Saturday, September 29, 2007

Why Americans tune out obesity talk

The tools and resources to fight the obesity epidemic are all around us, in many forms, and yet, Americans aren't taking advantage of them. They are tuning out the noise. (Could it be because those tools don't work permanently?)
There is no shortage of information about how to lose weight. When people choose a popular diet or a commercial weight loss program, they often are asked to make big changes in diet and physical activity patterns. Most people actually achieve some success with these plans in the short term. The problem is sustaining it permanently. Most Americans find that life gets in the way and it is difficult to keep doing the things recommended by their diet plan. (Life gets in the way? Try genetics and a messed up metabolism from repeated dieting.)
This is the American approach to dieting: lose weight and gain it back. Very few people who lose significant amounts of weight actually keep it off. Those who do have learned how to sustain big lifestyle changes, even in environments that encourage overeating and discourage physical activity. It would be great if we could change our environment to one that is less supportive of obesity and more supportive of healthy weight -- and over time, we might be able to do this. (Less supportive of obesity? What fucking dream world are they living in? I want to move to the one that supports fat people!)
Simple lifestyle changes are a proven approach to preventing excessive weight gain. The average American gains one to two pounds each year; it is this gradual weight gain that is fueling increasing obesity rates. AOMF studies prove that making two small changes each day can reap big rewards over time. Just two simple steps -- adding 2,000 steps a day (about a mile) and cutting 100 calories (about a pat of butter) -- can keep off those few extra annual pounds. (What about the people who have made changes such as those and are not losing weight?)
There are comments at this article, and ya know what? I'm learning, I didn't even bother to read them. I'm getting tired of hearing stupid people say calories in/calories out, it's easy, get off your ass and quit stuffing your face, yada yada yada. I get so pissed at that crap, I want to hit them upside the head with a two by four and say "Listen up, morons, it's not that simple." I'd be better off talking to my cats, at least they don't talk back with more nonsense.
This simplistic approach, lifestyle change, do this, do that, small steps, and you'll lose weight and keep it off. Yeah, right, tell that to all the fat people who have made those simple little changes, didn't lose any weight, maybe even gained weight, and were probably just fine before they made the changes. I really, really want to tell them to leave me the fuck alone. My size, my health, my weight, are none of their damned business. It's none of their business if I only live to be 54 (this November) or if I live to be 100. It's MY life, and if I'm satisfied with it, who the hell are they to tell me it needs improvement?

Friday, September 28, 2007

Obesity Epidemic? Use The Solution Method

Beginning on October 18, 2007, nine conferences on the revolutionary Solution Method will be held at universities across the country for health professionals who are seeking an alternative to gastric surgery and calorie counting for their obese clients. Joy is not optional. It's essential for weight loss. Through The Solution, a novel method that is backed by scientific research and developed at the University of California, San Francisco, overweight clients learn the skills to experience bursts of feel-good neurotransmitters throughout the day that reduce their cravings for food. The chemical shift that produces joy turns off the drive for comfort eating and prompts weight loss. When used over time, the skills retrain the brain for lasting changes. Learning and teaching these skills will be the focus of a nationwide series of conferences to launch in San Diego in October.

Another magic bullet that, in 5 or 10 years, will prove not to work any better than any other solution they've come up with so far. It might work, if fat people got fat by overeating. But we know that isn't so for the majority. They talk about food as a "fix" (can we say shades of addiction here?) and forgetting about food when you're happy. *head desk*
FWIW, I see desperation here. Dieting isn't working to get and keep people thin, WLS isn't working to get and keep people thin, so they have to come up with something else. Oh! Let's try JOY, that's got to work this time. And underneath it all, lies the assumption that fat people got fat because we can't stop stuffing our faces, not that fat is just one of nature's many body shapes. We're all gluttons because we're so stressed that we just have to reach for food to console ourselves.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

How do you know you're healthy?

Hmmmm.........I think this is a fairly good article (title of post is link to article).

I would much rather someone be overweight yet exercise than someone be underweight and do no exercise at all

Sports scientist John Brewer

The average person should be able to:
Walk a mile in 15 minutes
Carry two bags of shopping from the supermarket to the car
Climb the stairs in a house without getting breathless

Blood pressure below 140/90 each time it is taken
Resting pulse of around 70 beats per minute
Respiratory rate of 16 - 20 breaths a minute

What all of this tells me is that the lower limits on things like blood pressure (110/70 is what I've heard quoted quite often by doctors) that we are told we need to reach for our health may not be as vital as promoted as being. So, are medical professionals lowering standards because of the so-called obesity epidemic, thinking that if they institute these lower standards, we may strive to meet them and therefore might reach the actual, higher standards? Do they really think tricking us, needlessly scaring us, is going to work? More importantly, is it really in our best interests to go along with this unquestioningly?

Nickelodeon goes dark for kids' health

Found at Red No. 3. Yep, they are so concerned about kids' health and all the tv they watch that they are going dark from noon to 3 pm on the fourth annual Worldwide Day of Play, Sept. 29th. A whole 3 hours! One day out of 365. Impressive!
Now, if they were really concerned about kids' health and too much television, they would go dark every weekday from 3 pm until 7 pm (like our house was when I was a kid) and at least half of the day on Saturday and Sunday (I really don't see that happening). That way, kids would have time to do homework, chores, play, and eat dinner before watching Nick, since parents obviously don't have any control over what their kids do (sarcasm off).
I remember when I was a kid, our television did not come on until after supper was over (I didn't get to watch until after the supper dishes were done). Weekends, no tv until the house was cleaned and laundry was done (both my parents worked and the two of us kids were expected to help out). Granted, this was back in the 60's and 70's and you had a whole 4 channels to choose from, but still..........
TV has never really interested me, I was always into books and reading as many as I could get my hands on (best escape ever created). I played outside as a kid (was a tomboy to the max, climbing trees, fishing, bicycling, swimming, roller skating), but we lived in a small town and back then, there weren't the worries of child abductions that there are today. I had a paper route (and my parents did not drive me around to deliver them, I rode my bike all year round, even in Illinois winters, unless there had been an ice storm and it was too dangerous to go on my bike). Ah, the good old days, I sorta kinda maybe miss them.............

Does exercise really make us thinner?

Ok, so I'm late in finding's from Gary Taubes' book, Good Calories, Bad Calories: Challenging the Conventional Wisdom on Diet, Weight Control, and Disease. I haven't read the book (making a note to see if they have it at our library, or can get it). But, this section of it, makes sense to me (title of post is link to article).
The main thing I got from this is that even though studies have shown, over and over, that exercise doesn't lead to permanent weight loss (even when coupled with restricted calories [and can lead to weight gain]), that is not what the medical establishment or the diet industry want to hear, so they ignore it and continue to trumpet obesity epidemic and tout all their "Follow this diet, do this exercise" and you will lose weight and become the person of your dreams (which dreams they have brainwashed you into thinking are yours, when in reality they are those of the fashion industry and the media).
For me, whatever level of activity a person does is up to her(him). One's level of health is not something that can be controlled all the time. While everyone can make choices about what they eat, how much exercise they get, how much sleep they get (well, that's sometimes easier said than done), you don't always have a choice about what you are exposed to in the course of your daily life. Health is relative. What is healthy for one person may not be healthy for another. To my way of thinking, health is not a moral imperative. It's not something that can have a set standard that every human being can meet, or should have to meet.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Spare the fat, spoil the child

Since 1981, obesity (defined as being 20 per cent or more above ideal weight for age and sex) has tripled among Canadian children, from 5 per cent for both sexes to 16.6 per cent of boys and 14.6 per cent of girls. The number of overweight children has increased from 15 per cent overall to 35.4 per cent for boys and 29.2 per cent for girls.
"There are tremendous health consequences," says Dr. Warshawski, now very serious. "What you see in the short term are mental-health issues, poor self-esteem. A child who is significantly obese is self-conscious and treated differently by other children." A study in the U.S. found that obese children were less happy with their lives than children undergoing chemotherapy for cancer, Dr. Warshawski says.
Self-esteem is important, but not deadly. The real threat to health
parents are failing to recognize is the long-term consequences of being overweight or obese for decades. Being overweight or obese is a key factor in health problems ranging from bad backs and arthritis caused by hauling around too much weight, to some types of cancer, heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.
"We are setting our children up for a life of ill-health," Dr. Warshawski said "Of kids born in 2000, one in three will develop type 2 diabetes because of their weight." Type 2 diabetes is not an easy life, or a quick death: generally, as the condition worsens, veins shrink and organs wither away. It can mean years of pain and disability, potentially ending in blindness,amputations and kidney failure.
I thought type 2 diabetes was genetic, inherited, and not caused by being fat? Is this guy hyping hysteria or what? Our kids are getting fatter so they're automatically going to get type 2 diabetes and that definitely means it always gets worse and leads to years of pain and disability? WTF!! Could the reason that the numbers of fat children have tripled in the last 20 years be because the BMI standards for what is considered "normal" have been lowered at least once in that time? Could it also be that kids are getting taller, and with that comes increased weight?
Of course kids who are fat have self-esteem issues. They are bombarded with thin images, messages that thin is ideal, fat is lazy, fat is stupid, fat is ugly. They are bullied by peers, parents, teachers, strangers. They are taken from their parents and told that their parents are abusing them by letting them be fat. If a child does happen to have loving parents who foster a sense of self-worth not based on their child's size, that child still has to deal with what is said outside his/her home.
Physician-delegates attending the 140th annual meeting of the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) in August set their sights on curbing the obesity epidemic by recommending governments implement both mandatory 30-minute daily exercise periods for all school-aged children and youth. Delegates also called for creation of a user-friendly supplement to Canada's Food Guide that would outline a comprehensive strategy for children and youth on how to reach and maintain healthy weights.
A comprehensive strategy for children and youth on how to reach and maintain healthy weights. RIIIIGHT! No one has been able to do that for adults, what the hell makesthem think they can do it for kids? And who decides what is a healthy weight? The BMI is flawed since it doesn't take into account the fact that muscle weighs more than fat, so that a muscular person could weigh more than a flabby person the exact same size (and by size, I mean height and body measurements). Not to mention that you can't tell who is healthy and who is not just by looking at them. And why is being healthy such a moral imperative? It is not possible for every person on earth to have the exact same level of health as every other person on earth.
There are too many variables in life to be able to assure everyone the same level of health. Where you live, what kind of job you have, married or single, had kids or not, what kind of food you eat, how you handle stress, your genetics, substances you've been exposed to in the course of your life, all of these can affect your health, and there aren't many of them that can be controlled well enough to assure health.
In spite of the fact that people are getting heavier (or maybe because of it), our life expectancy is increasing. The so-called obesity epidemic that is supposed to be shortening our lives doesn't actually seem to be doing that, in any part of the world. I don't think it's going to shorten our children's lives either.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Seniors balk at ban on doughnuts

This article just totally takes the cake (pun fully intended). These are donated food items, for senior citizens, for geebus sake. Now I can see throwing out the old, stale, or moldy cakes, pies, and donuts. But to take all of it away from them just because someone in charge thinks it isn't healthy? WTF!!!!!
Penalizing all seniors because a few have heart disease (and whose business is it if someone with heart disease wants to eat a couple of donuts) is just totally wrong. And yeah, if the seniors really want a donut, no one is stopping them from buying them on their own (if they can get to the store, and if they can afford it). Talk about a nanny government.
Since when does food have a moral value? I hate the obsession with good/bad food labels. Food is food, for pete's sake. There is nothing intrinsically good or evil about any of it. Granted, some foods are healthier than others, but NO ONE has the right to tell ANYONE what they can and cannot eat. And for me, if I live to be 86 years old and someone tries to take donuts, cakes, and pies from me, they will probably end up getting hit with my cane or run over by my 4-wheel drive wheelchair.
PS title of post is link to article.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Fatties need to get a grip

From Red No. 3:

"This ever-expanding national girth is a reflection of our over-tolerant attitude to fatness. It is a much more comfortable social experience to be fat in the UK or the US than it is in Europe. Call it body fascism if you like, but in Europe excessive weight gain, much like excessive drinking, is socially disapproved of.

In the UK, on the other hand, being fat is so common as to be acceptable, even expected. Indeed we live in the era of fat militancy, borrowed from the US, where clothes shops catering for teenagers are taken to task for not stocking previously unheard-of sizes upwards of extra large, and where the design of everything from toilet seats to bus aisles is rapidly being scaled up to cater for greatly enlarged dimensions."

-Joanna Blythman

Over-tolerant attitude toward fatness? Greatly enlarged dimensions? What fricking planet is she living on? In the last 40 years, women have gotten, on average, an inch taller (5' 3" to 5' 4") and their average weight has gone from 140 lbs to 164 lbs. That sounds like a modest increase to me, not "greatly enlarged". And she's pissed because fat people want accommodation in clothing? Would she rather see our fat asses wandering around naked? If she thinks fat is so ugly clothed, what would she think of it unclothed? Does she think all fat people should stay at home, naked, doing absolutely nothing but exercising like hamsters on speed and restricting calories until they get thin enough to suit her before going out and contributing to the global economy? Fat people are supposed to put their lives on hold, because she thinks fat is ugly? I want to know who died and made people like her Grand Poohbah of the Universe. Did she ever stop to think that without the contributions ALL people make, no matter their size, this world would be a much poorer place in which to live? By her notions, Luciano Pavarotti would have had to lose weight in order to be an opera star, what a loss to the world that would have been. Queen Latifah would have had to get thin before becoming the amazing actress that she is. We would never have heard Cass Elliot's amazing voice, never been able to read the many books written by fat authors, never had the many scientific breakthroughs made by fat scientists, not to mention the medical breakthroughs found by fat doctors. Not everyone who is a genius is thin, and if we wait for those fat geniuses to get thin and stay thin before they contribute to society, the world will miss out on so much that could enrich it today and in the future.

I don't think she realizes that manufacturers of clothing and other items used and needed by fat people may have just decided that we are a vast, untapped source of income. Maybe that is why they are starting to make clothing, toilet seats, furniture, etc that fit the larger person. After all, our money spends just as well as a thin/average person's money. It's not tainted with our "fat germs", no one is going to catch "TEH FAT" from handling our money and catering to our needs. After all, the diet industry has been doing it for years (in addition to brainwashing fat people into thinking they have to keep trying to be thin, even with failure after failure after failure of every WLD plan out there).

Joanna, you really need to get a life and quit worrying about other people's size. It's NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS. You don't pay their bills, buy their groceries, clean their houses, raise their kids, do their laundry, or take care of any of the other myriad parts of fat people's lives. So get over yourself already. Your opinion is just that, an opinion. And guess what? Opinions are like assholes, everybody has one.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

A question for Hillary Clinton

The quote below is what I posted on Hillary Rodham Clinton's website, under one of the posts about her health care plan. I googled her name and obesity epidemic and couldn't find anything that even remotely related to how she feels about the obesity epidemic. So, when in doubt, go to the source and see if you can get an answer. We'll see what, if anything, happens.
I would like to know Hillary's position on the so-called obesity epidemic. As a fat woman who got fatter from repeated weight loss dieting and a failed weight loss surgery, I want to know what she thinks about fat people and the discrimination we face on a daily basis. Fat women make less money than thin women, we are constantly told by doctors that ANY illness we have will go away "if you just lose weight", we cannot buy clothing that fits in mainstream stores, we are told we must purchase 2 airline seats if we want to fly (and that's despite the fact that even "normal" people are uncomfortable in those seats). Every bit of advertising we see tells us that if we aren't thin, we aren't worthwhile human beings. If you're fat, you're a lazy, smelly, stupid, gluttonous pig who can't stop stuffing your face long enough to get off the couch and actually do anything. Diets don't work and the diet industry knows this, but they will keep recycling the same old diet plans over and over and over because women have been brainwashed into thinking that if they aren't thin, they don't deserve to have a life.

Edited to add comment about Hillary's response:
Well, I got a response all right, but it was a canned one. Thanked me for joining her campaign (I had to join her website to leave a comment), and gave me a link to get a free bumper sticker promoting her for President. Yeah, right, like I'm going to do that. I'll reply to her email and see what kind of response I get to that. I'm still not sure which of the evils I'll choose when it comes time to cast my vote. A lot is going to depend on their stance on health care and fat acceptance. Anyone who is fat-phobic is definitely not getting my vote.
Further updates to come, I hope.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Presidential Priorities

I found this link at Red No. 3 (title of this post is link). I posted a comment at the article, mainly because I don't think ANYONE has the experience to fight and win a battle against obesity. How many years of failed dieting/WLS is it going to take before people realize that fat is not anyone's enemy? Fat just is, it doesn't have any sentience, it doesn't have any motives, and there is nothing moral or immoral about it. It exists and there is no safe, sane way to eradicate it. How do you do battle with a non-sentient thing? Being fat isn't a disease like cancer, where you can figure out what might have caused it and look for a cure that will work for almost everyone that has that particular type of cancer (and that isn't even doable for everyone, since some treatments don't work for some people and no one knows exactly why that is so). A person's size and amount of body fat is based on so much more than genetics and metabolism, and research is just beginning to find out how complicated it all is. A solution, if there ever will be one, is light-years away (and why does there have to be a solution, why can't we accept people as they are, in all their diversity?).
In the meantime, are we supposed to sit still and take all the abuse thrown our way, over a fact that we cannot control? I think not. I will not sit still anymore and be told that if I just tried hard enough, I too could be thin. Been there done that, got the t-shirt, hat, bumper sticker, AND key chain, and I ain't going back. And I will not vote for anyone who says they can fight the obesity battle for the American nation and win. That person is either living in a dream world, or they are lying out their ass, saying what they think the public wants to hear in order to get elected.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Dieting does not work, UCLA researchers report

This definitely needs more media coverage, but I don't think it's gonna happen.
From the article:

Will you lose weight and keep it off if you diet? No, probably not, UCLA researchers report in the April issue of American Psychologist, the journal of the American Psychological Association.

"You can initially lose 5 to 10 percent of your weight on any number of diets, but then the weight comes back," said Traci Mann, UCLA associate professor of psychology and lead author of the study. "We found that the majority of people regained all the weight, plus more. Sustained weight loss was found only in a small minority of participants, while complete weight regain was found in the majority. Diets do not lead to sustained weight loss or health benefits for the majority of people."

Mann and her co-authors conducted the most comprehensive and rigorous analysis of diet studies, analyzing 31 long-term studies.

"What happens to people on diets in the long run?" Mann asked. "Would they have been better off to not go on a diet at all? We decided to dig up and analyze every study that followed people on diets for two to five years. We concluded most of them would have been better off not going on the diet at all. Their weight would be pretty much the same, and their bodies would not suffer the wear and tear from losing weight and gaining it all back."

People on diets typically lose 5 to 10 percent of their starting weight in the first six months, the researchers found. However, at least one-third to two-thirds of people on diets regain more weight than they lost within four or five years, and the true number may well be significantly higher, they said.

"Although the findings reported give a bleak picture of the effectiveness of diets, there are reasons why the actual effectiveness of diets is even worse," Mann said.

Mann said that certain factors biased the diet studies to make them appear more effective than they really were. For one, many participants self-reported their weight by phone or mail rather than having their weight measured on a scale by an impartial source. Also, the studies have very low follow-up rates — eight of the studies had follow-up rates lower than 50 percent, and those who responded may not have been representative of the entire group, since people who gain back large amounts of weight are generally unlikely to show up for follow-up tests, Mann said.

"Several studies indicate that dieting is actually a consistent predictor of future weight gain," said Janet Tomiyama, a UCLA graduate student of psychology and co-author of the study. One study found that both men and women who participated in formal weight-loss programs gained significantly more weight over a two-year period than those who had not participated in a weight-loss program, she said.

Another study, which examined a variety of lifestyle factors and their relationship to changes in weight in more than 19,000 healthy older men over a four-year period, found that "one of the best predictors of weight gain over the four years was having lost weight on a diet at some point during the years before the study started," Tomiyama said. In several studies, people in control groups who did not diet were not that much worse off — and in many cases were better off — than those who did diet, she said.

If dieting doesn't work, what does?

"Eating in moderation is a good idea for everybody, and so is regular exercise," Mann said. "That is not what we looked at in this study. Exercise may well be the key factor leading to sustained weight loss. Studies consistently find that people who reported the most exercise also had the most weight loss."

Diet studies of less than two years are too short to show whether dieters have regained the weight they lost, Mann said.

"Even when you follow dieters four years, they're still regaining weight," she said.

One study of dieting obese patients followed them for varying lengths of time. Among those who were followed for fewer than two years, 23 percent gained back more weight than they had lost, while of those who were followed for at least two years, 83 percent gained back more weight than they had lost, Mann said. One study found that 50 percent of dieters weighed more than 11 pounds over their starting weight five years after the diet, she said.

Evidence suggests that repeatedly losing and gaining weight is linked to cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes and altered immune function. Mann and Tomiyama recommend that more research be conducted on the health effects of losing and gaining weight, noting that scientists do not fully understand how such weight cycling leads to adverse health effects.

Mann notes that her mother has tried different diets, and has not succeeded in keeping the weight off. "My mother has been on diets and says what we are saying is obvious," she said.

While the researchers analyzed 31 dieting studies, they have not evaluated specific diets.

Medicare raised the issue of whether obesity is an illness, deleting the words "Obesity is not considered an illness" from its coverage regulations in 2004. The move may open the door for Medicare to consider funding treatments for obesity, Mann noted.

"Diets are not effective in treating obesity," said Mann. "We are recommending that Medicare should not fund weight-loss programs as a treatment for obesity. The benefits of dieting are too small and the potential harm is too large for dieting to be recommended as a safe, effective treatment for obesity."

From 1980 to 2000, the percentage of Americans who were obese more than doubled, from 15 percent to 31 percent of the population, Mann noted.

A social psychologist, Mann, taught a UCLA graduate seminar on the psychology of eating four years ago. She and her students continued the research when the course ended. Mann's co-authors are Erika Westling, Ann-Marie Lew, Barbra Samuels and Jason Chatman.

"We asked what evidence is there that dieting works in the long term, and found that the evidence shows the opposite" Tomiyama said.

The research was partially supported by the National Institute of Mental Health.

In future research, Mann is interested in studying whether a combination of diet and exercise is more effective than exercise alone.

UCLA is California's largest university, with an enrollment of nearly 37,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The UCLA College of Letters and Science and the university's 11 professional schools feature renowned faculty and offer more than 300 degree programs and majors. UCLA is a national and international leader in the breadth and quality of its academic, research, health care, cultural, continuing education and athletic programs. Four alumni and five faculty have been awarded the Nobel Prize.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Too fat for your car?

Did you know that the tires on your vehicle are most likely rated at being able to carry passengers who weigh no more than 150 to 170 lbs? Check the driver's side door frame sticker (on cars 2006 and newer), that will give you the maximum load capacity for your vehicle (my Grand Caravan can carry six people but would be maxed out if they all weighed 200 lbs each). Most 5 passenger vehicles are rated at about 850 lbs (170 lb average per passenger). If your tires fail and you have over-loaded your vehicle, you aren't going to be able to sue the tire manufacturer for making bad tires (thank you Firestone for recalling tires that failed due to overloading in 2000).
Most cars are made for people who weigh no more than 150 lbs, even though the average weight for men is 190 lbs, and for women, 163 lbs.
I can vouch for this, as I have owned many different makes and models of cars in the last 35 years. Up until the 80's, I never had a problem fitting in any car I owned (and they ranged from Pintos to a 1989 Pontiac Catalina). The ones I bought that were manufactured in the 90's however, were another story. The only ones I was comfortable in were the 1990 and 1992 Chrysler New Yorkers I owned. My Dodge Shadow was a pain in the ass to get in and out of and the seat belt barely fit. My Plymouth Acclaim was the same (and it was bigger than the Shadow). I traded the Acclaim in on a 1997 Dodge Grand Caravan minivan. Now that one fits me to a tee. It's easy to get in and out of, I have room between my belly and the steering wheel, I have leg room (my inseam is 31", so I have long legs), and the seat belt fits me with room to spare even when I'm wearing a bulky winter coat.
You would think that with the obesity epidemic hysteria going on that car manufacturers would make sure that their cars could carry passengers that are at least the average weight, if not heavier. After all, they tout the safety of their vehicles in collisions, and part of what happens in a collision can be exacerbated by a heavier load than the vehicle is rated to carry. How many of us have looked at the load rating on a vehicle we purchased, if it wasn't a truck?
I know from now on that will be one of the things I look at when purchasing a vehicle. And I will ask questions of the salesman about the safety of fat people in whatever car I'm looking at purchasing. After all, I'm fat, not about to get thin in this lifetime, and I sure as hell want to be as safe as I can be in whatever I'm driving.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Eating less red meat may slow climate change (and stop the obesity epidemic)

I love this.....not. Now the gas from cattle is causing global warming and the obesity epidemic. According to this article, if people ate less red meat, the numbers of livestock (and their flatulence) would be reduced and therefore, so would global warming. It also says that if people ate less meat, they would be thinner. I don't know about that, I know quite a few fat vegetarians.
What the hell is wrong with people? Don't they get it? Fat is not always caused by what you eat or how much you eat. Body diversity is just that, diversity. Not everyone can be thin, not everyone can be fat, not everyone can be in-between. And why would we want everyone to look the same?
As far as global warming goes, I'm sure there are a lot more things causing it than the flatulence of livestock (although they certainly can be a contributor, but I don't think it's as large a proportion as they want us to think). Any propaganda to promote obesity epidemic hysteria and the thin-at-any-price mentality. Is there no end to which the diet industry and big pharma will not go to promote their money-making weight loss agenda?

Life expectancy of Americans hits 78

Ah yes, we're living longer, deaths from heart disease and strokes are dropping, but being fat is going to kill you sooner because everyone knows that being fat leads to heart disease and strokes and diabetes and high blood pressure.
So how do they reconcile the fact that Americans are getting fatter and living longer? They don't, they totally ignore the obesity epidemic hysteria.
But are we really living longer? According to their claim, the average life expectancy in 2004 was 77.8 years. The new life expectancy is now 77.9 years. 1/10 of a year is what, 5 weeks? Big deal. A little over a month more to live with the media circus blaring how fat is going to kill me, screaming about becoming thin at any cost, recycling the same old diets over and over and over, and pushing WLS for those they consider obese. Conformity rules, too bad I've always been a nonconformist. I'm not buying it anymore, I'll live until I die, whether that is tomorrow or 25 years from now (since I'm 53 now, 78 gives me at least that much, but with the longevity of family members, I could make it till I'm 90). I really don't think there's any way to predict with any accuracy how long the average person is going to live because there are just too many variables in a person's life that affect their health and their longevity.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Higher gas prices trimming down Americans?

(post title is link to article)
WTF? Higher gas prices sure aren't going to make fat people thinner by making them walk or bicycle or take mass transit. What does it take for these people to get it? Eating less and exercising more is not necessarily going to make anyone lose their fat (walking more might make them more fit but it ain't gonna make them thinner). And what about people who live where there is no mass transit? Should they have to bicycle or walk however far they have to to get to work (when I worked, I had a 50-mile trip, one way, every day and no way to get there unless I drove, and no one to carpool with).
Could it be that the 13% rise in obesity between 1979 and 2004 is not from falling gas prices but from the downward adjustment in the BMI ranges that was done in the late 90's? How many people became overweight or obese overnight, without gaining a pound? And I'm sorry, gasoline prices have not been falling in that time period. I can remember when gas was $.69 a gallon in 1976, and it's been going up ever since. I can't remember a time in the last 10 years when gas was below a $1.00 a gallon.

"I was pumping gas one day, thinking with gas prices so high I may have to take the Metro," he said, referring to the public transportation system serving the St. Louis area.

Courtemanche said he figured he would get an extra 30 minutes of exercise per day by walking to and from the Metro station.

This is all well and good if you live within walking distance of mass transit and that mass transit drops you off within walking distance of your work. Also works fine if you don't have to drop kids off at daycare or school on your way to work, or pick them up on the way home. I think Courtemanche's doctoral dissertation in health economics leaves a little bit to be desired in the way that it relates to the reality of life for most people.


I got this in an email a long time ago and printed it out on fancy paper to post on my bulletin board at work. Now that I'm not working anymore, I think I'll get out my cross stitch supplies and work it up to hang on my wall where I can see it every day. I think it applies to a lot of different situations and is pretty good advice.


You have two choices today:
You can choose to be in a good mood
You can choose to be in a bad mood.

Each time something bad happens,
You can choose to be a victim,
You can choose to learn from it.

Every time someone comes to you complaining,
You can accept their complaining,
You can point out the positive side of life.

Life is all about choices.
Which ones will you make today?

Monday, September 10, 2007

Something to make ya feel good

This came to me in an email today. Your attitude about any part of your life can affect you positively or negatively, it's all in how you decide to feel about that part of your life. You can let it drag you down and keep you from doing what you want to do, or you can say to hell with it, it is what it is, and I'm going to do what I want in spite of it. I think I prefer to see it positively, and see how many others I can infect with that attitude.


There once was a woman, who woke up one morning,
looked in the mirror,
And noticed she had only three hairs on her head.
Well," she said, "I think I'll braid my hair today?"
So she did

The next day she woke up,
looked in the mirror
And saw that she had only two hairs on her head.
"H-M-M," she said,
"I think I'll part my hair down the middle today?"
So she did

The next day she woke up,
looked in the mirror and noticed that she had only one hair on her head.
"Well," she said,
"today I'm going to wear my hair in a pony tail."
So she did

The next day she woke up,
looked in the mirror and noticed that there wasn't a single hair on
Her head
"YEA!" she exclaimed,
"I don't have to fix my hair today!"

Attitude is everything.
Be kinder than necessary,
For everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.
Live simply,
Love generously,
Care deeply,
Speak kindly.......
Leave the rest to God (or whatever higher power in which you believe)
Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass...
It's about learning to dance in the rain.

Dancing in the rain. How fun is that? :)

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Debunking myths may entrench them deeper

This article (title of post is link to article) isn't about fat myths, but the research applies to all kinds of myths. This could be one of the reasons fat activists have such a hard time convincing people of the uselessness of dieting, why people are fat, and fat and health. The lies have been propagated for so long that people believe them and even when they read the truth, their brains don't accept it. Somewhere along the way, our brains see it as reinforcing the myth, not debunking it. Too bad they haven't come up with a way to counter that.
Junkfood Science has a good take on this (link)
The only thing I have seen that works, at least for me (with fat acceptance and the no more dieting) is personal experience. I know that every time I dieted, I did my damnedest to lose weight and I tried as hard as I could to keep it off. So yeah, I did everything I could to lose weight and stay at the lower weight, but it didn't work. Of course, I thought I should have tried harder, so I dieted again, and again. I even tried WLS, and when that failed, I figured I was a dismal failure, I was destined to be fat the rest of my life because diets just didn't work for me (and I thought it was my fault, that I was the only one going through this). Then I found Big Fat Blog, and through that, other bloggers, who showed me I was not alone. I learned that I had tried as hard as I could, it wasn't my fault I failed, and that it was all the dieting that had made me fatter than I was before I started the foolishness. It took that (and the books they recommended) to debunk the dieting myths for me. Maybe our voices, if we keep saying it long enough and loud enough, will finally get through to other fat people and let them know they aren't alone, they aren't failures, and it's ok to love yourself no matter what size you are, and that the dieting madness has to stop.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Fat Activist Definition

1. What is your definition of a Fat Activist?
Activist: one who supports direct, vigorous action in support of a controversial issue, usually social or political change. So, for me, a fat activist is one who is saying that fat people deserve respect, just for the fact that a fat person is a human being and as such is entitled to respect. The direct, vigorous action can be blogging, writing congresspersons, participating in fat-positive events, confronting prejudice wherever it happens, and enlightening family, friends, neighbors, and strangers that there is nothing wrong with body diversity. Letting people know that fat healthy people, and fat unhealthy people, don't deserve to be treated like pariahs just because they are fat. Getting the word out about all the studies promoting the obesity epidemic hysteria and how the information is skewed to represent what the studies' backers want them to represent (did a pharmaceutical company with a new weight loss drug pay for the study that says this drug works, did they pick and choose the participants based on wellness or ill health, how did that reflect on the efficacy of the drug, what information did they learn that was detrimental to the use of the drug that they decided to leave out of the study, etc).
2. What qualities give a Fat Activist the capital letters in that title?
Courage under fire, meaning the ability to keep on telling the truth about diets and weight loss and HAES, no matter how many people shout you down. The ability to understand and interpret those studies mentioned in #1 and translate for those of us who don't have the technical knowledge to decipher medical-speak. A willingness to write letters to editors, congresspersons, companies, etc about the injustices perpetrated on fat people. The ability to inspire others to follow, and maybe even become leaders themselves. I don't mean that every Fat Activist will have all of the mentioned qualities, they may have some, and not others, they may have other qualities not listed.
3. How is a Fat Activist different from a Fat-Acceptance Supporter?
A Fat Acceptance Supporter may not be willing to become involved in direct vigorous action, but might work behind the scenes, organizing, filing, donating time and/or money wherever needed (got a talent for making buttons/t-shirts/bumper stickers with smart sayings promoting FA, etc). Fat Acceptance Supporters give feedback on ideas, help keep dialogs open, and give us all much-needed encouragement when things look bleak.
I haven't decided where I fit in the scheme of fat acceptance yet. I will continue to blog about the issues I find important, I will continue to read other fat acceptance blogs. I will also promote fat acceptance anytime I hear nastiness directed at any fat person. I don't want to hear about diets, been there done that, succeeded for a while, then failed miserably. I'm not going to congratulate people who have lost weight (nor will I put them down for dieting). Any opinion poll I take, that has an opportunity within its context, will hear about HAES from me. Any doctor I see will know that I don't want to hear anything about my weight, I want to be treated for whatever ailment I have just as I would be if I were thin and sick. I will complain when I am treated badly because of my fat.
Now, for how I reached this point in my life. I always thought I was fat as a teen because I didn't wear a size 4 or 6 (back in the late 60's/70's, 4's and 6's were considered fine), I wore a 16/18 in high school (I started having to wear a bra in 3rd grade). In high school, I was 5' 9" and weighed 175 lbs. I gained about 60 lbs when I got pregnant at 17 1/2 and didn't lose any of it after the baby came. I lost the weight when I got hit by a car at the age of 19. I was very active after that, roller skating and walking and bicycling, so even at the same weight of 175, I wore a size 14 (and still thought I was fat, since the Air Force wouldn't take me until I got down to 140). I stayed at that size until I got pregnant with my son in 1975, and ballooned up to 325. I dieted down to 200 lbs several times, each time regaining what I had lost, and then some. The last time that happened, I hit 350 lbs in 1989 and said enough is enough. Then I met a woman who was fat and had some serious health issues (I've blogged about Pat) back in 1991. We moved from Illinois to MN and her doctor recommended a VBG for her. She lost a lot of weight (check out her pics, you'll see what I mean) and I thought, wow, this could help me with my mobility issues that had been creeping up on me. Well, it killed her, and didn't work for me (my VBG was in September 1997). After that failed, I decided I was meant to be fat, there was nothing I could do to change it (after all, I had tried and failed too many times to keep on trying and failing). It wasn't until this summer that I found Fat Acceptance. Even though I kept saying I was meant to be fat, and knew I couldn't lose weight and keep it off, I still wanted to be thinner. If I was thinner, I wouldn't have the pain in my knee, or the pain in my back that keeps me from walking or standing. But if diets don't work, and WLS doesn't work, what do I do? I learned about HAES, and doing what exercise I can (which isn't much at this point, but I hope will improve). I learned that I don't have to apologize for being fat, that I don't have to accept the stereotypes of fat people, that I can learn to love myself as I am, fat and all. I wish every fat person could learn that, know it in their heart and head, and live their lives to the fullest, no matter what. I'm still on the journey, and probably will be forever, because as so many of you have said, it's not easy. It may be one of the hardest things I've ever done in my life, and I've been through some pretty rough shit (but that's dozens of other posts for other times), but, and this is a BIG but, I'm worth it, and so is every other fat person out there.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007 and recommendations

I got an email from with a new recommendation, based on past purchases. Now, what I had purchased was Megan Garcia's Just My Size Yoga, and Paul Campos' The Obesity Myth and The Diet Myth (didn't know they were the same book, just re-titled when I ordered them). So what did recommend for me? Save 25% on a Weight Watchers online membership. I have no idea how they got that idea from my purchase of a fat woman's yoga video and two books about the myth of dieting. It just seems obvious to me that if someone thinks dieting success is a myth, then they aren't going to be interested in another diet that is bound to fail in the long run. Below is the letter I sent them, letting them know how to improve their recommendations in the future:
I bought 3 items about fitness and not dieting (Just My Size Yoga, The Obesity Myth, and The Diet Myth). You sent me an email recommending Weight Watchers online. I am not interested in another diet that does not work. I do not want to have ANY type of diet recommended to me. I am interested in Health At Any Size, not on changing the size I am. 95% of people who diet will regain what they lost within 5 years of going off the diet, and may regain even more weight than they lost. This is true, no matter what diet they use. There is no way to make a naturally fat person thin, just like there is no way to make a naturally thin person fat. Having been there done that, got the t-shirt, hat, and key chain, I don't need any more diet recommendations. If you had recommended more items along the lines of Paul Campos' book, that would have been more in line with my life philosophy and interests.

I don't know what the response will be, but I will post their answer, if and when I get it.

Monday, September 3, 2007

I knew there was a reason I don't watch TV

We (hubby and I) went to my son's house this weekend to pick up my washer and while we were there, the TV was on. Now, I don't usually watch TV unless it's CSI or Law and Order or Trick My Truck. My son was watching Dirty Jobs, then that Spaceballs movie. During the movie, a commercial for Subway came on. You know the one, where the customers (average-sized) are ordering a beer belly (extra large) and cheese curd thighs, then they show the Subway subs and fruit and low-fat yogurt and say that's a healthier way of eating, and imply that it will either keep you from getting fat, or help you get thin if you're already fat. Reminds me of the commercial with the couple at the drive-thru, ordering the thunder thighs and badonkadonk butt, etc.
These commercials are assuming that fast food places are the only places people eat, they always order the most fattening, calorie-laden items on the menu, and they order a ton of it. Now, I would assume that if fast food is all you eat, even if you stay within a healthy amount of calories, you could possibly gain weight. But how many people actually live that way? And whose business is it if they do? I was not put on this earth to meet anyone's expectations but my own. I, and only I, have the right to decide what is right for me. If that is eating a healthy variety of foods and exercising, fine. If it's pigging out on chocolate cake and ice cream and cheeseburgers and fries, that's fine too. The size, or lack of size, of my ass does not determine my worth, and I resent the hell out of commercials that try to tell me I must be thin, and in order to be thin, I have to eat a certain way.
No one has figured out all the things that make a person the size they are, let alone how to lose weight and keep it off forever (or gain weight, for that matter, for people who are thin). And I do not want to live in a world where all the people are the same size, look the same, act the same, and think the same. That would be so boring. Yes, I'm somewhat of a non-conformist. After all, I'm a woman who knows how to run power tools, work on cars, do basic carpentry and plumbing, and never thought I had to have a man in my life in order to be a 'real woman'. I've never been big on dresses or make-up or having my hair and nails done. I also don't read what I've been told most women read (and how stereotypical is that). I like science fiction/fantasy, horror, true crime, historical novels, and anything to do with the supernatural (I admit a fondness for the were animal/vampire romances, tho). Musically, my tastes range from Alice Cooper to Jimmy Buffett to Rob Zombie to Native American to Celtic and everything in-between. I have never thought that a woman should be bound by what they are supposed to want to do, so why would I think that a woman should look like whatever the ideal happens to be at that time?
The ideal for women used to be fat. Fat women could survive a famine, being fat showed that you could afford to eat when food was scarce for the common people. Now that we have a surfeit of food (and goods) and no need for fat to show how prosperous we are, thin is the ideal. We are shown, on a daily basis in print and on television, all the goods we have and are told to consume, consume, consume, but don't get fat. Love that chocolate cake, the fudge brownie sundae, but don't get fat. Fat is going to kill you, you must be thin at any cost, and never mind the studies that have shown that carrying a few extra pounds can help you survive the after-affects of a heart attack or stroke, especially as you age. Never mind that it is a natural thing for people to gain a few pounds as they age, we are supposed to be thin at any cost. Never mind that eating disorders are killing young women who want to reach that unattainably thin ideal, never mind that weight loss surgery is causing untold complications for people who would have been perfectly fine at their current weight, never mind that pharmaceutical companies are creating drugs (and pushing them rabidly) that they have no fucking clue what the side effects are or what the long-term consequences of their use will be. You must be thin at any cost, and if they can't convince you with all their studies (and we have seen how they have been debunked on Junkfood Science), then they will try brainwashing you through commercials designed to tell you what and how to eat.
Sorry, I'm not buying into it any more. I have had a healthy dose of cynicism where weight loss is concerned for the last 9 years (ever since my WLS failed), and everything I read just reinforces that cynicism.