Follow me on

What’s Really on Your Plate

A lot on my plate

A lot on my plate

In a brief follow up to yesterday’s post on the USDA upgrading its food guide to a ‘new generation’ icon that uses a plate to show how savvy consumers should allocate culinary real estate to different food groups, here is a fascinating depiction of what is really on most consumer’s plates (picture).

This graphic titled “A lot on my plate” is by Jack Lightfoot (aka heavyhand), a UK artist, who explains that,

The chopsticks are symbolic of being in difficulty and in need of help“.

The piece is apparently also available as a card, graphic, or t-shirt at redbubble.

As outlined in yesterday’s post, educating people on what to eat is likely to be meaningless unless we also begin dealing with the real causes of why they eat what they do – that apparently, is a discussion that is far harder to have.

I may be mistaken but I am always a bit concerned about the underlying tone of these nutritional messages:

We told you what to do – we even made it easier to understand – so if you’re still not doing the right thing, who’s fault is it but yours?

Perhaps it’s time to begin helping folks to deal with what’s really on their plate?

Edmonton, Alberta


  1. Dr. Sharma;

    Thank you for being one of the only ones who seems to understand that we need to focus on the mental health issues of obesity and not just “eat less move more”. I have been overweight since childhood and am an “expert dieter”. At 51 years old I was frustrated because I had tried all of the conventional methods at least once and nothing worked. I have slowly lost 50 lb over the past 1 1/2 yrs. and it has allowed me to deal with my issues and gradually become accustomed to the attention I am now starting to receive. Because I was sexually abused when I was younger I have difficulty when receiving too much attention from men. It has been easier to just remain obese to become “invisible”. I didn’t understand that I was actually having anxiety attacks when binging on food. I am now learning to control my anxiety in healthier ways. As a former psychiatric nurse I understand the stigma surrounding mental health issues and how reluctant people are to even get help with their problems. Thank you for all of the time and effort you put into this website and your quest to educate the public and health care providers in general.

    Post a Reply
  2. In my travels through the weight-o-sphere, I have come upon many overweight people (particularly women), who suffered some type of abuse (more often than not, sexual) in their childhood.

    While I think that many body types exist naturally in the world, ranging from short and husky to tall and willowy and everything in between, my suspicion is that the root cause of severe obesity is often either yo-yo dieting (in other words, going from naturally being on the “high” side of normal to being truly overweight through dieting) or some sort of psychological trauma that expresses itself through excessive weight gain.

    Post a Reply
  3. Eating and dieting and discourse about both have become rhetorical (symbolic) ways to express our alarm about worsening social problems over which individuals feel increasingly powerless, problems that cannot be helped or transformed by focusing on the mental health of individuals, on nutrition, on the ways people eat, or on any other changes made by individuals without firmly contextualizing those individuals as both living, communicating beings with limited options for change AND as variables within larger and more complex social systems.

    We cannot extricate the individual from the social, or analyze the individual as if he or she exists apart from profoundly powerful social forces, including our needs to communicate distress.

    Eating and related discourses have started to sound like ideologies or religions, with believers convinced they hold the keys to utopia or to the one true kingdom. Correct eating has become elevated as a social construction on par with correct thinking or correct worshipping. Supposedly, if done correctly, eating will save the economy, repair health care chaos, result in harmony of bodies and minds…and restore us to god?

    We are truly a lost people using eating discourse to inspire hope and strike fear into the hearts of humanity, creating an illusion of hope and control. Seems an extreme distraction–and a symbolic yet nonresponsive action–to enormously complex social problems destroying our world.

    Post a Reply
  4. “News” is more often the “Bad News” in the city, province, country, and world, and we get overloaded without realizing it. HopefulandFree makes a great point in that we express our alarm by disordered dieting, or eating in general. It is out of control, but mankind does well when the real underlying problems start to be articulated. Thanks for this. MM

    Post a Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *