Weight Loss Support - Good and bad weight loss terminology




Esofia
12-13-2011, 07:09 PM
Which terms relating to weight loss do you like to use, or prefer to avoid? I think that language can be extremely important in this area, since so much of weight loss is about mindset, how we see ourselves, how other people see us. Here are some of mine.

Fat - I avoid this one. It has enormous negative power, it's commonly used as an insult, and it's a highly emotionally charged word for all of us.

Overweight - seems more neutral and with less fuss attached, so this is how I thought of myself when I was overweight. Unfortunately, it sounds a little odd as a noun.

Obese/obesity - I didn't get to the point when I was clinically obese, so I never applied this one to myself. It seems comfortingly clinical when it's not affecting me personally, but I think I'd have found it very hard to cope with if I'd had to use it for myself.

Skinny - I don't really like this one either, again it's too loaded, particularly socially. It's commonly used as a derogatory term for slim or thin women, for instance.

Slim - how I like to be and think of myself.

Thin - I tend to associate this with being underweight rather than optimal weight. It's not something I'm aiming for.

Temptation, sin, being naughty, being good - also far too socially loaded for my liking. Food should not be turned into a fake moral issue, and what's with all the religious connotations? In my opinion, this encourages a binge/starve mindset. Guilt is really not helpful with weight loss. I admit to using "succumb" occasionally, in a sort of semi-ironic way, but then I use that word quite a lot for all sorts of things, such as succumbing to quilting fabric.

Staying on plan - much better, it gets away from the guilt terminology. There's something about it which doesn't quite appeal to me personally, but I can't put a finger on it, and it could just be that I haven't had issues with going off plan so the whole thing never came up.

Diet - another heavily charged word. I grew up with a crash-dieting mother who put me off both the idea and the word, but oddly enough, once I finally started dieting, I found that I'd stopped objecting to it, and it's a short, convenient way to refer to the process.

Lifestyle change - not one I use personally, it feels a little clunky plus my main change was how much I ate rather than what I ate, but I can see how it's a useful term for many people, and a nice positive approach.

Curvy - awkward because it can be complimentary or it can be euphemistic, but I rather like this one. I've always been a bosomy wench, so even when I'm slim it applies to me. "All the right curves in all the right places", on the other hand, is just annoying!


Beck
12-13-2011, 07:29 PM
Great post!

I avoid the diet word. I have two young daughters (and 4 boys, but I feel weight issues/body image concerns are much more prevalent with girls than boys), and I always talk about making better choices as far as what to eat and how to spend my time. I don't want them to have the same struggles I've had with my weight, and I think a good way to help prevent that is to reinforce the idea it's a lifestyle (hehe, one on your list), not a temporary diet that has beginning and end points. We do use the term "healthy diet", meaning the types of foods we need to eat to keep our bodies healthy, but not in regards to weight loss.

I also don't like the skinny word. So many people have said it to me lately, and it bugs the heck out of me. I prefer slender (though, I'm not really sure I see myself as that yet. When will my brain catch up with the body?), and I don't want to viewed as skinny. I want to be seen as fit, healthy, trim, lean, and strong.

Misti in Seattle
12-13-2011, 08:07 PM
I too avoid the "diet" word because I don't personally believe in dieting but rather getting on a healthful, livable eating plan.

Interestingly, I prefer the word "fat" to "overweight" because I believe in "telling it like is" :) The word "obese" is awful though, and even though it is the technically correct, it even *sounds* horrid


ANGST
12-13-2011, 09:01 PM
I too avoid the "diet" word because I don't personally believe in dieting but rather getting on a healthful, livable eating plan.

Interestingly, I prefer the word "fat" to "overweight" because I believe in "telling it like is" :) The word "obese" is awful though, and even though it is the technically correct, it even *sounds* horrid

I clicked on this to post "diet" for this reason . "Diet's" are temporary , I have changed the way I eat . Especially now that I am maintaining.

Misti in Seattle
12-13-2011, 09:07 PM
Good for you, Angst. And in our society "diet" has a negative, restrictive connotation. I prefer to think of what I am doing as something positive and helpful.

PrairieGirl
12-13-2011, 09:30 PM
Obese. Last year I had a physical just after running my first half marathon. My doctor was asking me how I was doing and what I'd been doing and I told him about the marathon. After this conversation he was weighing me and said "you're obese, but you know that" in a very off-hand way then says something about eating less and moving more. It never really clicked for me that I was obese, at my highest I was class II obese, but it really hurt to be called obese, even when it was true.

lin43
12-13-2011, 09:31 PM
Oddly enough, I don't mind the word diet. I think it communicates what I want to communicate in brief---although I agree that many people will associate it with something temporary. To me, "lifestyle change" seems too touchy-feeling, though. For that reason, too, I don't mind referring to my [former] self as "fat." Like Misti, I seem to have an aversion to euphemisms and think more "tough love" honesty is needed (although I would only refer to myself as that; I would never even think about referring to someone else as "fat").

flourless
12-13-2011, 10:35 PM
I don't like "lifestyle change" and I don't like "way of eating" or "eating plan". I don't use "obese" much, even though it's accurate, but I'm looking forward to "overweight" when I'm not longer obese. I don't mind calling myself "fat" either, but don't refer to other people that way.

I use "diet" all the time, both as a reference to what's being eaten "My typical diet is high in vegetables" and to refer to my ideal "That's not on my diet, sorry."

Unna
12-13-2011, 10:46 PM
I wrote a post not too long ago, complaining about the phrase "falling off the wagon".

Staying on plan: Even though it is difficult, I try not to use this one. It implies that there is only "one right plan" to follow. In reality we are constantly improvising, developing new plans, alternatives, i.e. Plan B, Plan C, Plan D. That is life.

Staying on plan somehow implies that life is more static than what it is. It also ignores all of the grey area, which could lead to binging if you are "off plan". Staying on plan could easily become boring.

indiblue
12-13-2011, 11:01 PM
Agreed with everyone on "thin" and "skinny"- I connote those words with very low weights that could boarder on unhealthy.

I think there's a word missing for people of normal weights who are not "slender." I have curves and muscles- will never be slender. "Fit" doesn't work-- one can be overweight or obese and fit.

Petite?

racrane
12-13-2011, 11:08 PM
I agree with all the words. Everyone always calls me "curvy" and I'm never sure how to respond to that. I prefer just saying I'm overweight. Honest and simple

Misti in Seattle
12-14-2011, 12:13 AM
Oddly enough, I don't mind the word diet. I think it communicates what I want to communicate in brief---although I agree that many people will associate it with something temporary. To me, "lifestyle change" seems too touchy-feeling, though. For that reason, too, I don't mind referring to my [former] self as "fat." Like Misti, I seem to have an aversion to euphemisms and think more "tough love" honesty is needed (although I would only refer to myself as that; I would never even think about referring to someone else as "fat").

I agree. I would never refer to someone else as "fat" either... just myself. :)

And Unna, I see your point but it depends on what your "plan" is. I don't have any "plan" except to eat right. The method might be adaptable but the basic plan is the same. Tonight I just sat here and ate 3 pieces of candy cane roca... but I could do it because I only ate around 800 calories today because I passed up the junk at work and ate some tuna and crackers before I went to a company meeting where I knew there would be all kinds of finger foods and desserts so ended up eating LESS than usual. Your basic plan only has to change if it is rigid to begin with. Note I am not saying I am against more rigid plans as we all need to do what works for us. But this works for me.

JoJoJo2
12-14-2011, 12:45 AM
I've never minded the word "diet" since it just indicates the food eaten.

Regarding fat, or over-weight, or obese - I've never been a fan of such terminology. I use the phrase - weight-challenged as better describing those of us who, for whatever reason, carry too much weight on our bodies.

Words are interesting as they mean different things to different people. :wave:

aliasihaya
12-14-2011, 12:46 AM
I hate the word obese. For some reason when I hear it I hear 'Oh Beast'.

I think in the end I stick with overweight except when I'm mad. I stay away from the word fat except when I'm mad. So if someone says to me 'oh when are you expecting?' I'll just respond 'not expecting...just fat'. I'd rather get to the point of the issue in those circumstances. And part of me wants that person to feel embarrassed even though I'm 10 tmes more embarrassed. So I think overweight is a nice way to say fat and is more socially acceptable.

Justwant2Bhealthy
12-14-2011, 03:16 AM
I hate the word obese. For some reason when I hear it I hear 'Oh Beast'.


:lol: Oh darlin', that's so funny! And, I agree; but when I hear the term -- MORBIDLY OBESE, I think people are saying ... "I'm already dead!" or, they are wishin' me there ... :rolleyes:

Sadly, some people use the term just to be mean & nasty; and I no longer count them as my friends, period. I am not bothered by terms as much as others are, in general.

When I was younger, my mother would say that I was "pleasantly plump" and I knew she was just trying to be considerate of my feelings. When I was overweight, I knew I was overweight; and when obese the same, even though like you, I don't like the terminology.

Some may find OVER-WEIGHT too light or simplistic, but I use it to refer to anyone who is over weight -- I may say someone is a little overweight or a lot overweight, simply becuz that gets the point across well enuff without being insulting ... :D

ArtyKay
12-14-2011, 03:32 AM
OBESE! Ick. I think if I told my husband that I'm clinically obese he's stare at me like I sprouted an extra ear on my forehead...Such a gross word. I use overweight, fat, but only when referring to myself. I don't call other people that, and nobody's allowed to call me that.

I agree that the word "diet" means temporary. I'm not on a diet. That was my problem in the past, that I was on a diet. I'm on a new wavelength now.

I like "staying on plan", simply because to me it means that I'm staying on a path that will lead to my plan...plan meaning my goal weight and a healthier lifestyle.

"Average" or "Normal". Both when people are describing me, "You're not fat...you're average!" and when people are describing any situation or feeling or pace...ect. There is no normal!

I hate blanket words in general. Each of us have our own unique experience.

DesertTabby
12-14-2011, 03:38 AM
Morbidly Obese is the one I LOATHE. Especially when I hear it from doctors or doing the online BMI calculator. As if obese isn't bad enough, you have to add the word MORBID to it?? Jeeze...

One of my dad's favorite words/jokes is claiming that I'm not fat, I'm fluffy. :rolleyes:

I like overweight too. It says right there what you/he/she are, over the normal weight range (as Justwant2Bhealthy so eloquently put it.) Do we really need more terms for degrees of fat? The other side of the spectrum don't seem to have more than one term. IE: Underweight and that's it. (unless the BMI calculator is going to go thin->underweight->morbidly anorexic.)

Unna
12-14-2011, 04:06 AM
DesertTabby: I completely agree with you regarding "morbidly" obese. What a terrible, terrible word to call someone!

In America, the word "morbid" definitely has a horror film effect - it is abject, disgusting, and close to death.

ArtyKay
12-14-2011, 04:20 AM
DesertTabby: I completely agree with you regarding "morbidly" obese. What a terrible, terrible word to call someone!

In America, the word "morbid" definitely has a horror film effect - it is abject, disgusting, and close to death.


Seriously. When I've heard the word Obese or Morbidly Obese I would never picture myself...

I remember being 12 years old and going to a routine checkup. I brought a friend with me, and the doctor told me, in front of my friend and my mom, "Oh my...I see that you're a little overweight. You need to watch that or you'll be obese before puberty." :mad: I was a tad chubby, but who on earth says that to a child! And the way he looked at me...like I was a huge fat piece of scum.

My mom was furious, and that made me feel worse.

Obese should defininetly be banned. I agree with PP, You're either overweight, normal, or underweight. That's IT.

Unna
12-14-2011, 04:37 AM
ArtyKay: Oh man! What a terrible memory! It is one of those bad memories that, regardless of the passing of time, never goes away. It totally is imprinted on your brain forever.

I have one memory like that with my Father (not to get off topic). I was always somewhat closer to him growing up than I was to my Mother. One time, when I was 13 or so, I overheard him talking to another father who had a teenage daughter. The other father was talking about his teenage daughter, who was pretty, thin, obedient, and kind. My Father then chimed in that I ate everything in the house, was rebellious, and not a joy to have around.

A memory that never leaves me and that destroyed the connection I had with my Father. I'm still not close to him anymore, unfortunately. I also, interestingly, struggled with bulimia soon after hearing that comment.

P.s. sorry to hijack thread.

ArtyKay
12-14-2011, 08:20 AM
Unna-I'm so sorry...:hug: That really sucks. :hug:



I just thought of another one. chubby. I hate the word chubby...

sacha
12-14-2011, 08:25 AM
But the outrage over 'obese & morbidly obese', how does that extend to medical professionals? It's a clinical term and while hurtful, is rarely (if ever) used in the pejorative sense (that would be "fat" or whatever). It is like ******ation - while it can be used very offensively, it is a clinical term (stating 'a person with mental ******ation' is not offensive when used clinically).
^^See, it is even a banned word. I mean mental rayEtardation (if that makes sense and I am not using it pejoratively).

I haven't been obese or morbidly obese myself (just overweight) so I can't sense how that would feel coming from a medical professional but I don't see how it is offensive. Hurtful, of course, but how is it offensive, genuine curiosity.

If a doctor needs to approach someone about the topic, they use the terms to be clear - confronting an obese patient (who is at risk for various health conditions, if they don't have them) cannot be the same as confronting a person with severe morbid obesity (whose very health is currently threatened just due to weight) - yes, they are both 'overweight', but one is not the same as the other from a clinician's perspective

And I agree with the OP completely :)

Unna
12-14-2011, 08:54 AM
sacha: I think, for me, it is that morbid carries many different meanings. And, in the clinical sense, it is not meant to be horror-filled.... but because the normal, everyday usage of morbid is to describe a terrible, abject event, it dirties the meaning of the word even when used to denote an objective physical condition.

I wish the clinical term wasn't so loaded - like why can't they use a more neutral phrase, like "severely overweight"..... ?

But that's just my little opinion.

Esofia
12-14-2011, 08:59 AM
Unna - You're not hijacking, hon, and what a horrible thing for your father to say. A woman I used to know (on the plump side of normal weight when I knew her) grew up with her dad nicknaming her Minnie, short for "as wide as Minnesota", and oddly enough this really wasn't helpful when she was sticking her finger down her throat. I think a lot of our feelings about words come from what we heard growing up, and many of us here have or have had a tough time with our parents regarding our weight. I really flinch away from "fat" because of hearing my mother wail repeatedly about her "horrible fat stomach" in a weirdly accusatory tone. She wasn't pleasant to me about my weight at all (projection thing), even though I was 98lb (BMI of about 20) until well into my 20s.

"Morbid" is one of those words where the customary meaning and the medical meaning aren't the same, but they're close enough for people to get confused easily. Being constantly ill, I hear "comorbidity" a lot (having two or more medical conditions together) so I'm pretty used to the medical usage. "Morbidly obese" is just meant to indicate "overweight enough to cause noticeable medical problems", but it remains a really horrible term. As for "morbidly anorexic", you're not going to get that because "anorexic" already indicates that it's a health problem. If it's any consolation, I haven't noticed that doctors are any nicer to anorexics, and there's a serious problem with doctors and even anorexia clinics failing to notice that it's a psychiatric disorder and treating it appropriately.

Any term that sounds friendly and is used to indicate disapprobation, such as "pleasantly plump", makes me wince. The problem is that the people using it are often trying to be nice, on one level at least.

ArtyKay
12-14-2011, 09:09 AM
But the outrage over 'obese & morbidly obese', how does that extend to medical professionals? It's a clinical term and while hurtful, is rarely (if ever) used in the pejorative sense (that would be "fat" or whatever). It is like ******ation - while it can be used very offensively, it is a clinical term (stating 'a person with mental ******ation' is not offensive when used clinically).
^^See, it is even a banned word. I mean mental rayEtardation (if that makes sense and I am not using it pejoratively).

I haven't been obese or morbidly obese myself (just overweight) so I can't sense how that would feel coming from a medical professional but I don't see how it is offensive. Hurtful, of course, but how is it offensive, genuine curiosity.

If a doctor needs to approach someone about the topic, they use the terms to be clear - confronting an obese patient (who is at risk for various health conditions, if they don't have them) cannot be the same as confronting a person with severe morbid obesity (whose very health is currently threatened just due to weight) - yes, they are both 'overweight', but one is not the same as the other from a clinician's perspective

And I agree with the OP completely :)


I think that a lot of medical/clinical terms are outdated and should be changed. The one you mentioned has obviously become an unacceptable term to most people. Others...abortion, for example. It means one thing to the general public...in a medical sense it means something else. To me, the word means terminating an unwanted pregnancy (in the most general way to put it, I'd rather not nitpick.) But when a woman involuntarily loses a very much wanted baby? Her hospital bill or insurance statement comes back a few weeks after the fact reading "Threatened Abortion" or "Missed Abortion" "Incomplete Abortion" "Spontaneous Abortion" or I even had a friend who was diagnosed as a "Habitual Aborter."

That term should change because its hurtful in that situation....and inaccurate.

I really do think the term obese should go out of use...not primarily because its hurtful or offensive, or even that its outdated (it is)...but because its so limited in its description. BMI, body fat % and the number on the scale are enough tools to catagorize overweight people, and they're a much more accurate way for a doctor to show you where you are healthwise.

Having catagories of obesity just isn't necessary! My medical risks on the lower end of the obese scale is nowhere near the same as when I was on the higher end...yet I'm still in the same catagory. I'm excited to get out of the obese range, but mainly because I'm just so sick of the word and I want nothing to do with it!

sacha
12-14-2011, 09:19 AM
I guess, I don't see why the medical community needs to change terms because the general public perceives them in a certain way. Yes, this does happen over time (ie. "lame" - "feeble-minded" are a few that come to mind), but then the cycle continues over and over.

I too was diagnosed with "threatened abortion" twice, one healthy full-term baby and one miscarriage that happened last month. The doctor actually forewarned me that my documents would state that as some people get quite upset.

Is this a no-win situation?

Esofia
12-14-2011, 09:58 AM
There are some medical terms which go back for a number of centuries. I don't see a problem with changing the odd term, if it's acquired highly negative and/or misleading meanings since it was first used.

Going back to a point I made eariler, I think the guilt terminology is very strong, and there's a strong religious component to the vocabulary. "I was bad today, I gave in to temptation," for instance. Years ago, my mother joined a group (Slimmers World, I think) which classified food as "sins". It was using a points system as far as I can tell, and calling the points "sins" so that it didn't sound exactly like Weight Watchers. It was also cashing in on the idea of enjoying being naughty, which is very popular in our culture and absolutely awful if you want to control your weight. Even as a teenager with no personal experience of dieting, I was horrified at this approach. I looked it up the other week, and apparently Slimmers World now calls their points "syns", which they claim is short for "synergy". Yeah, right.

It's a very particular type of guilt, ascribing a moral value to food and eating, and not in the sense that vegetarianism or religious ritual purity laws (kashrut, halal) do. It's about shaming people for taking pleasure in food, and I think particularly about shaming women. Look at the huge religious stress laid on the story of Eve and the apple by Christianity over the centuries, for instance.

carter
12-14-2011, 09:58 AM
I think there's a word missing for people of normal weights who are not "slender." I have curves and muscles- will never be slender. "Fit" doesn't work-- one can be overweight or obese and fit.


I use "trim" myself. It's the word that best describes what I want to be. "Thin" doesn't suit my body type and neither does "slender" - but "trim" feels to me to have the right connotations of lean, not too much body fat.

I have to confess that I hate, hate, hate the word "journey" and cringe like someone is scratching a blackboard every time I see it. "Weight loss journey" just sounds so insipid and cloying to me. I don't mean any disrespect to anyone who finds the term resonates for them - but I can't stand it! ETA: all of this goes even more strongly for "onederland", that term makes me want to throw things.

I also am not crazy about "lifestyle change" - especially at the beginning of the weight-loss process. To me it just sounds so daunting! Lifestyle change, yipes - that's more than I can handle. I went one choice at a time and at the end of 2+ years I can maybe say retrospectively that I succeeded in making a lifestyle change - but I never would have said at the beginning that I set out that way. I know it's conventional wisdom to talk about weight loss plans this way, but I just never found thinking in terms of "lifestyle change" very inspiring - the opposite, in fact.

Esofia
12-14-2011, 10:02 AM
Oh, here's a funny one. I spent ages wondering what "WOE" was on this board, and thinking it was a really depressing-sounding term. I eventually worked out that it means "way of eating". Fairly good phrase, appalling acronym!

ArtyKay
12-14-2011, 10:21 AM
I guess, I don't see why the medical community needs to change terms because the general public perceives them in a certain way. Yes, this does happen over time (ie. "lame" - "feeble-minded" are a few that come to mind), but then the cycle continues over and over.

I too was diagnosed with "threatened abortion" twice, one healthy full-term baby and one miscarriage that happened last month. The doctor actually forewarned me that my documents would state that as some people get quite upset.

Is this a no-win situation?

I wouldn't say its a no-win situation. Things are always evolving and that's a good thing! The cycle will always continue. I don't think its really a bad thing for the medical community to be progressive in its approach to terminology, considering that attitude and approaching things tastefully is a huge part of patient care. Emotional health is important as well as physical health...and the two should go hand in hand.

I don't know about you, but when I'm embarassed or hurt my defenses go up and I tend not to hear all of what's being said to me. I would think that if a patient got their feelings hurt by their doctor they would walk away from the appointment focused mostly on those negative feelings when the main goal of an appointment like that should be to get on the same page as your doctor, and you should walk away with a plan and motivation to change. The harshness of the word, in my opinion, takes away from that goal.

I agree with Esofia about guilt terminology. I think that's a very good way to put it. Trying to guilt somebody into change doesn't generally produce good results.

Esofia
12-14-2011, 10:56 AM
Unna - could you link us to your post about "falling off the wagon"? It's another phrase which has never appealed to me, as it seems to inflate problems, plus I don't think addiction terminology should be used as standard by everyone trying to lose weight.

sontaikle
12-14-2011, 11:15 AM
I've been watching this thread since it started and I think I finally can comment. I can see that we've entered a discussion about how we all feel about certain words and terms and I think we can all agree that the "correct" or "right" term for anything really depends on the individual.

Language also evolves over time and I think the terminology we use should evolve with it. Words that perhaps were just used to classify someone may now be considered offensive. Words that were commonplace 30, 40, 50 years ago may now be considered offensive. We can just shrug and say that these are "just words," but they're really not. These words incite feelings of hate and bring up the memories and history of that hate.

I'm part of two minority groups—I'm a woman and hispanic—and at one time I was almost into class II obesity so I have a very different perspective than others on this matter. What constitutes "just words" (whether in a racial or sexual sense) or simple medical terminology to someone else may be offensive to me. Should my feelings be dismissed because those words aren't offensive to someone else? No. My feelings should be considered as should the feelings of any affected population.

"Obesity," "morbid obesity," etc. are horrible terms that de-humanize people. It's not necessarily the medical profession's fault, but rather the way society has evolved to use those words. Right now we are bombarded with messages about "THE WAR ON OBESITY" or "THE OBESITY EPIDEMIC," which pull the individual out of the equation and make it about a "thing." The person who happens to be obese is no longer a person, but a thing that must be battled and corrected. It's a very slippery slope and probably helps fuel all of the size discrimination we see. I don't have a replacement word, but referring to anyone who is obese by another word may serve to: a) not make them feel horrible and, b) humanize them because they are a person.

I think I've slipped off-topic a bit here, but I think the discussion was going in this direction. I apologize if that wasn't the intention of the current discussion though.

LiannaKole
12-14-2011, 12:07 PM
Overall, I tend not to label anything I'm doing because it's not routine. I do what I need to do at the time. It works for me. It's when I don't do that that I have issues.

But I don't shy away from the technical terms like overweight or obese. "Fat" is, oddly, one that hurts. Probably because it was used in jokes, jabs and insults directed toward me while I was growing up.

I think overall it's the meaning behind the word, not the word itself. It's what's meant by it. If someone called me "morbidly obese" and simply meant that I was overweight to the point of having health problems, then it's purely descriptive. But many times terms aren't used that way.

For the same reason, I dislike lifestyle change, diet (in the "I'm on a diet" sense - I've never said that, actually), and any sort of moral connection with eating (cheesecake isn't making me bad, and beets aren't making me good).

Beach Patrol
12-14-2011, 03:22 PM
Words are just words; one doesn't mean more than another to me, or take the sting out of the number on the scale or the higher measurements. Fat, overweight, obese. Diet, lifestyle-change, etc. It all means the same thing in the end to me, so I don't worry about it.

In thinking of American pounds vs European stones....
"Pounds & stones
may break my bones
but words can never hurt me" :)

Esofia
12-14-2011, 03:52 PM
Sorry, but I disagree. Words are how we think and communicate with others, they're supremely important. And I know that you're joking by using that little rhyme, but it has traditionally been used as a way to shut up children who are being bullied.

Beach Patrol
12-14-2011, 04:08 PM
Sorry, but I disagree. Words are how we think and communicate with others, they're supremely important. And I know that you're joking by using that little rhyme, but it has traditionally been used as a way to shut up children who are being bullied.

I'm a writer - so I understand about words & that they're supremely important. But for me, and this is just my opinion about how I feel - fat/obese/overweight - it's all the same thing. TO ME. It has the same meaning. FOR ME. And the topic from the OP was Which terms relating to weight loss do you like to use, or prefer to avoid? That's my answer.
And I did say It all means the same thing in the end to me

Whether you agree or not really is a "moo point" ... like a cow's opinion, it doesn't matter. :rofl: and yes, of course I was joking, but WTH, sometimes I do that. :)

Justwant2Bhealthy
12-14-2011, 05:13 PM
Boy, this thread has really grown overnight; and I wasn't aware just how many terms people don't like (now I am). I use some of them myself ... oops. :o But seriously, I know that none are meant to offend others, and we are all entitled to our opinions, and our own personal likes & dislikes ...

I don't really mind if a doctor or nurse uses a clinical descripton, as I understand they are doing it for medical reasons. In my previous post, I was referring to ordinary people who use medical terminology in a derogatory manner -- i.e. to give people a piece of their mind. To them I say, mind your own bees' wax. ;)

I don't need someone else to tell me I am overweight (fat, obese) or whatever; I already know that (as I stated before). If you really want to help me -- pray for me or give me some good, helpful, practical advice; and when I ask for it. If I don't, then don't ... :D

That's what I like about this site; we can converse with people who are (Ok, I won't say on the same journey) fightin' the same battle? And, we offer support to each other -- but no, I don't get offended too often by the terminology used here ... well, not much. ;)

Esofia
12-14-2011, 05:25 PM
I don't get offended by many of the words we're talking about, but I do avoid using quite a lot of them as I find them unhelpful or insensitive.

PreciousMissy
12-14-2011, 05:29 PM
"Being Good"

It actually ticks me off when my friend says that "oh, you're being good" in a tone...as if what I am eating has actually offended her!

Last week we were at a Christmas party and rather than eat the pasta covered in cream sauce I had a salad with shrimp. The next day she told me that I was "making her crazy" because I didn't eat the pasta...really?????

Ok, I'm done ranting :lol:

January Snow
12-14-2011, 05:52 PM
I usually focus more on the intent than the actual word choice. For example earlier this fall a friend (who happens to be a personal trainer,no less) called me "skinny" in response to something I said about skinny jeans being for skinny people. To him "skinny" in that particular sentence meant attractive or something of that nature. That whole exchange was actually a NSV for me.

That said, obese or "oh beasts" is an ugly sounding word. One of my personal pet peeves is "full figured" in reference to my bra size. I'm not a plus size; I just have a large chest! And while I'm on the subject, I hate "plus size". Why are there plus sizes? Why aren't there just sizes? In the same vein, I loathe "short" as a length of pants. Short is not helpful. I really don't want to guess whether or not the manufacturer thinks I'm "short". I want to know the inseam measurement of the pants! I need a 31" inseam not some clothing company's judgment on my height.

Somewhat off topic here but I despise the whole BMI system. At, over, or under-"normal" weight based on what? Just height?! By BMI standards a lower weight individual who never exercises is viewed as "healthier" than a higher weight person who may be in great shape! And where are they getting this "normal"? How was "normal" established and what does it mean? I think medical professionals could better judge your overall condition just by looks than by using this stupid formula. In my opinion, someone with good muscle tone, little visible fat, visible collarbone, etc. is at a healthy weight regardless of BMI.

JoJoJo2
12-14-2011, 06:46 PM
I don't use the words fat, or overweight, or obese, or morbidly obese. I personally use the wording weight-challenged.

However I am sorry for those individuals who are so hurt when someone uses the fat, etc. terminology.

Therefore I suggest, since we are all adults, that we toughen up a bit and REFUSE to let these words hurt us, or diminish us, or cause us to have a huge binge.

They are just words, after all, and life is too short to worry about stupid words and/or stupid people.

Esofia
12-15-2011, 07:08 AM
I agree that sitting around sulking because someone else used a slightly different term, with no malicious intent, is a waste of time. There's no reason why we shouldn't discuss how language interacts with weight loss, however. Many people have found that changing the words they use can make a crucial difference to their mindset. For example, some people use words to help them retreat into denial about a weight problem, because they are so upset by the words which carry a high level of social stigma, such as "fat" or "obese", that they can't possibly imagine applying them to themselves. Other people have a very particular idea of what a "diet" is, and find that switching to another phrase such as "lifestyle change" helps them let go of unhealthy weight loss practices in favour of healthier ones. I'd be interested to hear from anyone who has found language important with regard to bingeing or eating disorders. I've certainly found that for friends with anorexia, there can be a battle the moment someone tells them that they are looking "thin", and even more so if more loaded words such as "skeletal". (Incidentally, I do wish my support worker would stop telling me that I'm "wasting away" as an intended compliment. Getting into the whole fake-insult/compliment approach tends to mean weird power games. I could probably spend a page analysing why my mother feels the need to comment that certain people look like they've come out of Belsen, but frankly it would be too depressing.)

Language can also be a key component in bullying, both of individuals and the larger-scale problem of institutionalised fatphobia. Many of us here have been bullied for being overweight, or bullied for other reasons, and the choice of words can be extremely important. Being overweight is becoming increasingly stigmatised, and language is a big part of how this is happening.