‘Fed Up’ made me mad, but it also gave me a plan for being healthier

"Fed Up" follows children as they struggle to lose weight. (Radius-TWC)
“Fed Up” follows children as they struggle to lose weight. (Radius-TWC)

I leave a lot of documentaries with the sensation that I can’t do anything about anything. Food insecurity, water shortages, melting polar ice caps, bullying: All the drops at my disposal couldn’t fill that bucket.

That wasn’t the case with “Fed Up,” out Friday. I left the screening not only angry, but with a plan.

I’m 10 pounds heavier than it says on my driver’s license, 20 more than is healthy and 30 more than I’d like to be. There’s no deep reason why the weight crept on, except that I believe the best way to shut sad up is to shove pasta and wine down its throat. I run often (and slowly), walk everywhere I can, and, I thought, ate pretty well. I’d have a Greek yogurt for breakfast and a Subway veggie sandwich and Baked Lays for lunch, and I cook every night, usually pretty healthy stuff. And wine, you know, for antioxidants. So why was the weight coming off excruciatingly slowly, if at all?

Enter “Fed Up.” This is more than a film about why Americans are fat and unhealthy; it goes into that, but it also draws absolutely damning connections between the food lobby and the government. I’ve been buying into messages that have lied their way right onto my thighs.

I live in a post-Snowden world, so I’m no longer shocked when it comes out that my government is lying to me. What made me angry was how complacent and complicit the government is when it comes to companies encouraging me to eat food that I believe is healthy but is, in fact, making me sick. After seeing “Fed Up,” I stopped eating processed foods and refined sugars immediately. (I kept wine. For antioxidants.)

For two days I had headaches and fatigue, and I was hungry and less than pleasant to live or work with. Once I got past that, I noticed I was eating a lot less overall. I slept better and woke up more rested. I was more alert at Skittles o’clock in the afternoon. After 10 days I relaxed the restrictions from dinner Friday until dinner Saturday as kind of my own sugar Sabbath, but getting back on the wagon wasn’t that tough. All I had to do when I looked at the leftover Easter jellybeans was remember how “Fed Up” made me feel: lied to, manipulated and angry.

It’s been two weeks since I saw the film and I’ve lost 6 pounds. I didn’t up my exercise or cut back that much on wine (You need it. For antioxidants.). It seems that all I needed to get a little healthier was to get a lot angrier.

 

Kristen Page-Kirby covers film for The Washington Post Express.
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