May 30, 2007

Fat Acceptance: Thoughts and Stupid Questions

This is only the first post on this subject, because frankly, it's going to be an ignorant one. Just some random thoughts without any responsible research to back these thoughts up; one person's (or one Crab's) uninformed opinions.

This is with the hope that better informed readers out there will chime in, and that this could become a dialogue of sorts. It would be great to have follow-up posts in the future. Because the issue is complicated and contentious.

Cranky Fitness is a Health and Fitness site (though not a terribly serious one). There are discussions about calories and exercise; there is a general premise lurking behind many discussions that obesity is a health risk. That exercise and healthy eating and moderate portions are good for everyone, fat or thin. And that to the extent one's unhealthy habits cause one to put on excess pounds, it might be smart for individuals to Take Steps to reverse that trend.

That said, Crabby notes that:

1. Some people who exercise way more than average and eat way less than average have crappy metabolisms and are still fat. (And no, this is not due to "cheating," though some people do fool themselves. Crabby has lived with people who have made heroic efforts to lose weight with no success; she has observed their daily routines; and they are not all cheating).

2. Our culture, while encouraging the eating of junk food, and discouraging exercise and other healthy lifestyle choices, is at the same time, fat-phobic. We ridicule fat people and discriminate against them and conspire to make them feel badly about themselves. This is wrong. Society's attitudes towards fat people need to change.

So here's Crabby's dilemma. She goes to a great fat acceptance site like The Rotund (thanks, ChickenGirl, for the link), and she finds herself agreeing with almost everything on there.

And yet she goes to a convenience store and can't find anything remotely healthy to eat there, and she feels angry. Because as a culture, we are gluttonous and impulsive and childish. Crabby wishes we'd just grow up and behave more sensibly so she could get a piece of fruit and a pint of f*cking nonfat milk which often, she can't--because the shelves are full of chips and candy and sugary soft drinks. And not coincidentally, as a culture, we're getting fatter and sicker because of these kinds of choices.

So Crabby likes to believe that each individual fat person she meets is behaving in a reasonably healthy way, not subsisting on junk food or refusing to exercise or otherwise making stupid choices. But she can't ignore the evidence that such unhealthy behavior, in general, is making us as a population much fatter and much less healthy.

This leads to the aforementioned stupid questions. Crabby would love it if readers would offer any help. She really wants to understand where everyone is coming from.

If you think of yourself as fat:

How do you think you got that way--was it because of your lifestyle, your genes, or both? Are you making healthy choices now? If so, is that good enough, or do you feel pressure to lose weight as well? If you're not making healthy choices, what's getting in your way? What would make it easier?

And if you think of yourself as not fat:

Do you look down on fat people? Do you think they could all lose weight if they just tried hard enough? Do you think they're discriminated against? Do you think your own weight is a result of healthy lifestyle or did you get lucky with your genes?

Also, it's kind of silly to group people into "fat" or "not fat" when it's a continuum. So feel free to ignore this dichotomy and say anything whatsoever you want about this topic.

Crabby apologizes if she has offended anyone. She really is just looking for a bit more information and hopes you will help her.


Touchstone Ranch Recovery Center is a recovery center on a horse ranch using equine therapy.

53 comments:

  1. I am totally fat! Yay! I am fat because, when my body started to gear up for puberty, I gained some weight. My mother and the rest of my family, to some extent, freaked out and started me on a diet. I was, by the way, 7 years old. A lifetime of diets and disordered eating later, my metabolism is a wreck and has no idea how to process food. My system has partially given up - I've developed food allergies to all sorts of things, healthy things, like soy and dairy and the majority of grains. Every diet I went on, I lost weight and then I gained it, plus a little more, back. And I wound up genuinely fat. I also hated my body and myself because, obviously, this was all my fault somehow.

    I try to eat in a way that is healthy for me now. I haven't owned a scale in years, but I like to feel good, you know? I still struggle with disordered eating - I have recently realized that, on average, I am not eating enough (under 1000 calories a day is bad for me, why don't I remember this?) and so I am paying more attention to caloric intake, but just because I need to get ENOUGH food. I go to the gym when I feel like it because it feels good when I do. I park at the far end of the parking lot because I enjoy the walk. But I also work a desk job and do a lot of artistic things at home that are pretty sedentary. I am unwilling to give up art for exercise.

    I don't know if I CAN be thinner. I know that my mental health is more important to me than my dress size.

    There are a lot of crappy foods crowding our shelves. But I don't have enough science to confirm or deny that as the source of America's increasing weight. Even scientists can't all agree. I am less interested in WHY we are getting fatter as a nation than I am in why it's still okay to hate people for being fat. I am more interested in why I can't find stylish and affordable clothing.

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  2. Whoo, what a long comment! I also wanted to say that I think it is great that you are opening up this dialogue here.

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  3. Thank you so much, the rotund!

    I'll just be brief this first time, because I'll be back later, but I really appreciate you sharing your experiences.

    And you often eat less than 1000 calories a day? Holy crap. I eat almost twice that, and sometimes more.

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  5. I think there are a lot a lot of factors that goes into being fat. All the ones that you have basically outlined in your post. For me the thing that gets to me most is that financial status has a lot to do with how large or small you are, and that just doesn't seem fair.

    In the past, like super past, a sign of wealth was being plump because it meant you not only had enough to eat, but slightly more than you needed. Poor people were emaciated because there was nothing to eat, period.

    Now we have a reversal. As you said Crabby, the easy cheap food is all bad for you, and the healthy organic stuff is very expensive. So it is far easier to stay thin if you have the money - oh and let's not forget to mention there are all those companies who will prepare all your healthy meals for you for a nice tidy sum, and of course the personal trainers who take care of you.

    That isn't to say you can't make a cheap meal that isn't healthy, but it takes thought and a lot of planning and TIME. And if you work three different jobs, and/or have a family that needs to be taken care of, are stressed and just want something that tastes good, it is so much easier to go to a fast food joint.

    Anyway, that's what really gets my goat.

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  6. Excellent post, Crabby. But there's something that has galled me no end for the longest time. We get the choice of fat or thin (or not fat as you put it).
    Where's the choice for those of us who are just right?
    It's a sad commentary on our civilzation that it's 0 or 1. No mark exists for just right. Perhaps no one thinks she or he is just right?
    Well, I do. I used to be skinny. It's genetic. Back in my teens and early 20s I could slip through a turnstile without touching it. I hardly ever did it because it annoyed the daylights out of anyone who watched me do it. For the record I still paid. I had the ticket in my hand as I turned sideways and glided through.
    That's too skinny. Today, at about 5'4" and around 140 lb.(turfed my scale a year ago) I say I'm just right. Folk are free to disagree with my personal view of myself, but they'll be ignored.

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  7. Wow,what an interesting post. Linked over from AW, and thought I would chime in.

    I've always been considered "heavy". Even when I played sports and looked fairly thin, I weighed more than recommended by that height-weight BMI calculator, which IMHO is a big hunk o' junk.

    Then I started going to college, and working most of the time that I wasn't in class. And I married a man with a metabolism that won't quit. He still weighs the same 120-125 lbs he did when I met him 10.5 years ago.

    Over the years I have slowly lost fitness and gained weight. And it's been a pretty slow process.

    Now that we have a daughter, my days are filled to the max. Right now I'm working my way towards waking up at 3:45 am so that I can find some exercise time in the morning before anyone else wakes up. And like today, I packed a lunch full of fruits and vegetables so I could feel very full with a ton of calories.

    But my husband eats old-school (meat & potatoes) and doesn't like some of the healthy foods, so dinner is shot because I just don't have the time or the energy to prepare two meals and I'm not eating the same salad every night, for example. I crave a warm, cooked meal as much as the next person.

    It will be a slow process, because this didn't happen to me overnight. But my main goal is fitness, not weight loss. I want to drop a few dress sizes and be able to do fun, active things with my daughter. I use to be able to set the leg press machine at about 400 lbs and do 12 reps no problem. I want to be able to do stuff like that again.

    I have these ideas and goals, but really, for most days, my weight isn't the top concern for me. I have so much stuff to do that I can't spend every day worrying about it. And even though I want to be different than what I am, there's so much more to life than size that I'm not willing to miss out on.

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  8. Do you look down on fat people?

    I'm a misanthrope. I look down on everyone. ;-)

    Do you think they could all lose weight if they just tried hard enough?

    Not necessarily. Unless I know the person, I'm not in a position to say.

    Do you think they're discriminated against?

    Quite often, yes. But a big factor in this is that it's hard for heavier people to find nice clothes that fit. Also, heavy people sometimes lack the self-esteem to make the most of what they've got.

    I've seen overweight women who dress and carry themselves like they're fantastic, and people treat them accordingly. But our culture is so body obsessed that a common reaction among the obese is to try to cover up with loose, sloppy clothes that only add to the fat=slovenly misimpression and do the individual no favors at all.

    Dress and act like you're worthwhile, and people will believe it. This isn't a "fat" issue, but it's one that I wish more obese people would be aware of.

    Do you think your own weight is a result of healthy lifestyle or did you get lucky with your genes?

    Some of both. No one on either side of my family has gone much past the "chubby" stage before taking steps to correct it. But I can certainly put on a few pounds if I'm not careful, and I have the sort of frame that makes small gains very noticeable.

    In addition to good genes, I got lucky with my upbringing. My parents were big on healthy meals and minimal (although never forbidden) snacking. They also encouraged me to be active, and my father demonstrated by example.

    Habits instilled at a young age tend to be lifelong. I have a healthy vanity of my waistline, but also of my ability to walk, run, or dance for as long as I want. I like being strong, and a person can be powerful at almost any size. I've seen some very big people cross the finish line at a marathon!

    In my late teens, I began moving away from the Standard American Diet, cutting out all soft drinks (even diet ones), red meat, pork, chips, and fried foods. I quit buying cookies and full-fat ice cream. I made all these diet changes incrementally over time, so I didn't feel any of them very acutely.

    Now I'm 40, and it's normal for me to eat a mostly vegetarian diet, to avoid chips, fries and pizza, to eat fruit or granola instead of cake or pie, and to drink water or unsweetened tea instead of coke or juice. I don't feel deprived at all because I barely remember what it was like to eat like most Americans.

    I got very lucky with both my genes and my upbringing, and I had a natural curiousity about how the body works and a healthy vanity that has kept me the same size all my adult life.

    But I'm not stupid. Each of us is only an illness, depression, or accident away from a cycle of inactivity and/or unhealthy eating. And once your metabolism is messed up, it's hard, if not almost impossible to get it back on track.

    I may be vain, but I'm not proud. I've kept my figure by hard work, but also by having certain cards stacked in my favor. I don't take it for granted, and I don't blame anyone for not having been as lucky as I was.

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  9. I know most people would say I'm not fat and I guess they're right, but I'm inclined to feel a bit "big" because I used to be so damn skinny as a teenager and in my twenties! Sometime in my thirties I stopped burning up every calorie I stuffed in my mouth. Slowly the weight came on and my difficulty comes through half a lifetime of being able to eat anything and not gain a pound. I try to watch what I eat and I think portion control plays a big part.

    NZ has a growing problem with young people (like kids) being overweight. They eat and drink so much crap! We have kids that are obese which was unheard of twenty years back.

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  10. I am exhibit A of a person who tries everything but doesn't lose at all. I have never fluctuated greatl in weight, I just seem to have tacked on a pound here and a pound there, and no matter how healthy I eat or how much I exercise, I would lose two or three pounds, and three weeks later would be feeling more toned but weigh the same. I had my doctor run a bazillion tests, for things like thyroid problems or whatever, and she found that I am healthy as a horse, so the put me on Phentermine to jump start my metabolism. I've lost going on twelve pounds since I have been on it, but am fearing another plateau.

    I think healthy is beautiful, and more than anything it doesn't matter if one is fat or thin, it's about the attitude they carry around about themselves. Some of the most outwardly beautiful and perfect people I know are the ugliest and unhappiest on the inside.

    Great topic- it's a struggle!

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  11. I'll make it simple, I'm fat becasue I'm lazy and almost without fail if a food is good for you, I don't like it.

    I wouldn't say I'm grossly obese. I weigh 270ish but I am 6'5". Yes I need to drop a few and I've joined a gym butsince I've stopped playing sports I find it hard to exercise simply for the sake of exercise.

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  12. CF, I have issues with food and, unless it is a social thing, I have real trouble reminding myself to eat on a frequent basis. I thought I was doing better, but I've backslide into too-few calories.

    jwriter - I find it really interesting that you say you want to just be healthy but then one of the indicators of health that you mention is dropping a couple of dress sizes. So, to me as a reader of your comment, it's not about health - it's about losing weight. Unless one conflates weight loss with an indicator of improved health all on its own, which is kind of bogus. That said, I love your attitude that there is so much more to life. There really, truly is.

    Adrienne - That is a really good point. I've had that argument with people quite often. The biggest problem, as I see it, is that when one is poor, one often doesn't have the time/energy/resources to learn how to eat healthy on a limited budget. It's such a horrible catch-22.

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  13. This is really a hot button topic. I was on the fence whether I wanted to comment on this because, I am afraid that I might upset someone. Here goes.
    First, am I fat? Well, that depends on who you ask, I guess. Today, I was actually thinking about it and I think that in my mind, I am. I weigh more than I want to.
    Am I prejudice against fat people? If I am to be completely honest, yes. I don't like that I am. I just think that most (I know not all) are not facing their issues. It is having an addiction that everyone can see, all the time. It really is the most inappropriately dealt with addiction out there. I mean, do you see infomercials selling cures for drug addiction, or any other besides obesity?
    Food is a real addiction. Or maybe it is the feeling of eating we are addicted to.
    I read somewhere, that the diet industry wants us to eat allot of low calorie food, and when we fall off the wagon we have stretched our stomach. Then we eat more when we are not dieting. Essentially the diet industry makes us fat.
    The truth is, if you are fat, you are eating more than you think and possibly not exercising as much as you think. I see this more often than I don't.
    Anyway, that is how I see it.

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  14. I feel myself thinking that bigger folks could lose weight if they tried -- but I used to think this more before I had my son. I used to be always slender but my metabolism went all wonky after Cedar came and it's hard to be average. Like my butts too big I think and my thighs. I think it has a lot to do with how you were raised.

    My mom was a model and in my house if you weren't thin and pretty you were looked down at. My mom made mean comments all the time about fat people and less attractive people. She was way too stupid to know that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I know this now -- but it took some doing. I still sometimes feel like I can't ever be pretty or thin enough. But luckily (when I was about 23 or so) I realized that you'll be a lot happier in life to accept yourself and others.

    I do get upset though to see so many chubby kids. In my day kids just were not big -- maybe a few, but it was not the norm and now it is. It's unhealthy and sad.

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  15. Adrienne,
    Really good point about the financial aspects. I've always been lucky enough to have the ability to pay for healthy food, but a lot of folks have to struggle more over this. Same goes for exercise too--there are a lot fewer options if you live in a dangerous neighborhood and can't afford a gym.

    Hi leah,
    I'm really guilty here of oversimplifying on the "fat/not fat" dichotomy. But I think a lot of folks would be jealous of the "just right" folks, who can stay that way with reasonably healthy habits. I get the feeling that no matter what they do, some folks are not so lucky, both on the fat and thin ends of the scale.

    TJwriter,
    what a great comment! Thanks for coming over.

    I too think BMI is pretty worthless as a measure. And sounds like you're already doing a lot to be healthy. Wow, 3:45 in the morning? Yikes! Would only wonder, what with your schedule, if hubby could take over cooking some of the less healthy stuff if he really likes it so that you could fix something that works for you better? (Though I'm with you--it's certainly not salad every night! But Cooking Light magazine often has lower cal versions of more classic dishes.) However, every family's situation is different & I don't want to poke my nose in where it doesn't belong.

    OK, I'm going to break this comment up before it gets too long, but I'm not done yet!

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  16. Wow, bunnygirl, nice comment. I particularly liked the reminder that "Each of us is only an illness, depression, or accident away from a cycle of inactivity and/or unhealthy eating. And once your metabolism is messed up, it's hard, if not almost impossible to get it back on track."

    The only thing I might take issue with is the sloppy dressing thing--just cause my uniform is pretty much ratty jeans and t-shirts and sneakers and sweatshirts, and I'm pretty happy that way. I think if I were larger I'd still wear the same thing, and I'm not sure I'd want to spend much time worrying what other people thought about my extremely causal--ok, sloppy--attire. (BTW, after reading about your vacation I know you practice what you preach about healthy living!)

    Hi Dawn--yeah, I notice with age that it's hard to get away with the same habits. I do think we probably have it easier, trying to make gradual reductions, than those who started larger and had to deal with yo-yo dieting, which seems to really mess things up. Still, I whine when I can't have all the cupcakes I want. (And please don't ever give up your cream-filled apple donuts, I like to enjoy them vicariously).

    Hi In-between!
    Thanks so much for your visit and your comment. Don't know much about Phentermine; hope its safe and works out for you. (Meds make me nervous, but I really don't know enough to comment intelligently). I love when you said this: "I think healthy is beautiful, and more than anything it doesn't matter if one is fat or thin, it's about the attitude they carry around about themselves." Sounds very smart.

    Okay, still more to come...btw, thanks everyone who's visiting for all your amazing comments, I really appreciate all the personal stories and thoughts! I may have to take off before I get to them all but will be back for sure to follow up.

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  17. Hi Travis--
    I like your honesty! I think with healthy living/eating/exercising it's taking small incremental steps thats important. (I.e.; I used to hate nonfat milk; now it tastes totally normal). Hope you can find some sort of exercise you actually enjoy, like a sport that you can enjoy again.

    And hi again, the rotund, thanks for coming back & mixing it up with us! I do think people can be motivated both by health as well as dress size, though. I think it's hard if not impossible to not to be influenced by the society we live in.

    Hi Samantha--thanks for setting out your thoughts and opinions even though you're right, it's a hot button topic. I do agree with your criticisms of the diet industry; and I know that food addiction is a real and serious issue for some people. (I just know that some people who do have healthy habits and are not addicted really do struggle with unfortunate metabolisms, and don't know how to tell the addicted from the unlucky).

    Jennifer hi!
    I really appreciate when people are honest about how they feel about this stuff.

    I think it's really hard and not that unusual to grow up in a home with really messed up messages about appearance and weight. And how do you keep that stuff from influencing you as an adult? If you figured out a better way of looking at all this at 23 or so, you're way ahead of most of us.

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  18. Genetics. My mother was overweight, my grandmother, my great-grandmother. Now, HER mother was thin, so I don't know where we picked up the fat gene.

    My father is thin, and my middle sister was blessed with his genes. She still exercises, but overall it's easy for her to keep off weight. Me, I eat a reasonable diet, don't exercise as much as I SHOULD, but I do exercise, and I don't lose. I've made a long list of lifestyle changes, and nary a pound is gone. Not a single one. That crap about cutting out soda to lose fifteen pounds in a year? Yeah, that didn't work. Reduce my portion size? Nope. Switched to Splenda in my coffee? Sure did, but my flab didn't budge. Pretty much cut out eating chips except for once in a great while, too, with nothing to show for it.

    So I give up. I'm still gonna do all those things, but I don't give a rat's behind what the scale says anymore.

    Once, I actually did lose weight, and I looked good, but what I had to do to keep it off became too much - like a full time job of exercise. ALl day, every day. It jsut wasn' possible, and the second my routine changed because my life changed, the weight flew back on.

    Sigh. Stupid genes.

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  19. Christine--
    That seems like such a smart approach. Keep on doing the healthy stuff, and stop giving a rat's behind what the scale says.

    Hey, that would make a nice title for a self-help book: "Stop giving a rat's ass what the scale says!"

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  20. the rotund - I know it sounds mostly about weight loss, but based on my body type, and past experiences, I know that if I work to become more fit and tone, I'll lose dress sizes. Which is a plus because I have a ton of clothes that are smaller sizes.

    Weight loss is nice, but I'm not focused on becoming an X size or XXX lbs. I would like to be more fit and healthy, which happens to achieve the other two by default. Not everyone is that lucky, but it happens in my case.

    CM - My husband has some very traditional viewpoints, so while he helps with meals, I take on most of the effort. Which is why I try to practice portion control.

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  21. I am not fat. I am severly obese. I have no clue as to whether genetics factor into it. I believe upbringing and culture certainly affected me. Quite simply, I ate more than I needed. I became obese because my caloric intake was greater than my caloric output. It is my fault and no one else's.

    I have struggled with my weight ever since childhood. Of course, people treat you different when you are overweight. I find this interesting since so many people are overweight. However, I am not convinced this is always wrong. I think if we generally accept it, the problem will only get worse. On the other hand, the main problem is nutrition and exercise, not being fat. It's too bad that society doesn't change the focus from fat/not-fat to fit/not-fit.

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  22. Well, I think it is totally my fault I've gotten fat. I was think until my early to mid 20's. Got married, started to be a couch potato and eat too many home cooked good meals. Also, had a baby and started to eat too much fast food and just didn't move to much.
    I am making healthy choices for a whole year now but I go off track from time to time. Think it's related to emotional eating. I'm moving my arse more than ever but I sure remember being able to drop weight quicker when I was younger and now it's real hard as the metabolism naturally slows down some with age. What's in my way? Think myself and my past issues but I'm making progress!

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  23. I'm fat. I was actually a normal-sized child, but when I hit puberty I had a weight spurt but no height spurt to go with it (I was already at my adult height of 5'0", all of my immediate family is short). I don't know how much of my extra weight that explains.

    The rest of it is because I'm a raging chocoholic. My dad used to ineffectually lecture me about how it would make me fat, but never once did it occur to my parents to stop buying the damn chocolate. Anything they ever did just made me sneak more. They still buy bags and bags of chocolate. I've only just now gotten around it by cultivating a taste for dark chocolate and making it part of my diet.

    If you looked at my dad's side of the family, it would be clear that they are all predisposed to gain weight, whatever that means. Both of my parents are obese. My sisters are just overweight.

    I lost weight twice in college, both times unintentionally, both times I gained it back. One semester I gave up non-diet soda, got a stair-stepping machine, and had a brutal class schedule that had me lugging around tons of books all day. 20 pounds fell off. They came back later. Then the summer before my senior year I had a summer job that had me lugging computer equipment around campus all day, and I was on a shoestring budget for food. I didn't have access to a scale, but by the end of the summer I was comfortably wearing my size 14 "skinny jeans". By spring semester, I was busting out of my 16s again.

    That was when I had had enough and started trying to lose weight on purpose. I ordered some exercise videos, and after I graduated I started doing weight watchers. I dieted and exercised for the better part of a year and at the end of it I was only five pounds lighter. Five pounds of BLOOD, SWEAT, AND TEARS!!!

    Two months ago, someone recommended Richard Simmons to me. Ultimately, I don't think the Richard Simmons diet is all that special, but Richard did two things: he made me eat more veggies, and he made me cut out most of the sugary stuff I was eating from my diet. A couple of DAYS of doing that, and suddenly the needle on the scale was flirting with 169(!!!). I'm now down almost ten pounds.

    So, all that has me thinking: I've always been skeptical when people say that calorie counting "doesn't work" for them. It's just simple physics, right? And a calorie is a calorie is a calorie, right? And if you eat fewer of them, you're supposed to lose weight. Supposedly, you can't help BUT lose weight. But months of calorie counting did nothing for me until I cut out the sugar. Could that be it? Are sugar calories "special"? Is it an insulin thing? I dunno.

    I have major depressive tendencies and I'm currently unmedicated. I was in bad shape two months ago, but changing my diet had an immediate and positive effect on my mood. I've hated my body and angsted about being fat for as long as I can remember, but when I started high school, I was only about 15 pounds over my current goal weight!! If only I could have gotten a handle on it then.

    I have no intention of ever becoming "thin" or "skinny", because I'm just not built that way. In my darker moments, it really, really pisses me off that because of that, my body will probably never be considered "acceptable" to society. My goal is to be healthy, but healthy isn't acceptable. Healthy isn't acceptable! Only one narrowly defined body type is. And some people certainly can be healthy in that kind of body, but most people can't, and society likes to fool itself into thinking that being thin is what it means to be "healthy" and to be otherwise is lazy and slovenly and disgusting. It makes me SO MAD.

    I think I've gone on long enough. Anyone who read this far gets a cookie.

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  24. I get a cookie!I'm coming to your blog soon Chicken Girl & my cookie had better be there. Homemade.

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  25. Hi, Crabby! What a great post -- excellent food for thought, and dang if I didn't just make a pun. :)

    Hmmm, I don't think of myself as fat, but I do weigh a bit more than I want to these days. So I guess I'll answer the non-fat questions and then answer some of the fat questions.

    Do you look down on fat people?

    No.

    Do you think they could all lose weight if they just tried hard enough?

    No, because I don't know each person's individual circumstance and physiology.

    Do you think they're discriminated against?

    Definitely. This society is nuts about "thin, thin, thin." Not just healthy weight, but THIN. I recall a weight loss commercial I saw just a little while ago, where the spokesperson said something ridiculous like "I used to be a Size 10, but now I'm a size 2!!" When did size 10 become "fat", I'd like to know? (By those standards, I would indeed be fat.) Yet there's such a bizarre disconnect because so many people are getting heavier and would love to be a size 10, let alone a size 2.

    Do you think your own weight is a result of healthy lifestyle or did you get lucky with your genes?

    To a degree, I got lucky with my genes, because many people in my family are little ectomorphs (ectomorves? ha!). But as I've gotten older my metabolism has slowed and while I was itty bitty in college, I find I fight an actual battle against my metabolism now. And I love rich food, too, so while I strive to make healthy choices, I fall off the wagon fairly regularly, alas.

    The clincher for me is exercise. If I don't exercise, the weight piles on much more readily.

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  26. I'm fat, but getting thin.

    I've fought my weight all my life. The first diet I went on was when I was 13.

    When I was younger it was quite easy to loose weight, I'd just stop eating the junk and I'd loose.

    Yep....I got fat because of all the junk I ate. I've always had a sweet tooth and trouble stopping at one (or even 2) servings.

    I've stay fat, however, because of my metabolism being messed up. I'm very insulin resistant and was well on my way to a diagnosis of diabetes....and then I discovered low carb.

    What would happen is this....I'd go on a low fat diet, eating very little. I'd be hungry constantly, sometimes within 30-45 min of eating! After a while I'd loose a little weight, then stall. I'd get so discouraged, being hungry and exercising and still not loosing that I'd give up. And once I gave up, I'd "console" myself with, of course, more junk!!

    I even gained weight on a 1200 calorie fruit and veggie diet once!!

    Now that I've found that low carb works for me, I've been loosing and intend to keep it up. I've found that because my metabolism is messed up and I'm insulin resistant (due to all the SUGAR I've eaten, not fat!), I do quite well on a low carb diet. I'm hardly ever hungry and when I am I want good food, not junk.

    So now I eat lots of protein, a fair amount of fat, and hardly any sugar and starch. I'm down 60+ pounds and have just over 30 to go. My goal isn't to get into a size 1 or 2....it's to get into a 12 or 14!! I'm a big girl, so I think I'd look weird in a smaller size!!

    So I guess you can say I got fat because of junk and I stayed fat because of what that junk did to my body. Genetics, in my opinion, can make you more suscetible to gaining weight...and can make you more (or less) prone to the "diseases of obesity". But you can't blame your genes on your weight if you're 50, 60 or more pounds overweight.

    Personally, I think a lot of what they think is genetic is more likely lifestyle. We eat, mostly, as we were brought up to eat. Not all of us, that's true, but many of us.

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  27. You owe me a cookie but I won't collect until I reach 175 pounds - put mine in the freezer. It will take a bit! :-)

    As for fat acceptance

    I've been thinking about this alot lately... part of me hates the fact that stopped moving enough to keep the extra weight from piling on. I'm majorly cranky that I have to work soooooo hard at the gym, day after day, do not cheat and push myself then have to jump up and down with glee when I shed a pound.

    That's hard to accept.

    Your questions...

    Do you look down on fat people?

    No. I don't look down on them because I am one of them but I'm getting to less tolerant of people in my life that complain yet won't move even one little bit. I think when it is other people that I don't know about their lives that I accept they have their own row to hoe. As for people that spend time in my home, sitting all day watching TV, avoiding walking even to the curb then complain because their bored or tired.

    Even when I didn't exercise regularly (a long time without actually) I was one to get up, move, clean the house, play with the kids - not sit all day. Yet I put on weight.

    Do you think they could all lose weight if they just tried hard enough?

    No, as someone with fibromyalgia - I know there are times I can barely walk or muster the energy to take a shower. I do it but slowly then. It isn't always what someone eats but how much they can move and how intense. Even then there are no many different metabolic dynamics at play - who is say what will make them shed fat.

    Do you think they're discriminated against? Yes, I do - I just wrote about this on my own blog because there are very vocal people that think anyone and everyone that is not fit and energetic must be lazy and unwilling to shed weight to be thin.

    It is an assumption that overweight people do not work hard. We do - we can work like dogs at whatever we put our minds to but often it's not working on finding the right formula to be thin. That means taking care of yourself rather than other people.


    Do you think your own weight is a result of healthy lifestyle or did you get lucky with your genes?

    I didn't get lucky with anything in my life. If I'm to lose this weight and become stronger and fit it will be only through daily work on my part just like everything else in life... work. With a little dancing and play mixed in!

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  28. 'I just know that some people who do have healthy habits and are not addicted really do struggle with unfortunate metabolisms, and don't know how to tell the addicted from the unlucky'

    Crabby- I totally agree. I've seen both types in my family. I have to admit, when I see someone who is REALLY overweight my gut reaction is sadness. Regardless of how they got there, I just assume that they would rather not be there. And for whatever reason: haywire genetic problem, abuse, self-destruction, etc. or any of the other hundreds of reasons for the weight...They aren't able to live life the way they'd choose if they were even a little bit smaller.

    The most overweight I have been is about 30 lbs. up from my "norm," Losing those measly 30 has had a such postive effect on all areas of my life.
    Hence, the sadness.

    Granted, I could be totally off the mark with some people, and maybe that's too judgemental of a view. (I rarely think this way, however, when I see someone who is overweight but seems very comfortable in their skin, in fact, I don't think I even notice the extra weight.)

    Thanks for posting this. I've been stewing on it all day!

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  29. Oh wow.

    This is just amazing, and I don't want to rush through all your comments, which are so incredible and moving and informative, as it is bedtime and there is some medical stuff to attend to for Significant Other's Mother that may take me away for part of tommorrow.

    I've read all your comments so far and want to respond to all of them and continue this discussion--either in this post or in a new one tomorrow.

    Feel free to keep adding comments here tonight or in the next post tomorrow, even though it may take me a while to get to them individually. Those of you who are sharing are really helping me learn so much. (And I suspect it's the same for the many other readers who are out there and following this discussion but who don't tend to comment themselves).

    Thanks, all! Please bear with me, because I'd love to keep this going tomorrow. (And feel free to keep commenting on each others' comments, since your Slacker moderator is sleeping on the job tonight and you folks do it better than I do anyway!).

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  30. I've just stumbled upon your blog, but I still wish to answer that one, so here goes:

    Do you look down on fat people?
    No, I just look down on people who moan and whine and complain yet don't lift a finger to make things change. But then, I do that with people in plenty of other areas of life, so it's just in my personality.

    Do you think they could all lose weight if they just tried hard enough?
    Depends, but generally, I try to not assume when I don't know the person and her circumstances. You never know if the person is insulin resistant, is on medication that make her gain weight, etc. So technically, yes, with enough effort, they could lose weight; in the facts, our bodies are all very different and don't react the same way to the same things. You can never tell.

    Do you think they're discriminated against?
    Yes. There is that stigma of laziness, not taking care of oneself, being a slob... that is so attached to fat people in general. Which often is totally wrong, since it's by taking care of others and overworking (=not being lazy at all) that those same people gain on weight, because they don't have any more time left for them...

    And now for the 'fat' questions, because I'm still overweight, after all.

    How do you think you got that way--was it because of your lifestyle, your genes, or both?
    Genetics didn't deal me the best hand in that regard, but I mainly blame lifestyle. We had little money when I was a child, so I learned very unhealthy habits such as eating two bowls of cereals, or hot chocolate and bread with Nutella, for dinner... and of course, no fresh meat/fish/veggies every day, since pasta cost way less. It's only these past two years (I'm turning 28 this summer!) that I've been able to self-shape myself into a person more interested by vegetables than by cheeseburgers, and this is an every day battle to prevent the bad habits from coming back. Although I do it more for health reasons (wanting to pass a national competitive exam that is very hard --> I need ALL the brains and energy possible!) than weight loss in itself. Anyway, yes, I blame unhealthy habits learnt early in life more than genetics.

    Are you making healthy choices now?
    I do my best, yes. I try to always favour vegetables, lean meats/fish and good cereals (quinoa, oatmeal...), rather than grab the cookies or white-bread sandwiches. In theory, I know what I should eat, and I try to exert portion control as well, to make sure I don't overeat (eating in small Asian bowls and salad plates, for instance).

    If so, is that good enough, or do you feel pressure to lose weight as well?
    That's enough for me now. I'm a student on a tight budget, so I very well know I CAN'T do things 'the perfect way' regarding food, nor exercise 3 hours a day. I have to do with campus food now and then as well. I manage to lose weight, even if slowly, on such a diet, but even if the pounds stopped to melt off, I'd still go on.

    If you're not making healthy choices, what's getting in your way? What would make it easier?
    When this happens: more money! Definitely a money issue. I do my best, but the end of the month is always a hard time, and it's not evident to have healthy proteins and carbs and good fats and basically everything needed when on a tight budget (ramen is cheaper). :/

    And sorry for the novel. ;)

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  31. Hi all,
    I started a continuation post above, where I'll respond to comments I didn't get to last night and where I hope you might keep the discussion going!

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  32. im fat cos i ate like a lunatic as a kid, and i hate veggies and anything remotely healthy. :D i also hate exercise. i just went nuts. and was very badly behaved and never listened to anyone. i ate till i made myself sick. i still do binge a lot. only now i manage to eat real food on the side ;)

    yes i am making healthy choices now, perhaps not as many or as strongly as the ideal, but i know i have to make a lifestyle change, not go on some crazy diet and exercise routine that i will hate, because it would make me miserable and i would never be able to keep it up.

    its kind of weird that despite being fat most of my life, and wanting to be thin, ive just been so used to being this size, that the turning point for me was the acceptance of this size by other people [read boys] because i have never known myself as thin and so im completely comfortable this size. which is probably why im not very motivated to lose it!

    i have to lose weight because there is a history of diabetes and hearth trouble in my family, also i have PCOS and my hormones are a MESS. however PCOS is partly responsible for the extreme difficulty involved in losing weight so it has been easier since i started treatment.

    kudos for talking about this!

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  33. Me again,
    So I've tried to get back to you all in the most recent post above-- please check in up there and feel free to add more comments in that thread. (And if somehow I missed anyone, which I'm prone to do, I'll be sure to double check and catch it up there.) Thanks!

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  34. alienated_bookwormJune 28, 2007 at 4:18 AM

    do I think of myself as fat?
    yes, because due to emotional binging and slacking on exercise I gained about 20 lbs this winter and don't fit into my size 4 clothes.
    Other people may not see me that way but *I* think I'm fat and flabby.

    Do you look down on fat people?
    yes
    Not trying to be snarky, but yes, I do think fat is ugly and disgusting. Shoot me.

    Do you think they could all lose weight if they just tried hard enough?
    yes. the human body is not designed to carry around a lot of excess weight. it'll work with you if you work with it.
    You take in more calories than you work off, you store fat. simple.
    messed up metabolism due to yo-yo dieting? true, but you can fix it too. exercising, building muscles, healthy eating will all speed it up again.
    bad genes? slow/fast metabolism? up to a point, yes, sure, but don't kid yourself. They may be the difference between a size 2 and a size 8, but anything larger than that: you're fat because you eat too much. Admit it to yourself and do something about it.

    Do you think they're discriminated against?
    sure.

    Do you think your own weight is a result of healthy lifestyle or did you get lucky with your genes?

    I was chubby to fat most of my teens and adult life due to a sedentary lifestyle, emotional binging, and simply a love of food.
    When I was 38 I went from a size 22 to a size 4 in about a year with exercise and portion control/cutting down on fat and sugar. FYI, I did NOT go on a diet! Diets don't work for a lot of reasons. One of major ones is most diets have you deprive yourself of something you crave or something your body needs. Obviously, sooner or late you WILL fall off the wagon, and often stay off.
    To KEEP the weight off, you need to change your lifestyle.
    I'm 44 now and have kept it off more or less. As to those 20 lbs I recently packed on, I WILL lose these too.

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  35. Thanks for your honesty, alienated bookworm!

    I totally agree with your point about "diet" versus "lifestyle."

    I guess the thing I'd take issue with is the fact that what worked for you would necessarily work for everyone. I believe some people truly do have slow, screwed up metabolisms--they can do all the things you talk about, and lead very healthy lifestyles, and still be considered "fat."

    This may be only a small percentage of people, I don't know--but I do think they're out there and they're being made to suffer despite doing way more than most people do about watching what they eat and exercising.

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  36. I think I need to lose weight, but no, I do not think that I am fat. I am petite for 23, only 4'11. So I need to maintain a healthy body weight. It's one thing to be short but being short and fat is a whole other story.

    I'm a ballet dancer- yet another reason to maintain a healthy weight. No, not all dancers are anorexic. But I do have some anorexic tendencies. For instance, I think that I need to lose weight because I can feel rolls on my body and I don't like them and I know that they are more than skin. A lot of people would look at me and say that they don't know what I'm worried about but my thoughts and opinions matter more to me than someone else's. Whew.

    Of course in the ballet world, you have to have more than amazing dance technique and a dancer is expected to be more than fit. We are expected to be skinny. Healthy, I mean, teachers and casting directors want healthy strong dancers, but we are expected to be skinny. I have never actually, you know, made myself throw up. But not because I didn't try. I tried so hard... I knelt on the hard dirty floors of bathrooms trying... but maybe some fear in me as well as knowledge of the facts/evidence (two of my cousins are dentists) stopped me from going "all the way." I like healthy foods, fruits and vegetables. Part of my "anorexic" phase of my life included days eating fruit... only fruit. I would have, you know, a fast except for fruits and vegetables. I didn't want to faint or anything and I always made sure to drink plenty of water.

    These days I am no longer acting on my thoughts. I still have the anorexic thoughts but I'm trying to sort of repress them (is that a bad thing? lol) and I'm eating regularly. 3 meals a day plus snacks on most days. This morning I ate scrambled eggs and fresh fruit. Lunch was some sushi and green edamame (I love that stuff and I could totally eat sushi every day!). I also had a kiddie cup of peanut butter and vanilla frozen yogurt with rainbow sprinkles around 4ish. That meant I wasn't very hungry for dinner because that sushi really was dinner - just more of a "linner" lunch-dinner thing. I didn't have any popcorn at the movies tonight b/c I still felt full from the sushi and ice cream earlier. But just now, I ate a hershey's 100 cal. dark chocolate bar before I posted this message.

    Wow. This is long. Anyway, um, yeah. I hope all of you reading this accept yourselves because as corny as it may sound, you are all beautiful people and as long as we are good to each other and act out on our kindness tendencies, that is a big part of what makes us who we are. Be optimistic. I am. My positive attitude coupled with my determination and persistance has brought me a long way from where I once was. I hope this can be an inspirational true story for you all and not a sympathy thing.

    Thanks for caring.

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  37. Hi Anonymous Ballet Dancer,
    Wow, thank you! That was a very inspiring comment. Positive attitude, persistence, kindness... all such important ideas.

    Glad that you're trying to find a balance between the demands of your career and good health. It must be a challenge in an environment that where "normal and healthy" could be seen as "too heavy for a dancer."

    And I hope you're getting enough protein now? Sounds like there were times in your life where you weren't, but that you're trying to eat a more balanced diet now. Protein is so important for professional athletes--which you are, if you're a ballet dancer!

    Thanks so much for stopping by!

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  38. Hmm. Well, you know every fat person is fat for their own reasons. Some people are gluttons, sure. (But I've seen some thin gluttons that when I watch them eat so much constantly, it makes me gag and wonder how they do it. Still clogs their arteries, thin or no.)

    Maybe some gluttons have psychoemotional issues, maybe because they enjoy the way food makes them feel, or whatever.

    Some people have genuine genetic issues, and have been obese all their lives, despite whatever efforts they make to lose weight.

    In my case, I've been obese since I was 3 because I have a genetic condition. And then was starved for many years after that, so like the rotund, my liver is like... what do I do with this food?
    But...So what. That's just who I am.

    Some people are fat because there are additives in our food that f*ck with the metabolism (mainly MSG, which is cleverly disguised as "spices" on most packaging). MSG, since '69, is a known endocrine system screwer, and can slow the metabolic process to a halt.

    Either way, why not just leave fat people alone about their weight?
    Is it anyone's business about what anyone else eats, or doesn't eat? Exercises, or doesn't? It's up to the individual. Do I have a right to go up to a sexually promiscuous individual who's drinking too much in a bar and say, "Hey, you know if you get AIDS or cirrhosis, you're running up the healthcare bill for everyone else who isn't a drunken slut! And the system doesn't want to pay for a kid that you give up because you were too drunk to use a condom, mind you!" No, I don't. Nor would I. None of my business.
    And dressing like a tart and hanging out in bars to get some tail is "socially acceptable." But fat isn't acceptable, you see.

    I'm so tired of hearing the words "epidemic" and "healthcare expenses for the REST of us." I've been healthy all my life, despite my weight, so being treated as subhuman is really getting on my last nerve. I have no idea who the idiots were who associated agglomerations of adipose tissue somehow equated to mental incompetence. I am a MENSA candidate, I am active, I am beautiful, and I would be more successful if our society would let me in the door instead of shutting me out because of my weight. But, no matter... I will YET create a fat-safe space where brilliant minds discarded by a moronic system will congregate and become a galvanic force to be reckoned with.

    This country was founded on principles of the "pursuit of happiness." Everyone has a right to pursue that happiness. EVERYONE.

    I believe that many people are simply angry haters, and take it out on fat people because racial discrimination is no longer tolerated. (This is from MUCH daily experience for the past 25 years.) They want someone to pick on to make themselves feel better temporarily rather than take responsibility for their own inability to cope with themselves. And because they fear what they do not understand. And because it's a convenient out for a dummy to say, Hey, fattie! rather than think, Boy, I am such a jerk. Maybe I should strive to become a better person or concentrate on my own business instead of harassing others who haven't done anything to me.

    Fat people make up over one-third of the American population. You don't have to find us attractive, or socialize with us, but all we ask is to be treated like human beings. Let us make our own choices and live our own lives, and we will be happy to let you do the same.

    One last addendum:
    What if the tides were reversed, and all thin people were seen as unnatural, ugly, and subhuman? Would it be right, and would you appreciate it? Would you appreciate being heckled, being hated, having opportunities denied you, having people stare and laugh at you? Just food for thought.

    I publish as 'anonymous' because I am the voice of not one fat person, but many who are ANONYMOUS, 'invisible' people who have beating hearts, and fears, dreams, hopes and loves... but who remain nameless in the annals of society.

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  39. Do you look down on fat people?

    I try not to, seems my best mates mother is horrendously obese but she is the nicest woman I know. Yet, in general, being fat (I mean obese, the perception of fat differs so much) usually displays a lack of self control, and a lack of desire to move. So sometimes I do, I try to be nice to everyone I meet. Of course if someone has an obnoxious personality AND they're fat, the fat they're packing just makes me look at them with more disgust. The excess (unhealthy amount of) fat embodies my disgust. However, my best friend and his mother, as I mentioned, are two overweight people yet they're the nicest, most loving, witty, interesting people I know. I have plenty of friends who I suppose I could consider to be fat, but the matter of the fact is that I see right through it (as do people around them), attractive looks might make good first impressions, but an attractive personality shows through to the end.

    Do you think they could all lose weight if they just tried hard enough?

    What might be hard for one may not be hard for another. I know some people who think that the idea of working out 6 days a week intensely is horrifying. Yet some people embrace it as part of their life. I don't think one can completely blame their genes, if it is that big of a problem then either learn to accept your fatness or work out a lot, and eat clean and boring.

    Do you think they're discriminated against?

    Absolutely, being fat is the worst natural physical trait that you can possess as perceived by Western society.

    Do you think your own weight is a result of healthy lifestyle or did you get lucky with your genes?

    Absolutely a result of my lifestyle. Healthy? Not so sure. I smoke daily and drink every now and then. I used to be a great football (soccer) player and play a lot of tennis up until I was 10, then my father left and my sweet tooth + the lack of exercise got me really fat. When I was about 13 I was like, enough of this sh*t, lets get in shape. And I did, I ran on a treadmill for 30 minutes a day at 5mph, ate very clean (a lot of fruit, probably too much fruit if you may) but still very clean, and lost a lot of weight. It lasted pretty much till now, and at 16 years of age I'm 5"11 and weigh 160 pounds. I'm "skinny" but want defined abs, six pack and all that, so I'm running a lot (H.I.I.T, early morning jogs, etc), lifting weights 3 times a week, eating probably just over 1000 calories a day, and slowly but surely it's working.

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  40. I apologize for being late to the thread here, but what an interesting topic and interesting opinions. I'd like to add my two cents, and I'll try to be as honest as possible:

    Do you look down on fat people?

    Yes, I tend to. However, when I think “fat,” I’m most likely thinking “obese,” not “could lose 15-20 pounds.” Lets call it “overfat” just to clarify that I don’t at all mean 45 year old Suzy who can’t get off those extra 10 pounds of baby weight. I don’t think I would ever be rude or mean to them, but I do find people who are overfat visually unappealing, and I frankly find my teeth set on edge by those who constantly express concern about their weight yet never take any constructive, realistic steps to help themselves. That and people who self-diagnose with fibromyalgia or some other mysterious chronic disorder that demands much sympathy, when they could most likely alleviate all their joint and other pain by putting down the extra 100 pounds they’re carrying all day.

    I tend to look down on them because:

    Do you think they could all lose weight if they just tried hard enough?

    Yes. I know you’ve experience people who seem to be doing everything right but can’t lose weight, but in my experience the vast majority of overfat people I’ve come in contact with are concerned enough about their health and appearance to verbally express it to all and sundry, but do the most non-constructive things to help themselves. When someone tells me they’ve “tried everything” I usually find out they’ve tried a few fad diets for a few weeks to a month or two, and exercise sporadically if at all. Its like making sure you watch every second of the Olympics, then being awfully disappointed that you can’t run the 100m like a champ when you’re done. They’ve been expecting the wrong results from doing the wrong things, and have now given up to whining.

    Also, physics. Your body can’t defy the laws of physics, regardless of metabolism or disorders or psychology. Every single human on the planet will lose weight if they’re taking in less calories than they burn.

    Do you think they're discriminated against?

    Yes. In fact, I’m sure of it because I might very well be the one doing the discriminating.

    I was a hiring manager in the past for a small but nationwide company, so I have some experience choosing employees. Though I never encountered it in my job, I would have serious hesitations at hiring an obese person. Their weight shows me that there’s at least one aspect of their life that they have completely lost control over. It also shows me that they are unwilling or unable to exercise willpower over something that drastically affects their personal health and wellbeing. If they can’t take care of themselves, I question their ability to exercise control and willpower over a demanding job. I would hire the person who succeeds at being fit and healthy over an identically qualified overfat person any day. The fit person is essentially wearing their proof of capability like a well-tailored suit.

    Do you think your own weight is a result of healthy lifestyle or did you get lucky with your genes?

    My weight is entirely the result of hard work. I have the worst genes imaginable. I actually can, and have in the past, gained weight while eating less than 800 calories a day. I must exercise quite a lot to achieve the same effect as others. In the past I controlled my weight by smoking, and have had to overcome a 10-year 2-pack-a-day dependency to even start to get healthy. Please trust me when I say I know a bit about addiction, and how difficult it is being addicted to something readily available everywhere you go.

    For full disclosure: Two years ago I was pushing size 14 at 5’5”. Now I weigh about 145 pounds, and I’m a size 4. I’ve put on enough muscle that BMI doesn’t make sense for me anymore.

    Currently I exercise for 6-8 hours a week, including lots of strength training and weightlifting. I know I’ll get lazy on my own, so I train in martial arts to have both instruction and motivation from others. Our instructor is a track and field coach and was a national level track athlete, so we get plenty of good old fashioned butt-kicking. I’ve also removed all convenient food from my house. I have little available food that does not require at least 20 minutes of preparation. No soda, no snack foods, no candy, no alcohol, no chips, no desserts etc. The only thing I can eat right away is fruits and vegetables. Finally, I chucked my TV. I have not had a TV for four years now.

    A final note: I’ve seen mentioned in this comment thread the notion that people of lower economic means don’t have the time or ability to cook healthy food. Two things – Firstly staple foods, your flat basics, rice, fruits, veggies, etc. are actually cheaper than processed and packaged things, especially if you buy in bulk. Secondly, as for time – if you have time to watch TV, you have time to make a meal. Do you know anyone, poor or rich, that can’t find time to watch TV? Neither do I.

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  41. Am I fat? Yes. According to the BMI and my doctor, I need to lose about 50 pounds. So yes, I am fat, but not to the point that it keeps me from doing what I need to do physically.

    Do I look down on fat people?
    Well, I would love to say I don't, but that isn't true. I tend more to look at the whole package--is the person well-dressed, well-groomed, etc? If so, I will probably give them the benefit of the doubt. If they are sloppily dressed, have poor hygiene, or just smell, then I will assume that they are lazy and gross. Yes, I know. Value judgements. I do realize that not everyone can be in the first stare of fashion, but you can be neat and tidy even if you shop at Goodwill (which I do, plus clearance racks and yard sales). I still look nice.

    Genes or lifestyle?
    Well, I was a decent weight for me (I'm 5'2"), about 120 pounds, until I had the Norplant insert. I gained 40 pounds in one calendar year, while breastfeeding a baby and chasing a toddler. However, I have not lost the weight yet, and nursing baby is now in high school, so lifestyle would account for it, I guess. But my weight has stayed at 160-165 for 12 years.

    Can you lose the weight?
    I guess its easy to sit here in this chair and point to others and say, well, you could lose the weight, or make better choices, or whatever. But each person has to decide what is right for them. I do agree with the poster above that if you take in fewer calories than you put out, the laws of physics kick in and you lose the weight. And some people at the grocery store are genuinely trying--lean meats, fresh produce, whole grains. The people who bug me are the ones who are too fat to push their carts, then fill it up with nacho chips, soda, processed frozen foods, packaged cookies, and cigarettes. Poor choices won't lead to health, no matter what your size.

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  42. Chunk is fat. She has never in her life fit into tiny little clothing. Chunk grew up a super active kid who was a champion swimmer...also one of the biggest swimmers in her age group. She knew people were smaller than her, but she didn't much care, cause momma brought her up to accept herself and respect differences in people.

    Chunk was a straight A student. This was done by spending many hours sitting and studying. When old enough to drink, she blew off steam with a beer and went back to sitting behind a desk at her 50-60 hr a week job. Chunk was damn good at what she did...but didn't feel like hanging out in the gym for 2 hours every day. She put on weight.

    After awhile, the size 16 jeans she was wearing weren't fitting anymore. She stepped on the scale and saw a whopping 200 lbs!! S.H.I.I.T needed to be done. She has reevaluated her life and determined that the lifestyle we are expected to lead in the working environment alone is unhealthy.

    Chunk decided to completely change her career and life to become healthier and encourage others to do the same. Her weight is slowly coming off as she goes. Around 180 these days.

    She doesn't feel discriminated against per say...because people can only treat you the way you let them treat you. Chunk knows she is awesome AND could probably kick some skinny girl butt in many ways. So she respects others and in turn they respect her.

    Valuing yourself is the most important thing you can do.

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  43. I'm just right. I exercise every day and eat clean. Am I prejudice against fat people? If they're holding a super-sized coke and a bag of chips, yes. If they're at the gym, no. Do I think everyone could lose weight? I think everyone could be at a weight they are happy with if they exercise and eat right. (I acknowledge that those with eating disorders and thyroid problems have a harder time with this and also need medical intervention). Mainly, it's the food. In my experience, overweight people either eat too much of the wrong food or not enough food at all. If a person eats fast food every day, the calorie load is going to be huge. On the other hand, if a person tries to lose weight by eating 1000 calories a day, his/her metabolism is going to slow to the point where they could actually gain weight. I've found that by eating 5 small meals a day of unprocessed food, I maintain a size that looks good on me. It's not easy. I have cravings but by eating clean (aka plain, unprocessed food) 80% of the time, I can give into my cravings from time to time without a problem.

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  44. Very interesting questions at the end of your post. I don't think that someone's slim waist is necessarily the result of a healthy lifestyle. I know many people who eat whatever they want and they never exercise yet somehow they are amazingly thin. I think it has to do with your genes.

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  45. I personally think that everyone is capable of attaining weight loss. You simply have to want it enough. You have to be able to put all of your insecurities and fear of failure aside. I think that a lot of people are holding back because they are afraid of failure. But they should remember that weight loss is a slow and steady process, it does not come easy to anyone.

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  46. Brief comment on your excellent post, questions and blog: Fat, thin, whatever, the issue is health. Too bad our culture doesn't see it as so. Gets in the way of fat people being healthy. Just found your blog and love, love the way you write. Keep up the wonderful work.

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  47. I am probably not overweight (I'm about 119lbs and 5'4) but because of how i see myself, I have started on a diet of basically grapes and yoghurt, and going to the gym three times a week, and I'm beginning to realise how hard it is to lose weight. My target weight is 105lbs, and tbh that seems impossible at the moment.

    Even though I struggle with my weight, when I see overweight people I secretly still feel that it is their fault. Even though I know that isnt always true. I think it's because I'm trying so hard to lose weight, and so I feel everyone else should too.

    I think I got fat because of my lifestyle. I'm naturally lazy and greedy - not a good combination XD. I ate really unhealthily for a long time, and even though I'm blessed with a reasonable metabolism, I looked untoned and chubby. Now I'm working towards eating better and exercising more, and I feel better about myself than I have for ages.
    Sorry this is long and (probably) irrelevant = | x

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  48. Great post---you have described a truth which we all face when trying to feed ourselves and our families well---the culture is against us. We do not live as isolated beings, we depend on the systems that are in place in our society to produce and distribute food. We are also subject to other lifesyle parameters that affect how we eat----long working hours, commutes, both parents working---all these things make it more difficult for us to eat fresh home-cooked food all the time. Some of us are more squeezed by these parameters than others are. It is within these parameters that we then have individual choices. The less privileged and less comfortable our lives, the less choices we have and vice versa. It is a wider issue than mere individual choice.

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  49. Every one can be fit and healthy, unfortunately too many people go for the thin look, which is not that appealing to be honest. Don't aim for weight loss, just fat loss.

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  50. Just read the article..thought it was wonderful.

    Am I fat? Yes, I am. 5'5" tall, 269lbs. Reason, many different factors, first off - I used to be addicted to TV. Messed my metabolism up, so makes it extremely hard to lose weight, secondly - society and family. Hearing your mother constantly say that you need to lose weight, and having peers all through school ridicule you because you have matured physically before them and/or are heavier than them leads to eating food for comfort...thus putting on lbs. So, between emotianal/psychological problems...I became fat. Having gotten pregnant at 24 and then again at 28 didn't help either.

    What am I doing about it?

    I have recently started exercising (used to hate it, but I actually like excercising now...wish I had more time to do it more), and I have cut out almost all junk food, processed foods, msg, bht, bha, artificial sweetners, watch my intake of fats, high fructose corn syrup, and carbs, and started eating more fresh fruits and veggies, organiz, home grown, and balanced meals. Doing this is and has made me a more healthy person.

    I have lost 12 lbs....and kept it off more than 3 months..which is AMAZING for me. So, yeah...I am still obese, but I lost 12 lbs!!

    Will I EVER be skinny...nope, don't want to. However, do I think that I will ever be back to a weight that will be healthier than what I am now...yes.

    My goal is to be able to fit into a size 14 (highschool size), and be able to hike, bike, and walk without getting winded. Healthy is not all about being skinny, it's about getting OFF of the blood pressure medicine, and having a well run machine for a body.

    Size doesn't matter, health does.

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  51. How do you think you got that way?
    Lifestyle combined with genetics. I've always had to be careful with what I eat and exercise, but it wasn't a problem because once I left home I had naturally healthful habits 80% of the time. And I was young. Around age 27, I started eating meat again (had been vegetarian for 9 years) and started drinking more alcohol. I also was exercising less. Lo and behold, I started gaining a little weight, but it wasn't out of control. I think it was just enough to set me up for trouble, though. I hit my 30s, I had a stressful year of managing at work, and boom, I gained 15 pounds, which is a lot for my 5'1" frame.

    Are you making healthy choices now?
    Yes. I'm trying. I've reduced portion sizes. During the lunch hour I take power walks and eat from the salad bar like the skinny girls. I moderate and make conscious decisions about what to eat and when to eat it and avoid 'emotional eating'. I run twice a week and take Pilates classes regularly. But I still have a desk job, and it takes a lot to counteract all those hours sitting on my butt and several years of not being conscious about my eating/exercise habits.

    3) If so, is that good enough?
    Nope. I still feel enormous internal pressure to get back to the weight I was 10 years ago. I don't feel fat at all when I've just run 4 miles or kicked some macho guy's butt at Pilates class. Sadly, I do feel fat when I compare myself to all the slim, size 0-6 women at my office. I still grind my teeth when female coworkers complain about their bodies and they're what I would consider slim: I want to say, if you think *you're* fat, what do you think I am? Baby Beluga? At the same time, the Merry Sunshine voice inside my head tells me to focus on health, not just my weight and my jiggly thighs, and that helps sometimes. And I honestly enjoy that bowl of salad and running now. I clearly see the benefits, even if those benefits aren't measured in inches or pounds.

    4) What's getting in your way?
    Stress. The need/desire to be perfect overnight. A culture that promotes fast food over slow food, meat over vegetables, super size over healthy size, and simultaneously pushes Being Skinny instead of Being the Best Me I Can Be. Would it help if I could grab a bowl of brown rice, beans, and greens for a quick dinner out instead of fast food? Absolutely! Would it help if working overtime wasn't the norm at my job so I could get home in time to cook a healthful dinner every night, and peacefully enjoy every nutritious bite? Of course. Would I be happier if from childhood I had been exposed to images of beautiful women of all shapes and sizes and colors instead of only tall, thin blondes? Hell yes! It's still a lot of work in our culture to eat healthfully and mindfully and to celebrate and respect our god-given bodies. That said, I feel more aware and conscious now, at 36, than I ever have. I am optimistic that I can still learn how to be fit forever, how to be healthy without feeling deprived, and how to learn to love my body without qualification.

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  52. Just want to say for this post. Great. Hats of to you. Ho you presented this post is great. Even though I am not the fatty one also I feared to be fatty.

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  53. I think our society has a mental problem with this trouble.We make cooks really bad for our health, tons of sugar and salt are the real problem in ours days, we make bad food...food that make some kind of addiction( chocalate, for example).
    Difficult question.

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