Open Question: Are You Anti-Fat? And Why?

fat-phobia

As discussed in a previous article The World is Anti-Fat, anti-fat prejudice is one of the most widespread prejudices. Unlike many other prejudices anti-fat discrimination mostly goes undetected and unchallenged. In fact, in many areas, the fat phobic mentality and subsequent anti-fat prejudice is actively encouraged.

In the earlier mentioned post, I covered some reasons that I, and others, believe that people become anti-fat. The biggest of these reasons being the idea that people have control over their weight and as such they are responsible for keeping their weight under control. And they are also responsible if they fail to keep their weight in check.

Anti-fat prejudice goes unchallenged because many fail to see what is wrong with it. What is so bad about encouraging people to eat healthy, be a healthy weight, to become more disciplined and control their eating? To some, anti-fatness is not a prejudice. But the effects of anti-fat prejudice on overweight and obese people, and all people, are many. In striving to fight fat, many cultures have created new issues in its place, such as ever-increasing rates of anorexia and bulimia and decreasing self-esteem.

But I would like to make the question of what causes a nearly global anti-fat culture an open one. Why do you think people are anti-fat and/or fat-phobic? Why are you anti-fat?

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53 thoughts on “Open Question: Are You Anti-Fat? And Why?

  1. Like I said in the clouds, I TRULY dont believe most people that are anti fat or so concerned about the health of overweight people. I think the majority of the time they like to criticize and lecture them cause it makes them feel better about themselves. Ive noticed that its mainly women that harp on big people (and mainly harp on bigger women only, they just ignore the fat men). Guys may make fun of someone big but women are the ones obsessed with the topic. I know women are scrutinized more for their looks so they tend to be more aware of the looks the other women and make it a comparison thing and I think that may be why they love to lecture bigger women. They like feeling like they are hotter and more of value because they are seen in society as that way so all that talk about concern is just bs imo. Maybe they are concerned for a family member or friend but most people are way too self absorbed to care about the health of people they barely know or dont know at all.

  2. Jess,

    Like I said in the clouds, I TRULY dont believe most people that are anti fat or so concerned about the health of overweight people.

    I definitely don’t think it’s because of health concerns — I’ve pretty much crossed that out of the reasoning.

    But I’m wondering if image has to do with it? I notice people dislike when people of their “group”/culture/country are overweight and will try to encourage these people to lose weight. I think they worry about how they will be viewed, because people who might be associated with them are overweight.

  3. My culture is extremely anti-fat. As far as I can tell, what is considered “normal/average” in the US is seen as chubby in my culture. The funny thing is, our obsession with thinness is actually a form of self-hate. (Yes, Alee, I know you dislike this term, but hear me out): our women watch models and Hollywood movie stars and they think this is how all western women are. And while we dislike west, due to globalization we accept western things as normal, so our women think this (models, Hollywood stars) is the “normal” way to be, the way all women should be.

    So an average girl who is seen as ok/pretty in the US is seen as fat here. Crazy, I know.

    The beauty ideal here is a tall, skinny woman with no ass but with big boobs. If you can’t have both (and usually you can’t), having small boobs but a slim body is seen as better than the other way around… Which is strange, because Serbian men are obsessed with boobs. Seriously, they’re crazy about them. But still, you are expected to be skinny (skinny legs, no butt, etc.) in order to be even considered female. If you’re not, you’re seen as ugly, plain and simple. Nobody even questions that.

    On the other hand, my culture is very tolerable when it comes to whining. People whine all the time (mainly about the money, or lack thereof), and it’s considered socially acceptable. So when a “fat” person whines about being overweight, nobody gets mad about it. In fact, it’s seen as ok – definitely more ok than being satisfied with yourself the way you are.

    As you all, I have a butt. 😀 Which is seen as ugly in my culture. I get asked about it all the time, I get constant advice on how to lose weight (even though I’m not overweight at all), or what I “can” wear and what I shouldn’t wear… And then, when I say I’m ok with my body shape, they all act offended somehow. And they’re also surprised to see my husband. As if you’re not allowed to be ok with the way you are or loved the way you are.

    PS – I don’t think I’m anti fat. I admit, I’m more attracted to non-fat men, but I actually like guys who are either slim or chubby. My husband is getting chubby these days (he’s turning 32 tomorrow!) and he criticizes me for not criticizing him because of his new belly. And I didn’t even notice.

  4. What a coincidence!

    Just wait, what’s “tomorrow” for you? (Not sure about the time difference, but I think it’s still the same date). My husband was born on March 11th 1980.

  5. ^Lol wow, and don’t you two have a similar birthdate as well?

    Methinks, there is a very special connection between the two of you… 🙂

    Anyway, happy birthday in advance to Jessica’s boyfriend and Mira’s husband! Yay! *blows kisses at fellow Pisceans*

    Mira,

    I don’t hate the word “self-hate” when it’s used in the proper context…

    Like I’ve said previously, your culture is just too much. I don’t think I’d be able to live there. My hips aren’t going anywhere this life, after all.

    “I don’t think I’m anti fat. I admit, I’m more attracted to non-fat men, but I actually like guys who are either slim or chubby.”

    Preferring thin or average-sized men doesn’t mean you’re anti-fat. Anti-fatness is more extreme that that — it’s actively disliking and discouraging weight gain, and/or treating fat people in a way you wouldn’t treat a leaner person.

  6. I personally, am not anti-fat. I hardly dislike people because of how they look. I’m more concerned about their personality and their actions…..

    I don’t think it’s fair to judge others based of their appearance because we are all different and special in our own ways. The overweight and obese monster behind the wheel of this sick judgmental society is “the media”…….

    The media, sells us lies ,and unrealistic reality, but yet we still buy those lies everyday and we base our lives on those lies…..

    Here in South Africa, mostly(where I live)….weight is not an issue and sometimes, it is encouraged and it doesn’t seem to be a bad thing(like the Western Society) makes it out to be…

    Honestly speaking , yes….there are people who are overweight and obese, but why put someone down instead of helping them? Like, if their weight bothers you so much, why not offer to walk/jog with them(instead of jogging in front of them or behind them?) It’s not nice to be judged!

    It’s easy for others to judge their neighbours and friends or acquaintances for being overweight but that could be your sister/brother/mother etc….

    People need to grow what’s within, so that we can ripe the right fruits……..

  7. My husband was born on March 11th 1980.

    yup same as my guy. And people say Gemini’s arent compatible with Pisces…pulease!

  8. Hello Darlings,
    Shout out to the divine Miss A for containing the madness. The tornado that whirled through the www when that Washington Post article came out was baffling to me. Based on everything I have read, if you are only going to do one thing – exercise or watch what you eat, exercise is the clear winner. It won’t necessarily make the scale needle go down, but it will improve your health on EVERY OTHER FRONT. These women are exercising; and the woman whose picture was displayed is the TEACHER, so she is embracing good health. So why is it so hard for folks to accept that these women might feel good about themselves? Prejudice.
    Why you ask? Hmmm, perhaps the folks that have this prejudice are fearful of the same thing happening to them?

  9. Mkhululi,

    “Honestly speaking , yes….there are people who are overweight and obese, but why put someone down instead of helping them?…It’s not nice to be judged!…It’s easy for others to judge their neighbours and friends or acquaintances for being overweight”

    Amen.

    “that could be your sister/brother/mother etc….”

    People judge their family members too. Actually relatives can be the cruelest if they happen to have an overweight person in their family.

  10. Jess,

    “And people say Gemini’s arent compatible with Pisces…pulease!”

    They’re not really, unless other factors intervene. Of course you’re more like Cancer, Jess, and they go well with Pisces. 😉

    I’ll just say I don’t have a very good history with Gemini of any sort. We usually start out well, then crash and burn because they’re two-faced and/or wishy-washy.


    Sherry,

    Oh yes, that article.

    Well, this is just something I wonder in general, besides all the dissension that resulted from that article.

    “Based on everything I have read, if you are only going to do one thing – exercise or watch what you eat, exercise is the clear winner.”

    You should ideally do both but I’m going to disagree with your conclusion.

    But by exercise, I mean a combo of strength/weight training and light cardio, not just heavy cardio like running, treadmill. If you want to do that, that’s okay but it puts a lot of stress on the body which can cause problems down the line and become detrimental to your health. Walking and light jogging is good, but otherwise, I’m iffy towards other cardio. Personally, I do zero cardio and focus on weights; feel free to ask why.

    However, if you continue to eat sugary, starchy, and/or processed foods while you have an exercise routine, it will not help your health and will hurt it. The body is simply not meant to deal with foods like that in excess, and you are still liable to develop diabetes, high blood pressure, and risk stroke. Yes, even if you’re still then.

    It would be better health-wise to have a good diet and only be moderately active, than to eat junky food and spend a few hours at the gym every day.

  11. Alee, But I’m wondering if image has to do with it? I notice people dislike when people of their “group”/culture/country are overweight and will try to encourage these people to lose weight. I think they worry about how they will be viewed, because people who might be associated with them are overweight.

    This is true. I do think it would do alot for the image of black women if there were more thinner ones that bigger ones. It does get tiring to have to keep hearing that your an exception to the rule of your group or whatever but I do think people that already like something tend to mainly notice the best of that group and their mind doesnt register the worst of it. Like if a man has a preferance for black or asian or whatever type of girl, he will tend to notice the best of them and not the worst of them.

    Regardless, at the end of the day it matters more how im looked at as an individual and its none of my business if other women of my group like being big or any other group and im reluctant to even give advice on how to lose weight or keep it off since ive never had a weight problem so I cant relate. Hell the only reason im not fat must be genes because I should be a huge porker right now cause I love to eat bad foods or good foods, pretty much anything. Only recently have I changed my eating habits.

  12. Jess,

    “im reluctant to even give advice on how to lose weight or keep it off since ive never had a weight problem so I cant relate. Hell the only reason im not fat must be genes because I should be a huge porker right now cause I love to eat bad foods or good foods, pretty much anything.”

    LOL.

    At least you admit it. Some skinny minis want to lecture about eating right and exercising when they eat whatever they want and don’t know what an elliptical is. I guess in their minds, you only have to eat right and exercise if you’re overweight; if not, you’re fine.

  13. I’m not anti-fat, while I understand that our culture is suffering from high rates of obesity, I don’t necessarily believe it’s all because people are just lazy and don’t want to eat healthy. It’s funny because here in the US at least, you’ll find that most obese people are low income. Not to mention how our culture essentially encourages us to eat processed foods. I mean look, you can get an entire meal at McDonald’s for $5. If you’re on a budget you’re probably not gonna be too quick to go for a $6-$7 organic salad when you can get a cheese burger for $1. I’m not saying this to justify obesity, but I think we need to look at other factors. Have you seen how much it costs to a loaf of healthy whole wheat bread?

    Are there people out there who are reluctant to lose weight and eat healthy? Sure, but we shouldn’t make generalizations. Also on the issue of fat, well I think our society still holds onto this belief that anyone can lose weight easily and become thin. Everyone can’t be a size 6. We also need to stop equating thinness=healthiness.

    I guess in their minds, you only have to eat right and exercise if you’re overweight; if not, you’re fine.

    I know right!! Again, it goes back to that belief if you’re thin, it means you’re healthy. It’s horse dung!!

  14. Hi RenKiss,

    “It’s funny because here in the US at least, you’ll find that most obese people are low income.”

    Very good point. There is a lot of overlap there. It’s also interesting because in the past and still in some other countries, if you’re overweight, people think you have money because it’s assumed you have all that money to buy so much food to make you overweight.

    There are some less expensive healthy foods but the reality is that unhealthy foods are cheaper still; pound for pound, are easier to get, and generally taste better. So it makes it an all-around better option for people on a budget if it’s around. And low-income neighborhoods always have fast food restaurants and corner stores everywhere.

    “Also on the issue of fat, well I think our society still holds onto this belief that anyone can lose weight easily and become thin.”

    I don’t know why when the majority of people have a very hard time losing weight and becoming thin. Clearly. Lol.

    The people with very high metabolisms or who can drop weight easily are in the minority, and very few of them gain a considerable amount of excess weight in the first place.

    “Everyone can’t be a size 6. We also need to stop equating thinness=healthiness.”

    Thinness is definitely not healthiness. Lots of thin or average people just happen to be that way but they eat just like every other American and have the same activity levels.

    I didn’t know a size 6 was considered super slim nowadays. (Is it?)

  15. Cont’d from the Clouds…

    Grace: “Chinese people got it right, send them to fatty camp.”

    Alee: “Why stop there when you can send them to concentration camp? That’ll make them thin in no time, for sure!”

    Grace: “Very funny. You know that my people were put in concentration camps?”

    I made that comment being fully aware that there are people here whose ancestors may have been put in concentration camps. But my point was that that type of thinking is what leads to things like people being put in concentration camps.

    I don’t think it’s a mild thing at all to send people off to “fat camps” where they are basically told they are worthless and ugly because they are overweight and forced to do back-breaking cardio 6-8 hours a day. These kids are being tortured and you want to pretend it’s good for them simply because they are fat. Apparently, they should be punished for being fat. Well, I think that’s just awful, truly, I do.

    There really aren’t many steps between that and a concentration camp, although you might not see it. Don’t think it could never get to that point because it’s already more than halfway there. The minute you begin seeing a group of people as different and “wrong” somehow, and use your power to try to “fix” them against their will, there is something wrong.

  16. The problems start when you tell people they are worthless because they are fat, when you can’t get a job or get some sort of aid because they want to tie that in to your weight. WTF does that have to do with anything and some people are naive about what causes most weight problems anyway. When I became diabetic 15 years ago I actually gained 86 pounds from the medication use and had to switch medicines until I found one that didn’t add weight and cause me new medical problems. Often I had to argue with the doctors about changing the meds. People think people are overweight cuz it’s cute to be thick or that cuz you are black you are used to it. Frankly I am tired of the fat post like bw are the only ones fat. Hell BM are just as fat but are quick to judge. It’s safe to pick on fat people cuz they think they are helping them. Well you’re not sometimes it makes thing worse especially for people with food issues.

  17. Great now I’m Hitler. I’ve never hurt a person in my life. I’ve probably helped more children than you people combined. Was going to announce something but never mind.

    I guess the Chinese got it wrong wanting their children to have the best opportunities and go to the best schools what the heck do I know. I’m just stupid and everything I say is wrong it seems like.

  18. Fact: Anti-Fat bias is NOT about being healthy. There are so many unhealthy things that are promoted and are difficult to get rid of, simply because they are seen as “hot” and “attractive”. Take smoking, for example. It was so popular back in the days and people knew about the consequences. Still, it was seen as a “cool” thing to do, so they did it. (It’s still like this in my culture, btw. Most people are heavy smokers; many young women smoke because they believe it makes them seem “though” and “independent”).

    Also, cosmetic surgeries aren’t particularly healthy either. Same goes for botox and tanning salons/skin bleaching . Or stiletto shoes, for that matter. Or removing pubic hair. Still, people do all this stuff because it fits present beauty standards, just like wearing corsets was seen as attractive back in the days. People know these things are not healthy, but they try not to think about it, because these things are seen as attractive and more socially acceptable. And while nobody is ok with anorexia, a person can be unhealthy skinny and still be seen as ok than to be moderately fat (not morbidly obese – moderately fat).

    Being moderately overweight doesn’t mean you are unhealthy, but you will get a harder time from people than if you’re unhealthy skinny. At least this is how things are in my culture, and while I do believe it’s a bit better in the US, I still think that: a) it’s more about the attractiveness than health and b) you need to become really, really skinny and anorexic before people start to see it negatively, while you don’t have to be morbidly obese for people to start commenting badly on your weight.

    In short: while being obese isn’t healthy, anti-fat sentiment isn’t about health. This is just the reason people name in order to appear to others (and, more importantly, to themselves) as nice and not-shallow. But make no mistake, anti-fat sentiment is all about the beauty standards and attractiveness. Overweight people, healthy or not, are seen as unattractive, plain and simple, and the saddest thing is that many fat people want to lose weight primarily because of the beauty standards and not because of health reasons.

  19. Grace,

    “Great now I’m Hitler. I’ve never hurt a person in my life.”

    I never said that; I don’t think that. This is not personal.

    I’m from a very anti-fat/fat-phobic place: suburban New England. Many people I know make casual conversation out of making jokes about overweight people. So it’s not like opinions like yours are something shocking or new to me. And I don’t think less of you or any other anti-fat person.

    I just think that you (i.e. general “you”, not specifically you) have to really stop and think about this: at what point is it too much? Why do you think it’s okay and even commendable to chastize people about their weight, send them to a place only for people “like them”, and force them to do things few, if any, other people do?

    Do you do 6-8 hours of cardio a day? I know I don’t and I don’t want to because that’s serious overkill. And I very much doubt most thin people do either, so why exactly do overweight people have to do this?… Oh, right, to lose all their jiggly bits.

    “I guess the Chinese got it wrong wanting their children to have the best opportunities and go to the best schools what the heck do I know.”

    I don’t know what being thin has to do with going to a good school, but I do think they are being too harsh. I find that Chinese parents can be harsh and I don’t think that it’s all necessary. It’s good to set some standards but I went to a math and science high school which was over 50 percent Asian and these kids were going crazy trying to make straight As to please their parents. There was a recent article about the rising rate of suicide among Asian-American students and I was not shocked at all; actually these articles come out every year.

    So when people act like Chinese people have it all right in their methods of raising children, I just can’t agree. It’s not like any of the Chinese kids got into a college that was ranked higher than mine. None of them had a higher SAT score than me that year or since I graduated, actually; none of them came even close. Not trying to brag but just point out that I don’t think a heavy-handed approach always leads to better results, and it can sometimes backfire.

  20. Mira,

    “you need to become really, really skinny and anorexic before people start to see it negatively, while you don’t have to be morbidly obese for people to start commenting badly on your weight.”

    Yes.

    “the saddest thing is that many fat people want to lose weight primarily because of the beauty standards and not because of health reasons.”

    Yes.

    That’s all I have to say about that comment. 🙂

  21. Oh hey, Bellydancer! *hugs* I didn’t even see your comment — you snuck that one in there.

    “The problems start when you tell people they are worthless because they are fat, when you can’t get a job or get some sort of aid because they want to tie that in to your weight.”

    That’s definitely the extreme edge of anti-fat discrimination, and certainly not uncommon.

    “some people are naive about what causes most weight problems anyway. When I became diabetic 15 years ago I actually gained 86 pounds from the medication use “

    Thanks for bringing this up because if I were to say it, probably no one would listen and just think I’m making more excuses/over-complicating things. 🙂

    Like I mentioned in the Clouds, insulin resistance/diabetes and overweight/obesity are tied to each other in a not-so-pretty feedback mechanism. Being insulin resistant causes a person to gain weight which causes more insulin resistance which causes more weight gain, rinse, repeat.

    Insulin resistant/diabetic people actually have a lot of insulin coursing through their bodies, it’s just that their cells aren’t responding to it. And medications like injected insulin only add on to the problem by introducing more insulin. Those who take injected insulin are almost guaranteed to gain a significant amount of weight, particularly if they take the most “effective” brands. I’ve seen thin people turn into overweight people overnight through the use of injected insulin and other medicines for insulin resistance.

    Btw, what medicine are you using now that’s controlling the weight gain?

  22. Because athletics counts as well in school and they need to keep up a good grade to get into a good school. Being fat makes that alot harder.

    Don’t dismiss everything they do, just because it comes easy to you don’t mean that most don’t have to work harder to get the things they want and need in life to be successful. That slacking attitude seem not to serve black people that well in America.

  23. Grace,

    “Because athletics counts as well in school and they need to keep up a good grade to get into a good school.”

    Where, in China? I didn’t know about that. I thought they just had regular PE classes like most places and it’s a very small portion of your overall GPA.

    “Don’t dismiss everything they do, just because it comes easy to you don’t mean that most don’t have to work harder to get the things they want and need in life to be successful. That slacking attitude seem not to serve black people that well in America.”

    I’m not a slacker by any means nor do I endorse slacking; my grades were the result of work. I don’t see how not being neurotic about something = slacking. So I’m not exactly sure how you came to that conclusion. I also don’t understand why black Americans are being pulled into this.

    What parents should want to do is instill a strong love of learning in their children, then grades will naturally follow. Then they wouldn’t have to beat their children on the head about grades because learning would be something they like to do, not just something they have to suffer through. But that’s just my opinion.

    Anyway, that’s not really on-topic so I’ll end that there. Really, I just wanted to know what causes people to be anti-fat and no anti-fat person so far has answered that. I hope they’re not hiding because we disagree on this topic: at the end of the day, it’s all just a discussion.

  24. I’m probably anti-fat because I find it extremely ugly and distorting, BUT, I don’t “beat anyone over the head” simply BECAUSE they are fat and presumably loving it. What gets my goat is those who, while espousing that they love their bodies/weight, make snide remarks about mine and other slim/skinny women/men or try to insinuate that we have an eating disorder. Like one poster commented, I’ve never had problems with my weight. Have always been skinny. Runs in my family, these genes, even now that I’m 1yr away from officially being middle age, I’m slim, firm and fit(ish. Run 3-4Xweekly. I do love alch though!).
    Hmm, perhaps this doesn’t construe as anti-fat.
    What about the Flotus’s campaign?. She’s also anti-fat and was met with mucho resistance. Guess from whom mainly!!!?.

    Also, there was a recent article about that (ex) hottie, Jamie Oliver, the famous Brit cook who is now so fat, that a journalist questioned him about his campaign to bring more nutritional meals into British schools to reduce obesity rates amongst British children, while he’s not an example. He got horribly offended.

    To end, I say, if you like how you look, and that encompasses all your (potentially) health problems, have accepted it, then hey, enjoy, but please, don’t show your envy if I fit whatever ideal because I either work at it, or was born with the genes. Basta!

  25. I did not say you were slacking, I said that for some it comes easier and others they will have to sit those 5-6 hours with homework each day to get the best grade/decent grades, I know I did.

    If people in America maybe copied a bit of how Asian immigrants do it, how they come poor to the country and how they put they children to work and change their status in one generation then maybe they would be better off instead of letting their boys run wild.

  26. That’s a good point about how Asian immigrants work hard, but they also have very suicide rates. Those suicides are often times tied to how Asian parents put so much pressure on their children to succeed. While it’s good that they stress success, it also has a downside. Just sayin..

  27. Hi foosrock, haven’t seen you in a while. 🙂

    ‘I’m probably anti-fat because I find it extremely ugly and distorting, BUT, I don’t “beat anyone over the head” simply BECAUSE they are fat and presumably loving it.’

    They might not be loving it. It is kind of hard to, if everyone around you is fat-phobic and anti-fat.

    “What gets my goat is those who, while espousing that they love their bodies/weight, make snide remarks about mine and other slim/skinny women/men or try to insinuate that we have an eating disorder.”

    I always thought bigger women making snarky comments about thinner people’s weight was about envy or trying to “even the score”.

    A lot of people wish they could be thinner or just eat what they want and still be thin, so if they see someone like that it makes them jealous. They also don’t see their comments as so bad, since the person is thin anyway, they fit the ideal body standards of society and don’t have to worry about discrimination on that front.

    “What about the Flotus’s campaign?. She’s also anti-fat and was met with mucho resistance.”

    Hah! Michelle O. is a bit anti-fat (So is Barack, I think)! In case that wasn’t obvious before, it became so when she made a comment about Malia getting overweight so she put her on a diet. (This was some time after Barack said Malia not too long ago used to be a “little chubby”.)

    Hm.

    So where exactly is there any type of weight on Malia? She’s always looked very thin to me. Everything on her looks long and lean. If someone sees her as overweight or chubby, they probably have on “fat goggles” which means they’re likely anti-fat:

    If she weighs more than other kids her age, it’s probably because she is super tall: 5’9″ and only 13! She’s clearly going to be tall and thin (and cute) like her father.

    Grace,

    “If people in America maybe copied a bit of how Asian immigrants do it”

    No, I don’t think they should. Every extreme comes with a price. There is a lot of middle ground.

  28. I do think there is anti-fat prejudice but I think it is much less so in the US (and Canada, Australia, New Zealand and UK) than it is in other developed countries. You really can get away with being bigger in the US and the Anglo countries than you can in say…France, Japan or Italy.

    I don’t think fat acceptance as a concept, much less as an actual advocacy group, exists elsewhere outside of the 4 countries I mentioned above.

    I think being fat, in our modern society where the risk of starvation is very far away, indicates a lack of self-control and discipline. It also, in an evolutionary way, signals poor health which correlates to poor fertility/attractiveness especially for women.

    I personally had a stint being overweight when I was in grad school and fixed it with a quickness when I was done and not so stressed out anymore, so I have empathy towards fat people.
    At the same time, obesity/morbid obesity horrifies and fascinates me in a way akin to circus freaks. I don’t encounter that level of morbid obesity where i live but whenever I land in the US, especially in the mid-West, it’s sobering the number of people I can count per day who fit this criteria. I am both filled with pity and disgust, sympathetic cause I know these people are suffering and their quality of life is impacted badly by their obesity but also wondering, how did you let it get this far? I never vocalize it out loud but I do think it.

    This prevalence of so many morbidly obese people tells me that there is something systemic going on beyond lack of self-control and discipline, and Alee touched on it with her insulin resistance theory in an earlier thread. I came across it via Gary Taubes’ books and then delved into other doctors and biochemists who expanded on this theory (e.g Lustig and sugar, Kurt Harris, Wolf, etc).

  29. ZOMG, Sophia, you’ve read Gary Taubes?!?

    He’s my lover. Not that I agree 100 percent with his views, but I think he’s a genius and truly remarkable. He really changed my life. A lot of what he said was what I originally thought based on experience, but he organized everything quite nicely which, like you, led me to research more and more and really understand weight gain/loss.

    Lustig, Harris, Wolf… so I guess you’re a Paleologist? 😀

    Anyway, let me get into the rest of the comment…

    “I do think there is anti-fat prejudice but I think it is much less so in the US (and Canada, Australia, New Zealand and UK) than it is in other developed countries.”

    The U.S. as a whole is probably best described as fat tolerant. Some regions lean toward fat acceptance, but others lean toward fat phobia. As a whole the country though is fat tolerant, meaning it doesn’t embrace fatness and fat people, but it doesn’t cause a commotion about fatness/fat people either. You can get away with being clearly overweight in some regions, but obese people are mostly ignored, often pitied or held in contempt, sometimes shunned.

    Yes, if you hit the middle/south of the country, you’ll see more overweight and obese people. Towards the coasts people get thinner (and more anti-fat). The Midwest and Southern regions seem to have a very different idea of what constitutes fat.

    KG will call someone “average-sized” where I would say they’re a little chubby. Like Jordin Sparks’ size when she was on American Idol he’ll call “average.” I say, “Nah, she’s a little chub-chub” (And I’m probably more tolerant than others; friends from home just say Jordin used to be fat, not chubby, fat). KG is naturally thin but he has a high tolerance for weight, especially on women, which is indicative of the Midwestern environment he grew up in.

    “At the same time, obesity/morbid obesity horrifies and fascinates me in a way akin to circus freaks.”

    Why horrified? I admit when I first saw a 300+ pounder, it was shocking and a little scary. But I got over it quickly. This is the South, after all. Here I’m considered skinny, people call me skinny all the time and I’m like “Wha..?”

  30. Like Jordin Sparks’ size when she was on American Idol he’ll call “average.”

    And Serbs would call her obese.

    No, wait, they wouldn’t use such a polite term.

    She seems like a beautiful woman, though that pic doesn’t do her justice (a bit awkward smile?)

  31. Mira,

    “And Serbs would call her obese.

    No, wait, they wouldn’t use such a polite term.”

    You all are dangerously anti-fat! I know what is considered to be ideal in your culture is actually underweight… But Jordin was not clinically obese, at least. She was probably in the middle area of overweight. I’ve seen obese people… she wasn’t one of them.

    Jordin just had those linebacker shoulders/arms that I told you I can get, which make you look larger. Hourglass figures are prone to it since they have broad shoulders.

    I guess the only anti-fat tendency I have is around the way weight drastically changes the way a person looks. I always thought Jordin was so pretty, if only she’d lose weight! So I was glad she did. She’s still not thin, but I think this weight works for her and is more flattering to her body type.

    “She seems like a beautiful woman, though that pic doesn’t do her justice (a bit awkward smile?”

    I think her smile is lovely. Here are more photos, before and after (30 lb/13.61 kg+ loss):

  32. Hey! I never said I think she’s obese! This is just the way people in my culture react to a person of her weight (pre-weight loss). Hey, the way she looks today, she’d be seen as chubby at best.

    But I agree, she’s beautiful. Though I think she was beautiful when she was heavier, too. She didn’t really need to lose that weight, unless it was for health reasons. Seriously. She had a nice figure even when she was overweight.

  33. Mira,

    Chubby? At a size 8? Hmmm..

    “Though I think she was beautiful when she was heavier, too. She didn’t really need to lose that weight, unless it was for health reasons. Seriously.”

    Well, her face has more shape to it now; she’s one of those people who gain weight in their face. It’s amazing what 30 lbs can do.

    She claims she made a resolution to get healthy and active after she got sick and she couldn’t walk, sing, etc. But I’m sure it was partly to help her career due to pressure from those involved with it to lose weight.

  34. Alee

    Yeah, I am a “Paleologist” too!!!!! 🙂
    Taubes definitely changed my life as well. Talk about going against conventional wisdom based on evidence based nutritional and evolutionary science. I seriously will sit down and write a letter of gratitude to him, Eades and Sisson one day soon. A member of my family was falling to pieces health-wise before we managed to halt and slowly reverse the damage through the info provided by those guys.

    Re being shocked at seeing morbid obesity, it’s not that common where I live (a metropolitan Canadian city), and anywhere I traveled before and after (lots of international locations)

    You do see lots of fat people and the occasional obese person in my Canadian city but morbid obesity is still not that common…at least not where I live. Perhaps more so in the rural areas.

    It was living in the US Mid-West for a couple of years that exposed me to the prevalence of morbidly obese people. And it was not relegated to poor people either. Lots of middle class folks who had mobility issues and whose figures were extremely distorted due to their obesity. It did shock me cause I hadn’t been in such an environment before, nor since. I remember seeing people walking in to work in the morning drinking the big bottles of Coke instead of coffee – this is not common outside of the US.

    Not surprisingly, the people who were not overweight or obese expanded a lot of thought and effort not to gain any weight. The men and women were so conscious of the food they ate, the caloric intake of every morsel, the caloric burn rate of every exercise, that a disproportionate amount of office talk was devoted to these topics (disproportionate, and often tedious, to me at least). These people looked around them and knew that it was so easy to gain weight in the food/cultural environment of the MidWest that they were relentless in making sure it didn’t happen to them.

    In any case, I loved my time in the US and thought the people were very warm and friendly. However, the issue of obesity is very apparent once your plane lands in the US from any other country, especially if it lands in the Mid-West or the South, as you referenced Alee. The contrast is so startling when you travel to other countries although obesity is catching up elsewhere.

    As for Jordin Sparks, I and the people I know would categorize her as fat in her pics pre-weight loss and call her shapely and fit after she lost the weight. She actually carried her weight well, but that is mainly cause she made an effort to look good and she was merely overweight, not obese. She also had the benefit of youth on her side. Good for her for getting fit.

  35. Sophia,

    Oh, I’m not a Paleologist! More of a general low-carb/starch/sugar-er, so somewhat similar but not quite. I’m just familiar with those guys. Michael Eades…another man after my heart. Love Mark’s blog as well.

    I will write a thank you letter to Taubes. Definitely.

    But I’m excited. I didn’t know you were a Paleologist. You should let me know how things are going for you sometimes.

    “I remember seeing people walking in to work in the morning drinking the big bottles of Coke instead of coffee – this is not common outside of the US.”

    What? Lol, I assure you, this is not common throughout the U.S. It’s either coffee cups or water bottles in New England.

    It kind of makes you realize though, that it’s more a problem of environment than anything else. If that’s what is seen as normal in your environment and it doesn’t bother you, you probably wouldn’t even think to do otherwise unless something drastic occurred.

  36. Chubby? At a size 8? Hmmm…

    Ok, I’m just a bit bitter here. She’d be seen as a nicely curved girl, and still hot. But she wouldn’t be seen as skinny, and any milligram of additional weight would be seen as too much for her. She’d be seen as borderline: the way she is now, she’d be considered shaggable, but this is more or less the maximum weight to have to be seen as such.

    I mean, girls of her weight are on diets all the time here and nobody thinks they shouldn’t be on a diet.

  37. Mira,

    “She’d be seen as a nicely curved girl, and still hot. But she wouldn’t be seen as skinny, and any milligram of additional weight would be seen as too much for her. She’d be seen as borderline”

    I think you guys have (white) New England standards… which seems to be roughly:

    (U.S) size 0-4 = thin
    size 5-6 = slim/average
    size 7-8 = average
    size 9-10 = average/large <-approx. cut-off point for dateability
    size 12-14 = large
    size 14-16 = very large
    size 16+ = non-existent

    Now black New England standards would have the cut-off point at around 12 and 0/2 would be too thin. Black and white Southern standards seem much higher size-wise. Size 14-16 women are average, 8-10 women are slim, 5/6 is going on too thin, 0-2 is "girl, you need some fried chicken, cornbread, and grits!"

    FYI, the average American woman is size 14.

  38. Hey Alee I am taking Humolog with my meals and Lantus. I stopped taking two pills Actos and Glipizide which will make you gain weight. For years I was on Humulin insulin but now use Lantus. I Immediately gained weight when taking Actos so much that I had to go on a “water pill” to get rid of the water weight I gained. I gained 36 pounds within 18 months. The first month I stopped taking it I lost 10 pounds.

  39. Oh and check your Vitamin D levels since it controls insulin sensitivity and obesity. Mine were extremely low and after taking supplements my glucose levels have improved. I also use cinnamon supplements.

  40. @Alee

    Yeah, I first was following the Primal Blueprint but then realized that since I don’t like dairy and am not much of a fruit or nut eater, I’m more Paleo than anything.
    I tend to stick to unprocessed real food like meats, good fats, vegetables and starches on heavy workout days. It’s worked out fabulously for me.

    The best thing about this diet is that after a short while, it’s a matter of biochemistry and biology and not a matter of will. I don’t have to mentally push away that bowl of cereal or that cookie. Now it’s just that I don’t have any appetite for eating it after having my steak and eggs. This has never happened to me before, simply refusing food cause I DON’T want to eat it.
    Also, what a relief not to count calories, and not caring either, but still losing weight.
    At this point, I’ve achieved homeostasis and am happy with my weight.

    However, the best thing about this diet is how it really helps reverse chronic diseases that are a blight on our population.
    My mother, who has been diabetic for 10 years and who was on the verge of transferring from pills to actual insulin shots cause her blood sugar levels kept rising and rising (despite doing everything the doctor told her to do) has had her blood sugar PLUMMET since she adopted Paleo. It was initially harder for her (it was easy for my dad though) and I think it’s cause she is older and her metabolism went through much more damage, including the ill effects of medication like statins (which she stopped taking by the way, to her doctor’s annoyance).

    But the results speak for themselves. At the rate she’s going, in a couple of months she will have reversed her diabetes.

    She also had “high cholesterol” which was managed by statins for something like 7 years (I used quotes cause I no longer believe in the lipid hypothesis).
    On this diet, her cholesterol has increased but it doesn’t bother us. Her TC only increased cause her HDL (the good cholesterol) SKYROCKETED and her Trigs (the bad cholesterol) plummeted. Her LDL also increased but her HDL/Trig ratio point to Pattern B LDLs increasing, i.e. the big fluffy harmless sort of LDLs, so we’re cool with that. Frankly, having lower cholesterol increases one’s chances of all sorts of cancers, plus depression, Alzheimer’s and other neurological diseases so her cholesterol increasing is a non-factor for us, especially since her ratios are excellent.

    Furthermore, once she got off her statins, which I really believe are the devil’s pills and whose side effects are consistently underplayed, and I put her on a Paleo diet plus supplements and ubiquinol, her muscle pains, neuropathy and most scary, the early signs of cognitive dysfunction (i.e. memory loss) reversed themselves. Now she has the energy and mental clarity of a woman 20 years younger plus she lost a lot of weight which she is ecstatic about plus her diabetes is reversing itself. She is very happy and so is her family!
    My father is very healthy and was initially resistant to this diet but since my mom is the cook in the family he had no choice but to be on it. To his surprise, within 3 weeks of eating this way his GERD disappeared! No more acid-reflux and other gastro-intestinal issues. His blood pressure is now in the normal range instead of the danger zone.

    They are true believers now and their friends are starting to pester me to help them in the same way. The problem is that incredulous first reaction I get when I tell people what they must do (after they ask me, mind you). “What?! You want me to give up bread? Over my dead body!!!” Lots of people just stop listening after that.

  41. @Bellydancer, that’s interesting — thanks for the info. Completely agree about the Vitamin D.

    @Sophia, I have a long reply to you but I’m tired right now and heading to bed, so I’ll type it out tomorrow when I have time.

  42. @Bellydancer

    I added Vitamin D to my supplements a couple of months ago and I do agree that it helps. As the weather warms up I’ll be reducing my intake cause I make it a point to spend some time in the sun.
    I got convinced about Vitamin D after I read a review of this book, “The Vitamin D Solution” by a doctor I really respect, Dr. Eades:

    http://www.proteinpower.com/drmike/supplements/sunshine-superman/

  43. Hello Sophia thanks for your comments and I am glad your mother stopped taking the statins cuz they can cause your blood sugars to rise and actually cause diabetes if you are not already. The doctors get annoyed when you research things or try new things on your own. When I started to take cinnamon my blood glucose went from 8.8 to 8.4 in three months, they didn’t believe it worked. Well since last May my sugars have went from 8.8 to 8.1 currently. My blood pressure also dropped now I am 130/70 or less.
    I am interested in the Paleo diet is it safe for diabetics?
    What are the main food groups?

  44. @Bellydancer

    Yeah, Paleo is perfect for diabetics cause it encourages people to eat mainly whole, unprocessed foods. By that very fact, a person’s carb intake on Paleo will much lower than on Standard American Diet. Why? Cause things like bread and bread by-products (including whole wheat bread, rye, barley, etc), pasta (brown and regular), sugar, oatmeal, and all other sorts of grains are required to be processed to be edible to us. Being on Paleo eliminates these refined carbohydrates which convert to glucose in our bodies, which elevate insulin levels. If you eliminate these refined carbohydrates then your body doesn’t need to produce so much insulin in order to bring down glucose (converted from carbs).

    I DO eat carbs, don’t get me wrong, but they tend to be natural, unprocessed carbs so all sorts of vegetables (veggies are carbs!), occasional fuit, and starchy veggies and fruits like sweet potatoes, yams, bananas, etc.

    Often, my carb intake doesn’t tend to go above 100 grams per day. Most likely it’s around 75 grams. When I initially started, following the Primal Blueprint, I kept to under 50 grams a day. You tend to lose a lot of weight fast that way. I lost enough and then upped my carb intake as well as my exercises.
    I was stricter with my mother since she is a carboholic and diabtetic. I kept her under 50 grams a day and now it’s under 100 grams. She doesn’t exercise much btw.

    By the way, last spring her A1C1 was 13.1. Yes, you read that right.
    Her last reading, in December, was 8.5. In Jan and Feb she got a lot od daily measurements in the low 7s and high 6s. Her next bloodwork will be done this week.

    This site was a great resource for me, including the forums: I highly recommend you check it out.

    http://www.marksdailyapple.com

  45. @Bellydancer

    Cinnamon is great for helping to lower blood sugar btw. I include a stick of cinnamon with my afternoon tea every day as does my mother.
    And yeah, some doctors really get annoyed when their authority is questioned. It doesn’t help the perception of doctors being in the pharmaceutical companies’ pockets and getting kickbacks when they vociferously object to their patients refusing medications like statins. I know my mother’s doctor has a bee in his bonnet about it and my mom gets concerned that it might affect the level of care he gives her. Frankly, I wish she would switch but it’s next to impossible to get a new doctor around here and he’s been her doctor for decades at this point.
    I live in another city otherwise I’ll need to schedule an appt with him to discuss his obsession with statins which have proven not to be effective on so many different types of populations, including all women. Also, not to mention the truly heinous adverse effects that my mother suffered from and which he just waved away as part of getting older.
    If there is one thing my grand health experiment revealed to me is to be highly skeptical of institutions and the experts who run them, including doctors.

  46. Yeah Sophia statins have been known to casue high blood sugar I bet her numbers dropped when she stopped taking them. My doctor refused to take me off Actos until his own nurse said this high dose is only making her gain more weight so she lowered the dose and I eventually weaned myself off. Plus the pharmacist told me that I could get the same results if I changed my diet and exercise which I was doing but the meds kept me full of fluids which was causing me other problems. I recently stopped taking glipizide also and the pharmacist told me that after 5 years it was no good anyway after I had been on it for 15 years. i had actually asked my doctor about that and he was no you have to take it with the insulin. I went to the endo last year and she stopped me right away and has me doing humolog with meals. So I am taking notice of what I eat more cuz some of the diabetic recommendations do not fit everybody. My problem is white rice which I have cut back on immensely in the past year. Also diet soda is not all that good for diabetics either so I have been reading.

  47. Sophia
    I have also started to use probiotics to ease some of the stomach bloat that some meds and diet can cause. I notice that when I don’t eat bread or rice with meals and little or no carb my sugars can drop real fast but I did find a paleo website that talks about reducing your meds so that you won’t go to low with your sugars. I am having better sugars with the new med combo but I eventually want to get down to maybe just Metformin, diet and exercise.

  48. Hmmm, this is getting slightly off-topic, but I guess it’s a good conversation to have.

    Sophia,

    Those are some amazing results! Can’t argue with that. Makes me wonder what I’m waiting for!… I’m trying to figure out a way to get my mother to move to a lower carb, unprocessed food diet as well. It will be interesting, as she and my father’s main meals are carb-based.

    “The best thing about this diet is that after a short while, it’s a matter of biochemistry and biology and not a matter of will. I don’t have to mentally push away that bowl of cereal or that cookie.”

    Mmm, cookies. 🙂

    I used to be a huge cookie and cake eater. Nowadays I’m not so much and you’re quite right when you say there just isn’t that urge to eat the sweet stuff when your body gets used to fat/protein meals. But I don’t want to cross out my treats altogether — I still remember how they taste. So I have them once a month or whenever I crave them (which of course, isn’t often).

    “Also, what a relief not to count calories, and not caring either, but still losing weight.”

    Isn’t it great how the weight just takes care of itself? You never have to worry about weight again.
    It’s utterly amazing that even if you’re genetically predisposed to gaining weight, you can curb that by simply lowering carb intake.

    “The problem is that incredulous first reaction I get when I tell people what they must do (after they ask me, mind you). “What?! You want me to give up bread? Over my dead body!!!” Lots of people just stop listening after that.

    LOL.

    That reminds me of the book “Life Without Bread”. Well, I sure do love my biscuits, I have to say. 🙂

    I think making a compromise with some people can help. Like once a month with whole wheat bread. What I find is that after a while at the once-a-month-or-less level, the urge to have whatever it is more or less stop.

    “I DO eat carbs, don’t get me wrong”

    Lol, I don’t…

    “Often, my carb intake doesn’t tend to go above 100 grams per day. Most likely it’s around 75 grams.”

    Mine is rarely above 30, and I find it hard to get there on many days. I have a food log and for this week I’m only at 10 (net, after fiber)!

    I am in the weightloss phase, but even after this, I don’t see how I can get to the 100-120 grams of some low-carbers. 110 grams seems like a whole lot of carbs to me.

    I’m not a big non-starchy veggie or fruit eater. I like broccoli/cauliflower with cheese (I do like dairy, especially cheese), mushrooms, and tomatoes but that’s about it. The rest I have to eat with dairy or meat to make them tastier. On the fruit side, I somewhat like banana. But in all honesty I’d rather have some chocolate with the same or lower GI, than a banana. Aha.

  49. @Alee

    Yeah, it seemed that we did veer a little off-topic. Oops!

    You seem to be doing quite well yourself. I think I made myself sound a little stricter than I really am though. I was strict for the first several months but I definitely make allowances for social occasions and the occasional treat, like bagels w/ cream cheese (yummy!), croissant or a cheescake or mousse. Again, like you, I rarely get cravings for them because the fat/proteins do such a good job with satiety but it’s nice to have those treats without worrying and fretting about being “bad”.

    You’re right, people can ease into this diet but I found that with my control group (N=5), we needed to cut the refined carbs asap otherwise it takes a much longer time to wean yourself off it. For some of us, the first couple of weeks were tough cause our bodies had to switch from burning glucose to burning fat and the transition brought about flu-like sympotms (carb flu). After that, though, it was all good.

    You do realize that chocolate is great for you, no? 🙂 Dark chocolate. I usually have 90% Lindt dark chocolate with strawberries and real cream. So decadent 🙂

    I think the people who go over 100 grams of carbs per day are the dedicated workout types. The weight trainers. I strength train and on those days, I go easy on the fat and load up on sweet potatoes (1= 25 grams) and a banana or two (1 banana = 23 grams), total from 50 to 75 grams. That’s a carb heavy day for me. Otherwise, it tends to be lower. I tend to eat a lot of veggies though like spinach, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, red cabbage, zucchini, bok choy, etc..
    At this point, I average one meal a day. I eat a lot for that one meal but it’s still one meal. I simply don’t get hungry anymore.

    To bring this back on topic though….

    I am not anti-fat, even though morbidly obese capture my attention like no other, because I do realize how hard it is to lose weight with the conventional information that’s out there. My education and research skills helped set 5 people on the way to weight loss and health but most people don’t bother to find out things for themselves or they listen to “experts” like their family doctors or Dr Oz or follow the Food Pyramid and wonder why they they can’t lose weight. Or if they do set out on that path they encounter resistance, like my mom has encountered with her doctor. If I wasn’t there supporting her, she probably would have gone back on the statins just to make him happy.

    Do you know how many times in the past year I wanted to run to seriously overweight people on the streets and tell them what I know? Obviously, I don’t cause I don’t want to get smacked. But really, I am very sympathetic to fat people cause so many forces are aligned to keep people fat in this culture.

  50. Sophia,

    I’ll answer the first portion of your comment in the Clouds,

    “I do realize how hard it is to lose weight with the conventional information that’s out there.”

    You can say that again. Listening to experts sometimes works, or at least isn’t so misleading. But in the case of weight gain and loss, it’s so not. I think even if you lose the weight, the amount of effort you put into losing it and sustaining the weight loss will make you miserable.

    “Do you know how many times in the past year I wanted to run to seriously overweight people on the streets and tell them what I know? Obviously, I don’t cause I don’t want to get smacked.”

    Lol. You could just talk to them, and eventually ease into the topic. Always focusing on yourself of course, and never them. 😉

  51. Hi!
    So in the UK we have what is called the NHS, it provides free healthcare for those that are genuinely ill. However many people believe that self inflicted conditions you should not be allowed free healthcare as it drains money from the government and taxpayers. Obeseity, addiction, self-harm, etc. So many things fall under this. The thought is “Why should I have to pay for some lazy person who cannot be bothered to look after themselves?” Many things also have to be catered for the “Big” when if people were just looking after themselves a bit more it was save money there also.
    It has much to do with culture. Skinny is beautiful here where as in Jamaica Big is beautiful.
    Another factor is many people believe it shows a weaker character with no sense of pride or respect for their own body’s. It is dangerous for your health to be obese and it also shows a lack of respect to the ones you care about endangering yourself that way out of a selfish habit.
    These theories work for both ways for those who do not eat also.
    Actually also in the UK women who are apparently too skinny get bullied more severely by larger women in an attempt to make them feel better.
    Everyone has different shapes and sizes but there are boundaries of what is healthy and not and I believe people should stick between them otherwise I end up paying for their healthcare when I should not have too.
    That is pretty much it.

  52. “It has much to do with culture. Skinny is beautiful here where as in Jamaica Big is beautiful.”

    Big is beautiful? Probably bigger than the UK, but “big”? I mean I’ve never been to Jamaica, but somehow I just think that’s probably not the case from the Jamaicans I’ve known.

    “Another factor is many people believe it shows a weaker character with no sense of pride or respect for their own body’s. It is dangerous for your health to be obese and it also shows a lack of respect to the ones you care about endangering yourself that way out of a selfish habit.”

    Well, to lose weight once you’ve gotten to the obese range, you have to sacrifice a lot (of food, lol). It’s hard and you really have to work at it and be determined to change your habits. It won’t just happen; it’s a complete 180 lifestyle change, and shouldn’t be underestimated. Vast majority of people gain back the weight they lose because of that reason — it’s not just about changing what and how much you eat, you have to change yourself mentally.

    “Everyone has different shapes and sizes but there are boundaries of what is healthy and not and I believe people should stick between them otherwise I end up paying for their healthcare when I should not have too.”

    Including underweight people? 🙂

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