In Kataline's book FATLASH! she details her experience with her own weight and appearance-obsessed mother who also put her in child beauty pageants. At sixteen however, Kataline weighed 285 pounds. She says this was an unconscious reaction in part, to her mother's obsessive demands to be thin. This is what she refers to as a FATLASH reaction.
Kataline maintains that the causes of obesity are varied and complex, "but none respond positively to shame, force, or one-size-fits-all solutions. In many cases, extra weight is an unconscious boundary of protection against exactly the kind of intrusion and cruelty that Callahan thinks is good policy. In other cases, it is an act of defiance and strength against sexual abuse. Does Mr. Callahan believe he ought to be able to remove such psychological protection with force?" Kataline asks. "It is pathological hubris to think that's even possible, but to Callahan and people like him, the scourge of excess weight trumps all other social problems."
"Many people with eating disorders and weight problems do a good enough job of hating themselves almost out of a sense of obligation, before others even get the chance. Treatment for these patients involves working to undo the cycle of self-hatred-not to perpetuate it. In recovery they learn that people like Callahan have a problem, but it can't be eradicated with empty proclamations."
Karen Kataline, MSW, is an author, speaker and advocate. She received her master's degree from Columbia University and has practiced in a variety of non-profit and corporate settings. She has been an assertiveness trainer and public speaking coach for a Manhattan training firm and has taught communications at the New School for Social Research, Parsons School of Design in New York, New Jersey's Montclair State College, and Fairleigh Dickenson University, among others. She also lends her operatic voice to a variety of fundraisers and community events. FATLASH! is her first book.