Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Fat Heads

This story about pro-fat blogs (the "fatosphere") is so sad on so many levels. Not only are these plump bloggers spewing scientific falsehoods -- like dismissing the "obesity epidemic" as hysteria (have you looked at your local playground lately?); saying that being fat in and of itself is not necessarily bad for you (well, it certainly doesn't help: have you heard of diabetes, high blood pressure, joint problems, hyperlipidemia, arteriosclerosis or cholelithiasis?); and rejecting "a core belief that many Americans, including overweight ones, hold dear: that all a fat person needs to do to be thin is exercise more and eat less" (like it or not, 3,500 calories equals 1 pound on all of us -- you're not special. try eating nothing but chicken breasts, salmon, whole grains and fruits and vegetables for 12 months and I'd bet my life you'd be thin) -- then they spend the rest of their time trying to convince themselves that they're OK with being fat, all the while saying things that completely contradict the aforementioned ideas they've dismissed: "You relapse, and then you go on a diet again, and this time you’re going to do it, it’s really going to be it this time,” Marianne Kirby, a 30-year-old blogger from Orlando, Fla., who writes The Rotund, said in an interview. “And it still doesn't work, not long-term -- you end up heavier than before. And you say to yourself: Why did I fall for this again?’" Um, it "doesn't work, long-term"? So you're admitting that it worked, but because you went back to your old habits it "stopped working"? No, it didn't stop working -- you stopped working it. If I eat whatever I want, whenever I want, I immediately gain weight too. If I stop going to the gym, I immediately get a belly too. (Today she wrote, "You know what felt great last night? Not having any ice cream." -- HUH?? I thought we were "rejecting sacrifice"!) Listen, overweight people of the world: you're right. Being heavy doesn't make you a bad person. If you want to eat whatever pleases you and exercise rarely or never, that's certainly your prerogative -- and there's nothing wrong with that. But you're going to be overweight, and people are going to know that's why you're overweight. That seems to be what fat people are taking exception with and what all of this defensiveness is about. (People are "on to" Oprah's new "thyroid condition" -- wink-wink -- aka she's gaining all the weight she lost back.) It's time to own up to your actions and stop dismissing people who choose not to live like that as "lucky" or "freaks of nature." There's no luck involved in being thin. Trust me -- and anyone who tells you otherwise is lying to you, or is too ashamed (for whatever reason, vanity?) to admit what goes into staying in shape. Let's all live and let live -- but enough with the lies and the excuses. These bloggers say they are calling for "fat acceptance." But isn't the majority of the negative feelings you have about your weight really coming from yourself? (NYT)


Matthew said...

Oh, this issue annoys me. I remember being a kid and seeing gi-normous ladies on REAL PEOPLE espousing the virtues of being obese. At the time, it seemed funny and radical, and there is no denying it's subversive in a positive way to shrug off society's push to be stick-thin. However, it's not good to be fat. Period. It's not healthy to be significantly overweight. I've always had up and down weight issues, from seriously obese to decidedly overweight (and, on rare occasion, slim!), but as much as I think being chastised for it is wrong, it's just as wrong to go the opposite route and praise it. It is more desirable to have less extra weight than more, and by desirable I mean health-wise. As for aesthetic, to each his/her own, but a lot of the seriously obese people who claim fat sex is hot are hooked up with people who fetishize obesity—and that is not love or even lust with legs, that's just a lot of fun for a short time. If you're fat, it doesn't devalue you as a person, but don't tell me it makes you special or better, either. I'd do absolutely ANYTHING to be at my goal weight...except eat right and exercise.

dkm said...

"3,500 calories = 1#" is the metabolic equation. The social and psychological calculations are a lot more complex. Needing to justify being overweight is a manifestation of those calculations. No argument there from me.

However, I'm uneasy with you, Kenneth, criticizing these people. Body type and genetics do play a part, and "overweight" is a relative term. You're obviously an ectomorph. Your latest shirtless photo clearly shows your ribs. Although I, a mesomorph, stay in shape, I can't imagine how much "chicken, salmon, etc." I'd have to eat for how many years and how many hours I'd have to spend on the treadmill for MY ribs to show.

Usually a big fan. Not so much today.

Z said...

I compeletly agree with you. You should stop catering them!!!
It is sickness!

Anonymous said...

Amen. As someone who HAS to get 5-6 days of exercise in each week, count calories, etc to stave off cholesterol and weight gain (and have done so successfully for 3 years), am tired of the drivel from fat people who want to be 'accepted.' Yes, I understand that I have to deal with fat people but I do not accept it. Perseverence is the only way to succeed over time.

I travel a lot for business and I am so tired of someone being wedged into the seat next to me (and not fitting) and slopping over into MY seat, like they 'deserve' the space.

Obese America is not good on any level and it is just frustrating to hear about people who just give up.

I'm sure a lot of people out there are going to be offended by this, but hey, sometimes the truth hurts. I lost my fat (and no, it isn't necessarily fun), but it sure is better than giving up years of my life!

Thanks for posting this.

Anonymous said...

dkm and anonymous: did you even read what was written in this post???

Anonymous said...

As a European I am always surprised by how easily some Americans blame obesity on anything other than poor eating habits and not getting enough exercise. I am more than willing to accept that some people are more predisposed to weight gain than others, but come on, you only have to come to Europe to realize that obesity is not a genetic problem.

Being (slightly) overweight may be genetic; being clinically obese is the result of poor eating habits and lack of exercise. It really is that simple.

Anonymous said...

Agree with the last pharagraph of
"dutchguytoo" ,and I just would like to add one more thing. Do not believe in fad diets' books! (Clinically,they are dangerous although yes,they did produced results but there are no long term studies of the effectiveness).Yes,I
am serious *adjusting my heavy-rimmed glasses*