Rethinking Thin - a book discussion - Topic 3 - Would You Rather?




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Meg
06-20-2007, 04:55 AM
It seems logical to follow up on our first two topics of unattainably thin body weight ideals and prejudice against obesity with this study about the formerly obese. I have to say that this passage blew my mind when I first read it:

In one now classic study, Colleen Rand, an obesity researcher at the University of Florida, asked forty-seven formerly fat men and women whether they would rather be obese again or have some other disability. Every one of them said they would rather be deaf or have dyslexia, diabetes, bad acne, or heart disease than be obese again. Ninety-one said they would rather have a leg amputated. Eighty-nine percent would rather be blind. (p 69)


The obvious question is -- how would you answer the question? And why? Why do you think the researcher got the responses she did?

I'm still trying to figure out what I would say. :)


Kery
06-20-2007, 06:49 AM
Okay, that one seriously caught my attention as well when I was reading the book. And I thought about it. And thought. And thought some more.

It's a tough one, really. In all honesty, though, I think I would still choose being obese. I just can't push my mind to put weight on the same level as a serious disability, an amputated limb, full-blown diabetes, deafness... at least, not in my case (I got overweight, then borderlined on obesity because of my own bad choices; 10% of it all may be due to genes in my case, the rest is my doin only). And blind? God, no.

Deep in my heart, I admit it, I'm an uncorrigible optimistic, and a person who believes that the power to change our lives comes from us first and foremost, not from external sources. So, no matter how hard it is to lose the weight, it still would be MY choice to do it. Whereas I wouldn't have any choice at all if I was disabled (an artificial limb is never the same, hearing aids are imperfect...). It would be my accomplishment. It would be something I have the power to do, to strive for, the drive to struggle for. It would suck, I'd be angry, despaired, crying, devastated... but less devastated than if I were to be blind.

We all are different in that regard, of course, and I'm aware I'm probably not among the people who have struggled the most with their weight, so I really hope nobody will be offended by this post of mine (probably that to a person who's been morbidly obese to the point of needing, say, respiratory aid, I just come off as the skinny-minny whining that she's 110 pounds instead of 108...).

As for why the researcher got that answer... I'm not sure. I can only hazard guesses. What degree of obesity are we talking about here? Were those people morbidly obese, having struggled with it for 20 years, being really desperate about it? Were they just 'fat' and maybe not exactly weighing (hah, pun not intended) the real implications of their answer? I don't know.

To be even more honest: that would be a very LOUSY choice to have to make, in any case!

srmb60
06-20-2007, 07:14 AM
My answer is again going to be coloured by my believe (still) that if I was obese again, I'd still have the tools to do something about that.

I'm going to harken to Heather/Wyllen again ... how was this question asked? what alternatives were the participants given? have they ever met someone with a disability for which there is no hope of improvement let alone life expectancy?


MariaMaria
06-20-2007, 08:01 AM
Yes, I've known several people who are/were permanently disabled. I'd be surprised if most people hadn't.

I'd choose fat as well. But like Kery, my experience of fat is overwhelmingly cosmetic. I was never big enough to worry about walking to the bus stop or employability or airline seats. My body got bigger than I'd have liked but it was never big enough to have functional issues in daily life. That probably makes a big difference.

rockinrobin
06-20-2007, 08:12 AM
I know without one little bit of doubt that I will struggle with my weight till I'm an old, old lady - G-d willling. I do think that at some point I will have to stop worrying about it - like when I'm in my 80's I suppose. :)

But difficult or not - it IS controllable. I would not prefer heart disease or diabetes and I've grown quite fond of my limbs, so yeah I'd like to keep those around. What I think perhaps I would rather have is an addiction to alcohol or drugs or cigarettes. I think that would have to be easier then dealing with food issues. You know the cold turkey route- and then be DONE with it, for the most part. Food is around us 24/7 and we can't possibly do without it. It's so abundant and it's used in celebrations and social situations. Yes, I would much rather have had those other nasty habits.

Heather
06-20-2007, 10:54 AM
SusanB -- I've got you thinking like me!! Those are excellent questions!! WHO are the participants and HOW did they ask the questions!! I swear you can ask that about every research study and it helps put it in perspective.

Now, when the evidence mounts and you have similar results from a number of studies using different types of participants and multiple "measurements" you can start to think about whether this evidence is sufficient. One study is never enough!

As for MY answer to the question, I think I would pick obesity, and for many of the reasons above. Maybe "the devil you know" is more attractive, but honestly, amputating a limb sounds like it would significantly and permanently affect my life more than obesity.

But going back to Susan's initial point -- would your answer change if the choice were: a PERMANENT disability or PERMANENT obesity??? Take out the option to change your life, as it were.

paperclippy
06-20-2007, 12:49 PM
Even if the question were a permanent disability or permanent obesity, I would choose obesity. But like Kery asked, it depends HOW obese. If I had to go back to 185 for the rest of my life, I would much rather do that than have a disability. Life wasn't that terrible even though I had crossed the borderline from "overweight" to "obese." But if I had to weigh 500lbs and was unable to get out of bed I would have to think harder about it.

shrinkingchica
06-20-2007, 01:54 PM
Even if the question were a permanent disability or permanent obesity, I would choose obesity. But like Kery asked, it depends HOW obese. If I had to go back to 185 for the rest of my life, I would much rather do that than have a disability. Life wasn't that terrible even though I had crossed the borderline from "overweight" to "obese." But if I had to weigh 500lbs and was unable to get out of bed I would have to think harder about it.

Yeah, and at 500+ I'd likely have diabetes anways and the risk of having a leg amputated and/or blindness as well.

But, I would still rather be at 272 again than having any of those disabilities.

Heather
06-20-2007, 02:10 PM
hmmmm...

Well, this is interesting. Given the questions we had, I decided to try to find the article in question by Colleen Rand. I started by looking in Rethinking Thin, but interestingly enough, Kolata does not list an academic reference, just another article she wrote herself, which, with a little digging, I found here (http://www.naafa.org/press_room/burdens.html).

That article, published in 1992 in the New York Times, is of no help either and does not cite the original source. All it says regarding that study is "In a recent study of formerly fat people who had lost weight after intestinal bypass surgery, researchers at the University of Florida reported that virtually all said they would rather be blind or deaf or have a leg amputated than be fat again." So, there is a little more info about the participants (they lost weight via gastric bypass), but not a lot.

I have access to academic databases, and have found a number of articles by Colleen Rand, but still have not uncovered this "classic". Rand is now retired from the University of Florida, so the University's website was of no help. I have found a number of references, but none of the abstracts include this info, and don't seem to have the right number of participants. I may keep looking, but Rand herself doesn't seem to cite this earlier article or make reference to these findings.

In other words, the only reference I have been able to find so far regarding this "classic" study, is a reference the author (Kolata) gives for another piece she wrote in which she cited it. In neither place does she provide a citation for the original source, so there is no way to verify the info and answer the kinds of questions Susan B asked!!

I'm a little disturbed by that.

Meg
06-20-2007, 02:19 PM
Interesting. :chin: Google lists Colleen Rand's email. Perhaps you might consider contacting her, one academic to another? PM me if you need it.

Heather
06-20-2007, 02:21 PM
Found it! Now, letís see if I can access the actual article. Though, I donít think itís available at my college.

Successful weight loss following obesity surgery and the perceived liability of morbid obesity.
Int J Obes. 1991 Sep;15(9):577-9.
Rand CS, Macgregor AM.
Department of Psychiatry, University of Florida, Gainesville 32610-0256.


Patients (n = 47) who lost 45 kg (100 lb) or more and who successfully maintained weight loss for at least three years following gastric restrictive surgery for morbid obesity viewed their previous morbidly obese state as having been extremely distressful. In spite of the strong proclivity for people to evaluate their own worst handicap as less disabling than other handicaps, patients said they would prefer to be normal weight with a major handicap (deaf, dyslexic, diabetic, legally blind, very bad acne, heart disease, one leg amputated) than to be morbidly obese. All patients said they would rather be normal weight than a morbidly obese multi-millionaire.

Heather
06-20-2007, 02:22 PM
Meg-- you rock!

If I can't find the article, I'll give her email a try. I can also request the article via interlibrary loan, though that can take up to 2 weeks.

WaterRat
06-20-2007, 02:54 PM
Heather, I found this also on Medline. The journal is available in Anchorage, and I should be able to get it in a day or two. I'll let you know.

WaterRat
06-20-2007, 02:57 PM
Oh, and I'd take the obesity, I think, but I'd sure like to know the parameters! If I just had to stay at my highest weight, fine. If it's 500 lbs, hmmm. :shrug:

clvquilts
06-20-2007, 04:39 PM
The obesity vs disability question is very interesting to me because I'm on life time disability for an illness which medicine's caused my obesity.

When I was at my highest weight, I was ok with it because the medicine had stabilized my condition. I was happy that the medicine was working and I was willing to live with the side effect of the weight.

Now that I've had a switch in medicines and have subsequently lost all the weight I had gained on the previous one, of course I am much happier.

But I know that there may come a time when this medicine no longer controls my illness or that its other side effects become too threatening to continue taking.

At that time, I might have to take another medicine that will again affect my weight. If so, I would willingly be obese rather that live with my disability being uncontrolled.

gailr42
06-20-2007, 06:42 PM
I would choose my highest weight over some other disability. I was really surprised when I read about this study, too. Thanks for shedding a bit more light on the subject.

Heather
06-20-2007, 06:51 PM
Heather, I found this also on Medline. The journal is available in Anchorage, and I should be able to get it in a day or two. I'll let you know.

Great! I ordered it too.

Though, I don't know there will be much info there -- it's only 3 pages long!

ladyinweighting
06-20-2007, 08:16 PM
OK - so what's different between us and the study participants? Everyone of us would prefer being obese to having a serious disability. For me, it's NO contest - be blind/deaf/an amputee! - or be fat? Just call me a little fat lady, thank you.

Lynn

gailr42
06-20-2007, 08:29 PM
I think maybe most of us are "only" :lol: obese, not morbidly obese.

Heather
06-20-2007, 08:58 PM
Lynn -- That's a great question.

I wonder if people who decide to have surgery are different. Maybe when you get to that point, and go through with it, it's just more important than anything else.

Another explanation is that, having had the surgery, people feel it's important to justify that decision -- after all, it's a huge decision to make... I know from other research that people often feel the need to reduce any dissonance they might have following such decisions. So, maybe they felt that, if it weren't so important to lose weight, why else would they have gone through all that. (Please note, I'm not questioning the decision of anyone who chooses to have WLS... I'm just saying that when we make life-altering, irreversible decisions, we feel the need to justify them).

Finally, not only were these morbidly obese people who chose to have surgery, but according to the abstract, they lost weight (we don't know how much) AND kept it off... maybe there's something about all three of those factors together...

Of course, I am just speculating here... I see the need for more research already!!! :D

Heather
06-20-2007, 09:03 PM
I think maybe most of us are "only" :lol: obese, not morbidly obese.

Of course I can't speak for anyone else, but I was morbidly obese and still don't want to lose a limb! :yikes:

Of course, I didn't make the decision to have surgery...

srmb60
06-20-2007, 09:04 PM
On sorta the same track ... if we need to self-positive talk oursevles into being constantly motivated to do what we must do to lose weight and (keep it off) ... it would be counterproductive to wistfully yearn for the good-old-heavy days????

Actually, I guess that's what Heather said.

SoulBliss
06-20-2007, 09:07 PM
Well, I am already dyslexic...does that mean I get to be fit and lean by default? :lol:

I would not wish to have any other disability that I don't already deal with if I could choose to have them in place of being overweight.

When I see people who have lost limbs, who are in wheelchairs or suffer in ways I do not, I feel so grateful that my biggest challenge at this time is too much body fat. It's no walk in the park, but at least I CAN walk in the park, ya know? After all is said and done, I appreciate my body for what it is, stretch marks, saggy skin, lumpy fat deposits and all!

sportmom
06-20-2007, 11:10 PM
I also would take my weight, but have never been severely or morbidly obese. However, to me, morbid obesity IS a disability, so now we're just playing "go fish" with our disabilities and singing the song, "my disability is worse than yours is..........." I can't imagine anything being worse than blindness, but that's just me.

Wyllenn, your before/after and the way you're wearing a sweatshirt hoodie in the before, just looks so much like a "The Biggest Loser" promo shot to me. That's great work there my friend!!

MariaMaria
06-20-2007, 11:38 PM
OK - so what's different between us and the study participants? Everyone of us would prefer being obese to having a serious disability.

My wake up call was when I reached that no mans land between misses and plus sizes-- I was never actually big enough to shop at LB or Avenue.

So my experience of fat is really not much like that of someone who was both big enough and desperate enough to need WLS. That's a huge difference.

JohnKY
06-20-2007, 11:53 PM
Coming in a little late to the discussion. Sorry!

I have to feel like this is a bit of a trick-question. After all, if I chose obesity again over diabetes, heart disease, amputation, etc. It seems to me that obesity itself will increase the risk of all of these ailments/outcomes! And yes the question is in dire need of some more solid parameters. Is the hypothetical obesity permanent, or can I try and lose it again?!

I think another very important question to ask about studies these days is: Who paid for them? Seems like there's a lot of shady data floating around these days. Especially when it comes to pharmaceuticals.

Heather
06-21-2007, 12:31 AM
Wyllenn, your before/after and the way you're wearing a sweatshirt hoodie in the before, just looks so much like a "The Biggest Loser" promo shot to me. That's great work there my friend!!

*chuckles*
Thanks!

You know, in a way I hate that "before" shot -- not because I look so big in it, but because I look so.... sad. My husband took that picture one day, and it was completely "natural" -- I didn't know he was taking it. I know I smiled when I was that big sometimes! :)

In fact, I don't really like the after pic sometimes, for opposite reasons. I need to learn to take a picture with a less "fake" smile, now that I'm not hiding from the camera all the time.

Or, maybe I need to learn to like pics of myself! :D

rockinrobin
06-21-2007, 12:33 AM
Okay another formerly MORBIDLY obese person ummm ..... weighing in here so to speak. Yes, I still would choose being MORBIDLY obese over the diseases. And I was most certainly miserable from it, it was life altering, my quality of life was POOR because of it. I was horribly inactive due to it. I had horrible pain in my knees. It was a horror for me. But, it was still my doing, it was my choice. And there IS a way out. It might not have been easy and I know that it never will get easy. That it WILL be a struggle for me forever and ever, but nevertheless it IS controllable.

But I do wonder if I say that now having lost 146 lbs. But I don't think so. I always knew deep down that I did have the abililty to lose the weight.

It is a great observation though - why do all of us here choose obesity over those other things? Hmmmm...........

MariaMaria
06-21-2007, 01:33 AM
It's not obesity we choose, though. It's mac-and-cheese or big macs or "fries with that" or not having to sweat or not having sore muscles or not having to haul ourselves to the gym.

SoulBliss
06-21-2007, 01:39 AM
It's not obesity we choose, though. It's mac-and-cheese or big macs or "fries with that" or not having to sweat or not having sore muscles or not having to haul ourselves to the gym.Well, the second part of that applies to me, to a certain degree, yes, but the first part, no.

I realize I am in the minority, but I got to be over fat because of injuries, medications and only eating healthy, natural, organic vegan foods (just too much and without exercising enough). Then there is the genetic factor (everyone in my family, even those I never knew growing up but then met later, were large).

Kery
06-21-2007, 03:56 AM
Re: what's the difference between us and the people who answered that study:

Again, I'm taking a wild guess, but is it possible that strong mental perceptions are a key in all that? I mean, we're here now discussing this book, but we are part of a support community that helps a lot, lots of people here are maintainers so they ALREADY KNOW it is possible, and the others aren't at goal weight, but they were still confident enough to read the book, knowing the conclusions it entails and the studies contained in it. I would say we are people who don't get easily discouraged (or not anymore), and who are convinced/know that even when fighting bad genetics, it doesn't have to end with our losing the battle forever.

To quote a part from the linked article, too: "And, he added, unlike the blind or the deaf, fat people are told that they could be thin If they really wanted to. "It's kind of a double punishment," Dr. Brownell said."
But... isn't the truth that it is, well, sort of true--in that we DO have the ability to start working on our lifestyles, just walking more, that kind of things? (People on medication that made them gain weight are probably a whole other matter, though.) It hurts to say it, but in most cases, indeed, a blind person will remain blind, but the overweight one at least has the CHOICE to try and do something about it. Maybe it'll fail, maybe in the end s/he'll succeed. That's the important part for me--the ability to DO something, even if it's doomed to fail, vs. the helplessness of being disabled for life and knowing nothing will ever help.

(By the way, Clvquilts, thanks for adding your opinion. It is interesting to see the point of view of a person who has a disability. I've been thinking about this discussion on an off yersterday evening, and somehow I can't prevent myself from feeling at unease about the opinion that a disability can't be worse than obesity, because to me, it really is.)

Of course, if we take the hypothesis that the obesity would be for good, that again puts things back into another persepctive. Although I'd still choose obesity vs. blindness!

But, again, I'm a helplessly positive and optimistic person (in spite of my spells of bad mood and ranting just to let the stress out), and I've always refused to envision life in terms of "doomed to failure", "can't do anything about it", "that's my fate" and the likes. So maybe I am just too optimistic regarding that?

(I've liked the retort at the end of the quoted article, by the way. "You could just use some manners". We do not HAVE to let ourselves become victims. Even if the whole world is against us. No kidding, hey, WE are the survivors! ;))

Meg
06-21-2007, 05:57 AM
I woke up to a thought --

The study participants, we've found out, are all morbidly obese people who chose weight loss surgery, presumably because they were unable to lose weight through conventional diet and exercise. So, perhaps to them, becoming obese again would be a kind of death sentence because they're convinced that they do not have to tools and skills to lose weight on their own.

In contrast, most if not all of us who have posted in this thread are losing or have lost weight through diet and exercise, so we all know it works and how to work it. If any of us woke up and found ourselves morbidly obese, we sure wouldn't be happy about it -- but we'd know exactly what to do to fix it.

I was morbidly obese (my BMI was 44) and lost it all, so I'd go right back into full diet mode and do it again. It would suck, but I have no doubt that I could lose the weight once again. So I would definitely choose obesity over a permanent disability that would not be so easy to fix.

Do you think that surgery versus non-surgery explains the difference we're seeing between our responses and the study's?

srmb60
06-21-2007, 07:12 AM
Do you think that surgery versus non-surgery explains the difference we're seeing between our responses and the study's?

Yes, sort of. I think that the perception of obesity as a disease may evoke the notion that it is best treated medically or surgically. Since we are in a treatment programme that is working ...

Heather
06-21-2007, 09:19 AM
Meg -- You said it very well! That is certainly a possibility. I like Kery's point too.

Who these participants are is such an important issue. We can speculate until the cows come home about why the results turned out that way (and personally, I find that to be FUN!), but we can't know the degree to which the results would generalize to other groups unless that research gets done!

And the cool part, is that this is exactly how science progresses. People read a study and have exactly the same questions we do -- and then they go on and replicate (repeat) the study, except this time they use, for instance, the same group from the original study and then add OTHER groups, to see what differences emerge -- and also to see if those original results emerge a second time.

Can you all tell I get really excited about this stuff??!! :D

paperclippy
06-21-2007, 10:01 AM
My wake up call was when I reached that no mans land between misses and plus sizes-- I was never actually big enough to shop at LB or Avenue.

So my experience of fat is really not much like that of someone who was both big enough and desperate enough to need WLS. That's a huge difference.

Maria, I am just like you. What's up with that no mans land anyway? I was never able to find clothes big enough in "regular" sizes and the plus-sizes were always cut awkwardly and huge on me.

In any case, I do think that the result of the study probably had a lot to do with the people involved having had WLS. WLS is a very serious and risky medical procedure and I think you probably have to be in a pretty bad place with your weight in order to consider it, much less undergo it. I know 3FC has some people who have had WLS, maybe if any are reading this they could put in their two cents?

paperclippy
06-21-2007, 10:07 AM
I think that the perception of obesity as a disease may evoke the notion that it is best treated medically or surgically. Since we are in a treatment programme that is working ...

This is really interesting. I posted back on one of the other threads about obesity as a "disease." But OTOH I can think of several diseases for which non-medical treatments are an option (usually for milder cases). For example, depression may be treated with psychotherapy instead of anti-depressants. ADD may be treated with very strictly controlled schedules or I even saw on TV someone who had a lot of success with her ADD child by sending him to martial arts classes. So maybe it is the case that for people for whom the "non-medical" treatments don't work, surgery is the only option left? Kind of like how I have tendinitis in my wrists. I tried ice, compression, rest, elevation, massage. None worked. I tried medication and it didn't work. I tried injections and they didn't work. Finally I had surgery. (That didn't work either but that's not my point! :lol: )

ValerieL
06-21-2007, 12:34 PM
I feel like the odd man out, but I'd take the disability.

Maybe it's how I read the question - I read it to mean that I would be obese permanently or have a permanent disability.

My top weight was 340, if my choice is to 340 for the rest of my life or to be deaf for the rest of my life, I'll take deafness. Diabetes, well, they didn't say uncontrolled diabetes, I'm assuming I can still live a full life with my insulin shots, so I'll take diabetes. Heart disease? I'll take it and get lots of exercise & watch my cholesterol. An amputated leg? Protheses are great these days, I can still do my 5 & 10k races with a prosthetic leg. Bad acne? Please, I'll wear more makeup. Blindness is a little tougher, I might have to take my former weight over blindness, the lack of independence from being blind, just not being able to drive where I want to go, might be enough for me to prefer weighing 340 lbs everyday.

If the question wasn't permanent obesity, just a question of waking up tomorrow at 340lbs (which I could try to re-lose) or one of the disabilities, my answers might change, but frankly, I don't think that's how the question was intended. I think it was intended as a permanent obesity vs a permanent disability. And since the question was asked of people large enough to need gastric bypass surgery, I think that presupposes obesity of at least 100 lbs over your current or planned maintenance weight, as that's the approximate minimum of obesity needed before surgery is considered.

I'd be curious if anyone here would change their answer if the question was re-worded to be a permanent obesity of 100 lbs overweight versus those disabilities.

SoulBliss
06-21-2007, 12:38 PM
I'd be curious if anyone here would change their answer if the question was re-worded to be a permanent obesity of 100 lbs overweight versus those disabilities.

I already deal with other disabilities, but my answer would be that I would choose to be 100 pounds "overweight" and live a healthy, active life, eating well and being as healthy as possible rather than missing a limb or being blind or deaf.

rockinrobin
06-21-2007, 03:24 PM
I'd be curious if anyone here would change their answer if the question was re-worded to be a permanent obesity of 100 lbs overweight versus those disabilities.

That being the case, and other then being blind - I think I WOULD change my answer. Just the thought of me being permanently 287 lbs again, is enough to almost give me a panic attack right now. I couldn't do it. I just couldn't live that way ever again knowing that there was ZERO chance of me ever changing it. No thank you.

SoulBliss
06-21-2007, 03:26 PM
That being the case, and other then being blind - I think I WOULD change my answer. Just the thought of me being permanently 287 lbs again, is enough to almost give me a panic attack right now. I couldn't do it. I just couldn't live that way ever again knowing that there was ZERO chance of me ever changing it. No thank you.

Well, in this hypothetical case, you would be 235 if 135 is your ideal ;)

ValerieL
06-21-2007, 03:44 PM
The 100 lbs was more of a minimum not a specific. I meant it as a yardstick for those on the thread that have never experienced obesity in that degree. I think for those of us who have been 100 or more plus pounds, we would naturally be considering the question from the viewpoint of permanently weighing the most that we ever weighed. As, I assume, I know we don't know for sure, the gastric bypass patients in the original study probably did.

Heather
06-21-2007, 04:35 PM
Valerie -- I'm hoping we'll have the answer to how the question was worded when we get our hot little hands on the actual article... we shall have to see... because, yes, there certainly COULD be a huge difference in people's responses!

sportmom
06-21-2007, 04:59 PM
Wyll, I don't see a fake smile there at all - quite the opposite. So yes, you must learn to like pictures of yourself!

Valerie, is that avatar from you on tv or something? I'm sorry I don't know your whole story, but I found it quite realistic that you might have been featured for your wl story.

ValerieL
06-22-2007, 10:14 AM
Good catch on the avatar, I didn't realize it looked that TV-ish, though. I was on a small segment of a Canadian talk show in May on weight loss, morbid obesity and regaining weight. They did my makeup for me and I looked way better than I usually think I do! I grabbed a screen shot to make it my avatar, I liked it so much.

srmb60
06-22-2007, 10:16 AM
Oooo what show? Details? Do you think I could catch a rerun?

ValerieL
06-22-2007, 10:48 AM
Oh, you are appealing to my (considerable) vanity by asking. Thanks. ;)

I did capture it on DVD & upload the segment on Youtube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HTKFQnTSMcs (part 1)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=avnqk4-xaw0 (part 2)

It was the Gill Deacon Show, a CBC afternoon talk show. She's been cancelled now though I believe. The show was on in May.

srmb60
06-22-2007, 02:08 PM
Very good! Thanks Valerie, I enjoyed that.

clvquilts
06-22-2007, 02:11 PM
Wow Valerie, what a great interview. Thanks for sharing it with us. It's terrific that we can view it online on YouTube. If you want to see mine talking about my artwork, just search for Carolyn Vehslage. It was taken by my Dad last September when I was at least 20 pounds heavier.

sportmom
06-22-2007, 02:19 PM
Hi Valerie, I could tell that it looked like tape footage instead of film, like most of our photo images are. You also look like you were speaking, and it just seemed so OPRAH to me!! ;) I look forward to watching the interview clips from you and Carolyn too!

clvquilts
06-22-2007, 02:19 PM
"In one now classic study, Colleen Rand, an obesity researcher at the University of Florida, asked forty-seven formerly fat men and women whether they would rather be obese again or have some other disability. Every one of them said they would rather be deaf or have dyslexia, diabetes, bad acne, or heart disease than be obese again. Ninety-one said they would rather have a leg amputated. Eighty-nine percent would rather be blind. (p 69)"

Gina Kolata should have let her readers know that the study group was comprised only of WLS people. What's also missing is how long they have maintained how much weight lost. Do we know from other studies what the success rate of WLS is? How much weight lost can be maintained for how long?

Another thing ...

To me, it was disappointing that Gina Kolata devoted so many chapters to following the stories of a few people of the U Penn study, but didn't wait until the conclussions of that study were published to print her own book.

It seemed that she hand picked Carmen Pirollo, Jerry Gordon, Ron Kraus, and Gaziella Mann to support her own view that those who diet will eventually regain all if not more of the weight.

She also didn't use any of the data from the National Weight Control Registry.

WaterRat
06-25-2007, 06:11 PM
Okay, I got a copy of the article on interlibrary loan. The patients:

[47 patients] lost 45 kg (100 lb) or more and who successfully maintained weight loss for at least three years following gastric restrictive surgery for morbid obesity...

and the summary:

This study suggests that patients who successfully maintain weight loss following obesity surgery consider morbid obesity a tremendous personal liability. These are people who feel that being normal weight provides them with more desired options than being multi-millionaires. It is probably that patients' intense preference for being normal weight continues to assist them maintain the required control over their eating behaviors.

Heather
06-25-2007, 06:14 PM
Pat -- great!

Does it specify anywhere how the questions were worded??

SoulBliss
06-25-2007, 06:22 PM
Pat -- great!

Does it specify anywhere how the questions were worded??
That is the question!!! We want answers!!! :lol:

The way it was posed initially (100 pounds overweight permanently vs having some other disability permanently) is very different from being at your highest weight ever permanently vs living with some other disability permanently.

Waiting, baited breath and all... ;)

SoulBliss
06-25-2007, 06:36 PM
The 100 lbs was more of a minimum not a specific. I meant it as a yardstick for those on the thread that have never experienced obesity in that degree. I think for those of us who have been 100 or more plus pounds, we would naturally be considering the question from the viewpoint of permanently weighing the most that we ever weighed. As, I assume, I know we don't know for sure, the gastric bypass patients in the original study probably did.

I didn't naturally assume that, and I "experience obesity to that degree".

I took the question to mean "obese" not "the most obese you ever were".

Lets take the example of a woman whose "ideal" weight is 150 pounds. 100 pounds overweight would put her at 250 pounds. 250 seems so much more livable than 350. While both may be "obese" weights, there is a big difference between weighing 250 and 350! Personally, I look and feel pretty great at 250. 200 is better in so many ways, but is still considered "overweight" by the ridiculous BMI charts and 98% of society. Still, I think that being 250 permanently would be much better than being blind or missing a limb.

Again, it will be very interesting to see what the actual question asked of all those people who lost 100+ pounds was.

WaterRat
06-25-2007, 08:24 PM
Okay, here's what they did:

They asked "mine-thine" questions, and participants were "asked to identify their own worst handicap or disability. This handicap ("mine") is then paired with other disabilities ("thine"). . . The mine-thine choices consisted of seven forced choices between morbid obesity and being normal weight with each of the followsing: needing a hearing aid (deaf), very bad acne, heart disease, unable to read (dyslexic), being diabetic (requiring insulin), being legally blind, and having one leg amputated. Patients were told: 'In the following questions, being morbidly obese is paired with being of normal weight with a disability. Choose the one you would prefer to have in each pair if both were permanent.'" The 47 patients (39 women, 8 men, all patients of the same doctor) were interviewed by phone, all by the same nurse, for about 1/2 hour. "The questionnaire focused on patient behaviors that were thought to be important in successful maintenance of weight loss." None of that data is in this article, though.

So, Soulbliss, the obesity was actually the weight they were, not just obese or 100 lbs extra, etc.

Another part of the article notes:

Patients in this study do not represent a general sample of morbidly obese adults. Rather, they are representative of the select group of morbidly obese adults who elect surgery for obesity and who are able to comply with post-operative eating behavior changes. Among this group, very few were willing to reclaim their former disability of morbid obesity in forced-choice pairs. It goes on to note that all these people had marked improvements in many areas of their lives, and were perhaps unwilling to go back to the "experienced social oppobrium directed towards them when they were morbidly obese."

I actually have this article as a (mediocre quality) PDF, and would share it - it's only 3 pages long. PM me your email if you'd like it.

SoulBliss
06-25-2007, 10:44 PM
So, Soulbliss, the obesity was actually the weight they were, not just obese or 100 lbs extra, etc.Thanks, I can see that. ;)

This doesn't clear things up, really. I now simply have more questions and ultimately I see the questions they posed as really flawed. I wonder why they chose to conduct the study as they did, over the phone etc.

Also, how is being dyslexic equal to being unable to read??? Would the leg be amputated below, at or above the knee?

Did they screen the patients to determine that they didn't suffer with one of the disabilities mentioned?

I'll be sending you a PM with my email address now. :lol:

Heather
06-26-2007, 12:24 AM
Pat -- Wow, so it really was about permanent obesity vs disability!

I'm glad the authors discussed how the participants might not be like other people, even other morbidly obese people. Of course, that disclaimer didn't make it into Kolata's book.

SoulBliss -- I'm guessing they did it over the phone because the participants weren't local and that was the easiest way to reach them. You raised some excellent questions about the questions themselves...

I often find that when you ask the question "How did they measure it?" that you often find more questions are raised.

My conclusion about this particular study is that, without replication, I can't take it too seriously as representing the views of morbidly obese people. I would be curious to see how it replicated and whether people who opt for surgery (and are successful) are different from others.

But what's interesting is that this research was presented in the book as a "classic" study, and it doesn't feel that way to me. But look at what we had to do to figure that out!

What do others think?? Am I being too critical here of this description as a "classic"?

SoulBliss
06-26-2007, 12:56 AM
But what's interesting is that this research was presented in the book as a "classic" study, and it doesn't feel that way to me. But look at what we had to do to figure that out!

What do others think?? Am I being too critical here of this description as a "classic"?
No, I don't think you are being to critical at all...I feel as you do...but then again I am a Psychology person too (not a Professor like you, but a degree-holding "buff" all the same ;) ).

lilybelle
06-26-2007, 01:40 AM
Having been diagnosed 3 yrs. ago as permanently disabled due to my liver disease, I feel like I've lived on both sides of this coin. Yes, I lost the weight . It was actually killing me. I still live with the liver disease, but I'm much healthier now than I was then. I am happier. I'm able to physically do more and mentally handle more.

I would choose a permanent disability over being obese again. That may seem selfish to some, but at my previous wt. and in my previous health status, I wasn't living, I was waiting to DIE.

OTOH, if I were a reasonably healthy person and my obesity was the only factor that I was considering, I might choose differently.

srmb60
06-26-2007, 01:49 AM
Perhaps this critical streak is what helps us ???
Having enough of a jaundiced eye to sift through the reams of information there is out there and find something that works for us ???

ValerieL
06-26-2007, 02:51 PM
FWIW, because I was feeling like a bit of a freak being the only one here that would take disability over obesity, I asked this question at another weight loss forum I participate at in their subforum for those that have or have had more than 100 lbs to lose:

If you had to choose between being permanently obese at your top weight or having some other permanent disability such as being deaf, dyslexia, diabetes, bad acne, heart disease, a leg amputated or being blind, which would you choose?

Completely unscientific, granted, but I got 4 people prefering obesity to disability, 3 that would take any of the listed disabilities over obesity, 3 people that would take any of the listed disabilities except blindness over obesity, 2 that would choose any of the listed disabilities except blindness & amputation over obesity and 3 that agreed to take a specific disability (1 dyslexia and 2 deafness) over obesity.

Heather
06-26-2007, 07:30 PM
Valerie -- Interesting!

ennay
06-26-2007, 07:33 PM
There were 2 "weirdness quizzes" floating around the internet a while ago. A group of friends of mine took it.

One of the questions was "would you rather gain 50 lbs (or 100 lbs in the other quiz) or get run over by a truck" I was amazed at the number who chose get run over by a truck. This isnt statistics, these are just my friends, about 30 women all 25-40. Well more than half would rather get run over by a truck. "as long as I am not killed or paralyzed" but I didnt think that was implicit in the question that you could count on that.

Kery
06-27-2007, 02:15 AM
In that scenario... Has it occurred to them that even without ending up paralyzed, they could end up crippled for long enough a period until full recovery that they'd be bed-ridden and gain weight as well? :dizzy:

srmb60
06-27-2007, 02:20 AM
We could try a poll here at 3FC.

FresnoBeeDude
06-27-2007, 05:44 AM
It seems logical to follow up on our first two topics of unattainably thin body weight ideals and prejudice against obesity with this study about the formerly obese. I have to say that this passage blew my mind when I first read it:



The obvious question is -- how would you answer the question? And why? Why do you think the researcher got the responses she did?

I'm still trying to figure out what I would say. :)

I will admit I haven't gone through all 5 pages of this thread, in fact, I only went through the 1st page. Two things caught my eyes, deaf, diabetes.

Starting with deaf. I have been a relay operator for the deaf for the past 2+ years. I have dealt with very abusive people, both hearing and deaf. I have been called names by both parties. Although at this stage, I would definitely know how to use the telephone system, I have developed many prejudices against the deaf. I will not list them here. Besides, music has always been very important to me, I cannot phantom losing the ability to hear my favorite 80's tune. But, then again, technologies have really advanced, as cochlear implants have come along. Maybe by the time I was deaf, that would be reversable.

As for diabetes, well I already got that. I have mentioned here that I am very thankful that I was diagnosed with diabetes, as for the the 1st time in my life I am in control of my body instead of my body in control over me. It sucks that I have to prick myself daily, but this pricking tells me alot. Even though the pricking is based on the carbohydrates I had prior, it also tells me, and reminds me of the amount of calories I had. When my blood sugar level is unacceptable to me, then I know I did a bad thing. If I was told that I was no longer diabetic, I would continue to prick myself.

I guess I would chose to be obese again, at least I wold have more knowledge on what I have to do to lose the weight. Obesity is curable through diet, diseases can only be controlled by drugs.

ennay
06-27-2007, 09:27 AM
In that scenario... Has it occurred to them that even without ending up paralyzed, they could end up crippled for long enough a period until full recovery that they'd be bed-ridden and gain weight as well? :dizzy:

that was my argument exactly! put me in the hospital for a month and I'd gain 50.