I'm still waiting for my copy of the book, so I hesitate to post, but both extremes of this argument drive me crazy. If being fat doesn't cause health problems, in my experience at the very least, it exacerbates health problems.
But, I am annoyed with doctors who blame everything on excess weight, and dismiss treatment options other than losing weight.
Sending me home to lose weight without doing further tests or providing treatment in the meantime, is often so frustrating. Being fat may have caused my respiratory infection, but I still may need an antibiotic. I had a large ball of fungus growing in my sinuses that went undiagnosed for years because every doctor I went to said my sinus problems were caused by my weight, and that they'd just disappear if I lost weight, so they wouldn't offer any treatment other than an allergy medication here and there.
If I hadn't found a doctor who was willing to help me WHILE I was trying to lose weight, I'd probably still have that fungus growing in my head.
There has to be a middle ground between ignoring the health risks of obesity, and blaming everything but the weather on excess weight.
My Etsy shop (currently closed for the summer)
Coming late to the discussion, but I just finished the book. I finished it, including this chapter, while lying in a hospital bed for 3 days. I went to the ER (because our town doesn't have an Urgent Care and my doc was gone for the day) because of weird burning that was resonating up from my stomach to my heart. They admitted me because my father, obese, died 4 years older than I am now of a heart attack. Once they ruled out the heart as a problem (my heart is actually stellar thanks to the last year of hard work), every suspicion they had was somehow connected to my former weight and how hard dramatic weight loss is on the body (of course, much better than obesity and than weight gain, but the idea is never to get fat in the first place). One theory was a gallbladder attack and/or gallstones. They did indeed find gall stones, typical in people who lose a lot of weight relatively quickly. This was not the cause of the pain, though. The theory that ended up being the cause is that the pain medicine I took following hernia surgery this summer caused an ulcer that was inflamed this past week by stress. The test confirmed this theory, although it is actually 3 ulcers. The hernia was one that developed when I was morbidly obese, but that neither the doctor nor I could feel until the weight surrounding it was manageable.
My long-winded point is this...it was a hard chapter for me to believe while lying in a hospital bed with an ailment that is the direct result of having been morbidly obese and then of having lost a lot of, but not all of, the weight. It made me wonder if the author had ever been obese herself. Now I realize that my own experience does not make for a statistic. However, I know enough obese people to know that my story is not unique. I had to laugh when the doctor came in with the result of the test just after I had read the last page of the chapter, commended me on the weight loss so far, and told me mine was the first case he'd seen that week where the diagnosis was related to LOSING a lot of weight (I was in the cardiac unit -- since that is where they admitted me). He said he'd seen a lot of people that week who were struggling because they were so obese and NOT because they'd lost weight.
At that point, the author lost a good deal of credibility for me and I shared the story with the doctor. We got a good little laugh.
Down 54 lbs. total
WW: Down 8.8
Began 10-08-07. Lost 90 lbs. in 7 months. Had unrelated surgery. Ate too much, moved too little while recovering. Gained some back. Gained more back. Re-committed 6/24/10. Lost 35. More unrelated surgery. Gained 20. Started WW P+ online 12/26/10.
I just finished reading the book yesterday and I got what the author was saying. She did say that people on the extreme ends of the "U" (either underweight or extremely overweight) are more likely to die early so I don't think she was saying that people who are so fat they are immobilized are healthy. I think what she was saying is that "Look, not everyone is going to be in that normal BMI range. That doesn't mean they're going to be unhealthy however."
One of the women in the study seemed like she just couldn't lose a lot of weight despite having a personal trainer and being on a diet. Yet, that woman is probably more fit than my husband who is thin, eat what he wants, and gets winded on the elliptical after 5 mins. I'm probably more fit than my husband even though I'm overweight.
Just yesterday, I spoke to my mother who told me that her doctors gave her the results of her blood work and everything was normal: cholesterol, blood sugar, etc. She has high blood pressure but that is probably more the result of genetics than her weight. My great grandmother had high blood pressure but she was thin throughout her life. My grandmother still had high blood pressure after losing weight and was on medication till she died. I have high blood pressure and I've always been thinner than my mother. My mother has her blood pressure under control with medication. I have my blood pressure under control with medication and exercise.
So I can see what the author is saying. I guess she asking if weight has a cause/effect relationship with various chronic illnesses and whether or not high weight is always bad for you. I think what she is saying is that it's way more complex than the constant reports we hear on the news which say that if you're overweight or obese, you're health is in danger and you're going to die fast! Maybe being overweight or obese by way of not exercising and eating crap can exacerbate health issues. But if you're overweight, healthy and leading a healthy lifestyle, is your life really in danger?
Out of the 200s and 190s. Trying to get out of the 180s.
So, the long time maintainers would be considered one offs by this author.
She has good information about diets and the difficulty of losing weight which we can all agree on. I also agree that selective reporting seems to be happening in this chapter.
I definitely will not change my choice of a healthier life even if it does get hard. Too much to "lose" at this point to go backwards. The idea of accepting being overweight because many people go back to obesity is a nonstarter. The books "in Defense of Food" and " Good Fats, Bad Fats" illustrate how as a culture North America has come to this point.
I would hope that anybody struggling with obesity would not buy into the hopelessness of it all by swallowing all of this author's arguments. Funny that she found a maintainer who calls himself a fat person in a thin body. All the more reason to look at our thoughts and how they can continue to influence us.
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Reached goal 12/25/08