E81: The "Weight" of it All
Questions for Reflection
In each episode, we offer you a few prompts to think about how that day's conversation applies to you. Our supporters over at Buy Me a Coffee now have exclusive access to the PDF versions of all our Questions for Reflection. Join us today!
1.Have you ever struggled with your weight?
2.Have you noticed a change in your eating patterns during the pandemic? How do you feel about that?
3.Do you tend to judge or evaluate people based on their size? Why?
4.How do you feel about the marketing shift to show "real" women?
Beth Demme (00:03):
Welcome to the Discovering Our Scars Podcast.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:05):
Where we have honest conversations about things that make us different.
Beth Demme (00:08):
Our mission is to talk about things you might relate to, but that you don't hear being discussed in other places.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:13):
Our hope is that you're encouraged to have honest conversations with people in your own life. I'm Steph.
Beth Demme (00:17):
And I'm Beth. On today's show, we're going to have an honest conversation titled "The Weight of it All."
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:23):
Then we'll share a slice of life, and the show will close with questions for reflection, where we will invite you to reflect on the conversation in your own life. Beth, how did this conversation come up?
Beth Demme (00:33):
We've been hearing a lot of people talk about their pandemic weight gain as if it were their freshman 15. That's like in the ethos that this year-plus of shut down and of disruption to schedule has produced weight gain for some people. We're going to talk about the weight of it all.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (00:52):
Yes. Such a clever title. Yeah. Actually, I had noticed that I was gaining weight, but I didn't know that that was a global phenomenon.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (01:03):
Conversation. Yeah, which it makes sense. But the first time I heard somebody talk about it, the COVID-19, in the sense of way ... like a freshman 15, I was "Oh, okay. It's not just me." But yeah, I think we're going to talk about that, and just that whole conversation. Go there.
Beth Demme (01:23):
In one of the Facebook groups that I'm in, it's actually just for United Methodist pastors who are moms. Very specific group. You'd be surprised how many of us there are. I am surprised how many. Anyway, a couple of the women there were saying "Oh, yeah. I went to wear my favorite pants now that church is back in person a little bit, and they don't fit anymore!" Just not even realizing the changes maybe that have happened in the last year.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (01:56):
How do you feel about this conversation, Beth?
Beth Demme (01:58):
I don't really want to have this conversation. But one of our things is to talk about things that make us uncomfortable, and so we're going to talk about this even though I am uncomfortable with it. Because I am an overweight person. I'm a plus-size woman. I have been overweight my entire life. There was a very brief period, about around a decade ago, I'd have to do the math, where I did a medical weight loss program and I lost 100 pounds and was still overweight, according to the chart, but was like to look at me, I don't think people thought that I was overweight. But that was the only brief period in my life, that couple of years where I was on that program, that I was not overweight.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (02:40):
What motivated you to do that?
Beth Demme (02:42):
I was motivated to do it then because I didn't want to be the fat mom in the class. I didn't want my kids to be embarrassed about my body shape. But that wasn't motivation that really stuck.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (02:57):
It doesn't seem like that's enough.
Beth Demme (02:58):
Yeah, it really wasn't enough. It was a reflection of my own discomfort with how I think people see me. It wasn't for health reasons. Even now, I don't have issues with blood pressure or anything like that. I had had a back problem, and had to have a back surgery. But even that doctor didn't say it was related to weight. He was like, "Yes, sometimes discs just slip out. What are you going to do about it?" I mean, when my weight was down, it was easier to move, and once I felt more comfortable with my size, I was able to join a gym and I did that real regularly. In that way I was doing the things that it seemed like people said made you healthier. I just didn't see any difference in my actual health results with my physician.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (03:57):
Your motivation was the way you thought people perceived you?
Beth Demme (04:01):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (04:03):
Did people tell you that's how they perceived you, or this was literally just all your assumption of how they were perceiving you?
Beth Demme (04:10):
It was all my assumption. I have never been given a hard time about my weight. There was one person in elementary school. I'm not going to say his name.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (04:20):
Of course, it's a he.
Beth Demme (04:21):
But I remember his name and I remember him, and he was the only person who ever commented on it in elementary school. Because I was the tallest and I was the broadest. Anyway, by the time we were in high school, he weighed more than me. Maybe that was a clue. Maybe he was clued into my weight because it was an issue in his own mind and I wasn't aware of that as a kid. How would I know? But yeah, so people have never given me a hard time about my weight. There were some funny things that happened when I started losing weight. Everybody was really proud of me and happy for me, and like, "This is just the best thing ever, that you're going to be a different size."
Beth Demme (05:01):
I could shop at different stores, and I really liked that. That's the one thing that I really found was a benefit, was, oh, I have a bigger selection of places that I can shop. I love to buy clothes, I love to shop. When I got down to what was pretty much my smallest stable size, which I'll just say it was the size 14. When I am a size 14, I look thin, which is not apparently a normal thing, because I went into a store and was looking for a pair of jeans. When I told the salesperson what size I needed, she said, "Oh, a lot of people wear that size. They really do. We're just sold out of it. But you shouldn't feel bad about that size because it's really not ... A lot of people are that size," and I'm like-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (05:44):
Beth Demme (05:44):
"Woman, I'm proud to be ..."
Stephanie Kostopoulos (05:46):
Beth Demme (05:47):
"I worked hard to get to this size." Yeah. Those are the kinds of things that happened. It was more like this weird ... not negative reinforcement, but because that was a ... I don't know. Nobody commented about my size when I was heavy, but people made comments about it as I was losing weight.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (06:07):
Yeah. I've actually seen that too within my own life. I was a large kid. I was a large kid, and I'm pretty confident it was based on me really enjoying food and the foods that were not the best for me.
Beth Demme (06:26):
Right. Food's amazing. I love food.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (06:27):
Well, we went to McDonald's a lot as a kid, and my mom has been harassed by me many times about me saying, "Why do we always eat there?" It was cheap, and we didn't have money. Okay? It was [inaudible 00:06:39]
Beth Demme (06:38):
And it was easy.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (06:39):
It was good. Yeah.
Beth Demme (06:42):
And you liked it.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (06:42):
I still remember I was still a kid, and I remember one day asking if I could get a Big Mac and she said yes, and I thought my world had opened up because I always got a kid's meal. She's like, "Sure," and I was like, "I just had to ask what?" That's when I learned. You just ask things. People could say no-
Beth Demme (06:56):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (06:56):
... but they might say yes. That didn't help anything, to start getting Big Mac instead of kid's meals. But anyways, I was a large kid and no one told me ... Typically, Like you said, no one really gave you a hard time for it, and I think that's great. That's not that stereotype that you see in shows and you hear all those negative, being bullied and things for your weight. That didn't happen to me. I'm definitely not saying it doesn't happen at all. But that didn't happen to me. I didn't know I was overweight.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (07:32):
Looking back at pictures, I'm like, "Whoa!" I was. That's how I know. But my parents never made me feel bad for it, never did anything. I've never actually really had a weight issue. But I know when I got to high school, I started to realize I wanted to make changes for myself. I wanted to feel healthier and I wanted to eat the foods that are energizing for me, and my mom also did as well. So we actually started just eating healthy, the stereotypical foods now that I know aren't the best for you. But that's the things that they tell you are good for you.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (08:12):
First of all, I hate yogurt and I thought that I had to eat yogurt. I don't like dairy really. I just don't like dairy. That was one thing I would force myself to eat yogurt because it's healthy for me, and I'm like, "It is not. Why am I forcing myself to eat this?" I don't eat yogurt anymore. Or milk or any dairy, and I'm not a huge fan of ice cream. But I'll eat it. I mean, it's fine. If it's-
Beth Demme (08:35):
I mean, a push comes to shove.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (08:36):
It has a lot of stuff in it and I can't eat as much. It's fine. But yeah, I really ... In high school and start of college, for me there was some reason I didn't want to be that stereotypical freshman 15. I didn't want that. I was like, "I am not going to gain weight and I'm going to be my healthiest self in college," and I was. I was very strict with what I ate. Not in the sense of ... I wasn't restricting calories or anything. I was eating the right foods that you're told to eat.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (09:11):
I was a vegetarian for a year because I had a college professor that just convinced us that that was a way of life. I finally was just researching, I was like, "It's not ... We need protein. We need animal protein. Why am I restricting myself?" I'm not vegetarian anymore. But I do believe in healthy proteins, and that is an important. Yeah, I've always felt ... I don't know. Most of my life, I felt like a larger person, and I think when I think about it though, no one ever said to me that I was and I don't think people would typically look at me and be like, "Oh my gosh, you're so overweight."
Stephanie Kostopoulos (09:57):
I don't know that that people say that. But I have felt that because as a child I was larger and I've been ... I don't know. That's still constantly in my mind, I'm like, "Okay, I got to be healthier." I guess for me, when I look back at pictures, I didn't feel like I was healthy at that time, because I know what I was eating. Things like that. I have gone through where I typically eat well, but during the pandemic, I did ... That was something that I was like, "I'm going to allow myself to eat what I feel like eating," because there was so much stress.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (10:34):
I mean, there still is, but it's not as bad. There was so much stress, so much going on, and I was like, "You know what? I am craving a Pop-Tart. I'm going to have a Pop-Tart." I have allowed those things back in, and I've noticed I have gained weight. But the biggest thing for me is I had a physical, maybe a couple months ago, and I was like, "Oh my gosh, my numbers going to be off the chart." There was nothing that was concerning. All of my blood work came back normal. There was no concerns from my doctor. She didn't mention anything about the weight gain.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (11:08):
As somebody that puts herself on video for work, I make do-it-yourself videos, it's very noticeable when you have to edit yourself. I'm editing videos of me now. Then we're doing some videos of one year later videos of projects we've done, and so I watch the video a year ago, and I'm like, "Oh, I looked different." I've been struggling with, okay, I need to get back to eating really well, which I do think it's important for me to eat foods that are energizing and good for my body. But I've eased up and realize I don't need to be so restrictive and I need to know me and I need to make choices when I'm ready to make choices.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (12:04):
I have been trying to go back to eating well and realizing I'm not ready mentally to do that and that's okay. I'm still not ready mentally, and that's okay and I'm not coming down on me. Because I feel like ... I don't know, in my life, no one has been telling me, "You're overweight, you need to do this." It's me telling me this, and it's [crosstalk 00:12:34] to telling me this. Right.
Beth Demme (12:36):
No one is telling you that, including your doctor.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (12:37):
Exactly. Exactly, which is ... Yeah. I can't even think of times when my doctor has really even mentioned it.
Beth Demme (12:47):
Because you're not overweight. When you look at your videos that ... the comparing last year to this year, where do you carry your weight? Because I don't see it on you at all. Do you notice it in your face, in your arms?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (12:58):
I notice it in my face, and I carry it in my stomach area. For me, I do feel a little uncomfortable because my clothes are tighter, and so that is a motivation for me. It's not like, "Oh, I want to look the same way I look then." It's more like, "Okay, I can really see it." Yeah, that's probably why there's times where I feel a little bit more comfortable. But you know what? I'm okay with it, and I'm not judging myself and I'm not just coming down. I'm like, "You know what?" I don't like to have a stark difference in weight within our videos.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (13:41):
If you look back to our beginning, we were doing Whole30, which was a great way of us to re-educate ourselves with food, re-remind us the right foods eat, but we were way ... You could significantly see how much less weight we had back then versus now, and I just don't love that you can watch a video from three years ago and be like, "Oh my gosh, she looks so different." But that's just me. Maybe people aren't saying that. But I notice it when I watch videos, and I'm like, "Oh my gosh, that person looks way different now."
Beth Demme (14:15):
Well, you even try to keep your hair the same way.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (14:16):
I do, yeah.
Beth Demme (14:18):
For that reason. Yeah, I can see where [crosstalk 00:14:20] that would be.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (14:20):
Yeah, I don't love the variation. Basically, I want to find a weight that fits and stick with that because I don't like that kind of fluctuation. But you know what? I'm a human being.
Beth Demme (14:31):
I was going to say [crosstalk 00:14:32] but what if some fluctuation is just part of being human?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (14:35):
Beth Demme (14:36):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (14:36):
Beth Demme (14:37):
Which is normal.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (14:38):
I know. Yeah. I don't even really care what size. Honestly, I like doing Whole30 because it helps me be very strict with my eating and helps me stop craving sugar, but I don't like how much weight I lose. I honestly don't. That's one of the struggles for me is eating healthier, I feel like I look too thin, and I don't really like that. I like where I look a little more like me. I don't know. Well, actually, what you were talking about when you were losing weight is when people mentioned your weight to you. That was also what my point was going to be, is when I was ...
Stephanie Kostopoulos (15:15):
When me and my mom were really strict, the Whole30, people would mention it, and I hate when people mentioned my weight even in ... Because I think people think that it's socially acceptable when you're losing weight that you can be like, "Go, girl! You can do it." I'm not intentionally losing weight. I'm eating healthy, and the weight is a byproduct and I don't want you to mention that because to me it's so superficial, the weight part of it. I don't like when people mentioned that. That's part of also my struggle, is I don't want people talking about it.
Beth Demme (15:53):
One of the most embarrassing moments I ever had was mentioning weight to someone. Really lovely woman, such a kind woman—older—and I went up to her at church and I said, "You have really gotten thin. Is that on purpose?" She said, "No, I have stage four lung cancer," and I was like, "Oh! This is not weight loss to be celebrated or in any way glorified, because this isn't even when she wants." Right? I do think that even I have made that mistake, I guess is what I'm saying. Part of this I think comes to us from ...
Beth Demme (16:34):
We have a slight cultural fixation on weight, and I don't think we have good tools to know what is a healthy weight and what is an unhealthy weight. Also, if we make it all about weight, we're really missing the bigger picture. If you look into the origins of the BMI, the body mass index, which is ... Well, I mean, it's used a lot. Even in terms of being able to get the COVID vaccine before it was open to everybody, if you had a BMI that was a certain number or higher, you were considered high risk for COVID, and you could therefore get the vaccine.
Beth Demme (17:10):
But it turns out that BMI is this non-scientific formula that was created in the 1800s by a mathematician, right? It's not actually created or researched by modern day scientists. We latch on to these tools that maybe aren't as useful as we think they are. I don't know if we really even have a good way to define when someone is overweight.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (17:41):
Well, I mean, I think what you just said is when you go to your doctor, all your blood work is good, there's no concerns about heart issues and things like that. To me, that's the numbers we need to focus on, and not the weight of it all. To me, that's why it's crazy that we mentioned weight and stuff like that, is something between ... Your health is between you and your doctor. That's not between us to discuss, unless you bring it up. I've had friends that bring up that they're working on losing weight and they're feeling better, and I'm like, "So encouraging." If someone brings it up, I will talk about it, I will be encouraging for sure.
Beth Demme (18:17):
Yeah, because you would be that way no matter what they were working on. If somebody was like, "I'm really ready to work on my mental health," amen, you should do that. "I'm really ready to work on my physical health." Yes, let me support you in that, because it's their own decision to do that. But I think we're really ... I really do think that we're fixated on body size, at least in the US, maybe in all of Western culture, I don't know. But I see it a lot in terms of friends, I see a lot in terms of clothing ads, and all of it is justified under this assumption that to be a smaller size is to be healthier. I'm just saying that I don't know that that's necessarily true.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (19:01):
I mean, think back to the '90s when it was in style to be bone thin.
Beth Demme (19:06):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (19:07):
Yes. I mean, there-
Beth Demme (19:09):
Bless your heart, Calista Flockhart.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (19:09):
Beth Demme (19:10):
I mean, yes.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (19:13):
So many of those women have come forward to me like, "I had an eating disorder. I never ate and I was super unhealthy." It's like they've created ... America has created this culture of this is healthy. I don't know.
Beth Demme (19:26):
I do know if it's healthy.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (19:27):
Was it that it's healthy or is it that it's attractive? I think it's more like this is attractive, and you want to be attractive at all costs, is like that was the concept.
Beth Demme (19:36):
You want to fit into this one idea of what is attractive.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (19:41):
Yeah. It doesn't matter if it's healthy. I think I don't know that people-
Beth Demme (19:45):
Right. But I think it gets wrapped up into this ... I think the justification for it is that to be smaller is to be healthier. I do think that they're related in that way. It's almost like there's this cultural idea that being attractive means you have this one body type that basically is flat with few curves, maybe some surgically enhanced curves here and there. Then how do we justify that? By saying, "Oh, well, it's healthier. This is healthier?"
Stephanie Kostopoulos (20:15):
Yeah, and not at all.
Beth Demme (20:18):
Even if it's not. Yeah. As I've been looking into this, there's a whole movement about fat phobia and to stop fat shaming, and it's really interesting. As a fat person, it's interesting to see that and to learn more about it. One of the things that I learned is that in medical schools they don't use cadavers that weigh more than 200 pounds, or that are taller than six foot one. Some of that's a mobility issue to be able to move the body around. But the result of it is that doctors get out of medical school, and they go into a hospital setting or medical practice setting, and they're dealing with a whole variety of body types.
Beth Demme (20:59):
But the norm that they have been taught on is one particular body type or one ... It's a smaller body type than like mine. Then they encounter somebody like me, and they're like, "Oh, she's abnormal. She's not like everything I saw in medical school." It's like, "Actually-"
Stephanie Kostopoulos (21:15):
Beth Demme (21:16):
"... I'm not so abnormal."
Stephanie Kostopoulos (21:18):
How tall are you, by the way?
Beth Demme (21:20):
Well, I used to be 5'10", but then [crosstalk 00:21:23] now I'm 5'9". Yeah, because of that back surgery. I lost an inch.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (21:26):
Oh, wow. Goodness. I didn't know you had back surgery.
Beth Demme (21:28):
Which affects your BMI a lot. Yeah. Because it's a calculation of height and weight.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (21:34):
Yeah. When did you have the surgery, the back surgery?
Beth Demme (21:38):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (21:41):
You've been good since?
Beth Demme (21:42):
Every once in a while, I have muscle spasms in my back. But I actually don't think that has anything to do with the surgery that I had.
Beth Demme (21:51):
You mentioned Whole30. I don't really think of that as a quick fix, but I do know that there are people who use it that way. It's a sort of quick start weight loss thing. What are some other ... What are some things that you would think of that are fad diets or? I have to say, when I was growing up my parents, they're both overweight, and they tried so many things. I watched them try so many different diets and powders, and just really trying to manage how we all ate and how they ate with very little success.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (22:26):
Do you think they were just focused on the weight and not the health?
Beth Demme (22:28):
I think for them, it was both, but my dad was also a lifelong smoker. Right? I think that that has bigger health impacts than the weight.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (22:41):
I remember for a while Atkins diet was huge.
Beth Demme (22:45):
Right? Well, and to be low carb, but high protein. Yeah.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (22:48):
Beth Demme (22:49):
No matter what you call it, Atkins or South Beach or whatever.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (22:52):
Well, yeah. But the thing about Atkins is that Atkins, the guy, died from his eating.
Beth Demme (22:57):
Yes. Dr. Atkins?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (22:59):
Yes. Great. I remember, we looked into ... When me and my mom in high school were looking at eating well, we looked into Atkins, we looked into Weight Watchers, and we realized we didn't want to do anything so restrictive. We just decided on our own how we are going to eat. Then when I was in my early 20s, I worked at Apple and we had a musician who was a trainer there. He's a musician and trainer during the day. He swore by this that he would do this detox every few months or something.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (23:44):
Because he's a musician, he would indulge in things that weren't great for your body. He would detox and he'd feel okay about it. He was so convincing. He was just like ... He's a rock star. You, of course, listen to a rock star because they're amazing. But he-
Beth Demme (23:58):
They know so much about health. They're really experts on it.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (23:59):
Yes, I know. Well, he's expert on the junk that wasn't his ... He knew he needed the junk out. I don't even know what it's called, but he did this detox where he would drink cayenne pepper in water and lemon juice. It was discussing, and it's been around for a long time. But that's what he would do to detox. I started looking into it and I read books on it, and I was like, "Oh, this is great. I need to detox. This I what I needed to do." I wanted to do this, and then to start eating healthy. It was like a detox, get all the junk on my body, and then do this. I tried this and it is disgusting.
Beth Demme (24:35):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (24:35):
I mean, the taste of it was just horrid. I followed everything and I ... You're supposed to do it for 10 days, I think. I could only get through seven.
Beth Demme (24:43):
Say it again what it was. It was cayenne pepper?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (24:44):
It was cayenne pepper, lemon juice and water, I think. It was as bad as it sounds, and that's all you drank. I think at the beginning you ate vegetables and then you—I don't remember how it went. I could only do it seven days because I was also working at the time and I was basically passed out at work. It was horrible, and that was ... I wasn't to lose weight. It was to jumpstart me eating healthy, into detox. I thought that was a thing. As I've gotten older and research, that's not a thing.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (25:15):
We don't need to do those things, and those are silly and unnecessary and unhealthy. I have not done anything like that since. The thing that I do really like is Whole30. People use it as a way to lose quick weight, but that was never my intention. My mom was having some medical stuff a few years ago and needed to eat better foods, and so that's when I thought we should do Whole30 together. That is how that all came about. Whole30 is really about taking out the stuff that's not the best for our bodies and focusing on the food that is. So having a healthy protein, having vegetable and healthy fat at every meal. That's what it's about, and that's a great way to eat. That--
Beth Demme (26:02):
It's sort of about eliminating processed foods, right?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (26:05):
Processed food sugars, also problematic foods, so dairy, which is perfect because I don't like dairy and it finally gave me a reason to say, "Look, I'm not going to eat dairy. See, it's not one of the best foods for me." All the things you can get from dairy you can get from other foods that I was eating. Healthy fat. That's something that the American diet has frowned upon like, "Oh, don't eat that. That's horrible for you." But eating healthy-
Beth Demme (26:31):
Is bacon a healthy fat? Because I love bacon.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (26:33):
No. It would be a protein, but it's not the best source of protein. You can eat bacon in Whole30, but it's not the best source and you have to be careful with the amount you eat just because you can get more protein from other things. But no, I eat bacon. I eat bacon now with no ... I remember when there was that stereotype, bacon's bad for you because of this and this. Yes. I mean, don't eat a ton of anything, but I don't eat bacon with any issues now. I eat butter. Butter is a good healthy fat. All of that junk that we've been told by-
Beth Demme (27:08):
I knew Paula Deen was on to something.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (27:10):
Beth Demme (27:12):
She uses a lot of butter.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (27:16):
I wouldn't go that far. I don't know. I wouldn't go that far. But yes, that is how I try to eat. When I'm being mindful of my eating, that's how I try to eat, is healthy fat, vegetable and protein, and not over indulging in anything. Also, cutting out sugar, that's part of it, which was probably the hardest thing for me when we were doing the Whole30. The concept of the Whole30 is you do for 30 days, and if you do it for 30 days, you can do it for 60. If you do it for 60 ... We actually were eating Whole30 for a whole year, where we were just eating like that. It was great, but I didn't like how much weight I lost, and so that was my struggle. I have a love of sugar. I don't know if that's a thing for other people, but--
Beth Demme (28:03):
It's a thing for me.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (28:04):
I really like sugar. For me, I have to have no sugar, or it's hard for me to regulate my sugar, and I learned that with Whole30, as I had to detox from sugar for the 30 days, and then after that I got easier to not have the sugar. I stopped doing soft drinks and things like that years ago. I went to the dentist the other day and I said, "I drink a lot of tea. Is that okay?" She's like, "Sweet tea?" I was like, "No. Unsweetened." She's like, "Oh, you're fine." I was like, "Okay, great." Because for your teeth.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (28:34):
It's the sweet. The sweet, that's really bad for teeth, and I was like, "Okay, well that's not a problem for me." Yeah, I pretty much drink water and tea. That's where I'm getting the majority of my sugar. I think it's just a personal thing. It's not for us to judge how you eat and what you ... Those kind of things. It's not my business. I want everyone to be healthy, I want everyone to be able to eat foods that will give them energy and sustain them, but it's not my job to judge people for their choices.
Beth Demme (29:11):
But don't you think there's an assumption that people who are bigger are less healthy? Do you think that's a thing
Stephanie Kostopoulos (29:17):
Beth Demme (29:17):
... in our culture? That's not in my imagination, right?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (29:20):
Yeah, yeah. Which I think is harmful because, first of all, I don't think it's the right way to fat shame someone into eating better. If somebody is overweight, they probably are aware of it. I'm pretty confident they're aware of it, and me shaming them is not going to motivate them to eat better.
Beth Demme (29:41):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (29:43):
I want them to eat better. I mean, I would want them to be healthy, and I don't know if they're healthy or not. That's just not my ... I can't tell from looking at them.
Beth Demme (29:54):
Do you think that emotional eating is the reason that people have gained weight during the pandemic? Do you think it's just this idea that there's so much I can't do, I just don't want to be mindful of what I'm eating?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (30:06):
I guess it could be to a certain extent, but I also think it's just like we just have this huge trauma, this traumatic experience that has happened where our whole world, everyone's world has changed. I think it's easier ... I know, I noticed for me it's easier to eat well and healthy when I was in my normal routine. There was times when I would go on a trip somewhere, and I would ... It was easier to eat healthy foods because when I go on trips or have big events to do, I get nervous, and so it's easier for me to make good food choices because I have a super appetite.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (30:44):
It would be easier for me to have a salad. Okay. There's no question, then I'm distracted by other things, so it's easier to make those choices. But with the pandemic, we're just home. There's nothing to do. There's so many things to think about, so many things to be nervous about that that's the last thing people want to think about is eating well. I know that is how it happened for me. It was gradual. We were eating pretty healthy at the beginning, because we weren't eating out as much, and so-
Beth Demme (31:10):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (31:11):
I think that it wasn't just all of a sudden like, "Okay, eat all the junk food ever."
Beth Demme (31:16):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (31:17):
It wasn't that. It just gradually got there as time progressed.
Beth Demme (31:21):
Yeah, and I will never forget that one of the very first things that became unavailable that I wanted was yeast, because I wanted to be able to make bread because I didn't want to have to buy bread and then the family not eat it before it went stale or moldy or whatever. I was like, "Oh, well, I'll just make bread." But no, there was no yeast to be found anywhere.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (31:39):
Yeah, there's probably plenty of yeast now.
Beth Demme (31:41):
Right, exactly. Anyway, just the idea that people were maybe more, in the beginning, really focused on what they were eating and how they were doing their meal prep and things, and then at some point it just was like, "Yeah, that's another thing I'm not really going to do"
Stephanie Kostopoulos (31:55):
Well, and at the beginning, they were saying we need to stay healthy because if we get sick, we need to have ... Our immunity needs to be good or whatever. That was something that was in I think a lot of our minds, was ... Also at the beginning, we didn't know how it was passed. We thought it could be passed through food and packages and all that kind of stuff. Yeah, I think it was like a ... Now they're saying it's not passed through food and it's really unlikely that-
Beth Demme (32:23):
Right, or even surfaces really.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (32:25):
Yeah. It's really unlikely that you would get it from fast food restaurant, passing you your food and a bag kind of thing. Now we are eating out more. I mean, we're getting takeout more at places and feeling so we're back to kind of that.
Beth Demme (32:41):
Yeah, I've eaten inside a restaurant now.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (32:43):
You said that in the last episode. How many now?
Beth Demme (32:47):
I think I'm up to four.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (32:48):
Wow. How does it feel to eat in a restaurant?
Beth Demme (32:52):
For sure, the first time it felt like--
Stephanie Kostopoulos (32:55):
It was wrong?
Beth Demme (32:55):
... I'm really doing something I'm not supposed to do. This is so not okay.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (32:59):
Yeah. Does it feel like normal now that you've done five? When you eat in a restaurant now, does it feel-
Beth Demme (33:04):
I think it's four but I don't ... It still feels a little bit-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (33:07):
Beth Demme (33:08):
Yeah. I still try to ... I have only gone to places that were not busy where we could sit in a booth or where we're at least somewhat secluded from other people, but ... and only where servers wear masks. It still is not what it was in January of 2020.
Beth Demme (33:27):
I was talking about how in the pandemic I wanted to buy yeast and I couldn't find any in the store. There were a couple of times when I was doing grocery shopping in the pandemic where I really felt judged for how much I was buying, because ... My family is four, but then ... Especially early on in the pandemic in March and April, we typically had seven people at our dinner table.
Beth Demme (33:54):
When you have to prepare food for seven people, you got to buy some groceries. This is a lot. Because everybody was sensitive about things are running short, it looked like I was trying to hoard groceries. At one point I even had someone who was working the cash register ask me, "How many people are you feeding?" Then once I was like, "None of your business." No, but I was like, "Well, we usually have seven for dinner," and she was like, "Oh, okay. That makes a little bit more sense."
Beth Demme (34:21):
I know that friends who have ... I have a couple friends who have five kids in their family, so they were also preparing for seven and they had similar experiences in the grocery store. But it was nothing new for me because I often feel judged when I'm in the checkout line at the grocery store.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (34:36):
What do you mean?
Beth Demme (34:37):
Well, I really love to eat cereal, but I will not buy ... Well, I usually will not buy more than two boxes of cereal in any shopping trip because I don't want to be that woman who's, oh, there's the overweight lady buying all the cereal. But a lot of times, cereal is buy one, get one free at which point what am I going to do? I got to have the four boxes of cereal because I'm going to buy the two kinds and they're buy one get one free, so I got to get the four boxes.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (35:02):
What kind is it though? Like All-Bran?
Beth Demme (35:04):
No, no. It's not healthy cereal.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (35:07):
What kind of cereal? Like children's cereal?
Beth Demme (35:11):
I like frosted things, so like frosted mini wheats, frosted flakes. I really love Raisin Bran. Yeah, no. I love cereal.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (35:19):
Beth Demme (35:20):
Oh yeah. Raisin Bran is great, especially ... Now remember I like soggy food.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (35:25):
Okay. Remember? Did we talk about this?
Beth Demme (35:27):
I think we've talked about this before. It's one of the things that I really like about cereal, is that it will get soggy. I like soft and soggy food.
Beth Demme (35:35):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (35:36):
That's a quote for this episode.
Beth Demme (35:37):
Right. Not just during the pandemic, but beyond that, I have felt judged by cashiers at the grocery store. A couple of times it'll be like, "Oh, there's some new snack out or something." I'm like, "That looks good. We'll try it," and I'll get up, and inevitably they'll be like, "I haven't seen this yet. Have you tried? Is it delicious? Is it wonderful?" I'm like, "I don't know. I've never tried it."
Stephanie Kostopoulos (36:02):
But you think they're judging you for having it?
Beth Demme (36:04):
Yeah. No. Probably the reality is they're probably just trying to provide good customer service and make small talk. But for whatever reason, I feel judged in that interaction.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (36:15):
Because of your size? You think they're looking at your size and think, "Of course, she's had this?"
Beth Demme (36:19):
Yeah. They're thinking, "Of course, she's an expert on every single food. I'll ask her about it."
Stephanie Kostopoulos (36:23):
Interesting. Because I've definitely had cashiers ask me about foods before, and I've never thought that at all. I just thought they were trying to make small talk, which I hate small talk, so I hate that conversation. Buy you like small talk.
Beth Demme (36:38):
I don't like that. I don't want to talk about my food choices-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (36:41):
Well, that's good to know.
Beth Demme (36:42):
... with the cashier. Yeah.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (36:44):
Something that, as you were talking, before we were talking about the '90s look at women, something I've noticed recently within the last few years is the shift to showing real women in ads.
Beth Demme (36:54):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (36:56):
I've really noticed it and I really appreciate it because I'm a real freaking woman and I don't think we need to show women as this one type. We come in all shapes and sizes and-
Beth Demme (37:10):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (37:10):
And colors and no makeup, some makeup, whatever ... Come as you are kind of thing. I really, really appreciate that. I'm curious, what are your thoughts with the new ads?
Beth Demme (37:21):
Yeah, I love it too, and I also love when companies expand their size ranges so that it's available to more women. But I did have an interaction one time with a woman who was a little bit older than me. Well, she was probably 20 years older. She said out of the blue, "I'm so frustrated with these new ads that say they want to represent real women." Now she was very thin, and had been thin her whole life, right? "I'm really frustrated with these ads. They just glorify obesity." I'm like, "I really don't think that's what's happening."
Stephanie Kostopoulos (37:54):
It's interesting. I've heard that, too from people, where they don't like the ads because they think it glorifies it or justifies it or makes it okay, and I'm like, "Why would we want to judge people in ads?" That's what ads have been for years, is just putting on this one type. This is the stereotype that you need to achieve. I mean, Barbie. Look, I mean--
Beth Demme (38:17):
Right. Well, Barbie. Oh my word.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (38:18):
You're supposed to achieve ... It's like, oh my gosh.
Beth Demme (38:21):
Yeah. But I think that for a certain group of folks ... I started to say generation, but maybe that's unfair. That for a certain group of folks, there is that idea that that particular body image equals healthy, and anything outside of that particular body image, whether it's too heavy or too skinny, is unhealthy. They have this one thing is healthy, and I don't think that that is accurate.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (38:46):
Yeah. I don't know what it is. I really appreciate those kind of ads, and I think it's important for people to love themselves whatever size they are, and if they want to make a change for their health, that's on them. But that's not on us to tell them in ads. I guess my point is if you're shaming women ... If you're trying to sell deodorant and you're shaming women into you must be pencil thin in order to wear a deodorant, what? That's not the place that you're going to be encouraging women to be healthier if that's a concern in their life.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (39:25):
Yeah, I think I'm all for more sizes of women, more shades of women, more different cultures. Actually, Disney recently changed their Disney look, which is every employee has to ... Can't have tattoos and certain things. There's a whole book on it. I remember when I was an employee, and they've recently changed it where you can now show tattoos, you can have more hairstyles. Men can have afros and new thing. I mean, it's like, "Wow, it took this long." But I love that. I think that so important that we got to have ... We can't just stick with the stereotype of this is the right way.
Beth Demme (40:07):
Yeah. What I really want is I want to separate body size and health. Right? Because I think that it's an unhealthy assumption that to be what someone might perceive as too thin or too heavy, that that automatically means you're unhealthy.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (40:26):
I guess, what are people afraid of seeing real women of all sizes in ads? Do they think a young girl is going to see this ad and be like, "Oh, my gosh, she's overweight, I want to be overweight. I'm just going to ..." Do they think ... Is that why they don't like seeing those ads? I don't know. Do you think-
Beth Demme (40:42):
I think they think, "oh, being overweight automatically means you're unhealthy. This is going to tell people it's okay to be unhealthy." Which is why I want to separate the two concepts. I really do think that we should be about health. I think that it's good to be healthy. I don't think that we automatically know if someone is healthy based on the shape of their body.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (41:01):
Yeah. How do we do that? How do we separate that?
Beth Demme (41:04):
Well, I think that the marketing campaigns that show real women in ads are a good start at that, because I think that it does prompt people to talk about why have we always had just the one shape? Or why have we always just had airbrushed people? What is that about, and how ... Then furthering the conversation by asking, "Well, what do I think is healthy? How do I know if I'm healthy?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (41:28):
I guess the concept that you're talking about is separating health and weight. But I'm curious, and I don't know this because we both see the ads the same way, we like the ads. When people see those ads, do they not like seeing larger women because they think they're unhealthy? Or do they just not want to see larger women? Do they just not like the aesthetic? Is that their problem? Is it that they think those women are unhealthy?
Beth Demme (41:54):
The woman who I was talking about who complained about the ads who was like, "Oh, they're glorifying obesity," that was her argument. That these women are not healthy. Why do we ... I don't want to see an unhealthy person. Why are we glorifying them when they're so clearly unhealthy? It's like, that just isn't true. You're making an assumption that is not automatically true the way that you think it is.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (42:18):
Well, and it's so ignorant to say, "These women are unhealthy." Show me 10 models. Are they healthy? How do you know-
Beth Demme (42:27):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (42:27):
... they're healthy? How do you know if someone's healthy? I mean, it's just so strange to me that that's argument's like, "Well, they're overweight, so they're unhealthy." You have no idea.
Beth Demme (42:41):
Well, I think it's in the news all the time, right? If you're over-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (42:43):
If you're skinny, you must be healthy. Well, no, I have cancer and I'm dying.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (42:49):
Which is why I don't like that we even bring up weight to somebody without being ... If someone looks pregnant, don't bring it up until they say about their baby.
Beth Demme (42:59):
Right. But I think that we hear it all the time, "Oh, yeah, type 2 diabetes is because people are overweight and diabetes is a terrible health condition," which it is. I'm overweight, and actually, both of my parents before my dad passed away, and my mom who's still with us, they both have diabetes. I have a pretty high risk of getting diabetes. My doctor says, "It's okay right now." Okay, then it's okay right now, right?
Beth Demme (43:22):
But my point was just that I think we hear it in the news all the time like, "Yeah, if you are a certain body size, you are automatically unhealthy. You're going to get diabetes, you're going to have cardiac arrest, you're going to ..." I can just ... I will say that having been in the hospital these few months, it's like people of all shapes and sizes die every day.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (43:41):
Yeah. Well, and that's true, actually, as you're talking about that. When it was the beginning of COVID, that was one of the risk factors, is being overweight. It wasn't saying ... It was just pure, if you're overweight, you have a risk factor for COVID. Yeah, that does go into that vision of, okay, overweight people are unhealthy because they're more at risk for COVID. I feel like it is changing. I feel like there is a ... With the ads and things like that, I do think there is a change. But yeah, I think we definitely have a ways to go.
Beth Demme (44:19):
Yeah. Well, I think if people really think that changes need to happen, shaming people into change is never the best way to go.
Beth Demme (44:30):
We have so much fun making this podcast, and we've heard from some of you that you're wondering what is the best way to support us. We've decided to expand the podcast experience using buymeacoffee.com. You can go there and buy us a cup of coffee, or for Steph, a cup of tea. Or you can actually become a monthly supporter and that will give you access to PDFs of the questions for reflection as well as pictures, outtakes, polls and more.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (44:54):
The kinds of things that we would put on social media, if we had a social media channel, but we actually don't for the podcast because we decided from the beginning that we didn't want to add to more white noise in your life. One of the great things about Buy Me a Coffee is that you'll be able to actually get an email when we post new content. You can go straight there and you don't have to deal with ads or being bombarded with other content. You see exactly the content you're looking for without a bunch of distractions. We plan to post probably once or twice a week, and we're excited to get your feedback as members on our Buy Me a Coffee page, which we are lovingly calling our BMAC page.
Beth Demme (45:27):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (45:29):
BMAC. You'll be able to find a link in our description to find out more and to sign up. Well, Pastor Beth, I wanted to ... Since this is a audio podcast, people can actually see what's happening right now, but I wanted people to know that I offered you some Liquid Death today, and you've been drinking-
Beth Demme (45:47):
It's pretty delicious.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (45:48):
You've been drinking Liquid Death during this whole podcast.
Beth Demme (45:50):
Yeah. We each cracked one open and we've been enjoying them for the whole podcast. I really think-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (45:55):
I love the combination of pastor drinking Liquid Death. I think that's really-
Beth Demme (46:01):
Yes, with a skull on it and everything.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (46:01):
Beth Demme (46:01):
I think Liquid Death folks, if you're listening, we would welcome a sponsorship from you. We are your ideal audience because this is incredible. It definitely murdered my thirst.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (46:12):
Beth Demme (46:13):
I'm just all about it. I'm so glad that you introduced me to this. We're going to have to put a picture of this on our BMAC page.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (46:17):
Yes. We will picture of this in our BMAC page. Should we tell them what it is or no? We'll just leave them hanging. We won't tell you what it is.
Beth Demme (46:22):
It's a very tall can. It's like a tall boy.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (46:24):
Yeah. It looks like a ... What?
Beth Demme (46:26):
Tall boy. Isn't that what they're called when you drink a tall beer?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (46:29):
I don't know. I don't know.
Beth Demme (46:31):
I think it's a tall boy can.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (46:32):
To me it looks like an energy drink. Like a Monster or whatever. But no, it's just Liquid Death. It's not an energy drink. Well, I guess it could give you energy.
Beth Demme (46:42):
I think it's an energy drink.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (46:42):
Beth Demme (46:43):
Once cracked open, no thirst is safe from Liquid Death.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (46:47):
Beth Demme (46:47):
After actually dismembering it's thirst victim, this brutal can of water use the severed body parts-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (46:53):
You said what it is!
Beth Demme (46:53):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (46:55):
It's okay. It's water.
Beth Demme (46:57):
I gave it away.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (46:58):
It's water from the Alps. Their whole thing is death to plastic. It's in a can, metal aluminum can. It was-
Beth Demme (47:06):
It's just hilarious.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (47:09):
It's hilarious and it just tastes like nothing. It tastes like water, which is perfect. They also make a sparkling version I have as well.
Beth Demme (47:15):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (47:15):
I know. Not everybody likes sparkling water. Actually, most people don't. I love sparkling water, so I think that one-
Beth Demme (47:20):
I like my water without gas. Thank you.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (47:22):
Yeah, I do like gassy water, and it's just great. I got it from Whole Foods and I'm going to just keep getting it because it's amazing.
Beth Demme (47:29):
Yeah, I'm going to go buy some because I think it's awesome.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (47:31):
Okay, Beth. Do you have any news for me?
Beth Demme (47:34):
I do. I do. I have a new story for you that actually introduced me to two concepts that were new to me. Recently in the village of Stilton in Worcestershire, England, which ... That's a place by the way, not just a sauce. A Guinness World Record pet was stolen.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (47:55):
Beth Demme (47:56):
Not a greyhound. Actually, a rabbit. Darius, who won the Guinness World Record for the longest living rabbit in 2010. Now longest living, they don't mean the oldest. I mean, he's the longest rabbit who is living. He's very large. He's probably the size of Mac and Tosh.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (48:17):
Beth Demme (48:17):
This is a big ... Not-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (48:17):
Beth Demme (48:20):
... not tall, obviously because rabbits have short little legs. But Darius has been stolen and his owner, Annette, is pretty desperate to get him back. She's offered a 2,000 pound reward, and also she wants everyone to know that he's beyond the breeding age. She's already bred him, and actually he's probably going to lose his status as the longest rabbit who is living because his offspring are proving to be even longer that he is.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (48:47):
What breed of rabbit is it?
Beth Demme (48:50):
I don't know.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (48:51):
Wow. Does the rabbit live outside? How was it stolen?
Beth Demme (48:55):
Yeah, it lives in her garden, which also I was like, "I thought people didn't like rabbits in their garden. I thought that was the whole premise of Peter Rabbit." But we could put a picture in the show notes. But you can see, he's quite a large animal.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (49:07):
Oh my gosh.
Beth Demme (49:08):
Lots of fur.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (49:09):
Beth Demme (49:10):
Oh my gosh, so much fur.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (49:11):
That was good. I want to remind listeners, if you are enjoying the podcast, to rate and review the podcast. I think-
Beth Demme (49:21):
Stephanie Kostopoulos (49:22):
Subscribe to the podcast. Yeah, you can do that too. Yeah. There's a subscribe button, and then if you scroll all the way down to the bottom, there is five stars. Just hit that fifth star and then you've rated. If you want to go even further, you can review right below. You can write a little review and that helps other people find the podcast.
Beth Demme (49:39):
I want to share one other thing. I forgot to mention this to you actually when we were planning and before we started recording. But as we are recording this, I am on the seven year anniversary of when I started my blog. In terms of blogging, I'm like a great grandmother-
Stephanie Kostopoulos (49:55):
Beth Demme (49:55):
... at this point because seven years is a long time. I just want to invite you to check out bethdemme.com, because not only do I promote the podcast there, but I have devotionals and Bible studies and things that you might find interesting. Visit me at bethdemme.com.
Stephanie Kostopoulos (50:13):
At the end of each episode, we end with questions for reflections. There are questions based on today's show that Beth will read and leave you a little pause for you to answer them. Or you can find a PDF of them on our Buy Me a Coffee page.
Beth Demme (50:23):
Number one, have you ever struggled with your weight? Number two, have you noticed a change in your eating patterns during the pandemic? How do you feel about that? Number three, do you tend to judge or evaluate people based on their size? Why? Number four, how do you feel about the marketing shift to show "real" women?
Stephanie Kostopoulos (50:48):
This has been the Discovering Our Scars Podcast. Thank you for joining us.
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Mental Health Advocate. Author. Podcast Host. DIYer. Greyhound Mom.
I'm a mom who laughs a lot, mainly at myself. #UMC Pastor, recent Seminary grad, public speaker, blogger, and sometimes lawyer. Learning to #LiveLoved.