This whole you-can't-be-fat-and-fit, fat-is-always-unhealthy thing is really bugging me. Because really, what's the point?
The debate is beginning to remind me of my second-grade friend Linda Read, who had just learned in catechism that people like me--i.e., Jews--were going to burn in hell forever. And because she was my friend, she tried to convert me, of course, to spare me the suffering she knew was coming my way someday and forever.
Now let's say that guys like Walter Willett and Paul Raeburn (see previous post) are like my friend Linda. They really really believe that people like me--i.e., fat people--are going to health hell. Either we're going to get terrible diseases or we're just going to keel over at a tender age. (I once listened in astonishment to a neighbor talking about a certain fat actress on TV: "I can't even stand to watch her because I just know she's going to drop dead at any second!") So they set out to convert us.
But they know that it's not that simple. They know, for instance, that for most people dieting does not work, for a variety of reasons. Now here's where I really don't get it. Because you'd think the next tactic would be to encourage positive behaviors like fitness. Some fat people will lose weight that way; some won't. But we do know that being fit is a good thing no matter what your weight.
So why, then, do we get drivel like Raeburn's piece in Scientific American on how you can't be fat and fit?
Is the point to to shame us out of getting out there on our bikes and exercising? (I thought the photo at the front of that piece was exploitative.) Is the point to make us throw up our hands and say, "Well, no reason to bother exercising, since the only thing that counts is losing weight."
It feels so disingenuous. It feels like the point, such as it is, is fat bashing. So what if you're a triathlete--if you weigh 300 pounds then you can't possibly be healthy, so don't even bother.
And this bothers me far more than the other kind of health crusaders, the ones who are really like my friend Linda Read. Who worry for our fat souls, as it were, and want to save us.
These guys just want us to go to health hell already. And that makes me mad.