Weight Loss News and Current Events - Dear Abby, why do you coddle fat people?

02-15-2011, 09:10 PM
What did you guys think about today's Dear Abby column (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ucda/20110215/lf_ucda/obesityisserioushealthissuebestapproachedwithtact) ?

02-15-2011, 09:17 PM
It's a great column with lots of good resources. Losing weight is a choice I made for myself. I would never think I had the right to make that choice for other people.

Nola Celeste
02-16-2011, 12:52 AM
After reading that, I feel a little conflicted.

On the one hand, I feel great now that I'm losing weight. Feeling so good makes me want to encourage others who want to lose that the struggle really is worth it, that just taking off ten percent of your body mass may mean the difference between going to the zoo and walking all day without even noticing because you're having so much fun or staying home watching Discovery Channel. I can't fault Abby for putting up OA information and for encouraging others to find their way to lose weight. I would cheer on anyone who decided it was time to make a healthy change in his/her life and can understand how that can spill over into a desire to spur that change along.

On the other hand, I have a bone-deep disdain for people who bring up potentially uncomfortable subjects at family gatherings and think the jerk who got banned from them for harping on "the obesity epidemic" deserved what he got. Is there anything more insufferable at family dinners than The Person with the Meaningful Agenda who goes around saving people from themselves all evening? Yecch...give me someone with a fat *** over someone with a fat mouth any day of the year.

I get annoyed at people who make it their business to wag their fingers in admonition of the world at large for smoking/drinking/eating/whatever. I don't know that there's anyone left on earth who doesn't know that certain behaviors aren't healthy. DUH. We get it. We don't need the "health cops" to descend upon us to remind us that consuming 5000 calories a day and walking only to use the facilities isn't the healthiest lifestyle.

So on balance, I tend to agree with her previous stance: make people aware that OA and TOPS and this web site exist, but otherwise the subject of others' habits is off-limits at social gatherings. It's ill-mannered to dispense unsolicited corrections of another adult's behavior in public unless that behavior is clearly and demonstrably disruptive to others.

02-16-2011, 01:31 AM
Here's is the first post.


Here is the follow up post

I don't think there's enough there to do more than what Abby suggested -- approach with tact.

Talk about it, sure. But dinner with the family isn't the best time. They are all sitting down to eat and the you tell them they way the eat is faulty? Can't pick a more neutral time to bring up this topic?


02-16-2011, 10:51 AM
The psychologist says we don't talk about things like that. Isn't that kinda weird for someone in her profession?

I don't think it's bad to talk about it, but you do have to go about it with some tact, and it's not for every social situation.
And I can relate, we have one relative, who, thank goodness, I don't see very often, because she is always trying to get us all to see the error of our ways, (religion), and that we should all come around to her way of thinking. Bleh. Can't stand that woman.

02-18-2011, 12:56 PM
The follow-up letters chiding Abby bugged me. I didn't see where the righteous relative/potential wedding guest is everyone's personal physician.

I also don't see how overweight people, "like smokers," need to be informed by acquaintances that they're being unhealthy ... what a bad example. I can safely say that smokers, too, know the health difference between a cigarette and small plate of spinach.

02-18-2011, 01:07 PM
Nola, I completely agree. I treat my weight loss much like I treat my religion. I lead by example. I'm extremely open and if someone asks, I will share. But I am not going to go out converting people to weight loss. ;)

This goes back to my own former insecurities. At my heaviest, I dreaded the weight loss discussion and a wall went up every time it was brought up. My mind said, "I can't", "I'm broken" and the child in me screamed, "But I'm still a good person!" I had such hurt feelings over the fact that I tried so hard but could not make a success of it. Many of us here have experienced this. For some of us, it just hasn't clicked yet.

So yeah, I'm glad to see it discussed more and more in our society. I'm grateful to shows like TBL and now "Heavy" for getting some education out there. I'd like to hear more often about how not every thing works for every person and that everyone needs to try different things for themselves. I'd like to hear more in the media about how we should aim for 4-8 pounds per MONTH instead of 1-2 per week, because that's how most of us lose it. I'd like to see people out there talking about weighing themselves every single day because that works for many people and it's a great way to "know your number". I wish people would talk more about how it's a life style change, not a diet, and to expect it to take a good year or more for the weight to come off. I think slogans like "Give us a week and we'll take off the weight" are extremely detrimental.

But at family gatherings? Nope. :no:

02-18-2011, 08:12 PM
I agree with what you guys have said. However, I do hope that this column doesn't provide encouragement to the handful of nosy, self-righteous people who feel justified in cornering co-workers, casual acquaintances, or complete strangers and "counseling" them (often with ill-informed or downright bad advice) about their weight. I've met these people, and I'm sure a lot of y'all have too.

Nola Celeste
02-18-2011, 08:37 PM
Oh, such people would never need a Dear Abby column to encourage them. That's the wonderful thing about self-righteous folks who feel they know best for everyone--they're just bursting with courage, more than enough to tell you how you should be living your life. :D

In a way, I do now understand the motivation. I have a relative who's probably pushing 350 pounds (he's 6'5", though, so although he's quite big, he's not as big as I would be at that weight) and I would LOVE to share some workout time and advice and food-shopping trips with him. But I can't be one of those people who tells others, "Hey, do you know you're fat?" Because the answer is always yes. Yes, we know. Yes, we know we need to "eat less, move more."

Has a single person ever been approached by a busybody and had a sudden road-to-Damascus insight from it? "OMG, you're right, I AM fat! Thank you for pointing out that this entire bag of Doritos with nutrition information clearly printed on the label is bad for me! I would never have known without your interference! Your disapproving clucks and head-shakes have saved me from a life of fatty woe!"


Eliana, I think your way is best--model success and be open to questions. People who are really ready to find out how you achieved such great results will ask--and they will listen when you give them the real story and not the stuff they see on the "give us a week..." ads. :)