Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The war on fat, in someone else's words

I won't say where I found this, but this post was written in response to someone raising the question of whether, perhaps, obesity might not be a completely evil phenomenon:

"Obesity is unhealthy. There is no doubt about it. It increases the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes (and subsequent problems with high blood pressure, kidney disease, and major foot problems, including multiple surgeries and amputations), stroke (partly secondary to the high blood pressure), arthritis (from the sheer weight on the joints), plus other medical and psychological problems. When it is also combined with smoking, which it often is, there is even more disaster.

It is a huge expense to society to have so many obese people with their medical problems. It is a preventable disease. People just need to eat less and exercise. They need more self-control.

To flaunt it as a nonpreventable problem is just not true. What has changed during the past 50 years is that people eat more and move less. Obese people want respect for their eating problems and acceptance. I think that as long as other people are able to control themselves and discipline themselves to exercise, then there will be contempt for those that cannot.

Also, I think that a lot of people resent the high cost of obesity. Health care would be a lot less if people just didn't eat double bacon cheeseburgers, fries and a Coke, then go out for ice cream or beer, and then sit and watch TV (or drink more beer, which has a lot of calories.)

Personally, I resent so much money being spent for accomodations and gastric stapling/bypass surgery because people want to gorge themselves constantly with fatty food!"


It's rare to see so many misconceptions and such hatred right out there in the open. Next you'll be telling us that fat people are responsible for global warming.

Personally, I resent the millions of dollars being wasted on ill-directed and ineffective "wellness" campaigns in schools and offices. And I resent the hell out of the ignorant assumptions behind your words.

So I'm going to exercise tremendous self-restraint (and you know how hard self-restraint is for a fat person!) and recommend that you educate yourself rather than simply parrot the anti-obesity rhetoric of our time. Start by reading Gina Kolata's new book, Rethinking Thin. Kolata is a well-respected New York Times science writer. She is also, if it matters to you--and I think it does--a thin person.

Then I'd suggest reading a little Paul Campos--he's also a thin person, though formerly fat. Then read this post at Kate Harding's fantastic blog.

Then come back and tell me how you feel about fat.

36 comments:

1of42 said...

Out of interest, are you a doctor? It's widely recognized (and has been experimentally verified in numerous studies) that obesity correlates to increased risk for a wide range of diseases. Increased risk of disease = more disease = more money spent on health care. Simple, no?

Not eveyrone can easily control their weight - but ultimately, it's rarely actually a genetic problem. Much more often, it is, as your "anonymous poster" put it, a controllable lifestyle issue. You might disagree, but it's pretty obvious to most people with common sense that that's the truth.

Now I have an invitation for you:

Since you so obviously want to debate this issue, and since you clearly have somehow observed the forum from whence this post came, why not post there? Join the debate. Stop posting snippets of vague rebuttal, links to absurd books (Paul Campos's book, which suggests that Clinton's impeachment had to do with his weight? Give me a break!), and go have a meaningful discussion in an arena where you don't control the most prominent form of discourse.

RioIriri said...

To above commenter:
Correlation does NOT equal causation.

Not everyone who is fat eats a lot of food, or eats a lot of fast food. I've been a vegetarian for 23 years, and I eat roughly half of what my spouse eats. Because we do everything together, we have equivalent activity levels. I'm fat, he's thin. Guess which one of us has a higher "bad" cholesterol level? The skinny boy. Not that cholesterol means anything, but every doctor I've had tells me that my vital signs are exactly what they should be.

You want to claim that it's "common sense"--but it seems you haven't seen the numbers. Try giving a "Never Too Thin: Why Women are at War With Their Bodies" a read. Try reading Junk Food Science.

Or, maybe you're afraid of losing a convenient and socially acceptable outlet for hate? Afraid that you've been treating fat people badly for mistaken reasons? You wouldn't be the first.

Harriet Brown said...

Well, 1of42, I tried to register at the site you mention, and wasn't "allowed" to. I'm always up for a good discussion on anyone's site, though.

To answer your question, no, I am not a doctor. Are you? And this is relevant because? Because all doctors are right about everything all the time? Obviously you can find doctors on every side of this and any other issue.

Have you read the Kolata book? Have you read *anything* on this issue, or are your opinions formed only by your "common sense" observations? Have you read the work of Dr. Ethan Sims in Vermont? Here's a link to an excerpt from Kolata's book on Sims' work: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/08/health/08fat.html?ex=1336276800&en=447117d1c64ee6f8&ei=5089. I invite *you* to read it and give it some thought.

I would have a lot more respect for the original post (which I suspect was written by you on that other site) as well as your comment here if they were written in a spirit of inquiry rather than condemnation. I'm getting the feeling that you've made up your mind--based on very little evidence--and are, perhaps, driven more by prejudice than intellectual exploration. I hope I'm wrong about that. If I am, feel free to come back and debate some more. But if you're simply up for more fat-bashing--do it on someone else's site.

Meowser said...

Campos did NOT say Clinton got impeached because of his weight. What he said was: 1) Clinton was drawn to Lewinsky because both of them had weight-related insecurities, and Clinton wanted reassurance that he wasn't "the fat kid" any more, and; 2) Tripp played on Lewinsky's weight-related insecurity in order to convince her not to get the blue dress cleaned because it allegedly "made her look fat." Both of these points have been well documented elsewhere; Campos didn't make that stuff up. I hate it when people read the Amazon reviews instead of the book and then use that as a reason to bash the book.

And Rio (damn, now I can't get that song out of my head!), you are so right, so many of these people are like fifth-grade bullies whining because all their targets have been taken away. "Awww, I can't pick on them either? Whyyyyyy?"

Anonymous said...

We don't have to prove anything to the fat-haters. They have to prove it to us. And they can't do it. All they have is cultural bias and claims that are not backed up by science, but by the weight loss industrial complex who makes billions off of fat hate. Cultural bias is so blinding it's almost not worth the time spent on people so invested in fat hate. As many have said before me, no one's campaigning for smokers to whiten their teeth to avoid lung cancer...yet there are campaigns everywhere trying to get us to harm and mutilate our bodies "for our health".

All I have to say is, puhleez.

Withoutscene

Harriet Brown said...

And all I have to say is, thank you.

Bob said...

"or beer, and then sit and watch TV (or drink more beer, which has a lot of calories.)"

As compared to what?

http://beerinfood.wordpress.com/booze-nutritional-info/

Anonymous said...

while i agree that some "fat" people are more healthy than some skinny people, for the most part, carrying that extra weight on your body puts more physical strain on your muscles and your heart and THATS NOT HEALTHY. i know that some "fat" people do exercise regularly and eat healthy foods but the majority do not: eating fast food and junk food all day while being immobile and thats not healthy either. We shouldnt be denouncing or encouraging a "fat" society, but we should encourage people to be more healthy

sweetnfat said...

Way to fill the bingo card...

Anonymous said...

Here's a link to an article on bicycling and body weight. Just think, thinness isn't everything!

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/17/health/nutrition/17essa.html?em&ex=1184904000&en=445dd068a9c39626&ei=5087%0A

Harriet Brown said...

anonymous (not this last one), you're equating thinness with health, and the research simply does not support this. as i've said before, the mortality studies show again and again a positive correlation between overweight/obesity in terms of life expectancy. mortality rates go up at either end of the weight spectrum--low or very high BMIs. i'm sure you'r sincere and truly believe what you're saying . . . but i recommend you explore the subject more widely before making up your mind. you just might be surprised.

bingo, anyone?

Rachel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rachel said...

People just need to eat less and exercise. They need more self-control.

Right. Because that's been shown to be oh, so effective.

Self-discipline is about as effective to dieters as it is to homosexuals who try to "cure" themselves of their blasphemous "disease." There is a reason study after study shows that diets don't work and that most people regain the weight - and more - in five years.

Obviously, there are other plays at work in the causation of obesity, and the mass barrage of scientific research, which find a new element to point the finger at each week only reveals how very little we know and understand obesity. Self-control is not the magic bullet.

1of42 said...

Yes, I can't possibly accept the fact that obesity could be healthy as a direct result of me loving to make fun of them. It's kind of like I can't accept that black people can have brains - then I couldn't make fun of them easier! (sarcasm)

Give me a break. Let's get some perspective here. Obesity has been shown to be both an independent risk factor for heart disease, and also shown to contribute to other independent risk factors, thus causing a doubly increased risk. Weight is obviously not the be-all-end-all way to evaluate someone's health, but, ceteris paribus, as you vary weight, the fatter someone is the more unhealthy.

The thing that mystifies me is how much people here are so vehemently coloured against health initiatives aimed at obesity. Yes, on an individual basis eating disorders like anorexia are far more damaging. On the other hand, obesity effects FAR more people, and has a far larger overall effect on the population as a whole.

Yes, the message that fat is bad has had some collateral casualties, in the form of eating disorders and so forth. However, the utter lack of healthy lifestyle choices in a significant portion of the population is causing far, far more damage than this phenomenon - they're not even on the same order of magnitude.

I've never disagreed that some fat people will be healthier than some thin people. I just think you need to re-align your perspective a bit: obesity is a FAR larger problem from a population perspective than anorexia or any other eating disorders or weight anxieties about obesity are, and while some obese people are healthier than skinny people, the VAST MAJORITY are not. How about you give these clear facts some play, instead of constantly parroting that the risks of obesity are off the mark?

As for withoutscene: Oh yeah? So you're just going to discount the vast number of studies that show higher prevalence of negative health outcomes in obese populations? Your comparison to whitening teeth to avoid lung cancer is a deliberate misinterpretation and a straw man argument. I've never said (and neither have most people) that obese people should lose weight simply because they're ugly. The majority of people are largely driven by the health issues behind obesity. Some shallow people aren't; but they're the outliers.

As I said above: do you people realize how much you focus on the outliers? On the tiny number of people who get EDs because of the anti-obesity phenomenon, versus the GIGANTIC number who are unhealthy because of obesity itself. The small number of people who have better health outcomes from obesity, vs. the HUGE number who have worse. The constant repetition of "but some fat people are healthy", while never mentioning the fact that a far larger portion of the obese population are unhealthy than the healthy-weight population. The "but some fat people are fat because of genetics or other choices that aren't theirs" vs. the far larger number of people that are fat because of their own lifestyle.

Perspective, please.

1of42 said...

Last thing.

Harriet, don't be ridiculous. If you cared to look a little more closely at that site, you'd realize I'm a completely different person than the one who originally made that post - I have an account under the same name I am using to post here.

Try not to accuse me of posting things that I didn't without doing some inquiry (which you're so fond of) on your own first.

Meowser said...

1in42, you can't look at someone and know what they eat, how much they've physically exerted themselves over the course of a lifetime, or how hard they've tried to slim down. Sorry. You just can't. I don't know where your assumption comes from that 95% of us have our heads stuck in giant tubs of Rocky Road all day and all night and always have, and wouldn't know how work up a sweat, but you don't know me or most of the people I know, that's for damn sure. And plenty of thin people have poor diet and exercise habits also. These "lifestyle habits" tend to vary by socioeconomic class, not weight.

Furthermore, the CDC's own data consistently gives the lowest mortality rates for both sexes in the BMI 25-29 "overweight" range, not the 20-24 "ideal" range, and states that a 300-pound woman's mortality rate is about the same as that of most fashion models and other celebrities with BMI around 18, and lower than that of all men. If you are the male hardbody gym rat living on egg whites and spirulina who'd kill for a pepperoni pizza that I strongly suspect you are, that must really slay you. But those ARE the "facts," and since you have pledged such strong allegiance to objective truth, I'm sure you'll be happy to plug those into a sunlight-free area of your personal data bank, stat.

jess said...

I'd also like to point out that part of the reason there's a CORRELATION between obesity and ill health is because of the way the medical establishment treats fat people, healthy or no. Thorn recently did a heartbreaking series of guest posts at Kate Harding's blog on this subject; Kate sums up here.

Correlation does not equal causation. I wish everybody learned this in the womb.

Sweet Tart said...

LOL, there is a bit of truth from 1of42 when he said,"Not eveyrone (sic) can easily control their weight." This is the understatement of the year! The evidence is very clear that diets don't work and that dieting makes people fatter. So why continue with flawed logic and thinking to try and force people to hurt themselves (diet) in order to make thin people feel better under the guise of improving people's health. If the powers that be were really interested in improving health, they would give up their obsession with weight and start researching ways to actually improve people's health no matter what their size. I am a personal trainer and have seen first hand the toll that weight obsession takes on people, especially women. I am just beginning to do the work necessary to change my own beliefs about weight that have poisoned my mind for too long. Too many women do all the "right things" and are still fat and then either blame themselves, or just stop caring about healthy living all together because it won't make them thin.

1of42 said...

meowser: Don't make personal comments about me. You don't know who I am, nor can you even really guess. Since you seem to want to know, I'm an approximately normal weight person who is competitive at a national level in an individual sport. I don't focus on my weight, nor do I focus on BF% or anything else - I keep myself fit to compete, and with that comes everything else. I try to eat relatively well, but don't punish myself over it, and certainly don't eat "egg whites and spirulina". Get a life and make an argument that doesn't involve trying to insinuate things about me personally.

You're right, I can't look at every overweight person and tell automatically that they eat badly. But I know, a great many of them do. Come on, you have to know it too. This is not really a debatable issue. Not every fat person eats badly, and not every thin person well. But as has been covered numerous times, more fat people eat badly than do thin people.

Regarding BMI values, yeah, the U- or J-shaped curve is well known. What's your point? Also, what's your point regarding mortality rates of fat women vs. men? It's well known that women have better health outcomes than men, across many weight ranges.

jess: I don't think so. Yes, often it takes longer to diagnose some illnesses in obese people because their obesity often colors diagnoses. So what? Same goes for smoking. If a long time smoker came in coughing blood, what's your first thought going to be? Here's a hint: probably not tuberculosis.

As for your heartbreaking guest posts, since you love your catch phrases, how about this one:

Statistic is not the plural of anecdote.


sweet tart: I never said fat people should diet. Fat people should try to eat healthy, attempt to get their caloric intake to a point where they're burning similar amounts to what they're eating, and start exercising on a regular enough basis to not be sedentary. The weight loss will either come or it won't, but I never suggested drastic measures are necessary if it doesn't - having done the above, even an overweight person would be healthy.

Harriet Brown said...

Gee, 1of42, I can't figure you out. You argue on the one hand for relying on statistics and evidence, but then you say things like "You're right, I can't look at every overweight person and tell automatically that they eat badly. But I know, a great many of them do. Come on, you have to know it too. This is not really a debatable issue. Not every fat person eats badly, and not every thin person well. But as has been covered numerous times, more fat people eat badly than do thin people."

Actually, I know no such thing, and neither do you. Can you recognize your own prejudice at work here? How exactly do you "know" this? You just, I don't know, look into their eyes and see a ghostly parade of everything they've eaten in the last week?

And from where do you get the info that "more fat people eat badly thin people"? You're in the land of assumptions here, my friend, and you know what they say about that: When you ASSUME you make an ASS out of U and ME.

jess said...

Why in god's name should any of us take you seriously when you don't even read the links we point you to? Not a damn thing in Kate or Thorn's posts were about illnesses taking longer to diagnose because of fat. They were about fat people being shamed and threatened out of the medical system. Reading comprehension: look into it.

Anonymous said...

By the way, if the United States have such horrible health because they are so fat, then why are most of us enjoying a lifespan of over 77 years?

Meowser said...

Dude, if someone went to the doctor coughing up blood -- yes, even a smoker -- you can bet your ass they'd test for tuberculosis first. And they should. For one thing, it's a communicable disease. For another, it costs almost nothing to do prelimimary testing for, unlike the extensive (and very costly) testing and biopsies that must be done to confirm a diagnosis of lung cancer.

And regardless of who you are or what your personal habits are, if you think moderate exercise and healthful moderate eating are enough to make almost anyone acceptably slender, then frankly, you are staggeringly and willfully stupid. In this thread alone you've been given multiple examples and links which blow your "thesis" clear out of the septic waters from whence it came, but you are desperately allergic to the information presented. And as such, I am done with troll patrol for the day. The rest of you can carry on as self-amusement warrants.

RioIriri said...

Since 1of42 seems to be allergic to clicking on links or reading books, let me inject a little bit of information here.

Let's go back to the grandpappy of bariatric research, Ancel Keys. In his studies, he found that obesity is not a risk factor for heart disease or premature deaths, even controlling for the effects of smoking. "The idea has been greatly oversold that the risk of dying prematurely or of having a heart attack is directly related to relative body weight," he said.

During Keys' Minnesota Starvation Study, he took some young, healthy men, put them on 1600cal/day diets, and monitored their well-being for six months. Their physical endurance dropped by half, their strength by 10%, and their reflexes became sluggish. Their resting metabolic rates declined by 40%, heart volume by 20%, pulses slowed, and body temperature dropped.

The men felt cold, tired, hungry, distracted, dizzy, achey, and had trouble sleeping. They lost interest in sex, and their testes shrank.

The psychological changes were profound--they developed "semistarvation neurosis", becoming nervous, anxious, apathetic, withdrawn, impatient, and depressed. Some engaged in self-mutilation. They became obsessed with food and eating, hoarded things, and had binge eating episodes.

Simply put, DIETS DON'T WORK. The human body is not a predictable machine. You put less fuel in, and the metabolism slows to accomodate the restricted intake. Expecting people to reduce their caloric intake for the sake of an aesthetic preference (because, remember, Keys found that fat doesn't affect mortality rates) is simply cruel.

It's really easy to sit back on your medium-sized butt and tell people to put themselves through the hell of weight loss, but if you are not one of us, you have absolutely NO idea what you are talking about. You think people should live a life of semistarvation neurosis, headaches, body aches, and loss of sexual desire so that they can be less fat? And you call that living? I don't THINK so.

Furthermore, if you think eating disorders are rare, and that the bombardment of anti-fat hysteria isn't affecting our young people badly enough to trigger EDs, then you have your head in the sand. It's worse than it ever has been. Kids are actually becoming afraid of food, thinking that they'll "catch" diabetes from a pancake.

To sum all this up, you have NOT looked at the research, and your expectation that fat people should lose weight "for their health" is misguided at best, and most likely actually mean-spirited. As for the junk food, most everybody I know eats junk food, and none of them do it to any degree greater than most other people. So, why is it that people like you will point to fat people and say that we must eat poorly, yet the skinny people who eat like a shrew with a tapeworm yet sit on the couch playing video games all day--these folks just don't figure into that math equation at all. Why is that? Hmm? Maybe there's more to it than you bloody think!

(FYI, Shrews eat pretty much constantly, barely stopping to sleep; they can't even stop in the wintertime, because they must keep eating just to satisfy their metabolism. They stop, they die. Keeping captive shrews is EXPENSIVE.)

Deja Pseu said...

I can't add much to the subtance of Riolriri's excellent comments, but will mention this:

When I was a kid, we had horses (my dad still does). We kept Quarter Horses at the time, which are known for being "easy keepers." This means that they can maintain or even gain weight on less food than some other breeds of horses. This was considered desirable in the 19th century West, when and where the breed was developed, because food could be scarce in the arid climate, and having a horse that wouldn't starve to death easily was a plus. The fact that certain breeds of horses needed more or less food per pound of body weight to maintain their weight was commonly understood among horse people, and not disputed.

Being a chubby kid, I used to joke that I was an "easy keeper" too; I ate the same food as my slimmer sister, but gained weight more easily and had more trouble losing it. (I inherited my mom's body type; she inherited my dad's.) I don't know why it's so easy for some folks to accept that weight, or tendencies to maintain a higher or lower weight, is genetic with horses (or with different breeds of dogs or cats) but not with people, unless of course it's that thin person we've all known at one time, who force-feeds themselves pies or peanut butter sandwiches in a futile attempt to gain weight. When it comes to a fast metablism, there's usually no problem getting people to acknowledge that the energy in/energy out "rule" doesn't apply. I don't know why it's so hard to get the same acknowledgement in the other direction.

carrie said...

1of42,

You said that "Fat people should try to eat healthy, attempt to get their caloric intake to a point where they're burning similar amounts to what they're eating, and start exercising on a regular enough basis to not be sedentary."

Actually, if you compare, fat people eat about as much as thin people. Their metabolisms, however, are different. You can have a slower metabolism by one of two ways: genetics or dieting. My guess is that there's usually both going on.

Fat people didn't get fat necessarily by eating too much. It's a difference in metabolism.

Weight loss is NOT a simple equation, where calories in = calories out, exercise for X minutes, subtract some mayo and poof! Your inner thin person comes out.

Oh, and the small number of EDs you were talking about? That's about 5% of the population. And eating disorders kill far more, far quickly than obesity.

1of42 said...

Last 2 posters: did you even read what I wrote? rioiriri made some decent points, but you two...

I NEVER SAID that fat people always eat more than thin people. From firsthand family experience, many fat people just have really slow metabolisms. Which is why I didn't say to eat less. I said to only eat as much energy as you use. That is a thing that takes into account metabolism - you burn more, you eat more, and vice versa. Doing that, weight will be maintained, or lost. It's basically that simple. It's hard, and very few people will be able to do it without bouncing back, but it's entirely possible.

RioIriri said...

You say "It's basically that simple" then say "It's hard". Er. Logic go boom.

The fact is, most people who are fat and not on the diet rollercoaster DO maintain their weight. The body adjusts to utilize intake one way or the other. This is all done automatically. It's something that we don't consciously control.

How about the prisoner study, where they took some thin guys and made them eat extreme amounts of food, some of them more then 10,000 calories/day? They gained around 20-25% body weight, which took SIX MONTHS of eating as much as they could every day.

After they gained the weight, their metabolisms increased so much that they needed 2700cal/day to stay that way. When the study ended, guess what happened? They were back to their normal weights within months and stayed there.

Your hypothalamus regulates your metabolism to maintain weight within a fairly narrow range. This range is different for different people.

Dieting seems to screw it up--you lose weight, you gain it back plus ten percent. It's almost like the body's saying, "Hey, we stored up X amount last time, and we were short, so let's store up X+10% this time and see if we're okay in the next famine."

Finally, everybody's freakin' different. I don't burn calories at the same rate as you do. And if you want an oversimplified example, okay: My car gets ~30mpg, even though it is larger than a Lamborghini that might get ~11mpg. How can that be? They have essentially the same basic design, but there are minute differences that change things. If you're comparing biological organisms, the differences are even more minute, and we don't even know what all of them are.

And, my last little thought is, if my doctor says that I'm healthy--that all the little tests and stats that they use to determine "health" are within the parameters, then there is absolutely NO purpose to me enduring the physical and emotional anguish of dieting to reduce my body fat. None. And if you'd like, I can give you his number to ask him what those parameters are. I generally tell smug skinny people that I'll compare cholesterol levels with them ANY day.

I usually win (it's like golf--lowest score wins).

Rachel said...

Sure, in the land of thin-nirvana calories in, calories out would be ever so simple. But in the real world full of genetic variances and biological and cultural variances, weight loss isn't so easy, is it?

I posted this link before, but perhaps you missed it... that and all the other posts others have tried to educate you with.

The thing about fat people is, most have heard the same arguments you preach 1of42. Many even believed it for a good long while. But then they dared to scratch the surface, which revealed a wealth of contradictory information about obesity and obese people. Suddenly, weight isn't a simple matter of calories ingested/calories burned.

Instead of going on the defensive, I challenge you to read up on the issues by authors who have opinions which do not vilify fat. If you're still of the same opinion afterwards, wonderful. At least you can say you've made an education deduction.

Rachel said...

Educated deduction, that is. I hate when my brain gets ahead of my fingers.

Deja Pseu said...

1of42: "Which is why I didn't say to eat less. I said to only eat as much energy as you use. That is a thing that takes into account metabolism - you burn more, you eat more, and vice versa. Doing that, weight will be maintained, or lost. It's basically that simple"

But you're missing the point here. If weight is primarily genetically determined, then the body will speed up or slow down metabolism to maintain it's desired weight range regardless of how much or little one eats or exercises. Try to reduce weight below the body's setpoint range, and the result is the type of semi-starvation physical and mental response rioiriri describes from the Ancel Keyes experiments. And if one's body is genetically disposed to maintain weight within a certain range, why would we think that range wouldn't be the healthiest for that individual's body?

Harriet Brown said...

1of42,
I guess my question to you is why. why focus your entire like (because that's what it takes for most people) on balancing that energy in, energy out? why make it such a priority?

and why suffer--because it does cause suffering of various kinds. when i got married i was five two and weighed 112--"perfect" according to the charts in my dr's office. i'd dieted for 4 months to get to that weight. (i wanted to walk down the aisle in my mother's wedding dress, but that's a whole nother conversation.) but to stay at 112, which i did for several years, i had to be willing to be hungry all the time. all the time. i always felt ravenously hungry; i had to learn to to live with that, and with the feelings of deprivation that came from constantly ignoring that hunger. i often felt sick, shaky, and low-energy.

when i finally let go of the need to hit those numbers on the doctor's chart, i gained weight. but i felt sooo much better. it was clear to me then and now that to be that thin is an artificial condition for my body, one that's nearly impossible to maintain. i am far healthier now at a higher weight than i was at 112. i've had to adjust my thinking on this subject to match what my body needs. i'm guessing that's why most "thin" people don't get here--they don't need to. their physical selves matches up with their mental notion of what those physical selves should be. and hey, more power to them! but for me, at least, i have to find a way to live that feels OK, and this is it.

1of42, even if we took as true everything you allude too--that fat is bad for you on every level, causes heart disease, diabetes, cancer, you name it--it still wouldn't change the fact that weight is not for many people something controllable.

Rose said...

It's my experience that those who believe that obesity is a choice will argue that point until the cows come home. If you point them to the countless studies that prove them wrong, they'll point you to the 50 articles posted last week on MSNBC that repeat the "party line" of calories in calories out and hence justify his position. Keep in mind that the propaganda machine is on his side, not science mind you, but the propaganda machine. It's a powerful machine.

Therefore I don't want to argue science with 1of42, I want to engage him on the following: If everything you believe about the science of weigh loss is absolutely correct, why do you think that people's eating/working out habits are any of your business? Do you really believe that your health care bills/insurance premiums and personal income taxes will decrease if people become thinner? You think those businesses will pass any of the savings back to the consumer? Do they EVER pass savings on back to the consumer?

In the 1970s & 80s the middle-class believed that kicking the poor off welfare would result in that money going back into their pockets (not to mention the warm feeling of moral superiority they felt for being middle-class instead of poor) Now the middle-class are more vulnerable than ever. Guess it didn't work out according to plan. I'm pretty sure this won't either. So we can either take on the health care industry and call them on their greed, a system that puts profit ahead of health. Or we can push the right-wing concept of "personal responsibility" as the real cause of our health care crisis. And in the process scapegoat the very poorest Americans (as there are more poor people who are obese than there are wealthier folks) as the root of all our health woes.

The health care industry is a large and daunting target. As every school yard bully knows, overweight and obese people are easy targets for cruelty and blame. You do know what taking on those more vulnerable than you, while avoiding confrotations with the powerful is called? It's called cowardice, and there's unfortunately, an epedemic of cowards in this nation. That's the crisis we really need to take on!

Harriet Brown said...

Touché, Rose!

You are so right on.

RioIriri said...

Harriet, I linked to this post:
http://rioiriri.blogspot.com/2007/07/missing-point-or-deliberately-obtuse.html

Harriet Brown said...

Very cool. Thanks, Rioiriri.