How Robin Quivers Got it All Wrong

I actually do like her.
I actually do like her.

You may have heard that Robin Quivers is the new health expert for The Huffington Post.


Quivers is best known as radio shock jock Howard Stern’s excuse for getting away with racially insensitive jokes and comments. Lately, though, she’s been making the media rounds, telling folks about her new, vegan lifestyle, and making sure her first-time participation in Saturday’s New York City Marathon got attention.

First, kudos to Quivers for winning her lifelong struggle with obesity. She says she lost 80 pounds by going vegan four years ago, but recently hasn’t been telling folks about her infamous “green drink,” which she talked about often during a 21-day detox diet two years ago. She also did that lemonade-cayenne pepper-molasses fast. In fact, she’s participated in a number of weight-loss fads more recently than her vegan switch.

Haven’t we all?

However, it was Quivers’ column last week that caught my attention. Let me preface this by saying I’m all for expressing one’s opinion, but if you do it in a forum like The Root or The Huffington Post, make sure you have your facts straight.

In this piece about a friend of hers who chose weight-loss surgery – sound familiar? – she says this:

“Surgery is always available, so it's not as if you can't have it done if you find that other options don't work for you. I just wonder why invasive procedures are often the first thing doctors offer to people who are struggling with weight issues.”


Lawdy, Robin. The first thing doctors offer? Seriously?

OK, maybe she was just super lazy, and was looking for a pithy way to end her column – which, by the way, suggested that the overweight are really just a bunch of food addicts, and should be treated as such, starting with “voluntary” juice fasting.


Remove the food, she says, to give the patient time to take a long, hard look at their relationship with food. I repeat: Lawdy, Robin.

I agree that there are underlying issues that should be addressed before surgery is granted, and it’s my understanding that there are several hoops potential patients must jump through before being approved.  They’re quizzed about their weight-loss history; they have several different types of blood studies; their heart, chest and colon, are checked, and they must undergo all of the standard stuff, like mammograms and pap smears; then they have to be cleared by a therapist.


And that’s just the little I know.

By talking about how sad she was her friend opted for surgery instead of the “natural answer” Quivers figured out for herself: “My solution came with no anesthesia, no surgery, no hospital stay, no recovery period and no side effects.”


I can think of two side effects, Ms. Quivers: Lack of understanding and compassion.

For me, forgiveness and compassion are always linked: how do we hold people accountable for wrongdoing and yet at the same time remain in touch with their humanity enough to believe in their capacity to be transformed?  ~  Bell Hooks.


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Leslie J. Ansley is an award-winning journalist and entrepreneur who blogs daily for TheRoot. She lives in Raleigh, NC.