Paula Deen has long been the stronghold for those who love decadent desserts, high fat meals, and high sugar drinks, and do so unabashedly and without warrant to a healthy diet. The Food Network star made her millions profiting off high fat Southern-styled cooking which was often swimming in bacon grease, butter, and sugar – items that every day Americans can’t get enough of and are suffering gravely from with obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension.
However, Deen recently announced that she was suffering from Type II Diabetes – a diagnosis she knew of but hid for a few years due to her career. Deen made her living pitching the very foods that are known to aid in the cause of diabetes, and many of your followers allowed themselves to eat similar diets because she seemed healthy in the media.
While Deen has since decided to create diabetic diet recipes that better fit her own needs, the damage really has already been done. She hid her own diagnosis for 3 years, and led countless others to believe that even with being overweight and low exercise like her TV persona presented, you could still be seemingly healthy while eating as decadently as she did.
However, Paula Deen isn’t the only overweight TV personality that has made being unhealthy okay. Stars such as Chris Farley, Jonah Hill, and even Roseanne Barr have or have had a successful acting career based on being overweight. Even cartoons, like South Park, have stars that are overweight. One of the shows leading characters, Cartman, is overweight and proud of it. While Hollywood does tend to insinuate that being thin is best, the industry also makes it to be overweight – as long as you are funny.
But being funny isn’t going to save an overweight individual from diabetes or heart disease, and any physician or medical focused resource, whether it be WebMD or Diabetic Connect, will clearly state that remaining overweight and unfit will only increase an overweight person’s likelihood of an early, obesity related death.
While we often focus on the skinny side of the skewed body image our media portrays, as a society we also need to acknowledge the unhealthy way in which Hollywood condones being overweight and unhealthy. For those who already struggle with their weight, seeing images of overweight and successful celebrities in seemingly healthy conditions only allows them to see their own condition as acceptable.
Perhaps Paula Deen finally coming clean about her own battle with diabetes will force a few other overweight stars to become more proactive about their health – and stop portraying an unhealthy lifestyle in a positive light. Ms. Deen is certainly trying to make up for lost time, and is already openly avoiding sweet tea and those decadent desserts that made her famous. In fact, she is trying to come up with ways to make diabetic eating easier and more mainstream.
“You can have diabetes and have a piece of cake,” Deen told NBC’s “Today” show. “You cannot have diabetes and eat a whole cake.”
This is a guest post