Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Obesity, Buffets and Political Correctness

Dr. Wes, who is of normal weight, notes that at a recent hotel buffet, he was one of the skinniest guys in the room:

So the next morning we came downstairs for breakfast. It was remarkable how many people there were obese. Not just a little overweight. I mean obese. It was striking. And the place was packed to capacity. Tons of people (I mean that literally) having their breakfasts of biscuits and gravy, sweet rolls, cereal, french toast, orange juice, coffee, eggs and sausage, before heading out for the day. I wondered if others noticed the same phenomenon. Now I'm no anorexic, but for me to be one of the skinniest guys there was striking - the average body mass index there seemed to exceed the national deficit.


Dr. Wes also notes that doctors are now being told not to tell kids that they are fat. According to this USA Today article, the CDC has decided that to refer to kids as obese or fat could mislabel or "traumatize" them.

Are our kids such hot house flowers that the truth about their condition is enough to send them over the edge? If so, their obesity, at risk of being overweight, fat or lard etc. is the least of our problems.

Update: Eden at Justonebite has some more thoughts on the expense of healthy food as well as the time needed to prepare healthier foods. Just this morning, Glenn and I were discussing using minute rice for dinner instead of the slow cooked brown rice which is supposedly better for you. The reason for the minute rice? Neither one of us wants to take the time to cook the real stuff for 45 minutes. To tell you the truth, I am absent-minded (i.e. surfing the internet lost in blogland) and usually end up burning the rice and/or starting a fire. Then the meal is ruined and I feel really stupid whereas with the minute rice, I just pop it in the microwave and push one button and feel like a chef.

Update II: It seems that the comments about those who are overweight are reflective of the dichotomy in our society between those who are prejudiced against the overweight and those who think people should be treated as human beings regardless of their size. I have witnessed people who are so fearful and prejudiced against the overweight that they cease to see them as human and think that they should lose weight before presenting themselves to the world. This is hogwash.

Is being overweight a health issue? Maybe, but so what? Is that any reason to make cruel remarks to people's face about their condition or pay someone less because they are overweight? People are so concerned with appearance that their manners and humanity have gone out the window--maybe we should get some of it back. Perhaps a little less emphasis on looks and a little more on treating others with some decency is more warranted than accusing others of being an eyesore. That cruel behavior, in my opinion, is worse than weighing 500 pounds. Does this mean that doctors and professionals should not bring up weight issues if it is for health reasons? Of course they should. However, that is a different issue then accusing others of being morally bankrupt, lazy or just plain slothful just for weighing too much. One could say the same about those who treat others like trash, just because they can't regulate their cruel behavior.

108 Comments:

Blogger RightGirl said...

You can't spank a bad kid. You can't call a fat kid fat. Bullying is zero-tolerated. No child left behind. Everybody gets a medal - there are no winners or losers...

Kids aren't just hot house flowers. They are being raised to be completely incabable of ever being let down or disappointed. And in the long run, far more will be spent on therapy (or worse yet: drugs and alcohol) to cope with things that should have been taken care of before puberty.

RG

10:27 AM, July 04, 2006  
Blogger ScottG said...

RightGirl is right. But, is it just happening, or is it planned? Soon many people will be incapable of taking care of themselves and who will they turn to? The almighty state of course!

The great divide about to shatter America will not be between those on the right and left or rich and poor, but those who can do and those who must rely on the "kindness of strangers" to even survive. Imagine a whole country of NOLAs....

10:40 AM, July 04, 2006  
Blogger Helen said...

RightGirl,

As Scottg said, you are so right. I am concerned that we are raising a nation of kids who have no interest or understanding of personal responsibility, have no idea how to deal with adversity except to look to others to provide--mainly the state. Perhaps obesity is just a symptom of a society who would rather wait for someone else to rescue them than to stand on their own two feet and take a step forward to handle their own problems and life's hurdles.

10:51 AM, July 04, 2006  
Blogger Sissy Willis said...

Send in the Marines! :)

11:14 AM, July 04, 2006  
Blogger David said...

Once upon a time, the CDC was focused on the curing and prevention of diseases. Now, it seems increasingly involved with pop psychology ("traumatizing") and political correctness.

Slowly but surely, all forms of knowledge are being reduced to "social studies."

11:41 AM, July 04, 2006  
Blogger Baronger said...

*raises eyebrow*

Are you allowed to call kids 'hot house flowers' anymore????

I think we have gone way beyond coddling.

Also don't forget that we can't use red pens in grading. The truth may hurt a bit in the short run. But remember if you aren't telling your kids the truth you are merely telling them lies. Lies can end up hurting worse then the truth.

11:43 AM, July 04, 2006  
Blogger ronin1516 said...

I was so 'traumatised" when the cardiologist told me me I was "morbidly obese", that I went home and curled up into a fetal position, and crided and cried!! NOT!!!!!
I got off my fat butt, started going to the gym, stopped eating at all-you-can-eat buffet restaurants, and lost weight. Lots of it, 118lbs till date.

What kind of stupidity has overcome America? Are Oprah and Dr Phil turned us into a nation of snivelling whiners? I sure as hell hope not.

11:51 AM, July 04, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I weigh only 498, but I feel I'm in prime shape. I can kick Dr. Phil's ass and probably Doprah too, but not sure about her.

12:29 PM, July 04, 2006  
Blogger ScottG said...

Send in the Marines! :)

Send them to the Marines!

Fixed it for you Sissy!

1:46 PM, July 04, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A book recommendation for anyone interested in this topic:

Hard America, Soft America: Competition vs. Coddling and the Battle for the Nation's Future

It's by the always-worth-reading Michael Barone.

2:19 PM, July 04, 2006  
Blogger Spunky said...

Dr. Helen you are so right when you said,

I am concerned that we are raising a nation of kids who have no interest or understanding of personal responsibility, have no idea how to deal with adversity except to look to others to provide--mainly the state...

So true! But that is because we are a nation of parents who have no interest or understanding of personal responsibility. We have Oursourced our parenting
to the state and its agents in the schools.

2:21 PM, July 04, 2006  
Anonymous Brian said...

Have to partially disagree with you, Helen, because of the way the nation already treats obesity. American culture acts as if obesity were a moral failing rather than a medical problem. For a lot of us, losing weight is hard.

I'm obese, and have seen doctors about both my weight and other things (usually flu bugs and such.) The reactions come in two forms:

1: Lose weight or die! (I'm 23, and my bloodwork is healthy. This rings hollow.)
2: (From the weight-loss doctor) "Here's a diet that'll make you lose weight." It was completely unworkable while working an 8:30-6 job, and made me so miserable that I had to stop doing it after a week.

Kids know if they're fat. The last thing they need is a major authority figure like a doctor making them feel like shit as well. "Constructive, long-term solutions and guidance" are exactly what kids need, but the danger is that doctors start with scare tactics. Because that's what doctors do.

3:00 PM, July 04, 2006  
Blogger dadvocate said...

It seems a lot of kids are fat because their parents are fat. If Mom and Dad buy junk food, eat out too much, and are couch potatoes, chances are the kids are too.

As DrHelen and others say too much responsiblity is abdicated to the government, etc. to "protect" us. The government is notoriously ineffective in most areas.

Anyone with half a brain knows which foods are good for you and which are bad, that cigarettes kill and exercise is healthy. What it takes is action. Instead of having 5 TVs in your house like many people I know, use that money to buy mountain bikes or kayaks or camping and hiking equipment. As a nation we have lost our enjoyment of physical activity.

3:24 PM, July 04, 2006  
Anonymous the fat man cometh said...

once again the blame for the fat is being put up a moral laxity of fat kids.. my dad was big, all the people of my dads side are big.. ok fat.. and we are all rather healthy, you can be fat and healthy, i am.. but my bp is normal, my cholesterol is normal, my at rest heart rate is 72. everything medically is normal about me. i just happen to be fat.. there is such a thing as fat and healthy..

remember all those years ago all the anorexia/bullimia stories, how kids were DYING to be thin.. now we are getting governments telling up become thin and become better.

when everyone who has dieted, knows they are unlikely to work, and if you do lose you will start to put the weight back on and then some..

dadvocate i have see thin people eat more junk food, and do even less, and they are never called couch potatoes.. is being thin the only thing thats important, do you only have worth if your thin, doesnt spirituality, mentality mean anything.. unless your thin.. how many kids will be traumatised due to adverts, teachers, doctors, telling them they are fat, and actually bringing about deaths, due to anorexia or bullimia.

yes eat healthily, but my genetics say i am fat.. shouldnt people be happy in themselves first and foremost. attitude has a lot to do with health, if you are so paranoid about eating one extra calorie of food, then whats your life worth. always watching and counting..

3:42 PM, July 04, 2006  
Blogger Helen said...

Brian,

I do not see being fat as a moral failing--in fact, I am not sure that being somewhat overweight is that bad for you--some studies show up to a point--extra weight is healthy--not dangerous. Probably being morbidly obese can be a problem, but so can being too thin. My point in this post is that why beat around the bush with kids. There is no reason for scare tactics but there is also a reason sometimes to call a cigar a cigar. Kids are not that fragile and if they are, frankly, some direct guidance and talk about their weight might help, not hurt, but only if their weight is a health problem.

3:48 PM, July 04, 2006  
Blogger BobH said...

To Brian:

I think that you're wrong in several different ways.

1. By calling obesity a "medical problem" you are stating that the "locus of control" is outside the obese person. Medicalizing conditions, particularly those with a large behavioral component, has always struck me as a work program for medical professionals and mental health professionals, and a really bad idea.

2. Emphasizing the personal responsibility of obesity by calling it a "moral failing" makes it clear that the locus of control is with the obese person. Obesity results when too many calories are consumed and too few are expended due to exercise, meaning that it has a huge behavioral component. Perhaps you could ponder the problem and its solution during a long jog or fast walk before going to work. Regular weight lifting helps too, but in a different way. (Like you, I come from a fat family. I'm the same weight that I was as a teenager, but my percentage body fat is about half.)

3. I suspect that what you call "scare tactics" are what I would call "constructive, long-term solutions". You seem annoyed that your doctor is unable to give you some pills that will allow you to lose weight with no work or deprivation on your part? Trust me - medical researchers are working on such pills, because there's lots of money to be made by selling them. Until they are developed, maybe you should keep changing doctors until you can find one who will tell you what you want to hear.

3:49 PM, July 04, 2006  
Blogger Mercurior said...

exactly fat man, as another self proclaimed fat man, all this paranoia about being fat, has a ring of the puritans. everything enjoyable must be sinful, eating therefore must be sinful as people are fat.. therefore they have a moral laxity

check these sites out, before you just to the erroneous conclusion that all fat people are lazy.

http://www.tcsdaily.com/article.aspx?id=071603B

A study in the September 2000 issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition actually found sugar in the morning resulted in better mental performance in children and adults.

Shunning dietary fat seems to make sense, in a simplistic sort of way: fat makes you fat. Except the data simply doesnt support the link. As total fat consumption among American adults dropped from 1965, obesity rates soared. In children, the evidence is absent, as well. Cara Ebbeling, Ph.D., and colleagues at the Division of Endocrinology at Childrens Hospital Boston questioned the relationship between dietary fat and fatness in the Aug. 10, 2002, issue of Lancet, noting: Findings of epidemiological studies do not consistently show an association between dietary fat and adiposity in children and young adults.

http://www.tcsdaily.com/article.aspx?id=072203E

**A series of studies of media in 1986 led by Brett Silverstein, Ph.D., found diet food advertisements targeting women outnumbered those to men by 63 to 1; and articles dealing with thin body images and diets appeared 96 times in womens magazines to every 8 times in mens.

A populace absorbed with desires to be slim and repulsed by fat is obviously advantageous for the diet industry, but generates a hoard of harmful repercussions for consumers. Indeed, multiple studies published in the International Journal of Obesity-Related Metabolic Disorders have found that those who are thin or whove lost weight not only increase their risk of premature death, they have the highest risk. In short, those who seek culturally ideal bodies will die earlier than heavier people

A long-term study by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), published in a 1998 Journal of Public Health, for example, found that those with BMIs of 20 or less, or with even modest 10 percent weight losses after age 50, have higher premature death rates than those overweight, even when other variables such as smoking are taken into account. A clinical study at the University of Maryland published in the December 1999 Journal of American Geriatrics Society, found voluntary weight loss in mature women, no matter what they weigh, appears especially dangerous, quadrupling their likelihood of dying prematurely.

Fat prejudice, formed by 8 years of age, is the strongest prejudice found among children, who then shun their overweight peers. A 1998 study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health found 96 percent of overweight adolescent girls reported negative experiences because of their weight -- hurtful comments, derogatory names, teasing, jokes -- that made them feel ashamed and humiliated and crushed their self-confidence.**


no one mentions the dangers of being too thin, thats ok, thin is the new good. fat is evil.. shouldnt we be combatting the need to demonise people for being different

**At the elementary level, children learn that it is acceptable to dislike and deride fatness, according the Report on Size Discrimination by the National Education Association. From nursery school through college, fat students experience ostracism, discouragement, and sometimes violence. Often ridiculed by their peers and discouraged by even well-meaning education employees, fat students develop low self-esteem and have limited horizons. They are deprived of places on honor rolls, sports teams, and cheerleading squads, and are denied letters of recommendation. The promising futures of these young people are hindered immeasurably**


and theres ,more

Birth weight: According to CDC data, theres been a frightening increase in low and very low birth weight babies the past couple decades -- with low birth weight births increasing 11.8 percent and very low birth weights by 24.3 percent from 1980 to 2000. Many obstetricians and neonatologists attribute this trend to the obsession with weight and dieting among females. One in four of these very low birth weight babies dont live to see their first birthdays, many more suffer impaired development and disabilities that extend far beyond infancy. A large body of research, such as that headed by Drs. Stephen Gardner, Gary C. Curhan, Bryndix Birgisdottir, Daniel Lackland and G.P. Ravelli, has found that undernutrition during fetal development and early infancy activates a host of permanent physiological changes that promote fat formation**

A study of more than 400 physicians, another of 100 doctors and clinic workers, and another of 586 nurses found two-thirds believed fat people lacked self control and had emotional problems and a third thought them lazy. Overall, obese patients were viewed as unintelligent, unsuccessful, inactive and weak-willed. Almost half of nurses agreed they felt uncomfortable caring for obese patients and a third preferred not to at all**

read these sites,
http://www.largesse.net/handouts.html and you will see you are creating death due to you unhealthy obsession with being THIN.

3:55 PM, July 04, 2006  
Anonymous Brian said...

Bobh - You're very wrong on all 3 points.

1: The locus of control is not completely on the obese person. There are plenty of people who don't have to do a damn thing and can stay reasonably thin, and there are plenty of people who can go on starvation diets and take forever to lose weight. Science backs me up. It's a medical problem in the same way that, say, cancer is a medical problem. Sure you can do something to reduce the likelihood, but there's also a lot you can't do.

2: Nonsense. If straight calorie consumption and expenditure were the solution, then calorie-restrictive diets would always work. The human metabolic system is a hell of a lot more complicated than that.

3: Actually, I'd settle for a doctor who realizes that I have to live in the real world, and prescribed a livable diet without passing judgment. Of course, this is typical--if a fat person criticizes the current cultural attitude, the criticism is met with personal insults.

Bobh's attitude is exactly my problem with the whole issue--there is a definite part of the population that seems to think that all fat people are fat because they eat too much junk food, and are just obviously sinful. It always has to come with a judgment.

If obesity is a health problem, treat it like a health problem--nonjudgmentally and with an eye towards solving the problem in whatever way we can. But that's clearly not the way we're treating the problem, is it?

Helen - Do you really think that doctors are only going to make an issue of it if it's a health problem? Remember what the APA's recommended in the past, such as asking kids to report their parents' gun ownership. I just don't trust American doctors not to abuse their position of power here.

5:20 PM, July 04, 2006  
Anonymous Brian said...

One other note--the diet I was prescribed was essentially starvation--2 oz. lean meat in the morning, 6 oz. lean meat at lunch, 8 oz. lean meat at dinner, and that's it. Sure, you'll go completely insane after 2 weeks unless your life is completely satisfactory otherwise, but you'll lose weight! Shouldn't some psychologists join in the work here? After all, the main reason diets don't work is that people can't stick to them. One would think that solving that problem would be more important than focusing on the nutrition side.

5:24 PM, July 04, 2006  
Blogger Helen said...

Brian,

What kind of diet is that--I would starve to death! Weight watchers has a good and healthy program that adjusts calories for one's size etc. You may be right about doctors, but I would hope that the children for whom weight is a serious issue would get some guidance and assistance. I found Weight Watchers to be very helpful when I needed to lose weight but frankly, after reading Mercurior's info on the hazards of weighing too little, I am going to go grill myself a thick steak. Hope everyone is having a fun 4th.

5:51 PM, July 04, 2006  
Anonymous Teri said...

Are our kids such hot house flowers that the truth about their condition is enough to send them over the edge?

No, but they are stubborn enough and smart enough that if they have the slightest notion that you are trying to make them do something that they will want to do the opposite.

I took my 100-lb overweight 14 year old daughter to her pediatrician for a physical, the first in several years. She gained most of that weight over the last three years, after leaving elementary school, which meant riding the bus instead of walking and no more recess. We didn't realize what was happening to her until it was really far gone.

We've been seeing this pediatrician for about ten years and I have a lot of respect for him. I was very surprised when, after taking all her vitals, he praised her for good blood pressure, good this and good that, and said "you are overweight but otherwise healthy." He made some general comments about eating well and getting daily exercise and that was it. I had been kind of hoping that he would scare the bejesus out of her, but no.

Fast forward a few months. I have been on my own-creation diet since February, gently restricting calories while using a pedometer to ensure that I keep up a reasonable level of exertion (5000 steps a day or thereabouts). My aim is to reduce calories by about 300 per day and increase exertion by about 200 per day, in order to lose between one-half to one pound a week. I've lost 17 pounds so far, just about 3/4 pound per week on average.

I've been hassled by my own doctor, who thinks I ought to be aiming for two pounds a week (I also started out 100 pounds overweight). I basically told her to leave me alone; I realize that it will take me about two years to lose it all at this rate, but I decided I wanted to lose the weight, and I decided that I wanted to lose it slow and comfortably and keep it off. I would rather be mildly uncomfortable for a few years than ravenously hungry for a year.

I told her my mother lost 100 lbs on Weight Watchers in the 1970s (yes, this runs in the family) and struggled mightily to keep it off, eating on a structured maintenance program. She did very well for a long time but gained it all back about eight years later after my younger brother was killed in a car accident. I don't blame her a bit, but I don't want to do it that way.

I'm already dealing with high levels of stress due to a disabled child and economic problems because my husband's career was destroyed while he was trying to care for our son. I have to do a low-stress, gentle diet if I do any at all.

My point, and I do have one, is this: after watching me lose weight slowly but surely for the last five months, and hearing my husband's approving comments (17 pounds does make a discernable difference) she came over and started rubbing my shoulders, and said, "Boy you really are losing weight, your shoulders are all bony."

The next day she told me she wanted to start counting calories and asked me to write down what she had eaten that day.

So far, in the last ten days, she has been absolutely rigorous about everything she has eaten. She has lost four pounds (typical when just starting any diet) and seems quite determined to keep at it.

I am very sure that if I had tried to shame her into it, nag her into it, cajole her into (well, I did try that) or in any way force this upon her she would have been as miserable as I was when my parents forced my sister and I to go on Weight Watchers (to lose the horrible 12 pounds that we were overweight). Not only that, she would have made me and everyone else in the house miserable. And she likely would have gained weight instead of losing any.

Because I left her to decide on her own and do it on her own she OWNS this regimen. A little competition doesn't hurt either -- she will probably be able to lose weight easier and faster than I will because her metabolism isn't screwed up from decades of messing with it like mine is. (She keeps gleefully announcing that she has more calories left at the end of the day and she is losing better than I am, and I keep "sorrowfully" having to agree with her. Ha ha.)

I realize that a doctor scaring her wouldn't have done a bit of good, and knowing her, it would have been absolutely counterproductive. I'm glad he was very mild with her during that visit. I have a lot of hope for the future.

6:21 PM, July 04, 2006  
Blogger dadvocate said...

fat man cometh - I didn't make any implication regarding the worth of "fat" people. I simply stated in so many words that the most common cause of being overweight is taking in more calories than one uses.

Yes, there is a hereditary factor. There are heavy and skinny people in my family but they all resemble previous generations. But many overweight people live very sedate lifestyles. Taking in 100 calories too much a day can add up to 10 pounds a year.

7:56 PM, July 04, 2006  
Anonymous stephen said...

I would just like to say as some one who lost 130+ pounds that the locus of control IS within the persons control. yes genetics matter but not as much as other controllable factors. everyone one in my family except my mother is overweight. the key is motivation. with motivation you can have a diet that is extremely hard to do. I ate 1000 calories a day for 4 1/2 months and exercised 1.5 hours a day 6 days a week for 7 months. I was able to do this while in college. I found scottg's post funny because my motivation for my weight loss was to be able to join the Marines.
further telling kids they are fat is GOOD!!!. although i hated it at the time, i now realize that being bugged about my weight helped me.
All the points about weight not being bad for you strike me as hollow because they are the same ones i used when i was fat. Lets face it, the medical evidence is overwhelming, being fat is bad for you and increases risk for many medical problems (in addition to the ones we always hear about what about the damage you do to your joints?).

11:49 PM, July 04, 2006  
Anonymous stephen said...

sorry that my comment is so disjointed, i have been up for over 45 hours lol

11:51 PM, July 04, 2006  
Anonymous Vicki said...

I don't think we are raising a generation of house flowers. I think we already did that, and they are raising *their* kids the same way. Consider that grown women have filed complaints against doctors who told them they were fat. (Okay, I don't know how many have done that, but I know we've heard of one or two cases in the past year, or so, with doctors being told to be nice.) And what about the woman who sued McDonald's because the coffee cup she put in her lap, in her car, sloshed and burned her? What burns me is that these people win their lawsuits!

Sniveling and whining aren't new, a failure to acknowledge and accept personal responsibility is not new. They did drive me out of teaching in a few short years.

12:50 AM, July 05, 2006  
Anonymous fat man cometh said...

dont worry dadvocate, i know, been reading your prior posts, but the problem is people use your same ideas to justify it, fat = slothful = sin. i have been called lazy, i walk 6 miles a week, i take my 2 dogs out, i work in the garden, my system is as healthy as it can be medically speaking, but somehow i am still morally diseased, because i accept myself for me, and it makes me able to accept others too.

teri, i was always told a loss of 2lbs in a week was healthy, anymore and you can have worse medical conditions than obesity.

the problem is, people try to make everyone into the same size. if you feel like you need to lose weight thats ok, but wouldnt it be more productive to teach acceptence of yourself, rather than fear of fat.

3:49 AM, July 05, 2006  
Blogger Mercurior said...

thanks dr helen, this is the thing that gets me, its all about the overweight, nothing about underweight. a little of what you fancy does you good.

how has it become ok to discriminate against fat people, you cant due to race, religion etc etc etc.. but you can when they are fat. and it is discrimination, but it causes more problems, more suicide attempts due to being "FAT". but then again the diet industry and it is an industry makes over $30 billion a year.. so of course they want more people to be termed fat and pressured to go on diets.

accept yourself, and you accept others. as fat man said

3:53 AM, July 05, 2006  
Anonymous the professor said...

from one of those sites mercurior put up, its really opened my eyes, and i thought it might be of interest to you dr H **Even as early as 1952, the Mayo Clinic found that fat people who stayed fat had a better chance of surviving a coronary than slim people or those who tried to diet. Numerous similar findings were found during the 1960s, before dieting became pervasive.**

4:11 AM, July 05, 2006  
Blogger jw said...

Just some thoughts:

Kids are, I think, a lot tougher than modern thinking allows for. Over protecting them is probably as bad as abusing them.

Winston Churchill was fat, smoked and drank too much: He lived to be 91.

Cousteau, in his first expedition to the Antarctic (which was before dry-suits), had to feed his divers 15,000 calories each day just to maintain body weight. If you are fat, scuba dive in EXTREMELY cold water ... and lose a few weeks of normal dieting each and every day.

4:12 AM, July 05, 2006  
Blogger Spider63 said...

Check out these obese fat kids no doubt they wish someone would help them.

6:17 AM, July 05, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sure there are SOME people who can trace their fatitude to genetics (just watching the Little Rascals - filmed during the depression - is all the proof you need).

But for every obese person that has a real excuse, there are now at least 10 others who have only themselves to blame.

When i was in high school in the early 80s, the "skinny teen" was typical. Now they are rare. What's typical now is rolls of fat spilling over the top of low-rise jeans, muffin top style.

So unless there is a fat virus that turned up in the last 25 years, a little personal responsibility will go a long way.

7:31 AM, July 05, 2006  
Anonymous Thor said...

I am a physician and wanted to point out a few simple facts to rebut the "I'm fat, but I'm healthy" nonsense that comes up whenever obesity is discussed online:

1. Fine, your cholesterol, blood pressure and pulse are normal. But what about your glucose tolerance? In other words, whether you are diabetic or prediabetic - this is not nearly as easy simple to diagnose and monitor as your cholesterol, but is probably more deadly than hypertension or elevated cholesterol. Diabetes is horrible and responsible for a lot of the heart, kidney, and other diseases that affect overweight people.
2. Being overweight places tremendous stress on your joints - stay obese and you WILL have arthritis by the time you are middle-aged, and then exercise will be even more difficult.
3. Anorrhexia/bulemia is not NEARLY as unhealthy (or as common) as obesity. Not even close. I've seen MAYBE one person die from anorrhexia in the 10 years I've been practicing. Not to endorse it, but this argument that "calling people fat backfires, and just turns them into anhorrexics, which is even worse" is just pure B.S. rationalization.
4. Look, I'm not talking about someone who is 20 pounds overweight, which is not necessarily a big deal. I'm talking people who are truly obese, like 50, 70, 100 pounds overweight...

7:43 AM, July 05, 2006  
Blogger ronin1516 said...

Folks - have you noticed that a lot of the morbidly obese kids one sees are African-Americans? One of my friends is a US Coast Guard helo pilot, and was deployed to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina hit. And he said that while he and his comrades were flying missions, picking up stranded people from rooftops, they pulled up a lot of obese women, with obese kids, say, like a 400lb woman with 2 150lb 7 or 8 year old kids!!!

Even around my town, I see way many morbidly obese, African-American people, than of any other race. I dont see too many overweight Chinese or Koreans. Have seen a few very fat Indians. in fact, I was was one of them myself a while back. I was 308lbs at 5'7". Since then, I have dropped down to 190lbs, and am looking to lose another 20 or 25 lbs, and increase more muscle mass and loose some more fat.

8:47 AM, July 05, 2006  
Blogger Nick said...

Normally I wouldn't put such a blatent plug in for my own blog... but it seems right here. I'm actually fairly experienced at the weight loss thing... having lost more than 80 lbs several years ago and keeping it off successfully. I'm now finally getting around to blogging about dieting and weight loss, mostly focused around what I did to lose weight. I have a category on my blog devoted to it here.

I've also written something which seems especially fitting here (based on some of the other comments) on the difference between needing to lose weight and wanting to lose weight.

9:51 AM, July 05, 2006  
Blogger Atticus said...

How about if we let the doctors and the parents decide how to handle the discussion about a child's weight? The way to handle it will depend heavily on the age of the child, the personalities of child and parents, the relationship between child and parents. Perhaps those closest to the situation need to figure out how to approach the topic. I know it's a lot of fun to get all excited and declare that the world is coming to an end, but couldn't we try to rely on good sense once in awhile?

10:35 AM, July 05, 2006  
Blogger BobH said...

To ronin1516

As I recall, among women, there is an inverse correlation between body mass index (BMI) and socioeconomic status (SES). Otherwise stated, the lower in SES a woman is, the more likely that she is to be morbidly obese. (This correlation doesn't hold for men.) And it appears that these morbidly obese women are raising morbidly obese children.

As somebody who is fascinated by the way people attempt to manage others' perceptions of them, I find this whole topic intensely interesting. Somebody once commented that "While you're trying to manipulate your environment, your environment is trying to manipulate you."

10:52 AM, July 05, 2006  
Anonymous Teri said...

Fat man cometh, I do not dispute that doctors think that 2 lbs a week is healthy, but it is not the right approach for me.

Eating 1000 calories a day less than what my body wants is stressful and makes me unhappy. Eating 500 a day less is slightly annoying but the results make me happy.

10:55 AM, July 05, 2006  
Anonymous craichead said...

On doctors not telling kids they're obese.

I think this demonstrates well the huge difference in teaching people empty "self esteem" vs substantive "self acceptance."

By that I mean, if you continually teach someone that they're, say, physically beautiful and healthy despite being overweight to boost their self-esteem, odds are they will remain overweight and attribute the problem to "other people" who are presumably shallow and mean.

On the other hand teach them self-acceptance like, "you're overweight, most people find that unattractive and it's unhealthy. Now here's what you need to do about it."

We seem to have lost the very important difference in meaning between accountability and blame.

11:22 AM, July 05, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The doctors need to be advising, educating, and consulting with the parents of these children. I have the utmost respect for the medical profession (most of them, anyway), and a deep appreciation for the intuitive and wise advise of the pediatrician my children had. That said, I do not believe that a doctor who spends about 10 minutes once a year at a checkup has any way of knowing enough about that child's temperament to make this decision for the parents, i.e. whether and how to tell the child he is obese.

12:01 PM, July 05, 2006  
Blogger Rizzo said...

I don't mean to disparage people who are overweight or obese. If you are, and you're happy/secure with that, more power to you. To each their own. I personally don't care as long as I don't have to sit next to you on an airplane or at the ballpark (although usually, it seems, I do).

But, who are we kidding here? Of course being obese has to do with eating too much and not being active enough. That's all there is to it. Sure, a medical condition/genetics may account for some of it in some people, but we, as a society, simply eat too much and are not active enough. And when I mean active, I don't mean a casual 1 mile daily stroll. I mean something where you get your heart rate up and break a sweat.

Don't get me wrong, I don't think obese people are necessarily lazy and/or self-indulgent. Hell, I'm guilty of both of those things at times. I see plenty of overweight people at the gym who never lose weight but believe they are accomplishing something by simply spending time strolling along on a treadmill. And, in our society, it's hard not to overeat. Portion sizes are ridiculous, and the amount of nutritionally worthless, yet high-calorie foods that are available is immense (think Dorito's, Cheeto's, etc.).

If you want to lose weight, you need to do two things: break a sweat once in awhile and avoid eating large amounts of the type of junk that you probably eat right now.

If you don't want to lose weight, then, hey, have a good time and enjoy yourself.

But could we please quit fooling ourselves here?

12:13 PM, July 05, 2006  
Anonymous Teri said...

Dr. Helen, re your update: try a rice cooker and Basmati rice. A cheap rice cooker (ours is ten years old) lets you put in rice and water and walk away till it's done in about 40 minites. Won't burn unless you leave it there for three or four days (and then it just gets crusty, doesn't actually burn).

Basmati rice is fragrant and is the most nutritious non-brown rice we have found - it actually has fiber, which white rice does not, but does not have the earnest chewy do-gooder nature of brown rice.

It's available in my town very cheaply at Costco - $10 for a 20-pound bag, vs. $2 a pound at the health food store.

12:42 PM, July 05, 2006  
Anonymous Jim said...

Teri is right about the rice cooker. I think these days you can find these in just about any department store.

Note about brown rice - if you put it to soak for a while, maybe in the mornning while you are doing breakfast ot whatever, it takes the same time as white rice in the cooker. This works for varieties like black sticky rice too. You can even get cookers with timers that will have the rice ready by the time you get home.

Teri, I didn't know that Basmati rice was so nutritious. They are growing that variety in Texas and California now, although under some name like "Texmati" or whatever. Much cheaper than the import.

1:14 PM, July 05, 2006  
Blogger Lily said...

I think people way underestimate the amount of food they actually feed their kids in a day. I have an 11-year-old son who needs to eat at least 1500 calories a day to maintain his weight of 48 pounds. (he is not even on the percentile chart for his height 4'3", and age) It is very difficult for him to do because of a digestive problem which causes him to be able to eat a mere 300 or so calories of food at a time. Adults often joke with him and say they wish they were so lucky, (as if they really want to look like a starving person). Kids his age tend to tease him though and call him runt.
I also work at his elementary and have lunch duty with approximately 150 3rd-6th grade students. I have made some very interesting observations. There are is a significant overweight population of students compared to when I was in school in the 60's. We had two overweight girls and one boy in the whole elementary. They would count as merely chubby now. Back then you had no eating except during lunch or if someone had a brithday. In my son's school there are out of the 150, 25 chubby kids, and also 4 morbidly, overweight boys. I counted them. They have morning and afternoon snack breaks in addition to lunch. In some classrooms the kids are allowed to eat whenever they want. Some kids eat all day long. I notice that, one and all, the seriously overweight kids eat between 3 & 4 times what my son eats at lunch. Keep in mind that my son's 300 calories is not a huge lunch. It's a carton of milk and 1/2 a tuna sandwich. Some kids eat hot lunch some kids eat cold, but the sheer amount of calories is what counts. The overweight hot lunch kids clean their trays and get about 500 - 600 calories per lunch. Not so bad, but if they eat like that 3 times a day and have a morning and evening snack of say 200 calories (1/2 can of pop and a small bag of chips) We are talking in excess of 1900 - 2100 calories a day which is what an adult male should eat. Many, many kids eat an entire 4 serving bag of microwave popcorn for their snack. It is a typical lunch for a kid to bring a can of soda pop, a bag of chips, some store-bought cookies, a candy bar and a sandwich (which invariably goes in the garbage). That's 700 calories if they don't eat the sandwich. Who remembers being able to even have soda pop at school in the 60's except for a party? I think we are totally missing the point if we focus on what we tell the kids if we don't educate the parents on what a healthy amount of food is for a kid. And yes the overweight kids have overweight parents. But after keeping such a close eye on what my son eats a realizing how little it really, actually takes to make a serving, I have lost 20 pounds myself. And I always thought my problem with extra weight was hereditary too. And I guess it is, in a way.

1:59 PM, July 05, 2006  
Blogger Helen said...

Teri and Jim,

Thanks for the advice about the rice cooker--I actually think I have one somewhere that I have never used but I will try finding and using it.

Lilly,

I really think that schools use food to "medicate" kids now. You can't discipline and many are bored so you keep them happy and occupied with ding dongs and maybe Ritalin. It's kind of pathetic, but schools have few alternatives. Many parents I know with an overweight kid says they do not know where the kid gets food since they serve a nutritious breakfast and dinner but if kids are eating constantly at school (a kid in class is always having a party, it seems) there is little way to monitor all of the calories a child may be getting.

2:10 PM, July 05, 2006  
Blogger Bad Penny said...

Here's my rice cooker: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0001XAG8W/002-9147407-3497608?%5Fencoding=UTF8&v=glance&n=284507

It cost more than the ugly ones, but it looks nice with my stainless and black appliances.

2:20 PM, July 05, 2006  
Blogger Kathy said...

I like my rice cooker too, and I use half white rice and half brown rice mixed, with just a bit of extra water. As you get used to it you can increase the proportion of brown rice.

3:39 PM, July 05, 2006  
Anonymous fat man cometh said...

well rizzo, if all you can see is fat people, and not the person within the intelligence, the soul, then you are missing out of a hell of a lot of good decent people, who can tell you, what its like to be hated and reviled, and called moral defectives, lazy etc etc etc..

ok thor, doctors have been known to be wrong, my dad died due to medical malpractice, given the wrong treatment etc.. so i know there are stupid doctors as well as good ones, but i will take you points in order

1.actually my blood sugar is normal, quite frankly i scared my doctor, she thought i broke the machines, as i was normal in every single sense of it, i just happen to be fat.. due to my genetics no doubt or you may say incompetence on the doctor, or whatever.

2. being overweight, if you look at the figures, which was changed in 97, millions of people went to bed healthy, and woke up obese, look at all the sports stars, they are all technically obese, and yet they are healthy.. arent they..

3.oh yes anorexia isnt as common as obesity, it is if you read your text books, and surveys,
The development of an eating disorder may be caused by several factors, including biological or genetic susceptibility, emotional problems, problems in relationships with friends or family members, personality problems, and societal pressures to be thin. Such pressures include both blatant and subtle messages from the media, friends, athletic coaches and family members. While eating disorders tend to occur more often in females than in males, males are not immune. A growing number of young males are being diagnosed with eating disorders. Gay adolescents and certain types of athletes may be especially susceptible. http://www.notmykid.org/parentArticles/eatingDisorders/

and its not a single comment, its all the waifs on tv, the super skinny models, models wearing size zero and having millions, and even doctors like you, saying fat is bad, it gives kids a bad self image a really caring profession, isnt it. they are talking of putting BMI's for 8 year olds on report cards.. for gods sake, kids arent allowed to be kids anymore. check this out thor and you will see, studies proving that bad images in the press and bad doctors, make all these problems.

http://www.tcsdaily.com/article.aspx?id=072203E

but i bet you wouldnt read it, as it disproves your argument

**Not surprisingly, incessant harping on thinness results in unhealthy and frequently unnecessary desires to lose weight. Eighty percent of adolescent girls in the Center for Disease Controls (CDC) Youth Risk Behavioral Surveillance system last year wanted to lose weight, even though almost two-thirds of them were normal weights.**
and this isnt a warning sign

now i am not just talking about death due to starvation, but suicides, due to the pressure by people like you thor, into making everyone thin,

more for you thor, to read,

http://www.tcsdaily.com/article.aspx?id=093004E
and this
http://www.tcsdaily.com/article.aspx?id=100704F
**What the GUTS research, led by Allison Field, did find, however, was that regardless of their overweight status, children who dieted gained significantly more weight compared to children who never dieted**

and i bet you see more people gaining weight after diets you prescribe,

One of the country's foremost obesity researchers, Jeffrey M. Friedman, M.D., head of the Laboratory of Molecular Genetics at Rockefeller University explains that the commonly-held simplistic belief that obesity is just a matter of eating too much and/or not exercising enough is "at odds with substantial scientific evidence illuminating a precise and powerful biologic system." According to his research and that of numerous others, obesity is the result of differences in biology and metabolism, not behavior, diet or the environment. Through their own volition, people can control their weight long-term to a very small degree. Even voluntary physical exercise has minimal effect, according to Friedman and Glenn Gaesser, PhD., exercise physiologist and obesity researcher at the University of Virginia. So, while better access to foods can account for some of the increases seen in the average height and weight of all people in developed countries -- 7 to 10 pounds in the U.S. since 1980s -- it's genetics and not the environment that accounts for the largest proportion of the differences in size among people, Friedman explains.

do some research please doctor.

3:42 PM, July 05, 2006  
Blogger Mel said...

I heart my rice cooker. It's a Thingamabob 5000 I got at Target for $30, and it makes the best damn brown rice EVAR.

1 C brown rice
2.5 C water
chicken base/bouillion cube
diced onion, celery, carrot (whatever's lying around)
1 can chick peas

Put rice, water, chicken flavor, and vegetables in rice cooker. Push button. Wait 50 minutes. When rice is done cooking, add chick peas. Eat whilst making happy sounds. And before you ask, hells no I ain't no veg-head! But I do like the occasional non-meat or reduced-meat dinner, and this rice with a boatload of broccoli is really tasty.

3:51 PM, July 05, 2006  
Blogger Mercurior said...

thor check this out (and please spell it correctly)

http://www.polisci.ucla.edu/faculty/boneill/anorexia.html

To get the best estimate of anorexia mortality, I located as many studies as possible, and combined their findings. My university library held over 80 reports from therapists giving death rates for their patients. I selected the 15 most recent and careful ones, then focused on the study reporting the median death rate. From other medical literature I estimated that about 190,000 women in America have a history of anorexia, based on the same criterion for diagnosis as the study with the median death rate. Comparing this anorexic group to the death rate of 190,000 women from the general population with the same age distribution, I calculated that as a conservative estimate, yearly deaths among the anorexics are at least 950 above the overall death rate.

Betty Smith, a statistician at NCHS, told me that death certificates can be highly inaccurate for many diseases. Several studies in public health journals have documented this. Death certificates can be especially misleading for mental illnesses, since the physician filling out the forms is usually not a psychiatrist and may have never met the person. Doctors do not attempt a postmortem psychiatric assessment; they tend to record the objective physical condition they see before them. Anorexic deaths get recorded as heart attacks, suicides, infections, or electrolyte imbalances. Dr. Thomas Silber of George Washington University has described over two dozen physical causes of death generated by the illness, and further deaths due to anorexia could have been placed in any of these columns. One cannot infer anorexia's mortality from death records

3:59 PM, July 05, 2006  
Blogger Mel said...

Oh yeah, forgot to add... Brian, calorie-restrictive diets work 100% of the time they're followed. Prove me wrong.

4:22 PM, July 05, 2006  
Blogger Rizzo said...

fat man cometh,

I don't know how your comment pertains to anything I actually wrote.

If you actually read my post, you would realize that I was specifically talking about weight and nothing else, and addressing to those who wish to lose it. If you don't, fine, I don't care. Be overweight. Be happy.

I went out of my way to avoid calling overweight people any names (or even "fat) or suggesting in any way that they have character flaws. My point was quite simple: for most (if not all) people, exercising more and/or eating less can lead to losing weight. That's it. People always state that it's more complicated than that. But is it really? If a thin person stopped working out and started overeating, and then gained weight, no one would deny the direct relationship between that person's level of activity, amount of food intake, and his weight. But suggest the opposite, namely that an overweight person could lose weight through diet and exercise, and suddenly the issue becomes "complicated" with discussion of genetics, family history, medical conditions, and the like.

At any rate I did not suggest people were lazy for not exercising, or lacked self-discpline for overeating, as I mentioned I'm guilty of such things myself. My personal feeling is that people get into routines that are difficult to break. Those routines can be good (going to the gym) or bad (eating 5000 calories per day).

And yes, fine, overweight people may possess various wonderful personal qualities if I just look past their weight. Yes, but so what? My father is overweight, and I like him just fine. Does the fact that he's a nice guy mean it wouldn't do him some good, health-wise, to lose weight? I want him to lose weight because I'd like to see him stick around longer.

Also, some overweight people are great, and some are assholes. Just like other people. Big deal. I don't avoid befriending or getting to know overweight people (and never said any such thing in my original comment), but I doubt I would really be missing out on any unique and wonderful character qualities if I did. They're people, just like other people.

4:38 PM, July 05, 2006  
Anonymous Brian said...

mel-

They do all work--just differently, and for some it takes greater restriction than others. I was unclear in the above post--if it was just a matter of calorie intake vs. output, then the diets would all work similarly adjusted for the person's base metabolic rate. However, they don't. Some fat people can cut down to 1500 Cals/day and start losing weight at a good clip; others (at the same weight) can cut to 1000 Cals/day and do little better than 1 lb./week.

Don't you know anyone who seems to be powered by a tiny black hole? You know what I mean--a thin person who can gorge himself without gaining a pound. Think Peter in Foxtrot. I had a friend like that in high school.

Yes, you can starve anyone and make them lose weight. Duh. Or, like the previous poster, if you're motivated enough by a dream of joining the Marines to go on a 1000 Cals & 1.5 hours of exercise/day regime, that'll work pretty well too. But for the vast majority of overweight people, that cure is far worse than the disease, not only from a mental health standpoint but also from a physical health standpoint.

Currently, I'm trying to just generally be good, cutting back on portion sizes while attempting to get daily exercise when the rest of my day hasn't been killed (I'm not going to skip a once-a-week bridge session for it), but the doctors I've seen have recommended much more radical diets, such as the one mentioned above. I don't have any dreams of climbing mountains, just looking good enough to find a date in status-obsessed NYC and being able to buy clothes at a normal store. That's not enough motivation to keep me on a diet like the Marine's above, though more power to him for being able to follow it. And my life is generally too stressful and depressing for me to add that kind of huge stress on top of it.

Given the different ways that people manage to be rude, vicious, selfish, or stupid in this country, being fat shouldn't really be all that bad.

4:57 PM, July 05, 2006  
Blogger ronin1516 said...

brian - if you keep making excuses, or come up with an explanation to rationalise your being obese, (like you have done in your previous commenst), you will never loose weight. I too was obese at one time, but have lost 118lbs, and still have about 20lbs to go. You have gotten comfortable being heavy, and you need to step out of your comfort zone, and make radical changes in your life. Unless you do that, you will remain FAT!!! You have to eat less, eat the right foods, and exercise, and exercise hard!!! Nothing else works especially if you are substantially fat like I was. That is the truth, and making excuses or whining wont make you loose weight. So, quit making excuses and get to working out hard.

8:28 PM, July 05, 2006  
Anonymous howard_coward, master troller said...

There's no reason being a nitwit should result in burnt rice! Bring a cup and a half of water to a rolling boil, add a cup of nice brown rice and stand there until, under high heat, it boils viggy. Turn the heat down to a bare minimum and go surf. Come back later and have some yummy rice.

8:52 PM, July 05, 2006  
Blogger Zerosumgame said...

the CDC has decided that to refer to kids as obese or fat could mislabel or "traumatize" them.

Are our kids such hot house flowers that the truth about their condition is enough to send them over the edge? If so, their obesity, at risk of being overweight, fat or lard etc. is the least of our problems.


How could we ever raise kids to be good soldiers -- which even the lefties will admit grudgingly is a necessity in any free society -- if we not only let our kids get fat and thus lack phsyical toughness, but treat them so delicately that they become so emotionally fragile that they have a nervous breakdown the first day of boot camp?

We're fighting an enemy that is brutal, ruthless and mentally unbreakable, and this is the generation we're raising?

Ha-shem help us.

9:10 PM, July 05, 2006  
Anonymous Brian said...

Ronin - Did I come to comment on a political issue so I could get personal advice and criticism? I'd rather be fat than rude and intrusive any day of the week.

9:58 PM, July 05, 2006  
Anonymous thatcher said...

Helen,
Buy a rice cooker.

10:24 PM, July 05, 2006  
Anonymous YveoftheNorth said...

I read Eden's comments at Just One Bite, regarding her family's attitude towards food. I would suggest this is fairly representative of the general American populace. The idea that quantity equals quality seems widespread. In most other places the emphasis is not on gorging yourself until your waisband threatens to bisect you. Anyone who has travelled in Asia or Europe has experienced the pleasure of dining on reasonable, sane portions of high quality food, savoured over time and appreciated for what it is. The American trough mentality of stuffing down as much as you can, as fast as you can, has lead to the obesity that is all too plain to see.
This coupled with auto-centric city planning contributes to low rates of exercise. Suburban sprawl, cheap low-cost food and dependence on the car is killing thousands. Oh yeah, and throw your TV out the window. Sitting passively infront of an idiot box for hours on end every night, being marketed to is probably the biggest contributing factor. Turn if off and go for a walk, get a life.

10:48 PM, July 05, 2006  
Anonymous YveoftheNorth said...

Also, I was in Norway and Sweden visiting family recently and was struck by the almost complete absence of overweight people. I saw one very overweight child who turned out to be from New York. He was loudly bemoaning the absence of fast food restaurants.
So where are the "my genes make me fat" people? Nowhere to be seen. You want to know why? Food is expensive, so what they do eat is of high quality and smaller portions. And they exercise. They don't get in the car and go to the drive-thru (unheard of)and all-you-can eat pig-out joints.
Most self-respecting Scandinavians would absolutely turn their noses up at the crap disguised as food that is foisted on and eagerly received by most North Americans. It's a shock when you spend time in one of these places,when you get off the plane in a North American airport and are immediately inundated with Super-sized Americans. Anyone who likes to make excuses for their weight problems (outside of a legitimate medical problem) needs to get on a plane and see for themselves the direct link between lifestyle and obesity. You are only fooling yourself if you deny the connection.
I agree with Rizzo, the suggestion that restricting caloric intake and upping your activity level tends to be denied by the overweight. Nothing flys in the face of logic more than that. If you choose to overeat, drive everywhere and sit infront of a TV all night, guess what will happen? Do you think you will lose weight or gain weight? Even I lost 2.5 pounds in a month in Sweden,and I'm not what would be considered overweight. I ate better, was never hungry and walked a 50% more than I do here. Which is already more than most. It doesn't take a genius to put two and two together, or in this case two minus two.

11:55 PM, July 05, 2006  
Blogger Kathy said...

In some classrooms the kids are allowed to eat whenever they want. Some kids eat all day long.

That's part of the problem right there. Not so much that this is allowed in school, although that's not a good thing imo, but that this is what is allowed at home. My daughter's friends, who are just now old enough to start school in the fall, cover a wide range of eating habits. But some of them are allowed to eat all day long, or at least snacks are provided on a regular basis. There are no set mealtimes.

And along with what YveoftheNorth said, I do think that we tend to gorge on food that neither tastes all that good nor provides much nutrition. If you eat what your body really needs, you'll likely want less food. Especially if you learn to ignore the mental hunger cues and pay attention to the physical ones.

I'm not a health-food nut, but I do try to keep my kids (and the grownups too) away from heavily sweetened foods, corn syrup, and hydrogenated oils. We eat whole grains as much as practical (I live in a small city and don't have as many options within my price range as I did in the big city). We don't drink fruit juice, which my daughter's friends are frequently given as a matter of course. These are all small changes that we can make fairly easily.

12:41 AM, July 06, 2006  
Anonymous Trey said...

Wow, I missed the first part of the discussion. But it is plain to see and interesting to me that the comments and discussion regarding this topic are the more critical and conflictual than any topic in recent memory.

Well, other than that other blog that criticized Helen.

What is it about weight that leads folks (who I am assuming are nice people) to say that they do not want to sit by overweight people? Do they feel the same way about ethnic or religious groups?

I tell you who I do not like to sit next to. There is this pipe tobacco that is cured over fires of camel dung. I do not like to sit next to people smoking that stuff. I guess I also do not like to sit next to judgmental people.

Trey

1:09 AM, July 06, 2006  
Anonymous fat man cometh said...

i know rizzo, was using your comment to make a point, sorry if you felt as if i was insulting you personally. but the point had to be made.

exactly trey, being fat is the only legally sanctioned discrimination, without recourse to court cases (there are a couple of states that have those rules)..

the government, doctors, lawyers, teachers, shop owners, everyone, is able to abuse fat people, i have heard stories of people sitting at a food court and people burping in their faces and making comments about fat people to their faces.. dont fat people deserve human rights, it seems as if we dont.

until i accepted the idea that they are the one that are sick in the head to just focus on looks, i would get upset, and i am a man, if anyone has ever been bullied by society day in day out for decades, you will know what it feels like, to be termed as a lesser being someone you can make fun of, this is whats wrong. not the fat or thin debate its the dehumanising of fat people and the very thin too. we are all humans, we are not all clones of each other.

5:03 AM, July 06, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is it about weight that leads folks (who I am assuming are nice people) to say that they do not want to sit by overweight people?

Maybe the way all that weight spills into ajacent seat space (and air space) has something to do with it.

If you're obese and sitting on an airplane, a train, or in a theater (especially on a hot day) who would YOU want to sit next to?

7:13 AM, July 06, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe if someone fucked her cracker husband more, we'd all get a break from having to hear from the USA's favourite married bother and sister.

11:00 AM, July 06, 2006  
Anonymous Trey said...

Anon wrote "If you're obese and sitting on an airplane, a train, or in a theater (especially on a hot day) who would YOU want to sit next to?"

Well, I am not obese, but I am 6 feet tall with broad shoulders. I am not sure that being obese would change who I want to sit next to though.

But to answer your question, I like to sit next to nice people. It is a plus if the nice people smell good or do not particularly smell bad.

What has that got to do with being obese or not?

Trey

1:41 PM, July 06, 2006  
Anonymous Scott said...

Fat Kids ! ?

all is needed are more hypercompetitive parents putting their kids on Olympic Track sports, private coaching, scientific workouts & Diets & supplements.

Works great, this is Matt Biondi country here in the East Bay ... and if your kid isn't doing hypercompetitive Baseball, Soccer or SuperHypercompetitive swimming, he/she is ALONE home watching TV for the Summer.

You can spot those kids ... easy. Except for the kids with hypercompetitve parents who taking AP Calculus over the summer.

(Dang, glad I lived in a place & time where hunting & fishing before school & summerjobs were the norm, football training didn't start until late August, and the girls all "lounged" at the beach at the local quarry in late afternoon)

2:59 PM, July 06, 2006  
Blogger Mercurior said...

yes trey, i traveled to america end of april, and coming back home, after travelling since 7 am, all the way to boston, from down south a then i get seated next to a woman, who had the same attitude as you, but instead of speaking to me, she got up after putting some vaseline under her nose, to ask the stewardess could she and her hubbie move seats as they didnt want to sit next to a fat man..

now this was a transatlantic flight, boston to manchester england, about 7 hours, now they didnt even deign to speak to me, to even see if i was entertaining, no it was fat man = bad, yes i was an exhausted fat man,

3:41 PM, July 06, 2006  
Blogger Rizzo said...

trey,

What do you have against sitting next to smelly people? Do you feel the same way about people from different ethnic or religious groups?

Honestly, trey, are you willfully being obtuse, or do you just not understand why someone might not want to sit next to someone that takes up half of their seat (even if they smell nice)?

3:43 PM, July 06, 2006  
Anonymous Mary B said...

How about using a rice steamer? You can steam a entire meal of rice, vegetables and meat in a fraction of the time too:

http://www.target.com/gp/detail.html/sr=1-1/qid=1152215866/ref=sr_1_1/601-9393295-2134554?%5Fencoding=UTF8&asin=B0002AYZIG

4:06 PM, July 06, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yeah, let's call a fat kid fat. maybe even call a spade a spade. and a mentally unstable woman in desperate need of male approval a mentally unstable woman in desperate need of male approval.

but right on, trey--enough with all the judgment. who are we to judge these people who make an active choice to take up more room on public transportation? i'm sure you wouldn't mind at all trying to squeeze your broad-shouldered 6 foot frame into a tiny coach seat next to a 450 lb guy and his charming, equally-proportioned wife on the other side of you.

and why judge those who who make other lifestyle choices such as having numerous children they can't support and receive welfare for, or those who regularly run up bills and file bankruptcy at regular intervals, or who, say, are Medicaid recipients and continue to eat ridiculuous amounts of food and refuse to exercise despite a diabetes diagnosis and take insulin paid for by you, the taxpayer.

sorry. i realize the above is schizophrenic in nature. the mentally unstable woman i referenced could very well be me. but i couldn't help but see the inconsistencies here.

4:09 PM, July 06, 2006  
Anonymous Brian said...

Anon 4:09 - You make it sound like we have a huge number of 450 lb. behemoths in America, which isn't the case. Even among the obese, it's a small minority who can't fit into coach airplane seats, which along with theater (stage, not movie) seats are the smallest anyone ever has to use. It's not that bad. And if you really don't want to be in that close quarters with people (only the thinnest are really comfortable in those seats, I at 5'10" have more trouble with legroom), pay for first class or ride a train. I even agree that if you're big enough to need 2 airplane seats, then you should pay for 2 airplane seats.

And I wholly agree that we shouldn't be paying for the health care of people who won't do anything about their bodies. However, the attitude that I, and Trey, and Fat man, and Mercurior are talking about is this visceral dislike of the overweight that tends to be unnecessarily rude and judgmental. Like the woman who complained about Mercurior on the airplane. Like the treatment Fat Man mentioned above. Like the people who wrote to USA Today saying that society should be mean to the overweight because it's all their fault (in response to an editorial that asked for nothing more than civility.)

Of course, occasionally it's a little different. Sometimes you get the self-righteousness of the born-again skinny people, like Gov. Huckabee. Annoying and incredibly nosy, but at least they mean well. That's life as one of America's few remaining acceptable targets of abuse.

4:54 PM, July 06, 2006  
Blogger Helen said...

Anonymous 11:00:

Racist terms like cracker are not welcome on this blog--take this racist term back to the lefty blog you came from where they are more welcome.

5:03 PM, July 06, 2006  
Blogger ronin1516 said...

Brian - you just illustrated what happens when folks are coddled. I too was fat and unfit and overweight. However, when ordered by my doctors, I got off my fat assand went to work. I am alsi fighting a damned brain tumor btw. And lost weight. And I am supposed to feel sorry for you? You cant take the truth, Brian, and yoru responses to mine and the other comments just proves my point - that you are unwilling to take responsibility for your own weight problems. You dont want to hear the truth, you want some kind of effets advice, and hand-holding. And i aint gonna play your game.
Hey, it's your life, do whatever you want with it.

5:12 PM, July 06, 2006  
Anonymous Brian said...

Ronin -

Congratulations on losing weight. Live your own life. Don't try to run mine, and I won't ask you to pay for it. Is that too much to ask? Or must we all be like your esteemed and noble self? If you prefer, go talk to Gov. Huckabee and pat each other on the back.

P.S.: What the hell does "effets" mean?

5:32 PM, July 06, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

See how quickly this thread became about the failings of the individual and wandered away from how we treat our kids?

I am one of those otherwise-healthy morbidly obese people. Don't worry, I'm not into fat acceptance and won't wander down that road.

I coach swimming for middle- and high-school students. Most of my kids' parents have no idea how to prepare food or control portions. I have to teach my kids how to eat fast-food because that's all some of their parents buy.

I preach healthy eating and exercise. So much of the "health" information out there is for middle-aged women looking to lose 15 pounds that my kids have no idea what normal and healthy is. Aren't chicken nuggets and water a healthy lunch? Ack.

My own child is 10 or so pounds heavier than she should be. It's a portion-size thing. I know that if she will eat healthy and exercise for the next few years, growth will take care of her concerns about her appearance. I fight with soda and snacks before after-school meetings and other school events, candy as reward, and her grandparents (both sides). People who would have me jailed for giving her beer if she asked for it think I'm being too hard on her for not letting her drink sugary sodas and potato chips when she wants them. *sigh*

A friend's child started on an ADHD medication that also suppresses her appetite. She dropped weight like a stone and people began commenting on how thin she is. It has become an absolute point of pride for that girl and she now actively seeks out small-sized clothing and constantly talks about how thin she is. Is that okay?

A local pediatrician understood what was happening to our kids and started referring his patients with high BMIs to the swim team. I was running a little fat farm for a while. I was struck then and continue to be struck by how few parents feel in control of their children's lives. They brought their kids to practice faithfully and gratefully until it "worked" and then they disappeared. A few months later I would see my babies around town, now grown even larger than when they came to me. We just don't know what happened, parents would say.

I don't want my daughter's doctor to tell her she is fat, and she didn't. They had a great talk about eating healthy, watching portion sizes, staying away from soda pop, and staying on swim team to get exercise. I love my MD.

Strange things happen in kids' heads, hot-house or not. The most off-hand remarks stick and burn into their brains, while the daily reminder about teeth-brushing drifts through. I sigh again.

I'm not sure that putting the word "fat" on the table would have done anything for us, but would have validated every stupid thing other kids have said at school. Talking about what it takes to be healthy and what being healthy means -- that was helpful.

And yes, Brian, 6 miles per week isn't particularly active. It is better than nothing and a plan to increase your activity would be worth pursuing. If you will become really active you'll be suprised what you can accomplish. I've decided I'm better off floating off 20 pounds a year for the next 6 years than trying to crash off 120 in a year. I've got three kids and a hectic schedule and it works better for me to do this slowly and succeed than to stop and start the other way. I do triathlons and run and swim and lift and get the occasional Moolatte. It makes me a more stable person than my exercise buddy who feels she's failing if she doesn't lose her "2lbs per week". If I had not made these changes, I was on my way to TypeII diabetes, heart disease, and joint pain. When I was young and heavy, everything seemed to be okay and it was only as I aged did everything start going bad. Good luck and best wishes to you.

h.

6:39 PM, July 06, 2006  
Blogger ronin1516 said...

Brian - you are like a lot of fat people I have seen. I am not trying to run your life, I thought that I could get you to think differently, and help you overcome your resistance to making changes in your lifestyle. However, it seems you are more comfortable staying where you are, and you are moreinterested in whining about being fat. Since that is what you prefer, I will comment no more. Best of luck. Its your life, and it's a free country, so do whatsoever you choose. I will stop here.

9:26 PM, July 06, 2006  
Blogger Mercurior said...

but ronin, it never stops, it goes on and on and on, i have known people to kill themselves due to the unfair pressures of society.

kids get trapped into a certain mindset, its not as bad as when other kids do it, but when respected teachers and doctors do it, it makes it a whole new ballgame.

why cant people accept other people for the size of their skin, they accept generally the colour.

who is whining, we are telling what its like, if unpopular experiences are whining.

being fat isnt evil, or morally lax, people are different sizes, one of my cousins is 7 foot3 tall, and skinny, another is 5 foot tall and skinny, another is fat, but they are all decent humans, should the fat person lose weight to become worthy in society, or is it just health reasons, are people only worth life liberty and persuit of happines, if they are healthy, or is it all about money, money thats paid out for so called fat expenses.

if thats so , what about ivf, your looking at least $55,000 for 3 sessions, they spend more on that subject than thye ever do on fat people.

anyway, if fat people get ill, you have medicines paid for by being ill, the medical companies spend millions on research each year, the nurses get paid for working, the doctors too, and they dont just keep the money they spend it on themselves keeping the money in ciculation, and they pay taxes on it, so everyone.. people assume money is just there and thats it dead as soon as it leaves the medical centres.. it doesnt.. try thinking like that for a while ans you will see a difference

but i am sure the anti fat brigade usually the most militant weight loss people, will laugh and say i am whining or that i am somehow stupid for thinking this way.

4:52 AM, July 07, 2006  
Blogger JP said...

Not sure if it's available all over the country but Uncle Ben's makes a 90-second microwavable brown rice. The concept initially offended me as I've never even considered using instant rice, but I was pleasantly suprised by the taste and outcome. It's much easier than waiting so long for brown rice that doesn't always come out right (in or out of a rice cooker).

9:15 AM, July 07, 2006  
Blogger Atticus said...

Anonymous 6:39 has probably the most sensible post here: EVEN IF you are fat, get active and eat right. EVEN IF that doesn't make you skinny overnight, it is still a good way to live.

More EVEN IFs: Even if people are fat and you don't like that, even if you think being fat means someone is weak-willed or morally lax, even if fat people touch your body when they sit next to you...you should still treat them the way you would like to be treated. Anonymity allows posters to say ugly stuff they wouldn't dare say at the office or across the backyard fence, but I sure would like to see a reinvigorated awareness of the golden rule.

I liked her story about her daughter's doctor, too. The doc was able to deliver a message without using the word "fat"--and the poster was able to articulate why that is a wonderful thing: because if the doctor used the word "fat," the girl would only think that verified the bad stuff she's heard from others at school. This validates my earlier point--that doctors and parents should figure out the best way to approach the topic. It's a bad idea to diagnose a societal problem and then treat individual children for it.

(A side comment... Yep--that was a particularly ugly post. But how in the world was it racist?)

9:23 AM, July 07, 2006  
Anonymous Trey said...

Wow, it looks like I have managed to offend two people with different opinions on this subject. And I did not even try.

For the record, I would not like having to sit next to someone who took up half my seat. I do not travel much, my business is in my office. But that would suck. I gues I just missed the implication that sitting next to a large person meant that we were getting more up close and personal than I would like. Just naturally obtuse, not intentionally obtuse there. I would also not like it if that person were a "close talker" and all in my face.

And while I prefer to sit next to people that smell nice or do not smell bad, I recognize that good people smell bad sometimes. Now reading this it all sounds silly, and I think I know why.

It is because weight is a very emotionally charged issue in our culture, and it brings out the worst in people. We are typically either defensive about our weight or harshly judgmental about other's people's weight.

Why? Being overweight is not synonomous with being a child pornographer. If it is a moral failure, and I honestly do not think so, there is enough moral failure to go around and the slim folks I know are not better people because they are thin. I do think some people think that. Maybe it comes down to appearances: It is easy to recognize who is overweight. It is not so easy to recognize who is a judgmental asshole, or who steals from their boss, or who demeans their children and ruins their lives. But it is easy to see who is overweight. But why is it easy to hate people for being overweight?

Ideas?

Trey

12:08 PM, July 07, 2006  
Blogger Rizzo said...

I suppose I should clarify something: when I say I do not like sitting next to overweight people, I mean it entirely from the perspective of my own personal comfort. The seats on airplanes and sporting arenas/stadiums are often not even big enough for an adult male of average proportions (which I am). I would be a big fan of increasing the size of the seating all the way around, if not for the fact that it would ultimately raise ticket prices, probably quite considerably in some cases. But, I have nothing against sitting next to an overweight person in any situation in which space is not a factor (for example, bleacher seats). It's a pragmatic issue, not a visceral one.

12:16 PM, July 07, 2006  
Blogger Helen said...

Rizzo,

Part of the problem is that seats in planes are just smaller now and not comfortable for any of us much, no matter what size. I do understand how you feel, having sat next to a 400 pound woman on a Greyhound bus for a full day while driving through Texas on my way back from California to Knoxville (I was a teenager--I would not do the bus thing again). I was pretty uncomfortable. However, my problem is with those who treat the overweight with disdain just because of appearance issues--they do not like the sight of an overweight person. I find this offensive as it is usually those who preach "tolerance" who feel this way. How can one preach tolerance of any sort if they are disgusted and prejudiced against those who are overweight and/or ugly etc?

1:06 PM, July 07, 2006  
Anonymous Trey said...

Hey Rizzo, I hear you, and see what you are saying. I just missed the personal space issue in the earlier post I responded to. I meant no offense or criticism of you. Re-reading my post looked as if I were suggesting that you were a judgmental asshole, and I do not think that.

Trey

1:32 PM, July 07, 2006  
Anonymous fat man cometh said...

as a fat man, i can say with authority that we would love to have bigger seats, we dont want to be all cramped up, and we would pay more for larger seats, we have no problems for that. but the planes and buses, are all about money, if we can get 100 people on the flight, we make x amount, if we add another 50 seats.. well. thats pure profit.

rizzo its just as uncomfortable for us to spread out, imagine jamming yourself into a space thats at least 20% smaller than you are. its painful to say the least. and we dont want to touch others. just like you dont..

but its all about money, thats why flights and coaches etc happen. as i have said and dr h in the main post, being fat is obvious, you cant hide it, i had a kid in a supermarket come up to me, and put a ball under his shirt and point at it and at me and snigger.

theres many stories about fat people, killing themselves due to constant bullying, dying to be thin, gastric bypasses etc.. i sometimes feel pity for those who are intolerant of fat people, they are shallow, and dont seethe worth of someone beyong looks. sometimes fat people eat for comfort, i admit it freely, food becomes the only thing that doesnt have a go at you, doesnt make judgements, i have accepted myself, all i wish is others tried to accept me as me.

3:52 PM, July 07, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i am anon 4:09.

the last few posts have been much more reasonable. yes, i agree, trey--we should treat each other with the patience and kindness we would wish for ourselves. which is why i didn't appreciate dr helen's original remarks. she seems to be backpedaling now, calling for tolerance. her updated remarks try to make a distinction between when health is at issue, but as a previous commenter notes, even then--it is wholly unnecessary (whether dealing with a child or an adult) to tell the patient he/she is fat. on the contrary, it is most likely counter-productive.

on the other hand, i admit to often being a judgmental bitch. certainly, when i am myself feeling "squeezed in" by the obese around me, such as on planes and such. but also, i suppose i get annoyed generally at those who do seem to whine or be unhappy about their situation, when that situation could be vastly improved by a modification in their own behavior. this is often true of overweight people. i myself am a little heavier than i would like and am no exception. i also see this with many people who complain about their financial situations but continue to make very poor judgments.

but again, your last comment is the way to reconcile this problem. while i can and should continue to be mindful of my own responsibilty for my condition, i need not take it upon myself to consider someone else's failings in this regard. i'm not even religious, but there's certainly no harm in practicing the tolerance and love of jesus christ.

andrea

4:38 PM, July 07, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No one in my family is obese except me (brothers, father, mother, grandchildren, etc.). No one has diabetes except me...
I raised my children to eat very healthy food (and it wasn't easy since their counterparts were allowed to eat a lot more junk). Lots of fruits and veggies, sweets were mostly holiday treats. Very few colas. We always grew some of our own vegetables in our backyard. My children were normal weight (as was I until my first child).
Do we know yet what starts the weight gain? Now, for me, it's an addiction just like other addictions (except you can't just stop eating). But why am I like this? That's what I'd like to know.

7:10 PM, July 07, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://www.channel3000.com/health/9481779/detail.html

a wonderful doctor, really caring.

CONCORD, N.H. -- A doctor allegedly told a patient she is so fat she might only be attractive to black men.

He also allegedly advised another to shoot herself to end her suffering after brain surgery.

Rude and offensive? Yes, said a New Hampshire judge. But worthy of discipline from the New Hampshire Board of Medicine? No, the judge ruled in ordering the board to stop disciplinary proceedings against Dr. Terry Bennett.

The judge made clear that while he doesn't condone the remarks, Bennett has the right to speak bluntly to patients.

Bennett has denied telling the woman she was so obese that few men would find her attractive, but he said he has seen polls that support the notion that black men like fat women.

Bennett said he plans to sue everyone involved for malicious prosecution. The state is considering an appeal.

6:40 AM, July 08, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Heh. The bad news is I'm overweight. The good news is I'm also built like an offensive lineman, so anyone dumb enough to snark is bound to get a 365lb fist to the bridge of the nose.

The sad news is that I'm always waiting for someone to snark.

2:32 PM, July 08, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aside from the medical problems caused by obesity, there are social and economic costs that could not be dismissed. It is hard to view a problem when you are in the midst of it and a recent visitor gave me a perspective that is worth considering. She mentioned that everything seems to be so big in America, big cars, big houses, big people, etc. She wondered if this is the physical manifestation of American greed which equates bigness with being better. She could not understand why there are so many homeless people on the streets begging for food and at the same time people are gorging themselves at so many fast food places.

L.A. was an absolute nightmare for her as she could not go anywhere unless she rides in a car or take a cab or a bus. You can not walk without getting accosted by a stranger or getting hit by a car. Entertainment is always a passive activity which means watching a movie, TV or some sports.

I was sad to see her leave after only a few weeks of stay but I managed to show her other places in So. California where there are simple pleasures to be had like walking and hiking in nature trails, tasting native cuisines and even camping. By the way, she used to be a fashion model in her late 40's and she's back in her native France.

8:06 PM, July 08, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you, Dr. Helen. Your response to the cruelty that some inflict on those who are overweight was very well put.

As a "health nut" I take the obesity problem in the United States very seriously. But I agree with you - cruelty and sanctimonious judgement is much worse. I have two good friends who are very obese and it is very hard for them to deal with the comments others feel so comfortable giving them about their size. Unsurprisingly, they have both developed the sharpest of tongues! They also both were raped as teenagers - one by her father and one by a complete stranger who broke into her home. Their weight exploded after they were raped. Who are we to judge?

Alex

11:59 AM, July 09, 2006  
Anonymous Ruth H said...

RICE -
I find rice, white, brown or otherwise, will keep very well in the freezer. I do not like minute rice and have not used it for years. We have been a two member family now for quite a few years since the children all flew the nest. I usually make a full pot of rice, use what I need for the day and freeze the rest in the appropriate size containers for other meals. Then I add a tablespoon or so of water, pop that in the microwave and zap it. It always turns out fine. I often use it with baked chicken breasts or any other baked meat. When I do that I thaw it not quite completely and put it under the partially cooked meat to absorb the juices. That is yummy. Just pick a time when you're not as busy and cook some for the day and some for the future.
BTW obesity and rice in the same comment section may be a clue.

9:56 PM, July 09, 2006  
Blogger bearing said...

ha. I'm glad I did a word search for "rice cooker" before I posted my comment.

6:51 PM, July 11, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The facts:

Fat people are fat because they eat too much and excercise too little. They choose to be fat. Anyone can lose weight.

Our society and culture makes it difficult to be a healthy weight. You must think outside the box and expend more effort not to be overweight but it can be done.

Fat people take up more space, walk slower and require specialized equipment. They make themselves a nuisance by thier extra square footage and poundage.

Fat people are harming thier bodies. There is no such thing as a healthy fat person. Fat and excess calorie consumption are harmful in many ways beside high blood pressure and cholesterol.

What does this mean morally? We need to tell the fat that they are selfish and thier choices impact us all. Derision and contempt are not the answer, education is. The fat should be marginalized until they accept these facts and own up to thier problems for the good of society as a whole.

2:47 PM, July 28, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hah! I'm not surprised at some of the posts by people like me - aka overweight - but I find it extremely hard to get back into that headspace. Y'know, the one where you're beautiful and intelligent and funny and people should accept you for being bigger.

I would rather expend a little energy and lose weight and fit comfortably in my seat than pay extra money to get on a plane, train or in a movie theater. Seriously - you want to drop cash for comfort? When eating healthily and exercising is free? The seats don't need to get bigger, your brain does. Try looking at it from another perspective, please.

You can be intelligent, funny, kind, caring and all sorts of good inside - but that is not an excuse to be fat and justify being fat. I know a lot of people who are awesome people on the inside - and they're not fat. Being skinny and being nice aren't mutually exclusive.

I once watched a talk show of some sort where a whole bunch of women were trying to get "fat support" by claiming that they were not overweight, they were fat - because there was no "proper" weight for them to go over. Well, actually, there is.

I think it's a shame that all of this energy goes into defending ourselves against people who make us feel bad as though it really justifies being fat. It doesn't. If you spend all of your time saying, "Well, he called me fat, so I'm gonna stay fat just to spite him because he should accept me", you're deluded. You know what? That guy's an ass. But you can still lose weight and it doesn't mean you're caving to society's standards.

I admit, some of this might read harshly, but so what? I'm as entitled to be harsh as you've all been to cry, "I'm fat, love me anyway, don't judge me."

I started to lose weight for the right reasons - for me. I weighed at least 40 pounds more than I do now, and because I know how good I feel to lose the weight, it makes me want to lose more. I'm ecstatic when I can fit into clothes a size smaller. I was so happy to be able to run up the stairs at work and not feel winded. And that happiness was better than the fake "happy" I felt when I was trying to tell myself that I was ok and the world was stupid for not liking fat people. The world doesn't matter, but the way I feel does. And telling yourself that being fat is awesome just isn't true.

5:21 PM, September 13, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You posters with the accusations sound like mean people.

7:42 PM, March 03, 2007  
Blogger Diana Obesity News Watcher said...

Canadian consumers have different dietary needs depending on the end-goal they want to achieve, such as disease prevention, weight control or overall healthier dietary lifestyle. On this principle, the Compliments Balance program was developed in partnership with the Heart and Stroke Foundation's Health Check program to provide consumers with healthier options for managing their personal diets. http://www.phentermine-effects.com

7:55 AM, October 16, 2008  
Blogger Arya M. Sharma, MD said...

Rule number one for health professionals raising the issue of excess weight with their patients: lay off the blame, don't be judgemental, don't be patronizing.

Losing weight is tough - keeping it off even tougher.

More on how to approach obesity as a health condition on my obesity blog: http://www.drsharma.ca/
AMS

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