Dangers of Fat Acceptance

WordPress opens a world of discovery, the streams of passionate and knowledgeable writing flows endlessly. Amidst this river of ideas, being a strong proponent of health and well-being, I encountered several Fat Acceptance blogs under the health section (Shapely Prose, Junkfood Science, & Eat a Cheeseburger). Having become an ardent reader of these blogs, opinions bounce around my head waiting to be released. Many of these blogs seem to be intolerable of outside opinions so my thoughts/comments remain unpublished, this will serve as my outlet.

The concepts proposed by most FA websites promote self-confidence, with a call to end societal pressures to obtain THE ‘ideal’ body presented by the media. The sites also address the ineffectiveness of dieting and the potential dangers resulting from it. They deal with obesity as a human rights issue with a call to end all size related discrimination. All these valid points serve a wonderful purpose and can enrich the lives of many people. 

On the surface everything seems perfectly normal, but when one peruses the comments and reads some of the eating habits promoted by the sites, one quickly sees the detrimental impact. On numerous occasions people write what can only be labeled as careless eating habits. Claiming that if you want something go ahead and have it. While I am not against the mentality of eating whatever one wants, one needs to realize that overeating never serves a good purpose. 

Many FA sites spew contradictions. I have observed people claiming that weight loss as an impossible, unreasonable goal. Most argue that they live a fat but fit lifestyle exercising regularly and eating well. Yet they also take pride in reckless eating. Some go further insisting that excess weight is harmless to health.

FA sites urge acceptance of something that can be changed–excess weight–while trying to change what they cannot: the reality of its health risks. To be sure, some of us are born with larger bone structures, or lower metabolisms but few of us were born to be obese. We can change how much we exercise and what foods we choose. Unlike acceptance, these choices require effort. Let’s put forth the effort and help each other. 

 

8/03/08 – 5.53 miles in 50:53

Advertisements

210 thoughts on “Dangers of Fat Acceptance

  1. vesta44

    Unless you have ever tried to lose more than 50 lbs and keep it off forever, you can’t say that “just watch what you eat and exercise” is going to help anyone reach and maintain an “ideal” weight. FA doesn’t advocate “reckless” eating. FA does say that if you want a treat occasionally, you can have it and not feel guilty about it. And yes, I’m fat, and I eat about 1800 calories a day, and ride my recumbent exercise bike 1/2 a day, 4 days a week and I’m still fat (even after having had a weight loss surgery that failed). My blood pressure is normal (130/76), my fasting blood sugar is right around 90, and my cholesterol is 195, with all the right ratios, and my doctor is pleased with all those numbers. For the kicker, I’m 5′ 8″ and weigh 375 lbs, and have for the last 30 years. It hasn’t harmed my health any in all that time, and since most of my ancestors were fat and lived to their late 80’s/early 90’s, I really don’t think it’s going to kill me any time soon, nor is it going to have much of an adverse affect on my health.
    Yeah, weight can be changed, within probably about 10- 20 lbs, without a lot of work. But to lose substantial amounts of weight, a person has to practically starve themselves and exercise at least 2 or 3 hours a day. And even then, that’s not a guarantee that one will be able to keep the weight off forever. Not to mention that repeated dieting totally messes with one’s metabolism so that it gets harder and harder to lose weight, let alone keep it off. That yo-yo dieting has more adverse affects on one’s health than if they had just stayed fat and ate a healthy variety of foods and got a moderate amount of exercise is a proven fact.
    But none of the studies that show any of that get the media attention they deserve because then the media/diet industry/pharmaceutical companies wouldn’t be able to hype this “obesity epidemic” that sells useless diets and drugs and makes tons of money for the charlatans recycling all the “but everyone knows fat kills” hysteria.

    Reply
    1. YaVole Mein

      Yeah, you’re one of the multitude of selfish morons this article refers to. You wanna be fat? Fine. But do not claim victimhood. And do not claim that your life style is healthy and one the rest of the world should accept.

      You are like people who smoke. This is not an aesthetic issue, or an issue of civil rights (frankly it’s offensive that overweight people would even claim that), this is a health issue. You can’t just ignore science, or twist it to sound the way you would like.

      Also, I hope you don’t burden your family when they inevitably have to take care of you, or lose you to an obesity-related illness. If you don’t care about your own health, at least think about how it would affect your loved ones.

      Reply
  2. William

    Hi Vesta

    I agree with you, 1/4 of my adult life I worked on a manual labor job that worked us to the point of needing to take salt tablets to replace salt lost in sweat. My weight stayed around 250 at that job, after taking a desk job I have gained about 50 lbs.

    This means that I was keeping 50lbs off by working 5 or 6 full days a week at intensive labor.

    William

    Reply
  3. bentlyr Post author

    It is great to hear about your good health and strong genetic line. To be quite honest I would probably attribute your great health to your genetics. Unfortunately not everyone has that kind of genetic background.

    While the media/diet industry/pharmaceutical companies are all searching for ways to make money I do not think researchers have any hidden agendas. Research has shown obesity does increase the chances of a host of diseases and are risk factors for others. In the off chance that these studies are ALL wrong… Why take the chance.

    I completely agree with your assertion that a diverse diet is much healthier than dieting (dieting is totally useless). I just wanted to point out that there is heavy censorship in those FA sites and not everyone is following the mantra promoted by the authors.

    It would be good to see the authors writing more posts about exercise and even healthy dietary options. This can be provided without any emphasis on weight-loss.

    Reply
  4. totaltransformation

    “Many of these blogs seem to be intolerable of outside opinions so my thoughts/comments remain unpublished, this will serve as my outlet.”

    Yeah, don’t try to raise dissenting points on the fat acceptance blogs since they are run by folks who act like petty tyrants. They seem to be a place for those who either want to pat each other on the back for standing up against fat prejudice or those trying to convince themselves- and others- that being overweight isn’t unhealthy.

    I am glad they exist to dissent from the consensus that weight is related to health problems. However, you would think that as dissenters they would be more tolerant of contrary opinions.

    Reply
  5. dollyann

    I’m going to agree with vesta. FA doesn’t encourage reckless eating; it encourages not feeling guilty if you decide to eat your dessert once in a while. Thin people enjoy their cake; why can’t people of other sizes?

    Furthermore, the reason that fat acceptance bloggers are so harsh to dissenters is because it’s THEIR blog. It’s their (and their members’) space to feel safe and secure; when obnoxious trolls spew vomit about how they’re all fat, ugly c*nts and concern trolls cry, “we’re only worried about your health,” they invade that space. And that means moderation has to be stiff. Unfortunately, if a comment even sniffs of a troll (regardless of whether it actually is one), moderators delete it to protect their blog’s sanctity.

    And course, while I politely disagree with your idea that there is a danger to fat and size acceptance, this is YOUR space. 🙂 Thank-you for respecting the blogs of the FA/SA community. I hope that you come to change your views on this movement.

    Reply
    1. YaVole Mein

      No, people who are apart of the fat acceptance movement are like the buddy who doesn’t want you to give up drugs, so he won’t have to feel guilty.

      The whole community seems to be made up of stubborn and ignorant people. I think it’s really terrible of you people to not destroy your own bodies, but encourage others to do it as well. You ever hear of a thing called Pro-Ana? You’re just as bad.

      Reply
  6. bentlyr Post author

    dollyann you make some excellent points. The FA websites deliver great messages and are truly inspirational. I believe people CAN be fat and fit but that being said…

    I have issues with the satisfaction many commenters leave… readers in those websites are simply coming off as fully happy with the way they are and feel they don’t have to change a thing. Improvement isn’t achieved through satisfaction.

    I am not preaching losing weight as the only way to reach happiness. Living well is how you reach it. Stay active, eat nutritious foods whether some machine tells you that you are supposedly heavy or not is completely inconsequential.

    From reading some of the comments in those fat acceptance websites… the message of living well is not being promoted. Simply being satisfied is. Satisfaction may be fine for adults not willing to change but in children it can lead to complacency which can be extremely dangerous later in life.

    Reply
  7. jimsjourney

    About a year or so ago my wife and I traveled to Paris and London. In both of those cities, most people do a lot of walking or ride their bicycles everywhere they go. Most people we saw were trim and fit. I believe these is a definite connection that has nothing to do with genetics.

    Visiting any U.S. city shows a much different picture. Even many children are seen ‘waddling’ with obesity.

    I’m sorry if I offend anyone, but we Americans have a problem. We eat too much and we exercise too little.

    By the way, I’m six feet tall and weigh close to 280. I don’t see myself as obese, but I must admit that I am. Telling me it’s OK to be fat is the wrong message. I need to be constantly reminded to get out of my recliner and do something… even if it’s nothing more than a walk around the block.

    Reply
  8. bentlyr Post author

    jimsjourney you bring up some excellent points. I have also noticed the same thing traveling abroad. The situation needs to be addressed, unfortunately only individuals themselves can address it.

    Reply
  9. dollyann

    “…readers in those websites are simply coming off as fully happy with the way they are and feel they don’t have to change a thing.”

    And that’s bad? What do you think they need to change?

    “Improvement isn’t achieved through satisfaction. I’m not preaching losing weight as the only way to happiness. Stay active, eat nutritious foods whether some machine tells you that you are supposedly heavy or not is completely inconsequential.”

    I think you’re making the assumption that fat people on these sites >areand< not worrying about their weight; it’s simultaneously about good health and fighting fatophobia. Have you heard about HAES hitherto?

    I’m also confused as to where you get the idea that these are unhealthy people satisfied with being unhealthy. I peruse FA/SA sites too, but I’ve never seen comments that say, “Oh, I eat junkfood all the time, and I love to sit on my ass. Isn’t that just great?” I’d be more than willing to check out a link to specific comments where you feel this is happening.

    Reply
  10. dollyann

    Uh oh… some of that post got cut off… feel free to delete this one later. This is what the 4th paragraph should ahve read. “I think you’re making the assumption that fat people on these sites are sitting around eating junkfood and not exercising. Yet, HAES (health at every side), a promoted lifestyle among FA/SA groups, is all about eating a healthy, varied diet, exercising, AND fighting fatophobia.” Sorry about that.

    Reply
  11. bentlyr Post author

    dollyann it really isn’t something that is explicitly stated.

    http://tiffabee.wordpress.com/2008/08/12/will-la-make-counting-calories-mandatory/

    That entry for example is attacking the printing of calories on menus. Part of eating healthy is the knowledge of food (no matter how limited) and what it is composed of. It would be great to have EVERYTHING about foods listed but calories is a start. It makes no sense to be against it.

    http://kateharding.net/2008/02/10/intuitive-eating-case-study-my-last-three-meals/

    Intuitive eating is largely untested and well… I don’t think it’s exactly a good idea to eat whatever you feel you should. Many people make unhealthy decisions and this does not help stop that.

    Reply
  12. Pingback: The Dangers of Posting about the Dangers of Fat Acceptance «

  13. jj

    Bentlyr, in response to your most recent comment- calories are by far the least informative number L.A. restaurants could be printing. I’d like to know the grams of sodium (if I have a heart problem), sugar (if I have diabetes), fiber or protein (because they’re important, and no one gets enough)- calories? Because I’m dieting, and I’m trying to make sure I don’t go over the arbitrary number I’ve allowed myself to eat today. Or because I’m anorexic, and this is the only number I pay attention to. Especially in Los Angeles, where the standard of beauty is so much higher than the rest of the country. Who is this helping? What is this teaching children? Certainly not to actually learn something about their food. As far as the argument against it- people recovering from eating disorders could so easily be triggered by calorie numbers on menus. What about folks who eat healthy foods without counting calories? What about people who just don’t care? That shouldn’t matter! The information should be readily available for people who want it, of course, but not forced upon people who don’t.

    As far as intuitive eating is concerned- “people make unhealthy decisions”? That’s your biggest argument against it? That people can’t be trusted to make their own decisions about what they’re going to put in their mouths? When I’m particularly iron deficient, my body craves red meat. When I haven’t had enough salt in a day, my body needs salty things at dinner. If I eat when I’m hungry, and I stop when I’m full, I’m pretty much OK. All the time. I can eat dessert, because it’s delicious.

    I’m part of the FA movement, and I’m NOT FAT. There’s nothing wrong with being fat, just like there’s nothing wrong with being naturally skinny, like I am. They’re bodies, they’re awesome, and they all deserve respect. And cheesecake, whenever they damn well please.

    Reply
  14. bentlyr Post author

    jj the main reason I am a proponent of calories being posted is because serving sizes and portions have gotten out of control.

    People are eating single sandwiches that have over 800 calories. Making that a combo makes that a meal that’s over 1,360 calories. To me that’s not something anyone should be consuming in single sittings.

    As for my biggest argument against intuitive eating… it goes along with what I stated above. Popularity of these heavy LARGE sandwiches is what makes them available. Without a demand the fastfood companies wouldn’t have them on the menu at all. People WANT that large sandwich even though it isn’t necessarily what the body needs.

    Intuitive eating as far as I have been able to find is relatively new and there has not been ample research done on it. Any research I have found is by FA advocates and the sample sizes were quite small. I don’t think it is wise to indulge in something not thoroughly researched.

    Reply
  15. Tiana

    I was made aware of this post by Eat A Cheeseburger today, so I thought I’d share my perspective. Warning: This will be long.

    As someone who is relatively knew to FA, I totally understand where you’re coming from. I had the same concerns in the beginning, but during the five or six months since then I have learned a lot and changed my mind. FYI, I’m not fat myself, but you would probably say that my lifestyle is terribly unhealthy. I’m working on that though, partially by learning how to eat intuitively because I do think it IS a good idea.

    Since I was stick thin for most of my life, I have never been told to lose weight and due to my great biology teacher’s warnings I have always thought that counting calories was complete bullshit (mostly because you can’t even accurately measure how much energy an individual food item contains), but nevertheless I felt that I should start eating “healthier” when I was a teenager. I had read one of my mother’s books which suggested that the sooner you adapted the lifestyle it was promoting, the longer you’d live, and scared of death as I was at that age, I felt compelled to try it. However, (and this will sound funny) I was so horrified by the idea of having to live like that for the entire rest of my life that I considered taking a year’s break from it once in five years or so. *giggles* Well, in the end we couldn’t afford the food anyway, so I was forced to abandon the plan.

    I also tried other methods from time to time, like mostly cutting out refined sugar, having oatmeal for breakfast everyday, going vegetarian … I’m sure I forgot a few. Eventually it dawned on me that most of the common diets and “lifestyle changes” contradicted each other like woah though, and that was when I started researching. Not seriously at first, I just adapted an “I’ll postpone this until I’ve figured out how it REALLY works” attitude and had a look at every article about food that I stumbled upon.

    After several years of this, I still had no idea. Then I thought of using the internet and started researching the topic for real, which only resulted in more confusion since articles were still contradicting each other – or even themselves. Just when I had decided to screw it all and go on with my life, I suddenly discovered FA and, most importantly, Junkfood Science … and WOW, there it finally was, the stuff that made sense. No contradictions, no vague assumptions, but actual data. I had some trouble believing in it for a while, but then … just go read it some more. And more. It’ll make sense.

    If you object to intuitive eating because it is largely untested, then I can only point you to this specific JFS post, which will tell you that conditional “healthy eating” is just as largely untested, except for one study which basically showed that it had no effect whatsoever on anything.

    The thing with intuitive eating is, it’s not exactly about decisions that we make. It’s about what our bodies crave, and no body craves ice cream all the time. You might eat a lot of it at first if you’ve been restricting, but after a week or so you’ll get sick of it and not want any at all for a long time. Same thing happens if you eat a lot of broccoli for a week … because this is a system that actually works. Not for everyone, but for quite a lot of people.

    As for printing calories on menus, this happens to be a danger to people recovering from eating disorders. Also, I will repeat that it’s impossible for those numbers to be accurate, and aside from that it’s really the least important bit of information about food that you could possibly present. If something’s low in calories, that only means you’ll be hungry again faster. Shocking, isn’t it? And somewhere deep down inside, everybody knows that.

    Last but not least, please keep in mind that observations of the USA vs. other countries are nothing but subjective anecdotes, and “obesity” rates have been stable for about 8-9 years while life expectancy continues to rise.

    Sorry for the enormous comment, I just had to address a lot of points. *blushes*

    Reply
  16. bentlyr Post author

    Thank you Tiana, you’ve explained a lot of the issues I was having very well. If anything I will try to keep my mind as open as possible. I know FA is helping A LOT of people and I don’t want that to change.

    Just as you did initially I have some concerns about some aspects that FA presents. I’m just erring on the side of caution I guess.

    Your writing has really clicked with me, bear with me though because I’m cautious by nature. Thank you again for commenting, I’m sure in the coming months I will learn to understand more.

    Reply
  17. Stephanie

    “The thing with intuitive eating is, it’s not exactly about decisions that we make. It’s about what our bodies crave, and no body craves ice cream all the time. You might eat a lot of it at first if you’ve been restricting, but after a week or so you’ll get sick of it and not want any at all for a long time. Same thing happens if you eat a lot of broccoli for a week … because this is a system that actually works. Not for everyone, but for quite a lot of people.”
    (from Tiana’s comment)

    You’re so right Tiana! I think this is one of the reasons why intuitive eating really works. If you do it correctly, your body isn’t going to want those foods all the time. So you get a variety and mix; healthy foods AND “treats”.

    But to bentlyr- I do understand where you’re coming from. As someone who’s not fat but follows the FA blogs, there are some aspects of it that I can’t directly relate to either. I still think the bottom line of the movement makes sense, though.

    Reply
  18. Tiana

    I’m glad I could help! It can definitely be hard to find the more “newbie friendly” FA posts among all the troll-bashing, in-jokes and endless repitition of old news. I understand that bloggers are fed up with many things by now and may prefer addressing those of us who already “get it,” but sometimes that can leave the wrong impression on outsiders. That’s why I’m glad that Lindsay of Babble has recently started working on a “FA 101” blog that could possibly become a great resource one day.

    Reply
  19. Linda

    I could get behind fat acceptance is all they preached is that people should be accepted, and not ripped into, for the size of their bodies. But there is a real party line that you are never supposed to violate–any admission that fat might be bad for you in some amounts, or the possibility of losing weight and keeping it off.

    There is not hate on FA sites for thin people, but a lot of weird prejudices against people who deliberately loose weight: that they “starve,” that their eating is “disordered” (by defining any cutting back of food as “disordered.”), by saying, you have to exercise “2 hours a day” to keep weight off. In fact, I find it amusing that in the fatosphere, there is a mirror stereotype of weight losing people as self-absorbed, fairly useless (because they are using all their time and energy to lose weight, which takes ENDLESS hours a day) and physically weakened by their diet regimen. It’s exactly like the prejudice in general society against fat people: they are lazy, self-indulgent, and weakened by their fat.

    I understand patrolling the border against trolls. Some of them are seriously mean, ugly people with issues (i.e., nuts), but FA sites define trolling to include people who don’t toe the party line. I’ve seen comments deleted that were an earnest attempt to just say things that didn’t follow the line.

    Reply
  20. beta

    I have to say I strongly agree with you. I do enjoy reading FA blogs and agree with a lot of what they say (especially that fat people shouldn’t be discriminated against), but it’s impossible to disagree with them without being attacked or censored.
    About two years ago I decided that I’d rather lose weight than eat carelessly and in the course of several months, I did lose around 30lbs (and have kept them off). All bodies are different and I can’t generalize my experience to all humanity, but evidence strongly suggests that I’m not a freak of nature and that for *most* people, altering diet and exercise will lead to weight loss, and that fat is correlated with poor health. I get really annoyed with fat activists who attack fat people for dieting or getting WLS even when their fat is interfering with their life… I wish FA would just focus on ending discrimination, promoting health (yea, not weight loss) through exercise and good nutrition and promoting rich and fulfilling lives for all fat people.

    Reply
  21. beta

    Linda, what an interesting comment. Thanks for articulating a lot of stuff I’ve been thinking much better than I could’ve.

    Reply
  22. Tiana

    Linda, I realize that this can happen. Then again, most blogs have some kind of FAQ that already explain a lot, and most bloggers have had the same conversation a million times already, so I also understand why they don’t feel like discussing basic issues all the time.

    I also think you’re exaggerating a few things, though.

    It is a fact that most diets equal starvation. If you somehow manage to lose weight without starving yourself, congratulations. It’s just not the norm. What FA bloggers call “disordered” is not any cutting back of food, but rather any cutting back of food that makes your mind revolve around food constantly, as well as food-related anxiety and fear. Some FA bloggers have to avoid certain types of food themselves for whichever reason. The “exercise 2 hours a day to keep weight off” was in the news some time ago, we’re not making that up, but certainly it also matches many a personal experience. Again, if that doesn’t apply to you – congratulations! You’re an exception. Wasting a lot of time and energy on weight loss that could be put to better use is something that has happened to many FA bloggers and commenters in the past, and that dieting weakens you physically is just a fact. IF we’re talking about the usual, severe calorie restriction here.

    And finally, nobody’s calling dieters self-absorbed or useless because all of us have been there, done that. Even I have tried to lose weight once, and it’s a bit far-fetched to assume that we would say, “You’re doing exactly the same thing that I’ve only recently stopped doing, but as opposed to me you’re self-absorbed and useless for it.” o_O

    Reply
  23. dollyann

    Thanks for the links, bentlyr. But I really don’t think there’s anything wrong with them criticizing calories for being on menus. In all honesty, I don’t live a lifestyle counting up my calories, and I don’t think it’s a desirable, enjoyable, or HEALTHY lifestyle. I also think posting calories is just -begging- people to judge one another’s food choices, more so than we do already. I absolutely think nutritional information should be made available -upon request-, but we have to trust people to make the right decisions for themselves. And we can’t force the “eat less calories, exercise more, lose weight” ideology, when it’s been well- documented as ineffective and often times counterproductive (see Gina Kolata’s Rethinking Thin).

    In response to the Shapely Prose link, take a look at this Junkfood Science article about Michael Phelps: http://junkfoodscience.blogspot.com/2008/08/interesting-observation-olympic-diet.html. Michael doesn’t seem to have a problem with intuitive eating. And I can sense the, “we’re not all Olympic athletes” argument, so I will be now assert that we shouldn’t make assessments of each others’ exercise routines any more than we do of food choices. Many fat people do exercise, and many thin people don’t.

    Reply
  24. dollyann

    Oops, I didn’t see Tiana covered a lot of the “intuitive eating” stuff. She expressed herself much more articulately than I did on the subject. 🙂 Thanks Tiana!

    Reply
  25. Linda

    Tiana, I have seen “disordered eating” defined as calorie counting. But moreover, I wonder if a lot of what we think about dieting isn’t exaggerated. Some of the starvation business may be because people are dieting down to weights they were never able to be, or shouldn’t be. Some of it may just be exaggerating to fit an idea about “dieting” or size that is unreal. For instance, I read the typical daily menu of people who have lost about the same amount of weight as me, and are maintaining, and they hardly eat anything. I wonder how accurate this is. They describe themselves as exercising way more than I have in a month of Sundays. Again, this may be to stay at an unrealistic level of weight.

    But the size fibbing is huge! I’ve read height/weight/size descriptions that had to be fake–like, that are 2″ shorter than me, and heavier, and 3 sizes smaller. How much of that is to fit a preconceived idea of was size women “should” be? I don’t think I’m special or lucky, but there is lots of lying going on.

    Reply
  26. Bilt4Cmfrt

    Linked in from Eat A Cheeseburger. Tianan does a great job breaking down and explaining some of the difficult-to-explain aspects of intuitive eating and some of the dangers of calorie counting (Yes, it can be dangerous. Causing and triggering disordered eating behaviors, abnormal relationships with food, and severe anxiety through obsessive compulsions) I’d like to address some of what others might term the ‘Dark Side’ of F/A.

    Although Fat Activism has been around since the early ’70’s, Fat Acceptance is still a slowly evolving social concept. One that is unique unto itself and yet shares so many similarities with other social movements that, sometimes, the similarities themselves are cause for heated debate. However, as I mentioned, there are somethings that you will find in Fat Acceptance that can be found nowhere else.

    I believe Linda mentioned the ‘weird prejudices against people who lose weight’ Actually Linda, if you read closely, in a lot of the FAQ’s or FA 101 sections of most blogs, you’ll probably run across the term ‘No diet Talk’. The word ‘Talk’ here is KEY. Here’s why. Most of these blogs are about Fat Acceptance – Accepting ONES SELF as fat. A lot of fat people have not, will not, and do not wish to do this. Really, all they want to do is TALK ABOUT THEIR DIETS. If someone is on a diet, great. If their loosing weight, wonderful for them. There are, literally, THOUSANDS of weight loss blogs that they can post too that will be happy to have them. I’ve never understood why some people feel it necessary to enter a F/A site and start talking about what method they used to lose X amount of pounds. We can’t see how thin you’ve become through the screen, so why does it even MATTER. Yet, almost every six months this issue comes up again, and again, and again. Like clockwork. Most bloggers have heard all the arguments so many times their either too bored with it to respond or just too pissed to explain it all AGAIN. Go back and search the archives of any F/A blog. You WILL find it.

    As for WLS, I think the newness of the procedure and it’s drastic nature had a hand in generating F/A’s initial reaction to people who decided to undergo it. However, it didn’t take long for the community to reconcile themselves with those who did and do. After all we are, ALL of us, under the same pressures to conform to the weight society dictates we should be (Most esspecially those of us who are over-whoevers-weight). It’s not so hard to understand why someone after years of abuse from family, friends, and random passers-by, would give almost anything to make themselves more like everyone else. Even if it meant risking their own lives. Of course, it’s ALL good with the Doctors. As long as their bill gets paid.

    And THAT is F/A’s real problem with WLSE (the emphasis and ‘E’ are mine). The ‘E’ is for experimental since no one knows what long term effects may YET arise from re-routing peoples intestines. Initially it was introduced as a last resort for people who where completely immobilized and in danger of systemic collapse. Now It’s a billion dollar, in-patient factory style, industry taking in teenage girls who can’t seem to loose that last stubborn 20lbs. Oh, and next they want to do your 8 and 10 year olds. Doesn’t this seem, I don’t know, a little OFF? I mean, ethically? Remember; WE STILL DON’T KNOW WHAT LONG TERM EFFECTS MAY YET ARISE FROM WLS(E). It must be ok though, right? Because fat people make pretty good guinea pigs (Note to Trolls: There ya go boys. have fun with the word. We’ve heard it all before, we hear it all the time, it’s gotten kinda boring.)

    And that brings us too; Anger. Yes there is QUITE a bit of anger and vitriol in F/A. You’ve read the posts and comments. Now really THINK about what a lot of fat people have to deal with, just walking out the front doors of their houses, every day. Anger? Might not be a big enough word. My personal reaction to this is three fold; Good. It’s about time. More please.

    Choose a Social Movement. Think back in the history of that movement to when things REALLY started happening. Now ask yourself WHY things started happening for whatever Social Movement you’ve chosen. The common answer; People got pissed. They threw open their windows yelled ‘I’m mad as hell and I’m not gonna take it anymore!’ then went down into the streets to actually DO something about it. As far as I’m concerned the Fatosphere is a window out into the world. I’m hoping that the anger sustains and grows large enough to make it out onto the streets where it can get some things DONE.

    Reply
  27. wriggles

    ‘While I am not against the mentality of eating whatever one wants, one needs to realize that overeating never serves a good purpose. ‘

    This is fallacious, human beings are designed to eat what they want, according to availability and personal perference.
    The amount the body requires can be disturbed by many factors, one of the most obvious and disturbing being, trying to lower your intake and/or weight, as perverse as that sounds. This is mainly what caused me to ‘overeat’ as you put it and until I grew totally tired of trying to diet, I didn’t find this out, nor did my overeating stop. So ignoring this, also has it’s dangers as well. The point is we just have not understood this whole eating business at all well, and too many people pretend we do. You have to try and get it into your head that following sensible advice guidelines from reputible sources, is the problem for millions of people, I don’t think you, and many others can seem to grasp that properly, unfortunately.

    Reply
  28. bentlyr Post author

    wriggles… we live in a food productive time where ANY food you ‘prefer’ is READILY available…

    My main concern is the fact that portions have gotten ridiculously out of control. Restaurants in an attempt to stay competitive increase portions keeping prices steady. Most people quickly point to fastfood as a culprit but it is happening in all circles. The Chili’s, Applebee’s, sit-down type restaurants offer ridiculously large portions with sides (no choice in that matter).

    While intuitive eating may want you to consume some protein or whatever, the portions offered tend to be very large.

    More than my disagreement with intuitive eating is the fact that choices are limited in most places. Unless we are cooking for ourselves there is no safe way to get a decent portion.

    I think it is critical that we work to reverse this trend of larger and larger portions.

    Reply
  29. totaltransformation

    “I suddenly discovered FA and, most importantly, Junkfood Science … and WOW, there it finally was, the stuff that made sense.”

    Did it make sense because her arguments were persuasive or because it was what you wanted to hear all along? If it was the former I would suggest you read the link below which provides several good examples of how Sandy quotes out of context and ignores facts she should be aware of.

    http://scienceblogs.com/denialism/2007/12/obesity_crankery_a_growing_pro.php

    “Last but not least, please keep in mind that observations of the USA vs. other countries are nothing but subjective anecdotes, and “obesity” rates have been stable for about 8-9 years while life expectancy continues to rise.”

    Which is it? Are obesity rate subjective or have they remained stable for the last decade? Are you suggesting that obesity rates in the U.S. and other countries can’t be objectively measured?

    That is most likely due to the fact that obesity doesn’t kill you, it is the conditions that result from being obese (diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, etc.) that lead to death- all are controllable thanks to modern medicine. Thus one can survive while obese, but that often requires lots of medicines to control the secondary conditions caused by obesity. So I wouldn’t put too much stock into the “life spans keep growing” argument since it only addresses length of life not quality of life. I for one would much prefer to steer clear of both obesity and expensive medicines.

    Reply
  30. dollyann

    “I for one would much prefer to steer clear of both obesity and expensive medicines.”

    Okay, totaltransformation, that’s your choice. And it’s the choice of those in the FA movement, fat or not, to make their own choices (which, more often than not, include eating a healthy diet and exercising, as I will reiterate is part of HAES).

    But what I’m hearing from you (based on you calling FA blog moderators “petty tyrants” and you pitting your medical “expertise” against Sandy’s) is that FA is bad and fat people deserve hateful, spiteful treatment. Is this really what you think?

    Reply
  31. jj

    “we live in a food productive time where ANY food you ‘prefer’ is READILY available…
    More than my disagreement with intuitive eating is the fact that choices are limited in most places. Unless we are cooking for ourselves there is no safe way to get a decent portion. ”

    Bentlyr- you’ve contradicted yourself here, AND you just don’t seem to be grasping the concept of intuitive eating. It’s not just about eating whatever you want, all the time, “or whatever”. As Tiana and I both explained above, it’s about making the choice to listen to your body, because your body knows how to eat (except in cases of folks with ED). If you sit down to a meal that is gigantic, stop when you’re full. Like Tiana said above, if you eat ice cream every day, eventually, you’ll get tired of it, and your body won’t want any more- because you’re not getting anything out of eating ice cream every day. Intuitive eating isn’t just another way of saying irresponsible eating. It’s about personal choice, and being in tune with what your body wants and needs. It’s about recognizing when you’re actually hungry, and when you’re full. It’s about enjoying food, because food is delicious. It’s about cooking meals, and going to restaurants, and eating leftovers- when your body tells you to.

    After my comment above, you said that, “the main reason [you are] a proponent of calories being posted is because serving sizes and portions have gotten out of control.”
    Posting calories on menus won’t change that. People need to decide for themselves if they want to see that information, as I said above, but even then, the restaurants aren’t going to stop making the food that they’re making. People aren’t going to stop eating it.

    The fact that you said, “that’s not something anyone should be consuming in single sitting,” is a great argument against the posting of calories. Someone above me mentioned that people already judge other people’s food choices. You did in that comment! How can you possibly know what a person’s situation is with food? Maybe that person sitting next to you is a triathlete; she needs 6,000 calories/day because she’s training. It is not your job to make that judgement for anyone but yourself, just like it is not Los Angeles’ job to make the calorie counting decision for its citizens.

    Reply
  32. Pat

    I agree with most of what you said. Fat acceptance is a copout for not accepting ownership of how you GOT there. I think there are precious few people who HONESTLY have a medical reason for being overweight. Case in point, a friend of mine, many years ago, went from 126 to more than 200 lbs. in 3 months when her thyroid went bazonkers. It took some doing but, with meds, she eventually got down to a healthy weight but takes her thyroid meds religiously, knowing that without them she’s back to 200+ lbs. Me? I’m coming to believe that I’m a food addict. I gave up smoking 10 years ago and use food now to soothe the inner beast that once craved nicotine. I can be comfortable in my own skin, being overweight but I can’t be comfortable with the potential health issues that come with being overweight. I also know that the eating is only part of it. I’m sedentary and have every excuse to not get up and move…none of them valid. In the end, to coin an old phrase, we are what we eat. And, if we eat too much and eat unhealthily, we become too much and unhealthy. That’s me. I have no motivation to do what I should be doing. It’s all MY fault, nobody else’s. I take full ownership of the fact that I weigh 40 lbs. more today than I did 10 years ago when I quit smoking.

    BTW, love your blog!

    Reply
  33. dollyann

    “It’s the choice of people to make choices.” Lol… Sorry about that one. What that was originally intended to convey was that we have to trust people to make their own choices and not judge them for it.

    Reply
  34. totaltransformation

    “Okay, totaltransformation, that’s your choice. And it’s the choice of those in the FA movement, fat or not, to make their own choices (which, more often than not, include eating a healthy diet and exercising, as I will reiterate is part of HAES).”

    You don’t get out of discussing the issue that easily. In a nation headed toward health care funded almost entirely by the government (and already heavily subsidized for the poor and elderly) poor lifestyle choices do result in consequences that the whole society must pay for since they are footing the health care bill. While I ideologically don’t agree with the idea of the government being in the health care business, such is our current situation.

    “But what I’m hearing from you (based on you calling FA blog moderators “petty tyrants” and you pitting your medical “expertise” against Sandy’s) is that FA is bad and fat people deserve hateful, spiteful treatment. Is this really what you think?”

    HA! Are you serious? Please continue to put words in my mouth so you can bat down your own bogeymen.

    First of all, I am not pitting my “medical ‘expertise’ against Sandy’s.” I don’t have to. Actual doctors, researchers, and Ph.D.’s have commented on her twisting of the truth. I posted one such link earlier. Convenient of you to ignore it and instead choose to attack me.

    Second, at what point did I say “fat people deserve hateful, spiteful treatment.” What I am saying is that the health at any size movement holds so rigidly to its orthodoxy that it refuses to acknowledges that there is a point where carrying too much weight is unhealthy. The FA movement, while it has a positive side of combating certain prejudices against “fat” people, all too often serves as a means for those living an unhealthy lifestyle to rationalize their poor choices under the bumper sticker slogan of “healthy at any size.”

    “Is this really what you think?”

    You put the words in my mouth, so perhaps I should ask you the same question?

    Reply
  35. dollyann

    Wow, the way you were so spiteful towards me inclines me to think so. I wasn’t intending to put words in your mouth, and I very clearly said that this was what “I was hearing from you,” leaving it very open for you to clarify yourself. Furthermore, I wouldn’t be here on this forum if I was trying to weasel out of a discussion. I think bentlyr has done a great thing in opening up his thread to so many different viewpoints. Please respect mine.

    Frankly, I think before we turn to moderating what everyone is eating, we should put a ban on smoking, don’t you think? If there are any indisputable statistics out there they are the ones that show the illnesses caused by tobacco are very expensive. (Now, I really don’t think we have a right to prohibit people from smoking anymore than we do to prohibit people from eating, but if we’re going to go out of our way to supervise what goes in people’s mouths, then cigarettes/cigars should be in the spotlight).

    And I don’t mind answering the question that I asked you. I strongly support FA (and SA, because I don’t think discrimination against thin people is any better) for that reason. I know fat people in my everyday life who are very healthy, and I love and respect them. I’ve also known plenty of thin people (who I also love and respect) who were sedentary and ate fast food constantly. I care about ALL of them, and I want them to live long prosperous lives. I think currently a lot of thin people get the free pass when it comes to “healthy” living because they’re thin, and a lot of fat people get the rough end of the stick when they do eat well and exercise regularly. HAES supports everyone exercising and eating well.

    PS I did read the link to your scienceblogs, but I didn’t take it very seriously. You accused people of being gullible because Junkfood Science seemed “persuasive,” but I don’t think this is any better. The way the article is blatantly condescending towards Sandy is a kind of rhetoric I don’t attribute to credible information.

    This line also grabbed me too:

    “Because, you know, it’s –impossible– for a corporation to offer free health advice as a public service without conspiring to grab you buy the ankles and shake the money from your pockets.”

    This is America. We live in a capitalist society. I have no doubt that every corporation is looking to make money. Gina Kolata’s “Rethinking Thin” (which I have mentioned before, and you have ignored) talks a lot about that.

    Reply
  36. Linda

    blt4cmfrt, I hear what you are saying–FA blog’s don’t allow diet talk for a good reason–the place would be overrun by tips and stuff like that, and fat people are tired of being bombarded by that. But I’m not complaining that diet talk is suppressed, but that I have read opinions about people in weight loss/maintenance that are laughable, and very much in the same prejudiced vein as stereotypes of fat people. For the record, I am neither more or less disciplined or virtuous than I was when I was fatter. I did diet and exercise largely because I’m too cheap and cowardly to deal with WLS, and because when you finish with that, they STILL make you do diet and exercise. And when I was fat, I was not a more active, productive person than I am now, nor less. OTOH, if I were not doing the stuff in my weight maintenance regimen, I would not be curing cancer or writing operas.

    Reply
  37. kafleen

    I’d like to pipe up and add my 2 cents worth.

    I am obese and have been for many years.

    I am obese because I consume WAY too many calories and do not exercise. I hate exercise and I am very lazy about physical exertion.

    It seems pretty simple, but apparently it isn’t, because
    from the things I’ve read over the last 10 years apparently I am in the minority. Wonder why that is?

    Reply
  38. Pingback: Fat and Dangerous « Fatistician

  39. bentlyr Post author

    jj, as for the contradictions when I was talking about the ready abundance of food I was referring to stores etc. The limited choices in foods is referring to smaller sized portions at restaurants. (sorry I did not make that clear).

    As for me not grasping it, I simply know myself. From a young age my parents have told me to finish what’s on my plate. Whether it was from that moment or later in life I pretty much follow that. I lack the discipline to stop myself when there’s food in front of me. I refuse to believe I am alone in this, and that’s part of the reason I question intuitive eating.

    Not really sure if this is even relevant but are children part of the intuitive eating movement?

    As for me judging other people eating…
    To be honest, I don’t believe even you think the majority of these places are feeding triathletes. If anything these triathletes can order more meals.

    Your average person is not training like a triathlete. As a society I don’t believe we have all become so active that we need all meals offered to be over 1000 calories and for drink sizes to be a 32oz.

    I believe smaller portions might result from calories being posted so I will continue to support it.

    Reply
  40. totaltransformation

    “I wasn’t intending to put words in your mouth, and I very clearly said that this was what “I was hearing from you[.]”

    You can’t hear what wasn’t said.

    “Frankly, I think before we turn to moderating what everyone is eating, we should put a ban on smoking, don’t you think?”

    I would rather get government out of the health care business. However, if we go to 100% government funded health care I think it should be banned entirely OR those who engage in the activity should not be covered for those medical conditions associated with smoking.

    “if we’re going to go out of our way to supervise what goes in people’s mouths, then cigarettes/cigars should be in the spotlight”

    The train has left the station on that one. With bans on trans fats, more and more people clamoring for sin taxes on fatty or otherwise unhealthy foods (look out Twinkie the Kid), and local municipalities banning the construction of new “fast food” restaurants we are well on our way. Within the next few decades I predict we will see remarkable intrusions by the government into everything from the carbon we emit to the foods we ingest.

    “The way the article is blatantly condescending towards Sandy is a kind of rhetoric I don’t attribute to credible information.”

    Attitude has nothing to do with accuracy. Instead you would be wise to look to the author’s credentials. You know, like how you referred derisively to my “medical expertise.” Apparently you share the same view, but when confronted with folks whose credentials exceed those of Sandy you resort to decrying their attitude when it has little to do with the facts they present.

    “Gina Kolata’s “Rethinking Thin” (which I have mentioned before, and you have ignored) talks a lot about that.”

    Her book is interesting and insightful when it points out the flaws of the weight loss industry (there are many like fad diets and stupid exercise gadgets) but fails when it reaches ridiculous conclusions that can’t be supported even by the one-sided set of facts she brings to the table. For example she stresses the heritability of fatness, yet she also points out the disproportionately high rates of obesity among those on the bottom rungs of the economic ladder. So are the poor more likely to have genetic material that causes them to be fat/obese at a higher rate than the middle and upper-class? Or is is because the poor are more likely to buy the more calorie dense cheaper foods while the rich can afford gym memberships, organic produce, etc.? So is it then about life choices and not genetics?

    My take on this is quite simple. You genetics place you within a predetermined range of weight. A perfect equilibrium range if you will. However, you have control over whether you body will stay in that range. Eat well (contrary to intuitive eating, this doesn’t mean eating whatever you want), exercise regularly, get a full nights sleep, and your body will find its ideal weight. However, one must also recognize that there are body shapes which clearly exceed the healthy range of diversity.

    “I know fat people in my everyday life who are very healthy…I’ve also known plenty of thin people…”

    I’ve known smokers who lived into their 90s and died of natural causes, and I’ve also known non-smokers who died of lung cancer in their 40s- so what? Because one can point out anecdotal cases of people who buck general trends doesn’t mean those trends don’t exist. What we are talking about with regards to illness is the likelihood of acquiring certain health problems (diabetes, high blood pressure, etc). It isn’t a guarantee- nothing in life aside from death is.

    Reply
  41. dollyann

    This is going beyond fat and size acceptance now. It seems like you’ve got more of a problem with national health care than the problems with discrimination against fat people–and that’s fine, but I’m not going to debate over that.

    I’m really not interested in carrying out this argument any further either. We obviously don’t respect each others’ sources as credible, so a continued debate is futile. I just don’t understand how someone can so strongly oppose something intent on eliminating hate and prejudice against fat people. So, good luck with your weight loss, totaltransformation, and I hope you stay healthy.

    And to bentlyr: I apologize that this argument has taken up so much space on your page. It was not my intent to incite or troll. Thanks again for letting me have my say. 🙂

    Reply
  42. LilahMorgan

    While intuitive eating may want you to consume some protein or whatever, the portions offered tend to be very large.

    But intuitive eating does NOT require you to finish the portion that’s given to you. In fact, what most people who follow IE will say is to start eating when hungry, continue to eat mindfully, pay attention to your body’s own internal cues, and STOP WHEN YOU’RE FULL.

    In fact, I am much less likely to finish a restaurant size portion now than back when I was dieting or wanted to be dieting. Because then it was about how many calories I was “allowed” or “Well, I’m being bad; I might as well go all out.”

    I just really don’t understand where you got the impression that FA bloggers are encouraging people to eat EVERYTHING RIGHT NOW. Quite the opposite. When you know that food is available later if you really want it, you are much less likely to stuff yourself past the point of fullness. And when you are not starving from not having eaten a full meal in days or weeks or whatever, there are no longer issues with “controlling” yourself from eating too much. It’s a non-issue.

    I believe it was on Shapely Prose that Kate wrote about how for dieters, there’s a very real feeling that one will “devour the world” if they give up control. But it’s illusory. You won’t, and nor do you really want to.

    Reply
  43. queendom

    Just one comment concerning sources:

    I have seen a study that found teenage girls who try to lose weight are more likely to end up fat. Instead of even mentioning that maybe focussing telling people to lose weight instead of exercising and eating well is counterproductive the authors concluded that we should teach these girls “more effective methods”.

    Now, I can still get this considering the “lifestyle changes, not diets” mantra (although I honestly don’t see the huge difference). But I have also seen another study that people who have undergone several previous weight loss attempts have a harder time losing weight on very low calorie diets. The conclusion was that for those people even more drastic weight loss methods were needed.

    I haven’t read Gina Kolata’s book, and I have disagreed with some things that Sandy Szwarc has written. But honestly, on the other side of the debate are also people that have HUGE blinders on. I am not questioning their intend – but that does not change that their interpretation of the data is sometimes unsupported.

    On a person note: I am one of the fat people who actually do overeat regularly since I belong to the minority of fat people who have binge eating disorder. Is my overeating unhealthy? You bet. But I got there among other things through dieting. Every weight loss attempt I have ever made in my life (and believe me, I have made many, even many that were very “successful” in the short term) ended up worsening my eating disorder in the long term. This is why I am for weight neutrality and against calorie restriction. Does it mean I think people should just eat everything indiscriminately? No. Hell, I don’t do that either, although people certainly seem to think so. I have been a vegetarian for many years (out of ethical reasons – I think it can be perfectly healthy to eat some meat) and I avoid heavily processed foods. But that is a completely different matter.

    In addition FA has actually helped me to search for ways to overcome my eating disorder, because it took away the shame that is part of it to some degree. And honestly, I have never heard anybody encourage unhealthy habits in the FA movement, although there is an agreement that it is your business if you don’t choose to eat healthy and/or exercise and that you are equally worthy as a human being if you don’t – I agree with that 100%.

    Reply
  44. totaltransformation

    “It seems like you’ve got more of a problem with national health care than the problems with discrimination against fat people–and that’s fine, but I’m not going to debate over that.”

    Actually that is clearly a side argument- and one you asked me to comment further on when you brought up a ban on smoking.

    “We obviously don’t respect each others’ sources as credible, so a continued debate is futile.”

    Yes, we obviously won’t agree on this. However, it doesn’t mean that our sources are of equal value.

    “I just don’t understand how someone can so strongly oppose something intent on eliminating hate and prejudice against fat people.”

    I strongly oppose the fat acceptance movement because it encourages unhealthy living through its broad message of “health at any size”- which has arisen to the level of orthodoxy. There isn’t healthy at any size, only health within certain physical parameters (body fat being one strong indicator among several). The fat acceptance movement is bent on denying the negative health consequences of obesity in the name of fighting discrimination. While the FA’s could fight discrimination while also acknowledging the unhealthy effects of excessive body fat they take an approach that exaggerates the prejudice against fat people (among whom I was once counted) while decrying and numerous studies that link obesity to numerous health problems ranging from diabetes to high blood pressure.

    This siren call of convenience allows many to rationalize their unhealthy lifestyle and continue in habits which will lead to a host of health problems which otherwise could have been avoided. That is my problem with the fat acceptance movement. When I see FA sites begin posting on healthy eating habits and exercise I will applaud them for it.

    Also, feel free to answer my question about the high level of obesity among the poor. As comment space is nearly unlimited I am sure Bentlyr wouldn’t mind. 😉 A good dialogue isn’t preempted simply because agreement seems difficult. A good dialogue is an attempt to reach clarity.

    Reply
  45. totaltransformation

    “So, good luck with your weight loss, totaltransformation, and I hope you stay healthy.”

    BTW, I forgot to say thanks. One thing my transformation has taught me is that focusing on weight loss is the wrong way to go about getting healthy. Instead one should focus on fitness and healthy eating- which will often result in weight loss. But even if it doesn’t, there are still countless other benefits to fitness ranging from increased libido to lowering your risk for numerous health problems. Best of luck to you in whatever it is you are interested in.

    Reply
  46. Cherielabombe

    jimsjourney: I live in London and am one of those people who walk and or cycle everywhere. I am also fat, as was my mother, and my grandmother, and my father. How is it not genetics again?

    Reply
  47. Nakanaka

    Regarding intuitive eating – The whole concept is completely wrong. Humans, like all other mammals, evolved to survive in a world where the next meal wasn’t guaranteed, and it was important to consume as many calorie dense foods (sugars/fats) as possible in case you couldn’t find food for the next few days.

    The reason why so many people have to struggle with their weight in modern society is that what our bodies tell us we need *isn’t* what we really need. Our bodies want us to eat that cake in case we aren’t able to eat at all tomorrow. There’s a conflict between what our bodies want and what we actually need that causes so many people to end up overweight.

    Reply
  48. LilahMorgan

    Nakanaka, while that type of explanation sounds superficially plausible, is there any deeper support for it? After all, studies show that hunter/gatherer societies generally only have/had to work about 20 hours a week to gather necessary food stuffs. Was food really usually that scarce in the ancestral environment?

    Not to mention, many people who do follow intuitive eating find that they end up eating LESS food like cake than when they were previously attempting to be on more controlled eating plans, so there’s that.

    Reply
  49. DR

    If “the road to hell is paved with good intentions”, the Fat Acceptance movement is probably doing more harm than good to it’s members.

    You may not believe this, but I respect your decision to stand up and fight against discrimination based upon obesity.

    In fact, I admire the strength it takes for an any person to speak out against a majority.

    But the fact is (do I really need to start listing research???), it is healthier to be lean than fat.

    Just like it’s healthier not to smoke, not to shoot heroin, not to engage in unprotected sex with an AIDS patient, not to ride a motorcycle without a helmet…

    With that being said, it is your right to live your life as you see fit. If other people don’t like it, that’s their problem.

    It is also the right of FA groups and their members to champion the issues of discrimination and healthy self acceptance.

    It is also their right to warp those issues into some sort of politically correct defense of their substandard lifestyle choices.

    Fine.

    Delude yourselves all you want.

    But when you start promoting this position to obese people in the midst of their own struggle with body-fat, you have crossed a line.

    When you try to influence the beliefs of others, you open up yourselves and your philosophy to public criticism.

    That’s why people criticize the FA movement.

    Believe what you want, just don’t tell my chubby 14 yr old kid that it’s ok to be fat and that he should eat whatever his intuition tells him.

    It’s not his intuition telling him to eat pizza. It’s a combination of genetics, epigenetics, environment and lifestyle.

    Reply
  50. totaltransformation

    “After all, studies show that hunter/gatherer societies generally only have/had to work about 20 hours a week to gather necessary food stuffs. Was food really usually that scarce in the ancestral environment?”

    I would wager that it had to do with the food collected not being anywhere near as dense in calories as most of the foods we see on store shelves today- the one exception being nuts which are both dense in calories and nutritious. This would mean that one would achieve a feeling of fullness much quicker and thereby consume fewer calories. Also, hunting and foraging for one’s food is considerably more difficult than taking a spin through the local Food Lion and dropping things in the cart.

    Plus, I would also wager that the lack of high fructose corn syrup and absence of a hedonistic cultural desire that placed taste ahead of basic function (i.e. is the food available and will it fulfill my hunger) also played a large role. I doubt the hunter/gatherer pallet salivated for high sugar content. Moreover, I would also suggest that hunter/gatherer life consisted of a lot more chores than hunting and gathering food that also took up time and burned calories. After all, they didn’t have great TV shows like Ninja Warrior or the internet to keep them busy.

    Reply
  51. LilahMorgan

    absence of a hedonistic cultural desire that placed taste ahead of basic function (i.e. is the food available and will it fulfill my hunger) also played a large role.

    Once again, what is this based on? I’m not saying you can’t come up with plausible sounding theories, but at the end of the day, is there anything that provides any kind of verification? I’m not a fan of high fructose corn syrup either (and, incidentally, no longer particular enjoy the taste of things that contain it – funny that that happens to coincide with beginning to eat more intuitively), and I don’t particularly think it’s a boon to modern society, but there is zero scientific evidence that I’ve ever seen that shows its presence has drastically screwed with our hunger and satiety cues.

    All of this is ignoring the fact that my post didn’t claim there were/weren’t fat hunter gatherers, as you seem to be arguing. My post asked why we’re assuming a course of human evolution that developed around extreme food scarcity when there’s no evidence that humans existed in period of extreme food scarcity for most of their evolutionary history.

    Reply
  52. bentlyr Post author

    DR you brought up a point that I wanted answered earlier but I don’t know if anyone read it…

    Does anyone know if there is a safe age to start intuitive eating?

    This is a huge concern to me.

    Reply
  53. Elizabeth Twist

    bentlyr, this is from your comment #9, waaay up at the top:

    “…readers in those websites are simply coming off as fully happy with the way they are and feel they don’t have to change a thing. Improvement isn’t achieved through satisfaction…”

    I just wanted to say that I don’t think that people are only motivated to make positive changes when we are dissatisfied or uncomfortable or unhappy. I’ve personally found that when I’m feeling good and happy and comfortable, it’s the optimal time for me to sit back and say, “Okay, what next? What can I do to keep this rolling and have even more awesomeness?” Like most of us, I’ve certainly worked very hard at times to avoid negative outcomes or to extract myself from uncomfortable situations, but I find that success under those conditions usually results in feeling tired out and possibly relieved, rather than ecstatic and triumphant and awesome.

    Just food (har har har) for thought. I wonder, is the philosophical basis you’ve constructed for your transformation a little bit more harsh than it has to be?

    Reply
  54. LilahMorgan

    Bentlyr, that’s a big question and I think most parents really differ. Certainly, I’m not sure I’ve ever heard a proponent of intuitive eating oppose exposing their children to many different foods, particularly a variety of fruits and vegetables, nor have I ever heard of one catering to everything their child asks them to prepare at any given moment. However, here’s one point: you mention yourself that your parents taught you to clean your plate and that as a result you have trouble not finishing a plate put in front of you. Doesn’t it make sense to at least give a child the chance to recognize when they have had enough instead of forcing them to finish everything in front of them? Because in my mind, that is intuitive eating.

    Reply
  55. totaltransformation

    “My post asked why we’re assuming a course of human evolution that developed around extreme food scarcity when there’s no evidence that humans existed in period of extreme food scarcity for most of their evolutionary history.”

    Once again I would state that it isn’t that food was extremely scarce- it simply was nowhere near as abundant or easily accessible for hunter gatherers as it is for us today. Think of it this way, if you were head into the woods for forage for food it is much more difficult to find food than it is if you take a trip to the local grocery store. So what Nakanaka was getting at is that an instinct or intuition to eat that developed to deal with food that was nowhere hear as readily accessible or easily found as today certainly doesn’t jive with our modern world.

    “Once again, what is this based on? I’m not saying you can’t come up with plausible sounding theories, but at the end of the day, is there anything that provides any kind of verification?”

    Look at history. Try to find an example of the mass marketing/promotion of foods in cultures predating 1700. Such really began with the promotion of sugar and then tobacco in the 16th and 17th centuries- if not a bit later. The problem was compounded with the development of market segmentation and the radio and T.V. which would market these goods to millions of people at the same time with pitches specifically designed to sell the product. Moreover, those pitches more often than not revolved around the “taste” of the food, not its nutritional quality.

    Do you think that the hunter gatherer with limited food choices took as much interest in selecting a food based on its taste?

    We shouldn’t confuse our modern supermarket world where we have dozens of choices for rice alone (not to mention cookies, fruits, etc.) with the world of yesterday where crops were more limited, game harder to catch, and various food more difficult and time consuming to forage for. In a culture where food choices are more restricted taste becomes a far less important factor.

    Reply
  56. bentlyr Post author

    LilahMorgan, I believe the main reasons for my parents bringing me up the way they did has to do with the harsh times they were going through when I was little. We were a poor family in south India and without any safe way to save food it would have to be disposed of. That kind of wasteful behavior was frowned upon. It was a different time.

    “Doesn’t it make sense to at least give a child the chance to recognize when they have had enough instead of forcing them to finish everything in front of them? Because in my mind, that is intuitive eating.”

    Absolutely that’s part of healthy eating habits. Portion control is vital.

    Reply
  57. LilahMorgan

    My point isn’t to say nothing has changed. I actually agree that over-processed foods are generally no good – I try to avoid them too.

    I do, however, think that it hasn’t changed as much as we think. People developed a sense of taste to help them choose foods, and a feeling of hunger to let them know when and what they needed to eat. The fact that there’s more choices available today doesn’t mean those senses and feelings are useless. It may mean there are more distractions.

    But the whole point of intuitive eating is to try to strip away those distractions. And one of the big ones – one of the ones that repeatedly leads people to choose processed and sweetened foods – is the cultural programming that we should want them, that they’re delicious, that they’re bad and sinful and we should avoid them at all cost.

    People don’t try intuitive eating in a vacuum, as a general rule. It’s generally a response to years of a diet-binge cycle in which people artificially eat below their hunger point (something, incidentally, I’m guessing the hunter-gatherers weren’t doing either) and then rebound by taking in more calories than they would have wanted had they not starved themselves to begin with. And when they do try intuitive eating they often – not always, but often – find that they gravitate toward more natural foods, ones that felt like a punishment before, but turned out to be what their bodies wanted.

    Is it exclusivly towards those foods? Probably not. And one thing you do find on FA blogs is a recognition that something like an ice cream sundae can be an enjoyable treat, delicious for its own sake rather than as “ooh, I’m sinning and being so bad.” But it is misleading in the extreme to act as if intutive eating means you just gorge on ice cream all the time, because the fact of the matter is that is NOT what most people find they want, which is ultimately why people feel it works. That is being ignored in this discussing in favor of a chorus of “But it’s not okay to eat nothing but pizza! Why are you saying that’s okay?”

    It’s also worth adding that nobody said eating according to your body’s internal cues was easy. It’s generally not, especially after a lifetime of dealing with societal distortions. What was said that, once you start getting the hang of it, it’s worth it.

    Reply
  58. LilahMorgan

    Bentlyr, my point wasn’t to blame your parents – sorry if it came out that way.

    I don’t think what I said was in support of “portion control” per se, however, which seems like another way of tightly restricting what your children eat, probably to their future detriment (although maybe that’s not what you meant?). It was about recognizing one’s own hunger and satiety cues rather than eating a predetermined portion – whether it’s your parent’s or a chain restaurant’s.

    Reply
  59. Juliet

    I’ve read a lot of these comments, but not quite all… bentlyr – I wanted to address you because you seem to truly want more knowledge, but you really don’t understand IE at all.

    I eat FAR less when I am being intuitive about food. I go to Chili’s and come home with dinner for the next night.

    When I was dieting, eating out was a chance to “be bad” because we don’t eat out that often… and as a result, I was compelled to have an appetizer, an entree and a dessert. Now my husband and I share an appetizer, I rarely finish my entree and I almost never have room for dessert. If there’s something for dessert I really want, I might eat less of my entree, or I might take home most of my entree… or I might order dessert to go and eat it later or the next day.

    Dieting is, ironically, what made me so heavy. If I’d been left alone as a child, instead of being put on a super restrictive diet and made to feel like less of a person because I was a “fat child” I would’ve been fine. I was active and lost weight, but still thought I was fat because I was tall and weighed more than the average child (who was shorter by a good bit). I still had a “gut” even when I was underweight by the BMI standard when I was 11.

    By restricting my food intake, I wound up binging on foods, eating in secret and developing a very serious eating disorder. I’d go days eating something like 2 Oreos and a salad with fat free dressing, but then I’d lose control, and I’d binge.

    I’d lose weight, but would gain it back when I couldn’t maintain an unrealistic way of eating anymore. I’d count calories, and this WAS dangerous for me. I’d try to eat about 1000 calories a day because that’s what I thought I had to do to lose weight… nevermind that I was not giving my body nearly enough food to sustain it.

    Restricting calorie intake IS starving the body. It’s intentional and accepted starving with the goal of weight loss. It’s not a natural state for the body to be in. The body craves energy, and if you deprive it of that, almost everyone will wind up overeating eventually.

    IE teaches us to respect our hunger, to honor our hunger. It doesn’t advocate eating until you are overly full. It doesn’t advocate eating any particular type of food, either. However, there is a chapter about “gentle nutrition” in the book, though my therapist actually tells her patients to not read that chapter because a) most of us KNOW what is nutritious – I could teach most thin people a thing or two and b) it can turn easily into “diet police” or thoughts of “I shouldn’t eat this much or have this food” and that goes back into the disordered eating mentality we’re trying to get out of.

    I struggle with IE only when I start to think I need to lose weight… and guess what happens when this occurs? I GAIN WEIGHT. I don’t get on the scale anymore, so I can’t say how much I gain, but I know by how my engagement ring and wedding band fit, or how I feel sitting behind the wheel or how my clothes feel.

    I gained weight initially with IE, and I expected that. 24 years of dieting (I was 8 when they first put me on a diet) build up a lot of issues with food restriction, and initially I went on a spree of overeating… but then I recognized what was happening, and it changed into a cycle of learning what I liked to eat.

    I hate Twinkies. I used to binge on them, never actually realizing that they taste AWFUL. I bought a box and threw all of them away after taking two bites to test one.

    I love fruit, the fresher the better… I genuinely hate brussel sprouts. Nuts are my salvation because they have protein and are tasty and satisfying and I feel good about eating them, too.

    I love chocolate, but it has to be really high quality (with the exception of Reese’s PB cups, which I still like now and then). I buy Ghiradelli or Lindt… or Godiva, when it’s on sale, and I savor eat piece.

    I forget to eat things. I might decide while shopping that I want cheesecake. I buy it, but then I’m never in the mood for it, and I forget it’s even there. I was never able to forget about food when dieting.

    Food and dieting consumed every waking thought. I was one of those dieters someone mentioned (I don’t remember whom) where I was completely obsessed. Every single person I knew doing Weight Watchers was EXACTLY the same way. Every spare moment was consumed with how many Points one had left, how to maximize food intake while minimizing food consumption, how to earn Points with exercise for that special occasion… how to find the perfect faux foods – faux pizza, for example, or faux brownies. Diet Coke cupcakes, Diet Coke chicken… the 3 point sandwich made with Lite Laughing Cow cheese.

    Weight Watchers is definitely a LIFESTYLE. It’s also definitely a DIET.

    I am so much freer now, even when I struggle. I might have thoughts of “omg, I need to lose weight,” but I remember what dieting did to me, emotionally and physically and I ultimately just remind myself of what IE can and will do for me.

    If I lose weight, that’s lovely. I probably had, but I don’t know because I won’t get on a scale anywhere. It’s just the body acceptance aspect that gets very challenging for me sometimes. I’m happily married to a great man who loves me for who I am, not for what I look like… but it’s a tough world, obsessed with thinness. So sometimes I falter.

    But that’s okay… it’s a journey, and it won’t always be easy. It’s actually MUCH harder than dieting was. That’s why I think so many give up on IE without giving it a fair go… that and they want to think it’s a diet in disguise and it’s not. You cannot succeed with IE if your goal is weight loss.

    Which doesn’t mean you can’t or won’t lose weight… but that has to be something that just happens, that is an afterthought.

    The goal of IE is to no longer be controlled by food. It’s a lofty goal, but there sure a hell isn’t a diet that can give you this sort of emotional freedom.

    Reply
  60. Prozacrefugee

    The first commenter by the way is lying when he says he eats 1800 calories a day. Even lying in bed you’d need over a thousand calories a day more to maintain that weight, even if you were a bed ridden 70 year old.

    I love the FA movement – “We do eat healthy!”. I’ve seen some of the lists of their healthy food, which includes whole blocks of cheese as a snack. Actually count the calories, don’t just guess what you want them to be.

    You can have unhealthy food and maintain a healthy weight (by healthy I don’t mean fat, I mean what your weight for your height should be), you just can’t eat it all the time or have a huge helping of it.

    No, you don’t have to starve or work out 5 times a day to lose weight permanently. Start walking, stop stuffing yourself. You guys are just lazy and self-deceiving.

    I put on 40 extra pounds (and probably lost 20 of muscle to fat) 4 years ago by living a sedentary lifestyle and eating shit. I moved to a pedestrian city and IMMEDIATELY lost 20 of them. Watching what I eat has taken off another 15. 4 years off seems pretty damn long to show that diet and exercise do work.

    Reply
  61. Prozacrefugee

    Oh, and just to add, the incidence of obesity is far greater than eating disorders. So calorie counting is something that is done too little in our society, rather than too little.

    Basically stop blaming everyone else and take care of yourselves.

    Reply
  62. bentlyr Post author

    Juliet thank you for your explanation. I think it’s something that I would need to try to truly understand.

    I get the premise and it seems like it has worked for a large amount of people so I can respect that.

    Reply
  63. shinobi42

    hey betlyr. I just wanted to add a bit about inuitive eating. When I was about 10, I read this book called “My Side of the Mountain.” It’s about akid who runs away from home and lives in the wilderness.

    For the longest time, the most bizarre part of this book to me was that at one point the kid was like “Oh, I’m craving X food, that must mean I need more Y in my diet, I can get that from rabbits.” And so he sets up a rabbit trap.

    And I was like, how do you know if you’re craving food? I started my first diet at age 7. (I still remember when I lost 10 pounds.) This idea continued to puzzle me well into my adutlhood The idea that my body could want certain things was totally forgein. I always just ate what was on my diet, or what was put in front of me.

    So I really think there is no age too early to start listening to your body and what it wants.

    Reply
  64. Rohaq

    I have a number of problems with FA on the internet. From what I’ve read, most of the sites use massive amounts of misinformation and unproven ‘science’ from ridiculous sources like ‘Junk Food Science’ (run by somebody who used to work in marketing for the Competitive Enterprise Institute, and is on the Advisory board for NAAFA) which produces articles that can be summarised as ‘Water; it’s not that great really’, and ‘Michael Phelps, olympic athlete, eats 8000 – 10000 calories a day, so eating lots of food’s not that bad!’ without mentioning the fact that the guy trains for hours, every day, and as such requires a ton of calories in order to allow him to keep that level of training up without passing out from exhaustion.

    I see other claims, like it being impossible to lose weight and keep it off, unless somebody is a ‘freak of nature’, and that altering your diet and getting regular exercise do not work. These statements are not only ridiculous, but also insult every person who has worked hard to maintain a weight loss, and having spent the last few months slowly working off my excess fat through exercise and laying off the fatty and sugary foods as much (I still have some, but they’re occasional treats, as they should be). I’m also building muscle in order to raise my base metabolism. And I will keep it off, because I now have the willpower to keep an eye on my body and ensure that I don’t end up back in that situation again. I’ve tasted fitness once before, thanks to an improved lifestyle at the time, and I let it slip away. I won’t be making that mistake again, because quite frankly, I feel superb at the moment.

    I never had issues with my mobility, with my blood pressure, with diabetes or anything like that, but I have ridiculous amounts of energy nowadays, and feel great as a result.

    Then there’s the whole hatred from FA of anything that promotes weight loss. Activity camps? Calorie controlled diets? Weight loss surgery? The latter I might understand, since it’s risky, but it should be an option for some people, especially those who eat compulsively, the kind of people who reach 400-500lbs and can’t wipe their own backside any more. Yet despite this, there are articles in the FA community that state that all of the above should be made illegal. That doctors offering WLS or suggesting that people who experience weight-related illnesses should change their lifestyle in any way should be struck off the register, and their patients who want to lose weight should receive psychiatric evaluation. They want to completely mess up people’s lives because the idea that weight should be lost in order to improve people’s lives makes fat look bad. Hell, I’ve seen blogs that think that everybody should see fat as beautiful and sexy. If you can’t see anything wrong with forcing people to change their opinions and lives to cater towards your own issues with your self-image, then you’re an idiot.

    Then there are those who compare fat discrimination to racism, or homophobia, which is something that I think is incredibly insulting towards those who have suffered from the above. If someone is black, or gay, it’s purely genetic. They can’t change their lifestyle to be less black, or less gay, it’s just who they are. You can change your lifestyle to lose weight. It’s all a case of willpower.

    Someone on another forum put it best: If Fat Acceptance advocates were really fine about the fact that they were fat, if someone was pointing out just how fat they were, they’d be fine with it, because that is their intention. Much in the same way that if someone pointed at a bodybuilder in the shopping mall and said ‘Haha, you look like a condom full of walnuts!’ he wouldn’t be offended, because he worked hard to gain that muscle. Instead, FA advocates get all riled up because someone pointed out that they were different.

    And don’t even get me started on the ridiculous nature of ‘natural weight setpoints’ and ‘intuitive eating’. Your weight doesn’t have a natural set point. Your metabolism is partly controlled by genetics, and partly controlled by your lifestyle, so outside of a horrible thyroid issue (which are generally treatable), you can change that. Intuitive eating may or may not work, but it gets confused with the psychological issues many overeaters have with food; if you’ve got a 50% bodyfat level, I’m pretty sure that your body doesn’t need those extra krispy kremes just to survive, regardless of what you’re hungering for.

    In conclusion, FA advocates are a bunch of people making excuses and perpetuating incredible delusion in order to try and make themselves feel better about their situation. If they put as much time and energy into checking what they’re eating and getting regular exercise as they did into blogging and whinging, they wouldn’t have to worry about the world judging them for their weight.

    Reply
  65. Linda

    Re: the “dangers” of fat acceptance. I’m glad I didn’t hear about FA before I started losing weight. I lost what I wanted to, have kept it off a little more than a year, and get around better, and feel better, than I had for a long time. I once believed the pain I felt in my hips when I got off a low chair or nonhandicapped lavatory was “normal” for my age (mid 40s). I believed it was normal aging to be in pain when I walked up a flight of stairs. I ignored the fact that people 10 to 15 years older than me were walking and stair climbing a lot better than me. Now I feel better, and am enjoying my old activities, like gardening, a lot more. Sometimes, ignorance is bliss.

    Reply
  66. Langley

    Excellent post, bentlyr. What gets me about the Fat Acceptance movement is that its proponents are all in denial. If they weren’t so afraid to listen to common sense then those FA bloggers that censor comments would let everyone say their piece and comment in a rational and considered way.

    How does that line go again, ‘methinks she doth protest too much’. And do you notice how the FA movement is mainly women? I’m not sure exactly why that is, but it’s interesting to note.

    I get annoyed when I read FA people comparing themselves to groups who are TRULY discriminated against like ethnic minorities or gay people. Unlike those groups, the obese CHOSE to be the way they are. They can chose to change, but the simple truth is that it’s far easier to bitch and moan than change your lifestyle.

    Christ, I could go on for hours, but I think the main thing I would say to the FA movement is that I agree with you that diets do not work. Diets in the sense of Atkins, raw food only, soup only – fad diets, in other words.

    Losing weight is not brought about through crash dieting or fads, but a complete and permanent lifestyle change. This is the key. It’s about eating healthily and exercising properly until the end of your life.

    Now, to those of you over 300lbs who say that you only eat 2,000 calories a day, ask yourself how honest you’re being. I mean, really honest. You don’t have to tell us, but deep down you know that you’re eating and drinking more than you have to. I should know, I weigh 250lbs. Funnily enough, I used to be 270, and when I started watching what I ate and drank, and exercised properly, I started losing weight, a process that continues to this day.

    Like it or not, obesity is an enormous contributing factor to all sorts of health concerns. Yes, it’s technically possible to be ‘healthy’ and fat, but the risk is always there.

    Reply
  67. IJS

    Great points! Thank you for writing this. It’s so very true that the FA movement is pretty much self destructive, ignorant and misguided.

    The only people who can’t lose weight with a healthy diet and exercise are the people who do it wrong. If you do it right, you lose weight, but doing it right requires things like education and self control.

    I swear, the FA people’s brains must be full of fat too, it crowds out their brain cells and makes it impossible for logic to get through to them.

    Reply
  68. totaltransformation

    “Now, to those of you over 300lbs who say that you only eat 2,000 calories a day, ask yourself how honest you’re being. I mean, really honest. You don’t have to tell us, but deep down you know that you’re eating and drinking more than you have to.”

    I cited an obesity expert from John Hopkins on who had recently conducted a study that showed that most people who take part in weight loss studies (and these folks are pretty closely monitored) don’t accurately record their caloric intake and significantly underestimate the calories they eat during a given day. Pointing that out resulted in two things. First, the other FA commenters ridiculed the story as on-line junk (even though it came from an obesity expert at John Hopkins- they hadn’t bothered to read the link). Second, I was banned from the site. Good times.

    While the FA folks make a big deal out of how they must “protect their space,” such seems to presume a certain amount of intellectual weakness on the part of their readers. After all, shouldn’t their readers be able to decide who presents the best argument? It seems they are interested in protecting their space. They seek to protect their blogs (and their readers) from any conflicting thoughts that might lead them astray.

    BTW, the rebuttal on Eat a Cheeseburger is interesting to say the least. If you get a chance you should check it out.

    Reply
  69. NovemberMike

    The problem I have with the FA movement is that they seem like a feel good movement rather than something that actually tries to study issues and deal with them. Many of their articles I have read try to take small parts of scientific studies, selectively highlight them and just say “There is nothing wrong with me”. A prime example of this was a study that showed people weren’t losing weight when they exercised. The FA movement took this to mean that exercise does nothing without actually trying to analyze the problem, when there is a much more rational answer: people lied about what they ate. Those same experiments when performed on rats (which can have both their diet and exercise tightly controlled) always follow expected results.

    Reply
  70. Popoi

    The problem I have with intuitive eating is that may presume a greater accuracy of “what my body wants” than actually exists. It’s been demonstrated in numerous studies (I can link some if need be) that the amount of food people choose to eat (as well as the feeling of fullness they report) varies with the portion presented to them.

    As I understand it, Intuitive Eating would work really well for someone who is completely dispassionate and could make a decision based solely on feeling of hunger or whatever other nutritional stuff is going on, but it seems like it would be disastrous for someone who has any kind of emotional issue with or involving food.

    Reply
  71. landwhale

    There was a recent study analyzed on Kate Harding’s blog (The Duh Truck Rides Again). The study revealed that:
    About 30% of obese people…
    About 50% of overweight people…
    About 75% of normal weight people…
    …have normal BP and cholesterol levels. Somehow the post and comment section seemed to reflect that this means that being overweight is not bad for you, and being normal weight is.

    FA is dangerous, and it’s focused on twisting studies to come up with conclusions that would support unhealthy living and bash what’s considered a healthy lifestyle. People like Kate Harding seem to get their sick kicks on deluding fat people to get fatter and in worse shape and eventually killing themselves.

    We all have our hobbies. Mine doesn’t involve trying to get people killed.

    Reply
  72. Bob

    “And do you notice how the FA movement is mainly women? I’m not sure exactly why that is, but it’s interesting to note.”

    As far as i can tell, they see ‘fat acceptance’ as a feminist issue.

    I am not sure whether the majority of them actually consider themselves the only group that has ever been hassled for being overweight, but i am not sure it would be outside of the realm of possibility, given the other ridiculous statements that have surfaced

    Reply
  73. cynic

    I applaud your open-minded approach to all of this, bentlyr. One of the reasons I think it’s so easy for people to wall themselves off in fat acceptance is the knee-jerk nastiness and dismissal that is often hurled their way.

    I find the concept of intuitive eating to be, like many ideas in fat acceptance, based on little evidence and in direct contradiction to much of what we know about appetite and eating in people. What about all the studies done that show how portion size or plate size can influence how satisfied people feel and how much they eat? Are all those people suffering from a dieting mentality and completely unable to know when they’re full?

    The idea that we are built with strong internal cues that partially control hunger and satiety doesn’t seem that far fetched to me. The idea that a system like that which evolved in a world without processed sugar, lots of fatty meats, or gain would function just the same in a world full of endless food choices doesn’t make any sense.

    Reading over all these comments reminds me why I don’t read any of the FA blogs anymore. I may not need to be a size 4 to be healthy, but I sure as hell wasn’t doing myself any favors by listening to my ‘intuition’ when it came to food choices. Thankfully, I’ve lost all the weight I gained by allowing my sacred inner voice to tell me that I really needed another cookie and I did it without being hungry or obsessing about food.

    Reply
  74. Anni

    Wow, looks like a lot of people commenting have skimmed some FA blogs and assumed that it’s all about fatties congratulating themselves for being fat, eating entire blocks of cheese and claiming it’s healthy, and saying eating 10,000 calories a day is just dandy because an Olympic athlete does it. Had anyone actually bothered to read in-depth they might have found some very intelligent discussion and hard soul-searching on health, body image, politics, and assorted topics as well as some fluff.

    I read nearly all the FA blogs and I’m yet to see anyone claim they think eating 10,000 calories a day will do them just fine because Michael Phelps eats that much. I have however seen discussions talking about how interesting it is that different bodies doing different things need different amounts of energy, using recent Olympic examples, and how attitudes towards food differ between male and female athletes.

    I don’t recall anyone posting about how they binged on cheese or whatever and that was “healthy.” I have however seen people post about binge eating disorder and its issues; or about how intuitive eating can improve physical and mental health; or about how dieting breeds bingeing and overeating; and hundreds of other issues on food and health.

    I recall plenty of posts discussing just how hard it is to leave dieting and weight-loss exercise behind and simply eat well and do physical activity that is enjoyable and thus sustainable.

    There are plenty of fat bloggers who don’t immediately agree with everything Sandy Szwarc says. But they appreciate that she’ll post sources. I think it was SweetMachine at Shapely Prose that had a post discussing BOTH sides of the argument’s use of cherry-picked data.

    The reason so many FA bloggers seem to never post your disagreement, no matter how well you think you constructed your argument, is because they’ve heard it all before. You don’t have some special insight, and that stings, doesn’t it?

    I don’t know any fat bloggers who claim that being fat is never, ever unhealthy for all people, simply that risks are usually greatly overstated or misunderstood; that correlation and causation are not the same thing; that studies vary in quality and the media doesn’t understand this much of the time; that there are myriad causes of weight gain besides gluttony and sloth; that weight loss is not generally sustainable in most people. There are FA and other body acceptance bloggers and activists that have maintained weight loss but don’t make a hoo-ha about it and understand that “I did it and so can you!!!” is pointless; there are thin FA bloggers and supporters too.

    People who find themselves angry and upset that a small percentage of fat (and thin) people are daring to say NO to the stereotypes that they are unhealthy or lazy or gluttonous or liars or whatever probably need to have a long hard look at themselves. Seriously. Why do you care so much that some fatties on the internet are not dieting and believe they’re healthy and attract some supporters here and there? The diet and health industries are multi-billion dollar behemoths with cultural disapproval of fat people behind them and are in little danger (sadly, I think) from some fat people with computers, and if you, personally, feel threatened by the concept of fat/body/size acceptance, then, well, take your own advice and get some help. 98% of society already agrees with you that fat people are unhealthy and could lose weight if only they got up off their ass and stopped eating so many Twinkies; do you really have to spend time trying to quell the dissenting 2%? Jeez. Get a life.

    Reply
  75. Skreee

    @ Prozacrefugee worte: “The first commenter by the way is lying when he says he eats 1800 calories a day. Even lying in bed you’d need over a thousand calories a day more to maintain that weight, even if you were a bed ridden 70 year old.
    I put on 40 extra pounds […] 4 years ago by living a sedentary lifestyle and eating shit. I moved to a pedestrian city and IMMEDIATELY lost 20 of them. ”

    You are lying. See how easy it is to write that?

    Can you honestly say that you don’t know a thin person that can eat whatever they want, and not gain weight? Why is it possible that people tan differently, sweat differently, react to drugs and meds differently, and not process their food differently? Why do I gain like crazy when I eat 2000 calories that include carbs a day, but when I eat 2000 calories of mainly vegetables and protein, I don’t (though I don’t normally eat that much. Oh wait, I must be lying).

    The phenomenon of confirmation bias is a fascinating thing.
    “Everybody processes food the same. Everybody who says differently, is lying. Since everybody who agrees with me is telling the truth and everybody else is lying, the theory is proven”. Circular thinking. Just think whether you know a skinny person that can eat whatever they want without gaining (and without high excercise). Do you think they are lying about what they are eating?

    Reply
  76. kira

    As far as i can tell, they see ‘fat acceptance’ as a feminist issue.

    Oh god, do I hate this. I see it all the time and just really don’t understand it. One of the main tenets of feminism is not ceding women’s agency to those who wish to take it away. Saying you have no control over your weight or what you put in your mouth takes away your agency. That’s completely the opposite of feminism. It’s offensive and makes no sense.

    The reason so many FA bloggers seem to never post your disagreement, no matter how well you think you constructed your argument, is because they’ve heard it all before.

    Just because you’ve heard something before doesn’t make it any less true.

    I don’t know any fat bloggers who claim that being fat is never, ever unhealthy

    Huh? Pretty much everyone in FA says this. It’s the entire basis of HAES – that fat has no influence on health.

    Why do you care so much that some fatties on the internet are not dieting and believe they’re healthy and attract some supporters here and there?

    Because your influence extends beyond the reach of your little internet community. It’s like, why care so much about people who believe in creationism and intelligent design? Most people think they’re kooks, right? Well, maybe, but they have the ability to influence the lives of others. FA is using its power and influence to convince others to ignore their health and that there is nothing wrong, health-wise, with being fat. As a public health issue, that’s dangerous and wrong. Additionally, it’s also dangerous the way that scientists (at least, all scientists that publish results FA doesn’t like) are demonized. We have enough anti-intellectualism from right-wingers. We don’t need it from alleged feminists as well.

    Speaking of anti-intellectualism, FA people all claim the balance between calories-in to calories-out has no effect on weight. Because apparently people, especially fat people, don’t obey the fundamental laws of physics and thermodynamics. Perhaps we should study them, as apparently they have the ability to spontaneously generate energy and store it as fat.

    Reply
  77. Ron

    In response to the above. Yes, they’re lying about what they’re eating but probably don’t realize it. You mentioned confirmation bias but didn’t apply it to the skinny people who can eat everything and still stay skinny. It’s much more likely that they remember eating the whole chocolate cake one day and then forgetting to eat entirely the next day. Or they’ll forget that they walked several miles just by meandering around the mall for a couple hours. Or they might forget that when they’re sitting they frequently shuffle their feet and do other energy burning activities.

    Yes there is probably a very rare few who literally can eat and sit without gaining any weight. Most of us aren’t like that and even those who are the opposite are still expected to maintain their weight properly.

    The most important thing the blog post mentions (I love it bentlyr) is the denial of medical dangers posed by being fat and the denial of the ability to properly lose weight. Some people may have it harder than others to lose weight but that is no excuse for not doing it at all. Use a diet diary to track what you eat, go to the gym and ask for assistance in making an exercise routine, walk more, all of these things are work that you’re expected to do if you’re overweight. If you’re doing these things and are losing weight, even slowly, great! You’re now doing what is expected of you. If you’re not losing weight you obviously need to add more exercise and cut your calories a bit more.

    Reply
  78. landwhale

    Anyone who claims they can stay at 375 lbs while on 1800 kcal diet is either lying or on denial on their calorie intake. BMR can vary from individual to another, but that’s just ridiculous claim. A 375lbs person consumes way more while being comatose.

    Where’s the maintaining energy supposed to come from? Sunlight? Magical energy gnomes?

    Weight loss/gain/maintenance isn’t a Great Mystery and it still has to follow laws of physics (first law of thermodynamics, I’m looking at you).

    FA is nothing but a McGriddle powered excuse machine.

    Reply
  79. Popoi

    “Why is it possible that people tan differently, sweat differently, react to drugs and meds differently, and not process their food differently?”

    It’s entirely possible to process food differently, but his claim wasn’t “Everyone processes food the same so you’re a liar”, it was “There’s not enough energy in what you claim to take in to sustain you at that weight”

    “Just think whether you know a skinny person that can eat whatever they want without gaining (and without high excercise). Do you think they are lying about what they are eating?”

    Actually they probably are. If you made them sit down and write down everything they eat, it’s probably not as much as they think. That’s sort of beside the point anyway, since it’s much more plausible for someone to eat a bunch and not gain weight (not using energy that is there) than for someone to not eat much and not lose weight (using energy that’s not there).

    Reply
  80. ebwl

    One of the issues might be that the more fat one gains, the more that their bmr starts leveling off. At least according to this study I found.

    http://www.nature.com/ejcn/journal/v57/n2/full/1601542a.html

    So while it is nearly impossible for anyone to stay morbidly obese while eating under 2000 calories a day unless they are under 5ft and completely sedentary: it may be that the assumption that these same people must eat 4,000 calories a day to maintain their weight is equally untrue. Fat people who claim that they don’t eat a huge amount of food may be right even if their estimates of intake are well below what they’re actually eating.

    Reply
  81. NovemberMike

    The skinny people I know who think they eat a ton either have something big they remember at one meal like a Burrito and the other two meals are light, or they exercise a ton. The fat people I know who deny eating a lot snack in between meals or simply lie/forget.

    Reply
  82. Prozacrefugee

    “Can you honestly say that you don’t know a thin person that can eat whatever they want, and not gain weight? Why is it possible that people tan differently, sweat differently, react to drugs and meds differently, and not process their food differently? Why do I gain like crazy when I eat 2000 calories that include carbs a day, but when I eat 2000 calories of mainly vegetables and protein, I don’t (though I don’t normally eat that much. Oh wait, I must be lying).”

    You’re either lying or extremely misinformed about how many calories you’re eating. People tan differently, but within limits. Same with food – and the limit here is the laws of thermodynamics. You’re expecting me to believe that you magically can maintain your body at 50% of the calories that almost every other member of the species would need to do the same? Sorry, but odds are overwhelming that you either don’t count calories correctly or are lying.

    Reply
  83. Richard Mullen

    Some of you are right on the money. I was wondering how a person was able to defy the laws of physics, bio chemistry, and thermodynamics.

    I work and live nearby Johns Hopkins and if any of you are able to pull off this dynamic like you are claiming I will be happy to fund your travel expenses to their testing facilities. The Department of Defense would also be interested in this ability since power cell and energy platforms are of huge interest for unmanned probes. I have a personal friend that is a professor and doctor at Walter Reed and he would be fascinated as well.

    You can email me at richard.mullen@hqda.army.mil

    I work in the Pentagon and I can arrange some things for U.S persons and for non U.S I will be able to contact the right people to get you through to an offsite research/development center.
    If you are the rare individual that can biologically defy millions of years of evolution and thermodynamics seen in other mammals please contact me as soon as possible. If not, seek professional help.

    Reply
  84. Kallipygia

    Setting the Wayback Machine for post 33:

    “Last but not least, please keep in mind that observations of the USA vs. other countries are nothing but subjective anecdotes, and “obesity” rates have been stable for about 8-9 years while life expectancy continues to rise.”

    Which is it? Are obesity rate subjective or have they remained stable for the last decade? Are you suggesting that obesity rates in the U.S. and other countries can’t be objectively measured?

    (all emphasis mine)

    Totaltransformation, in the quote from Sandy, observations=subjective and rates=stable.

    In your commentary on the quote, rate=subjective/or/stable.

    Whatever other merits your argument does or does not have, it does not logically follow from the quote.

    Reply
  85. totaltransformation

    You are right Kal I could have worded that better.

    However the problem that remains is whether the consistency (or even growth) of the average lifespan is any indication that obesity is not problematic for individual health. Especially considering the proliferation of drugs to combat weight related health problem high blood pressure- not to mention the technologies that extend the lifespans of others suffering from countless diseases that have nothing to do with obesity. As I said before it isn’t the obesity which kills you, it is the health problems linked with obesity that do you in. So if one is content to risk suffering a decline in their general quality of life and content to be tied to pills to control various health problems linked with their obesity then I guess they wouldn’t care all too much. However, I doubt most people would make such a choice.

    I would also point out that I have yet to hear back from any of the FA folks about the disproportionate rate of obesity among the poor. If obesity is largely determined by genetics, shouldn’t it be fairly distributed among all classes within a given society? While the poor and the rich share genetics, what they don’t share are the knowledge, time, and resources that assist one in living a healthy lifestyle. None of the former are genetic factors.

    Reply
  86. Susan

    Great post Richard! 🙂

    I’d just like to respond to Vesta 44 who said:

    “But to lose substantial amounts of weight, a person has to practically starve themselves and exercise at least 2 or 3 hours a day. And even then, that’s not a guarantee that one will be able to keep the weight off forever. Not to mention that repeated dieting totally messes with one’s metabolism so that it gets harder and harder to lose weight, let alone keep it off. ”

    That is not true. I have lost 90 pounds and kept it off for nearly five years. And no, I did not “practically starve” myself or “exercise at least 2 or 3 hours a day”.

    As for the often-repeated excuse that “repeated dieting totally messes with one’s metabolism” that is only true if someone periodically eats so little that they drastically slow their metabolism (and also lose muscle in the process, further slowing their metabolism) followed by periods of over-eating. The human body is amazingly adaptable – the best way to increase your metabolism if it has slowed through excessive dieting is simply to slightly increase your calories. Back when I didn’t know any better, I used to fast for up to 15 days at a time and, amazingly, I haven’t “totally messed with” my metabolism. I’m in my early 50s and maintain a healthy and muscular body on a balanced diet of 2,000 calories a day, some cardio and lots of weight training.

    Reply
  87. totaltransformation

    This just in….

    England, Wales Government Councils Propose Taking Obese Children From Parents

    ” A government association representing more than 400 councils in England and Wales said parents of dangerously obese children are at risk of losing them.

    The Local Government Association warned that the worst cases of obesity will be increasingly seen as evidence of “parental neglect,” and that social workers will have to step in to offer advice to protect the child’s welfare.

    In the most extreme cases, children could be taken away from parents…”

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,404741,00.html

    Reply
  88. Tiana

    LOL I’ve been gone for a day and this is what happened. Okay, since this was directed at me:

    Did it make sense because her arguments were persuasive or because it was what you wanted to hear all along?

    Neither. As you would have noticed if you’d read my comment more carefully, I had actually been looking for exactly the opposite: Clear instructions on how to eat healthy. So no, it was not what I’d been wanting to hear. And since she didn’t argue in the first place, persuasive arguments were not what convinced me, either. Like I said, the stuff just made sense.

    I am obese because I consume WAY too many calories and do not exercise. I hate exercise and I am very lazy about physical exertion.

    It seems pretty simple, but apparently it isn’t

    Then explain to me why I’m not fat although I’ve done the same thing for long periods of time.

    It’s not his intuition telling him to eat pizza. It’s a combination of genetics, epigenetics, environment and lifestyle.

    No, it’s probably the fact that pizza is labelled as “bad” and therefore he wants it.

    Unlike those groups, the obese CHOSE to be the way they are.

    OMG you know how one can gain weight on purpose?? Really??? Tell me your secret, please!! I’ve tried everything and nothing worked! You said it’s not my genes keeping me thin, so I must be doing something wrong! OMG!!!! I want to know!

    Seriously guys, all this shit makes me so angry. There are myriads of reasons for being a certain weight and you insist that we’re as simple as bunsen burners. It makes no sense.

    Reply
  89. NovemberMike

    “OMG you know how one can gain weight on purpose?? Really??? Tell me your secret, please!! I’ve tried everything and nothing worked! You said it’s not my genes keeping me thin, so I must be doing something wrong! OMG!!!! I want to know!”

    If this is serious, then there are a few simple steps. First off, you want calorie dense foods: Pasta, nuts, shakes and red meat are all great (no need to be unhealthy). Count the calories and try to eat over 3k a day. Then go to the gym three days a week for half an hour to an hour and do a good core workout with squats, bench presses and dead lifts. You’ll put on good weight guaranteed (barring a digestive disorder). In a lab you can point to any rat and make it obese if you want, and their digestive systems are very similar to ours.

    “Seriously guys, all this shit makes me so angry. There are myriads of reasons for being a certain weight and you insist that we’re as simple as bunsen burners. It makes no sense.”

    Are you arguing that we don’t follow the laws of thermodynamics? Things like dieting and exercise can change your metabolism, but if you take all of the factors into account the calories in/calories out model is incredibly accurate.

    Reply
  90. totaltransformation

    “Like I said, the stuff just made sense.”

    We have already discussed this in several other comments. The idea that an eating intuition that was forged in a time of relative food scarcity and at a time when collecting and hunting down one’s food required much more effort makes very little sense. Especially when one considers the effect that plate size, food presentation, etc. of food has on one’s appetite there is little aside from basic hunger and thirst that is intuitive.

    Lest we forget until the nineteenth century (and even now in much of the globe) life was (and is) still nasty, brutish, and short. The kind of eating intuition that develops out of those kind of conditions would hardly be applicable to modern conditions.

    “OMG you know how one can gain weight on purpose?? Really??? Tell me your secret, please!!”

    Bodybuilders do it all the time- it is called a bulking up phase. Many bodybuilders, football players, and wrestlers do it on a regular basis. If you do a Google search for bulking up (whether in relation to bodybuilders or other athletes) you will find that they do it by consuming more calories. Seems to work for them. 😉

    Reply
  91. Tiana

    That’s not what I meant when I said it made sense. The part that made sense was that it explained why all those other things I’d read contradicted each other. It also explained my own personal experiences and those of many others I’d been told, and most importantly Sandy did not contradict herself in the process. I admit that I was disappointed and I still want my rules, dammit. But it seems that there just aren’t any and I’ll have to take the hard route and learn how to eat intuitively.

    JFS clearly shows that what most people think of when they say “eat healthy” has yet to be proven effective. If you have evidence for the contrary, please show it to me. I’m absolutely open for that.

    Are you arguing that we don’t follow the laws of thermodynamics?

    I’m arguing that human bodies are a little more complex than that. Or have you NEVER met a thin person who was unable to put on weight?

    As for bodybuilders, well. Not everyone can develop so much muscle mass, but for most people, yes, that would work. However we are talking about fat here; the whole “eat too much and you’ll turn into a blob” myth. And that’s without eating to the point of nausea constantly, as I don’t think fat people do that. Yet, even if I do that, I don’t gain weight. Funny, isn’t it …

    Reply
  92. kira

    Or have you NEVER met a thin person who was unable to put on weight?

    Of course these people exist. But one or more of the following is true:

    1. They aren’t eating nearly as many calories as they think they are (or are getting more activity than they relize).

    2. They have exceptionally high metabolism (unusual, but not unheard of).

    3. They have a disease that causes excretion of calories (e.g., untreated celiac disease or other digestive disorders, which are quite common). “Calories out” doesn’t just mean burned – it includes elimination of calories from the body by any means.

    “Complexity” of human bodies does not change what has been repeatedly said here – human bodies still obey the laws of thermodynamics.

    Reply
  93. totaltransformation

    “As for bodybuilders, well. Not everyone can develop so much muscle mass, but for most people, yes, that would work. However we are talking about fat here;”

    Actually when bodybuilders bulk up they do add a considerable amount of fat to their frame. That is why they go through what is called a cut phase which is designed to allow them to drop the fat while maintaining lean muscle mass. Football players who bulk up are by no means are concerned with muscle mass as with general weight gain and add both a considerable amount of muscle and fat when they bulk up.

    I did the same thing as a high school wrestler cutting weight for certain meets and gaining weight for others. If you want to use the typical bodybuilding bulk up phase to gain fat instead of muscle simply eat the required food but avoid the workouts.

    Regarding complexity, I think Kira has answered that question. Regarding JFS, I’ve already pointed you to one source that provides several examples of how Sandy distorts, tortures, and quotes out of context.

    Reply
  94. ebwl

    I’m curious as to where the bunsen burner line originated. I used it several times in debates just like this one and, honestly, thought I had made it up. Then I noticed that it was one of those really common phrases in fat acceptance. OT, but I do love to trace all these internet memes.

    I don’t deny that human metabolism is extremely complex, but every study I’ve seen (including the one I linked to in my first comment) suggests that bmr is almost entirely predictable. Even when unexplained variation is present, it’s a very small amount. Yes, two people of the same height, weight and composition might have a different bmr, but we’re not talking 800 calories a day.

    I would be honestly interested in any info to the contrary. Has there been any experiment done that measures human metabolism which has found an inverse relationship between size and metabolism? Surely if so many in the fat acceptance movement subsist on low-ish calorie diets then there should be some literature out there that suggests such a thing is possible?

    Reply
  95. Tiana

    Addendum: Your source is absolutely correct, Sandy Szwarc made a mistake once. Wow! The only thing that this changes, though, is that fatter people still have higher risks for … developing risk factors. More wow. Now please show me some evidence for a causal relationship between obesity, those risk factors and the actual diseases. In the meantime, consider that stress is a risk factor for all those diseases as well.

    Reply
  96. totaltransformation

    “Now please show me some evidence for a causal relationship between obesity, those risk factors and the actual diseases.”

    Tiana, you might want to read this…

    “Obesity is associated with a variety of poor health outcomes including an increased risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, disability, and mortality. Recent studies, however, suggest that the obese population may have grown healthier since the 1960s. For example, the prevalence of high cholesterol and high blood pressure has declined among obese individuals. Additionally, the influence of obesity on all-cause mortality may have decreased. However, not all studies have supported this finding, and obesity continues to be associated with excess mortality.”

    http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/298/17/2020

    [Note: the above article also covers the earlier comment about increasing lifespan despite stable levels of obesity.

    “Taken together, these findings suggest that recent improvements in cardiovascular health have not been accompanied by a reduction in disability burden among obese individuals; instead, the risk of some types of disability is actually increasing.”]

    That article will lead you to these studies….(click on the links contained in the above article to find the full text versions)…

    Title: Years of Life Lost Due to Obesity

    “Conclusion: Obesity appears to lessen life expectancy markedly, especially among younger adults.”

    Fontaine KR, Redden DT, Wang C, Westfall AO, Allison DB. Years of life lost due to obesity. JAMA. 2003;289(2):187-193.

    ———————-

    Title: Excess Deaths Associated With Underweight, Overweight, and Obesity

    “Relative to the normal weight category (BMI 18.5 to <25), obesity (BMI ≥30) was associated with 111 909 excess deaths (95% confidence interval [CI], 53 754-170 064) and underweight with 33 746 excess deaths”

    Flegal KM, Graubard BI, Williamson DF, Gail MH. Excess deaths associated with underweight, overweight, and obesity. JAMA. 2005;293(15):1861-1867

    ———————-

    Title: Overweight, obesity, and mortality in a large prospective cohort of persons 50 to 71 years old

    “Conclusions[:] Excess body weight during midlife, including overweight, is associated with an increased risk of death.”

    Adams KF, Schatskin A, Harris TB, et al. Overweight, obesity, and mortality in a large prospective cohort of persons 50 to 71 years old. N Engl J Med. 2006;355(8):763-778.

    ————————

    I hope these help. And once again thanks for stopping by my blog.

    Reply
  97. totaltransformation

    Oh, I forgot one more link that might be of interest.

    Title: Obesity and Unhealthy Life-Years in Adult Finns

    “Conclusions[:] Obesity has a lifetime impact on disability and morbidity. A further increase in obesity will lead to an increase in unhealthy life-years and in direct and indirect health care costs.”

    http://archinte.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstract/164/13/1413?ijkey=1477666c46e19162f765113a1402f45c6902a598&keytype2=tf_ipsecsha

    Reply
  98. DR

    Tiana,

    “OMG you know how one can gain weight on purpose?? Really??? Tell me your secret, please!! I’ve tried everything and nothing worked! You said it’s not my genes keeping me thin, so I must be doing something wrong! OMG!!!! I want to know!”

    If you are serious about gaining some healthy weight, I would be glad to offer some assistance. No B.S., no sarcasm, genuine help.

    In the past 3 years, I have offered my services free of charge to help former anorexia patients re-build their bodies.

    Note – I get involved when they are out of the woods. I still have to deal with a lot of psychological issues surrounding foods, but they have already done the really hard work with a great team of doctors and therapists.

    However, their bodies are still a mess when we start working together.

    While this has never been my personal cross to bear, I have helped 14 people turn their bodies from skinny-fat waifs into strong, healthy, capable human beings.

    It’s not easy.

    I believe that it’s much harder for these people to gain 10 pounds than it is for a heavy person to lose 100 lbs.

    Anyway, if you are interested, drop by my blog, check me out and leave me a comment.

    DR
    http://healthhabits.wordpress.com

    Reply
  99. NovemberMike

    “I’m arguing that human bodies are a little more complex than that. Or have you NEVER met a thin person who was unable to put on weight?”

    That has to be one of the stupidest things I have ever heard. Did you seriously just insinuate that our bodies are “more complex” than the laws of the universe? The only complex thing here are some of the emotional issues people have with food.

    Reply
  100. landwhale

    “Or have you NEVER met a thin person who was unable to put on weight?”

    It’s been said a few times but comparison between thin person who has problems getting bigger is not quite valid, as it’s possible for body to fail to absorb calories from intake, but it’s impossible for body to get extra calories from other sources than what you put in.

    So, it’s possible (although probably not common) to be a 120lbs person consuming 3000 kcal a day, and stay at the same weight if their system fails to absorb all the intake, but it’s NOT POSSIBLE for a 375 lbs person to consume 1800 kcal a day and stay at the same weight.

    Some of the thin people who seem to eat a lot might have a condition that prohibits them from using all available energy from their food. Probably vast majority of them just don’t have a complete understanding of their intake and energy consumption. Some of that kind of people I know go all out on calorie dense foods occasionally, and seriously undereat at other times. Visibly they seem to eat lots but over time the calorie intake isn’t all that huge overall.

    There’s variation between individual peoples BMR, but certain things, such as just being alive, take certain amount of energy, and if you don’t cover that energy with intake, you WILL lose weight. No matter how deeply you want to believe in FA propaganda, no one in their right mind can question that.

    Reply
  101. ebwl

    The thermodynamic argument is another one that stopped making sense to me as soon as I thought about it. Yes, your body obeys the laws of energy input/output. No, that’s not reducing you to a bunsen burner. Animals are more complex in their various uses of energy, but they still operate on the same basic laws.

    Sure there might be some metabolic differences in terms of how likely someone is to store fat or whether or not some people have absorption issues where they excrete calories without using them, but that energy is going somewhere.

    You know, it really is a shame because some parts of fat acceptance make a ton of sense. But too many parts are based on pseudo-science and a complete misunderstanding of how the body works.

    Talk about slight variations in metabolism. Talk about differing levels of hunger and what might control that. Talk about genetic propensity towards weight gain. Talk about extreme dieting and its affects on health and weight. Talk about the social stigma of obesity. Fine. I am 100% with you, but tell me that you can routinely support a 250lb body with as many calories as a 130lb body and you’re full of it. And that’s why they have to rely so much on common misconceptions about the body: the thin person who eats a billion calories a day, ‘slow’ metabolism etc… because the scientific literature has almost nothing in it that can support those kind of claims. Which is probably why so many people end up leaving the movement as soon as they start doing a little bit of reading outside the approved sources.

    Reply
  102. landwhale

    From Eat A Cheeseburger, which linked to this post and caused the massive FA comment flood to begin with:

    “After reading all the madness that suddenly ensued, I am SO glad that I showed up before the crazy fat haters. I may have convinced the original poster in time.”

    So, any sensible opinion that disagrees with FA pseudoscience is considered “madness” and “fat hate”? This really summarizes the self-delusion and dangerousness of FA movement. Such religious denial of logic, facts and science is so cult-like it’d make Scientologists cringe in envy.

    Reply
  103. kira

    Yup, they’re pretty much just like creationists – they believe something is true because they want it to be true, not because it is true. And if you disagree, you’re a bigot. It’s a totally dishonest way of debating, but it’s what happens when people can’t separate fact from emotion. To people in FA, any suggestion that being overweight might be unhealthy feels like a personal attack, so they respond in turn by attacking their critics and calling them bigoted fat haters. Facts are irrelevant to them.

    Reply
  104. Tiana

    totaltransformation, I’m still waiting for the causal relationship between increased body weight and things like cardiovascular disease or diabetes. It’s no secret that fat gets in the way of mobility at times, and with all the discrimination going on it’s no wonder that fat people may die earlier. So far you haven’t shown me anything new.

    DR, I wasn’t being entirely serious. I have tried to gain weight in the past, but now I don’t need to anymore since I’ve had a baby and pregnancy did its thing. 😉

    […] it’s possible for body to fail to absorb calories from intake, but it’s impossible for body to get extra calories from other sources than what you put in.

    Believe it or not, I get that. Sounds perfectly reasonable in theory, so I won’t bring up the “can’t gain weight” example again.

    And landwhale, my dear little stalker, I don’t think you can say that since you have no idea who I was referring to. 🙂

    I’ll retreat from this thread now since it’s long enough already and we’re practically having a fight on someone else’s blog. I’m really sick and tired of discussing these things since FACTS are what I’ve been looking for all along, I just haven’t found them yet. All Sandy Szwarc does is point how which evidence does NOT exist, so I’ll continue searching instead of believing the media. I don’t believe anything, I’m a convinced agnostic and I’ll keep waiting for actual evidence until someone discovers a method that works. Fortunately I have the privilege of a thin person and nobody will bother me if I do this, but you won’t keep me from sympathising with those who are different. Bye bye.

    Reply
  105. beta

    Tiana,

    Just a question: why do you need to find a *causal* relationship between obesity and health issues? Isn’t a correlation enough?

    Don’t most people with obesity-related health issues get healthy when they lose the weight? (Of course, I understand this does not prove there is a causal relationship, but its a hint).

    Can I be someone who disagrees with some of FA and not a “crazy fat hater”? Because so far, I agree that fat people should not be discriminated against and that no one should criticize you for being fat, etc etc… but I disagree with a LOT of the rest. I don’t hate anyone though.

    Cheers,
    Beta

    PS- Oh, and I find that it’s fascinating that people are not allowed to discuss “lifestyle changes” (“Because they are diets and diets don’t work!”) in FA blogs, but “Hey! You should totally try intuitive eating, I feel so healthy, etc!”

    Reply
  106. ebwl

    Tiana, Why would you think that people who disagree with some of the positions of the fat acceptance movement are doing so because they’re only listening to the media? Would it surprise you to know that I have books by Gina Kolata, Paul Campos, Marilyn Wann, Glenn Gaesser, J. Eric Oliver and many more fat positive authors on my shelf? How about that at one time I collected over a hundred links to articles and a few studies that supported the fat acceptance viewpoint?

    More than anything that’s the kind of thinking that turned me off of the movement. People can’t just come to a different conclusion based on the evidence they’ve seen No. They must not have read Gina Kolata or Paul Campos. They must be getting all their information from fitness magazines and the diet industry.

    Reply
  107. Cherielabombe

    Hi there –

    I’d just like to add for those who are stating that those of us who are fat are clearly eating more and exercising less than our thinner counterparts because otherwise we are working outside of the first law of thermodynamics are neglecting the second law of thermodyanmics. My link is quite dense so to quote the relevant from that particular page:

    “In other words, although the first law holds even in irreversible processes – energy is still conserved – the second law says that something is lost, something is unrecoverable. The efficiency of a machine is dependent on how the machine works and, for a biochemical machine, the nature of the fuel and the processes enlisted by the organism.”

    So, while a calorie is a calorie, what happens to that calorie once its ingested really does differ depending on the body that it has gone into.

    Beta: correlation is NOT enough, because correlation does not equal cause. Let me give you an example. African Americans have a 20% higher likelihood of being sentenced to prison than Caucasian Americans. So we can see that there is a correlation between being African American and higher rates of imprisonment. If I said to you that based on this correlation, it was clear that being African American means you’re more likely to commit a crime you’d probably agree with me that that was ridiculous. We know there are a myriad of other factors likely contributing to that higher rate of imprisonment among African Americans, and it would be lazy, simplistic thinking to make that instant correlation = cause jump.

    Which, in my opinion, is one of the problems with saying with saying that it is enough to say that the correlation is the cause.

    I’d also like to add that, although I am an advocate of FA, I am definitely open to criticism of it, and I don’t think I’m alone in this.

    Reply
  108. ebwl

    Cherie, I don’t think that link contains anything that really contradicts what some of us have been saying.

    If I read it correctly, the paper is talking about the efficiency of various macronutrients in the body and the effect of such on weight loss. Since it takes more energy to convert non-carbohydrates into glucose, a high-protein diet might allow greater calorie consumption than a low fat/high carbohydrate diet. But that energy is still accounted for and someone couldn’t eat 3000 calories/day on a high protein diet and not gain weight (assuming they’re not already an athlete or body builder.)

    And the inefficiency of converting amino acids into glucose is universal in humans. It happens in every body so I don’t see why that would serve as proof that calories behave differently depending on which body they go into.

    Reply
  109. landwhale

    “So, while a calorie is a calorie, what happens to that calorie once its ingested really does differ depending on the body that it has gone into.”

    I don’t think anyone is denying this. Some systems work more efficiently than others, some are more wasteful. But even in most efficient systems, certain functions cannot be performed without x amount of energy. In a human body, life supporting functions such as blood circulation, breathing, digestion and so on, require energy to function.

    While there’s no limit on how wasteful your body can be, there is a limit on how efficient it can be. The human body has a few tricks it can do to prevent weight loss when energy intake is too low compared to consumption, for example attempting to metabolize lean body mass over fat since it’s more “expensive” to maintain. Still, it has it’s limitations.

    Healthy weight loss is a relatively simple process. It’s not necessarily easy, but it’s simple. I loathe the “weight loss industry” as much as anyone in FA does, for their greedy spreading of misinformation and push of products that do more harm than good. It’s often quoted that 95% of diets fail in the long run. Is that because permanent weight loss is vandalized by some “set-point” or because people look for easy fixes, magical pills and don’t eat and live like a 160lbs person when they reach that goal? I don’t know, but my common sense would suggest the second one.

    All that being said, if you’re truly happy with your body and it’s capabilities, good for you. If you feel that you’re happy at 300lbs and don’t need a change, more power to you. If that was the basic message of FA (sort of like the name would suggest), I would have no problems with it. Reading FA blogs and comments paints a different picture though. It seems to be more about attempting to find scientific justification where none is to be found (which is very ID/Creationism like), promoting Fat Power (which is very White Power like), and trying to shame and guilt people not to attempt changing their body even if they wanted to. It’s body acceptance only as long as your body is large. It’s body acceptance only as long as your body is staying where it is or growing, not if it’s shrinking.

    Contrary to what FA claims, comments on FA blogs that get moderated away are not just trolling or “things that have been said million times over”, most comments that would, even if said in a positive way, give a slightly different view of a study or a statistic, never see the daylight. Basically anything that isn’t praising the accepted “truths” of the “movement” won’t show up.

    And yes, they’re your blogs, moderate them whatever way you see fit, but don’t try to claim it’s only fat hate that is being removed.

    I agree you can be fat and healthy. You can be skinny and unhealthy. The fact remains that 3/4 of obese people and half of overweight people have problems with cholesterol and blood pressure, whereas less than 1/4 of normal weight people do.

    tl;dr: It’s possible to lose weight and keep it off if you approach it with common sense, it’s okay to be fat if you’re okay with it, but it’s probably better for you if you’re not. And FA is dishonest cult (is there any other kind?) that’s probably bad for you.

    Reply
  110. Susan

    Landwhale said a mouthful about FA blogs when he/she said they try “to shame and guilt people not to attempt changing their body even if they wanted to. It’s body acceptance only as long as your body is large. It’s body acceptance only as long as your body is staying where it is or growing, not if it’s shrinking.”

    I have been pilloried on FA blogs for making comments like the one I made above in response to Vesta44’s tired FA-style assertions that “to lose substantial amounts of weight, a person has to practically starve themselves and exercise at least 2 or 3 hours a day” and that “repeated dieting totally messes with one’s metabolism”.

    I have been told that I must be a “freak of nature” (one of Kate Harding’s favorite phrases) to have kept so much weight off for so long… that I must be starving and exercising to keep my body below it’s “natural set point” (Um, my body is at its natural set point *now*)… and that I must have “hated myself” to have lost so much weight.

    I have to say it – the majority of female FA bloggers display of great deal of hostility to normal or slim women, particularly if they used to be fat.

    Reply
  111. landwhale

    “I have to say it – the majority of female FA bloggers display of great deal of hostility to normal or slim women, particularly if they used to be fat.”
    This has probably lot to do with reality being in conflict of what they brainwash themselves to think is reality. Losing weight and keeping it off is simple, if not awfully easy – depending on person. They’d like to think it’s next to impossible, and a living proofs to the contrary can be difficult to handle.

    Also, I seriously doubt that they’re not doing quite as good job convincing themselves that they’re okay with their bodies as they’d like to. Bashing normal weight people is part of the process of convincing themselves they don’t want to be like them.

    I don’t claim I know what goes on inside a head of a FA advocate. That’s what it looks to an outsider though.

    Reply
  112. beta

    Cherielabombe,

    “I’d just like to add for those who are stating that those of us who are fat are clearly eating more and exercising less than our thinner counterparts”

    No, we’re not saying that. We’re saying that if you’re fat, you’re eating more or excersing less (or both) than what your body needs to sustain itself.

    “So, while a calorie is a calorie, what happens to that calorie once its ingested really does differ depending on the body that it has gone into. ”

    Of course, which is why theoretically there may be thin people may eat a lot and not gain weight. But there is no theoretical explanation for gaining weight without eating.

    I totally understand that correlation is not causation, because, among other things, it’s been said a million times. I just believe that if obesity and health issues are correlated, wouldn’t it make sense to lose weight?

    Beta

    Reply
  113. Tiana

    Okay, I lied. I’ve come back after all. *sigh*

    I just believe that if obesity and health issues are correlated, wouldn’t it make sense to lose weight?

    And if it was discovered that obesity and health issues were only related because low self esteem and stress can lead to those health issues, would it not make sense to stop telling people to lose weight? Again, I don’t know if this is true, just like I don’t know if obesity in and of itself causes anything. If it was discovered that it actually does, and WHY, then I’d appreciate it if someone invented a weight loss method that worked. If such a method already exists, then it obviously hasn’t been studied intensely enough or else there would only be a total of about 15 fat people left by now. Most of them don’t enjoy being fat and have only stopped dieting because it never worked.

    I’m really sorry about the “crazy fat hater” thing, seriously. It was a reaction to people who kept replying to things I hadn’t even said, so I figured they must be following their own agendas. Does that make sense?

    Tiana, Why would you think that people who disagree with some of the positions of the fat acceptance movement are doing so because they’re only listening to the media?

    Er … and it happens again. I never said that, I was talking about myself! o.O

    And a final note for people who criticise intuitive eating as a concept (which is not necessarily tied to FA): I’m extremely amused by your arguments! 😀 You talk about IE as if it was some kind of new and controversial concept invented by the movement, but in reality, a person who has never learned to read and doesn’t know much about the world would eat intuitively by default. It’s just … eating. Very basic. Not at all inventive or even new. The idea that we should control our food intake, however, has only become popular throughout the last century and nobody would ever think of that out of the blue. That’s why I’m still looking for evidence that it’s actually useful instead of jumping in headfirst. Saying that IE is dangerous makes about as much sense as saying that sleeping for as long as you’d like was dangerous.

    Reply
  114. Susan

    I’d appreciate it if someone invented a weight loss method that worked. If such a method already exists, then it obviously hasn’t been studied intensely enough or else there would only be a total of about 15 fat people left by now.

    Sigh…

    Tiana, there is already a weight loss method that works. It’s the radical notion that you need to eat less and move more, then (here’s the tricky part) keep doing that for the rest of your life.

    As landwhale pointed out, “losing weight and keeping it off is simple, if not awfully easy”. That may explain why there are more than 15 fat people left.

    Reply
  115. landwhale

    I suppose the argument against IE lies in availability of calorie dense foods and lesser amount of exercise people get these days. Obviously cavemen ate pretty much intuitively, with the limited resources they had.

    In my opinion, what IE seems to be these days in FA context, is an excuse to eat too much of foods that are unhealthy. And again, if being obese is not a problem for individual, go hard and enjoy your life. But don’t claim that IE is the natural way of acquiring nutrition in the modern world we live in.

    I know there’s people who lose weight while eating intuitively. There’s also people who gain, and people who’d probably kill themselves eating while following their body’s cues.

    Evolution doesn’t work fast enough to respond to availability of McGriddles, Tim Horton’s glazed donuts and hyper-sized quadruple cheeseburgers. Our bodies won’t send signals to indicate satiation after a very small, very calorie dense, sugar-rich meal while they do it better when we have a meal that’s high in protein and fibre (when the energy content can be way lower).

    A weight loss method that actually works has been discovered long time ago. It can be summarized in couple sentences and it doesn’t cost you anything. The problem is that it doesn’t sell books or side products, so it’s not very attractive.

    “Eat less, exercise more.”

    To expand, it’s best to stay only moderately below your maintenance energy intake. Focus on protein/fibre rich foods over sugar rich foods. Eat often but smaller meals. Never go hungry. I’m partial to recommend anaerobic exercise (resistance training) over cardio-only, but whatever feels good and is interesting.

    See? Not quite enough to fill a book. Yet, if you stick to it, you’ll lose weight and can keep it off forever.

    Reply
  116. Tiana

    The only problem is that some people continue to be in a constant state of physically painful hunger while gaining it all back. Oh, and that some people gain back weight while still following the same diet on which they originally lost it. Oh, and that even people who’ve had weight loss surgery, which makes consuming a lot of calories nigh impossible, sometimes end up gaining it all back. I mean, here’s the thing: If “eat less and exercise more” actually worked, FA would not exist. Those people you’re talking about have already TRIED what you say, except … it didn’t work. Never mind that it makes some people physically ill and stuff. Who cares, right? As long as they’re getting thinner …

    Reply
  117. Popoi

    “Oh, and that some people gain back weight while still following the same diet on which they originally lost it.”

    This is starting to get back into the realm of physical impossibility. If the diet was low enough in energy that the body had to start tucking in to fat reserves, where is the energy to remake the fat coming from? Something is missing from the equation.

    “Oh, and that even people who’ve had weight loss surgery, which makes consuming a lot of calories nigh impossible, sometimes end up gaining it all back.”

    WLS doesn’t inherently change anything but the physical ability of people to eat a lot of food. If there’s no attempt to learn to eat better or form better habits, people go back to what they know once the restraint comes off (sometimes even before that), which is what got them where they were in the first place. It’s unsurprising in the same sense that seeing an alcoholic fresh out of detox without rehab walk into a bar is.

    “I mean, here’s the thing: If “eat less and exercise more” actually worked, FA would not exist. Those people you’re talking about have already TRIED what you say, except … it didn’t work.”

    This isn’t going to sound very convincing, but they’re probably doing it wrong. There are plenty of examples of people who’ve lost weight and kept it off in the long term by doing what people have suggested here. Is there something unique or special about these people that explains why it worked for them but can’t for anyone else?

    Reply
  118. Tiana

    If the diet was low enough in energy that the body had to start tucking in to fat reserves, where is the energy to remake the fat coming from?

    Yup, it’s a mystery. Does that automatically mean that they’re ALL lying or delusional? I say it would be mean to assume that.

    One thing that also doesn’t fit the equation is that it’s difficult to make people fatter than they originally were, too. As soon as you consume unusually high amounts of energy, the body produces more heat and such so that weight gain is prevented. Doesn’t this mean that it wants to be a certain weight? Is it so hard to accept that this weight may be different for every single person?

    Reply
  119. Popoi

    “Yup, it’s a mystery. Does that automatically mean that they’re ALL lying or delusional? I say it would be mean to assume that.”
    Mean doesn’t necessarily mean untrue. I did mean that as a genuine question, by the way. What is your explanation for those results, assuming that those people aren’t lying or mistaken about their intake or activity level?

    “One thing that also doesn’t fit the equation is that it’s difficult to make people fatter than they originally were, too. As soon as you consume unusually high amounts of energy, the body produces more heat and such so that weight gain is prevented.”

    Do you have source for this? This is the first time I’ve heard anything even close to this, and it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense for a variety of reasons. And again, there are plenty of examples of people putting on weight (muscle and fat) by eating more.

    “Is it so hard to accept that this weight may be different for every single person?”

    This would make sense if obesity didn’t correlate with income, and didn’t change over time. Are we to believe that poor people’s bodies want to be fatter than rich people’s for some reason? Can increases (or decreases) in obesity be attributed to people whose bodies might want to be fatter, but are more (or less) able to obtain enough food than an equivalent person in the past?

    Reply
  120. kira

    One thing that also doesn’t fit the equation is that it’s difficult to make people fatter than they originally were, too.

    Really? Do you even realize how absurd a statement that is? You’re basically saying people maintain the same weight their entire (presumably adult) lives. So I guess you don’t know anyone who’s ever gained weight, ever? Because I’m sure everyone else who’s commented here knows lots of people who have.

    Reply
  121. Tiana

    What is your explanation

    I was also serious when I called it a mystery. I never claimed to know everything!

    Do you have source for this?

    *bows dutifully* Here, at the bottom of the page.

    To clear this up, I am not saying that people never gain weight. We all gain some weight as we age, which is completely natural. The yo-yo effect causes weight gain, as well as several diseases and medications. In some families it seems to be normal that all women, for example, are thin up to a certain age (say 25) and then gain weight all out of the blue. That’s odd, but after five generations I would maybe start to suspect that this might be genetic. Pregnancy can also leave you with a few pounds that never come off again.

    Finally, there’s the setpoint theory which states that body weight can fluctuate within a certain range (20 pounds? I’m not sure), so if you were previously on the very low end and eventually reach the very high end … yeah.

    Reply
  122. Susan

    This discussion is getting surreal…

    “I mean, here’s the thing: If “eat less and exercise more” actually worked, FA would not exist. Those people you’re talking about have already TRIED what you say, except … it didn’t work.”

    Tiana, have you read my posts? I’m living proof that eating less and exercising more does work.

    There are plenty of examples of people who’ve lost weight and kept it off in the long term by doing what people have suggested here. Is there something unique or special about these people that explains why it worked for them but can’t for anyone else?

    Frankly, no.

    I know I’m genetically predisposed to be fat so I have to work at maintaining my weight loss every day. Please note that this does not involve being “in a constant state of physically painful hunger”, or as Vesta44 likes to say, “exercising like a hamster on speed”.

    It does involve eating a healthy, balanced diet at my maintenance calorie level (or as landwhale puts it, favoring protein/fibre rich foods over sugar rich foods), working up a good sweat several times a week, and some heavy weight training.

    Why is it so hard for you to grasp that?

    The only difference between people such as myself and the vast majority of the FA community is that I’m prepared to do what it takes, day in and day out.

    It’s what you might call a – gasp! – “lifestyle change”. Sure, it takes a certain amount of effort, but it beats whining “I TRIED what you say, except … it didn’t work!”

    Reply
  123. Natalie

    Susan:

    I’m living proof that eating less and exercising more does work.

    Ah. Of course. Living proof. Come back in 5 years and tell us all how your weight loss maintenance has gone. Statisically, you will be back at your original weight or heavier.

    Using the “living proof” logic, I am living proof that my body’s set point is 115kg. I don’t gain weight, nor do I lose weight (outside of a +/- 5kg range). I admit I don’t diet, but nor do I binge. I eat moderately and instinctively and I exercise.

    One item that has not been addressed above is the mental health aspect of HAES. Many FA activists, such as myself, have found that constant dieting and/or ‘maintenance eating’ is counter productive to wholistic health, including mental health.

    Dieting, long term dieting, is counter productive to mental health, as it encourages an obsessive calorie-counting mentality (yes, I’m sure some dieters can diet without being obsessive, but that is different to my experience and the experience of many others) and also an all or nothing attitude to food. Diet. Binge. No in between. No such thing as moderation.

    Add to that the frustration and humiliation of being called a ‘liar’ when one is consuming 800 calories but are failing to lose any *additional* weight after reaching a plateau. In my own personal experience, that occurred after I had lost 60kg already. Can you tell me how it was possible for me to lose 60kg without scrutinising exactly what I was eating at all times? But somehow the ‘logic’ of the person who called be a liar was that I must have just closed my eyes, crossed my fingers, chanted ‘lalalalalalala’ and turned 3 times anti-clockwise before jumping into a river in Egypt and hoeing into 5 cheesecakes.

    Look, we aren’t asking that you like our bodies. We are not even asking that you like our chosen lifestyle (i.e. chosing not to actively seek weight loss). What we ARE asking you to check your prejudices at the door, acknowledge that what works for your body is not what works for every body and get out of our faces with diet and exercise recommendations.

    We’ve heard them all. Really. We’ve tried them all. We’ve lost the weight. And we’ve had the regain that is 95% certain.

    Reply
  124. landwhale

    People who consume 800 kcal a day don’t have any idea how healthy weight loss works. Eating like that is a pretty good guarantee to belong to that 95%.

    “The only problem is that some people continue to be in a constant state of physically painful hunger while gaining it all back”

    If you’re hungry while attempting to lose weight, you’re doing it wrong. For most people, adding foods high in protein and fibre and cutting high-GI carbohydrates and eating more often, less at a time, allows you to cut total energy intake below your maintenance level without feeling hunger.

    As for calorie counting (software or online sites)… yeah, some people might build it into obsession. For most though, it can be a great tool that can teach you better overall eating habits. It takes perhaps 5 minutes out of your day. And chances are it won’t make you anorectic.

    Reply
  125. DR

    Had to jump back in the water again.

    Tiana:

    You said:

    “In some families it seems to be normal that all women, for example, are thin up to a certain age (say 25) and then gain weight all out of the blue. That’s odd, but after five generations I would maybe start to suspect that this might be genetic. Pregnancy can also leave you with a few pounds that never come off again”.

    Genetics is such a sad excuse. Pregnancy has a huge effect on a woman’s body composition. No argument here.

    But it isn’t genetics. The shift in hormones isn’t genetic, the shift in lifestyle between pre and post-pregnancy isn’t genetic, the shift in a mom’s thinking from a “me” focused life to a “baby” focused life isn’t genetic. The drastic reduction in free time in which to exercise isn’t genetic.

    There may be a strong epigenetic link to obesity that gets activated by the radical shift in lifestyle that happens when a women becomes a mom, but it is not genetics

    http://healthhabits.wordpress.com/2008/05/05/nutrition-environment-and-epigenetics/

    You also said:

    DR, I wasn’t being entirely serious. I have tried to gain weight in the past, but now I don’t need to anymore since I’ve had a baby and pregnancy did its thing”

    Did having a baby make you stronger and fitter?

    Reply
  126. ebwl

    I’ve read that article by Kolata before and, even when I was a cheerleader for FA, I didn’t understand how you could draw that conclusion based on two studies where people’s caloric intake were quickly and drastically cut/increased. Putting people on a 600 calorie/day diet and being surprised that they gain weight back? Really?

    Also, just as an aside, I would be careful of using articles like that as sources. I respect Kolata, but was quite surprised when I read “The Hungry Gene” by Ellen Ruppel Shell, to see many of the same scientists that Kolata quotes in her book quoted as being not nearly so certain about things like setpoint theory and how the genetics of weight work. I’m not saying that Shell couldn’t be carefully quoting to support her own positions, but science writers are, unfortunately, often quite biased themselves.

    I don’t think it’s a coincidence that most of the studies I’ve seen that suggest a severe drop in metabolism due to dieting are studies of very low calorie diets. Nor that so many in FA equate dieting with severe restriction. You can’t beat hunger, but you can be satisfied with less if you know how your body works. I’m as satisfied by a bowl of 13 bean soup with whole grain bread as I am by a veggie burger and plate of fries, but the latter contains almost twice as many calories as the former. It’s really not that hard.

    Reply
  127. DR

    Natalie,

    For some “objective” info on long term weight loss, take a look at the National Weight Control Registry – http://www.nwcr.ws/default.htm

    The NWCR is tracking over 5,000 individuals who have lost significant amounts of weight and kept it off for long periods of time.

    Detailed questionnaires and annual follow-up surveys are used to examine the behavioral and psychological characteristics of weight maintainers, as well as the strategies they use to maintaining their weight losses.

    * We have also started to learn about how the weight loss was accomplished: 45% of registry participants lost the weight on their own and the other 55% lost weight with the help of some type of program.

    * 98% of Registry participants report that they modified their food intake in some way to lose weight.

    * 94% increased their physical activity, with the most frequently reported form of activity being walking.

    * There is variety in how NWCR members keep the weight off. Most report continuing to maintain a low calorie, low fat diet and doing high levels of activity.

    o 78% eat breakfast every day.
    o 75% weigh them self at least once a week.
    o 62% watch less than 10 hours of TV per week.
    o 90% exercise, on average, about 1 hour per day.

    I could also provide over 1500 successful weight loss stories that I have personally witnessed, but like you, I am more than a little skeptical about claims that individuals make about weight loss or gain.

    So, no exercise or diet recommendations coming from me.

    My only question for you is, do you think that the Size / Fat Acceptance movement as a whole has opened itself up to criticism by promoting it’s philosophy to the world at large?

    I agree that trolls who surf the SA/FA blogs spoiling for a fight have a few psychological issues that they need to clear up.

    I also feel that as soon as SA/FA proponents venture outside of their community and try to promote their beliefs to the general public, they should expect some resistance.

    Reply
  128. Betarraga

    Tiana:

    “Oh, and that even people who’ve had weight loss surgery, which makes consuming a lot of calories nigh impossible, sometimes end up gaining it all back.”

    Yeah, I know a couple of those people, who discovered that they could still eat a lot of ice cream and gained all their weight back. I’m not saying everyone who’s had WLS and gained their weight back has been doing this, I’m just saying this is a possible option and I know people that have had this happen to them.

    “then I’d appreciate it if someone invented a weight loss method that worked. If such a method already exists, then it obviously hasn’t been studied intensely enough or else there would only be a total of about 15 fat people left by now.”

    That method exists. In my opinion it does take a lot of hard work (because you’ve *got* to change your lifestyle and make time to exercise, to cook, etc) but it’s already been “invented” and it works.

    BTW, I don’t think any one of us should be concerned with what others eat, or whether anyone else is fat or thin. I’d just like to see more facts and truth in the FA movement… so people can make their decisions based on facts, instead of thinking that weight gain/loss is a “mystery”.

    Beta

    Reply
  129. kallopala

    Ok… I read the article Tiana linked. It’s shocking. I mean, you put people on a 600 kcal/d liquid diet, and they show signs of starvation! And gain the weight back after going back to eating normally! How incredibly surprising! (Sarcasm directed towards the language used in the article, not Tiana)

    It seems like the FA understanding of calorie-cutting weight loss diets involve ridiculous, dangerous intake levels of sub-1000 kcal/d. No wonder these “diets” never worked for them. No wonder they weren’t able to keep them up. No wonder they felt hungry and associated dieting with starvation.

    For a sedentary female in their 30s, at 250lbs, maintenance level is somewhere around 2300 kcal/d. Productive, safe range for weight loss would then be somewhere around 1800-2000 kcal/d, combined with some added exercise. Eating at that range, food types mentioned by landwhale, for most people would mean no hunger and steady, maintainable weight loss. At 160lbs couple years later, with “lightly active” lifestyle, their maintenance would be around 2000 kcal/d.

    For most people, such a moderate cut in intake should not lead in huge metabolic changes. As the goal is reached, they can keep up with the habits they’ve had for the last couple years and should be able to keep it off. They already know how to maintain at 160lbs – they’ve already done that for months.

    These threads generally turn into “weight loss tips for fat people” and “been there, tried everything, nothing works”, not because people just want to tell fatties to put down the fork but because FA proponents paint a picture that no matter what, sustainable weight loss is an unattainable goal.

    I agree that fad-dieting (anal leakage pills, grapefruit diet, liquid shakes, what have you) are a terrible way to lose weight, and most likely doomed to failure in the long run. Severe calorie cutting too. There’s no miracle “cure” for obesity that works fast and works forever once you return to your old habits.

    Changing your magical weight set-point involves a lifelong lifestyle change. Once you hit your goal, if you abandon the lifestyle that lead you there, the set-point gnomes will start stapling chunks of lard on your body until you’re back and beyond where you started from.

    That’s not to say that it’d be a struggle to stay at a lower weight. For some it might, for some it just becomes the new normal.

    Reply
  130. Popoi

    “I was also serious when I called it a mystery. I never claimed to know everything!”

    The thing is it’s not a mystery at all. Either energy intake has increased, or energy expenditure has decreased. It’s not just a prejudiced assumption that they’re incorrect about their diet or exercise, it’s the best explanation for the results.

    “Finally, there’s the setpoint theory which states that body weight can fluctuate within a certain range (20 pounds? I’m not sure), so if you were previously on the very low end and eventually reach the very high end … yeah.”

    Set point theory has way too many holes to be taken seriously. The main one being that it’s not difficult at all for a fat person to gain a lot more than 20 pounds. I’ve fluctuated by a good bit more than that when my activity level changed (stopped exercising once a week and got a desk job). Google Manuel Uribe and see if you can figure out where his set point is.

    Reply
  131. Susan

    Ah. Of course. Living proof. Come back in 5 years and tell us all how your weight loss maintenance has gone. Statisically, you will be back at your original weight or heavier.

    Sigh…

    You should have bothered to read my first post, where I wrote:

    I have lost 90 pounds and kept it off for nearly five years.

    And don’t come back and say “Aha! nearly five years!” I think I am statistically unlikely to gain over 90 pounds between now and November, don’t you?

    Reply
  132. Prozacrefugee

    “Ah. Of course. Living proof. Come back in 5 years and tell us all how your weight loss maintenance has gone. Statisically, you will be back at your original weight or heavier.”

    What statistic? That some people lose weight and put it back on? There’s also people that don’t, but you want to pretend that it’s an ABSOLUTE that your body will go back to this fantasy of a set point.

    “Using the “living proof” logic, I am living proof that my body’s set point is 115kg. I don’t gain weight, nor do I lose weight (outside of a +/- 5kg range). I admit I don’t diet, but nor do I binge. I eat moderately and instinctively and I exercise.”. ”

    How tall are you? Your body is not naturally supposed to weigh 115kg with a good diet. You do NOT eat moderately – the amount may seem so, but if it’s calorie dense food you’re eating too much at what SEEMS to you to be a proper amount. And you may not lose or gain weight, but that just implies that your eating habits and lifestyle have found a plateau. This does not mean it’s healthy. You are harming yourself by continuing this lifestyle.

    “One item that has not been addressed above is the mental health aspect of HAES. Many FA activists, such as myself, have found that constant dieting and/or ‘maintenance eating’ is counter productive to wholistic health, including mental health.”

    Mental health is not being comforted by food or being told that your bad choices are not that. Your argument is identical to an alcoholic saying “but without drinking I feel depressed”. How about losing weight, and then you won’t have mental issues about your weight? If you have other mental health problems treat them, but this is nothing but a selfish dodge – and having been around people who have mental health issues beyond their control (schizophrenia, bipolarism) it’s pretty insulting of their actual struggle just to see sanity.

    “Dieting, long term dieting, is counter productive to mental health, as it encourages an obsessive calorie-counting mentality (yes, I’m sure some dieters can diet without being obsessive, but that is different to my experience and the experience of many others) and also an all or nothing attitude to food. Diet. Binge. No in between. No such thing as moderation.”

    A weight loss diet and an actual healthy maintenance diet are not the same as yo-yo starvation diets (which don’t work well). Recommended is being 500 calories under your maintainence level in order to lose 1 pound a week. Muscle building exercise will help in this as well – but simply making a few changes to the diet will usually accomplish this. Give up soda, eat more fruit, and red meat no more than once a day, and you’re probably there.

    If you’re positive that diet doesn’t work go sign up at either The Daily Plate or Fit Day. Track EVERYTHING that goes in your mouth for 2 weeks. Either your calories will be far over, or you’ll be losing weight.

    “Add to that the frustration and humiliation of being called a ‘liar’ when one is consuming 800 calories but are failing to lose any *additional* weight after reaching a plateau. In my own personal experience, that occurred after I had lost 60kg already. Can you tell me how it was possible for me to lose 60kg without scrutinising exactly what I was eating at all times?”

    Eating 800 calories a day is not responsible weight loss. You’re in starvation mode – and you’re eating your muscle tissue primarily at those levels. What that means is that when you do go back to your previous (bad) diet you’re going to put on even more weight, because your basic resting metabolic rate is even lower from the lost muscle.

    If comments on the internet are “humiliation” you’ve had a very sheltered life.

    “But somehow the ‘logic’ of the person who called be a liar was that I must have just closed my eyes, crossed my fingers, chanted ‘lalalalalalala’ and turned 3 times anti-clockwise before jumping into a river in Egypt and hoeing into 5 cheesecakes.”

    Your hyperbole aside, I didn’t say you had never lost weight. What I said when I introduced the term liar is a person over 300 pounds who has stable weight is consuming more than 1800 calories a day. Either you’re taking in more than your realize, you’re lying about how many calories you take in, or you’re losing weight (at least 2 pounds per week at that level). That’s pretty basic nutrition and anatomy.

    “Look, we aren’t asking that you like our bodies. We are not even asking that you like our chosen lifestyle (i.e. chosing not to actively seek weight loss). What we ARE asking you to check your prejudices at the door, acknowledge that what works for your body is not what works for every body and get out of our faces with diet and exercise recommendations.”

    It’s not prejudice – your own body advertises that you have poor decision making abilities or are unable to see consequences, that you rationalize an unhealthy lifestyle, and probably have emotional issues you refuse to deal with in any meaningful way.

    Get out of your faces – how about you get out of OUR faces, crowding us on airplanes and refusing to pay for a second seat, driving up the price of health care, and through your consumer demand making actual healthy food inconvenient compared to the high fat foods you “instinctively” eat?

    Reply
  133. Susan

    I really should go and do something more productive, but I’ll bite again…

    What we ARE asking you [is to] acknowledge that what works for your body is not what works for every body and get out of our faces with diet and exercise recommendations.

    Natalie, what works for my body is exactly the same as what works for your body. The fact that you tried to lose weight on 800 calories a day indicates that, instead of railing against people who have successfully lost weight, you may be better served by reading and understanding some sensible diet and exercise recommendations.

    Eating only 800 calories a day will slow your metabolism and make you lose muscle, further slowing your metabolism. It will also (as I’m sure you have already found out) set you up for bingeing.

    A calorie deficit of 10-30% below maintenance calories is generally recommended for weight loss – at the higher end if you have a lot of weight to lose, and at the lower end if you’re close to your ideal weight.

    We’ve heard them all. Really. We’ve tried them all. We’ve lost the weight. And we’ve had the regain that is 95% certain.

    Regain is not 95% certain (see above). You could try a sensible approach as outlined by landwhale and others here.

    Reply
  134. DR

    Susan,

    It’s not that the FA people think you are going to gain the weight back…..they hope you are going to gain the weight back.

    http://healthhabits.wordpress.com/2008/08/17/size-acceptance-movement-loses-love/

    Actress Jennifer Love Hewitt became a minor cause celebre amongst the SA / FA crowd when she stood up to the media after they posted bikini pics of her looking a little bigger than normal.

    Well, wouldn’t you know it, she drops the weight in time for the new season of her show, and the SA / FA crowd lose it. She’s a traitor for losing the body-fat.

    BTW – 90 lbs lost is a great job!

    Reply
  135. Susan

    It’s not that the FA people think you are going to gain the weight back…..they hope you are going to gain the weight back.

    Good point.

    BTW – 90 lbs lost is a great job!

    Thanks! 🙂

    Reply
  136. kallopala

    “I think I am statistically unlikely to gain over 90 pounds between now and November, don’t you?”

    You’ve got 10 weeks. That’s only 9 pounds a week. If you create a surplus of 4500 kcal/d you can do it!

    Let’s see… you could add half a litre of olive oil to your daily diet to do that. Or 6 double quarter pounders with cheese. Or 30kg of celery. Or 10 litres of Mountain Dew.

    Reply
  137. Tiana

    What what what?? Who do you think you are, to talk about mothers like they’re all the same?

    To use myself as an example, I get significantly MORE “exercise” now because I went from absolutely nothing to lifting a baby numerous times a day. I have gained visible muscle and most of the pregnancy weight dropped off by itself, just not all of it. No additional fat appeared magically AFTER the birth. I’m still not fat, but I’m eating less than before and yet I’m heavier. Not that it bothers me since it had been my intention anyway, but many mothers out there are in fact bothered by it and to tell them that it’s all their own fault is extremely respectless.

    Besides you haven’t read my comment carefully. The part about genetics had nothing whatsoever to do with the part about pregnancy. If it does happen like that for no apparent reasons, five generations in a row, genetics is a very reasonable explanation! Never mind that adoptees generally end up being as fat as their natural parents. How can it be lifestyle then?

    The NWCR page is interesting, but I can’t find the actual data anywhere. It’s all just percentages and averages, even in full text versions. If “Weight losses have ranged from 30 to 300 lbs” and “Duration of successful weight loss has ranged from 1 year to 66 years,” a person who has kept off only 30 lbs for 66 years could well have skewed the averages quite a bit!

    I can absolutely why it must seem that FA’s former dieters all took the wrong approach, but from what I’ve heard they usually tried moderate calorie restriction first and when it didn’t work, they restricted further, and when that didn’t work, they restricted even further …

    Btw, I don’t have to google Manuel Uribe to know who he is. Since he is obviously a very extreme exception, it doesn’t make sense to bring him up. All I know is that even weight gain fetishists keep complaining about being unable to gain weight!

    And it doesn’t matter how often you repeat that it’s all about the laws of physics: You ARE still saying that those people are either lying or delusional. Which is the whole problem.

    Reply
  138. Popoi

    “Btw, I don’t have to google Manuel Uribe to know who he is. Since he is obviously a very extreme exception, it doesn’t make sense to bring him up.”

    What’s special about him that he’s an exception to the set point theory? If there are exceptions, how can we distinguish one from someone who just has a really high set point?

    “And it doesn’t matter how often you repeat that it’s all about the laws of physics: You ARE still saying that those people are either lying or delusional. Which is the whole problem.”

    Why is this a problem? I don’t see how it’s doing anyone any favors to lie to them so they don’t feel bad about failing at something that is honestly pretty difficult.

    Reply
  139. Tiana

    The guy could have a rare disease that makes his body send out false hunger signals. Media reporting is fishy, so it could also have been a combination of a naturally high setpoint plus binge eating disorder, which he has now overcome. Then there is the rather strange possibility that his setpoint simply IS unnaturally high and he will eventually gain back all the weight that he’s lost. There are many possible explanations.

    What’s more interesting is the fact that he is actually very healthy aside from his weight. I have always been amused by that. Not that I don’t feel sorry for him anyway …

    Why is this a problem?

    Are you kidding? Not trusting people is always a problem.

    Reply
  140. DR

    Tiana,

    Respect?

    Seriously?

    This is why I usually stay out of this Fat Acceptance mess. The bizarre combination of pseudo-science and thin skinned emotions makes have an intelligent conversation near to impossible.

    But I will tell you who I think I am.

    I am a person that has helped hundreds of mothers achieve the physical transformation that they wanted after having their babies.

    I have heard hundreds of stories. I never said all mothers are the same.

    But the ones who held onto the genetic defense for obesity quit when the going got tough.

    And the ones that did something about it day after day after day achieved remarkable changes.

    Fact

    What I can’t understand is why anyone would rather wallow in FA self defeat when they can look to the examples set by the people in the NWCR.

    And not to invalidate your personal experience, but when it comes to one person’s personal story of weight gain, I have stopped believing the self soothing stories they use to explain their obesity.

    It’s irrelevant. Life is hard. Not everyone is willing to do the hard work.

    I am not perfect by any means – I procrastinate like crazy when it comes to doing my taxes. But I know that by avoiding the problem, it isn’t going to go away.

    Someone sent me this video today – After watching it, my excuses rang a little hollow – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=flRvsO8m_KI

    Reply
  141. Popoi

    “Are you kidding? Not trusting people is always a problem.”

    Sometimes people do not tell the truth.

    It’s not a problem to not trust someone when what they’re telling you goes so far as to conflict with basic physics.

    What is a problem is taking them at their word to such an extent that you start making dubious claims about biology and physics that you don’t have any reasoning to justify.

    Reply
  142. ebwl

    Not trusting people is always a problem.

    http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/content/abstract/79/6/962

    “Results: Increases in portion size and energy density led to independent and additive increases in energy intake (P <0.0001). Subjects consumed 56% more energy (925 kJ) when served the largest portion of the higher energy-dense entrée than when served the smallest portion of the lower energy-dense entrée. Subjects did not compensate for the additional intake by eating less at the subsequent meal. Despite substantial differences in energy intake, no systematic differences in ratings of hunger and fullness across conditions were observed.

    It’s not, for me, a matter of believing people to be untrustworthy. Lots of people, thin and fat, are absolute crap when it comes to knowing how much they eat. And when we’re talking about energy-dense food that may or may not be particularly filling, it’s not a sign of weakness that someone may not realize how much they’re eating.

    Reply
  143. Tiana

    DR, why are you talking about my so-called “weight gain experience” as if it was a bad thing when I used to be almost underweight and happen to be much more comfortable now? You don’t seem to be talking to me at all. Also, what I said about respect had nothing to do with FA; it was about mothers. Way to miss the point there.

    What I can’t understand is why anyone would rather wallow in FA self defeat when they can look to the examples set by the people in the NWCR.

    BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT WALLOWING. *headdesk* THEY’RE HAPPIER THAN BEFORE. You got that??

    Okay, now on to that study. It’s interesting, but I really don’t think it proves anything. They may have eaten all that despite the larger portion sizes, but then again it also says right there that “they consumed 10% less food (36.1 g) when served the entrée of higher energy density compared with that of lower energy density,” so I don’t even know what the hell this is supposed to tell me. Yes, we all have days on which we eat more than usual just because it’s there. Our bodies can make up for that by producing more heat though, so … the extra calories were probably already gone by dinner time.

    They also found that not only did the subjects prefer the smell of less energy-dense foods when asked before lunch, they also liked the taste of the bigger portions less than that of the smaller portions when asked after lunch. This clearly indicates that our bodies DO recognise a difference in energy intake, and we don’t know how good the subjects were at listening to their bodies. Besides, some of them may have thought that it would be a good idea to eat as much as they could since they had no idea what the study was about.

    I don’t understand why they did this on several non-consecutive days; several days in a row might have led to better observations.

    Reply
  144. Susan

    BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT WALLOWING. *headdesk* THEY’RE HAPPIER THAN BEFORE. You got that??

    I certainly don’t troll FA blogs, but from my casual reading of them, many of the bloggers and commenters don’t strike me as particularly happy.

    Quite the opposite – as a group, they often appear to be angry and hostile towards “everyone else”.

    Reply
  145. DR

    BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT WALLOWING. *headdesk* THEY’RE HAPPIER THAN BEFORE. You got that??

    Self-delusion (Self`-de*lu”sion) (?), n.

    The act of deluding one’s self, or the state of being thus deluded.

    Reply
  146. landwhale

    “BECAUSE THEY ARE NOT WALLOWING. *headdesk* THEY’RE HAPPIER THAN BEFORE. You got that??”
    That’s certainly not the kind of image you get reading FA blogs… It’s more like anger, bitterness and a very fragile self-image that takes lots of resources and self-delusion to maintain. These people sound like they’re an inch away from complete nervous breakdown at all times. The whole “YEE HAW! FAT AND PROUD OF IT!!!” seems so fake and forced that it’s amazing they’re able to keep themselves deluded by it.

    It’s just sad, really.

    Reply
  147. ebwl

    “they consumed 10% less food (36.1 g) when served the entrée of higher energy density compared with that of lower energy density,”

    Yes, but their total energy intake was still greater.

    “Despite the lower weight of food consumed in the condition of higher energy density, energy intakes at lunch were 26% (494 kJ) greater when subjects consumed the entrée of higher energy density…”

    Which was my whole point, that people tend to eat more when given energy dense food or large portions of food.

    http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0887/is_7_26/ai_n27335524

    From the above article:

    “The results of this study extend previous findings by showing that the effect of large portion sizes on energy intake is sustained not just for 2 days, but for as long as 11 days. The 50% increase in portion sizes resulted in a mean increase in intake of 423 kcal per day over the 11 days of the study, for an average cumulative increase of 4636 kcal.”

    And here’s one on the effect of beverages on caloric intake.

    http://cat.inist.fr/?aModele=afficheN&cpsidt=18329169

    “Increasing beverage portion size significantly increased the weight of beverage consumed, regardless of the type of beverage served (P<0.05). As a consequence, for the caloric beverage, energy intake from the beverage increased by 10% for women and 26% for men when there was a 50% increase in the portion served (P<0.01). Food intake did not differ between conditions, so when the energy from the caloric beverage was added to the energy from food, total energy intake at lunch was increased significantly (P<0.001) compared with noncaloric beverages.”

    The point of all of this is that it’s very very easy in our society to eat more energy than our body needs. I agree with fat acceptance that this isn’t an issue of personal willpower or morality. I disagree with FA when it becomes so entrenched in its own gospel that it discourages people from taking an honest look at any evidence that disagrees with its tenets.

    Our bodies can make up for that by producing more heat though, so … the extra calories were probably already gone by dinner time.

    Do you have a source for this? I know you don’t believe in calories in/calories out, but it would be impossible to put on weight if people’s bodies were always just burning up any excess energy they consumed.

    Reply
  148. Prozacrefugee

    “I can absolutely why it must seem that FA’s former dieters all took the wrong approach, but from what I’ve heard they usually tried moderate calorie restriction first and when it didn’t work, they restricted further, and when that didn’t work, they restricted even further …”

    “from what I heard” seems to be the preface to all your ‘points’. Meanwhile you’re disputing basically the entire medical community. Have you heard the earth is flat?

    “Btw, I don’t have to google Manuel Uribe to know who he is. Since he is obviously a very extreme exception, it doesn’t make sense to bring him up. All I know is that even weight gain fetishists keep complaining about being unable to gain weight!”

    They’re upset about not being able to gain massive amounts of weight quickly. Stop grasping at straws and using third person anecdotal evidence, it’s painfully transparent you have no hard evidence.

    “And it doesn’t matter how often you repeat that it’s all about the laws of physics: You ARE still saying that those people are either lying or delusional. Which is the whole problem.”

    Yes, because they are either lying or delusional – same as if somebody said that baseballs fall upwards. If you’re eating less calories than you burn you lose weight. People don’t have a metabolism that’s slower than the average comotose 75 year old. It’s not a problem that I’m quite plainly stating that people claiming the impossible are either lying or delusional, the problem is that they are either lying or delusional.

    Reply
  149. kallopala

    “And it doesn’t matter how often you repeat that it’s all about the laws of physics: You ARE still saying that those people are either lying or delusional. Which is the whole problem.”

    I think most of us accept that it’s possible to cram in bunch of Calories and not have all of the unspent energy converted to fat. There are species out there who eat dung, so some amount of energy escapes our bodies unabsorbed. For some individuals this could be more than for others, if their digestive system is particulary ineffective.

    However, most people would have a problem with a concept where a system uses more energy than it takes in. An exercising, 375lbs woman who takes in 1800kcal/d to maintain is kind of like a 3/4 truck towing a mobile home while doing 45MPG.

    Sure, you can claim your F-250 does that, but no sane person is going to take your word for it. Either your gauge is broken or you’re lying.

    Naturally human body is more complex machine than a 5.4 litre V8, but there are limits on how efficient it can be. Individual variations in human BMR are not all that great (about 5%) when weight and age are taken out of the equation.

    Reply
  150. kallopala

    As for Vesta44’s case, her calculated BMR with lowest level allowed in variation would be 2234 kcal/d and even at a sedentary level the maintenance level would be 2681 kcal/d. If she’s taking in 881 kcal/d under the maintenance level, she’d be losing 1 3/4 lbs a week. And that’s with having a very low BMR for her size and not even counting for the claimed exercise.

    So, is she just lying trying to make a point or misinformed of her own Calorie intake? I’d put my money on the second one, as intentionally making such a ridiculous claim wouldn’t convince anyone with half a brain.

    Reply
  151. Tiana

    I linked to my hard evidence up there in another comment and you haven’t presented me with evidence to the contrary either. We’re all mostly relying on anecdotes, and the weight gain fetishists I’ve mentioned where actually complaining that they kept losing weight accidentally, not that they were gaining it too slowly. Anecdotes are what “common sense” consists of, without them we’d blindly believe every piece of science that was published.

    Reply
  152. zezebelle

    landwhale:

    People who consume 800 kcal a day don’t have any idea how healthy weight loss works.

    Susan:

    Eating only 800 calories a day will slow your metabolism and make you lose muscle, further slowing your metabolism. It will also (as I’m sure you have already found out) set you up for bingeing.

    Doh! I woz doo’n it rong.

    People who consume 800 kcal a day have started off on 2000 kcal a day or whatever is recommended for their size and then – wait for it – reached a plateau only to be told – wait for it – ‘you must be lying about your food, reduce your intake’ and then – wait for it – reached a plateau only to be told – wait for it – ‘you must be lying about your food, reduce your intake’ and then – wait for it – they are finally consuming only 800 kcal and not losing weight.

    Bodies become more fuel efficient over time when on restricted calories. It is a starvation response. Read about Set Point Theory. Exercise and avoiding calorie restriction can help prevent lowering of the metabolic rate BUT, BUT, BUT, neither of these will fix it permanently if one’s metabolism is already out of whack, the best you can do is improve it slightly, albeit temporarily until your body adjusts its fuel efficiency to the new circumstances.

    DR:

    The NWCR is tracking over 5,000 individuals who have lost significant amounts of weight and kept it off for long periods of time.

    And more power to them. But note the number, which is a relatively small. 5000. Out of how many dieters who haven’t kept the weight off for long periods of time. These exceptional individuals fit into the 5% of people who can successfully keep of their weight long term. Their experience does not change the experience of 95% of others.

    My only question for you is, do you think that the Size / Fat Acceptance movement as a whole has opened itself up to criticism by promoting it’s philosophy to the world at large?

    I agree that trolls who surf the SA/FA blogs spoiling for a fight have a few psychological issues that they need to clear up.

    I also feel that as soon as SA/FA proponents venture outside of their community and try to promote their beliefs to the general public, they should expect some resistance.

    And indeed we do expect resistance. Both from rational individuals who find HAES counter-intuitive and anathema to their own philosophy of health, and from the fat-hating trolls you refer to above.

    The FA/SA community discuss the issues in two very distinct places.

    Firstly, on our blogs and in our forums which we designate as ‘safe spaces’ where we provide support and eliminate potentially ‘triggering’ discussions. Each blog/forum has its own rules on what that means exactly, ranging from no dissent allowed to polite, rational dissent allowed, but usually that does involve the iron clad ‘no diet talk’ rule. This is required as many of us, fat and thin, are recovering from eating disorders or just simply are over hearing the same ineffective advice over and over and over.

    Secondly, there are the other places which covers a spectrum from blogs that are supportive of the anti-discrimination portion of FA/SA but think we are deluded in our views on health and weight loss, right through to forum posts which mock fat bodies through hate speech and slurs merely to ‘bait’ us into responding. And it goes without saying that the discussions on these sites ranges from rational through to invective. Even on a more rational, somewhat open – if skeptical – site such this one, we have one poster with the delightful pseudenom ‘landwhale’, which is not exactly respectful of fat people, is it?

    So, yes, of course we have opened ourselves up to criticism. We expect that and, as activists, we expect to have to educate and debate. We won’t pack our bags and go home, but we will reserve our rights to choose our battles.

    Reply
  153. zezebelle

    Susan:

    I have lost 90 pounds and kept it off for nearly five years.

    And don’t come back and say “Aha! nearly five years!” I think I am statistically unlikely to gain over 90 pounds between now and November, don’t you?

    Congratulations on your success. However you should not equate your (very rare) long term success with “if I can do it, anyone can!”.

    Reply
  154. beta

    Tiana: By hard evidence, did you mean the article about how 95% of people gain weight back after 600 calorie diets?
    Kira linked to the following article, which might be interesting to read: “95% Regain Lost Weight. Or Do They?”. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9D06EFDF1231F936A15756C0A96F958260&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=1

    I think there’s something that’s been presented here that is not an anecdote, and that is that we all follow the laws of physics.

    Beta

    PS. bentlyr, do you mind this discussion? I feel like we’re invading your blog. But honestly I’ve never seen a true discussion about FA anywhere, ever.

    Reply
  155. attrice

    I don’t mean to sound like a jerk, but I wouldn’t consider an article in a newspaper which summarizes (and editorializes) an older study to be ‘hard evidence.’ Even so, all I could see that it said was that, at their heaviest weight, the prisoners required more calories which is exactly what you would expect since more mass requires more energy.

    I also don’t like to diss anecdotes since we all use them, but, at best, they are the beginning of the questions that lead to real scientific studies – not a common sense balance to science.

    I also wanted to thank you, Tiana, for sticking this out and responding to people. During my days in FA, I was definitely one of those people who would have dismissed this whole discussion as ‘fatphobic’ and never bothered to read or respond to anyone’s posts.

    Reply
  156. attrice

    Lol, that’s what I get for having an automatic log in on this computer. I’m ebwl, btw.

    I was hoping to avoid more nasty emails so I was being super wussified, but yeah, ebwl = me.

    Reply
  157. bentlyr Post author

    “bentlyr, do you mind this discussion?”

    Not at all. I’m continuing to read the comments and am really learning quite a lot. Thank you everyone.

    Reply
  158. kira

    attrice, did you actually read the article? The reason I linked to it (which I stated above already, but perhaps you missed it), was that the author of the original research on which the 95% figure is based is quoted as saying that it’s not relevant or applicable to present, real world dieting behavior. There are also similar quotations from other scientists in the field. Those parts aren’t Times editorializing, unless you’re suggesting that they fabricated the quotations.

    Reply
  159. attrice

    Kira, I was responding to Tiana. I actually meant to thank you for that link. When I’ve tried to look up sources for the 95% figure, I only find people repeating the figure without any sources.

    Reply
  160. Susan

    Congratulations on your success. However you should not equate your (very rare) long term success with “if I can do it, anyone can!”.

    Thanks. Theoretically (barring an undiagnosed health problem) anyone could lose that amount of weight and keep it off. Practically speaking, it does require an ongoing effort and I can understand why many people regain or never lose weight in the first place.

    I do, however, resent it when people say “calories in/calories out just doesn’t work for me!” We are all subject to the basic laws of thermodynamics.

    People who consume 800 kcal a day have started off on 2000 kcal a day or whatever is recommended for their size and then – wait for it – reached a plateau only to be told – wait for it – ‘you must be lying about your food, reduce your intake’ and then – wait for it – reached a plateau only to be told – wait for it – ‘you must be lying about your food, reduce your intake’ and then – wait for it – they are finally consuming only 800 kcal and not losing weight.

    That’s when dieters need to:

    (a) be patient. Every dieter goes through plateaus. You can do the math and know that you should be losing weight, but your body has other ideas. Sometimes you just need to tough it out.

    (b) exercise more intensively. From reading FA blogs, I get the distinct impression that many FA-ers seriously underestimate the amount, intensity and frequency of exercise they need to do to lose weight, then maintain weight loss. Yoga or a water aerobics class won’t cut it. When Vesta says she rides her recumbant exercise bike a half hour a day, 4 days a week, she doesn’t say what her heart rate is during those sessions; somehow I doubt that she maintains it at 75% of max or above throughout the session.

    I’m not trying to give unsolicited diet advice. I’m just pointing out why you couldn’t lose any more weight after you dropped down to 800 calories a day.

    As for the stuffed metabolism, as I mentioned upthread, I used to fast for up to 15 days at a time. If that doesn’t slow your metabolism, nothing will! Repairing your metabolism is as simple as slowly and gradually increasingy your calories and building some muscle through strength training.

    Reply
  161. kira

    Ah, okay, sorry about that attrice. I’m guessing the original articles are probably not available online (they’re pretty old). This is an article summarizing several different studies FA commonly likes to cite. Of course, it’s also just a newspaper article (written, incidentally, by a well-known FA activist), but I still think it gives an adequate summary of the data. The conclusions one draws from the data, of course, are what are up for debate. I read it and immediately thought, I don’t see how these studies are in any way relevant to the real world and people who make permanent lifestyle changes, as opposed to, say, people in controlled medical environments eating ultra low-calorie liquid diets.

    Reply
  162. kira

    Actually, though, I haven’t read that in a while and just skimmed it. I’m not actually sure if it even includes the 95% of diets fail study, but in any case, it’s still something to read to get an idea of what FA is using to back up its claims in general.

    Reply
  163. landwhale

    Ok. First of all, plateaus happen less often if your intake is relatively close to your BMR. No one (who knows anything about maintainable weight loss) recommends cutting calories when you hit a plateau – quite the opposite. Added exercise and pumping intake back at maintenance is how it’s most efficiently handled.

    Eating at 800 kcal per day isn’t smart for anyone, no matter how small. Women generally shouldn’t go below 1200.

    Making a sweeping statement that “95% of diets fail” is incredibly stupid if the only source for that statement is a study that was conducted with incredibly ignorant weight loss method that no one in their right mind would attempt today. You can’t claim that permanent weight loss is “very rare” since we don’t have any reliable statistic available on successes of various methods out there.

    One thing can be said though – barring some rare medical conditions, moderate calorie restriction combined with added exercise should have a 100% success rate as long as the program is followed.

    Reply
  164. landwhale

    Obviously they do break the laws of nature. Hypothyroidism for example can make you travel faster than speed of light and Cushings Syndrome allows you to defy gravity.

    I suppose I misstated that. Moderate calorie restriction combined with added exercise has a 100% success rate as long as the program is followed. However, some medical conditions can make intake restriction (or exercise) itself practically impossible. Try to cut calories from a person who lacks the gene producing leptin, or tell a person who’s paralysed from neck down to go lift some weights.

    Reply
  165. Susan

    Then there are more common medical conditions which, if untreated, can make it difficult to lose weight, for example, thyroid problems. Getting conditions like those diagnosed and treated can be a frustrating process, but once they are being treated properly weight loss may still be slow, but definitely possible.

    That’s why I referred to an “undiagnosed health problem” in my earlier comment.

    Reply
  166. Prozacrefugee

    From the NYT article
    The new research on successful dieters will disappoint those hoping for a magic-bullet solution; most had simply eaten less, and healthier, food, and exercised regularly. But judging by their accounts, it is entirely possible for people without the resources to hire personal trainers and chefs to accomplish permanent weight loss.

    Anecdotes are what “common sense” consists of, without them we’d blindly believe every piece of science that was published.

    Common sense is rarely either.

    Reply
  167. kallopala

    Interestingly enough, this conversation is referenced here:

    http://dollyspeaks.wordpress.com/2008/08/20/fat-hate-is-not-okay/

    I suggested that just because people disagree with some FA ideas they can still be against discrimination of fat people, and not everyone who has commented here should be qualified as “fat hater”.

    Apparently that comment was too much for the blogger, as it got deleted. So, so much for all the FA claims about how they moderate their comment sections.

    The truth must be suppressed! Everyone who isn’t in the FA community is a fat hater!

    No wonder the whole movement is facing issues and is falling apart from the inside. But whatever, here’s a toast for something sensible rising from the rotten core of fallen apart FA.

    Reply
  168. Kira

    That post is a pretty blatant example of the attitude that pervades most of FA. Sure, there might be individuals who actually understand the nuance between respecting fat people as people and not accepting flat-earth-style pseudoscience, but most of them don’t. As I’m quite fond of saying, I don’t hate fat people. I hate bullshit. And I’m not going to be quiet about that just to spare feelings.

    The irony, of course, is that this ridiculous “if you don’t agree with every wackadoo FA idea, than you hate fat people” attitude is a huge turnoff to people who might otherwise support their political cause, that fat people should not be treated poorly or discriminated against. I support the latter in theory, but I think the lies and misrepresentations they make about sciences are dangerous enough in general that I refuse to support anything associated with this movement at all.

    Reply
  169. landwhale

    And to drive in the point even further, the only comment there that has been allowed so far is “A-men!”

    I laughed a bit.

    Reply
  170. Susan

    As I’m quite fond of saying, I don’t hate fat people. I hate bullshit. And I’m not going to be quiet about that just to spare feelings.

    That sums up my own attitude pretty well!

    I’d also add – how can I hate fat people when I used to be one myself? But in some circles, talking about how you lost weight is tantamount to saying “I did it – so can you!” (see above).

    And in some circles, saying “I did it – so can you!” = “fat hate”.

    http://red3.blogspot.com/search?q=%22fat+hate+bingo%22

    Reply
  171. Susan

    As I’m quite fond of saying, I don’t hate fat people. I hate bullshit. And I’m not going to be quiet about that just to spare feelings.

    That sums up my own attitude pretty well!

    I’d also add – how can I hate fat people when I used to be one myself? But in some circles, talking about how you lost weight is tantamount to saying “I did it – so can you!” (see above).

    And in some circles, saying “I did it – so can you!” = “fat hate”.

    I’m having trouble posting the link – just Google “Fat Hate Bingo”

    Reply
  172. landwhale

    From that blog:
    [i]It seems so many people are intent on burying a movement that’s really only thiiiiiiis (hold fingers a microscopic distance apart) big.[/i]

    No outsider needs to type a word to destroy your microscopic movement, sister. You guys are doing an awesome job in destroying it all by yourselves. A-men!

    Reply
  173. Tiana

    I hate bullshit.

    Me too.

    I think the lies and misrepresentations they make about sciences are dangerous enough in general that I refuse to support anything associated with this movement at all.

    And that’s what I think about people who support weight loss.

    Clearly we have exactly the same motivations. When you advise someone to lose weight, you want to save them from harm. When I advise someone to not lose weight, I want to save them from harm. When you see fat kids on a playground, you fear for the future of mankind. When I see a news report about “childhood obesity interventions,” I fear for the future of mankind. When you decide to lose weight, you believe that you’re finally taking care of yourself again. When I decide to stop worrying about food intake, I believe that I’m finally taking care of myself again. I could go on like this forever.

    The only difference is that fat hate actually exists, no matter how many individuals say that THEY don’t promote it. If you think that discrimination is a problem, then talk about THAT. Help us. Stop mentioning the health aspect for a while until we’ve made some progress because it only shifts the focus away from that which is a problem of much greater significance than some risk factors. You don’t have a freaking RISK of being discriminated against if you’re fat, it just happens. Whereas heart disease, diabetes & co. are neither inevitably going to happen to every single fat person NOR entirely preventable. Fat hate can be stopped. Offering a different perspective on health is only one of our methods to try doing that.

    Reply
  174. landwhale

    “The only difference is that fat hate actually exists, no matter how many individuals say that THEY don’t promote it.”

    I agree, fat hate exists. I think it does lot of harm for FA to label anyone who’s not yelling “A-men!” a fat hater. Because that’s what happens all over the board.

    I think discrimination is a problem, but there’s no point in conversation where opinion is stated and everyone else just yells “A-men!”. “Discrimination is wrong” and 182 amens sounds a bit boring.

    The interesting bits of FA are the controversial parts. The censorship, internal drama, kicking people off the feed for stupid reasons, statistical cherry-picking, the anger, hatred and delusional commenting. While I agree with one point of FA, I disagree with most others and I think the world is a better place without it. So I watch with interest as it crumbles down due to internal disputes and vain attempts at dictatorial control.

    Every time non-confrontational comments like kallopala’s above get censored, every time that a FA blog gets kicked off the feed for only walking 99.9% in line, FA gets closer to hating itself to death.

    Which, in the long run, is a good thing.

    I applaud your persistence Tiana to keep on commenting among us “crazy fat haters” 🙂 Your comments are fun to read, in a good way.

    Reply
  175. Tiana

    O_O You do know a whole lot about the fatosphere, don’t you? That’s some determination.

    In part I even agree with you – it IS a pretty torn movement at the moment. I noticed that right after I’d started reading, but those are all just people like you and me who are not perfect by any means. I’ll continue reading anyway, it doesn’t bother me. People are leaving and joining all the time and eventually things will even out. I don’t doubt that, and maybe I can contribute somehow.

    I had fun arguing with you as well, and surprisingly I even learned a bunch of things from this discussion. Not what you wanted me to learn, though …

    Reply
  176. Popoi

    “When you decide to lose weight, you believe that you’re finally taking care of yourself again. When I decide to stop worrying about food intake, I believe that I’m finally taking care of myself again.”

    There’s room for both of those to be true. The problem is that FAs seem to imagine that whenever people say “Hey, diet and exercise!”, they mean “Hey, 800 calories and 12 hours a day at the gym!” Conversely, when the opposition hears “Hey, I eat intuitively and I’m happier for it”, they imagine FAs mean “Hey, 4000 calories of McGriddles a day is the key to happiness!” Both sides would do well to understand that there’s a lot of range in between those extremes, and a lot of it probably includes some happy and healthy people.

    “Stop mentioning the health aspect for a while until we’ve made some progress because it only shifts the focus away from that which is a problem of much greater significance than some risk factors.”

    Nobody’s forcing the debate to stick to the health aspects. It’s entirely possible to formulate a lot of discrimination arguments in such a way as to avoid health and the possibility of weight loss entirely. The problem is that any discussion seems to assume that since people disagree on the health issue, they disagree on everything, which leads to everyone being called a hater and moderated.

    Reply
  177. beta

    Kallopalla, that link almost made my head explode. She has at least deleted the (completely out of context) quote from this conversation by now. It’s just very, very surprising to me that anyone could read this conversation and conclude that it’s about fat hate and how people commenting here think that fat people are inferior human beings. There is no criticism to fat people from me, there is only criticism to a FA movement that insists on preaching ‘knowledge’ that is untrue.

    I’d love to know what other FA activists think about some of the points of this discussion, but Tiana is the only brave one to discuss it through to the end. I think this sort of discussion is what FA needs to finally drop their claims that contradict basic science and focus on the parts of the movement that are completely right, such as ending discrimination and promoting healthy lifestyles and living and enjoying life no matter what you weigh.

    Reply
  178. dollyann

    I think as my blog is the one that has prompted all this discussion, I have fair reason to come and express myself. I apologize to bentlyr once again for taking up space on your page, but I’ve been starting to feel rather undefended.

    First and foremost, I would like to address kallopala. I sent you an e-mail explaining why I deleted your comment, but you provided me a false e-mail address. The true owner sent me a perplexed e-mail asking who I was. If you want to send me a valid one, I would be more than happy to resend the e-mail explaining to you why your comment was deleted. In my defense, I would like to say your comment wasn’t as kind, “non-confrontational,” or rational as you made it out to be here.

    “It’s just very, very surprising to me that anyone could read this conversation and conclude that it’s about fat hate and how people commenting here think that fat people are inferior human beings.”

    You’re right beta. It wasn’t intended to depict the people commenting here as fatophobic maniacs. I don’t think that at all, and that specific article wasn’t written in response to this page. And if, because I included a comment from a thread here initially, I’ll apologize for it. The purpose was to talk about fat hate and accepting people the way they are. Including my response to the comment was misleading. At the time, it was frustrating me and later on (specifically when I received kallopala’s comment) I realized it detracted from the real purpose of the article. I had also apologized for this to kallopala in the private e-mail I had sent her. If anyone here was offended, I’m sorry to them as well.

    Whether you are anti-FA or pro-FA, I think we can all agree that hating and judging fat people is wrong. And I’ve known fat haters, and my post was directed at them… not anyone personally here. In fact, the reason I posted here originally was because of bentlyr. I got the sense that while he opposed FA because of health concerns, he was still largely a kind person with a strong belief in respecting people. He published this post to express skepticism at FA, I created mine with the intent of criticizing fat hate and the people who support it.

    And as far as “not sticking it out goes,” I pulled back from the conversation because I didn’t want to fill bentlyr’s page with long, unnecessary arguments. While he did come back and mention he was enjoying the conversation, I wasn’t going to assume that at the time. Furthermore, I don’t necessarily want to spend all my time engaging in a debate when I’ve made up my mind on the subject. I think HAES supports healthy living whether you’re thin or fat, and I support FA.

    I’d also like to mention that I haven’t gotten a stream of comments on that page and that all this censorship everyone’s been talking about hasn’t been going on. Only four comments have been submitted to the “Fat Hate is Not Okay” article.

    I understand and respect that people are skeptical here of FA on medical grounds, not moral ones. But I went on my blog because I wanted to talk about what I think is good in the FA movement, which is the idea that fat hate is wrong. I also had some hard feelings toward some anti-FA people I know in real life and wanted to express that. And because of that the FA movement is crumbling? I’d like to reassert that I don’t represent an entire movement, just as one woman doesn’t represent all the feminists and one black person doesn’t represent all civil rights workers.

    And I will reiterate something I mentioned to kallopala. The truth is not being suppressed. I got my blog easily from wordpress.com. I think it would be wonderful if the people here who don’t support FA but don’t support fat discrimination either created blogs with that purpose in mind. I haven’t read anything like that yet and would be interested. And then you could delete all comments submitted by me! 🙂

    Bentlyr, once again, I’m very sorry for taking up this space. We both know how important blog sanctity is, but I just wanted to apologize to people here who were offended by my article and have an opportunity to defend myself.

    Reply
  179. kallopala

    As landwhale pointed out, what seems to bring FA down are the internal power struggles and dictatorship – censoring non-confrontational comments (which I still believe mine was) is one part of it, and attempts to control the content of FA blogs via dropping people off the feed is another.

    There really seems to be mentality of us vs. them, and everyone who’s not 100.0% on board is easily deemed a fat hater. All that stops the movement from gaining any sort of external support, and that’s what can eventually lead to it’s demise. For any random outside observer, FA appears as intolerant, delusional and cult-like as some of the worst religious cults.

    If the purpose of FA blogs and movement, in general terms, is to provide a safe haven for fat people to rejoice their bodies, it does it, partially. Strict control is a breeding ground for drama and high turnover rate.

    If the purpose is to actually make a change in how fat people are viewed in society, it does the exact opposite. FAs outer appearance will probably create more fat hate and more discrimination than it dissolves.

    After spending some time reading FA blogs I’ve found myself going from “fat people, whatever” towards “fat people, a hateful bunch of bigots”. That’s the kind of attitude change FA is causing.

    Reply
  180. kallopala

    And directly to dollyann: You call this thread a “troll thread”. That’s an interesting claim. Is any FA related thread that doesn’t get moderated to include only amens and hallelujahs a troll thread?

    To me this has so far been fairly civil discussion. A lenghty one, but still civil.

    Or perhaps you refer the initial flood of pro-FA comments as trolling?

    I can understand why FA bloggers moderate away anything that isn’t 100% supportive or praising the poster. I can understand why they lie and claim that isn’t happening. I can understand why referring to other, uncontrolled sources get labled “fat hate” and “trolling”. I can understand why you rarely or never actually link to these threads. Illusions based on lies are hard to maintain.

    Reply
  181. dollyann

    kallopala, I think leaving a comment and an invalid e-mail address is trolling. My comments policy explicitly states that I delete comments with false e-mail addresses. And this has not been a civil discussion considering you linked to my blog with the intent of rallying up some support when I deleted your comment. As I mentioned to you in the e-mail I sent you, people could have just as easily clicked on my username to access my blog if they were interested in what I had to say. What you did was intentionally invite people to invade my blog space, and it was meanspirited. How would bentlyr feel if I e-mailed Kate Harding and told her to get all the Shapelings over here and have at? In all honesty, I think this discussion right now is trolling. If you would like to have a discussion with me, take it back on my blog.

    Reply
  182. attrice

    I feel like I should be clear that I never felt pushed out nor was I ever explicitly kicked out of the movement. I came to very different conclusions based on my reading and research which led me to finding myself at odds with the tactics and rhetoric of the movement, if not always its explicit goals.

    As for the suggestion of creating blogs about fighting fat discrimination from a non-FA standpoint; there are already a lot of progressive and feminist blogs that sometimes address these issues. I think the problem is that what many in FA commonly see as discrimination, others don’t have a problem with. I’m perfectly ok with the government creating programs intended to help people lose weight if they want to or for getting junk food out of schools. I’m ok with that because I believe that obesity is a health risk where a person coming from an FA perspective may only see those programs as a bigoted attempt to erase fat people or something.

    Likewise, I think the diet industry is a total scam, but not because I believe in setpoints or that 30% of adults in my state are genetically destined to become obese. I want real information out there and real access to the foods, time and space people need to put that information into action, if they want to.

    Reply
  183. kallopala

    “What you did was intentionally invite people to invade my blog space, and it was meanspirited.”

    No. I didn’t encourage anyone to write on your blog. As far as I know no one did. You quoted comments from this thread so it was relevant to the discussion here.

    Validity of an email address has nothing to do with trolling. My comment was civil, and you deleted it before you knew if it was valid or not anyway.

    The initial flood of FA comments in this thread was caused by a post at Eat a Cheeseburger. Do you think tiffabee at EaC is therefore a troll and a mean spirited person? Do you think her post was “intentionally inviting people to invade” bentlyr’s blogspace? Especially since EAB wasn’t even referred in the original post. And if not, why the double standard?

    I’d rather keep my comments here since I have no interest in telling you what my email address is, nor have I any interest in posting only comments that agree with you 100%. That wouldn’t be much of a discussion.

    To add something beyond the dialogue to this post, all this talk has lowered my genetic weight set-point, since I seem to be losing weight. I’ll come back in 5 years to report what it re-set itself to.

    Reply
  184. dollyann

    attrice, a lot of what you said makes sense to me. 🙂 Would you mind posting some of the links to the sites you’re talking about, specifically the feminist ones? I’d be really interested in looking at them.

    Reply
  185. Tiana

    After spending some time reading FA blogs I’ve found myself going from “fat people, whatever” towards “fat people, a hateful bunch of bigots”. That’s the kind of attitude change FA is causing.

    That’s useful information. On the other hand, though, it reminds me of something I saw on a feminist blog once. Namely, a comment by a man who agreed with the general idea behind feminism but thought that the movement would never succeed if its members continued to go about it like that. I’m still not sure what he meant … maybe that’s because I think you must be pretty stupid to misunderstand feminism, and you can’t expect all feminists to phrase everything they say so carefully that even the biggest idiot will get it. Now, is FA any different? That’s the important question.

    Reply
  186. Susan

    Now, is FA any different? That’s the important question.

    Yes, because many FA proponents spout a lot of BS (see above).

    Reply
  187. Popoi

    “That’s useful information. On the other hand, though, it reminds me of something I saw on a feminist blog once. Namely, a comment by a man who agreed with the general idea behind feminism but thought that the movement would never succeed if its members continued to go about it like that. I’m still not sure what he meant … maybe that’s because I think you must be pretty stupid to misunderstand feminism, and you can’t expect all feminists to phrase everything they say so carefully that even the biggest idiot will get it. Now, is FA any different? That’s the important question.”

    Most of the problems that people seem to have with feminism come from seeing academic arguments which (as I understand things at least) aren’t meant to be taken literally outside of an academic context, and which really require that context to make any kind of sense.

    “All penetrative sex is rape” is one that shows up a lot with that crowd. Reading that outside of context seems like people calling for all sex to be prosecuted as a felony, which (again, as I understand things) is not what it’s supposed to mean. What’s missing are all the “By rape we mean this, by consent we mean this, etc.” that turn it from a call to incarcerate 50% of the country to a statement about the nature of consent, power dynamics, and society. It’s not really reasonable to expect academic arguments to make sense without any of that academic context, but at the same time, it doesn’t help to have those arguments repeated without the context.

    That, and there are a few crazy people who identify as feminists who give people a bad impression.

    Reply
  188. landwhale

    “Now, is FA any different? That’s the important question.”

    I don’t think any of us have any problems understanding the language, the big words and the super-sized words FA uses.

    I think the only new word to my vocabulary was McGriddle, and I’m not even native English speaker.

    Reply
  189. Pingback: steps to lose weight

  190. hooka

    This is my first time visiting your site and i must say i like it very much.
    Your article was an educationa read.
    I will surely come back here more often!

    hooka

    Reply
  191. Better late than never

    Hi all

    I realize that this is an old post, but just found it and read it, figure I’ll add my $0.02. I read some of the FA blogs, and also some weight loss blogs, and take what I want from each. Losing weight is NOT “as simple as that”, in any case. I don’t drink soda, don’t eat fast food, spend two hours at the gym (in addition to biking everywhere, walking dog), and my weight drops SLOW. As in a pound or two a month, if lucky. I admit, I get stoned and eat too much occasionally, and have a drink or two once or twice a week, still not outrageous. Meanwhile, the boyfriend eats meat, fried food, drinks daily, gets minimal exercise, doesn’t gain. Not fair, but it’s life.

    I’m officially obese, in my size 12 jeans (muscular, large boobs, etc.). My cholesterol is low, blood sugar is low, I can run, climb stairs, hike 12 miles. Yet, assholes still feel they can comment about how I should live my life. I don’t go around telling men that they’re too short/bald/fat, who the hell do they think they are?

    But the FA movement does annoy me. I think there are worse things for your health (ciggs, alcohol, crank, sedentary lifestyles), they just aren’t visible. My friend’s grandma drank scotch and smoked ciggs until she died at 93, but that’s the exception, not the norm. I think the obesity crisis is big business. It’s not easy at ALL to lose weight and keep it off. If you are healthy at 250+ pounds, it is despite your weight, lucky genes (like me, haven’t been sick in 10 years, not even a cold). Calories in/calories out is not a myth, and I eat more in private than I will in front of anybody.

    And if you think you have to be fat to get diabetes, you’re horribly wrong.

    Watch your assumptions, everyone!

    Reply
  192. Richard Mullen

    Ok, so you (Tiana) doubt there is any link between obesity and bad health? I’ll play.

    Before I start posting endless links and studies carried out by actual doctors and medical specialists I will add my two cents first.

    Common sense should kick in first when pondering this question because you will almost never find a pro FA member who is over 270lbs still alive past 60 years old. In fact, I challenge anyone to find one alive past 60 regardless of their beliefs. Almost all of them (obese or worse) have health issues ranging from mild to severe and just happen to consume more pharmaceuticals than their slimmer counter parts. Why do more of them have incidences of joint pain and mobility issues that mimic signs of early arthritis? This is hardly coincidence.

    http://www.bariatric-surgery.info/obesity-mortality-rate.htm
    http://www.wvdhhr.org/bph/oehp/obesity/mortality.htm
    http://www.naturalnews.com/020317.html
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/11/12/AR2007111200841.html
    These are just some of the links because they could go on and on.
    Specifically the more fat found free in the blood stream means additional fatty deposits within the arteries which leads to increased blood pressure and incidence of stroke. Fact. The human heart is pretty important but so is the pancreas. Almost every one found within the obese to super obese have issues with insulin resistance and pre cursors to forms of diabetes.

    According to the CDC type II diabetes makes up roughly 90 percent of the total of cases. This means that only about 10 percent were born with it, in other words, the majority’s lifestyles were the factors leading up to their condition. To be conservative, diabetes is in the top 5 killers of U.S people. Often it is ranked at second next to heart disease. The evidence is so overwhelming it brings to question how anyone can deny such logic. I don’t fault you for asking for the mechanisms behind the scenes because this is how we all learn.

    I understand there will always be the rare statistic that slips through but for the most part this applies to the majority. However, dont assume that despite all this I think fat people or anyone should be treated differently. Everyone deserves dignity and respect regardless of lifechoices. I just prefer to believe in science and not propaganda.

    Reply
  193. Pingback: Dangers of Fat Acceptance « Improving Life | Self Help School

  194. Collette

    Good day! I just would like to offer you a big thumbs up for your excellent information you have right here on this post. I am coming back to your web site for more soon.

    Reply
  195. Lavada

    Thanks for some other informative website. Where else may I get that kind of info written in such a perfect manner? I have a project that I’m just now operating on, and I’ve been at the glance out for such information.

    Reply
  196. Delbert

    Asking questions are in fact pleasant thing if you are not understanding anything completely, but this piece of writing provides fastidious understanding yet.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s