Rethinking Thin - a book discussion - Topic 1 - How Society Views Obesity

06-18-2007, 10:21 AM
I'm totally bogged down in the book summary at the moment :dizzy: but really want to get us started on the discussion. So let's kick off with a topic that everyone here can relate to without having read the book -- how our society views obesity and the obese.

Two quotes from the book:

“Overweight people have a condition that is unacceptable in our society,” said Kelly Brownell. And, he added, unlike people who are blind or deaf, fat people are told they could be thin if they really wanted to. “It’s kind of a double punishment.” Mickey Stunkard, an obesity researcher at the University of Pennsylvania, agreed. “There’s that implicit assumption that you could really lose weight if you settled down and stopped being such a fat slob,” he said. (p 70)


… the constant blame-the victim message, the notion that anyone could be thin if they really wanted to or if they found the right diet, (is) not only demoralizing fat people but leading to a society in which prejudice against the overweight and obese has become the last remaining socially acceptable one … “Obese people get a level of abuse now that could not even be considered with any other group,” says Jeffrey Friedman, an obesity researcher at Rockefeller University … “We have this naïve view that the whole system of weight control can be controlled by willpower,” Friedman says. He likes to cite weight loss advice from two millennia ago – eat less and exercise more. “We have to do better than repeating two thousand year old mantras,” he says. (p 18-19)

What do you think of the two quotes? Do you agree that obesity is unacceptable in our society, despite the fact that 2/3 of us are overweight or obese? What about prejudice against fat people - have you experienced it? Do you agree that it's the last remaining socially acceptable prejudice? Do we blame the victim, and if we do, is it a fair criticism? Can we do better than "eat less, move more"?

Jump in with any and all thoughts, reactions, and experiences!

06-18-2007, 10:24 AM
Ask a smoker about how being fat is the only remaining acceptable prejudice. Also ask them about blame-the-victim.

06-18-2007, 11:57 AM
I totally agree that being overweight/ obese in our society is negatively looked upon. I've seen the looks. I've felt the pressure to lose weight. I've heard the comments. Even my Dr. had made me feel that it was as simple as "get a little willpower". Ultimately I think it's more complex than that. It takes a total lifestyle change and the timing has to be right to be able to make the change.

I have to agree with MariaMaria that prejudice against smokers is still very rampant. Even more so now than it used to be. In one way it appears to me that with all the shows now on TV on obesity and weight struggle that more people are becoming accepting of it. I'm not sure if thin people are becoming more accepting or if the people who are struggling with wt. are the ones that are feeling that it is more of a national epidemic and therefore less about just "willpower".

I certainly hope that I never judge anyone by their weight. I still struggle with keeping my own weight where it is in a healthy range. It is definitely not easy for me as I'm sure it isn't for anyone else. I think the media portrays super thin people as what we all should strive to achieve as the standard of beauty. To me, this only hurts society as a whole. How many times have many of us given up on trying to lose wt. when we realized we could never look like that? I know I have.

I think with having my own weight battle that I am more accepting than ever of people who have this same struggle. I don't blame the "victim" as I too have been a victim of obesity. But, ultimately I had to quit seeing myself as a "victim" to overcome it. I had to believe it was within me to be able to make a change.

As for "eat less, move more". Good advice but not what most people want to hear. I didn't want to hear it when I was obese. I wanted the quick fix. I wanted to take a little pill and wake up thin. I didn't want to ever feel hungry or get off the couch to exercise. I went years being frustrated if I was ever to "sweat". I felt totally helpless and hopeless over my wt. situation. I did not feel it was within my power to try to control it. I didn't want to change the way I was eating, I enjoyed my food and basically didn't want to have to "worry about it".

06-18-2007, 12:07 PM
I believe that society does look down upon the obese, but unfortunately, they also look down on the poor, the drug and alcohol addicted, the homeless, and more. It is just one more way that some people can feel better about themselves because they aren't "one of them." It is unfortunate, but I believe that there is something about human nature that makes people constantly compare themselves to others in order to come out ahead. Competitiveness. That's what it is. And I don't think it is acceptable, but how do you go about changing it?

06-18-2007, 12:16 PM
The last remaining socially acceptable prejudice? If not the last, pretty close to it.

I think that what the quotes are saying is that we think of overweight as a moral problem - you know, the sin of gluttony. I know that's what I think. I am a victim of my own prejudices. I think being overweight is unacceptable.

My husband is of the "eat less, move more school". He is not overweight and thinks exercise is the answer to weight control. I know it doesn't work for me. I was very surprised to fnd that the book corroborates my experience. When I shared that info with DH, he said, "They are wrong". Just like the book says, real people (my DH is a real person - LOL)ignore the studies that show there is more to weight control than diet and exercise.

The book is revolutionary, among lots of other books that claim to be revolutionary. What concerns me is how does a person who is not a scientist, make a judgement about how sound the information in the book is. We have all heard about how statistics can be manipulated to support a particular point of view. So does Rethinking Thin have the real story? It has the ring of truth to me, but maybe I am hearing a cracked bell. Or maybe I am hearing what I want to hear.

Great topic for discussion.

Maria, I am probably one of the few ex smokers who doesn't mind other people smoking. I do, however, think that smoking was much more my own fault than being overweight is. It took several attempts, but I have now been smoke free for 13 years. Contrary to weight control, I no longer battle tobacco on a daily basis. I live my life without thinking about smoking.

06-18-2007, 01:17 PM
Sure the prejudice is real. The contrast between how people have related to me when I was heavy, and how they relate to me now was shocking. I can say the same things now in just the same way and I can clearly see that people pay more attention and value my opinions more. Is that right? I try to make sure I don't weight the value of a person (or their ideas) based on any aspect of appearance. But it's hard. I blame years of conditioning through mass media.

I do think that consumer marketing is making stabs at "mainstreaming fat". Just because they've identified that so many consumers are overweight. I walked into a K-Mart the other day and right at the door there was a display advertising their portrait studio. In all but a couple of their example photos, the people and families pictured were overweight. I'm not sure how I feel about that.

06-18-2007, 01:23 PM
Gailr42, I totally agree about the smoking. I can get by a day without thinking about smoking, but food is always there. Imagine telling a recovering alcoholic you have to drink 3 small drinks a day, but no more for the rest of your life. It is not like you can totally go without food. It will always be a struggle because you are forced to deal with it everyday. Sometimes I think it would just be easier if we could go without eating.
My DH is one of those eat less move more people. He has never been overweight. At 6'2" he can eat more and move less and stay within normal limits.
I find people treat me a lot different since I am smaller, even family members.

06-18-2007, 02:08 PM
Is obesity the last remaining socially acceptable prejudice?

As a social psychologist, the evidence that prejudices of all sorts are alive and thriving is overwhelming. Among those prejudices are prejudices against the obese. Is this the last remaining socially acceptable prejudice? I think the evidence, again, is no. MariaMaria's example of smokers is one, but is you view prejudice as a negative attitude, which is not necessarily followed up by behaviors, I think there are all kinds of groups for whom it is acceptable to have a prejudice. And especially when the "affliction" is considered "within their control".

What concerns me is how does a person who is not a scientist, make a judgment about how sound the information in the book is. We have all heard about how statistics can be manipulated to support a particular point of view. So does Rethinking Thin have the real story? It has the ring of truth to me, but maybe I am hearing a cracked bell. Or maybe I am hearing what I want to hear.

As a person who tries to teach her students how to evaluate evidence, I think this is an excellent question, and one I think we will be discussing further. I've been thinking a lot about it, too.

People keep coming back to how "statistics can be manipulated". I think it's more appropriate to say that research studies can be interpreted differently.

I think a lot of the research evidence is compelling, but we all have to remember the story isn't complete.

One of the questions I tell my students to ask when they evaluate research is "Who are the participants?" This is important because research done with one group of people does not necessarily generalize beyond that group. For example, as a former morbidly obese person, it seems that a lot of the research has been done on people who were obese, but not morbidly obese. To what extent does the research apply to the 2nd group? We don't know.

A second important question to ask is how did the researchers manipulate or measure their variables? Are there groups or ways of measuring that are left out? For instance, some people have already noted that most of the research used BMI as a measurement of obesity, yet we know that this is not necessarily the best measure of health, etc. What would happen if they looked at body fat % instead?

Also, little of the research seemed to examine the role of weight lifting, or how much muscle mass had -- does that protect the "reduced obese" from regaining weight? We don't know yet.

It helps to think of the research as evolving. We've asked some questions, and to the extent that the evidence from multiple studies done on multiple groups with multiple measures agree with each other, the stronger that evidence is. However, there are further questions to be asked which may change the conclusions we can draw.

This is how science progresses, but it can be distressing when we just want answers.

06-18-2007, 02:29 PM
Wyllenn, I just love each and everything you say, even if it isn't something that resonates with me 100% :)

In this case, what you said resonates with me 100%, as well as what JohnKY and gettingsmaller fact, I see the validity of each remark posted here so far! :D

06-18-2007, 02:43 PM
A personal experience -

I have a df who has never been more than 20 lbs overweight in the 40 yrs I have known her. She has never said anything to me about my weight, but she often talks about her sil's inability to lose wt in a negative manner. Both her sil and I have quit smoking - my friend has not been able to do that.

I personally know only 1 person who has lost a large amount of weight and kept it off for 10 years. She lost very slowly - her goal was 5 lbs/year - however she lost more like 15-20 lbs/year - she totally gave up simple carbs - and she walks around 3 miles everyday. In essence, she changed her life.

I have been dieting for over 40 years. I have lost and gained MANY time. I am now easily 40 lbs overweight. I'm 5'1" and weigh 170 lbs. I have NEVER been able to keep off my weight. However, this time I believe I will - I have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and am determined to get it under control.

Yes - obesity is one of the characteristics that brings out prejudice. However, there are many/many others - race, religion, disabilities, smoking...

As human beings, we "pre-judge" others based on what we see. It is probably some kind of self-protection behavior that has evolved over time because it helps us survive. The problem is that often our judgments are based on erroneous information. To me, the more information we accumulate, the more accurate our judgments.


06-18-2007, 03:34 PM
Not sure about it being the last acceptable prejudice (cf. the smoking part), but clearly one of them. I may be wrong, but I think society nowadays, in our countries--and France isn't an exception--has completely skewed views about anything that doesn't conform to the mainstream. And in terms of weight, 'mainstream' tends to be what the media show us, more than what is reall, with real bits of people inside. See the "2/3 Americans are overweight" thing. What do we see around us? Perfectly airbrushed, touched up, too-thin Photoshopped models in magazines and advertisements. We have to struggle against our weight as well as against a common view that makes it look even harder for us to reach our goal. We have to solve this puzzle and totally rethink our ways of living in order to lose or at least not go on gaining, yet how can we live up to those 'ideal images' displayed around us--all unattainable, because they're humanly not possible, or if they are, it means having to go to seriously unhealthy lows?

I'm not standing as a saint in the preaching chair. I've been guilty of that prejudice again, both against myself and against others. Who has never looked around upon entering a room to see if s/he was the biggest person in it or not. Or tried to reassure herself (uhm, maybe men do that as well?) that her *** wasn't spilling out of the chair more than that of the person next to her? (When I was in junior high, I did that all the time...) I don't know if this exactly fits the prejudice-laden attitude, but again, when I was younger, I was also always deluding myself with thoughts of "I'm only A LITTLE overweight, unlike THAT OTHER GIRL, there, so it could really be worse". Yeah, right. We're not very understanding of our peers the other human beings when we're 13, and we still not always are when reaching adulthood!

All of that to say that, yes, there is a nasty lingering prejudice, and given the kind of influences hovering around everyone, it seems hard to get rid of it...

Regarding the "eat less, move more": that's IMHO the traditional motto of those who never had a real problem with their weight, or put on the extra pounds for some external reason. (My ex used to tell me that. he was very supportive of my food choices and exercising, but to him, it still boiled down to "eat less, move more"; he just couldn't grasp the cocnept of "I'm eating because I am bored, not because I am physically hungry".)

Well, in a way, it IS true. It is the very basics of it, at least the way I see it. But it would be only 100% true if we hadn't genes, certain kinds of medication, illnesses (hypothyroidism...) and other factors to battle against. The way things are, it WILL help, but it's not all. If one has to struggle with emotional eating, binge eating, extremely high levels of stress, and various other conditions, one can't just tell them that. The process and level of work is much more complicated, and we just can't quit food cold turkey, can we? Willpower might be a component, but it's really far from being the solution to obesity. After all, willpower can only last that long.

And saying that we always have the choice to do it or not is fine and dandy, but as Lillybelle put it, who likes to hear "you have to exercise and eat less"? The heck, it's not *easy*. It's not easy to overhaul one's complete lifestyle that has been ingrained for years or even since. But I wonder, is it that there are only two attitudes regarding that--those who can relate or at least understand, and those who just can't/don't want to?

M'kay, enough of a novel for now. I hope I haven't gone overboard.

06-18-2007, 04:00 PM
As for the "eat less, move more" component, I find that mostly it's people who've never had a weight problem that accept this at face value. My OB/GYN is tall and thin, and her suggestion for weight loss: "eat a couple of slices less bread a day" Well, duh, don't you think if that would work I'd have done it 15 years ago? I'm much happier with my internist who, though she looks 12 to me :lol: , is in the normal range, but has worked to get there and keeps working to stay there. She gets it!

I'm anxious to read the book - where is it Amazon??? I read another of her books, Ultimate Fitness in which she takes on such accepted truths as heart rate levels as measures for proper exercise.

06-18-2007, 04:50 PM
Do you agree that obesity is unacceptable in our society, despite the fact that 2/3 of us are overweight or obese?:
Yes, I do think that people (including the obese) see obesity as unacceptable.

What about prejudice against fat people - have you experienced it?:
I had not really experienced too much prejudice, but mostly because I would try and shy into the background wherever I went so as not to attract such unwanted attention.

Do you agree that it's the last remaining socially acceptable prejudice?:
Yes. Smoking is seen more and more as unaccecptable but, I still believe that many people would rather be smokers and thin than non-smokers and fat. In fact, many people use cigarettes as an appetite suppressant and object for any "oral fixations." Just look at the hollywood starlets; one rarely sees them eating but they always seem to have a ciggy and a cup o' joe in their hands.

Do we blame the victim, and if we do, is it a fair criticism?:
Yes we do blame the victim. Is it fair? To an extremely limited extent. For the vast minority of the overweight population their weight problem is limited to say, laziness and if they just would exercise for 30min 3 days a week those extra 100lbs would come off next week. For most, the problem of obesity, even on an idividiual level is intensely complex, involving issues such as environment, culture, family, genetics, depression, access to healthy foods, limited time to exercise, medical complications and yes, sometimes just pure laziness/lack of willpower as well.

Can we do better than "eat less, move more"?:
Ah, were it so easy. Obesity is a phenomenon because of the radically cheap and easy access to fatty foods in our culture and the intense advertising for it by "Big Food"; families who might not be educated enough to teach proper eating/exercise habits to their children; a more universally sedentery culture that is also more pressed for time (meaning less can be just devoted to exercise as it is a sacrifice for some); genetics-- sometimes there is only so much one can do to fight 'em; complicating factors like mental illness that can lead to food being a "drug of choice"; and finally, some people just are medical anomalies and simply aren't able to be "thin" no matter what (same goes for those who just can't put on weight).

But, the old adage of "eat less, move more" still has ringing true reasonance. It does work. For most. So long as you can hold onto the will to be healthy (and for some that requires a monumental effort).

"Eat less, move more" is what worked for me, but it also involved dealing with underlying/complicating factors such as depression and anxiety (and lets not forget my family "fat" genes, because my paternal grandmother's side has them BIG time and the rest of my extended family seems to maintain "normal" effortlessly. But woe unto those who inherit the "fat" gene. We have to do some hard work to get to/stay at a healthy weight).

06-18-2007, 04:59 PM
Telling an obese person to "eat less, move more" is akin to telling a poor person to deposit more money in their bank account. Sure, it solves the problem, it's figuring out *how* to do it that is the tough part. I think the book does a pretty credible job of proving that the obese person's body and genetics work against them to make eating less and moving more enough to make lasting change pretty darn difficult. It can be done, obviously, but it's not as simple as it sounds.

As for the idea that obesity is one of the last socially acceptable prejudices - I agree. It's not one of the last prejudices, there are plenty of those, but it's not socially acceptable most of the time to discriminate on the basis of gender, religion, race or sexual orientation. A lot of that is done in private these days. Not that it's any more acceptable or less damaging that way, but it's a little less in your face than prejudice against obesity (and smoking, I'll agree) is.

06-18-2007, 05:16 PM
Telling an obese person to "eat less, move more" is akin to telling a poor person to deposit more money in their bank account. Sure, it solves the problem, it's figuring out *how* to do it that is the tough part.

Of course the bottom - BOTTOM line IS "eat less, move more". The sad thing is, I don't think anyone CAN tell us how to do it. I really think we need to figure it out for ourselves. Because we're all so different and what's right for one isn't necessarily right for another.

I'm only 60 or pages or so into the book. But as I read of all the different schemes to lose weight, I couldn't help but think - why oh why hasn't somebody - anybody figured out a way for us to NOT get fat in the FIRST PLACE? Preventive obesity so to speak. THAT would be something.

It's funny though, for a society who looks down upon obesity, there sure is lots and lots and LOTS of fattening and unhealthy food all around us.

06-18-2007, 05:42 PM
I think when I eat less and move more, I feel like a bipolar person on mood stabilizers. Seriously. I've heard people in treatment say they hate staying on their meds bc not only are their lows treated, but they miss the highs. They feel like they are on "even hummmm" all the time - going thru the motions, robotic, life is boring.

I noticed the last time I stayed on plan for a long, long time, that in fact, I had become bored. Food is my entertainment, my reward, my treat system. With eating at home, healthy foods, and only doing healthy shopping at the grocery store, I was deying my brain of some "highs." I could feel it. I definitely think it was related to my dopamine, seratonin, or whatever chemical in the brain is affected by chocolate, junk and the pursuit of going to the store to purchase it. It was totally like getting a fix for me, the same way I imagine it must be for people who are drug addicted to get their next fix. How sad is that?

06-18-2007, 06:07 PM
Do you agree that obesity is unacceptable in our society, despite the fact that 2/3 of us are overweight or obese?
Yes, and for the reasons given. If you do indeed believe that overweight is caused by sittin' and eatin' then it makes sense to think all the fat need to do is step away from the buffet and go for a walk. It's ignorance as are all prejudices.

What about prejudice against fat people - have you experienced it?
Yes and, interestingly enough, reverse prejudice. I haven't lost enough weight to really know what I'm talking about. I was never 'that bad'. It's evident, even in this thread.

Do you agree that it's the last remaining socially acceptable prejudice?
No. Acceptable by who? where? There's lots.

Do we blame the victim, and if we do, is it a fair criticism?
Yes, a lot of the time. Is it fair? No, not all the time. I like what Lilly has to say about being a victim.

Can we do better than "eat less, move more"?
Only if we talk a lot more. We first have to get past the notion that slimness is a vanity issue. This is our health! We hate to go to the doc to be lectured on preventative medicine. Can you imagine a slender young woman going to the doc for her first round of birth control? She'll endure a pelvic examine. She remembers more from the TV commercials than from what the doc tells her. She's gorgeous and lithe. The boys all want her. "OK," the doc says, "Let's talk about eating less fats and getting you into some kind of exercise programme. I had to amputate your diabetic Dad's toe last week." She'll glaze right over and start thinking about her next date.
Have you ever spoken to a baseball Mom after the coach has handed out fitness nutrition sheets?

06-18-2007, 06:12 PM
Of course the bottom - BOTTOM line IS "eat less, move more".

See, that's where I'm at. There's a thread floating around here somewhere called something like "the secret to my success!" All of the posters have said there is no "trick", no magic bullet ... it's good old-fashioned effort to move more and eat fewer calories. I know that when I make certain choices, I lose weight, so this axiom is true for me.

It's funny though, for a society who looks down upon obesity, there sure is lots and lots and LOTS of fattening and unhealthy food all around us.

My thoughts, exactly. While ultimately, the choice is ours about what we put in our body, if you avoid all fattening and unhealthy foods you are an exception to the rule. It's very hard for, say, a single working parent with kids in evening activities to avoid getting fast food for dinner. Food has been an integral part of every culture, it's just that our food tends to be more processed, more abundant, and less healthy.

I think ultimately, it boils down to this: change happens when the benefits of our current lifestyle no longer outweigh the cost.

06-18-2007, 07:24 PM
...change happens when the benefits of our current lifestyle no longer outweigh the cost.

Wow! What a powerful statement. I feel like this statement captures where I am right now. I'd like to put this into my signature. Did you originate it? If not, do you know who did?


06-18-2007, 07:51 PM
Thanks, Lynn, but it's a paraphrase of something I once heard a group therapist say. I looked online for a specific quote and source, but came up with nothing. Maybe it's an AA slogan or something.

It really made a lot of sense to me when I heard it, too.

06-18-2007, 09:19 PM
(I've stolen SHRINKINCHICA'S idea and am going to answer the questions.

Do you agree that obesity is unacceptable in our society, despite the fact that 2/3 of us are overweight or obese?:
Unacceptable... definately... we have beautiful models and starlets, photoshopped and airbrushed to perfection. Obese people can look at "morbidly obese" people and shun them or think "Wow.. glad I'm not that big" we always manage to look at somebody else - criticize them - to make us feel better about ourselves.
If you go to a Doctor with an ache or pain before they even examine you they're convinced it is something to do with your weight - at times yes it is - but sometimes its not, and so their diagnosis can be incorrect because of their prejudices.

What about prejudice against fat people - have you experienced it?:
My father is "fataphobic" and so if he sees somebody go by him who is... large... he will scoff, roll his eyes or breathe a sigh of relief (the person can't hear it though he makes sure of that). Actually the whole side of his family are the same and after nagging at me for 3 weeks or so about losing weight they'll walk by a big lady and say "wow... and you think you're big!? Count yourself lucky!"

Do you agree that it's the last remaining socially acceptable prejudice?:
Hmmm... I agree with the few that mentioned smokers. Actually it reminded me of something I saw on House (tv show) where he mentioned that there are cancer ribbons for so many different cancers but they don't have one for lung cancer. It was interesting because he went on to say that the reason they don't have one is because people blame smokers for lung cancer therefore we dont "sympathise" with them. I sympathise with anybody who gets cancer... but I would find it difficult to sympathise with a person who stepped out in front of a train and lost his leg. Saying that though, my best friend would always complain that she was getting/is fat... everyday I would say to her "well come with me to the gym" and she would say "no.. I can't be bothered" it would annoy me so much and so if she complained about her weight gain I would just ask her to stop talking about it (she was actually quite skinny). Somebody mentioned that race, culture and religion are still prejudices wrought in our society - but the question is - is it "socially acceptable."
I think for some cases it is.
Prejudices against race are only acceptable if they are the "enemy" at the time for example "Arabs" or if its religion "Islam." Media exploits the stereotypes of "the enemy" and therefore creating prejudices in people who never had them... which in turn makes them socially acceptable. We also see it in some cases against Jewish people, especially in movies - they're portrayed as having a certain accent or having certain behaviours or personality traits. We also see the same with black people and prejudice towards black sexuality and masculinity. In conclusion Prejudice is socially acceptable as long as its 'toned down.' and doesn't cause anybody PHYSICAL harm. Obese people get it all the time... they are no different from any other group. I'm from the U.K. and obesity seems to be the "enemy" over here and so the hospital boards are going crazy trying to decide what treatments they will "give" obese people and which treatments they won't - as if obese people are second class citizens.

Do we blame the victim, and if we do, is it a fair criticism?:
Yes we do... and we love it. It's controversial, and we love controversy! Also it makes us feel better about everything we do... lulls us into a false sense of security. Sometimes its fair - I know that here in the U.K. they are not allowing morbidly obese people I.V.F (invitro fertislisation treatment) unless they lose a little bit of weight. I believe it's fair because the treatment is extremely costly and in most cases will not work - also if it does work - it is more likely to be detrimental and a hazard to the mother and baby's health.

Those are the questions that really interested me - i'm sorry if I've offended anyone and I would also like to aplogise if I went on a tangent above (lol), I just had to do a study on the "prejudices" part... it hit a nerve lol.

06-19-2007, 09:42 PM
I'm just popping back to this thread for a moment. I went to an inservice about Evidence Based Nursing the other day. There was some discussion about using discernment with regard to selecting studies and their results. It reminded me of stuff I've learned from Heather/Wyllen. And made me 'think hard' as I reread the first part of this book.

06-20-2007, 05:43 AM
While I do agree that eat less, move more is the basic philosophy for weight loss, at the same time, it does not begin to explain the reasons behind weight gains and why.

For instance, our culture here in America is geared towards big sized meal, and big everything else. Heck, Texas has made it their state motto! :D But the point here is America's society has gone way off track when it comes to portion control and moderation. Furthermore, so many of our foods are coming to us with tons of chemical, preservatives, and high levels of sodium in it. Besides the obvious side effects of weight loss on our health, all of these chemicals and whatnot are also contributing factors as well. Therefore, I don't see how anyone can do a successful weight loss without also doing a greener lifestyle for themselves to some extent. To me, it goes hand in hand. :^:

My local grocery store has finally started to really get more organic products in, albeit slowly. It's not easy switching to a greener way of living, and indeed, some of it is just not feasible in our lives, but we should try to aim for it. I believe this would go a long way towards combating society's viewpoint on the causes behind weight loss, and the various health issues as well. Plus, it would help if we weren't constantly exposed to unrealistic expectations of models on every cover. :mad:

I have experienced to some degree prejudice against my weight gains. But I have found that sometimes through sheer force of my personality and wit, :dizzy: that most people get over it. We all have our own battles that we fight everyday, whether it's weight loss or something else, so it's more than enough time for society here in America to start rethinking some of their viewpoints.

06-20-2007, 11:31 AM
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.

06-20-2007, 01:10 PM
Speaking a little more about prejudice...while the most common experiences we all usually have are in the form of direct contacts with folks from either converstation or with a look, I have a personal experience in the power of the brother's ex-wife came home to meet the family for the first time, and while she was here, she was pretty courteous and nice. Later on, long after she went back home, we happened to find out by accident her personal webpage online, and were shocked at the comments she made about us being overweight (direct reference to us, so there was NO misunderstandings). She herself is really skinny and petite. Not only was all this public, but she also had some very derogatory views on obese people even going out to the bars, hooking up with others, etc.

Needless to say, my family was pretty hurt and crushed by these revelations, and it did strain our relations with her. But what I found most troubling was how we never even had the slightest indication of her prejudice, and how much support her prejudices received online from others. The internet is a powerful tool in spreading these prejudices around the world, so we should include that in this conversation as well.

06-20-2007, 03:41 PM
Four all but 4 years of my 46 year life I've been within 10 pounds of my 'normal' weight and by dieting was able to return to that weight with no problem. Then I went on a medication that changed my appetite and food cravings. For the first time, I was truly overweight on my way to being obese.

Before I gained the weight, I had always thought that overweight and obese people were that way because they choose to be. That all they had to do was refrain from eating certain foods the way I did on a diet. I thought they were lazy or weak. I was making a judgement on fat people. I was prejudice.

When I took the medicine, my eating went out of control. I was constainly hungry and I couldn't get satietied. I craved carbs and sweets and my will power bowed into them. I gained 50 pounds over five years and was on the edge of the obesity charts. I was now one of 'them'. I started to think of myself as weak and lazy. My prejudice had turned inward.

Then a year and a half ago, I was very fortunate to have a change in medicines and over 15 months lost 55 pounds due to no effort on my own. My appetite greatly decreased and the few times I was hungry, all I wanted was salad. So I ate accordingly and the weight melted off. But I realized that I didn't have control over gaining the weight just as I didn't have control over losing the weight. All of a sudden, I had a new prespective on people who struggle with obesity.

Since early this year, I've become fascinated with reading diet books and learning what I can do in order to maintain the weight I'm at now. I have learned so much about the complex factors that lead people towards obesity and makes it difficult to lose weight long term.

Now that I've lost a significant amount of weight for my height, I am very much aware of others who are overweight. Whereas before I thought they could do something about it if they really wanted to, now I have empthy of how hard it is to do so.

While I still believe that eating a healthy, low fat diet and exercising would help most people, I now know that there are many other factors involved and it's simple not a function of will power. And therefore, I must change my beliefs and prejudices.

Sincerely, Carolyn

06-20-2007, 06:30 PM
Carolyn -- Thanks for your very heartfelt post! I hadn't heard your story before. I have a good friend whose illness put her on steroids and over the years (on and off of them) she gained about 150 pounds! Before that her weight would fluctuate only a few pounds and she was always at a healthy weight. She's finally losing weight too.

This discussion is interesting. My own experience is that "eat less, move more" works. But I realize that, in some ways, it's not the "complete" picture. Lots of factors affect how food and exercise affect us, how we metabolize food, and our hunger and cravings... In other words, take 2 different people, give them the same diet and exercise, and they will not react the same.

So, it seems like it is, generally, an answer. But it's not the whole answer, somehow.

06-20-2007, 11:42 PM
Long time lurker in, well, pretty much everywhere.. but this struck a note with me, and as part of a sampling of us youngun's, I figured I would put in my 2 cents.

Socially acceptable prejudice is, in my opinion, a somewhat personal/regional thing. As an example, I grew up in a tiny town in northeastern PA, where most of the people were well-off financially - one of those towns where every corner had a church or a bank. (Not that Im saying anything against places like that.. just trying to set the stage)
My family didn't have quite as much money, and my mother (aka, the worlds most intelligent woman :D) didnt believe in spending $15 on a plain red t-shirt just to get the logo on the tag. And my sister, another amazingly intelligent person, is not only overweight like myself, but somewhat learning disabled. We both had it bad, but for her it was much worse.. I remember once a kid poured a soda in her locker and ruined her sweater. And although my mother fought to have that kid pay for the sweater.. it never happened. Students, and to some extent, teachers (whenever my mother would report harassment, the principal would reply "What? No, not in my school...") would be prejudiced against her because of the problems she had.. even though in other areas, she was probably better than the teachers themselves.

I think I illustrated my point... or else went off on a huge tangent trying to. Everyone has different prejudices, and in different areas different ones are socially acceptable. On the large scale, would actions against my sister be tolerated? Probably not. But in my little town, they were ignored as much as possible.

That being said... I will admit openly that as much as I try I, like any other human being, do resort to some prejudices. I have often been out with my friends, my boyfriend, my family, and seen someone who is morbidly obese and said "If I ever get that large, smack me, ok?" It is nothing against the person themselves (Please anyone reading this do not take offense.. I swear none is meant!) but rather the condition they are in. Is it good that I do that? Absolutely not.

Have I experienced it? Yes I have... most of the time in the small town mentioned earlier, where looks were paramount, I would be walking past and have people refer to me as "beast" and other names.

And the 'eat less, move more'? First of all, we all know its quality as well as quantity. And quality out there? Ehhhhh lets not go there. And of course there is head hunger, bored hunger... I was talking to my sister (haha shes becoming famous in this post!) the other day, she is also trying to lose weight. She works at a group home over the weekends, and there she gets rather bored.. and spends her time snacking on things that are not good for her both as someone trying to lose weight and as a diabetic. We would talk about it, and she would keep saying "I can't help it. I get bored there, and I just start eating." Its a learned habit, an automatic reaction... Darn tough one to beat, I have the problem often. And thats not even counting genetics, lifestyle, any of a number of things modern society throws at us. So yes, while the old mantra is true in the most basic sense, there is so much more to it than that that anyone just trying to sum it up like that would be falling sadly short.

And this post has become far, far too long... *goes off and sits in her little spot once more*



06-20-2007, 11:57 PM
[B]What about prejudice against fat people - have you experienced it? Yes and, interestingly enough, reverse prejudice. I haven't lost enough weight to really know what I'm talking about. I was never 'that bad'. It's evident, even in this thread.

I am not clear on what you are referencing (I read the whole thread and didn't think I saw anything directed at you) but just because your highest weight put you at what many of us would LOVE to have as our goal (or even LOWER than our goal) doesn't mean in any way that you don't know what it feels like to be dissatisfied with your body, your health, your body image or your appearance, in my opinion.

I believe each persons struggle is the GREATEST struggle, because it is theirs and theirs alone. :hug:

06-21-2007, 05:16 PM
Oh no Soulbliss, not directed at me personally.

I have, up until recently, thought that most folks see a difference between the process for losing several pounds as opposed to losing from morbid obesity. A journey like mine would be somehow easier and not noteworthy. Nothing to be learned here ... she/he just ate too many snacks and sat down to watch TV for too long ... move along now and let's find a real fat person.

As soon as I thought about posting that ... I'm not sure there isn't. Is there?

06-21-2007, 05:22 PM
Susan, before I found 3FC I thought my 55lbs was a monumental amount of weight to lose. Anything more than 10lbs seemed like a whole lot. I didn't even know there were people who lost over 100lbs until I found this website, and now I often feel like my 55lbs was small potatoes! :lol:

Goodbye Chubby
06-21-2007, 06:11 PM
I haven't read the book, but from the excellent synopsis (thanks Meg), it sounds very interesting. As far as society's views, I think we shouldn't simply view obesity in isolation, but should consider all the symptoms that stem from the various forms of disordered eating (from compulsive over eating to anorexia, and the whole range).

Telling an obese individual to "eat less and move more" is akin to telling an anorexic to "just eat a sandwich." It's also probably similar to someone addressing a person battling depression and telling her to just "snap out of it." When it comes to mental disorders, empathy can be very difficult. I feel that obesity is generally treated as a physical condition (hence the eat less, move more "solution") and so we never get to the root of the problem.

I wouldn't consider prejudice against obese people to be the last socially acceptable form. There's prejudice against anyone who doesn't fit into that magical range of what it means to be "normal."

06-23-2007, 10:12 PM
Telling an obese individual to "eat less and move more" is akin to telling an anorexic to "just eat a sandwich."

I could not agree more! Thanks for saying that.

06-26-2007, 07:23 PM
Whoo....socially acceptable predjudice. On the one hand I do think there are other predjudices, like smoking, but on the other hand....well most people, even those who despise smoking will say it is an addictive drug. I think there is far more sympathy for the struggles of a smoker to quit than there is for an obese person to lose weight.

I think the problem with the "eat less and move more" is the how. It took me so many attempts to figure out HOW to eat less without feeling ravenous. and I still cant fathom how anyone eats as little as most people do here at 3FC and functions. Maybe I could do it, but I still dont think I could.

I cant count the number of times I was sucked into an article that touted "easy ways to slash calories" only to read crap like "replace your foccacia bread with whole wheat bread on your daily sandwich and save 300 calories a day or 30 lbs a year!" uh ....yeah....foccacia bread...THATS how I got fat.

06-27-2007, 01:13 PM
I agree with alinell and wyllenn. People harbour a *lot* of prejudices, mostly due to fear of the unknown. As a half-Arab girl living in the UK, whose best friend is gay male, and has suffered from severe mental illness I can tell you our society is *rife* with prejudices. I have them myself, including tendencies to 'fat-ism' though I don't like it in myself and work against it. Some prejudices are closer to the surface than others, but when people are under pressure they come out and they aren't pretty.
Rockinrobin: yes. Everyone must figure out how they, personally, can manage to eat less and move more. Though in general I think the US and UK 'time-is-money' culture has quite a bit to do with it - work hard, make money, get stuff attitudes eat up our hours (I'm holding my hand up to this) and our priorities become confused...

06-29-2007, 09:59 AM
As for being media influenced ... I'm encouraged by a poll I'm fooling with in the General Diets section. So far ... wrt an ideal body to which to aspire ... about half the participants have chosen someone from real life as opposed to a media figure.

06-29-2007, 11:18 AM
uh ....yeah....foccacia bread...THATS how I got fat.
LOL LOL. Gosh, maybe that is my problem!

07-05-2007, 02:50 PM
Since I've recently lost weight, I'm much more aware of signifigantly overweight people. I notice them everywhere now. On the street, at the grocery, at the mall, at the movies, at restaurants. The more overweight, the more I notice them.

Is this a common occurance? Or am I being bias by noticing?

07-05-2007, 04:39 PM
Naw Carolyn, I always have my eye out for someone who "I could help if they'd let me".

07-05-2007, 05:13 PM
Speaking of prejudices against the overweight . . . since I have lost weight I have heard my fiance's family saying some pretty nasty mean things about overweight people (e.g. "Did you SEE Mr. So-and-so? He's gotten so fat, it's absolutely disgusting"). It's hard to hear since I wonder if they used to say things like that about me. I know his grandmother at least did because when she saw me after my weight loss she said "You've really turned your life around" (like my life sucked before? yeah right). Plus, my fiance's brother was actually anorexic at one point and I'm sure it doesn't help how his family jokes about binging and purging after big meals and jokes about each other being fat or needing exercise (they are all normal weight).

What makes it extra weird is that his mom is a diabetes nurse, and has been treating morbidly obese people for years. I'm sure she doesn't say those sorts of things to her patients, so why on earth is it appropriate to say about strangers? When is it EVER appropriate to joke about bulimia or anorexia, especially if someone in the room has suffered from it?

I guess that's not really related to the topic, I was just annoyed and needed to vent.

07-10-2007, 06:48 PM
Do you agree that obesity is unacceptable in our society, despite the fact that 2/3 of us are overweight or obese?

Most definitely. In fact I'll go even further, I've seen and read people attack a person for being too fat when in fact the person is a healthy size and/or has a flaw like cellulite despite being thin. It's ridiculous.

What about prejudice against fat people - have you experienced it?

It may sound stupid, but I honestly don't know. For the longest time I had such low self-esteem that it clouded my judgement. And when I decided to accept myself, I just didn't care what other people thought.

Do you agree that it's the last remaining socially acceptable prejudice?

It's definitely not the last remaining prejudice, but it's definitely socially acceptable.

Do we blame the victim, and if we do, is it a fair criticism? Can we do better than "eat less, move more"?
There is so much more to weight and weight loss than simple mathematics.

My major weightlosses have always correlated with eating more calories, not less. Right now I eat 2500-3000 calories a day and I'm still apparently losing weight.

The only real difference between now and being overweight is that I exercise five times a week and eat a healthy diet. The only time I eat junk is for dessert after dinner.

I don't have a problem criticizing a person that complains and never even tries to fix the problem. However weight loss is tricky simply because there are so many variables at work. Unfortunately many people think that since diet and exercise work for them, then it must work for everyone.

07-14-2007, 11:30 PM
I'm a bit late to the discussion. I read the book a few weeks ago but haven't got around to this thread yet. Very interesting posts so far.

Do you agree that obesity is unacceptable in our society, despite the fact that 2/3 of us are overweight or obese?

This one's a no-brainer. It's definitely unacceptable in our society.

What about prejudice against fat people - have you experienced it?

I can speak to this more now that I'm closer to a "normal" weight. I'm treated differently by strangers, acquaintances, and family.

Do you agree that it's the last remaining socially acceptable prejudice?

I don't know if it's the last socially acceptable prejudice, but it is socially acceptable to most people. I've experienced other socially acceptable prejudices -- for example, I grew up in the Appalachian mountains and had a very strong accent for years (it's still there, but it's faded somewhat). I had lots of people assume I was an ignorant hick because of that accent, and that's a socially acceptable prejudice. Lots of people love laughing at the "ignorant redneck" stereotype, and you see it everywhere.

As for the smoking thing, I think there's a definite prejudice there as well. I'm probably guilty of it myself, though. I'm allergic to cigarette smoke, and if I'm around it for even a few minutes, I get very ill. Therefore, I happen to like when it's outlawed in public places. I can't help thinking there's a difference between engaging in an unhealthy habit that affects other people's health too and an unhealthy habit that just affects yourself. If I overeat and don't exercise, my health will suffer but it won't make people around me fat. It's my choice. If you choose to smoke around me, I have to breathe it even though I've chosen to never smoke a cigarette in my life. It doesn't mean I think there should necessarily be a prejudice against smokers, but there's an important distinction there. Being obese isn't the same as releasing toxins into the air in a public place. That said, however, if people choose to smoke in their own homes or away from me...go for it.

Do we blame the victim, and if we do, is it a fair criticism? Can we do better than "eat less, move more"?

We blame the victim, yes, but I don't know that we should really call that person a "victim." I was a victim of my own choices when I was obese. I was to blame. And I do think it's often silly to tell an obese person to eat less and move more, simply for the reason that more than likely he or she already knows that. Who doesn't know that, honestly? It really is that simple, but it doesn't mean it's a simple change to make.

07-23-2008, 09:18 AM
Oh no Soulbliss, not directed at me personally.

I have, up until recently, thought that most folks see a difference between the process for losing several pounds as opposed to losing from morbid obesity. A journey like mine would be somehow easier and not noteworthy. Nothing to be learned here ... she/he just ate too many snacks and sat down to watch TV for too long ... move along now and let's find a real fat person.

As soon as I thought about posting that ... I'm not sure there isn't. Is there?

You've summed up my feelings exactly SusanB. I've lost a total of 17 lbs to reach my goal. How can I possibly know what an obese or morbidly obese person is going through?

But wait a minute. One of the reasons I didn't ever become obese is that, as a fat child, I experienced prejudice/ridicule from my peers. That was enough to keep me maintaining (with a variety of very unhealthy methods) a normal range body weight for over 30 years. I can only imagine what kind of ridicule someone who has been grossly overweight all their lives faces on a daily basis (even if a lot of it is disguised as "helpful advice").

As for the prejudice against the obese being socially acceptable look at the people we, as a society, reward with status and wealth (the two main markers of a "successful" life in North America). Most of them are so thin as to be skeletal. And we offer rewards to the obese to become thin via contests like "Biggest Loser".

And finally "eat less, move more", though as much of an over-simplification as "you are born, you live, and then die" as a description of human life, is something that I have seen work. In my own experience the move more part took me away from the TV and food and helped bring the weight down. And I've seen the opposite with my DH and his three young nephews. They were all normal weight range until they started moving less and eating more. All became obese (two nephews now morbidly obese) within two years.

Now my DH is starting to move again and take himself away from the TV and food and he's lost 10 lbs without even dieting yet!


07-23-2008, 09:26 AM
:wave: Dagmar! It's so great to have you join in the discussion. :) Maybe we'll get a whole new dialogue going again. Personally, I don't ever think we can discuss these questions too much, so welcome and keep posting!

Sarah Mac
07-23-2008, 01:28 PM
I now this is the maintainer's area, but I would like to join.

My friend who recently lost weight said that she hated being overweight because she thinks it is one of the only things that shows people that there is something the matter with you...either it be a bad break-up, depression or the extreme love of food..etc..It is a visible problem, so people can easily jump to criticisms.

I never heard criticisms from friends or strangers. Only my mother makes remarks out loud lol. Ah yes my little cousin too. She is 7. She said I should go the Biggest Loser, but she said she would be my biggest fan lol.

07-23-2008, 01:53 PM
I'll agree that obesity is the last topic still up for mockery, abuse and severe judgment. Honestly, people with severe drug or alcohol problems are treated with more care and compassion than obese people often are -- drug addicts have an "illness"; fat people are just gross and lazy.

I think the problem is that the actual biology of fat loss is much more complicated than it might seem (or should be lol) and the biology of weight GAIN is also more complicated that just eating because you're a glutton or whatever... people gain weight/habitually overeat/binge because of real psychological/emotional/chemical issues that I feel too many people, doctors included, fail to truly appreciate. People see becoming fat AND losing weight as a moral issue so they feel free to make moral judgments, even though it really is much more chemical/mental/emotional. Anyone who's ever truly binged can attest to the UNSTOPPABLE force compelling you to eat eat eat eat eat; that kind of impulse can ONLY be chemical/emotional/mental.

08-17-2008, 03:01 AM
Do you agree that obesity is unacceptable in our society, despite the fact that 2/3 of us are overweight or obese?

Absolutely. Those able to attain fitness now are in almost an elite group. 200 years ago, if you were thin muscular and tanned it was because you were poor and had to work outside at hard labor and eat the all natural food grown in your garden or on your farm. If you were fat and pale it was because you were rich enough to stay inside and eat processed food like white bread. Brown bread? For the paupers! Now white bread (and rice, and pasta, and a million other processed foods) are for the "paupers" whereas the really healthy organic food can be very expensive. The cheapest I have ever seen organic raw milk is around eight bucks a gallon. Whole grain bread is three times the price of white bread. Organic veggies? Whew. Unless you are pretty darn well off, you can forget eating the diet that the "paupers" ate 200 years ago. The elitism can be more pronounced when you figure in a gym membership, and figuring out the time to workout around your job, and other obligations. I am not saying you can't be fit if you aren't rich, but it sure makes it easier. I also don't think this sort of elitism is the only driving force behind the prejudice, but it's definitely there.

What about prejudice against fat people - have you experienced it?

Yes, it exists and I have experienced it. Granted it all happened when I lived in New Orleans where everyone is drunk and completely uninhibited. Then again, if you want to know how someone really feels about something, ask when they are schnockered. People on the streets have yelled things at me like, "Hey fat girl!" "Hope we get to the buffet before you do!" And while bike riding, "You better pedal your fat @$$ harder than that." Despite all this, I am guilty of it myself. I have said to people around me, "Shoot me if I ever get THAT big." It's not something I am proud of, but I can't deny it exists. Of course when I see someone who is painfully skinny I say, "Man, that girl needs a sammich." I am working on changing all of my prejudicial behavior.

Do you agree that it's the last remaining socially acceptable prejudice?

No, not the last, but definitely the most popular.

Do we blame the victim, and if we do, is it a fair criticism? Can we do better than "eat less, move more"?

Yes, we blame the victim. On a very straight and narrow line of thinking, it could be said that of course it is the victim's fault, nobody held a gun to their head and said, "Eat, eat more, and don't get off the couch!" But this very one dimensional line of thinking leaves out many other factors that could have seriously contributed to the weight gain. Many people who experienced abuse (in any form) will subconsciously put on weight as a means of "protection." Prescription drugs can do it, getting off illegal drugs can do it, lack of education can do it (remember the days of "eat all you want as long as it's fat free"?), genetics can contribute. My personal opinion is that the media is one of the most heinous contributors right now. 70% of the commercials you see on TV are for unhealthy food (Did you know that 85% of statistics are made up on the spot?:devil: ). Next time you are in line at the grocery store, look at the women's magazines. The headline says "LOSE 14 POUNDS A WEEK" and just below it is a picture of a double chocolate cake, the recipe for which can be found inside, probably the next page after the miracle diet. They use cartoon heroes to sell junk food to our kids. As if they didn't wouldn't eat the ice cream if Spongebob's face wasn't attached to it! Personally, I have tried to teach my children about the deceptions of advertising, and have tried to explain that it is done only so that someone can make a buck. It is working to some small degree.

I think we can absolutely do better than eat less, move more. That's easy to say to someone who needs to lose 5 pounds, but I think we need to delve much deeper into why I got to be 150 pounds overweight in the first place. If I can answer that, maybe eating less and moving more becomes a reality. I also think our society as a whole needs to have a lifestyle shift toward health. Let Spongebob advertise oranges, put gyms in our offices, make gym memberships tax deductible, create healthy fast food, because let's face it, that McDonald's grilled chicken salad may be better than the Big Mac, but it's still a loooooooong way from healthy. (Ahem, Michelle has cleared her throat and stepped down from her soapbox. Thanks for being patient.)

08-17-2008, 03:25 AM
OMG, too funny. I have not read this book, but have found the discussions very interesting. After posting what I posted above, I went on to the next topic. It was discussed there that this book supports some of the ideas I have just presented in the above post. I HAVE to get this book. *going to RIGHT NOW!!

08-17-2008, 10:56 PM
I read Rethinking Thin shortly after I passed 100 lbs lost. So I'm just going to ramble my thoughts.

I completly agree that being overweight/obese is unacceptable in our society. I have been overweight since kindegarden -- and have really struggled with loving myself the way I am, as an overweight person. Everything around me has always told me it was unacceptable to look the way I did.

I didnt realize I experienced prejudice as a fat person until I left morbid obesity -- I noticed the biggest difference with in my daily interactions. Taking my car to the garage, buying groceries, just dealing with the general public -- they were smiling, chatting me up and even flirting. Now I struggle with my own prejudice against the fat people in my family -- who give me excuses while asking for help.

I have nothing new to say on the other stuff. It's just great to keep this stuff in the back of my mind. My biggest prejudice has been against myself - and it still is. I know how to lose weight, but I need to learn how to stop being prejudice against myself as a former morbidly obese person. And accept all people as they are!

08-18-2008, 12:28 AM
Do you agree that obesity is unacceptable in our society, despite the fact that 2/3 of us are overweight or obese?


What about prejudice against fat people - have you experienced it?


Do you agree that it's the last remaining socially acceptable prejudice?

No; people are also prejudiced against smokers.

Do we blame the victim,

Absolutely, yes.

and if we do, is it a fair criticism?

Hard to say. In my case, I think it is sometimes. I try not to judge other people though, who knows what their experiences have been.

Can we do better than "eat less, move more"?

It's an overly simplistic answer to an agonizingly difficult question.

09-22-2008, 01:56 PM
I just started reading this book & wanted to chime in about this topic.
Before I lost my weight the first time I remember absolute strangers giving me diet advice. It seemed as if they thought this was acceptable behavior to give advice or insult me because of my size.
What they didn't know is I was a very active person, who didn't eat all the time and I certainly didn't need to "put down the Twinkies" because I never ate them in the first place!
I really resent that our pull ourselves up by the bootstraps mentality has led to blaming obese persons for their weight problems. Not that I wasn't at fault, but I feel it's more than just my choices, it's also the support I receive and other external factors (like why does eating healthy seem to cost twice -or more- than eating poorly?)
Just my two cents.