Some Things To Read

The Fat Nutritionist has an excellent, and sadly useful, post titled “A little 101 – I get to exist.”

It is okay to be fat, because fat people already exist.

Fat people have existed for a very, very long time.

Even if all of us tried, not all of us would become permanently thin.

Fat people exist. We have existed. We will continue to exist. So to say that it’s not acceptable to be fat is to deny our right to exist.

Fat people exist.  Even if we want to become thin, it often doesn’t work. Which brings me to another thing to read: Medicare’s Search for Effective Obesity Treatments: Diets Are Not the Answer (PDF) by UCLA reviews 31 studies on diets and recommended that Medicare not cover diet programs because they are not effective enough to be worth Medicare coverage.  News articles summarized these findings here and here.  A quote:

Reviews of the scientific literature on dieting (e.g., Garner & Wooley, 1991; Jeffery et al., 2000; Perri & Fuller, 1995) generally draw two conclusions about diets. First, diets do lead to short-term weight loss. One summary of diet studies from the 1970s to the mid-1990s found that these weight loss programs consistently resulted in participants losing an average of 5%–10% of their weight (Perri & Fuller, 1995). Second, these losses are not maintained. As noted in one review, “It is only the rate of weight regain, not the fact of weight regain, that appears open to debate” (Garner & Wooley, 1991, p. 740).

Even the American NIH, which is not exactly a fat-accepting organization, admits that weight loss is often limited:

“How much weight does the patient expect to lose? What other benefits does he or she anticipate?” Obese individuals typically want to lose 2 to 3 times the 8 to 15 percent often observed and are disappointed when they do not.  (p22)

It is certainly possible have “a successful weight loss” of 5-10% and remain fat.

Getting individuals who are obese down to a normal weight isn’t realistic: Research shows that most people can’t expect to lose more than 10% of their body weight and, more important, to maintain the weight loss over time.

I am all for bodily autonomy. I am also in favor of recognizing reality.  That which doesn’t go away?  Is reality.  Fat people exist.  Fat people  aren’t going away.  Deal with this fact.

8 thoughts on “Some Things To Read

  1. Frankly, while I’m all FOR HAES, and think it’s cool to want to adopt healthy habits, I feel like we as a culture are increasingly moralizing health at all, if that makes any sense. Sure, people of every size can eat their veggies, have moderate habits, get some movement in and all that smack. But at the end of the day, I don’t like the idea that if we’re not healthy for some reason or another We’ve Been Very Bad.

    Worse, I don’t think we’re recognizing how INSANELY healthy we actually ARE in this day and age. I found So Big and Healthy Grandpa Wouldn’t Even Know You pretty eye-opening.

    • I get tired of the pursuit of health being treated as the Ultimate Proof of Righteousness, yes. Hells, my dad smoked for 40 years, drank like a Navy seaman, still made it to 77 — a couple decades longer than HIS dad.

      I do wonder how many people who credit their eating / exercise / whatever habits for their lack of disease were actually born with genes that predispose them to less disease….

  2. All this moralizing gets really, really old.

    My late MIL died suddenly of a massive heart attack at 82, which is a pretty respectable age. She believed in the main food groups: nicotine, caffeine, sugar and fat. She also laughed a lot, walked a lot (she didn’t drive a car) and basically gave the world the finger if it didn’t agree with her. She did have a touch of arthritis but not much at all. In the last six months of her life, it was clear to those really close to her that she was developing some sort of dementia, so I suppose her sudden death was not such a bad thing.

    My wonderful mother died at 88, incapable of walking due to arthritis and unable to speak (her mind had checked out pretty much totally about six months before her death). She probably died of some sort of cancer of the stomach (we didn’t do an autopsy). My mother spent her life trying to live as healthily as possible: no white bread, very little sugar, lots of fruit and veg–she even used to drink an incredibly vile concoction with Brewer’s yeast, which is full of B vitamins. She worshiped Adele Davis, the first queen of “health food”. Yet she spent much of her adult life handicapped by arthritis and suffered from hyperthyroidism and had thyroid cancer. She was also overweight *despite* her healthy eating habits.

    So yeah, we all get what we deserve (large dose of sarcasm).

  3. Out of curiosity, I got out my calculator and figured out what percentage of my body weight I’d have to lose in order to get down to the top of the more socially acceptable “healthy” range on the BMI chart. Dude, it was HUGE, 43%!! We (healthcare professionals, especially) seriously need to stop treating dieting/weight loss like it’s some sort of miracle cure that anybody who tries hard enough can succeed at. Some people are fat! Let’s accept it and move on already!

  4. Love your blog! Can’t say it enough. I read the Well Rounded Mama blog, from beginning to present. Doctors are evil people, and those fatz who believe them and spew their prejudice are even worse. I have to live with family that views my worth on body weight alone.

    Keep Blogging!

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