BY DR. LAURA BERMAN
April 24, 2012 11:15AM
Hospitalized With Feeding Tube
Updated: April 24, 2012 11:30AM
Wedding season is upon us, but instead of happily planning their big day, many brides-to-be are desperately trying to shed pounds before walking down the aisle. Some brides are so desperate, in fact, that they are abandoning actual food.
How? With the latest trend: the feeding tube diet.
Also known as the K-E Diet, the feeding tube diet requires brides to refrain from eating for 10 days. Instead, they are fed 800 carb-free calories each day via a feeding tube. (The cost is around $1,500).
Although it sounds like something out of a “Saturday Night Live” skit, the feeding tube diet is quite real. It’s growing popular with brides in the United States, Europe and beyond. These days, it isn’t enough for women to simply hit the gym or order salad dressing on the side. To attain the ideal body that they see featured everywhere from magazines to sitcoms, even the average woman will go beyond the pale to lose weight, even if it means going to work with a feeding tube in her nose.
Another recent news story also shines a light on the numerous issues women have with their bodies. Sexy stars Maria Menounos, Debra Messing, Taraji P. Henson and Heidi Klum posed nude in the latest issue of Allure magazine. The stars stripped off more than just their clothes, they also came clean about their body image issues and how they have grappled with feeling comfortable in their own skin.
While it’s hard to imagine that these beautiful women are shamed into dieting and hating their own bodies, it’s also indicative of the problem as a whole. Certainly the average woman probably would kill to have a supermodel frame, but that doesn’t mean that supermodels are free of body hatred. And being skinny isn’t a free pass either, as these women are often told they are too skinny, too tall, too flat-chested, etc.
Where can we place the blame? While the fashion industry often is accused of encouraging unhealthy body ideals for women (and men), the truth is that we all play a role in creating these drastic and dangerous weight loss goals. We all want a perfect body and some people will do anything to get it. For many women, dieting is an internal blood sport, and sadly it is a game that no one ever wins. And, while the brides-to-be on the feeding tube do lose weight, most of them gain it all back on their honeymoon and then some.
More importantly, instead of being happy and excited while planning their big day, these women are voluntarily spending their pre-wedding days attached to a feeding tube. And, while these brides are ostensibly losing weight to look great in their dress and blow their grooms away, I think most men would much rather prefer a healthy, happy bride over one who is pale and wan touting a tube up her nose. Sure, the wedding pictures might last a lifetime, but the wedding memories will last a lifetime as well. Is it worth losing 10 pounds to look back at your wedding only to remember the fatigue, embarrassment and doctor’s visits leading up to the event?
While the feeding tube diet is extreme, I hope it serves as a wake-up call for women everywhere across the country. Most of us wouldn’t opt for this diet, but we do participate in other body-shaming behavior. We skip meals and turn down dinner invitations with our friends, only to miss out on good times with our loved ones in an attempt to have a so-called perfect body.
We have to release ourselves from these unrealistic ideals that even supermodels can’t achieve without an airbrush. And, more importantly, we have to support each other and take ownership of our own insecurities. It’s not about him. He likes the curves you loathe. It’s about us. And only we have the power to change our attitudes.
Dr. Berman is the star of “In The Bedroom with Dr. Laura Berman” on OWN and director of drlauraberman.com.