Living Near Skinny People Makes Overweight People Unhappy


"Someone's weight should have little to no impact on how much you think they deserve to be treated with common decency and respect as a human being."

Except on airplanes, in economy class. Then you should wedge your fat ass into the window seat and stay there until everyone else gets off. Get a catheter if you have to piss.
@75 it's all about physics of caloric intake. Read some biology. People's metabolisms can ramp up or slow down. Certain types of calories are absorbed more easily, more easily converted to fat.

@88 on primate physiology. Don't forget individual differences, within-species, such as different ratio of different types of fat cells.

You are right there is a "bare minimum" (adjusted by height, gender to a small extent) what bodies do with the excess varies widely. I am not a fat apologist as my BMI is about 22.5, but individuals differ in how easy or difficult it is to change one's set point. Also we differ in where the fat accumulates. Cultural things matter too, like what ingredients are in easily available foods. Fast food in developing countries (street food) is usually freshly cooked from real locally sourced ingredients, fast food in wealthy countries is usually heavily processed.

There's some cool new study in NYT about lowering set point by a short term near starvation diet and moderately heavy exercise each day.

I think it is time for me to stop being nice and placating the Fat Acceptance Crowd.

People's metabolism can varied, for example women are more efficient with using calories than men. However, people's metabolism don't varied so much that people become very overweight to obese while others stay thin. People who are very overweight, obese, morbid obese have an eating disorder.

Environmental factors play a part in someone being overweight not genetics. I am not talking a few pounds or a couple kilos or a stone overweight, I am talking very overweight.

The AMA has labelled obesity as a disease. It should be treated as a disease. I have heard enough bullshit excuses about how a proper diet and exercise don't work. They do work... the big thing that is going against Fat Acceptance and HAES, is human physiology. Humans are made to store fat when food is scarce, and to be able to use fat as energy when need be. It is time that fat people and obese people start burning off their fuel, as the best way to help with their eating disorder and fight their disease: obesity.

People are fat for one reason: they eat too much and exercise too little. Fat Acceptance is just denialism, much like global warming denialists or the tobacco industry for years denying that cigarette smoking causes cancer...
@98, lollipopulist (or anyone else who can answer):

Totally off-topic, but what is the difference between new and "old-school" atheism/atheists?

“In that light, obesity in and of itself, does not appear to be the main reason obese individuals tend to be less satisfied with their lives than their non-obese peers. Instead, it appears to be society’s response to or stigmatization of those that are different from what is seen as ‘normal’ that drives this relationship.”

Although it very well may be "society’s response to or stigmatization of those that are different" that is the cause of obese individuals tending to be less satisfied in locations where obesity is not prevalent -- because I'm sure obese people are stigmatized -- I didn't read anything in the piece that supported this.

It seems to me that there are two likely explanations: external (the stigmatization) and internal (comparing oneself to others.) My guess would be that the external would be the more powerful driver but internal could play a role, perhaps a significant one.

I'm not certain at all why people are obese or overweight. I'd grown up hearing and reading that weight gain (or loss) was a straightforward matter of calories-in vs calories-out, that diet and exercise were what matters. And, personally, that's been my experience. My eating habits aren't as good as they used to be and I exercise less and, unsurprisingly (to me, anyway) I've put on weight. But from what I've read recently, it's seems that perhaps it's not such a straightforward matter after all. I still think that diet and exercise make a difference. I'm just not sure how much of a difference.
@104 - "Set point theory" is largely bullshit, and it's applicability to weight loss has been hugely misconstrued by Fat Acceptance activists. Yes, your body will try to some extent to defend your current weight. That does NOT mean your weight is hopelessly set in stone. And no one - no one on the planet - has a natural "set point" that is 50+lbs overweight that their body has been trying to get them to and keep that at since birth.

@107 - If you aren't certain, you've been hoodwinked already. Why not listen to your personal experience? Sure, some foods may trigger more fat storage than others, but at the end of the day...if people eat well and stay fat without burning off the stored energy in their fat cells, where do you propose the energy they are USING to run their bodies on a daily basis is coming from?

Fat bodies require more calories to function, period. Simply STANDING there and breathing, you will burn more than someone smaller than you. If someone overweight is not eating the calories necessary for that process, and they aren't burning fat stores, WHERE is the energy coming from?
Set points are bullshit and solely the propaganda of fat acceptance activists? Wow. I should tell the thin straight white male neuroscientist in the next building who has spent his career studying it. Maybe the college, one of the top in the nation, should rethink whether or not they should keep him on staff.

I really wish there could be a meta-analysis of this forum, because it seems to me that it's post after post after post of dieting advice that borders on open judgment and condemnation of fat people as individual characters failures. Let's say everything is as easy as you want it to be: being obese has nothing to do with poverty, with gender, with race/ethnicity, with geography, with life history, with the lower cost and easy availability of empty carbohydrates/toxins/trans-fats/HFCS/etc, with a society characterized by malaise/depression and sedentary hyper-mediated lives. It's not structural, it's not institutional, it's not historically located or situated. It's just that fat people make excuses to not take care of themselves.


Maybe I'm too much of a sociologist and historian by training, but I think it's an error of unit analysis if you identify dramatic changes--epidemic, say?--in an entire society as the fault of shitty individuals who just are selfish, weak, lazy, and, ffs, greedy (yes, it hit a nerve--it is a hateful and shitty thing to say, and the reason I compared it to the love-the-sinner-hate-the-sin bigots is because it was "fat people are GREEDY, but we shouldn't hate them." Riggggghhhhtttt.... At least own your contempt.).

But let's just say I'm completely wrong. Fat people are just the dregs of human existence, consumed with self-victimization to conceal from themselves from their poor choices.

Does that still mean it's ok to treat fat people thus? Again, I have to ask, would it be socially acceptable to scold, say, smokers who got lung cancer? An alcoholic whose liver has failed? We should recognize this kind of fear and hatred of an entire group of people and call it out. I don't care how fat the person is, I don't care how they choose to eat or whether or not they never ever get off their couch--why is it okay to treat people like this? I think it's quite telling that posts about the stigmatization of fat people trigger forums full of sympathy trolls who lecture about weight loss. Isn't that the mother fucking point of the conversation, i.e. that fat people endure endless presumptions and prescriptions and suffer in their social and professional lives as a result? Of course that process is both internalized and external, but, ffs, at least have some goddamn sympathy for what it must be like to be treated thus, daily, to the point where, as nocutename noted above, that fat people have to spend their days apologizing or explaining away every move or bite of food in the hopes to trying to head off at least some of it.

I had colleagues in my own academic field who were members of the Fat Acceptance Movement, and, no, I'm not one of them. I parted ways with them when they made arguments that being fat over time isn't unhealthy and that the gains of weight loss are imagined because of the increased social acceptance that results from it. I've also been a modestly overweight but fit and active person most of my life, but now find myself, for the first time, both actually, i.e., BMI verified, fat and unfit, and there's no doubt that fitness is the better way to live. I think we should all strive to be our best selves and take care of our bodies as best as we are able. But no one gets there, no one, in the face of such stigma, moral scolding, and hatefulness.

And to read that kind of shit in a progressive online space? Amen to those activists, I hope they keep on keepin' on.
Right on, maddy811. The irony of the tenor of these comments hasn't been lost on me. I'm not a member of the Fat Acceptance movement, but I can appreciate the need for it.

I hate to say it, but I think you're wrong about one thing: I think our culture does blame the smoker for her lung cancer, the drinker for his liver failure. Have you ever heard someone talk about a nonsmoker whose gotten lung cancer by saying "and she didn't even smoke! It's not fair." As if getting lung cancer is just what those selfish, stupid, disgusting smokers deserve.

Perhaps the better comparison would be between the way fat people are scolded (in what passes for concern over their health) and the way gay people who got HIV or AIDS used to be treated in the 1980s. As if getting that dread disease was your just desserts.

I keep wanting to point out my health (I am not diabetic, my cholesterol is quite low, my blood pressure normal, my heart rate normal, too. Although I could stand to lose about 30 pounds, I work out regularly and am fairly fit and pretty strong.), but I don't want to adopt the defensive posture, that would suggest and that's not what my point is. And yet when I keep reading about how unhealthy I am, that's my impulse. That fat people need to justify their right not to be treated as diseased . . . (sigh)
@33 "For all his advice on how to be a moral, ethical person, Dan's basically an asshole of the time. "

There isn't an inherent conflict with being moral / ethical and being an asshole.

While some asshole behaviors are not moral or ethical, it is perfectly possible to be both moral / ethical and still be an asshole.

Dan comes across as generally ethical and moral (no one is perfect), even when he is being an asshole.
Again, I have to ask, would it be socially acceptable to scold, say, smokers who got lung cancer?

Maddy, my younger sister smokes. She started smoking in high school because she thought it was cool (the main reason, I'm sure, most teenagers begin smoking.) She's the only one of my four siblings who smokes (I smoked pot for many years but quit about ten years ago.) Over the years I've done my best to refrain from saying anything to her about her smoking because I don't think my badgering her about it would prompt her to quit. She has to want to have to do it of her own accord. The pressure to change has to come from within, not without.

If she got lung cancer, and the prognosis looked very bad, and it was attributable to her smoking, I certainly wouldn't scold her or say "I told you so." But, while I wouldn't express it to her, I don't think I could help being irritated that she placed more importance on smoking than she did on her two kids having their mother alive.

I'm sure it is not easy to quit smoking. But it also can't be that incredibly difficult since thousands of people, including numerous people I know, have successfully done it. What distinguishes those people from people like my sister? Almost certainly desire. Willpower.

So, is my sister a "shitty individual who [is] just ... selfish, weak, lazy"? No...and yes. She's not a "shitty" individual just because she made an unhealthy choice as a teenager and continues with that unhealthy choice. One poor choice doesn't make a person a poor human being.

Is she selfish? To me, yes, because, as I said, she's got two kids. Weak? She's a very strong woman in most areas of her life but in this area, yes, I consider her to be weak. If she really wanted to quit bad enough, she could do it. Lazy? Again, in this particular area, yes (but far from lazy in other areas of her life.)

I'm not being holier-than-though here; there are areas of my life where I'll freely admit that I'm weak and lazy, areas where I am fully aware of what I need to do but have, so far, been unable to summon the willpower to do those things.

I hate to say it, but I think you're wrong about one thing: I think our culture does blame the smoker for her lung cancer, the drinker for his liver failure. Have you ever heard someone talk about a nonsmoker whose gotten lung cancer by saying "and she didn't even smoke! It's not fair." As if getting lung cancer is just what those selfish, stupid, disgusting smokers deserve.

nocutename, I can't speak for others but I'd never say that my sister (or any other smoker) "deserves" to get lung cancer for smoking. Or that someone "deserves" to die in an automobile accident for not wearing their seat/shoulder belts. But just because someone doesn't deserve to get a disease or die in an accident doesn't mean they are free from any responsibility for what happened.


"I keep wanting to point out my health (I am not diabetic, my cholesterol is quite low, my blood pressure normal, my heart rate normal, too. Although I could stand to lose about 30 pounds, I work out regularly and am fairly fit and pretty strong.), but I don't want to adopt the defensive posture, that would suggest and that's not what my point is. And yet when I keep reading about how unhealthy I am"...

Let me ask you, nocutename, can you run a 10k race? how about a 5k race? How about a 3 day backpacking trip in the Olympic Peninsula, with the 13 mile walk up the Enchanted Valley with a full pack plus 2 more days of 15 to 20 miles days? How about the Irongirl Triathlon? How about push ups? can you do pull ups?

If you are healthy, you can train or do those things on some pretty short notice, or a week or two of preparations.. I am guessing all those things terrify you.....

If you are 30lbs overweight, you have a problem. It isn't a big immediate problem as an someone who is obese or morbidly obese, but you have a weight problem that has to be address.

Am I overweight? you betcha. I could lose 15-20lbs to be in a better range of my BMI index of men at my age and height. I also exercise 7 times a week, and need to do a better job with my diet. I have a weight problem. I also have a weight problem because I do open water swims and 10k runs, and be in better shape will help my times...

Your cholesterol is low because of the estrogen pumping through your body. One reason why heart disease and myocardial infarctions rates of women get up to the same rate a couple years after menopause.

You are just stating the same excuses and denials of the Fat Acceptance and HAES movement. 30lbs overweight puts more pressure on your joints, and a bigger risk for serious injuries like a tear in your ACL, meniscus or the labrum in your hip. You are putting your body at higher risk for type II diabetes and heart disease..

If you are eating properly and exercising at regular basis, besides breaking a sweat for 20-30 minutes period of time in an hour workout, you won't be 30lbs overweight. You are overweight and the culprit 85% of the time is diet, 15% is the lack of exercise, or not enough to break into a sweat...

Being overweight is not a disease. Overweight people shouldn't be stigmatized, overweight to Obese people need self esteem and dignity, which will help them lead a better lifestyle. Being Obese is a disease, and has to be addressed immediately before more damage is done. It is a treatable disease.

However these excuses by Fat Acceptance and HAES are getting thin, "I am overweight, but all my vitals show I am healthy": Bullshit. Being 20-30lbs overweight can limited your activities, and lead to some pretty serious physical injuries..

I realize that I am looked upon as the enemy, but some of the excuses that HAES are making are borderline delusional and are just denials.

If you are 30lbs overweight, you need a lifestyle change, mainly to your diet. Two things that are tough and painful are losing weight and getting in shape, one is always cranky and sore. I am never happy trying to get in shape and restricting my diet...


"Maddy, my younger sister smokes. She started smoking in high school because she thought it was cool (the main reason, I'm sure, most teenagers begin smoking.) She's the only one of my four siblings who smokes (I smoked pot for many years but quit about ten years ago.) Over the years I've done my best to refrain from saying anything to her about her smoking because I don't think my badgering her about it would prompt her to quit",

You need to do more than badger your sister to quit smoking. Smoking at this point isn't a moral choice. Smoking cigarettes is a powerful physical addiction.

In many ways, heroin addiction is less damaging than a nicotine addiction. If a person has a steady supply of heroin and or morphine, like doctors and nurses in a hospitals. They can functioned properly in everyday life with their physical addiction, with some constipation here and there, but no daily damage by the semi synthetic form of opium, (ie heroin) The problems start when the supply is cut off, then there is mayhem and the pain of withdraws while the body produces endorphins which the opiate suppresses.

A person with a nicotine addiction is doing serious damage to their body with every puff of a cigarette. They are not only breathing in Carbon Monoxide by all the shit they sprayed tobacco with, and it accumulates after year after year of cigarette smoking..

My advice to you and your sister is take her to a masseuse that does body wraps, as your sisters sweats into the sheets of a body wrap, the sweat will be yellow to a light brown from all the crap she is sweating out from cigarettes, including the tar. It is probably the biggest wake up call to a smoker that they need to address the problem..

In many ways a physical addiction, and especially a powerful physical addiction like nicotine, controls a person's behavior, not the other way around. Your sister will continue to rationalize her need to smoke, much like a heroin addict will rationalize with their physical addiction...
"Am I overweight? you betcha.... I need to do a better job with my diet. I have a weight problem... I am never happy trying to get in shape and restricting my diet."

Physician, heal thyself, instead of projecting your frustrations with your life onto other people who didn't ask for your advice. (And, yes, I'm aware you didn't ask for my advice.)
ferret @114, 115: Chastising women you've never even set eyes upon let alone medically examined (I'm putting the issue of your qualifications w/r/t such a matter aside for now) does not make you a fearless and impassioned truth-teller, regardless of your self-critique. It makes you a smug, hostile, judgmental, condescending asshole. That is all.
Good move, Colorado-Boulder University.

You've made some not very hard-to-do research, which result was hardly a surprise, but since you've been targetting obese people, you've made an internet buzz out of it. So, that was money easily earned.

Why didn't you check whether green-eyed felt more at ease within a green-eyed community or within a blue-eyed community ? Oh yes, nobody would have cared.

So, what do you advocate to do now, in light of your revolutionary findings ? Oh, yeah, for other people to be more accepting of obese people.

Call that science ? I don't.

"Society’s response to or stigmatization of" obese people is not what you have been researching. You haven't taken time (nor money) to ask non-obese people what they thought of obese people, how accepting they were, and checked that against obese people's wellbeing. So you can't say anything about the impact of others being more accepting, on obese people's wellbeing. You have not researched it.

The lone thing you've been researching is how other people's weight correlates to obese people's wellbeing... so, be honest and proud and unafraid scientists, Colorado-Boulder University, and boldly deduce from your research the very thing it logically points out : that obese people would be most happy if non-obese people were made to either become obese themselves, or to stay out of obese people's way.

In other words : Colorado-Boulder's research has only one logical conclusion : that one way, which would work, to make obese people happier is either to fatten the skinny ones or to ghetto the obese ones.

Remember that this there study was designed from the start to yield such a result. Still happy with Colorado-Boulder University groundbreaking research, everyone ?
@117 I am not castigating women. I am not even trying to chastisize the poster, that stated the obvious shibboleth about being healthy while 30lbs overweight. I am being critical with a talking point of HAES movement, (ie Health at Every Size) that a very overweight to obese person can be healthy, and they have no problem with their vital signs. I don't have to examine anyone saying this favorite talking point... I am stating why being very overweight to obese puts a person's health at risk.

I am not a truth teller, I am just stating my opinion, and my opinion is mostly wrong.. I am a firm believer that doubt is the key to knowledge. I learn via this type of discussion..

Fearless people are those who confront their problems, and accept responsibility for their actions, not those who use denial and excuses to dismiss their problems...

If you have a problem with my opinion about nicottine addiction, I am all ears.
@116 It is a discussion, and it is my observation about one of the favorite talking points of HAES and Fat Acceptance movement, that very overweight people to obese people are healthy.

I am not projecting my frustrations on others. I am trying to show that I am human, I have frailties, I struggle with my weight, and that is a picture of me in my avatar, doing what I do pretty much everyday, exercise, even though swimming isn't the best weight management tool..I can be healthier...

I think dignity and self respect are important, and I am not here to morally judge overweight to obese people,. I don't want to condone some of the paradigms of the HAES and Fat Acceptance movement, which are close to delusional and pseudo science.
Mr Rhone - Just to show I haven't lost my touch: do you assert that the gender of the target intensifies the offence to such a degree that, if it were, say, Mr Alan and Dr Sean instead of Ms Cute and Ms Maddy on the receiving end, you would omit any of the four adjectives or select a less intense noun in your description of what it makes the aggressor?

Although I mention it mainly to show I can still cross-examine, there's actually something to the question of gendering the weight issue. One can at least make the case that women are disproportionately the targets of weight-based attacks. It might be rather amusing if the participants in this thread who were being called so greedy were fat men whose legal/corporate career hundred-hour work weeks don't allow them the time to hit the gym on a daily basis or obsess over exactly how many grams of everything they were eating. (I vaguely recall a while back some inclination to examine or improve the health of male executives, but I don't know that it got very far.) We could at the very least have a discussion of some profitability about how women have been judged on their appearance.

I'm used to seeing threads like these in venues rather more feminist than this; it will be interesting to reread such a thread and see how the tone compares.
Roma, that's a fair point, but the key point is that you're making a distinction between acknowledging responsibility and the ineffectuality of scolding someone to make them change as though their own struggle is somehow a personal affront to you.

Have you ever witnessed the following?: A person so personally outraged and horrified by smoking that he/she will approach a perfect stranger in public to chastise them for it? Have you ever seen that? (I have.) Nothing such a person could say wouldn't be factually true, but I think most reasonable people would agree that the person doing the harangue is a self-righteous asshole, and ineffectual because of it.

I think you can argue that the social "need," if there is one, for that kind of confrontational approach to smokers has declined given the degree to which smoking has been purged from interior public spaces and the degree to which most people absolutely understand its long term health risks.

But, and this is a point that needs mentioning, smokers know these things too! But they smoke anyway because of a complex tangle of self-reinforcing psychological and physiological reasons. To dismiss them with a level of hatred, to the point where you make it a personal front to you that a smoker exists, strikes me as seriously lacking in empathy. And having empathy does not mean that you "excuse their behavior" or fail to hold them accountable for a predictable outcome. It just means you recognize their struggle, and you do so with an understanding that few human adults are so health-pure-and-driven that they don't have some kind of similar struggle. All humans have vices, all. Barring accidents, the vast majority of us will die, will we not, from some lifestyle-related disease: heart disease, stroke, cancer--even alzheimer's and parkinson's are shaped by a lifetime of eating habits.

And this is where I think we should stop: when it comes to being fat, you're talking about a culture where it is somehow acceptable to make a host of presumptions and judgments about a person based on their physical appearance--look at the recent posts where people insist that any overweight person who claims good health is just, with absolute certainty, being delusional. Look, I've been in dance troupes, zumba classes and on salsa dance floors for more than 2 decades, and I cannot tell you how many times I've had some thin woman take me aside, a woman who doesn't know me from adam, because she needs me to know how surprised she is to see how skilled and/or in shape I am. (And, yes, I also get neutral and sincere compliments as well--you learn to tell the difference pretty quickly.) Worse, or perhaps *the* worst, I've also had the occasional onlooker approach me not only with dieting tips, but to also say that could recommend a good therapist so that I could work on my self-esteem because being overweight means I must have emotional problems. These people are all perfectly civil, but they don't seem to realize that all they're doing in such moments is forcing me to deal with their prejudices and, in the process, ruining my evening. So, yes, of course it's true that the more overweight you are the more restricted your mobility is over time, but it's NOT automatically true that every single fat person is unfit and by definition less healthy than thin people. Weight is a predictor of fitness, not an absolute. And I'm sure all of us know thin people who are both sedentary and unfit. But when you presume license only to approach fat people, often strangers, with this kind of scolding "This TRUTH is for your own good because you cannot be healthy as you are" you are being a smug, righteous asshole. And you very well may be WRONG.

That's the point. I don't think reasonable fat people would argue that being fat isn't a concern for our health or a complex challenge to face as we age. But I don't understand why it's so difficult for some thin folks to see how they have internalized such a consuming fear of fatness that they project such license and presumption on actual fat people. It's not at all unlike the kinds of "microaggressions" people of color catalog as they cope with white presumptuousness on a daily basis.
ferret @119:

1. I wrote chastise, not castigate.
2. I was not suggesting gender bias on your part. I am, however, suggesting that making these kinds of assumptions about a woman's weight, health and fitness level is, given the history (and present and foreseeable future) of our culture's gender bias, not a good look.
3. At no point did nocutename parrot the talking points of the Fat Acceptance or Heath At Every Size Movements. In fact, she explicitly states that she is not a member, though she understands the need for it (i.e. the assumption that all overweight people are diseased, not that a person at any weight imaginable can be healthy).
4. You got personal and presumptuous which, to a person you do not know, is presumptuous twice over. "If you are healthy, you can train or do those things on some pretty short notice, or a week or two of preparations.. I am guessing all those things terrify you....."
5. At what point did nocutename make an excuse or a statement of denial? And, once again, how can be you sure of either when you don't know her?
6. Your point about being "very overweight to obese" is a general one. nocutename spoke only for herself. Even taking your most basic assertion (30 lbs. overweight is unhealthy, period) as a given, you don't know if those thirty pounds are based in hard-line BMI measurements (which are not exact but rather general indicators of health/fitness anyhow- no less than three doctors have told me that explicitly) or her own personal aesthetic preferences. You think nocutename is delusional or just making excuses about her health at her current weight? Well, it is doubly delusional to "diagnose" a person in absentia, without sufficient information and while making baseless assumptions about their health and level of fitness.
7. As for the nicotine question, I was not disputing its danger or that it is a physical addiction. I was disputing the advice you gave ("You need to do more than badger your sister to quit smoking") and the underlying assertion that it's Roma's responsibility to get his sister to stop ("you need to?). I get that you were trying to indicate the seriousness of cigarette addiction but, as an ex-smoker myself, I can assure you that getting badgered by loved ones is so much white noise to an active smoker- in this day and age, every one already knows it's very bad for you. The decision to quit is an individual one, and it's unfair to place the onus on Roma.
Mr. Ven @121: See #2 @123.
Thank you, lolorhone. You are my knight in shining armor. Also thanks to Mr. Vennominon and EricaP. And maddy811, fighting the same fight.

ferret (aptly self-named, I must say), you haven't changed my eating or exercising habits a whit. But you have made me feel attacked and harangued. You've lectured me, hectored me, told me how I must feel, lumped me in with a group I don't affiliate with, offered me a crap ton of unsolicited "advice," and tried your hardest to shame me. So if your goal was to prove the truth of the headline of this blog--that proximity to you makes people like me unhappy, congratulations! You achieved it. Except that apparently you aren't skinny. So you're a self-hating person taking out your self hatred on others around you who are more publicly accepting of themselves. Somewhat like a closeted politician or religious figure spewing hateful legislation or sermons--part of the parallel I was suggesting all the way back at comments 37 and 53.

Finally, sweetie, you keep saying that being obese is a condition "that needs to be address" (in comments at 60, 71, 87, 90, 95, though to your credit, you finally got it right @114) and because I was raised to be polite, and not to heap scorn or corrections on people, particularly people I don't know, I have refrained from telling you that the word you need is "addressed."

And lastly to builditallwithdiamonds, who's probably not still reading, I want to thank you for being a hypocritical asshole who should know better.
@123 Castigate and Chastise come from same etymological root and can be synonyms. (to criticize someone harshly)

I am not diagnosing anyone via a comments section on the Stranger Blog. Nocutename mentioned that she was 30lbs overweight, but her vitals were very good and she was relatively fit. I just mention a few examples that run of the mill healthy people could be capable of doing if they are relatively fit. (it doesn't mean they have to do it, and or like to do it)

It doesn't matter if she does think she belongs to the Fat Acceptance movement or not. I just heard way too many times these excuses about HAES. (overweight, but healthy; they eat right and exercise regularly but they can't lose weight) Losing weight is no fun, but it is not impossible.

Being 30lbs overweight is not a disease, it is unhealthy, but it is not obesity. Obesity is a major medical problem and it is consider a disease that has to be treated.

I got "personal" because nocutename was showing her own personal experience, and I just showed her some examples, if she thinks she is relatively healthy. I have no grudge or issue with her, and I wish her the best. If you see my comments to her throughout the comments sections, it is some of her statements that she has made, much like how fat people are a persecuted minority in one of her comments..

I don't know nocutename, and I don't want to know her. I am responding to some of her points, that the standard basic denials of the the fat acceptance movement, even though she has stated she is not part of that movement. Nocutename is not delusional, the statements and denials about HAES are almost delusional to make those who have weight issues feel better about themselves.

About Smoking and Nicotine addiction. It is a powerful drug addiction, like any powerful drug addiction, it takes more than words but actions to help your love one. I realize no words or actions don't help an addict, unless the person with the drug addiction wants to change. I mentioned body wraps with only white sheets, which is a big wake up call of what smokers sweat out. If a loved one has an recreational drug addiction or an alcohol problem, I would do more than use rational discussion to get my point across. I would do everything close to an intervention. Nicotine is a physical addiction, besides it can change how the brain's thought process. Because it is wide availability and legality, it doesn't make it less damaging than mainly illegal substance like opiates..
@125 I am not trying to shame you. You mentioned your status quo health. It isn't healthy. I am not self hating or projecting my own anxieties. I am constantly battling in controlling my weight, which means my main problem is that I don't eat healthy or I have bad eating habits..

My intent is not trying to be mean, I am trying to show being healthy, means one shouldn't be limited by their physical activities. I apologize if I came across mean or condescending, I try to counteract some argument head on, that is my intent. I don't control how you feel. I am just a mixed of garble words and syntax errors on a computer screen. Thanks for the verb tense correction.

Am I overweight? yes, I am. Do I really like losing that weight by changing my diet? No. However I do have a goal of losing at least ten pounds by July 15th, which will help my swimming and running. My goal is to lose another 5-10 by August 15th. I am not trying to lose weight because I am self hating, I am doing it because it is the healthy for me, and it will help my times in open water swimming competitions...
@127 "It isn't healthy." Healthy is not a word with any official, accepted definition. You're entitled to your own preference, but don't fool yourself into thinking everyone else agrees with your definition. And we all die in the end, no matter how much exercise we get, or how little ice cream we eat. Can you assure someone they will live ten years longer if they exercise an hour a day? No, you cannot. Can you assure someone they will be happier if they always skip the ice cream? No, you cannot.

" I am not self hating... I have bad eating habits...I am self hating"

Listen to yourself. Live and let live.
ferret @126:

With regards to the chastise/castigate hair-splitting- you missed both the joke and the overall point of my entire post. I'll do a side-by-side capsule review.

"Oh, I'm not saying you were castigating women, I'm just saying that you're chastising them."
"Oh, I'm not shaming you for your weight, I'm just saying your cholesterol's only low because you're pre-menopausal and that rigorous exercise would probably terrify you."

Regardless of your intent, do you get it now?

There are diseases that are not preventable and others that are preventable. One of the best ways to prevent diseases like heart disease, type II diabetes, nephritis, etc, is maintaing one's weight.

One of the best ways to curb healthcare cost is preventative care, and one of the most best way of preventative care is diet..

Admitting that I can lose weight, and I can do it by better eating habits is not self hating, it is more that my weight problem is caused by my diet. I feel one of the best reason to be close to one's BMI average weight is self loving. I am trying to get to my ideal weight, so I can do well in athletic competitions, or do a major backcountry ski trip... I didn't state that I am self hating. I love life, and there is too much out there to enjoy.

I am all for doing things in moderation, and a treat once in awhile is not much harm. What is harm is the Orson Welles's diet of daily steak and ice cream.. I like making a Dacquoise for special occasions..

@126, Oh such sophistry!

My exercise examples are not "rigorous exercise". Rigorous Exercise would be doing the Ironman Canada, or the goddamn Norseman Triathlon. A 10k run is someone who is healthy can easily do in an hour.

I gave an explanation, which is backed by this things called medical studies of why women have lower LDL cholesterol than males...……

I am not trying to shame anyone. I realize that weight is an exposed nerve for anyone, but pointing out denial does not mean I am shaming. I wish the best to all the posters on this board..

Anyway, thanks for the feedback, enjoy the rest of the spring... ciao y paz.
opps my bad.. I meant @129.. D'oh!! Fire away!!!
115: You need to do more than badger your sister to quit smoking.

ferret, I don't badger her and never have. I realized a long time ago that doesn't work (for her and probably for most people; perhaps it does work for some.) She will have to want to quit bad enough and do it on her own.

ferret @131: If I'm a sophist, then you're willfully obtuse. Do you not see how your qualification of the exercise as "easy" makes the insult you swear you don't intend worse ? Do you not see that stating that estrogen is the only reason nocutename hasn't fallen over dead yet relies upon completely fallacious logic? You're either entirely disingenuous about your intentions or you're just entirely clueless. Either way, you have a pleasant season as well. I'm out.

ferret, you constantly mention "denial." Well, speaking only for myself, I'm not in denial about anything. I know what my extra pounds cost me and I'm okay with that. Is that "delusional?" I don't pretend to not know why I am overweight, and I know just what I'd need to do to lose weight and keep it off. I am not, at this point in my life, willing to do those things. You don't know what or how much I eat or how much or what kind of exercise I do--and it's none of your business. I will say that I don't eat Orson Welles' quantities of anything, but I am not deluded or in denial as to the fact that, yes, I overeat. That's not a capital offense. My choice about how to live my life should be respected. I don't tell people I know how they should spend their money or not spend it. I don't tell them why their career goals are "delusional."

You think you're pointing out my "denial." I'm not denying anything. I would appreciate it if you would stop denying that you're "not trying to shame anyone." I would appreciate it if you would recognize that your entire contribution to this comment thread illustrates the point made by the research done at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Anyone overweight is bound to be unhappy in your haranguing presence and consequently would be happier being in the company of others who were more accepting--probably more like themselves. If you really want to see the entire population get healthier (though what's it to you?) because of your concern for humanity, you could start by behaving in a way that is more tolerant and accepting, rather than badgering and nagging, because that tends to make people's blood pressure rise.

As for your endless tips and education: don't you think overweight people know why they're overweight? Don't you credit them with enough intelligence to be able to understand how things like portion size, fat content, overall calorie count, metabolism, glycemic indices work? If you don't, if you think that overweight corresponds to ignorance or a lack of intelligence or education, let me gently correct that misapprehension. If you persist in thinking that we need to be thinsplained some more, you need to accept the designation of bully.

You mentioned the "ineffectuality of scolding someone to make them change as though their own struggle is somehow a personal affront to you." Although I haven't scolded my sister about her smoking because, as you noted, that kind of external pressure doesn't work, if I had done it my motivation wouldn't have been because I felt it was some kind of personal affront to me. I would have done it because I care about her and don't want to see her fucking up her lungs with crap. And I think that's the motivation when most people pressure someone they care about to stop a bad habit. It's done out of concern, not because the person sees it as a personal affront.

Now, if you talking about chastising a stranger, that's a another matter. The motivation there may very well be different.

I actually never have seen a person chastise a stranger in public for smoking (or for being overweight.) In stating that, I'm not suggesting it doesn't happen, because I'm sure it does. I've just never seen it.

I think most reasonable people would agree that the person doing the harangue [about a person smoking] is a self-righteous asshole, and ineffectual because of it.

I agree with you 100% when it comes to anyone scolding a stranger about being overweight, because a person being overweight doesn't affect others around them. But smokers are a different matter. Smokers do affect people around them. To me, someone smoking in public around other people is the asshole, not anyone who might harangue them for it.

But, and this is a point that needs mentioning, smokers know these things too! But they smoke anyway because of a complex tangle of self-reinforcing psychological and physiological reasons. To dismiss them with a level of hatred, to the point where you make it a personal front to you that a smoker exists, strikes me as seriously lacking in empathy.

Sorry, I can't agree with you on this. In my opinion, the person seriously lacking in empathy is the person who smokes around other people. Yeah, I know it's legal to smoke outside (and, in many places in the country, still legal to smoke inside) but just because something is legal doesn't mean you're being considerate of others by doing it.

Again, huge distinction between a smoker and someone who's overweight. Someone who's overweight and, say, standing next to me at an outdoor concert, isn't being inconsiderate of me at all. I'm not being affected in the least by them being overweight. But a smoker standing next to me at a concert and lighting up? Very inconsiderate.

All humans have vices, all.

I'm sure that's true. Some of our vices don't affect anyone else and some do.

And this is where I think we should stop: when it comes to being fat, you're talking about a culture where it is somehow acceptable to make a host of presumptions and judgments about a person based on their physical appearance--look at the recent posts where people insist that any overweight person who claims good health is just, with absolute certainty, being delusional.

Let me ask you: these people who insist that any overweight person who claims good health is being you think they're a small minority, a large minority or a majority of people?

128: Can you assure someone they will live ten years longer if they exercise an hour a day? No, you cannot.

Erica, I don't believe an oncologist or dermatologist could assure anyone they are not going to get skin cancer if they use sunscreen so, based on that, should people not use it?
Roma, I've seen people walk up to strangers who are smoking in public to chastise them. I'm not weighing in on whether that's good or bad, justified or not, but I've seen it.

My mother was a smoker and I nagged and harangued her and finally gave her a strong push to quit. But she did the hard work of quitting herself and not because I nagged her. She has been a non-smoker for 33 years now, and I'm very proud of her.

My former mother-in-law was a 3-pack-a-day smoker. I didn't nag her, but once, when I heard an ad for volunteers for a quit-smoking trial being conducted at UCLA Medical Center, I called her up and asked if she was interested in participating. This was the response I got over the phone: " I. Don't. WANT. To. Quit. Smoking."
I never spoke of it again.

As was probably to be expected she ended up with lung cancer. She died horribly and she was a lovely woman, who didn't "deserve" that death, no matter how much her own actions contributed to it. To date, no one who ever lived with her has ended up with lung cancer or emphysema.

After she died, a neighbor came by to pay her respects. She brought her young son (7-8 years old). By the time of her death, my m-i-l looked terrible, as one does after a battle with cancer, and I worried that the little boy might be traumatized. I privately thanked the neighbor for stopping by afterwards and she told me that she had brought her son as an object lesson: ("that lady smoked. Look what happened to her; this is why you should never smoke.") I thought that was perfectly fine. The neighbor didn't bully or nag at someone, and maybe if the last thing my mother-in-law did, even if in death, was to prevent a person from taking up the habit/addiction of smoking, than it was a justified thing for the woman to have done. But during my m-i-l's life, this neighbor said a negative thing to her. And the person that could look on her suffering without compassion and only think of the part her own behavior had in it is beneath contempt--I don't suggest that you would have that attitude, but given the ferrets of the world, I can certainly imagine it.
135: ferret, you constantly mention "denial." Well, speaking only for myself, I'm not in denial about anything.

nocutename, when you look at the various issues people have, I've often wondered if most people realize they have an issue, and would like to change, but just can't do it, or if they're in denial. I suspect it's the former.

I've heard the line "the hardest thing to do is to admit you have a problem." I don't agree with that. While I admit that if you don't admit you have a problem, you're definitely not going to make any headway dealing with it, I think that admitting you have a problem is the easy part. It's dealing with it that's the hard part. I'm quite aware of the issues I have, no denial whatsoever, but making progress is damn difficult.

Roma @139: Yup! And that applies to many things.
nocutename, as I said above, I'm sure people do walk up to strangers and scold them for smoking (or for being overweight). I've just never personally seen it.

I don't think it's appropriate for someone to walk over to a smoker who is, say, in a park and away from other people and scold them for smoking. In that case, I think the scold is being the asshole. But if the smoker is near that person, then I have no problem with them blasting the smoker.

Glad your mother quit and, yes, I believe that people have to want to do it and do it themselves. So far, unfortunately, this hasn't happened with my sister. When I quit smoking pot, I mentioned that to her (without any lecture), hoping that might inspire her but, alas, it didn't.

Yes, again, your former mother-in-law didn't "deserve" lung cancer but her choice to continue smoking likely caused it. In my worldview, the people who "deserve" something bad happening to them are people who harm others, not people who only harm themselves.

Oh, Roma, you're completely right about exposure to second-hand smoke and, I, of course, wouldn't hesitate to ask someone to not smoke in my or my daughter's presence, in no small part because we both have asthma. But, again, we're talking about different things. If in that situation, I certainly wouldn't do so in a way that suggested that I held the person in contempt as somehow lesser than me. I would simply ask them not to smoke near me or my family or in my house, etc. I certainly wouldn't start giving them a lecture about lung cancer or future tracheotomies as though they don't know full well the risks they are incurring.

To answer your other question, I'm not saying that there aren't fat people in denial about the toll that their weight is or will take on their health, quality of life, or length of life. I'm saying that I'm not in a position to make a determination about how and why any individual became fat or does or does not remain so. I also think it's none of my damn business to make presumptions about their psychological affairs or knowledge base, and that includes, as nocute mentioned, approaching any fat person as though I just assume that they are in denial and/or know nothing about how they got to where they currently are.

I think we all bullshit ourselves, particularly as we age, about our weight and our appearance. But I think it's an individual's own spirit work, for lack of a less new agey phrase, to consider whether or not they are harming themselves by not being honest about their health. But, again, I would say that in a climate this hateful and fat phobic, it's hard for me not to see denial as a cultural-fulfilling prophecy. Sometimes I think that a fat person eating something god awful in public is a seriously brave thing to do. Have you not heard of thin people taking pictures of fat people in the gym? Or lecturing a fat person in a grocery store for what's in their cart? These aren't uncommon experiences. For fuck sake, I once offered a sick coworker in my office a cough drop and she gave me a lecture about its added sugar content and how added added sugar leads to Type II diabetes!

I've been thinking about this conversation this week while in my adult hip hop cardio class I've been taking with the same group of people since January. The ages in the room range from 20 to mid '60s, and I'm in the middle of the room both in terms of weight and age. And there are some women there who come, week after week, class after class, who look like typically middle-aged, moderately overweight to significantly overweight Americans, and yet you should see how easily they rip through some pretty intense cardio. Several of them have stronger cardiovascular fitness than I currently do despite the fact that I'm 20 years younger and weigh significantly less than they do. I would imagine that many of them, if not most, experience the phenomenon on display in this forum--this kneejerk assumption that they don't take care of themselves and that they're unfit. But I wouldn't be so impolite as to presume as much or to ask or to lecture or to backhand complement because I know too well how hurtful such things can be. It's really a simple matter of letting an individual own his or her own life experience and stopping before you project your own bullshit onto an unsuspecting person.
Over the last 50 years, the amount of driving that people do has increased steadily, now over 12,000 miles/year. The increase of sitting while driving and consequent loss of walking, is to blame for a great part of the increase in American obesity compared to other societies. Living in suburbs where it is not possible to walk to places cannot help. (Whoops, that will turn this into a Mudede post), and also explains why more rural Midwestern and southern states have higher obesity rates.
So, what to do? Be conscious of where you live. Actively look for ways to walk/bike (safely) to local stores, if possible. Consider moving closer to your place of work, if you can; cutting out 250 round trip drives a year will be good for your health, your wallet (each mile driven costs you $.55, according to the IRS), and world carbon dioxide levels. The other diet stuff that people are going on about here (except perhaps for cutting out soft drinks) is minor in comparison, and no shaming is necessary.
If there is one single example I can think of that exemplifies everything this issue is about it is this: the upscale workout/fitness clothing chain Lululemon doesn't carry sizes above a women's 10 or 12, and furthermore, they don't display those sizes in the store proper, but store them in the stockroom, so customers have to ask for them in a way guaranteed to make them self-conscious.……

Now let's parse this: Lululemon sells clothes for people to work out it. If everyone just wanted to see the culture be a healthier one, than everyone, including retailers, should try to make fitness more accessible to everyone, particularly the overweight.

But Lululemon doesn't want its brand devalued by appearing to disadvantage; it doesn't want its brand devalued by seeming to appeal to people it doesn't think worthy of wearing its clothing. It doesn't want the association of its brand with people who aren't already fit, healthy, and slender.

This is a poor business decision, because more than half the women in this country wear a size 14 or higher, so Lululemon is losing a substantial customer base. It's also a stupid business decision because overweight women are frequently starved (pun intended) for choices that are fashionable and well-made and youthful and popular and mainstream. Many of these fat women would be willing to pay a lot to have the same sartorial choices their thinner sisters have. In fact, since it is so much easier to find good-looking clothes that fit and fit well, many slimmer people are more willing to bargain shop, while heavier women, who have far fewer choices, are either more willing or more resigned to spending more money on clothing. So the market loss is substantial.

But presumably Lululemon's executives know this and are willing to sacrifice sales for image. They are trading on the fact that by virtue of being able to fit into the brand, women feel as if they have membership in some special club--a club to which others vainly hope to be included within.

Now this has long been a successful strategy with high-end, high-fashion designer clothes. Many designers don't design above a size 10 or 12, claiming that their clothes won't look good on bodies bigger than that. Okay. Whatever, and they're aiming for exclusivity. Their price point puts them into an exclusive niche to begin with, and this way they up that ante. Lululemon, selling attractive, high-end clothes meant to be sweated in, meant to be used for people to get and stay in shape, to lose weight or maintain a weight loss, counts on the fact that having cute clothes to do that in can be for some women, an incentive to keeping up with a fitness routine. But think about the message that gets sent when Lululemon does what those designers do: you should work out, you greedy fat cow. Get off your fat, lazy ass. But not in our clothes.

This is cultural fat shaming. This is a culture that says "you're not welcome in our club." So is it any wonder that overweight people are more unhappy when they are surrounded by that culture, its values, messages and inhabitants. They are constantly told, explicitly and implicitly, that they're not welcome in the club. They're not welcome in the club of beauty, or sexual attractiveness. With the patronizing, condescending attitudes represented by bulditallwithdiamonds or ferret, they're told that they aren't welcomed in the club of intelligent or self-aware people. Is it so surprising that they are happier, whether they are 10 pounds or 300 pounds overweight, when they are away from that culture?
Shoot: so many typos and misspellings in post #144. The first two I see are "Lululemon sells clothes for people to work out it" should read "Lululemon sells clothes for people to work out in." And "if everyone just wanted to see the culture be a healthier one, than everyone . . ." should be "if everyone just wanted to see the culture be a healthier one, then everyone . . ."

Roma @137, the issue is about what I should TELL other adults to do, when those adults have not come to me for advice.

If I knew that a car was speeding down the street toward ferret, I'd be justified in screaming at ferret to get out of the road. Adults warn other adults about immediate, clear dangers.

But adults should not walk up to other adults and lecture them about wearing sunscreen, or about their weight, or about their choice to leave the party for a smoke. It's annoying and it does no good.
Actually, from what I've seen, slender people are much more unhappy around overweight people than the reverse. At least going by how much they like to talk about us, insult us, call us a disease epidemic, etc. And it's all very well and good to say "lose the weight" but we all know this never happens overnight, so for all you know you're shaming someone who's lost 50 pounds and is still losing. Do you have any idea how discouraging that is? Better to just keep your opinions about other people's bodies to yourself.
Ferret, please read
For those who haven't read it, the link at 148 is to an article about how being overweight is protective healthwise. n=11,000+, followed over 12 years, overweight people died less and had significantly less risk for many major diseases. So basically, it is in fact better for your health to be overweight. Which is probably why most people's bodies trend that way.

Excess Pounds, but Not Too Many, May Lead to Longer Life

"The report, published online last week in the journal Obesity, found that overall, people who were overweight but not obese — defined as a body mass index of 25 to 29.9 — were actually less likely to die than people of normal weight, defined as a B.M.I. of 18.5 to 24.9.

By contrast, people who were underweight, with a B.M.I. under 18.5, were more likely to die than those of average weight. Their risk of dying was 73 percent higher than that of normal weight people, while the risk of dying for those who were overweight was 17 percent lower than for people of normal weight."


This isn't a party, it is a comment sections. I didn't go up to posters unsolicited and state "you need to lose weight", someone stated a common HAES talking point, "I may be overweight, but I am healthy, my vitals are good"... I would state the same thing.

If someone is 30lbs overweight, they shouldn't be complacent. It isn't the higher risks of type II diabetes or coronary heart disease, being very moderately overweight can put wear out joints faster than keeping to BMI index of a person's ideal weight range. It is easy if someone is not diligent that 30lbs turns into 50-60lbs.

A 10k run is an hour of exercise, ie about two laps around Greenlake, if someone thinks they are healthy, rather than have an EKG, or get their blood works, do two laps around Greenlake at a ten minute mile pace. If a person cannot do it, then work on it, until they can do it. If they can do it while 30lbs overweight, then it is a good means test on their health...
From Mansfield Park:

"They took their cheerful rides in the fine mornings of April and May; and Fanny either sat at home the whole day with one aunt, or walked beyond her strength at the instigation of the other: Lady Bertram holding exercise to be as unnecessary for everybody as it was unpleasant to herself; and Mrs. Norris, who was walking all day, thinking everybody ought to walk as much."
This just arrived in my newsfeed today, courtesy of Cheryl Strayed, who also had this to say by way of introduction: "It wasn’t so much that I chose to be fat; it was that I chose to be happy," Emily Timbol in this dead-on piece on the @newinquiry. Seriously, women! We need to get over the body stuff. There is so much more to life than worrying about what you look like in a pair of jeans. We need to choose this liberation for ourselves. Fat, thin, in-between--wherever you are--it's okay. I'm not preaching. At the moment I'm on the fat end of my own personal weight spectrum. And struggling because of it. But mostly I'm trying to struggle against that dumb-ass struggle. Instead, I'm trying to remember the sacred of my own body. To be here now. Who's there with me?…

Note that Strayed recognizes that it's a "dumb-ass struggle," but she "struggles" nevertheless. This is the point. Also the fact that these kind of blog posts even need to exist, that they are inspiring, that I will be reposting it for a lot of much younger women I know who I think would benefit from being exposed to such thinking. No one thin who's been normal/thin her whole life would write a blog about how she learned her thin body was worthy of love and self-love and expect it to resonate, would expect it to be reposted, and shared by celebrities or though online journals. The need for this is great, and the thirst for it seemingly unquenchable, which suggests to me that the source of fat people (maybe specifically fat women)'s unhappiness is largely (ha!) because of the reaction they get from being in the thin world.