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Topic 1 - How Society Views Obesity

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Old 06-18-2007, 05:42 PM   #16
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I think when I eat less and move more, I feel like a bipolar person on mood stabilizers. Seriously. I've heard people in treatment say they hate staying on their meds bc not only are their lows treated, but they miss the highs. They feel like they are on "even hummmm" all the time - going thru the motions, robotic, life is boring.

I noticed the last time I stayed on plan for a long, long time, that in fact, I had become bored. Food is my entertainment, my reward, my treat system. With eating at home, healthy foods, and only doing healthy shopping at the grocery store, I was deying my brain of some "highs." I could feel it. I definitely think it was related to my dopamine, seratonin, or whatever chemical in the brain is affected by chocolate, junk and the pursuit of going to the store to purchase it. It was totally like getting a fix for me, the same way I imagine it must be for people who are drug addicted to get their next fix. How sad is that?
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Old 06-18-2007, 06:07 PM   #17
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Do you agree that obesity is unacceptable in our society, despite the fact that 2/3 of us are overweight or obese?
Yes, and for the reasons given. If you do indeed believe that overweight is caused by sittin' and eatin' then it makes sense to think all the fat need to do is step away from the buffet and go for a walk. It's ignorance as are all prejudices.

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


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


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


Can we do better than "eat less, move more"?
Only if we talk a lot more. We first have to get past the notion that slimness is a vanity issue. This is our health! We hate to go to the doc to be lectured on preventative medicine. Can you imagine a slender young woman going to the doc for her first round of birth control? She'll endure a pelvic examine. She remembers more from the TV commercials than from what the doc tells her. She's gorgeous and lithe. The boys all want her. "OK," the doc says, "Let's talk about eating less fats and getting you into some kind of exercise programme. I had to amputate your diabetic Dad's toe last week." She'll glaze right over and start thinking about her next date.
Have you ever spoken to a baseball Mom after the coach has handed out fitness nutrition sheets?
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Old 06-18-2007, 06:12 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by rockinrobin View Post
Of course the bottom - BOTTOM line IS "eat less, move more".
See, that's where I'm at. There's a thread floating around here somewhere called something like "the secret to my success!" All of the posters have said there is no "trick", no magic bullet ... it's good old-fashioned effort to move more and eat fewer calories. I know that when I make certain choices, I lose weight, so this axiom is true for me.

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Originally Posted by rockinrobin View Post
It's funny though, for a society who looks down upon obesity, there sure is lots and lots and LOTS of fattening and unhealthy food all around us.
My thoughts, exactly. While ultimately, the choice is ours about what we put in our body, if you avoid all fattening and unhealthy foods you are an exception to the rule. It's very hard for, say, a single working parent with kids in evening activities to avoid getting fast food for dinner. Food has been an integral part of every culture, it's just that our food tends to be more processed, more abundant, and less healthy.

I think ultimately, it boils down to this: change happens when the benefits of our current lifestyle no longer outweigh the cost.
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Old 06-18-2007, 07:24 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by phantastica View Post
...change happens when the benefits of our current lifestyle no longer outweigh the cost.

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

Lynn
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Old 06-18-2007, 07:51 PM   #20
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Thanks, Lynn, but it's a paraphrase of something I once heard a group therapist say. I looked online for a specific quote and source, but came up with nothing. Maybe it's an AA slogan or something.

It really made a lot of sense to me when I heard it, too.
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Old 06-18-2007, 09:19 PM   #21
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(I've stolen SHRINKINCHICA'S idea and am going to answer the questions.

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


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

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

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

Those are the questions that really interested me - i'm sorry if I've offended anyone and I would also like to aplogise if I went on a tangent above (lol), I just had to do a study on the "prejudices" part... it hit a nerve lol.
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Old 06-19-2007, 09:42 PM   #22
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I'm just popping back to this thread for a moment. I went to an inservice about Evidence Based Nursing the other day. There was some discussion about using discernment with regard to selecting studies and their results. It reminded me of stuff I've learned from Heather/Wyllen. And made me 'think hard' as I reread the first part of this book.
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Old 06-20-2007, 05:43 AM   #23
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While I do agree that eat less, move more is the basic philosophy for weight loss, at the same time, it does not begin to explain the reasons behind weight gains and why.

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

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

I have experienced to some degree prejudice against my weight gains. But I have found that sometimes through sheer force of my personality and wit, that most people get over it. We all have our own battles that we fight everyday, whether it's weight loss or something else, so it's more than enough time for society here in America to start rethinking some of their viewpoints.
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Old 06-20-2007, 11:31 AM   #24
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I haven't read the book but hopefully that's okay . . . Sorry my post is so long.

Do you agree that obesity is unacceptable in our society, despite the fact that 2/3 of us are overweight or obese?
Yes. Just based on the fact that it is called a "problem" and an "epidemic" I would say it is unacceptable in our society. I have to wonder about calling obesity a "disease." While obesity leads to many diseases (diabetes being the obvious example) I don't know that in and of itself it is a disease. I kind of feel like it is on the borderline -- for example, homosexuality was thought of as a mental illness/disease for a long time, but now is not. OTOH, many kids who before were just thought to be "inattentive" are now diagnosed with ADD or ADHD. I am just pointing out that the definition of what is a "disease" is a fluid thing and I personally don't think of obesity as a disease.

What about prejudice against fat people - have you experienced it?
Yes and no. Within my own family I was told I needed to lose weight, but I never had friends or strangers call me fat. However, now that I'm no longer overweight, people speak more freely about their negative opinions of fat people in my presence.

Do you agree that it's the last remaining socially acceptable prejudice?
Absolutely not. There are many socially acceptable prejudices, including those against smoking, drug addiction, mental illness, deformities, and in many areas homosexuality. Plus, as seranab pointed out, it is currently acceptable in many areas to express prejudice against Muslims. I have to wonder though if some socially acceptable prejudices are beneficial (hear me out before you get mad). For example, a prejudice against prejudice -- in general, it is not socially acceptable to make racist comments. The widespread unacceptability of racist comments has helped to reduce racism. Does the prejudice against smoking lead to fewer people smoking? I think it might (at least in terms of convincing people not to start smoking in the first place). The question is whether a prejudice against obesity will lead to fewer obese people, or whether it is more like a prejudice against a birth defect, in which case there is nothing people can do to correct their birth defect or to prevent more people from having birth defects?

Do we blame the victim, and if we do, is it a fair criticism?
I don't know. This is a tough question. I feel like it is completely unfair to blame children for being obese. With adults I feel like it depends on the circumstances a lot. Someone who was an obese child and grew up to be an obese adult -- we didn't blame them as a child, so how can we blame them as an adult? Somebody who took a medication that made them gain weight -- of course we can't blame them for that. But what about somebody who grew up at a normal weight eating well and fell into bad habits? Is society to blame? I don't know.

Can we do better than "eat less, move more"?
Another yes and no. I used to think, when I first started losing weight, that it was more complicated than that. However, now that I have lost the weight and am maintaining my loss, people ask me how I did it, and the answer is "I ate less and exercised more." It really does boil down to that. Convincing yourself to eat better and to exercise more is the hard part, as is getting the help and support you need to do it (e.g. 3FC). I feel like it is a personal revelation when you finally figure it out. It's like what we hear about any addiction. A smoker won't quit because someone told them smoking is bad for them. They already know that. They already know that there are a variety of nicotine patches and gums and other aids to help them quit. The decision to actually do it has to come from within. I feel like with obesity, in my case and probably for other people too, I had to attain a certain level of self esteem before I felt like I was capable of losing weight. When my family members would tell me I was overweight or needed to lose weight, it just hurt my self esteem and lowered it even more than it already was. It took moving away from my family, a fiance who loves me no matter what I weigh, and 3FC to give me the self esteem I needed to feel like I could really do it.

I really feel like, in my case especially, the key to weight loss is not being told "eat less and move more." People already know that. It is true, that is the way to lose weight. The key is having the support of other people who are doing it or have done it to help you keep up your motivation and self esteem.
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Old 06-20-2007, 01:10 PM   #25
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Speaking a little more about prejudice...while the most common experiences we all usually have are in the form of direct contacts with folks from either converstation or with a look, I have a personal experience in the power of the internet....my brother's ex-wife came home to meet the family for the first time, and while she was here, she was pretty courteous and nice. Later on, long after she went back home, we happened to find out by accident her personal webpage online, and were shocked at the comments she made about us being overweight (direct reference to us, so there was NO misunderstandings). She herself is really skinny and petite. Not only was all this public, but she also had some very derogatory views on obese people even going out to the bars, hooking up with others, etc.

Needless to say, my family was pretty hurt and crushed by these revelations, and it did strain our relations with her. But what I found most troubling was how we never even had the slightest indication of her prejudice, and how much support her prejudices received online from others. The internet is a powerful tool in spreading these prejudices around the world, so we should include that in this conversation as well.
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Old 06-20-2007, 03:41 PM   #26
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Four all but 4 years of my 46 year life I've been within 10 pounds of my 'normal' weight and by dieting was able to return to that weight with no problem. Then I went on a medication that changed my appetite and food cravings. For the first time, I was truly overweight on my way to being obese.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sincerely, Carolyn
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Old 06-20-2007, 06:30 PM   #27
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Carolyn -- Thanks for your very heartfelt post! I hadn't heard your story before. I have a good friend whose illness put her on steroids and over the years (on and off of them) she gained about 150 pounds! Before that her weight would fluctuate only a few pounds and she was always at a healthy weight. She's finally losing weight too.

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

So, it seems like it is, generally, an answer. But it's not the whole answer, somehow.
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Old 06-20-2007, 11:42 PM   #28
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Long time lurker in, well, pretty much everywhere.. but this struck a note with me, and as part of a sampling of us youngun's, I figured I would put in my 2 cents.

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

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

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

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

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

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



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Old 06-20-2007, 11:57 PM   #29
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[b]What about prejudice against fat people - have you experienced it? Yes and, interestingly enough, reverse prejudice. I haven't lost enough weight to really know what I'm talking about. I was never 'that bad'. It's evident, even in this thread.
I am not clear on what you are referencing (I read the whole thread and didn't think I saw anything directed at you) but just because your highest weight put you at what many of us would LOVE to have as our goal (or even LOWER than our goal) doesn't mean in any way that you don't know what it feels like to be dissatisfied with your body, your health, your body image or your appearance, in my opinion.

I believe each persons struggle is the GREATEST struggle, because it is theirs and theirs alone.
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Old 06-21-2007, 05:16 PM   #30
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Oh no Soulbliss, not directed at me personally.

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

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