Rethinking Thin - a book discussion - Topic 4 - Emotional Eating




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Meg
06-21-2007, 10:10 PM
I'm guessing that most, if not all, of us here at 3FC would describe ourselves as emotional eaters. Anger, boredom, joy, loneliness, depression, stress -- we respond by eating. We reward ourselves with food and we console ourselves with food.

Some of us even say that we're addicted to food, or to certain foods such as sugar or carbs.

And many of us would say that emotional eating is what made us fat in the first place.

Chapter 4 of Rethinking Thin is devoted to debunking the ideas that fat people got that way because they’re emotional eaters and that overeating to the point of obesity is a psychological problem. To the contrary, the book reports on studies showing that the incidence of emotional and stress eating is the same in normal weight and fat individuals:

“Most obese people are no different than non-obese people,” Stunkard [the researcher profiled in the chapter] says. They are not eating because they’re depressed or because they have a pathological relationship to food or to their parents. If all you had was their scores on psychological tests -- if you could not actually see the people you were testing – you would not be able to tell who was fat and who was not.

… There is no psychiatric pathway that spells obesity. And there is no response to food that is not shared by people who are not fat. You can’t say you got fat because you, unlike thin people, are unable to avoid temptation. Both fat and thin people are tempted by the sweet smell of brownies or sight of a dish of cold, creamy ice cream. You can’t say you got fat because there’s a lot of stress in your life. Thin people are just as likely to eat under stress. You can’t say it was because you used food as a reward. If that is the reason, why do thin people, who also use food as a reward, stay thin? (p 93-94)

Bottom line, according to the book, is that we can’t blame our weight problems on emotions or psychological issues. "There is no distinctive fat person's eating behavior; no fat person's psychology ..." (p 97)

When I read this chapter, it seemed counterintuitive to me. So many of us accept -- without questioning -- that our emotional and psychological responses to food are what made us fat. Yet here the book is saying, no – studies show that normal people have the same emotional responses to food as the obese.

What are your thoughts on the chapter and the idea that emotional eating is NOT a cause of obesity?


srmb60
06-21-2007, 10:21 PM
Semantics?
Obesity is a result of the symptom of overeating as a response to disordered thinking ????
Some folks fidget, some folks pick, some folks sleep around, some folks explode in tempers, some folks eat ???
What if that symptom (overeating) was combined with sluggish genetics and a food centered cultural upbringing.

SoulBliss
06-21-2007, 10:33 PM
What if that symptom (overeating) was combined with sluggish genetics and a food centered cultural upbringing.

What if? TaDa! You get most of us on 3FC! :o

I know from experience (mine, my friends, my clients, people here on 3FC) that there is an emotional component to nearly anyone's weight and the way they approach food. To say there isn't is ludicrous, in my opinion.

I took a class that focused on "The Psychology of Obesity" at college. It was fascinating.


Heather
06-22-2007, 12:15 AM
I think this is where the book gets really interesting, as she's starting to make the argument that obese people are biologically different from the non-obese. Not psychologicallly different, but biologically.

So, here her point is that thin AND obese people eat from stress, suffer from depression at equal levels, etc. But only the obese ones gain weight from the behavior. I think she's saying that there IS an emotional component for obesity, in that we got fat because we overate, often for emotional reasons. But, her bigger point is that non-obese people engage in the same behaviors and just don't gain weight.

She also tries to make the point that it's not culture. Obese people and non-obese people are exposed to the same culture and yet the obese gain weight and the non-obese do not.

That is what I perceive her argument to be. I'm not sure what I make of it. I'm a cultural psychologist, and I would like to believe culture and environment are significant factors in all sorts of our attitudes and behaviors. In my work, I tend to ignore the biological to a degree. I think I carried this over to my thinking about weight and obesity.

Kolata raised a lot of points I hadn't really considered before -- and I think her argument is not really strong here. I don't know enough about the research to be convinced by it. Her argument seems much stronger in the later chapters dealing with the biochemistry of obesity.

JohnKY
06-22-2007, 12:47 AM
What if that symptom (overeating) was combined with sluggish genetics and a food centered cultural upbringing.

I'm with SusanB on this one. I was thinking along the same lines. What if obesity is the result of a confluence of factors including genetics, stress and upbringing? Most of the people in my immediate and extended family are obese, so I know I've potentially got the genes. I know for a fact I eat more when under stress. Like probably most people in America I learned as a child to treat food as a reward or comfort. If I don't take great care to eat extra low-caloric density foods at times of stress and step up my exercise, I'd be in trouble.

So what's the difference? If unchecked, would I eat twice as much as naturally thin person during stress? Or is my metabolism in the basement? Ok. So naturally thin folks also stress-eat. But do they consume the same amount of calories when under stress? Looking back at some of the binging I used to do, I have to wonder. I'm ashamed to admit I'm not this far along in the book at this time so I don't know if it expands on this point. I'm trying to catch up!

gailr42
06-22-2007, 01:08 AM
I think that Kolata is heavily invested in the idea that obesity is biological and biological alone. What passed through my mind after I was done reading the book, was that she is presenting obesity as ulitmately being a disease like diabetes and sooner or later there will be a medical cure for it. I have mixed feeling about the concept of obesity as a disease.

In the sense that any eating caused me to get fat, I am sure emotional eating contrubuted. Along with my love of food/cooking/eating out etc etc etc. I don't see emotional eating as the sole culprit in my case.

Kery
06-22-2007, 03:27 AM
I had mixed feelings on that chapter.

First, "obesity is a disease" (since it's been mentioned above) doesn't hit home for me. If you've read my other posts on the other topics related to it, you know by now what I think of 'the natural tendency to put on weight easily': it's a curse in our society, BUT 500 years ago we would have thanked the Lord, the Goddess or whoever our deity was that we were healthy and more able to survive starvation periods. I don't see how a biological mechanism designed to allow us to survive ever deserves to be considered as a disease, no matter how hard things are for us currently. (Of course, that doesn't mean I don't give a fig about gaining weight--if it was the case, I wouldn't be here! :)--but I also don't want to view my body as something fundamentally flawed.) What I *would* consider the disease is the current state of our food surroundings. That's a whole other problem in an of itself, I guess.

Second. Regarding the psychological aspect. Yes, non-obese people may engage in the same behaviours, but maybe not to such an extent. And fast metabolism or not, there comes a point when you will gain weight all the same if you overeat by a lot. I know we most often tend to use the term 'emotional eating', because to be honest, it does have a clear meaning. But maybe a more appropriate word would be 'behavioural eating' (cf. also what SusanB wrote: "What if that symptom (overeating) was combined with sluggish genetics and a food centered cultural upbringing"). We've been given tools to learn to eat in certain circumstances, for instance, so is it so surprising that we go on applying them once we're adults, and then of course it starts to really weigh on us (yes, pun intended)? Ever growing portion sizes and huge plates are probably part of this, too. The importance of our environment is overbearing, I think. This indeed probably plays a role.

Now, can we say there's no emotional component? Maybe the emotional component is here, but not exactly in the shape of food itself, and food is just a part of it. I don't know exactly how to put it. I'm not even sure I've formed a clear opinion on that matter yet. But to me, obesity is not biological only. There is a clear behavioural component to it. Whether it is only a matter of semantics or not, it is here IMHO.

Heather
06-22-2007, 09:27 AM
So much of what everyone is saying is resonating with me.

It sounds like many of us could get behind the notion that it's nature (genetics/biology) AND nurture (environment) that cause obesity. Yet, as gail said, Kolata seems invested in hammering home the biological message, for whatever reason -- perhaps because society's message really does blame the obese. If it's biological, then it isn't our fault.

And yet, I KNOW I overate. I needed to take responsibility for my actions. Thanks Gina Kolata -- your emphasis on biology seemed to take that away. :(

Also, if it's biology, then maybe there's nothing I can do about it -- maybe temporarily, but not permanently. I was really glad I hadn't read the book BEFORE I lost the weight. I might have never tried!

srmb60
06-22-2007, 09:35 AM
This seems to be a good place to put something (Thanks Heather). I really did not enjoy this book. I felt it was a compendium of reasons to not even try. I'm so glad I have 3FC to come back to for this kind of thinking. And Anne Fletcher's book Thin for Life.
It can be done!

... sorry ... that's about as close to a rant as I ever hope to post ...

rockinrobin
06-22-2007, 09:36 AM
Well emotional eating IS the reason I got so heavy. I didn't get that way from going back for leftovers one time too many. I got that way from eating when I was bored, lonely, depressed?, sad, happy, angry and on and on. I do think at some point though it became habit. But that's another story.

You can then easily say, well why did I use food in those situations and to such a large extent? Why if I was bored, sad, etc.., didn't I stop at a certain point?

I do think there is a genetic component and without a doubt an environmental one. I don't think those are the MAIN factors though for obesity.

I was the cause of my obesity. Me, myself and I. Like Heather said. I take full responsibility for it. I was the cause of every single pound of me, circumstances aside. It WAS in my control. I just chose to NOT control it. I thought that I COULDN'T control it, but that was the denial I was living in.

rockinrobin
06-22-2007, 09:38 AM
Susan, we posted at the same time. I have struggled to get through about 70 pages of the book. I too am not enjoying it. I find it boring and pointless. I know I haven't gotten to the "meat" of it yet - but if it continues on like this, I just don't see that she's telling us anything compelling or new. I'll save my final judgement if and when I get through with it.

srmb60
06-22-2007, 09:44 AM
I wasn't bored. In fact I enjoyed the reading. It's amazing to me the work that has been done without any conclusive results. What does it mean that we've been studying this for centuries but still have no 'reason' for obesity? A book with no point?

I also wish that just once she would have talked to folks who have been successful. But hey ... maybe I'm looking for the complete works of all weight loss studies and the evidence ... all in one book. Kolata was not writing that.

Heather
06-22-2007, 09:58 AM
I also wish that just once she would have talked to folks who have been successful. But hey ... maybe I'm looking for the complete works of all weight loss studies and the evidence ... all in one book. Kolata was not writing that.

I wished that too, Susan. You're right. That wasn't the "story" she was telling. If she had talked to successful losers and maintainers, that wouldn't have fit with the biology story she was telling.

It's funny. I hear on this site all the time people complaining that researchers spin their statistics and evidence. However, I wonder if people also think about the degree to which journalists (which Kolata is) do the same...

I enjoyed Kolata's book all in all. It gave me some things to think about, and the newer research focusing on leptin is fascinating. She made me believe that there is more to the biological component than I had believed. And, maybe that's because she did "spin" the book the way she did.

In the end, I don't believe that we yet have the full story (I bet we all agree on that, even Kolata). Yes, biology plays a role, and hopefully that knowledge will help us develop better medications and "whatnot" down the line. However, I also know of a number of people who HAVE successfully maintained a large weight loss thanks to 3fc, and know that gaining it all back is not necessarily inevitable. I can think of some research questions I would like the answers to (such as the role of exercise and especially weight training...).

But what I didn't like about the book is Kolata's framing of the issues -- her spin. Her certainty, if you will. Though, I guess books that sell you "answers" sell better than ones that raise more questions. I think we, the public, want "truth" and certainty, so that's what we get, even if it's not the whole answer.

AnneWonders
06-22-2007, 10:37 AM
I've been following the discussion, but haven't participated yet because 1) I haven't read the book and don't intend to, and 2) was pretty underwhelmed with Kolata's controversial book on exercise a few years ago. But I'm a little puzzled by this discussion.

I am both an astonishing success as a 110+ pound loser and maintainer of that loss over several years, and a failure at controlling my weight, as my BMI is still in the 'Overweight' range. But the perspective from being 15 pounds overweight as opposed to 115 pounds overweight is VASTLY different. While I am responsible for everything I put in my mouth, to get to be +115 pounds overweight I had to actively work at that, buy and eat a lot of junk food basically, with a lot of emotional, compulsive and habitual eating. To stay at +15 pounds is really easy--that is within the 200 calories a day that Wansink calls the mindless margin in his wonderful book, Mindless Eating. Pick up one candy that a co-worker brought into work, eat 3 extra bites of noodles off a dinner plate that is sized too large, the licks, bites and tastes that Meg likes to talk about. No major emotional baggage required for that.

I guess the point I'm trying to make is that, while it does happen, as an overweight person (now) I just don't do a lot of emotional eating, most of the excess is just sort of thoughtless, it-happens-to-be-there kind of stuff. Not too much different from my thinner friends. As a morbidly obese person I did a lot of emotional eating.

(Now I do a scientifically untenable thing and extrapolate from my experience to the world at large, where there are people like and unlike me.)

So which is true? Both, certainly. How do you report that in your book, if you want to be controversial, and make a lot of sales, and make overweight people feel good about themselves so they'll buy your book. You tell them, hey, you are 100% normal and this isn't your fault. It might even be true for the majority of people like me who are a little overweight. A "healthy" survival instinct in a rich environment, at least from an evolutionary point of view. There is nothing healthy about morbid obesity. If Kolata does make a distinction, I'll be forced to retract this disparaging statement, but I'm guessing she doesn't.

Anne

ValerieL
06-22-2007, 10:42 AM
I loved this book, it validated many of my own ideas about obesity, which probably explains why I loved it. Human nature, we like things that validate our own beliefs. ;) And, FWIW, I don't dispute that it's one-sided. I don't think her goal was to produce a balanced look at this issue, but to highlight a side that is too often ignored. The goal wasn't to present evidence, but to try to persuade and I take it in that context.

So, here her point is that thin AND obese people eat from stress, suffer from depression at equal levels, etc. But only the obese ones gain weight from the behavior. I think she's saying that there IS an emotional component for obesity, in that we got fat because we overate, often for emotional reasons. But, her bigger point is that non-obese people engage in the same behaviors and just don't gain weight.

That to me was the crux of chapter. Yes, there is emotional eating, but the reason it results in obesity isn't that emotional eating exists, but that the weight control regulation is broken in the first place.

I eat to handle emotions, most definitely, but so does my never-fat, stick thin sister. But in her, eating emotionally doesn't turn on a hunger mechanism that won't shut off after. It does in me. When her emotional issue is over, so is the eating. I can't stop mid-cookie bag though. I keep going after the emotional part is over.

I find a really strong sense in most people that I talk to about this issue, especially the successful losers, who deal with weight issues that they don't want to acknowledge the possibility that a huge component of it might be biological. It's like it takes away our power in the situation. We might as well throw up our hands and give up. It's better to believe we were bad people doing unhealthy things before and we are good people who care about ourselves now. At least that way, we have a way to change it.

I guess I never saw the arguments in the book that way. I look at them more as an explanation. An explanation that helps map out strategies for overcoming the disadvantage of genetic predisposition to obesity. I don't think that admitting there is a strong genetic predisposition to obesity lets us off the hook from solving our own personal fight with obesity. It just means we need to be aware that we can't do the things that someone who doesn't have the predispositon can get away with. We can't allow emotional eating to get hold of us. We can't let up vigilance in eating well. We might have to exercise more to increase our metabolisms more than a forever thin person might. We can't trust our bodies to just do what is right for our weight.

I also wish she'd looked at successful losers and tried to figure out what worked for them. I think of the things we already know that make successful maintainers, daily exercise, constant weight monitoring, continued focus on food and healthy eating. Those things are what successful maintainers do. They *aren't* what the never been fat folks do.

If there was no biological component to obesity, wouldn't we be able to behave like the never fat people once we got thin? Couldn't we exercise sporadically? Couldn't we stuff our faces from Thanksgiving to Christmas & not worry about it? Couldn't we have cookies everyday with our kids?

AnneWonders
06-22-2007, 11:00 AM
Valerie, loved your post. But regarding this:

I think of the things we already know that make successful maintainers, daily exercise, constant weight monitoring, continued focus on food and healthy eating. Those things are what successful maintainers do. They *aren't* what the never been fat folks do.


I actually know quite a few never-fat women who do just that. Whether they need to or not is an open question, but they do.

Anne

ValerieL
06-22-2007, 11:10 AM
Yes, I was generalizing. There are always never-fat people that do all that.

I really don't believe any of this is cut & dried. There are overlapping areas and conflicting forces and different motivations and priorities everywhere for all of us that make everyone's weight issues their own private puzzle to figure out.

Heather
06-22-2007, 01:18 PM
Anne -- I DO think you're a success. Overwhelmingly so. In fact, at the end, Kolata claims that it's the OVERWEIGHT who live longest! Not the "normal" weight. But... that claim is probably controversial too.

I could see myself in you, as well. I know that I engage in some of that "extra" eating... one of the many reasons the scale has not moved down for me. I don't engage in emotional eating to the extent I used to -- but it is still a struggle sometimes.

Valerie -- I like your interpretation: Kolata's claims are an explanation that provide us strategies. If I buy the argument that I may LOOK like a never obese person, but inside I'm different, then I know that I will need to behave differently to keep the weight off. I know Meg talks about this all the time.

I think another thing to like about the biological argument is that it can take some of the stigma away from being obese -- it's NOT just as simple as "eat less move more" for many people. I mean, it IS, but we're fighting against something that never obese people fight against. And maybe some of the "never obese" people need to hear that.

But again, I don't want to absolve myself of the responsibility I have to myself and of what I did to myself to get obese in the first place...

mandalinn82
06-22-2007, 01:40 PM
I got into a semi-related discussion with my dad the other day about social stigmas, when they were acceptable, etc.

Basically, its OK in modern society to dislike or stigmatize someone for something that they DO, not something that they ARE. Thats the basic rule of political correctness. So if her point is that tending toward obese is a biologically based thing that someone IS, the social stigma toward obesity would lessened once everyone is convinced of that. If obesity is a result of something that a person DOES, however, its OK in our society to stigmatize.

This conversation actually came up in a discussion about gay rights, but its relevant here. (thats the fundamental reason why many feel it is ok to berate or otherwise criticize gay people...they see it as something that you DO, not something that you ARE. Its a VERY critical distinction in terms of how things are viewed and a fundamental disconnect between the two sides on MANY issues)

From my personal point of view, I'm somewhere in between believing that obesity is something that you DO or something that you ARE. I do know that there are PLENTY of people around me who eat and drink to excess who remain incredibly normal-weight or under-weight (my friend Adrienne had a rough day, as did I. We were talking about our desserts - me, a modest portion of homemade fat free frozen yogurt. Her, half a pint of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream and a bag of pepperidge farm cookies. No joke. She is 5'8" and weighs 130 lbs), and I do know that if I had eating habits like MANY of my friends, I would be gaining rapidly...so from that side, it is something that I AM - I AM a person who tends toward obesity. However, I have control over that, so it is ALSO something that I DO (I CHOOSE to eat, move, and manage my life to counteract my propensity toward obesity).

Sorry for rambling :-)

clvquilts
06-22-2007, 03:00 PM
Meg - would you start a new thread on biology based on Chapter 7?

gailr42
06-22-2007, 03:00 PM
mandalinn82, you put into words what I couldn't. Very good distinction between "being" and "doing" as far as how we are perceived.

I liked the book, but my over-all feeling was one of discouragement. I think because I am on a "roll" now with my weight and eating, I am not letting it bother me. If I were looking for motivation to change, the book wouldn't help.

An aside: I loved the cover on the book. The simplicty of the photos really spoke to me. I emailed the photographer and told him I liked the photos and got a really nice email back from him. He said they used a heck of a lot of lemon juice trying to keep the fruit from turning brown during the photo shoots.

Meg
06-22-2007, 03:09 PM
Meg - would you start a new thread on biology based on Chapter 7?

Caroly, we'll hit that chapter next week. We'll take a break on new topics over the weekend and then get to the rest of the book starting on Monday. You're right, it's a really interesting chapter. :)

I need to get the rest of my thoughts organized over the weekend. You should see my book -- it's nothing but highlighter and Post-Its. :lol:

clvquilts
06-22-2007, 03:14 PM
Having read various threads on various forums since joining 3FC, it seems that when overweight people eat for emotional reasons, they far out eat thin people when they're overeating for emotional reasons.

When my thin DH overeats because he's bored, he'll eat 2-3 servings worth, not the whole bag of chips or cookies. When my thin friends eat extra pizza because 'they couldn't resist' they only eat an extra slice, not the whole pie.

Before I had my medicine induced weight gain and I ate because I was bored, I ate far, far less then I did when I was bored and on the medicine.

So maybe there is a link between the quantity of what overweight/obese people eat and emotional eating that Kolata's study examples did not evaluate.

paperclippy
06-22-2007, 03:46 PM
Carolyn, I am with you on the quantity issue. I have a very close friend who is quite thin and has always been thin. For the record her father is very thin and her mother is slightly overweight -- I haven't seen her brother since we were kids but I am guessing he's a normal size. She and I talk about emotional eating a lot, because both of us love sweets and desserts and both of us eat sweets and desserts when we are stressed or upset. However, here is the thing about her eating habits compared to mine. If I am upset about something and indulge in junk food, I will still go ahead and eat all the rest of my meals as if that indulgence never happened. My friend will eat significantly less at her subsequent meals, in addition to usually eating far less of the junk food than I do (or than I used to).

So yes, she does do emotional eating. But if we both ate an ice cream cone at 4:30 in the afternoon, I would still eat a normal dinner at 6:30 whereas she would probably have a piece of toast at 8pm and call it "dinner." I've seen her indulge at meals and eat large quantities of food (still far less than the quantities I eat even at my current low weight), but she will then not eat much at all for the next day.

Is she thinner than me because of genetics? Maybe there is some component there, sure. But really, she eats less than I do. I find that most people I know, who have never been overweight, if I look carefully at their eating I find that they eat smaller portions than I do. Does genetics make them less hungry? Does genetics make me keep eating even when I am full?

If there really is a huge biological factor, then maybe it is like having a family history of high blood pressure. If you are careful about eating and exercise, you may be able to avoid ever getting high blood pressure. There are steps you can take to reduce your risk.

I have a really hard time believing there is little to no cultural influence. Consider just the diets of different ethnic groups (including the popular "mediterranean" diet). I'm Jewish, and my comfort foods are things like dense noodle puddings, pot roasts, egg breads, etc. A lot of Jewish foods are similar to eastern european foods, which have a lot of meat and fat. OTOH, consider the Japanese diet, which is full of lean fish, vegetables, and rice. Which has more calories, a fish cake or a matzoh ball?

I know the book has a study about twins separated at birth, but I wonder if there is a study about children adopted into different countries. I know a lot of my neighbors have children they've adopted from China, who are being raised with a traditional American diet. I wonder how they will compare to a child of european descent being raised in China, in terms of their weight as adults?

Glory87
06-22-2007, 03:55 PM
I haven't had a chance to read the book yet - still on the wait list at the library. Her focus on biology as the source of obesity is fascinating to me, based on my own personal experiences. As far as I can tell, I had no biological reason to be fat (although I spent a lot of years making excuses that it was genetics because my dad is heavy). I was fat because I ate really really bad at least 80% of the time. Muffins, venti full fat lattes, M&Ms in the afternoon, pizza for lunch, lots of nachos, lots of taco bell, lots of candy bars - that is what I ate EVERY day. Now, I eat really really well +80% of the time and I am thin.

I am not discounting biology as a reason for other people, but biology (and stress/emotional eating as well) were not the reasons that I was fat.

sportmom
06-22-2007, 04:01 PM
We have a large asian community where I live, and I can tell you what happens - and have heard from their parents. Those who stick to the traditional home diet are fine, thin, typical asian builds. Those who migrate to the US culture and develop a liking for fast food, pizza and video games develop problems. I see quite a few overweight asian kids (mostly boys, the gamers) and it ain't pretty. It would indicate basic biology and math rather than genetics in their case.

I think you really do have to read the book and be caught up to appreciate the discussion. The early chapters are not as exciting as the modern day stuff, but they serve to build on the case of just how long this problem has existed - for centuries! It may seem like only since the low fat craze of the 80's, but that's probably just what we can remember back to. I do know there was diet rite and AYDS candies when I was little - the diet aid of the 70's!!

I think there are 2 things I'm taking away from this book (I'm up to the final chapter, chapter 8). One is, there are people who report never feeling full. That is a distinct case, of leptin challenged, metabolically challenged, or something. That's not me - I do feel full. Then there are the others, like me, who work hard to be overweight. We work hard to hit the 7-11 for a Super Big Gulp or decide to have fast food when it would be just as easy to make a s'which at home. For us, I want to know what is wrong in our brains that we attack our own successes and derail our progress and make an effort to pursue bad rewards. One of the big authors (Dr Phil maybe?) said that obese people work HARD to stay that way. I think it's true, it's hard to scheme how to consume 3000 kc a day. But WHY? Why do we feel the need to do this to ourselves? Is this just what WE do, whereas our sisters choose other things - overspending, overdrinking, promiscuity,..... and food is just our thing? That's what I'd like answered. So yes, I think there IS emotional eating, but I don't think it's what has ever been defined before. I think our emotional eating separates us from the THIN, in that somewhere in our brain or emotions, we are driven to derail our progress. Unwanted attention from others, fear of removing our insulation from the world, keeping our anxiety at bay (for me I think), don't know what the causes are, but that's my definition of emotional eating. Why do we eat the BAG and others eat 2 servings?

By the way, the end of chapter 7 - TEN MONTHS UPDATE - is all me. Can't wait for that section, it was like reading my diary. The same thought patterns, the same actions. Frightening.

shrinkingchica
06-22-2007, 05:03 PM
I think that it depends. (Do you like my lawyerly answer Meg? ;))

For some obesity is a purely biological thing. They are the ones who literally eat clean and exercise and their weight is still high.

For some, obesity is a matter of culture. These are the ones who may be biologically pre-disposed to obesity, but that being in a culture with very cheap and accessible ever so tempting high fat food just leads them awry.

For some, obesity is a psychological issue. These are the folks who are emotional eaters and/or addictive eaters and that need their underlying psychological issues to be identified, dealt with and constantly managed in order that the weight may stay off.

For many, obesity is some type of combination of the aforementioned.

For myself, I consider my obesity to be a genetic predisposition but one that was aggravated to an astounding degree by my psychological issues. Once those issues were identified and managed I was able to eventually move on from using food as a source of self-medication, a crutch and a means of hiding myself from the big, bad, scary world. And as a result, the pounds came off.

ladyinweighting
06-22-2007, 10:42 PM
I'm joining in late today & enjoying reading everyone's posts - maybe this is a better time to get in on the discussion.

Here are my thoughts after reading your posts -

Meg's post - "What are your thoughts on the chapter and the idea that emotional eating is NOT a cause of obesity?"
I think emotional eating definitely IS a cause of obesity, but VERY possible, those emotions are influenced by our chemical make up.

Wyllenn's post - "I'm a cultural psychologist, and I would like to believe culture and environment are significant factors in all sorts of our attitudes and behaviors. In my work, I tend to ignore the biological to a degree."
For most of my academic learning years, the emphasis in society was on the role environment played in our behavior. Since the DNA research, that has shifted to the role nature plays. I think this book is in keeping with current thought on the influence of nature over nurture.

Gailr42's post - "I have mixed feeling about the concept of obesity as a disease."
Me too! Especially, if it's an incurable one. NOTE: you refered to the similarity of Kolata's perception being similar to how one would view diabetes. As a newly diagnosed diabetes 2 person, I kept making the same connection as I read the book. Especially bc my dietitian told me that just 20 years ago, a major diabetes specialist wrote that everyone with diabetes would end up dying from complications of the disease - it could NOT be managed. (Sound like the Kolata premise?). If obesity follows the same path as diabetes has, it should be MUCH more manageable in 20 years.

SusanB's post - "I really did not enjoy this book."
I understand this feeling. I did not "enjoy" the message, but I found it fascinating. After reading tons of books promising me I could lose weight quickly and forever (I have a bookcase full of them), it was kind of interesting to read a book that said, "You might be able to do this, but you have a tough row to hoe to get it done." As I look around at my friends/family, I know only 1 person who lost over 50 lbs and kept it off for more than 10 years. I have been on and off diets for 40 years and am about 30 lbs heavier than I was when I started dieting!

SusanB's post - "... also wish that just once she would have talked to folks who have been successful."
I REALLY believe that my df and those of you who ARE successful SHOULD write a book. If you are as rare as this book indicates, you DEFINITELY have something to offer.

Now - my personal experience. I have successfully lost weight (down to my expressed goal weight) more than 5 times in my life. Each time, someone close to me either died or got SERIOUSLY ill soon after I reached goal. Each time, I gained all the weight lost + more. Were these coincidental occurrences - the problems occurred when my body was ready to re-gain the weight anyway? OR - were they causative occurrences - I engaged in emotional eating as a result of the problems and gained back my lost weight?

I teach research & one of the things I teach my students is - don't try to answer the question "why" with research. The "why" of things is part of philosophy and religion - NOT research. The best we can do with research is some answers to "what," "how," and "when" questions.

Lynn

Heather
06-23-2007, 08:59 AM
Lynn -- You and I need to talk! Another person who teaches research!! :carrot: :D :D

I'm a psychologist and teach exclusively to undergraduates. You?

ladyinweighting
06-23-2007, 09:19 AM
Lynn -- You and I need to talk! Another person who teaches research!! :carrot: :D :D

I'm a psychologist and teach exclusively to undergraduates. You?

I'm an educator and teach exclusively to graduate students. Typically, teachers who want to become educational administrators. Generally they HATE and/or are TERRIFIED of research and statistics.

I am now retired and teach a few online courses each year for the Univ of Phoenix. I used to be the director of an Educational Leadership program at a small private college in PA. Before that, I worked as a researcher at ETS (Educational Testing Service).

Lynn

sarah44
06-23-2007, 03:42 PM
Another social scientist (sociology) chiming in - the concept of an "ecological fallacy" might be useful here.

Here's a short definition: "False conclusions made by assuming relationships found through research with groups can be attributed to individuals."

And a longer one: "The ecological fallacy is the logical fallacy of interpreting general data too particularly or minutely. An example would be projecting to the level of individuals the generalizations that apply to a population. This fallacy, and the opposite fallacy of generalizing from the particular, have been responsible for some misguided health policies. For example, many epidemiological studies have demonstrated an increased risk of heart disease associated with high-fat diets, cigarette smoking, and lack of exercise; but not everyone who exhibits these behaviors necessarily dies of a heart attack—and it is a mistake to blame such people if they experience a heart attack because many other factors could precipitate such an event."

Most of us can easily observe a correlation between eating habits and exercise for ourselves - if I eat more and don't exercise, I gain weight. So it's easy for me to assume that people who weigh less than me must be eating much less or exercising a lot more, and that people who weigh more than me must be eating much more and exercising less. This would be overgeneralizing from my own experience.

Based on what everyone has said (I skimmed through the beginning of the book, but didn't read this chapter carefully) the research that Kolata is summarizing seems to say that on average, people who are overweight are not eating much more or don't have different eating behaviors than those who are not overweight. But there's a lot of individual variation contained within those overarching patterns - to assume that it applies to all individuals would another kind of overgeneralization. The anecdotes that this thread has generated - thin people who eat a lot and don't gain weight, thin people who carefully monitor their weight and exercise, overweight people who eat alot, and overweight people who eat moderately, etc. etc., - are all examples of that individual variation, which could easily be contained within the overarching pattern.

Just as statistical patterns don't apply to all individuals, anecdotes don't trump statistical patterns. But it also sounds as though Kolata isn't defining what terms like "overweight" very carefully, and as though she herself may be committing an ecological fallacy, by assuming that the statistical patterns can be interpreted as true for individuals.

I didn't read very far into the book because I wasn't very impressed by her approach or tone. I've enjoyed her articles in the New York Times, but the book seemed much less thoughtful and nuanced than I would have expected from a science journalist of her stature.

Heather
06-23-2007, 07:59 PM
Sarah -- Yay! More social scientists! Thanks for that thoughtful and clear post -- I really appreciated it!! I'm a geek for cognitive biases and fallacies and your explanation is right on target for this discussion. It's all too easy to fall prey to them. I know I do it, even though I *should* know better.

I think you're right about Kolata -- whether she really believes these patterns apply to all people, her book certainly READS that way. I think her job as a journalist has her trying to tell a story (and sell books) and that she's framing the evidence to tell the best story. Real life is more complex than that though...

srmb60
06-24-2007, 07:17 AM
I had to send my book back to the library. I kept it till the last minute and they were closed. Maybe I can check it back out next week.

I have known a gal who wrote a romance based in a nursing home. I believe it was a health care aid and the son of a resident ... by the time editors and publishers and so on were done with it ... it was an expose on the terrrible conditions in long term care facilities.

ladyinweighting
06-24-2007, 06:59 PM
Hi Everyone,

I don't think that Kolata was saying overweight people don't eat more than do normal weight people. I believe her premise on this issue is that overweight people don't feel satiated as do normal weight people and therefore, eat more. Also overweight people are genetically disposed to eat and weigh more.

Did I mis-read?

Lynn

Meg
06-24-2007, 08:14 PM
Lynn, that's how I read it too. She's saying that emotions trigger eating in both normal and overweight people but she's not saying that the amount eaten in response the the emotional trigger is the same. Just that eating in response to emotions is not exclusive to overweight people.

You're right, the issue of appetite is dealt with separately. So on to Weight and Genetics (that's up next)!

ennay
06-27-2007, 12:01 AM
I think, just from my own experience and watching dh the difference between emotional eating for some people and for others is the in between stuff.

If dh overeats for any reason, without even thinking about it the next day he eats less. It is NOT a conscious thing for him, he just isnt hungry

If dh is in a car all day long and therefor unusually sedentary his appetite virtually vanishes. I have to BEG him to stop for food.

So even if our emotional response to food is the same (yes I have known THIN people who have also eaten a whole pie in a weak moment), our everyday response to overeating may be VASTLY different. And havent we time and time again said, it isnt the ONE binge that made us fat?

So if my thin friend Alison eats a pie she may be far more likely to consume a few hundred calories less for the next few days some what automatically. Whereas even if I forgive myself for the pie and dont enter somekind of self abusive cycle, my blood sugar is all out of whack and it takes extreme consious control to ignore the hunger pangs and eat high protein to slowly get off the rollercoaster.

So maybe our initial response to emotion is identical, but maybe our BIOLOGY makes the next 5 days different. So? What if she is right and it is biology?

Unless we use conscious control.

To say that we shouldnt TRY to solve our emotional eating is ludicrous. Yes, thin people can overeat, but it isnt damaging to them. It IS damaging to us. Its like alcohol. I am not an alcoholic. I can have an occasional drink with no ill effects. I can even occasionally get rip roaring drunk. I dont typically concern myself with trying to avoid it. But to an alcoholic it is damaging. Do we say that it is useless for them to try to avoid a drink?

shrinkingchica
06-27-2007, 12:44 AM
But to an alcoholic it is damaging. Do we say that it is useless for them to try to avoid a drink?

I agree with your general ideas there ennay.

But, the differenence (and it is MAJOR) is that we HAVE to eat everyday. We have to face our demons up close and personal everyday. It would then, therefore, be like an alcoholic who is forced to drink everyday but limit it to only a shot or a can of beer and no more.
Life isn't fair. And no one said it would be. :(

srmb60
06-27-2007, 01:22 AM
Do we have to get to the bottom of our emotional issues (nobody disputes that there is a huge emotional component at work here, right?) before we can successfully lose and keep off weight?
Do we have to solve our problems or just understand them or properly prioritize them or move on or .... ?

sidhe
06-27-2007, 01:53 AM
I agree with your general ideas there ennay.

But, the differenence (and it is MAJOR) is that we HAVE to eat everyday. We have to face our demons up close and personal everyday. It would then, therefore, be like an alcoholic who is forced to drink everyday but limit it to only a shot or a can of beer and no more.
Life isn't fair. And no one said it would be. :(


Alcoholics HAVE to drink every day, too. The difference is in what they chose to drink. We also HAVE to eat every day. But we can chose foods that trigger us, or we can chose foods that our bodies can control. Our trigger foods are our alcohol. It's a choice we and alcoholics have to make every day.

srmb60
06-27-2007, 02:00 AM
A personal note again ... it's way easier for me to lose weight than it is to quit smoking.

ennay
06-27-2007, 09:24 AM
I agree with your general ideas there ennay.

But, the differenence (and it is MAJOR) is that we HAVE to eat everyday. We have to face our demons up close and personal everyday. It would then, therefore, be like an alcoholic who is forced to drink everyday but limit it to only a shot or a can of beer and no more.
Life isn't fair. And no one said it would be. :(

that is what I am saying...

the "naturally thin" are like non-alcoholics - controlling emotional eating isnt important because it doesnt hurt them

the naturally heavy have to try to resolve some of that emotional eating because it is damaging to us.

the author seems to be saying that since we alll eat emotionally and some are thin and some are fat, that emotional eating doesnt have to be addressed

for me, personally, eating isn't always a thing like addiction, eating FOOD isnt the problem. All food isnt like alcohol. Most food would be like asking an alcoholic to drink water or milk. I've never triggered a binge by eating a salad. But eating emotionally can be, that is when things spiral OOC.

shrinkingchica
06-27-2007, 02:15 PM
Alcoholics HAVE to drink every day, too. The difference is in what they chose to drink. We also HAVE to eat every day. But we can chose foods that trigger us, or we can chose foods that our bodies can control. Our trigger foods are our alcohol. It's a choice we and alcoholics have to make every day.

The DIFFERENCE is that food is food and that is the trigger. For alcoholics, all drinks aren't triggers, only alcohol is. For people who have food addiction issues a banana is the same as a candy bar in that it is both food and both can be "used" for emotional reasons.

I do not believe the same can be said for water versus vodka.

You can't "use" water just like you can't "use" air. But ALL foods are suseptible to being "used."

And that is my point.

sidhe
06-27-2007, 02:40 PM
The DIFFERENCE is that food is food and that is the trigger. For alcoholics, all drinks aren't triggers, only alcohol is. For people who have food addiction issues a banana is the same as a candy bar in that it is both food and both can be "used" for emotional reasons.

I do not believe the same can be said for water versus vodka.

You can't "use" water just like you can't "use" air. But ALL foods are suseptible to being "used."

And that is my point.

It's different for different people, I guess. :) Bananas are not triggers for me. Nor is broccoli. Nor is brown rice. Nor is boneless/skinless chicken breast. As long as I stick to foods I know aren't triggers for me, I'm okay. But I always know that those "other foods" are there, so every day it's a conscious decision not to eat them. I'm 100 days abstinent today, and I'm abstinent because every single day I chose to avoid my trigger foods. I stick to foods that I cannot "use". As an alcoholic sticks to drinks that they can't use. Different strokes, I guess. :dizzy:

paperclippy
06-27-2007, 03:37 PM
Something that is confusing here with comparing obesity to addictions is that for some obese people, food actually is an addiction (compulsive overeating), whereas for others it is not. Kind of like how someone can be skinny and not eat much food, but they are not the same as someone who has anorexia. You don't have to be a compulsive overeater to get fat, nor do you have to be anorexic to be skinny. If you do have an eating disorder, then it is much tougher to lose or gain weight.

So I don't know if it is fair to compare alcoholism to obesity. Maybe it is more fair to compare it to compulsive overeating disorder.

shrinkingchica
06-27-2007, 08:24 PM
So I don't know if it is fair to compare alcoholism to obesity. Maybe it is more fair to compare it to compulsive overeating disorder.

Not all obese people are addicted to food or are compulsive overeaters. But, you are more likely to find an obese person that is addicted to food than a thin person (unless they are in recovery).

I think that addiction to food is just as possible as addiction to alcohol. Check out the section Overeaters Anonymous in Chicks in Control. It works on the same premise.

I am not saying that all people who are overweight are addicted to food, but some might have a "food problem" just as most college students who go out partying once a week and drink to get drunk might not be alcoholics per se but might have a "drink problem."

shrinkingchica
06-27-2007, 08:26 PM
I'm 100 days abstinent today.

That is GREAT! :carrot:


As for the tigger food issue---- I HAVE totally binged out on fruit, vegetables and lean protein. So, it is entirely possible.

srmb60
06-29-2007, 09:55 AM
I've been fooling around with polls in the General Diets section. Over half of participants name psychology as a cause for their weight ... with a strong vote for a combination including genetics and environment.

Heather
06-29-2007, 01:33 PM
I think it's interesting to ask people, but I'm not sure we are all aware of the degree to which biology, especially, affects us. Am I hungry because of emotional/psych issues, or because my chemicals are out of whack? To what extent does my biology affect my psychology? It's impossible for me to know.

clvquilts
06-29-2007, 02:23 PM
About once a week I get an email from Bob Greene's Your Best Life. Here was the advice today:


Put an End to Emotional Eating

If you've ever gobbled up a candy bar before a big meeting with the boss, or spooned your way through a pint of ice cream after a breakup, then you're familiar with emotional eating. Letting your feelings (instead of hunger) dictate when, what and how much you eat can be very dangerous, especially if you're dieting. Try these tricks to put an end to emotional eating:

Keep a mood log. You may have heard that keeping a food journal can help you track your fat and calorie intake, but you can also use it to record your emotions. "For many people, this is very helpful in identifying which emotions lead them to overeat," says Adrian Brown, Ph.D., a psychotherapist in private practice in Washington, D.C. Once you've figured out your trigger, you can come up with better ways to deal with it. For example, if you tend to overdo it when you're lonely, make a walking date with friends or call a family member. Then, you won't have to turn to food as a way to fill your time.

Chat yourself up. The next time your stress levels soar and you find yourself en route to the vending machine, try to reason with yourself. Say, "If I eat that bag of chips, I'm going to feel good for a few minutes, but then I'll feel guilty, disappointed and frustrated. It may be hard to deny this craving, but when the feeling passes I'll feel confident and happy." It gets easier to say no to tempting foods once you get used to the feel of success.

Reframe the situation. "Many dieters mistakenly view food and weight loss as a black-and-white issue," Brown says. For example, say you give into a craving for ice cream, chocolate or whatever food is your weakness. You might reason, "Oh, well, I blew it. Now I might as well eat whatever I want." But that kind of thinking makes no sense. So what, you had a little slip? There's no need to make it any worse. You're not perfect, and you don't have to be to slim down.

Take your goals to go. Jot down the reasons you want to lose weight on a piece of paper and carry it your purse or wallet. Whether you want to be around to see your grandkids, look nice at your son's wedding or to keep up with your toddler, this list can be a powerful motivator whenever you're facing down a craving.

srmb60
06-30-2007, 09:46 AM
So Heather? do you think folks are taking blame when it ain't necessarily so?

We get pretty wound up about folks blaming their weight on outside sources and not taking responsibility, however .... I guess there could be folks who blame themselves when other factors are afoot here.

Meg
06-30-2007, 10:12 AM
I definitely think people are afraid or embarrassed to acknowledge that there may be physical, biological causes for obesity. We're all here at 3FC because we're committed to doing something about our excess weight. Since (at this time) science and medicine have very little to offer us to assist in our lifelong struggle, we all realize that it boils down to personal responsibility for weight management. And no one here wants to be perceived as making excuses and not stepping up to take personal responsibility.

You're right, Susan, people here do get "pretty wound up" about blaming weight on outside causes and posters are gun-shy about saying something that in the least bit implies that they're not totally, 100% responsible for their weight problems. As a matter of fact, most people go to great lengths to call themselves names and beat themselves up for being overweight. :(

I think both a belief in genetic/biochemical causes for obesity and a sense of personal responsibility for weight management can co-exist in harmony. One deals with causation; the other deals with how we fix the problem. I hope we all recognize that it's overly simplistic to say "I'm fat because I eat too much." The larger question is: why? Why do we want to eat more? Why do our bodies return to a setpoint? What makes us hungry? What shuts down appetite? And science has much to offer in answering those key questions. :)

I'm not at all ashamed to say that I believe that I was born with a tendency for obesity. Obviously I've taken responsibility for dealing with it, but I truly believe it's not a fair game we're playing. The genetic deck is stacked against some of us and it undoubtedly makes weight management much, much harder for some of us than others. Seriously, does anyone still think that it's a level playing field when it comes to weight?

gailr42
06-30-2007, 12:15 PM
I think the reason that, as a group, we claim total responsibility for our weight, is that it gives us a feeling of being in control. If we let ourselves dwell on the possibility that some outside factor is responsible for our weight, we feel powerless.

I think both a belief in genetic/biochemical causes for obesity and a sense of personal responsibility for weight management can co-exist in harmony.I totally agree.

Also I agree that it is not a level playing field, but that is true of lots of life issues.

clvquilts
06-30-2007, 01:10 PM
Today, I've been thinking about the emotions that come from overeating. Not the ones that trigger the overeating, but the ones that happen after the eating is done.

While I was on the medicine that clearly changed my appetite and food cravings, as the weight built up I began to experience emotions I had never felt before.

I began to blame myself for not being able to resist the hunger pains or the desire to continue eating sweets until I had finished a whole 1 pound bag of M&M's in one sitting. I started to have very negative thoughts about my will power and strength of character.

As a thin person, I never had those feelings when I indulged in a second piece of cake or ate far more than my share of cookies. But as a fat person, I held myself to a different standard.

Meg talked about personal responsibility verse biochemistry in her recent post. During my fat period, I felt personally responsible for all the food I consumed, but I don't know if I could have done much to control it. The biochemistry of my medication made me feel as though I was constantly starving. I had a biological need or drive like I had never before to eat much, much more.

And I knew cognatively that I was making wrong food choices. I was the one going to the grocery store and buying the big bags of chocolates knowing I would eat them all that night. I could have opted to buy a big bag of carrots instead (and they would have all been gone by the next morning).

I knew that the medication was fueling my desires to eat, eat, eat. But I still had very negative emotions about my behavior after I did.

So there were bad feeling about what I had done and the feeling of being out of control, and then there were bad feelings about my appearence.

Now that I'm on the new medication and have lost all the weight, I still sometimes overeat because of boredom or because something just tastes too good or I can't resist one of my trigger foods. But I just don't have those negative feelings when it happens.

I've been very lucky to only experience those feelings for a few short years. My heart goes out to the rest of you who may have felt this way for decades.

Meg
06-30-2007, 01:20 PM
Carolyn, I can't thank you enough for sharing your experiences with medications and weight gain/loss. You add a dimension to our discussions that we wouldn't otherwise have. In a way, you were a lab rat for the biochemistry of weight and the results (though painful to you!) are just fascinating.

ennay
06-30-2007, 03:46 PM
I definitely think people are afraid or embarrassed to acknowledge that there may be physical, biological causes for obesity. We're all here at 3FC because we're committed to doing something about our excess weight. Since (at this time) science and medicine have very little to offer us to assist in our lifelong struggle, we all realize that it boils down to personal responsibility for weight management. And no one here wants to be perceived as making excuses and not stepping up to take personal responsibility.


I DONT want to hear that I am not 100% in control. I try very hard not to beat myself up if I am not perfect. I DETEST when people call themselves names.

But I dont think "learn to be satisfied being fat" is a reasonable thing for me, especially not with my health issues and 2 small children who deserve to have me around for a long time (I know I know, the obesity/=bad health chapter is still coming)

I dont want to hear that I should give up hope and that is what this book seems to be attempting to do.

Meg
06-30-2007, 05:03 PM
Ennay, acknowledging that a condition has genetic or biological roots doesn't mean we're not in control. Of course you and I are in complete control of everything we put in our mouths and whether we choose to exercise or not. :)

I don't know if this will make sense to anyone else, but this is how my thinking goes ...

My son has Type 1 diabetes. Was it his fault that he got diabetes? No, it was a genetic tendency that he was born with that was triggered when he was 17 (there's speculation as to what the triggers for diabetes are, but that's not important here).

Does the fact that his condition has a genetic cause absolve him from the responsibility to manage his condition and his health? Of course not! There are things he, as a diabetic, must do every day to stay healthy: monitor his blood sugar levels 5 - 6 times, give himself 4- 6 insulin injections, monitor and limit his carb intake etc. These are things we non-diabetics don't worry about because our pancreases (sp?) handle our insulin needs without any thought or effort from us.

Likewise, I was born with a condition called obesity. It doesn't have a cure yet, so it's my responsibility to manage my condition to stay in optimal health. Certain things are required of me every day: exercise, monitoring of my calorie intake, careful meal planning, ignoring hunger, limiting food intake. It is my personal responsibility to manage my obesity and remain in the best possible health. Normal people don't need to do the things that I do in order to maintain a normal weight.

Regardless of why I became obese, I believe that I am 100% in control of my actions and consequently, my weight. No one and nothing can make me fat again except me. And I tell myself that every day! :D

Heather
06-30-2007, 08:02 PM
I think how Meg is talking is a great way to think about this issue. I do believe I did things that made me obese. I guess now I can sense that perhaps the reasons I did some of those things are because of genetic predispositions, but that doesn't mean I CAN'T do something about it. It doesn't mean I'm absolved of responsibility.

When reading Kolata's book, I got the sense that she thought the people in the research study should be happy to lose 10% of their weight and keep it off. I think she sees the biological explanation as more "pre-ordained" -- thus the discussion about the 20-30 pound float, for instance.

I didn't see a lot of hope in the book.

But I DO see a lot of hope on 3fc and especially the maintainers! Yes, we may have biology working against us, but that doesn't mean it is impossible.

ennay
06-30-2007, 08:55 PM
Oh I agree, I do think there are genetic factors at work as well as environmental...

I just think that is why most people may want to deny those factors exist - while providing a nice excuse for people who dont want to do the work, they also take away some hope for the rest of us.

Plus....well if the author was saying "HEY --yes--you DO have to work harder, but it can be done" that would be one thing. That would actually be a huge relief to a lot of us who have been told it IS only our lack of control that caused our problem. I would like to know it isnt entirely my fault that when I was younger and didn't know better that I didnt do better. (But now that I know better its up to me!)

I just chafe at her...hopelessness. It feels more to me like her book is saying "you are genetically screwed, your best bet is to learn to live with it and be happy".

shrinkingchica
06-30-2007, 11:40 PM
I just chafe at her...hopelessness. It feels more to me like her book is saying "you are genetically screwed, your best bet is to learn to live with it and be happy".

I completely agree. :yes: This is the exact feeling that I got from the book. It was actually a bit of a downer to read.

srmb60
07-01-2007, 08:49 AM
For me at least ... and I'm learning that nothing I feel is new or unique when it comes to my body ... pride has a huge influence. "I caused the probelm, but I have overcome!"

Although I would like to take credit for overcoming ... it is a comfort to know that perhaps it wasn't all my fault. If I have to battle to stay slim, at least I know I'm not just battling a willpowerless me.

Is there a difference in how this factor is viewed by those how have lost weight as opposed to those who are actively losing?

clvquilts
07-01-2007, 08:02 PM
Count me also as one who found the book discouraging regarding losing weight permanently.

csoar2004
07-01-2007, 08:15 PM
**DISCLAIMER**
Haven't read the book, but have been keeping my eye on quotes from it. Over 4 years ago, I shed 80+ pounds and I have kept it off. It isn't rocket science, but it IS a refusal to return to my old food habits. So I don't buy into the "you can't keep the weight off" message. I can. I have. I will continue to do so. (have I mentioned I'm stubborn and opinionated and those are my GOOD qualities? :D)
Most of us drift back into bad old food habits for one reason or another and BLAM! The weight comes back. This shouldn't be a surprise - those bad old food habits contributed to most of our weight gain in the first place - but all too often, it is. I'm thinking mindless eating, caving into "just one bite won't hurt" and that most specious of reasoning, "I've been so good, I DESERVE <insert junk food here>" and an increase in stress are common factors in the "here I am again-obese" :(
Well, for far too many of us, just one bite WILL hurt! AND we need to stop using food as anesthesia when we are emotionally upset. Most of all, if we have been good, we DESERVE to continue to eat a healthy, balanced diet which does not include fast food, transfats, and packaged low carb dinners. When we are the MOST stressed is precisely when we need to stick to our healthy eating because eating cr** will make us feel WORSE, not better
Buy fresh
Buy local
Make the food choices that are best for you
Laugh every day. Life is short. ;)
PS. Don't you think the best revenge is to show the author it IS possible to shed weight and keep it off? :D

Mudpie
07-24-2008, 09:09 AM
My DH comes from a family in which all but he are morbidly obese and he is "just" obese. Was normal weight as an adult until he hit 40.

He has, at 46, finally started to take charge of his weight and health. He is not doing this by dieting so far but by changing bad habits he's had for the last 5 or so years. He's lost 12 lbs. in 7 weeks.

If I had bought this book before he started changing his life I don't think he would have even tried. I am not going to show it to him as I think it would depress and demoralize him instantly.

Yes, there is a genetic component to overweight IMHO and the author makes a reasonable case for a biological cause as well. But I think cultural/environmental factors largely outweigh (pardon me) these. And we can control those.

I think a lot of people regain their lost weight not because of thier biology but because they change only their weight, not the factors that caused them to gain the weight. I believe you have to do both to sucessfully keep the weight off.

Dagmar


He's lost 12 lbs. in