I need to do a better job of cross-posting the things I’ve written for other outlets.
Like, for example, this thing I did on NBCNews.com about Lizzo and her detox:
Lizzo acknowledged the criticisms and the underlying assumptions in a third video, saying, “I feel like as a big girl, people just expect if you are doing something for health, you’re doing it for a dramatic weight loss, and that is not the case.”
And, what she said at the end is right: “big girls” should “do whatever u want with your bodies.” People feel far too free to declare them the arbiters of what women — especially big women, and especially big Black women — should or should not do with bodies, including what they should eat. And anybody publicly passing judgment on one hyper-criticized big Black woman for what she chose to eat for 10 days should think about whether they are helping or hurting “body positivity” by contributing to the ongoing, nationwide policing of her body.
But there is another issue here besides Lizzo and her admittedly ever-growing relationship with her body and well being. The fact that she, like so many of us, bought into the myth of detoxification speaks volumes about its toxic seductiveness even to those actively resisting “diet” culture.
But also, just in case you forgot, there’s absolutely, positively zero reason to detox. I mean it:
What you should know about your body is that… it’s awesome. Somehow, before you were born, your body already knew it’d need methods for expelling items that are of no use to your body or otherwise don’t belong there.
As the primary methods of consumption are absorbing, ingesting, or inhaling, it’s safe to say your liver and kidneys, and your lungs have detoxification covered.
If your inhale something that doesn’t belong inside of you, you almost instantly begin to cough and gasp for air. That’s your lungs helping you out.
However, when you absorb or ingest something that doesn’t belong, that’s your liver and kidneys doing the work. [source: Detoxification 101: What Is It, Why It’s Useless, and How to Do It Effectively]
Detoxification has gained traction because so many people have accepted the idea that the food they eat contains “toxins” that need to be forcibly removed, but this isn’t quite the case.
In fact, detoxification as we know it, which is more along the lines of what is done to those suffering from addiction, is about helping them safely weather the withdrawal period, where some people find themselves relapsing and reaching for their substance of choice, or they end up suffering an adverse reaction like a heart attack. It is far more serious than someone who gets the bubble guts after a weekend in [insert place that magically is untouched by Auntie ‘Rona].
It’s conferring a very serious name to a very unserious process.
I joked to one of my audiences this weekend that I felt like a large portion of the people who do the juicing/smoothie thing are doing so because they “hate vegetables,” so they’re juicing a whole pineapple, a banana, an apple, a bag of blueberries and a leaf of kale. Because it’s basically “kool-aid.” Those are the people most susceptible to this… and this… and this.
It’s hard to slander juicing/smoothies because I understand the intention and the goal. You want to live healthier, and at least it’s more nutritious than processed food. But the end result needs to be a transition to actually chewing and learning to cook/prepare your veggies without running them through a blender. No snark, no shade. I promise. [source: Experts Say Smoothies May Be As Bad as Sodapop]
Despite all this, leave Lizzo alone. We all are on different journeys trying to figure this stuff out, and her process is no different just because she’s in the public eye. Because, as she said in on elf her videos, “Your body is perfectly yours, even if it ain’t perfect to anybody else. If you only knew the complexities your body possesses you would be so proud of it.”
Let her learn without the dragging.