I loved this book, it validated many of my own ideas about obesity, which probably explains why I loved it. Human nature, we like things that validate our own beliefs.
And, FWIW, I don't dispute that it's one-sided. I don't think her goal was to produce a balanced look at this issue, but to highlight a side that is too often ignored. The goal wasn't to present evidence, but to try to persuade and I take it in that context.
So, here her point is that thin AND obese people eat from stress, suffer from depression at equal levels, etc. But only the obese ones gain weight from the behavior. I think she's saying that there IS an emotional component for obesity, in that we got fat because we overate, often for emotional reasons. But, her bigger point is that non-obese people engage in the same behaviors and just don't gain weight.
That to me was the crux of chapter. Yes, there is emotional eating, but the reason it results in obesity isn't that emotional eating exists, but that the weight control regulation is broken in the first place.
I eat to handle emotions, most definitely, but so does my never-fat, stick thin sister. But in her, eating emotionally doesn't turn on a hunger mechanism that won't shut off after. It does in me. When her emotional issue is over, so is the eating. I can't stop mid-cookie bag though. I keep going after the emotional part is over.
I find a really strong sense in most people that I talk to about this issue, especially the successful losers, who deal with weight issues that they don't want to acknowledge the possibility that a huge component of it might be biological. It's like it takes away our power in the situation. We might as well throw up our hands and give up. It's better to believe we were bad people doing unhealthy things before and we are good people who care about ourselves now. At least that way, we have a way to change it.
I guess I never saw the arguments in the book that way. I look at them more as an explanation. An explanation that helps map out strategies for overcoming the disadvantage of genetic predisposition to obesity. I don't think that admitting there is a strong genetic predisposition to obesity lets us off the hook from solving our own personal fight with obesity. It just means we need to be aware that we can't do the things that someone who doesn't have the predispositon can get away with. We can't allow emotional eating to get hold of us. We can't let up vigilance in eating well. We might have to exercise more to increase our metabolisms more than a forever thin person might. We can't trust our bodies to just do what is right for our weight.
I also wish she'd looked at successful losers and tried to figure out what worked for them. I think of the things we already know that make successful maintainers, daily exercise, constant weight monitoring, continued focus on food and healthy eating. Those things are what successful maintainers do. They *aren't* what the never been fat folks do.
If there was no biological component to obesity, wouldn't we be able to behave like the never fat people once we got thin? Couldn't we exercise sporadically? Couldn't we stuff our faces from Thanksgiving to Christmas & not worry about it? Couldn't we have cookies everyday with our kids?