Living Near Skinny People Makes Overweight People Unhappy

Comments

1
Is there anything that makes overweight people happy? (Besides Cheesecake Factory, obvs).
2
Well duh. If you're severely overweight or clinically obese and you live around a whole bunch of other people with similar characteristics, that becomes the norm. People with this condition who don't see very many examples of others like themselves are naturally going to realize they're NOT the norm in that particular environment.
4
@3
don't know if you're operating under a grant from the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, but your remark is sound and logical to me.
5
@1 Is that supposed to be a joke? Make a Top 10 list of the things that bring you joy and happiness. Anything that's not "being slim" probably brings happiness to overweight people too.
6
Another of those stories that should only be in The Onion.
7
And obese people who work out at the same gym as Terry Miller are borderline suicidal.
8
The world is fat and getting fatter. The percentage of adults with a body-mass index (BMI) of 25 kg/m2 or higher — the threshold for being overweight — rose, for men, from 28.8 in 1980 to 36.9 in 2013, and for women, from 29.8 to 38. Science can’t agree on what’s driving the global obesity crisis.
http://dish.andrewsullivan.com/2014/05/3…

“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.” So then why is it not the case that the inverse is true where non-obese is less common? When the norm is obese, why do the non-obese (including the thin) not experience a decreased level in life satisfaction?
9
So when is Lindy West going to comment that we are fat shaming again?
10
First of all, Fuck you, Banna.

Second, COMTE, it sounds like duh, and one of those pointless "let's study the obvious," things but it is kind of an important point, because of conventional wisdom that says that overweight people are unhappy, and guess what? They're only unhappy when they feel like they are judged and looked at with contempt.

Because, Dan, it's not just proximity to skinny people that does it, it's the way those skinny people and the rest of society react to those overweight people that is responsible: "it appears to be society’s response to or stigmatization of those that are different from what is seen as ‘normal’."

I'm not severely obese, or morbidly obese, but at a size 14/16 depending, I'm definitely clinically obese. I've also been skinny and right in between, at different points in my life, and let me tell you, it is uncomfortable to always walk into a room and be the fattest person in it. It's something I'm always aware of--I constantly measure myself against everyone else. And because I don't live in Mississippi, but instead in an affluent part of the country, in a part of a blue state that has a highly educated and young population in the San Francisco Bay Area, I am frequently the only overweight person in the room or at the event, if the event is one that attracts people from higher socio-economic and educated classes (it's long been known that weight and social class are closely correlated for the most part).

So if I were hanging out in podunk nowhere, with a bunch of hillbillies, I'd probably look svelte, but at literary event, or a fundraiser for a private school, not so much.

And you know what? It makes me anxious. It makes me uncomfortable. It makes me self-conscious. Because not only am I aware that I am being measured--literally--against the others and found lacking (ironic that my "more than" renders me somehow "less than") physically, I constantly feel (and this is the internalized shame part, the "fat people are less happy than thin people" part) like I'm lacking in more than just thinness. I feel like I'm lacking in worth as a person. Or at least I feel that that's how society is judging me. Particularly in our culture, where a woman's worth is often thought of in terms of her fuckabilty quotient.

It's the stigma. It's comments like Banna's @1. It's the fact that when a fat woman posted a photo of her (covered) butt on Instagram it was removed for being "offensive" despite the fact that when thinner women post comparable photos (and they do all the time), it's no big deal.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TV-SbPN2J…

It's the fact that someone is going to say (or has even already said in the time it's taken me to compose this post): "well if they don't like it, why don't they get off their fat, lazy asses and lose the blubber?"

Being smarmy about it is really helpful, I might add, Dan.
11
Okay. So. The very presence of people who live differently than you makes you sad? And this is what passes for insight.

Republicans and Climate Change Deniers feel the same way.

Let's all remake the internet into real life and enclave ourselves into little meatspace echo chambers. Because that works out so well.
12
Yesterday for work I needed to search a royalty-free photo site for a picture of "kids playing" and I-shit-you-not over half the first page of results showed kids with video game controllers in their hands.

I'm not arguing anything so simplistic about being overweight, just sharing a depressing tangent because why keep all the depressing to myself?
13
@10

"I'm definitely clinically obese" "I am frequently the only overweight person in the room" "It makes me anxious. It makes me uncomfortable. It makes me self-conscious."

So your options are put up with it, change yourself, or change everyone around you. The first option seems to be making you unhappy, the third option is unworkable for a number of reasons. What does that leave?
14
One hypothesis--gluten impairs B-vitamin digestion in a lot of people. Take a food full of gluten, add lots of synthetic B-vitamins to it, and voila, instant addiction. You crave the food because you are low in B-vitamins, but the more you eat, the less you can actually digest B-vitamins.
15
@13 TCLballardwallymont, it's amazing, the Pavlovian cringe seeing your avatar induces in me. Sometimes people need to say something and not feel judged or shamed. Maybe you could try that instead of always being the biggest asshole in the room. God, "Judge not lest ye be judged," and shut the EFF up.
17
@13 (TCLballardwallymont): Thank you for the insight and implied suggestion. I wasn't asking for advice. I was commenting in response to Dan's snide "knock it off, skinny people," and comments like those at #s 1 and 2.

I was trying to offer clarification for those who don't live this experience and who don't seem sensitive to it. I'm not unhappy with my weight, per se, (just like the fat people in the study). I'm reasonably fit, and extremely healthy, and feel like I have a lot more to offer the world than a slender body. Additionally, I feel beautiful a good deal of the time and get enough outward confirmation of this to not be walking through life bent over while the sad trombone plays. But it's true that when I see a thin person complain about something, my first thought is along the lines of "what has she got to be unhappy about? She's thin!"
I was explaining that the unhappiness comes from being judged and stigmatized by the rest of society.

18
A person who is naturally skinny is less attractive than a person who is naturally fat but who watches their weight.

19
As a formerly skinny person who could now stand to lose twenty pounds, I am bothered by my weight gain, but not enough to do something about it. And to me, the people my age (late 40's) who obsess over the gym and their diet are just bores. I had my time in skinny jeans and form-fitting t-shirts. Now I just want to relax. I'll eat well enough and do enough exercise to (hopefully) keep the diabetes at bay, but that's about all I'm interested in.
20
@15

It's interesting that you read some kind of judgement and/or shaming into what I wrote, which was focused upon the fact that people are primarily responsible for their own happiness.

If you feel a pavlovian cringe at the thought of someone who recommends you take charge of your life, you also might want to make some changes.

@17 "Thank you for the insight and implied suggestion. I wasn't asking for advice." "I was explaining that the unhappiness comes from being judged and stigmatized by the rest of society."

That's OK, no charge for my advice. Wouldn't you be a happier person if the change you decide to make is to not give a shit about the judgement and stigma? To examine the reasons why you choose to let these things affect your state of mind? Did you assume I was telling you to lose weight? That's your focus, not mine.
21
The skinny people don't have to be near you, and you don't have to be obese for them to make you miserable and self-hating: http://www.nytimes.com/1999/05/20/world/…
22
I suspect this may be related to the same studies that show that overweight people are also less successful at loosing weight (and more likely to gain more) if they're surrounded by people that constantly make judging or belittling comments about their weight or about how disgusting it is to be overweight in general. Not that every person with a healthy BMI is automatically judgey, but I hope no one here is fooling themselves that by being a sanctimonious asshole to someone who's fat you're "helping" them. Yes, there is a huge obesity problem in this country and that carries serious health consequences, but if you aren't their doctor or their concerned lover/family member/very close friend, it probably isn't your place to address that with a particular overweight individual.. You aren't saving America one bitchy comment at a time.
23
Are all of you missing Dan's point?

He's saying that obese people who live around skinny people are probably unhappy because the skinny people are bullying them.

And unless you've been living under a rock on Mars, you should probably know how Dan feels about bullies. And he's right.

Knock it off, skinny people! If you haven't got anything nice to say, don't say anything at all.
24
Living around big people in a culture that demands conformity to an unnaturally lean body type for everyone makes underweight people behave like narcissistic assholes and sociopathic fucks.

Calling big men and voluptuous women "overweight" or "obese" is akin to homophobic assholes referring to gay people as "unnatural," "abnormal," and "homosexual."

Obese is a medical term. OVERweight is a judgment that assumes a normal and acceptable weight.

Stop that shit.

Stop adding to the segregating classes of better versus lesser and worthy versus unworthy.

Unless, of course, you won't mind when the same segregating judgments are levied against you.
25
@9 Because Dan is? Because it's hard to believe him when he talks about he's not a jerk to fat people who posts things like some weird study someone did to prove that fat people are stupider than skinny people. Or this study which seems to exist solely to feed the belief that fat people are somehow miserable. Which of course isn't because they're treated badly by those around them but because they're fat.
26
@23 then that's a bad point because it implies skinny people are assholes more than fat people, and that sounds prejudice to me. i think it comes down more to fat people having a victim complex
27
@2

Juxtapose your comments and apparent perspective on this article with your comments earlier today on " That’s Kind of Racist, Dude."

Should a minority in the population simply accept the majority's judgment, segregation and devaluation?

People are not medical or clinical terms except to those who are trying to judge, devalue and segregate the other person from themselves.

If it is not okay for race, shouldn't it also be unacceptable for body type?
28
@10 part of ur argument is that people who are obese are made to feel uncomfortable by the sheer existence and proximity of people who are not obese...so what exactly can they do about that?
29
@10:

I just got off a diet where in 8 months I lost 60 pounds. Granted, some people with medical conditions maybe can't do that, but they're really the exception, not the rule. If you're overweight or obese, and you don't have some sort of hormonal issue you CAN lose the weight, but you have to WANT to lose it and you have do to the HARD WORK to make it go away, otherwise, you're just making excuses. I know, I've been there. I simply reached a point where I no longer wanted to be the fattest person in the room, and I did something about it.
30
Stop being skinny? Tried. Can't see where you fatties get the willpower to continuously eat past your comfort level, day after day.

Also getting quite tired of you telling me that I have "skinny privilege" while going out of your way to make me feel bad about my body type. Knock it the fuck off, fatties.
31
@23: In my experience, it's 9 times out of 10 fat people who say something to the skinny person about their weight first. So does it count as bullying when I finally agree with Tina that yeah, she can stand to lose a few pounds?
32
@29 "in 8 months I lost 60 pounds." "I reached a point where I no longer wanted to be the fattest person in the room, and I did something about it."

Congratulations! :D

I hope the people in the room were actually irrelevant to your decision though. Living by comparison to others, judging both yourself and them against some artificial standard... yuck. Bleh. The willingness to embrace that mindset is the real problem.

The will to be yourself according to your own values and choices? Fucking priceless in it's rarity when it comes to appearance it seems like. Have some goddamn pride in your will, fat guys. Have some goddamn pride in your will, skinny guys. As long as it is your will, and not what some magazine tells you your will should be.

Of course that ideal will probably make 15 go and have a pavlovian crying fit for an hour with all its judgmentalism and shaming.
33
For all his advice on how to be a moral, ethical person, Dan's basically an asshole of the time.
34
True enough, but he's our asshole.
35
I'm obese, and, thinking about this, I'm realizing that this is one of the reasons I like to swim so much.

I'm working out, which feels good. My fat body, in the water, is actually working *with* me, rather than against me. And I can't see my body or anyone else's - we are all just heads and arms and the odd flash of a foot. We're all just people swimming together.
36
@31,
No, if they start then it's not bullying if you chime in.
37
Look, it seems to me that the point Dan is trying to make by pointing to this passage, is that it's not the condition in and of itself that makes someone unhappy; it's the way people who have it are made to feel by society's response to it and those who have it. When all that is seen as normal is something different from (hypothetical) you, and when what you are is systematically ridiculed and called disgusting by those members of mainstream society, it's little wonder if a bit of internalized shame creeps in or if being around members of mainstream society or being the only or one of a very few visible members of the "different" group makes you less happy than being around others like you.

The parallels between this example and being gay are clear, as are those between this example and being a racial or ethnic minority. There is a reason that communities of like people form. Mr. Ven, whom I think advocates for some measure of separate but equal might have something to say about this. And the point is a valid one.

I happen to believe that separate is inherently unequal and therefore wish for a cultural and societal change, in which that separation is unnecessary for full acceptance. @13, TCLballardwallymont suggests that that kind of change is "unworkable," for a number of reasons that I can't think of and that she or he didn't give. But I think not.

I think our culture is in the middle of a great deal of growth and change--most of it painful--in which the first step is to recognize that the condition exists. We all pretty much recognize outright hatespeech and discrimination when we see it, but the more subtle forms of it are harder for many to see until they are pointed out, often repeatedly. And even then, people who don't experience them directly often seem to lack a sense of empathy until someone they know or love shows them how those more subtle (ugh, I hate the baggage this word carries, but I'm going to use it anyway) micro-aggressions work, how they manifest themselves, how they insinuate themselves into the culture at large, and even into the minds and feelings of those on the receiving end.

So when I posted @10, I wasn't complaining about being fat, I wasn't asking for weight loss advice, I wasn't saying I am consciously miserable. I was saying that just like Panti Bliss expresses it so well (starting at 4.18, if you don't want to watch from the beginning) in this speech

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WXayhUzWn…

some of the attitude that mainstream society directs your way inevitably infects you.
38
32:

They were completely irrelevant to my decision to lose weight. The "people in the room" are family, friends and colleagues who accepted me as I was, and I never felt any external pressure to do something about it - except from my GP and my cardiologist. I did it for myself: for my health and longevity, for my appearance, and for my own sense of self-esteem.
39
@10 - Well said. Thank you.
40
@37 (nocutename)
"... it's not the condition in and of itself that makes someone unhappy; it's the way people who have it are made to feel by society's response to it and those who have it."
No, no, no -- that's not what this study is saying! This study did not examine bullying behaviors. Most of the comments here assume that fat people are shamed because people MAKE them feel ashamed. And while I have no doubt that fat people are bullied for being fat, but that's not what this study is saying. It is merely saying that a fat person around skinny people feels less happy than one around other fat people.
Kind of like someone without much money is going to feel unhappy around rich people, but comfortable around poorer people. Etc etc.
People feel unhappy because they feel self-conscious. I can remember a million times or more that I've been unhappily self-conscious to be surrounded by people more "ideal" than I. But I can only recall a few instances of being shunned, shamed, or ridiculed by such people.
My point, I guess, is that to feel ashamed is almost inevitably part of "failing" to live up to society's ideal, whether persons in that society treat you poorly or not.
41
Drusilla: You missed my point entirely.

I never said that thin people are bullies. I said that the cultural attitudes about thinness and fatness are so pervasive that being a fat person around a lot of thin people is to feel self-conscious and uncomfortable in ways that being around others like yourself doesn't make you feel.

There is a common thought that fat people are less happy than thin ones, and this study says that unhappiness is not an a priori condition of fatness. The unhappiness is a function of how much they feel judged and how much they then self-judge, both of which happen when they are a noticeable minority, and both of which disappear when they are no longer a minority group.

In some ways you and I are saying the same thing, though you don't seem to recognize it.
42
@40 drusilla: THANK YOU for pointing that out in these comments! You are so right!
People should not blame their own insecurities on others!
43
@40: Exactly.
44
@40 "My point, I guess, is that to feel ashamed is almost inevitably part of "failing" to live up to society's ideal, whether persons in that society treat you poorly or not."

Shame is a symptom of accepting "society's" ideals as valid in the first place, exactly. Not restricted to body image either.
45
#35. I love you for this post, agony.
46
Ms Cute - I am reminded of the Suchet version of Evil Under the Sun, with Poirot insisting that he is not obese, and Miss Lemon countering that "medically" obese is a bit different as she packs him off to a health resort. (They ought to have kept in that American couple instead of taking them out for Captain Hastings, who doesn't appear in the book.)

Every once in a while I have a fleeting suspicion that obesity guidelines are heavily lobby-influenced, but I can't recall having entirely fleshed it out.

Would it make sense if I thought along lines that might best be called separate AND equal rather than but? Some of us (maybe all) need access to a withdrawing room from time to time, a concept that seems a little better framed than a safe space.

Let me know if you would like any quotations from Rumpole to assist you.
47
Mr. Ven, Yes, thank you very much for your third paragraph and the suggestions it contained. I vastly prefer the concept of separate (sometimes) and equal (always), and further, like your withdrawing room idea. As long as people don't brick themselves up in those withdrawing rooms.

48
@40

No, you're wrong because the article says more than your selective reading of it.

Did you follow the link Dan provided and actually read the ASA News article? Did you read paragraph four of that article?

The study does indeed find that "This illustrates the importance of looking like the people around you when it comes to satisfaction with life."

HOWEVER, it ultimately concludes that "...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."

AS THIS OBVIOUSLY BEARS REPEATING:
"...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."

So, you're wrong because you selectively missed or edited out of the article those points that contradict your position of what is remarkably little more than blaming the victim for their own suffering.

"Fat" people are not depressed because they're not one of the crowd; "fat" people are segregated from the crowd by the crowd for not fitting in with the crowd in those societies where "thin" people outnumber "fat" people.

The study concludes that as the profile of the crowd changes from "thin" to "fat" the negative, segregating behavior by the society towards "fat" people decreases.

If we extrapolated the interpretation of your selective reading of this article to other minority groups we might foolishly redefine racism as a self-inflicted unhappiness by people of color against themselves simply by virtue of their being a minority in a society where the majority is different from them, and not, of course, because of a very real and actual culture of segregation, devaluation and discrimination by the majority over generations against them.

Just like people of color "fat" people are not bringing unhappiness upon themselves because they don't fit into the majority. The majority is serving it up daily to remind the minority that they are different and by virtue of being different, lesser than and not equal to.

Stop blaming the victim.

Yes, that is exactly what you were doing because the article Dan referenced absolutely, positively did NOT draw the same conclusion as you did.
49
@ 48: I wish you were registered so that Drusilla, PistolAnnie, venomlash and others could read it.
50
@40, 42, 43: This is what was posted @48. In case you don't read comments from unregistered posters, I'm reposting it:

@40

No, you're wrong because the article says more than your selective reading of it.

Did you follow the link Dan provided and actually read the ASA News article? Did you read paragraph four of that article?

The study does indeed find that "This illustrates the importance of looking like the people around you when it comes to satisfaction with life."

HOWEVER, it ultimately concludes that "...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."

AS THIS OBVIOUSLY BEARS REPEATING:
"...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."

So, you're wrong because you selectively missed or edited out of the article those points that contradict your position of what is remarkably little more than blaming the victim for their own suffering.

"Fat" people are not depressed because they're not one of the crowd; "fat" people are segregated from the crowd by the crowd for not fitting in with the crowd in those societies where "thin" people outnumber "fat" people.

The study concludes that as the profile of the crowd changes from "thin" to "fat" the negative, segregating behavior by the society towards "fat" people decreases.

If we extrapolated the interpretation of your selective reading of this article to other minority groups we might foolishly redefine racism as a self-inflicted unhappiness by people of color against themselves simply by virtue of their being a minority in a society where the majority is different from them, and not, of course, because of a very real and actual culture of segregation, devaluation and discrimination by the majority over generations against them.

Just like people of color "fat" people are not bringing unhappiness upon themselves because they don't fit into the majority. The majority is serving it up daily to remind the minority that they are different and by virtue of being different, lesser than and not equal to.

Stop blaming the victim.

Yes, that is exactly what you were doing because the article Dan referenced absolutely, positively did NOT draw the same conclusion as you did.


Posted by "Reading is useless without comprehension"
51
Where "skinny" (read "normal" thoughout most of the world) people do have a negative reaction to obese people, it's part of the same emotional reaction that makes obese people unhappy about themselves when around "skinny" people. Being obese is not healthy or attractive, in the same way that being an alcoholic, a TV zombie, smelly, constantly angry, anti-social, or really messy is unhealthy and unattractive. Not terrible, but not good for you or me. These negative reactions serve a purpose: to try to keep most of us in line so that society runs a little smoother. Sorry. Can't stop. Shouldn't stop.
52
Has there been a study examining whether gay people living among many gays are happier than gay people living among many straights?
53
@52: Have you heard of San Francisco? New York? Seattle? All those places known as "Gay Meccas?"

Poll everyone you like, and I think most gay people would say that they're happier being out, and it's easier for the most part, if you're not the only visible gay person in your entire community or one of a very small handful. It's easier to be comfortable when you're not treated as if you were an aberration. That happens when you get a critical mass of people like yourself in the greater society.

So the same logic applies.
54
@53: This got deleted: It is different in that gay people are subject to harsher discrimination, of course, but it's also different in that most gay people can successfully "pass" as straight should they want to.

If they do
1) A lot of straight people have no idea how many gay people are really part of their overall community.

2) They have no way of testing how truly welcoming the greater community may be.

In fact, a closeted gay person whose sexual orientation isn't suspected is liable to hear a lot more anti-gay slurs than he or she would probably hear if s/he were out, but instead of these slurs being directed at him/her, the person or people making them would assume a certain shared point of view, a condoning of the statement.

Conversely, a fat person, like someone of a racial minority can't hope to "pass" in mainstream society (if that mainstream is one where most people are thin). So people might watch their language and keep from making explicitly insulting comments. But that doesn't mean that the fat person isn't aware of the general cultural attitude.
55
I disagree with the leap this article takes: that somehow it's the skinny people's fault for shaming fat people. The evidence provided by this study does not confirm this, only the correlation that fat people feel worse when surrounded by skinny people. Until another study attempts to explain this correlation I find it more plausible that fat people are fueling their own misery with their own self judgements and comparisons to those surrounding them.

But go ahead and keep blaming skinny people because in America today it's always someone else's fault. I've heard so many people try to claim how tough or impossible it is for many people to control their weight. Yet somehow it was uncommon for anyone in our parents' generation to be even modestly overweight, let alone obese. Eat healthy, stay active, and take some fucking responsibility for yourselves, people!
56
#8 asked: "So then why is it not the case that the inverse is true where non-obese is less common? When the norm is obese, why do the non-obese (including the thin) not experience a decreased level in life satisfaction?"

Seems obvious: because despite the growing number of people who are overweight and obese, thinness is still the cultural ideal.
57
I'm a regular Slogger, but too embarrassed to post this under my username. What would make this fat - morbidly obese, actually - person happy would be to be able to make a few thousand dollars to cover my insurance deductible & get the two (genuine! & it might be three) medical conditions that cause 75% of my being overweight, treated. (the other 25% I'll admit was anxiety eating, which I've mostly knocked off.) Lost my job when my company folded & live somewhere hella pricey, so it's been hand to mouth. (I can't move, either, before anyone suggests that. ;) ) I can scare up enough scratch to get by - but it is unjust that in this wealthy country my access to health care, even post-Obamacare, is limited by my ability to afford it. It pisses me off. & reading people like Banna @1 makes me want to kick things. Cheesecake Factory is disgusting. I don't eat fast food. Every doctor who checks my blood tells me (with a note of surprise) what good numbers I have. But for want of a few thousand bucks, I can't fix the herniated discs in my back, can't sort out the mystery hormone problems, & despite eating better than many people I know, I'm seriously fat. If I had a little more money, I could see a PT, the back surgery & a good endicronologist, & get the tests I need done. Maybe I'd buy a juicer. But nope. Instead, I get to scrape by & feel people's judging gaze on me, & hear their catty comments when I dare leave my home. I'm not drowning in it: I've started working with a phone health coach to do even better with eating, & I bought myself a pair of sneakers, & have started walking. I used to love to dance! Geez.

*If I could pay for it*, my health would be very different. I hear from friends in other countries who don't understand that your health can bankrupt you, here.

I live around people who are both slender & healthy, & some obese people. The fit people are the majority, & let me tell you, when they see an obese person - or me, anyhow - they look at me like I'm something they scraped off their designer shoes. It sucks. It reminds me of being bullied in high school. *shrug* Glad I'm not in high school, I usually shrug it off. People gave me dirty looks for holding my partner's hand when walking down the street..so, it's not that different.

Dan: I was one of the people bitching at you when you ran the pictures of those overweight people's butts, somewhere in the Midwest. But the truth is, we were both right, kinda. There *is* a combination of factors that's causing the obesity epidemic in the USA, & I think it's a serious health problem, & that you were trying to use your public platform for good in talking about it. It's *the way* you were talking about it - "ewww, fat rolls, gross!" - that was wrong. You've battled that issue yourself as a younger person, & it's only through discipline - which you & Terry share - that you've overcome it. Good job! This post above is kindly meant, & thanks for that. Just remember next time you see a seriously fat person that they might not be guzzling Krispy Kremes after smoking some Blueberry Kush. ;) They might not be able to afford healthy foods; they might not be able to take the time to make the right choices for themselves; they might live in a food desert..or, like me, they might have a genuine medical problem but no money to do anything about it.

To respond with the reverse: I've gotten tired of the "real women have curves" marketing campaigns, or the thing where they show a slender girl with some garbage about how she needs a sandwich. No really, what she needs is to not have your snap judgements in her face.

Peace out.

58
@1 - Troll rating: little flair, easy target - you only get 5/10.
59
@48 & 48 noctutename: no, no, no. The study only finds that obese people living in populations with more obese people have higher life satisfaction than those who don't. We, as well as the researchers, cannot SPECULATE as to why this is. Because of this, until a new study addresses why, I will assume the most common sense conclusion: that people who don't fit the norm feel insecure.

GAD. Understand how research works, people.
60
Wow, a lot of unhappy fat people in this thread.
61
@48

Not a good comparison. Have you ever heard someone tell a black guy to diet the blackness away? Or tell an Irish guy he could be less irish if he only jogged a few miles?
62
The skinniest I've ever been was when I was so sick I could barely drag my bony butt to work. Two people were concerned for my health; the rest wanted diet tips! (Here's the secret: develop a severe stomach problem so all your food is passed out totally undigested. Instant skinny...and malnutrition, and constant running to the toilet-- but hey, skinny!)

Thin does not equal healthy, and moderately heavy does not equal unhealthy. Judgmental negativity, on the other hand, is always unhealthy.
63
@54 Fat People, Obese and Morbidly Obese are not an ethnic group, a sexual orientation or a persecuted part of the population. In many ways they are becoming the MAJORITY of the population of the US.

Obese people can be a political group, but they are label as fat/obese etc because of a medical condition, they can drop out of the group if they address their medical condition.

As much anyone shouldn't be bullied, and there should be some respect of everyone in society, If you are obese, then you have to do something about it. They fit more in the category of those with addictions and other diseases. Much like Drug and alcohol addictions, food addictions have to be address via a medical way, not by moral judgement.

If you are obese, then you should be making plans to lose weight or already have a plan. As much as it is tough to lose weight, it is tougher to keep it off.

We are all of different ethnic backgrounds, and cultural identities. However, we all have to watch what we eat, and the biggest prevention for Type II diabetes, Heart disease, even celluitis are watching what we eat and weight management..
64
If you are a republican and live in the south the chances are you are a fattie. Keep voting for those lobbyists that get the burger kings and fast food places in your neighborhood. This will be a good thing in the long run, you won't live past 40 and there will be fewer republicans in the voting pool, assuming you are able to read and write...... Most republicans find it hard to get through middle school without getting pregnant or incarcerated.
65
Wow, there are so many judgmental assholes in this comment thread.

For all you skinny people saying, "Oh, you just have to watch your diet and exercise to lose weight", I kind of doubt you've ever been fat. The fact is that it's pretty damn easy for some of us to put on weight and nearly impossible to keep it off long-term. The highest figures for succeeding at keeping off weight are 20%, but at the low end, it's more like 2%. Most people have difficulty losing weight, and then as soon as they've lost it, it's much harder to maintain the loss. They've studied this; an overweight person who loses weight basically has their hormones telling them that they're starving all the time for 5 years after the weight loss- after 5 years or so, the body adjusts to the new weight. But that is a LONG time to be depriving yourself and restricting yourself, especially because so much of our social life revolves around food. Especially if you don't live alone- try dieting if your spouse doesn't want to diet or won't take it seriously sometime. You'll find out how much harder it is.

As for the study itself, no, you can't conclude anything from it other than "fat people are happier in places in which most people are fat." The study doesn't say why. We're all speculating about that.

My speculation, however, is definitely that the stigma of being fat is the reason fat people are not happy in places where most people are skinny. I mean, look at this comment thread. Who WOULDN'T feel oppressed by these comments?
66
65 "For all you skinny people saying, "Oh, you just have to watch your diet and exercise to lose weight""

That's been a extremely minor theme in these comments. If you see "so many judgmental assholes" in this thread, I suggest you take a minute to re-read and think about the bias you're projecting.
67
@59 god forbid a person should speculate about the reasons for something, but it's perfectly acceptable to assume that you know the reasons for that thing? Thank you for teaching me how research works.
68
Skinny people are a minority in the USA, we need OUR rights protected. Especially in airplane seats.
69
"If you are a republican and live in the south the chances are you are a fattie. "

Nice stereotype.

Let's try mine: the most obese groups in this country are poor and minorities. You know. democrats. Ever been in rural Mississippi?
70
" "Oh, you just have to watch your diet and exercise to lose weight", I kind of doubt you've ever been fat."

Yep, because I watch my diet and exercise. Thanks for playing.

I was amazed at how many fat people were in Seattle when I moved here. Everyone told me it was all outdoorsy and shit. Apparently not.
71
@65 Losing weight isn't easy. I had to lose weight, and I always struggle to maintain my weight, given I have to get ready for running and open water swim competitions, like the Fat Salmon in Lake Washington, etc.

What Skinny people and overweight people have in common is that we are all human. We have pretty much the same physiology. We pretty much process calories in the same way, etc.

If you are very overweight, you need to lose weight. It isn't easy, but keeping to a diet plan and exercise regimen will be much more beneficial to your life, than keeping your BMI index in the obese range.

Diets shouldn't be about punishment or massive restrictions as more as a sustainable lifestyle choice. By far the most difficult part of dieting is keeping the weight off, not losing the weight.

I think there is a difference between moral judgement and what is a medical condition. Obesity is a medical condition that needs to be address, and morbid obesity should under medical supervision..

72
I lost 90lbs, and have kept it off going on 5 years now. I workout at home, and watch what I eat. I used to overeat. Then, I started tracking what I ate, and was amazed by how many excess calories I took in without even knowing it. I used a Nintendo DS program called My Weight-loss Coach. When you have to tell the game what you ate all day, you start to think about what you are eating all day. Each week I made small changes, finding ways to cut some calories until I reached a healthy caloric intake. I didn't go on a weight-loss diet. I permanently changed my diet. I stay in the 2000 calorie range.

It takes 3500 excess calories to gain a pound. That's a mere 500 calories of over-eating a day for one week. (I've got my eye on you between meal candy bar and sugary soft drink.) Inversely, if you cut 500 calories of ove-eating a day, you can lose a pound in a week. Think of all the little things that you could cut out of your daily eating to trim just 500 calories a day from your diet. I lost an average of 5lbs a month for about 18 months. By losing the weight slowly you are more likely to keep it off than if you go on some insane diet that you cannot maintain in the long run.
73
@66 on @65 ha, so funny! Indeed, @65 might as well have said "All you skinny judgmental assholes ".

Incidentally, @65 is right on the fact that most skinny people have never been fat, but wrong on the notion that skinny people don't know how difficult it is to lose weight.

I've never been fat, but in middle age I weigh 10 lbs more than I did 20 years ago -- which compared to a peer group of, say gay NYers who go shirtless on a saturday night is mega obese.

I indeed fight every day to lose that 10 lbs, rationing out chocolates (1 box = 24 months, they keep in the fridge but get chocolate bloom), having my oh-so-beloved butter appx but only 1 tablespoon pat every 3 months, exercise, etc.

And try as I might, the 10 lbs won't go away. At least I've managed to keep it at 10lbs, unlike my parents who were obese by my age. I know, boo hoo, first world problems, but I do realize how difficult it is to lose even a little weight and have enormous sympathy for people who have much more to lose.
74
@71 probably not true that we all have the same physiology. If you study some genetics, people are 99.9% the same, but we differ a great deal in allele subtypes within that 0.1%. Some people are extremely short (genetically), some extremely tall. Then there's random hormonal and epigenetic stuff / physical environmental interactions as we grow up.

Consider dicks -- some are 3" some are 9". Not a small difference.

Same with metabolism. Some people are easily skinny, some people have to work at it, some people will balloon up on just a normal diet. Diet and exercise works to some degree on everyone, but for some people moderate diet and exercise works more than for others.

Having said that, yes, you are right obesity is a medical condition (as can be extreme skinniness) that needs to be addressed for longer life and health.
75
74, The vast majority of people who are overweight are so because they overeat, not because they have a medical condition, or a slow metabolism. If you eat fewer calories than you burn, you will lose weight. The average male should eat about 2000 calories a day, but many eat around 3000. That's 7000 excess calories a week, or two pound of fat gain a week. In a year, you're looking at 100 lbs of fat. A person will generally plateau at a weight that corresponds to the amount that they overeat. A single fast food or meal is often 1000 calories. I've seen some that clock in at 2000+. Most people underestimate their caloric intake.
76
As a fat chick, I've had my moments of being the fattest one in the room - many, in fact. One thing that has helped me still be a generally happy person is the lack of care of what people think.
Well, to be honest, it's more of a lack of care of what people think *about my weight*. I worry about people's opinions of my parenting, my clothes, my conversational abilities, my education, etc. My weight? At this point I know it's pointless to worry. I am what I am. I could be less of what I am, but I quite like food and reading.

But body acceptance does not come easily. My size is nothing to be proud of, nor is it something to be ashamed of. Just as a skinny person's body is neither admirable nor condemnable. My happiness is not found in other's approval (anymore, that is) and I prefer to judge others based on their treatment of others, not themselves, and figure I would rather be judged by the same template. Perhaps the change in me happened when I realized that I'm never going to be skinny - and if I ever did manage to lose so much weight, I'd look horrible; all saggy skin. Or perhaps it was when I realized I was worthy of love no matter what I look like.

Besides, we all get to choose, generally, how we're going to die. I'm not going to die in some nursing home at 108, surrounded by my loving children and great-grandchildren. I will likely stroke out in the middle of kinky sex or have a heart-attack while driving. Both options sound fine to me. (Hope I don't mow anybody down.)
77
I fall into this category.

I've gained quite a bit of weight recently. With a toddler and a full-time job and a live-in, ailing parent who I'm taking care of, the time I used to devote to exercise and dancing has declined significantly and I've been eating sweets to cope with the stress. And it shows. I'm getting older, it's getting harder, and I'm damn busy, but I know I'll get it in hand. And I'm happy with my life, my partner(s), and my family. It doesn't define me, nor my overall level of happiness or lack thereof.

In contrast, I work with three pathological women, 2 of which are under 90 pounds, all of whom are middle-aged and divorced. Every day is another round of The Diet and Self-Police Talk--what fitness regime, what dieting approach, how many pounds to go, how I cannot believe that I still cannot get into these pants, omg my belly hits my legs on my bike (she has no belly) and it's so groooosssss!!!, and on and on and on. The first refuses to attend social functions at work for fear of temptation. The second, the bigger bitch of the two, metaphorically speaking (I suspect this one's anorexic) attends so that she can lecture people who eat the party food. The third joked with everyone in the office while I was pregnant about how fat my baby would be. When not making passive aggressive remarks at my expense, they treat me like I don't have a brain cell in my head; like I've never heard of glycemic index, or metabolic syndrome, or insulin resistance, or the philosophies of The Zone v. Atkins v. South Beach v. Weight Watchers, etc.; and they act like I fed my baby liquid Big Macs because I don't know better. ("OMG, YOU breastfeed? YOU? Are you serious? Wow, I'm so impressed!" "Yeah, you're a reason why feminists need to keep the word cunt in the lexicon.")

I think that their misery, and my comparative life happiness, speak for themselves. But fucking hell are they pathetic insufferable self-hating bullying assholes to have to interact with every day.

I would presume that the intent of this essay is to talk about internalized self-hatred from being "the fat one" in a land of thin, but my current, and thus immediate, frame of reference, is how doggedly unpleasant it is to be the only fat person around fat-obsessed thin people.
78
Maddy @77, " is how doggedly unpleasant it is to be the only fat person around fat-obsessed thin people."

You've really hit the nail on the head. Being the fat lady around people who cannot shut the fuck up about their new diet or how fat they are (when they're really not, or if they are, are not so fat that it hinders their lifestyle) is unpleasant. I tend to avoid those people who are so unhappy and obsessed with their weight. not because I can't stand their judgments of me and my size (I really can't be bothered to care), but because they're usually superficial bores.

If only they were as concerned about the contents of their character more than the contents of their plates.
79
@76, 77, 78 (Allyn and maddy811): Thank you.
I find it interesting how quickly this discussion turned into a nagging lecture on why people should lose weight, or how unhealthy it is to be overweight (which lumps everyone, whether 10 pounds or 200 pounds overweight together), or how bad it is for our society for people to be overweight, or tips and testimonials about how someone has successfully lost weight. All that simply underscored the point of the original article and any point I was also trying to make.

You're right, maddy811, that it's really the weight-obsessed thin people that are the vocal bullies, but I still think that it's the issue of being the minority in general that's important. Because overweight people, particularly those who aren't clearly consumed with shame and trying to "do something about it" make thin people uncomfortable. And I think it's that discomfort that makes the general, thin culture act or react in ways that make overweight people uncomfortable. Not even through active, explicit bullying or insinuation--just by erasure. Despite making up a sizable proportion of American culture, fat people are almost invisible in the mainstream media--wether in advertisements, or in movies, tv shows, etc. In fact, whenever they are featured explicit attention is always being paid to their bodies. Either they are examples of body affirmation or pride--a political statement--or they are used as jokes: the fat woman can never be the romantic lead, but she's often the comedic character; overweight women are never used as cosmetics spokesmodels, despite the fact that being overweight doesn't affect a dewy complexion or the ability to have sultry eyes or kissable-looking lips.

When they are used as models, there is always, always a "controversy" about that. Think of the Dove "Real Beauty" campaign. The decision to use non-skinny models has to be a topic of discussion, whether positively or negatively; the company is seen as promoting body positivity or being shamelessly opportunistic and exploitive. Feminist bloggers go apeshit. How much controversy does the use of "normal-sized" models--which, because of the standards of the beauty/modeling industry, means significantly underweight models--generate for any ordinary ad campaign? Look at the hoopla caused by actresses like Lena Dunham or Mindy Kaling having the nerve to act in public as if they are not ashamed of their perfectly ordinary, normal sized bodies. Look at the disgust that Dunham, in particular, causes because she refuses to act like she should fade into the background and pretend that doesn't have a body, that she isn't sexual, that her body can't be sexually attractive.
And these women aren't even fat! They're just not skinny!

You bet your (overweight) ass our culture fat shames. Is it any wonder that overweight women are self-conscious if they are in the presence only of significantly thinner people?

I have several groups of female friends. One of these groups is made up of women who are thin and weight-obsessed. They are always looking for new diets (despite not needing to lose weight), always talking about what new kind of exercise they're currently doing. They order in restaurants based on calorie count or with other restrictions (no carbs, whatever the current fad is) very vocally in mind. If 4 of us go out to dinner, I return famished because our standard practice is that we order a bunch of things and share all of it. Fine enough, in theory, but since everyone else is so obsessed, between the 4 of us, we order 2 entries and a small salad. We each eat literally one-two forkfulls of three things.

I also have a group of female friends who unashamedly like to eat. Of the 7 of us, 5 are overweight (non morbidly so). Of the two remaining, 1 is blessed with a jackrabbit metabolism, and eats heartily, and stays a size 4-6; the other is basically borderline anorexic, but at least has the sense and grace to not talk endlessly about her food consumption or weight, and to not try and make the rest of us feel like we're somehow in need of improvement.

While I love the women in both groups, I'd much rather go out with the eaters. Not only because I "fit" with them, but because I find the conversation about diets, food fads, carbs, calories, exercise, weight, weight loss, and laments about specific, non-existent body "problems" ("my thighs" . . . "just this little bit at my tummy") to be tedious. It's not that they can't talk about anything else--they do. But it's as if the ritual of "thin talk" has always to be properly observed. Even when I'm at my low weight, I try not to talk about those things--it's boring!

Culturally, we don't do it about any other aspect of self-maintenance or hygiene: would you expect to always be trading dental care conversation and tips? Would you say to your friends that you've found a new brand of dental floss and they should try it--that you've been flossing with it for two weeks now and already your gums seem healthier? But it is not only not weird, not only acceptable, but downright expected that women would be having those weight/food conversations all the damn time.

I can be a thin person (not too thin: size 8 seems to be my lowest, and it's really, really hard for me to drop below a 10), but it takes up all my energy, mental, and physical. I have to think about food, about exercise (and actually exercise) all the time; I have to live in a state of obsession; I have to live in a state of constant denial. I spend a huge amount of time and energy thinking about whether or not to have that latte, because even though it's nonfat, that nonfat milk is calories I really "should" save for something else. I don't know that it's only those of us who naturally tend to overweight who spend all our time and mental energy thinking things like that, but as for me, life's too short. I'd rather be 30 pounds over my "ideal" weight and have other things to talk about--and to think about.

80
77 & 78, you're awfully defensive and judgemental when complaining about thin people who have different priorities when it comes to weight control.
81
I forgot to say: I also hate that as an overweight person, I feel the need to justify myself in ways thin people don't. I feel the need to explain that I eat healthy, that I avoid fast food (just don't like it), and soda (ditto). That I'm not stuffing cheeseburgers and milkshakes down my gullet 5 times a week (or 5 times a day).

The first comment in this thread, obnoxious as it is, gives the whole thing away: people who are overweight are treated as if we are lazy and greedy and stupid--as if we didn't know better. The assumption is that we spend all our time eating greasy, fatty, carb-y processed foods, in gargantuan portions. And every time one of us feels compelled to defend his/her self (as I just did), it's another example of thin-culture bullying overweight people.

I've had friends spend time with me, observing what I eat and they say, as if I had asked for diet help (which I didn't): "I don't know why you're overweight; you eat so healthily."
That's arrogant and obnoxious. Why my body does what it does or reacts the way it reacts is none of anyone's business and it shouldn't be of their concern. And I should not have to feel defensive about my decision to (horrors!) have a second piece of pizza. I shouldn't have to justify my "struggle" with my weight--and the fact that I'm not thin shouldn't be seen or characterized as a "struggle" in the first place.
82
@80 certainly you can understand that anyone who is obsessed with one subject can be a chore to be around. And anyone - fat or thin - who discusses their dietary habits ad nauseum will turn everyone off from eating anything.

This is not a judgement against Skinny People. It's a judgement against Skinny People Who... (Therefore judging their actions and behaviors, not their size.)
83
I know I'm on an obsessive tear here, but the fact that people still don't get it--that posts like the one @80 are still happening, that people are still writing variations of fatty, stop being so defensive and lose some weight, is making me see how much this topic's point isn't getting through.

So. Perhaps there are weight-gain tips websites for people who don't need to gain weight to stay healthy. I admit to not having looked for them. But I am unaware of them. I am aware, however, of "thinspiration" sites: places where women with eating disorders post their tips and pics, not as cautionary tales, but as boasts or as a source of motivation for those who want to emulate them and share their body ideals. Occasionally, someone gets upset with such sites, not because they seem shallow and self-centered or narcissistic or because the images are considered unattractive, but because that person is afraid that they are helping to perpetuate unhealthy behavior.

I continually see posts--from The Huffington Post, from Jezebel, from Upworthy and from friends putting links to blogs on Facebook--in which an overweight woman (always a woman, never a man) essentially defends her right to exist, to want to wear pretty clothes, to not feel ashamed of her body. That these posts are considered somehow subversive and wow: empowering! is telling. These aren't "how to" posts, by the way; they're not full of tips for otherwise healthy women who just want to gain another 10 pounds. They're merely posts from women who say a variation of I'm here, I'm fatter than you think I should be-or be and not be miserable about it--and I'm not dissolving in a puddle of shame and unhappiness, and I'm going to be visible in my lack of self-loathing.

No one posts manifestoes about how she loves her ordinary hair, or her normal vision, or her size 8 feet. To do so would be bizarre. And no one feels the need to post in praise or defense of her size 6-10 body. Because that's supposed to be normal: women are supposed to be somewhere between a size 4 and a size 10 (except for models, who are supposed to be between a size 00 and size 2). And why would we celebrate what's normal? And especially why, if someone did decide to write a paean to her normalcy and ordinarily-to-be-presumed acceptance of or pride in her "normal" body size and shape, would that odd essay/photo project be taken up by the likes of Huf Po, Jez, or Upworthy?

The fact that these stories come into my Facebook newsfeed via these sources is significant. The way they are treated (a sort of "you go, girl" trumpet sounding behind them) means that they represent a somewhat outside the mainstream way of thinking, but a way of thinking that the editors think many people should be exposed to. Because it understands that our culture has not had a place in it for people who aren't thin to be allowed either to love their bodies or to express that love. Those editorial decisions mean that for most people, the expectation is that overweight people should and do feel disgust at their own selves.

If that doesn't resonate with the results of the research from the University of Colorado at Boulder, well . . .
84
So I suppose the takeaway is "Living Near Skinny People Makes Overweight People Unhappy Because They're Constantly Reminded that They're Overweight".
85
@35 that was beautiful.
86
@84: Banna, I'm sorry I cursed at you back @10. That's not my usual style, and I'm not proud of myself for it.
You know what? I've tried my hardest to help spread tolerance and acceptance about this topic here. Because in general in my life, I try to do what I can to help make the world be a better place, and I think that not body-snarking or contributing to people's shame or unhappiness or anger is a good goal. But if you enjoy doing those things, then I'm glad I have been able to provide you an opportunity and material.

So carry on and you're welcome.
87
@81

If you post what you ate today or yesterday, and a rough estimate of the quantity in ounces, I can tell you as non dietician, I can give you my perspective..

As I said being in the zone of obese and morbidly obese shouldn't be a moral judgement, as much a medical condition that needs to be address. If you are having a combination of not losing weight besides eating properly, it could be two things that stand out, when you eat, and portion size...

A rough estimate of weight management is 85% diet with around 15% exercise as a factor..It doesn't mean you have to train for a major athletic competition, but it is about daily routines, and daily exercises...

What is a big part of weight management is a combo of portion control and glycemic index. One of the big problems of weight management is that many people should eat their lightest meal of the day, which most of the time is their largest: Dinner. Resting and sleeping after dinner is not the best time to metabolized food, compare of using the glycogen from the food and what is stored in the liver from the first meal of the day.. Breakfast should be the largest meal of the day, which can also help with energy levels and also how one eat lunch...

Another big problem for most Americans is snacking. Snacking is another factor in weight management, combine with process food starchy snack that will raise the glycemic index and produce more insulin when in many ways, refraining for snacking is better to use the energy from fat cells as energy...

You have to look at weight management as a long term routine. It is not the intensity whether the diet plan or the exercise routine, it is about doing every day, and maintaining it on good days and bad days. If you do, you will see that you will lose weight... Much like I swim every AM at Greenlake, when I feel like crap or feeling good, combine with a run/walk around Greenlake after a swim workout...

I always feel the best way for weight management is not reading crash diets books or the new fad diet, but talking to a registered dietician, who can set up a plan for you. You will be amazed what you are allowed to eat and what to avoid, However the key emphasis for the present in diet is portion size and glycemic index...
88
@74 We are primates. We need a certain amount of food to metabolize, we need a certain amount of vitamins and nutrients, All use humans use ATP and ADP for cell metabolism. There are a certain amount of calories that each human needs, if it falls to a certain levels, basically it is around or below 800 calories daily, it is a slow starvation diet.

Much of weight management and frustration of not losing weight, but keeping to strict diet plan, is more mental than physiological. Losing Weight is not fun, it is not easy. However, if a person is very overweight and it is in the zone of obesity to morbidly obesity, they need to go on a very strict weight management plan, that combines diet and exercise routine... Losing Weight is not impossible, and as much it isn't fun, it should be a necessity. Much like I am trying to lose 10 pounds right now, to get ready for races, and help my training... It ain't easy, and I feel constantly hungry...

89
@87 I worry for your clients if you think it's only about food and exercise.
I'm not a fat apologist and I'm not here crying for sympathy. I'm cool with my lot in life and don't need your empathy. But you're wrong in your assumptions.
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/01/magazi…
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/27/health…

There have also been studies that show that an overweight child will grow to be an overweight adult - even if they've spend their adolescence at a healthy weight. Again, I'm not saying "poor me", but you should know it's not a simple equation.
90
I don't have clients, as I wrote I am not a dietician.

As for one of your articles that is about a New England Journal of Medicine about weight management with Obesity Patients..

"The study, being published Thursday in The New England Journal of Medicine, is small and far from perfect, but confirms their convictions about why it is so hard to lose weight and keep it off, say obesity researchers who were not involved the study."

I didn't state that losing weight is easy. I stated that it can happened, and the biggest problem with weight management isn't losing the weight but keeping it off. I also a firm believer in changing one's routine and making a long term plan than going to Weight loss retreats, or believing in unmanageable diet shakes three times a day will do the trick..

I didn't say it is a simple question or an easy answer, but there is a way, and the best way is to talk to a Registered Dietician, not from news articles or fad diets.. Diet is essential, but regular exercise is also very important. I am not talking about hard training, but regular exercise every day, up to an hour or more..

Losing Weight isn't easy, but for those who are obese, it should be a necessity. It is a serious medical condition, that has to be address.

91
nocutename, you say that you are not unhappy being fat, and that you are "extremely healthy" (actually impossible, go google "no such thing as healthy obesity" to bring up some recent relevant research - relative health (though not "extreme") is possible in the short term if you're obese, but certainly not the long term), but then say:

>>But it's true that when I see a thin person complain about something, my first thought is along the lines of "what has she got to be unhappy about? She's thin!"

Well, I call bullshit. This is exactly the sort of way I would think about straight people at a time in my life when I was utterly miserable about being queer - a way of thinking that ceased when I became comfortable with myself, regardless of any homo/transphobic stigma. This comment alone reveals that you are deeply unhappy about being fat and refusing to admit it, so that you can deny any need to change.

Anyway, this comment section is full of a sickening level of dishonest self-justification. Fat cells are not filled OR maintained in the absence of food energy - if you were not eating enough calories to maintain your weight, you would HAVE to burn some. We are talking natural laws of the damn universe here. "I don't eat unhealthy (i.e. overeat)" is basically saying that you drove your car across the city with a full gas tank and it was still full when you got to the other side because you didn't use any gas. IMPOSSIBLE. It literally doesn't matter whether you overate junk food, or whether it was home-cooked pasta you made from scratch - either way? You ate too much.

No medical condition on the planet will add more than maybe 30lbs to your body, max. (So the person claiming 75% of their weight is due to medical issues is full of it.)

It's also not an issue of bodies doing magically different things with food, as has also been suggested. Adjusting for weight, most people are metabolically within 200-300 calories of each other - your metabolism speeds as you gain, slows as you lose. So no, you do not have a "slow metabolism" either - a metabolism slow enough to cause you to gain 100lbs of fat on no extra food would be slow enough to stop your heart and kill you.

Your friends all say you eat like a bird? Yeah, my friends have said I eat like a blimp. Doesn't make them correct - if I track my calories religiously, weighing every ingredient on a pro digital food scale, I am eating pretty much exactly what my body requires and no more. Do your friends see EVERYTHING you eat? Doubt it.

You all do not eat healthy. You eat too much. Scientific FACT. That is the reason for the stigma (wastefulness is stigmatized), and denying it is not going to convince anyone with powers of logic or observation, ever. You earned the stigma of being "greedy" by BEING GREEDY.

Should you be HATED, no, of course not. Nobody deserves to be hated for having a vice. But you do have a vice (food), and vices carry stigma. That "judged" feeling you have isn't solely "society's fault," it's your own self-awareness that you are doing something wrong. You are more aware of this around thinner people - shock!

You can either change it, or stop giving a shit. But the stigma is not going away any time soon.
92
French women don't get fat.
93
#92 yes they do.
94
@91Your post is the anti-fat equivalent of those Christian folks who say that they don't hate gay people but just want to save them, that they hate the sin, not the sinner, and so on. Talk about self-justification. And self-cluelessness to boot. I try to imagine it being socially acceptable for a person to heap this kind of judgment and morally simplistic thinking on, say, a crop duster who got Parkinson's disease, or an alcoholic whose liver failed, or a person who got lung cancer after a life-time of smoking.

Say, for instance, you accusation of, to borrow your all-caps, GREED. This shows that you understand nothing about the relationship between poverty and obesity. And, as a child raised on welfare, school lunches, government food, and food stamps, I can tell you that it costs a lot more money (yes, it does, don't try to lie about it) to buy fresh produce (especially if you don't have reliable transportation) than it does to buy what were staples in my house as a child: ramen noodles, mac-n-cheese, hot dogs, etc.

Yes, at it's most simplistic level, if you take in more calories than you burn you will gain weight over time. But why the sudden explosion in obesity since the '80s? It's not because some subset of people started getting "greedy" and just decided to eat more than their share. It's because a national common sense emerged that fat in foods made you fat, so all of us chronic dieters were taught that we should be on low-fat, high carbohydrate diets. So us fatties were so greedy that we hogged all of the carrots, pretzels, and potatoes we could get because we thought we were safe so long as we didn't touch that cheese or those avocados. So we took in nothing but sugar, much of it processed crap, telling ourselves we were being healthy as we white-knuckled ourselves to even unhealthier weights. I vividly remember a 1,200 a day diet my doctor put me on as a teenager (!). I would carry around bags of carrots and pretzels, and wonder why I was starving. I lost 25 pounds from the calorie restriction, which for me then was all I needed to lose, but all I could think about every day was how hungry I was and I, of course, immediately gained the pounds back plus interest when I eventually gave up. And, mind you, when I was put on that diet, by a physician (!) I was in three sports and a dance troupe!

Lazy greedy bitch, I know.

And, I shouldn't have to point this out because the statistics are quite easy to find, but chronic yo-yo dieting (my mom put me on my first at 12) wreaks havoc on your metabolism over time, making each successive yo-yo much easier on the gain, much harder on the loss.

I could go on, but what I'm getting at here is that your embarrassingly anti-empathetic take on fat people illustrates that you don't have the first clue about what it means to live and work and love and endure as a fat person. I have a Ph.D. I was the first in my family to go to college. I've been on every diet you can name, and, yes, I do work out regularly (at the gym, yes) and my blood work remains normal even as I approach 40. And despite a lifetime of achievements that took me impossibly far from how I grew up, and despite being both a good person and an active person, I will still, daily, have to deal with smug and callous asshats like you who presume from jump that I'm some lazy, self-hating, greedy pig who spends her day piling on the fast food. (And, like others in the forum mentioned, I too gave up soda and fast food--in my 20s!!)

And, speaking of mother-fucking (!) greed, have you heard of the KOCH BROTHERS? Calling fat people greedy is the political equivalent of those easily duped conservatives who sincerely believe that welfare cheats and fraudulent voters are the ones fleecing the country.
95
@94 As much as high fructose corn syrup, semi hydrogenated oils and other culprits play a part in the huge rise of obesity for Americans. There are still ways to combat this. No#1 be very diligent of what you are eating..

I don't believe in crash diets, or incredibly restrictive diets to lose weight, or fad diets, like Atkins. In some ways if any diet I believe in, it is the Pritkin Diet, and it is more of a lifestyle change than a couple months long diet..

Like any long term project, weight management can be attainable... However it takes discipline and keeping to a routine, which can be incredibly frustrating and boring at times.

If you are eating properly and exercising, and still very overweight to the point of obesity, then it is important to look at the quality and way you are eating and exercising.

For exercising, 5-6 times of week up to an hour, and you should be exerting yourself in breaking a sweat for a duration.

For diet / eating properly, the best tool is a kitchen scale... If anyone is serious about losing weight, they should have the same scale as drug dealers have to weight their food. It may sound anal and over the top, but it is crucial to know the exact quantities that you are having at each meal..

If you do a food log of what you are eating everyday, beside logging your exercise routine, you will see a progress, much like, doing a major home project.

I am not trying to morally judge anyone who is obese, a moral judgement, with a label of obese people are a stereotype of some sort is not constructive. An very overweight person to an obese or a morbid obese has to be looked upon as a serious medical condition that has to be address, and in a medical treatment way. The most important is diet, with regular exercise as important to help with weight management, but also it is really important for mental well being as well.

If you have a PhD, (Congrats) you are intelligent and know plenty how to make a lifestyle plan that suits your schedule and what you like to do.

For years, cigarette smokers had a point that giving up smoking is very difficult. It is found that nicotine is incredibly addictive. However, it is imperative that cigarette smokers give up smoking immediately given how bad is for humans, someone smoking a cigarette and those even around them breathing in second hand smoke.

A very overweight person to an obese person has to be looked upon with the same aspect, as treating a cigarette smoker. It is difficult to lose weight, but it is imperative that talk to a bona fide registered dietician or another medical specialist, who can help them lose weight.

What I feel is frustrating to me, is hearing the excuses. Losing weight is tough, but it is far from impossible, and many lifestyle plans can lose weight for most very overweight to obese people.
96
@93 I like my Julia Child cookbooks as much as anyone, I actually like cooking French Food. However, the main ingredients in French Cooking appear to be Salt, Eggs, Cheese and especially Butter. Why French people don't have the obesity problems as Americans do are two reasons. Portion Size and the French don't snack. Americans are great snackers, and it is one of the problems for
America's weight problem. Many snacks are process foods, with hydrogenated oils which are more difficult for the body to metabolize, combine with the high salt contents.

Fat taste good. Restaurants learn long ago, that more fat in the food means happy customers, while healthy, less fat laden foods are not the most popular items on the menu..

In many ways, the cuisine that I try to cook at this moment is Moroccan. There is more emphasis on sweet and sour taste, less oil than the butter and cheese of many French Foods, combine with grills and tagines...

The two things I make for special occasions, is Sole Meuniere and a Daquoise for birthdays.
97
@89 One more thing. An overweight child grows up to be an overweight adult, because they adopt poor eating habits as a child that passes through their adulthood.. Much drinking soft drinks instead of water when they are thirsty, and which has shown to add ten to 25 pounds annually in excess weight.
98
As a skinny bitch who used to be fat, it's pretty obvious that there are far more assholes in the world who aren't fat than vice-versa. 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. Really, the importance of someone's weight is far below the importance of other seemingly benign factors which make up their personality. Are they atheist, and if so, New Atheist or old school atheism? Which stand-up comedians do they like or hate? Do they like dubstep or recognize it for the shit it is? Really, the list goes on and on. There are so many excellent reasons to hate on certain groups of people, and you're gonna go with weight? How fucking intellectually lazy can you get? You're barely clearing the bar for hating people for a better reason than the color of their skin.
99
@94 - Oh god no. Are you really pulling out that excuse? Really? This one only works if you know the person you're replying to has never been poor.

I spent my childhood poor enough that my family went through the "rent, food or medicine" game several times, and hey - we were not fat. Junk is more expensive than "fresh produce," but it's NOT more expensive than rice, oatmeal and FROZEN produce. Your "staples" were mostly things I did not even touch until high school! I was a child in, oh, the 80s. Perhaps you should not be blaming everyone else for that one.

Also, it's a myth that yo-yo dieting ruins your metabolism. This is an adage of the "fat acceptance" crowd, which IN AND OF ITSELF should train you to be suspicious that it's not true.

Nice job, by the way, being a more offensive jerk than I could ever be in your first and last paragraphs. Taking more than you need is the literal definition of greed (and BOY, that must have really hit a nerve, huh, because I actually did not intend for that to come across as strongly as you seem to have read it - the First World in general is greedy as hell and yes, therefore hypocritical on this one, but I was explaining why you cannot outrun this one when obesity is actually greedy and CLAIMING it's not will change nothing about how you are subconsciously perceived), how do the Koch brothers change that? I mean, if YOU want to draw that association, go ahead, but...

And being gay? Not really a "sin," by any logical examination of spirituality, because it hurts no one - unlike, arguably, being wasteful in any way. (Whether that's food, water or oil!) Yet, funny, I have been beaten in the streets for looking "faggy" and none of my fat friends have been physically attacked for any reason. I dunno, I would re-think that analogy too.
100
@98 - "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."

Are most people in the comments REALLY arguing with this one, other than maybe Banna? Nice strawman.
101
As others have noted in this thread, I think this study in particular is more an example of the discomfort you feel when you are not the "norm". When I worked around people who were overweight, and they were in the majority, people felt free to tell me to my face "you are so skinny you make me sick" and talk openly about how such and such thin celebrity was disgusting and had no ass, what ever. If you were thin, it was because you are anorexic, bulimic or both. You had to be obsessed with fitness and surely have no life.

I know that over all, bigger people take the brunt of this in our society, but given the opportunity, most people see an opening to put someone down to elevate themselves or their life choices and they take it. People suck. Fuck em' and get on with your life
102
I would also like to add that having been + and - 60 lbs over the last four years (pregnancy weight gained and lost, and it did take me all of four years), people do treat you differently. It is a strange and uncomfortable feeling, how different people can be when you've lost or gained a lot of weight.