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Old 06-20-2007, 10:31 AM   #24
slow and steady
paperclippy's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Carmel, IN
Posts: 6,090

S/C/G: 185/see signature/135

Height: 5'4"


I haven't read the book but hopefully that's okay . . . Sorry my post is so long.

Do you agree that obesity is unacceptable in our society, despite the fact that 2/3 of us are overweight or obese?
Yes. Just based on the fact that it is called a "problem" and an "epidemic" I would say it is unacceptable in our society. I have to wonder about calling obesity a "disease." While obesity leads to many diseases (diabetes being the obvious example) I don't know that in and of itself it is a disease. I kind of feel like it is on the borderline -- for example, homosexuality was thought of as a mental illness/disease for a long time, but now is not. OTOH, many kids who before were just thought to be "inattentive" are now diagnosed with ADD or ADHD. I am just pointing out that the definition of what is a "disease" is a fluid thing and I personally don't think of obesity as a disease.

What about prejudice against fat people - have you experienced it?
Yes and no. Within my own family I was told I needed to lose weight, but I never had friends or strangers call me fat. However, now that I'm no longer overweight, people speak more freely about their negative opinions of fat people in my presence.

Do you agree that it's the last remaining socially acceptable prejudice?
Absolutely not. There are many socially acceptable prejudices, including those against smoking, drug addiction, mental illness, deformities, and in many areas homosexuality. Plus, as seranab pointed out, it is currently acceptable in many areas to express prejudice against Muslims. I have to wonder though if some socially acceptable prejudices are beneficial (hear me out before you get mad). For example, a prejudice against prejudice -- in general, it is not socially acceptable to make racist comments. The widespread unacceptability of racist comments has helped to reduce racism. Does the prejudice against smoking lead to fewer people smoking? I think it might (at least in terms of convincing people not to start smoking in the first place). The question is whether a prejudice against obesity will lead to fewer obese people, or whether it is more like a prejudice against a birth defect, in which case there is nothing people can do to correct their birth defect or to prevent more people from having birth defects?

Do we blame the victim, and if we do, is it a fair criticism?
I don't know. This is a tough question. I feel like it is completely unfair to blame children for being obese. With adults I feel like it depends on the circumstances a lot. Someone who was an obese child and grew up to be an obese adult -- we didn't blame them as a child, so how can we blame them as an adult? Somebody who took a medication that made them gain weight -- of course we can't blame them for that. But what about somebody who grew up at a normal weight eating well and fell into bad habits? Is society to blame? I don't know.

Can we do better than "eat less, move more"?
Another yes and no. I used to think, when I first started losing weight, that it was more complicated than that. However, now that I have lost the weight and am maintaining my loss, people ask me how I did it, and the answer is "I ate less and exercised more." It really does boil down to that. Convincing yourself to eat better and to exercise more is the hard part, as is getting the help and support you need to do it (e.g. 3FC). I feel like it is a personal revelation when you finally figure it out. It's like what we hear about any addiction. A smoker won't quit because someone told them smoking is bad for them. They already know that. They already know that there are a variety of nicotine patches and gums and other aids to help them quit. The decision to actually do it has to come from within. I feel like with obesity, in my case and probably for other people too, I had to attain a certain level of self esteem before I felt like I was capable of losing weight. When my family members would tell me I was overweight or needed to lose weight, it just hurt my self esteem and lowered it even more than it already was. It took moving away from my family, a fiance who loves me no matter what I weigh, and 3FC to give me the self esteem I needed to feel like I could really do it.

I really feel like, in my case especially, the key to weight loss is not being told "eat less and move more." People already know that. It is true, that is the way to lose weight. The key is having the support of other people who are doing it or have done it to help you keep up your motivation and self esteem.
08/10/2004: 185 lbs 08/10/2005: 140 lbs 11/28/2005: 130 lbs!

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