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Sunday, June 3, 2012

Chrissie Swan says "I'm not ashamed of my weight"

Chrissie Swan in an interesting woman.  She's warm, easy-going, unassuming and clever.  She also describes herself as "heavy."  She first became known as a popular contestant on Big Brother in 2003 and after working in radio she became one of the hosts of Channel 10's The Circle and won most popular new female talent at the TV Logie Awards.

When she finished school, she decided on a psychology degree but left after six months and enrolled in a primary teaching course.  Two years later, she realized that teaching wasn't her thing either and saw herself as a loser who would never do anything.  She liked the idea of advertising but thought she wasn't "groovy" enough and lacked the confidence to even try.  That was until copywriter Geoffrey Booth told her what she longed to hear.  "You can write" he said.

And write she can.  In today's Sunday Life magazine in the Sun Herald, she writes about her painful experience of being told that her 3 year old son is 7 kilos overweight and has to go on a diet.   But Chrissie is an educated woman and knows all about diets and calories and what food is bad for her children.  Her overweight son has never had a chicken nugget or even a fish finger in his whole life.

She jumped onto Google and discovered that juice was out so she stopped it.  Leo wasn't happy but she persevered, all to no avail because it didn't make any difference to his weight.  She finally gave in and made an appointment to see a paediatric dietician.  "I told her he eats fruit, lots of fruit, cheese, chicken breast, toast, no meat, he even eats around the meat in spaghetti bolognaise which is quite a skill."

Then the dietician told her something quite shocking -  her son was eating too much of the good stuff. Eating 4 bananas a day if you are only one metre tall will make you fat.  And if you throw in 3 mandarines, a punnet of strawberries, and four Cheesesticks, then you have a problem. Now the fruit bowl is out of his reach so 4 Kiwi fruit don't disappear during the day. He's now eating all the things he loves, just far less of them and not every day.

When Chrissie posed with sons Leo 3 and Kit 9 months, for the Women's Weekly, some women thought she was a bad role model for her children and sent nasty comments to the magazine. "Her sons already look fat, like mother, like sons" said one. "You are what you eat and Leo is not cute, he is absolutely huge, shame on you Chrissie" said another.

Chrissie knows all about the hurt of being heavy.  "It's shaming people into thinking their heart is going to explode, their legs are about to be cut off through diabetes, they'll never conceive a child, get married, find love or get the job they want."

"Ordering a full-cream flat white is often met with judgmental eyes yet people at their goal weight do it every day of the week.  So I do it too, I'm not ashamed any more."