weight of stress and low self-esteem was lifted. The Figure approach uses cutesy language and a giddy editorial voice (TEN TOP TIPS FOR BECOMING A NEW YOU BY SUMMER!!) to enslave fat women and reinforce the morality / immorality of eating. They should rot in hell.

vesta44's picture
vesta44
July 18th, 2007 | Link | MizB, I love your tips, and

MizB, I love your tips, and have been doing a version of them for the last couple of months. I'm finding out that I can eat less, still be satisfied, and not have the mindless cravings that I used to have. I'm not losing weight, but that isn't why I started using those ideas. I did it because I was tired of trying to figure out what foods were good/bad for me and tired of being hungry all the time because I wasn't eating what I needed when I needed it. Your shrink was a very smart person and I'm glad you passed along her/his suggestions.

it's all right to be crazy, just don't let it drive ya nuts!

MizB July 18th, 2007 | Link | Thanks, Vesta44!

Smiling Thanks, Vesta44!

jportnick's picture
jportnick
July 18th, 2007 | Link | Overcoming Overeating

For me, the strategy that has worked (results = no more food obsessions or overeating) has been the Overcoming Overeating philosophy, which basically says that, to get off of dieting forever you need to first surround yourself by every delicious food you can possibly imagine, and eat as much as you want of it, then more if you want, whenever you want it. Over time your body and brain register that food is plentiful and foods that had been "glittery" in the past are now just something to eat when you're hungry.

For me the process took a few weeks, and gradually I felt my desire for food lower and my weight stabilized, too. It's been ten years since I've dieted and, when I remember what it was like to be constantly battling cravings and either hunger or a feeling of being overly full, I swear I will never go back there again.

Jennifer Portnick
Personal Trainer (who is fat)
San Francisco, CA

greywolf July 18th, 2007 | Link | MizB - I like your tips.

MizB - I like your tips. Thanks for sharing.

May I also add to avoid eating with people who have the habits you're trying to break. For example, I don't like eating with people who insist that they have to diet. Worse are the ones that insist you have to diet. It's depressing when my mother asks if I "really need that dessert." Need? Perhaps not, but I want it and I can have it. We should all have dessert when we want.

MizB July 18th, 2007 | Link | "Figuring" It Out

Smiling Thanks, greywolf. And I totally agree with you about choosing eating partners wisely. I loathe eating with someone who shudders over every bite, reproaching themselves along the way. As for people who cast a hairy eyeball at my plate...well, nobody does that anymore and anyone who is so foolish as to try risks engendering my spooky displeasure! Evil It does amaze me that people -- family, friends, total strangers! -- feel completely entitled to criticize fat people anytime, anywhere, as if they were doing an intervention with a crack head. The irony is, the more I sense disapproval, the more I want to stuff my face like a competitive eater. Sometimes there's just no winning and the best thing to do is throw in the dish towel and walk away.

vesta44's picture
vesta44
July 18th, 2007 | Link | Miz B, I know what you mean

Miz B, I know what you mean about the disapproval and wanting to stuff your face. I had the same problem when friends of mine talked about dieting. Anytime anyone talked about dieting, all I could think of was binging on the most fattening food I could find until I was sick. Now, I just tell them that if they want to talk about dieting, do it when I'm not around as I don't believe in dieting anymore.

it's all right to be crazy, just don't let it drive ya nuts!

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