Watch the interview and say whether the statements below are true or false.
1 Mainstream scientists support Mika Brzezinski's ideas.
2 The problems that an obese woman and those of a woman who is skinny with eating disorders are fairly similar.
3 Chris Christie is a politician.
4 Diane Smith weighs 265 pounds.
5 Mika Brzezinski implies she had weight problems.
6 Mika Brzezinski's family used to be fond of McDonalds.
7 Wealthy people are usually thinner.
8 Soda pop is unhealthy.
9 Mika Brzezinski used to live on a farm.
10 Mika Brzezinski used to eat junk food in secret.
Hi, I’m Belinda Luscombe from Time. Mika Brzezinski is a best-selling author and journalist. The co-host of Morning Joe on MSNBC, and she’s written a new book about food and her own feelings about food. And I’m delighted to say that she’s here with us today. Thanks for coming.
You say in the book that you’re addicted to certain food. Can you explain how we can be addicted to food?
There’s actually a growing amount of science out there about certain ingredients being toxic, and sugar is one of them. And I actually add in and back up with the help of doctors and nutritionists the word addictive, which I don’t think mainstream science is ready to completely embrace that. I am, and when I confronted a friend about her obesity, we put together this book, worked on it together. She actually penned a chapter in it, but we did the research together and we discovered that there is not that big a gap between the problems that a woman who is obese confronts and the problems that a woman who is skinny with eating disorders confronts. And it revolves around an addiction to certain foods that give a brain reward, that give a physical feeling of exuberation, that you can get anywhere else if you suffer from this addiction.
You’re not worried that we are pathologising what might just be a, a problem of habits.
So, can I challenge you, and we can get into it a little bit?
Of course, my pleasure.
Okay, do you think that Chris Christie is undisciplined and just has bad habits?
It would seem unlikely that a man in his position could get to be governor of New Jersey to be completely undisciplined.
Right. So Diane Smith, an Emmy award-winning journalist, brilliant woman, do you think that she could get to 256 pounds because she’s undisciplined and just has bad habits?
Again, it seems unlikely, could be a metabolism problem which, which isn’t not necessarily though the same as addiction.
I think once you find your way into the abyss of obesity, your metabolism is destroyed and then you do have a problem. But getting there is not a lack of discipline. Getting there is not a habit problem. There is a science behind what is happening in our country, and for me to get to where I was, to look the way I did on television, you wouldn’t believe what I put myself through. So if I had to put myself through that to get there, I understand why Diane was obese. And I say was, because she’s lost a lot of weight by virtue of what we’ve done.
So, the sort of things you put yourself through, your book describes what, you were always hungry, pretty much always hungry, always thinking about food?
That was, those were the safer, more healthy days, yeah. I mean, at the height of it, I would run 10 miles and then eat a lot. Or I would just totally go crazy and eat all weekend, and then hate myself, and starve myself and exercise like crazy. It was ridiculous, it was no way to live.
Were there be certain foods that set you off more than others?
The smell of certain junk foods that I grew up on, like McDonald’s fries or Domino’s pizza or all those just hideously unhealthy foods that we would eat as families to be happy in America. My family didn’t, so I felt I was being deprived, so I went out to find them.
Should food not be so cheap, is that part of the problem?
Well, bad food shouldn’t be so cheap and good food should be more cheap. People should have access to good, healthy food and you shouldn’t have to be a millionaire to be able to eat healthy. And you notice, really, really, really wealthy people who want to eat well, look amazing, and they’re incredibly thin. You know, it’s…, come on, we can do better than this, I think. But, you know, when Mayor Bloomberg tries to put a tax on soda pop, which to me is liquid poison, and I can’t even imagine serving that to your children a few times a week, I can’t imagine why any parent would do that, but you see people absolutely throwing their arms up in the air and their hair on fire when he wants to make that more expensive. It…, maybe we do need some broad sweeping policies that are radical, I’m sorry. Someone give me a better idea. This shouldn’t be so hard.
Do you, you know, your mother raised you, she was, she was a traditional cook, she cooked, she cooked deer, she would cook like deer…
She cooked everything. We had eggs from chicken, from chicken hatch…
So you had a completely healthy, you know, options and yet you went to…
I could see it through the woods from my bedroom window, the 7/11 across Old Amminion Road, that was about two acres away. We lived in this little farmette, but there was a 7/11 around the corner from our house, and then I would go off there and get like pizza in a pocket and choc, Coco Crispies and Captain Crunch, and a pint of coffee Haggen Dazs which I would eat under a tree alone.
So for your daughters , you’ve just moved further away from the 7/11, you make sure they can’t get there?
Yeah, they actually look like they’re gonna make their own decisions. For my daughters this book, the truth, and they will have to make choices. But it’s a tough society to grow up in and eat really well and feel good about yourself, I think, as a girl.
Mika, thanks so much.
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