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Topic 1 - How Society Views Obesity

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Old 06-21-2007, 04:22 PM   #31
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Susan, before I found 3FC I thought my 55lbs was a monumental amount of weight to lose. Anything more than 10lbs seemed like a whole lot. I didn't even know there were people who lost over 100lbs until I found this website, and now I often feel like my 55lbs was small potatoes!
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Old 06-21-2007, 05:11 PM   #32
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I haven't read the book, but from the excellent synopsis (thanks Meg), it sounds very interesting. As far as society's views, I think we shouldn't simply view obesity in isolation, but should consider all the symptoms that stem from the various forms of disordered eating (from compulsive over eating to anorexia, and the whole range).

Telling an obese individual to "eat less and move more" is akin to telling an anorexic to "just eat a sandwich." It's also probably similar to someone addressing a person battling depression and telling her to just "snap out of it." When it comes to mental disorders, empathy can be very difficult. I feel that obesity is generally treated as a physical condition (hence the eat less, move more "solution") and so we never get to the root of the problem.

I wouldn't consider prejudice against obese people to be the last socially acceptable form. There's prejudice against anyone who doesn't fit into that magical range of what it means to be "normal."
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Old 06-23-2007, 09:12 PM   #33
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Telling an obese individual to "eat less and move more" is akin to telling an anorexic to "just eat a sandwich."

I could not agree more! Thanks for saying that.
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Old 06-26-2007, 06:23 PM   #34
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Whoo....socially acceptable predjudice. On the one hand I do think there are other predjudices, like smoking, but on the other hand....well most people, even those who despise smoking will say it is an addictive drug. I think there is far more sympathy for the struggles of a smoker to quit than there is for an obese person to lose weight.

I think the problem with the "eat less and move more" is the how. It took me so many attempts to figure out HOW to eat less without feeling ravenous. and I still cant fathom how anyone eats as little as most people do here at 3FC and functions. Maybe I could do it, but I still dont think I could.

I cant count the number of times I was sucked into an article that touted "easy ways to slash calories" only to read crap like "replace your foccacia bread with whole wheat bread on your daily sandwich and save 300 calories a day or 30 lbs a year!" uh ....yeah....foccacia bread...THATS how I got fat.
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Old 06-27-2007, 12:13 PM   #35
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I agree with alinell and wyllenn. People harbour a *lot* of prejudices, mostly due to fear of the unknown. As a half-Arab girl living in the UK, whose best friend is gay male, and has suffered from severe mental illness I can tell you our society is *rife* with prejudices. I have them myself, including tendencies to 'fat-ism' though I don't like it in myself and work against it. Some prejudices are closer to the surface than others, but when people are under pressure they come out and they aren't pretty.
Rockinrobin: yes. Everyone must figure out how they, personally, can manage to eat less and move more. Though in general I think the US and UK 'time-is-money' culture has quite a bit to do with it - work hard, make money, get stuff attitudes eat up our hours (I'm holding my hand up to this) and our priorities become confused...
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Old 06-29-2007, 08:59 AM   #36
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As for being media influenced ... I'm encouraged by a poll I'm fooling with in the General Diets section. So far ... wrt an ideal body to which to aspire ... about half the participants have chosen someone from real life as opposed to a media figure.
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Old 06-29-2007, 10:18 AM   #37
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uh ....yeah....foccacia bread...THATS how I got fat.
LOL LOL. Gosh, maybe that is my problem!
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Old 07-05-2007, 01:50 PM   #38
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Since I've recently lost weight, I'm much more aware of signifigantly overweight people. I notice them everywhere now. On the street, at the grocery, at the mall, at the movies, at restaurants. The more overweight, the more I notice them.

Is this a common occurance? Or am I being bias by noticing?
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Old 07-05-2007, 03:39 PM   #39
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Naw Carolyn, I always have my eye out for someone who "I could help if they'd let me".
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Old 07-05-2007, 04:13 PM   #40
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Speaking of prejudices against the overweight . . . since I have lost weight I have heard my fiance's family saying some pretty nasty mean things about overweight people (e.g. "Did you SEE Mr. So-and-so? He's gotten so fat, it's absolutely disgusting"). It's hard to hear since I wonder if they used to say things like that about me. I know his grandmother at least did because when she saw me after my weight loss she said "You've really turned your life around" (like my life sucked before? yeah right). Plus, my fiance's brother was actually anorexic at one point and I'm sure it doesn't help how his family jokes about binging and purging after big meals and jokes about each other being fat or needing exercise (they are all normal weight).

What makes it extra weird is that his mom is a diabetes nurse, and has been treating morbidly obese people for years. I'm sure she doesn't say those sorts of things to her patients, so why on earth is it appropriate to say about strangers? When is it EVER appropriate to joke about bulimia or anorexia, especially if someone in the room has suffered from it?

I guess that's not really related to the topic, I was just annoyed and needed to vent.
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Old 07-10-2007, 05:48 PM   #41
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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?

Most definitely. In fact I'll go even further, I've seen and read people attack a person for being too fat when in fact the person is a healthy size and/or has a flaw like cellulite despite being thin. It's ridiculous.

What about prejudice against fat people - have you experienced it?

It may sound stupid, but I honestly don't know. For the longest time I had such low self-esteem that it clouded my judgement. And when I decided to accept myself, I just didn't care what other people thought.

Do you agree that it's the last remaining socially acceptable prejudice?

It's definitely not the last remaining prejudice, but it's definitely socially acceptable.

Do we blame the victim, and if we do, is it a fair criticism? Can we do better than "eat less, move more"?
There is so much more to weight and weight loss than simple mathematics.

My major weightlosses have always correlated with eating more calories, not less. Right now I eat 2500-3000 calories a day and I'm still apparently losing weight.

The only real difference between now and being overweight is that I exercise five times a week and eat a healthy diet. The only time I eat junk is for dessert after dinner.

I don't have a problem criticizing a person that complains and never even tries to fix the problem. However weight loss is tricky simply because there are so many variables at work. Unfortunately many people think that since diet and exercise work for them, then it must work for everyone.
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Old 07-14-2007, 10:30 PM   #42
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I'm a bit late to the discussion. I read the book a few weeks ago but haven't got around to this thread yet. Very interesting posts so far.

Do you agree that obesity is unacceptable in our society, despite the fact that 2/3 of us are overweight or obese?

This one's a no-brainer. It's definitely unacceptable in our society.

What about prejudice against fat people - have you experienced it?

I can speak to this more now that I'm closer to a "normal" weight. I'm treated differently by strangers, acquaintances, and family.

Do you agree that it's the last remaining socially acceptable prejudice?

I don't know if it's the last socially acceptable prejudice, but it is socially acceptable to most people. I've experienced other socially acceptable prejudices -- for example, I grew up in the Appalachian mountains and had a very strong accent for years (it's still there, but it's faded somewhat). I had lots of people assume I was an ignorant hick because of that accent, and that's a socially acceptable prejudice. Lots of people love laughing at the "ignorant redneck" stereotype, and you see it everywhere.

As for the smoking thing, I think there's a definite prejudice there as well. I'm probably guilty of it myself, though. I'm allergic to cigarette smoke, and if I'm around it for even a few minutes, I get very ill. Therefore, I happen to like when it's outlawed in public places. I can't help thinking there's a difference between engaging in an unhealthy habit that affects other people's health too and an unhealthy habit that just affects yourself. If I overeat and don't exercise, my health will suffer but it won't make people around me fat. It's my choice. If you choose to smoke around me, I have to breathe it even though I've chosen to never smoke a cigarette in my life. It doesn't mean I think there should necessarily be a prejudice against smokers, but there's an important distinction there. Being obese isn't the same as releasing toxins into the air in a public place. That said, however, if people choose to smoke in their own homes or away from me...go for it.

Do we blame the victim, and if we do, is it a fair criticism? Can we do better than "eat less, move more"?

We blame the victim, yes, but I don't know that we should really call that person a "victim." I was a victim of my own choices when I was obese. I was to blame. And I do think it's often silly to tell an obese person to eat less and move more, simply for the reason that more than likely he or she already knows that. Who doesn't know that, honestly? It really is that simple, but it doesn't mean it's a simple change to make.
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Old 07-23-2008, 08:18 AM   #43
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Originally Posted by SusanB View Post
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?
You've summed up my feelings exactly SusanB. I've lost a total of 17 lbs to reach my goal. How can I possibly know what an obese or morbidly obese person is going through?

But wait a minute. One of the reasons I didn't ever become obese is that, as a fat child, I experienced prejudice/ridicule from my peers. That was enough to keep me maintaining (with a variety of very unhealthy methods) a normal range body weight for over 30 years. I can only imagine what kind of ridicule someone who has been grossly overweight all their lives faces on a daily basis (even if a lot of it is disguised as "helpful advice").

As for the prejudice against the obese being socially acceptable look at the people we, as a society, reward with status and wealth (the two main markers of a "successful" life in North America). Most of them are so thin as to be skeletal. And we offer rewards to the obese to become thin via contests like "Biggest Loser".

And finally "eat less, move more", though as much of an over-simplification as "you are born, you live, and then die" as a description of human life, is something that I have seen work. In my own experience the move more part took me away from the TV and food and helped bring the weight down. And I've seen the opposite with my DH and his three young nephews. They were all normal weight range until they started moving less and eating more. All became obese (two nephews now morbidly obese) within two years.

Now my DH is starting to move again and take himself away from the TV and food and he's lost 10 lbs without even dieting yet!

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Old 07-23-2008, 08:26 AM   #44
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Dagmar! It's so great to have you join in the discussion. Maybe we'll get a whole new dialogue going again. Personally, I don't ever think we can discuss these questions too much, so welcome and keep posting!
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Old 07-23-2008, 12:28 PM   #45
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I now this is the maintainer's area, but I would like to join.

My friend who recently lost weight said that she hated being overweight because she thinks it is one of the only things that shows people that there is something the matter with you...either it be a bad break-up, depression or the extreme love of food..etc..It is a visible problem, so people can easily jump to criticisms.

I never heard criticisms from friends or strangers. Only my mother makes remarks out loud lol. Ah yes my little cousin too. She is 7. She said I should go the Biggest Loser, but she said she would be my biggest fan lol.
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