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I recently read about this story about student Ella Parry who died after accidentally overdosing on diet pills she bought from the Internet. The pills were found to contain Dinitrophenal or DNP. This highly toxic industrial chemical has been determined to be unfit for human consumption. There is no known antidote to the toxin once it is ingested. Ella, an otherwise healthy 21 year old woman bought 100 of the slimming pills online for the equivalent of about $100. She did ingest more pills than the label suggested. But very shortly after taking the pills, she started to feel quite ill. Not long afterward, Ella drove herself to the local emergency room. Her metabolism began to soar, and despite efforts by the doctors to bring her temperature down, Ella’s body “burned her up from the inside”.
Now there is no question that people fall victim to Internet scams all the time, and it’s easy to find illicit substances online. But it leads me to wonder if Ella is simply a victim of an Internet scam, or if there’s more at play here. How much pressure do young people get to be very, very thin? How much have they heard that being thin is easy and anybody can do it if they try? What happens when they find out it is not easy for them? What lengths will they go to in order to achieve an “acceptable body”? I can’t help feel that this is just another casualty of our culture’s obsession with thinness, and our culture’s utter inability to educate us about natural body diversity. This leads to many potentially fatal problems including eating disorders. And it leads to desperation that might cause an educated, intelligent young woman to buy pills off the Internet and consume them without even understanding what is in them or how dangerous they are.
This is why the war on obesity is not just a war against fat bodies, but about all bodies. Because fear of not having the perfect body, fear that a body could become fat one day, leads people of all sizes to make poor choices with sometimes devastating consequences in order to fit into their skinny jeans. This is why I will continue to fight for body diversity and for better education about the real facts about bodies and weight.
If you’re interested in joining this fight, perhaps you would consider participating with us in the upcoming Fat Activism Conference. We’ve got a call for participation HERE. It’s a very simple form that you could fill out in just a few minutes.
And I’d like to remind you, that if you are interested in joining us in our upcoming Fit Fatties Virtual Event, there are just a few short days left to sign up. You can learn more HERE.
Love, Jeanette DePatie (AKA The Fat Chick)
P.S. Want to hear me speak about body diversity? Learn more HERE.