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232 Responses

  1. LotusBen
    LotusBen January 19, 2012 at 1:07 am |

    Funny stuff. I lol’d.

  2. Ariel
    Ariel January 19, 2012 at 2:23 am |

    Lmao. I like this commercial. It’s hilarious. And truthful. =) This ad should be on national TV if only for laughs.

  3. nlp306
    nlp306 January 19, 2012 at 8:52 am |

    Ha! Def showing in my Psych of Women class tomorrow.

  4. Andie
    Andie January 19, 2012 at 9:49 am |

    I read “Are you worried that your waist isn’t narrower than your head?” and I snarfed my coffee.. and it splashed into my eye.. while I was trying to clean myself off the phone started ringing and I had to scramble to answer it without laughing..

    So thanks, Caperton. Thanks a lot.

  5. Athenia
    Athenia January 19, 2012 at 9:56 am |

    Every time they say Ah-doe-bey, I laugh so hard!

  6. Drew
    Drew January 19, 2012 at 10:51 am |

    (For the record, the whole “eat healthy and exercise” thing ain’t a slam-dunk either, Rosten. But your overall point is sound.

    Why do you say?

  7. sb
    sb January 19, 2012 at 11:09 am |

    Note: talking about eating disorders within.

    Why do you say?

    Genetics plays a large role in body shape, and while healthy eating and appropriate exercise can be proven to make people healthier, it’s not going to give everyone the body type of a supermodel. In fact, for a lot of people, it would take unhealthy eating patterns to be that thin, if it is possible for them at all.

  8. Emolee
    Emolee January 19, 2012 at 11:16 am |

    sb, exactly. There are people who ‘eat healthy and exercise’ that look a billion different ways and have a wide variety of body shapes and sizes. Also- in the ad when she said the ‘eat healthy and exercise’ thing, it was right after they took a thin model and made her even thinner with fotoshop- and it looked like the digital alterations that they made would require her in real life to alter her bone structure to make her smaller and narrower (never gonna happen with eating or exercise).

  9. Drew
    Drew January 19, 2012 at 11:16 am |

    Genetics plays a large role in body shape, and while healthy eating and appropriate exercise can be proven to make people healthier, it’s not going to give everyone the body type of a supermodel. In fact, for a lot of people, it would take unhealthy eating patterns to be that thin, if it is possible for them at all.

    That’s a really good point. I think there’s a lot to be said about diet and exercise, along with body image/dysmorphia, etc. To be honest, it makes me a bit sad that so many people decide that since they wont look like the completely unrealistic ‘standard’, they forego healthy food choices and exercise (because who wants to be a health nut, amirite?).

  10. Jadey
    Jadey January 19, 2012 at 11:32 am |

    That’s a really good point. I think there’s a lot to be said about diet and exercise, along with body image/dysmorphia, etc. To be honest, it makes me a bit sad that so many people decide that since they wont look like the completely unrealistic ‘standard’, they forego healthy food choices and exercise (because who wants to be a health nut, amirite?).

    Except for all the people who do enjoy healthy food and exercise because of how it makes them feel, regardless of weight loss. And all the people who can’t enjoy healthy food and exercise because they don’t have access to such food or the time and money to support that lifestyle. And all the people who make do with what they can, when they can, how they can.

    Seriously, how many people out there are actually saying, “Ha ha ha, that life is not for me because HEALTH NUT.”?

  11. Jadey
    Jadey January 19, 2012 at 11:33 am |
  12. Miriam
    Miriam January 19, 2012 at 11:37 am |

    Seriously, how many people out there are actually saying, “Ha ha ha, that life is not for me because HEALTH NUT.”?

    I see it a lot where I live. “Health nut” is associated with liberal stereotypes like drum circles, white kid dreadlocks, chi, and vegan politics, so a person wouldn’t buy organic because that’s hippie shit. What’s the old anecdote about refusing to vote Democrat because you hate your daughter’s hippie boyfriend? It’s that.

  13. Drew
    Drew January 19, 2012 at 11:38 am |

    Except for all the people who do enjoy healthy food and exercise because of how it makes them feel, regardless of weight loss. And all the people who can’t enjoy healthy food and exercise because they don’t have access to such food or the time and money to support that lifestyle. And all the people who make do with what they can, when they can, how they can.

    Seriously, how many people out there are actually saying, “Ha ha ha, that life is not for me because HEALTH NUT.”?

    I certainly didn’t mean to insinuate that the people you mention don’t exist – just that a lot of people seem to fall into the mindset of “Yeah, I’d go to the gym and eat better, but I’m not going to look like a model, so whats the point?” There are certainly a lot of people who do exercise and eat well, and those who can’t for whatever reason, and those who find a compromise for themselves, and I think that’s great.

    Also, I think a lot of people do fall into the false dichotomy of “healthy or unhealthy”, and that, yes, there is some social stigma around being a “health nut”.

  14. Drew
    Drew January 19, 2012 at 11:46 am |

    I see it a lot where I live. “Health nut” is associated with liberal stereotypes like drum circles, white kid dreadlocks, chi, and vegan politics, so a person wouldn’t buy organic because that’s hippie shit. What’s the old anecdote about refusing to vote Democrat because you hate your daughter’s hippie boyfriend? It’s that.

    I think its also the fact that making healthier choices makes the people around you more actuely aware of their own choices, which makes people uncomfortable, which tends to result in them projecting on to you. It’s easier, for many, to call the person eating a salad for lunch an “obsessed health nut” than to admit that, hey, yeah, maybe they could make healthier choices too.

    The same concept applies with other issues, like, say, feminism. As a guy, if I’m with a group of guys and someone says something misognyistic or insensitive, and I say something about it, its much easier for them to peg me as oversensitive/”politically correct”/unmanly/self righteous/etc, than to say “hey, yeah, maybe the way I approached that was problematic”.

  15. Katya
    Katya January 19, 2012 at 12:35 pm |

    I think it’s always worth a reminder that even celebrities and models don’t look like their photos–literally no one can meet the beauty industry’s standard. Especially when that reminder is hilarious.

  16. Jadey
    Jadey January 19, 2012 at 12:45 pm |

    I see it a lot where I live. “Health nut” is associated with liberal stereotypes like drum circles, white kid dreadlocks, chi, and vegan politics, so a person wouldn’t buy organic because that’s hippie shit. What’s the old anecdote about refusing to vote Democrat because you hate your daughter’s hippie boyfriend? It’s that.

    Okay, but not eating organic is not the same as not eating healthy, and I think that your comment actually gets at much better some of the reasons people would reject that lifestyle that are more than just impossible aesthetic standards – there’s a lot of cultural bullshit that’s being rejected as well.

    I think in cases like this it’s quite possible that it’s partly a reaction to classism, more than a conscious rejection of “health” (whatever that really means). Actually, this discussion puts me in mind of this article. Yeah, I know it’s Cracked, but I’ve heard many similar things from people who’ve lived in poverty. Also, this one from Fat Nutritionist is also coming to mind. “Health” is often defined in such a way that seems to make it impossible to achieve unless you have the money, time, and particular socialization experience to pull it off.

    But people can reject so-called “healthly lifestyles” while still embracing a lifestyle that works for them healthwise, at least as much as they are able.

  17. Jadey
    Jadey January 19, 2012 at 12:48 pm |

    It’s easier, for many, to call the person eating a salad for lunch an “obsessed health nut” than to admit that, hey, yeah, maybe they could make healthier choices too.

    Yeah, but a salad isn’t necessarily the “healthier choice” (seriously – it depends on a person’s individual nutritional needs at the time, the content of the salad, and the content of the other options). The thing is, our narrative about what health is is so deeply fucked up that making “healthy decisions” is often more normative than nutritive.

  18. Drew
    Drew January 19, 2012 at 1:03 pm |

    Yeah, but a salad isn’t necessarily the “healthier choice” (seriously – it depends on a person’s individual nutritional needs at the time, the content of the salad, and the content of the other options). The thing is, our narrative about what health is is so deeply fucked up that making “healthy decisions” is often more normative than nutritive.

    That’s abolutely true, everyone’s individual nutritional needs will be different, and different at different times. However, if we’re comparing a good salad (not the usual crappy “bunch of lettuce with maybe a grape tomato and three carrot shavings thrown in) and a big mac, fries, and a coke… I think the incidence where the latter is actually more suited to a persons current needs is small enough to cagetorically say that the former is “better”.

    Consider a person who is overweight and works at a desk – I’d argue that the salad is much better for them than McDonalds. Yet, if they bring a value meal into the break room, nobody bats an eye. If they bring a salad, they have to deal with people making remarks about their diet/weight/resolutions, etc. I know from experience it’s incredibly uncomfortable, so I don’t blame people who decide to avoid it.

    I think, basically, what I’m saying is, I agree with you, about normative vs nutritional.

  19. Shoshie
    Shoshie January 19, 2012 at 1:33 pm |

    However, if we’re comparing a good salad (not the usual crappy “bunch of lettuce with maybe a grape tomato and three carrot shavings thrown in) and a big mac, fries, and a coke…

    Unless even a “good salad” leaves you feeling hungry. And you can’t afford to spend good money on a meal that will leave you hungry in an hour. Salads that don’t leave you feeling hungry probably cost a lot more than a big mac, fries, and coke, because they have fish, meat, legumes, and fats in them. With the exception of legumes, those things are expensive. And legumes don’t tend to leave you satiated as well as meat or fish. Plus, less nutritious fats tend to be less expensive than more nutritious fats (like nuts and avocado).

  20. Drew
    Drew January 19, 2012 at 1:37 pm |

    Unless even a “good salad” leaves you feeling hungry. And you can’t afford to spend good money on a meal that will leave you hungry in an hour. Salads that don’t leave you feeling hungry probably cost a lot more than a big mac, fries, and coke, because they have fish, meat, legumes, and fats in them. With the exception of legumes, those things are expensive. And legumes don’t tend to leave you satiated as well as meat or fish. Plus, less nutritious fats tend to be less expensive than more nutritious fats (like nuts and avocado).

    Absolutely, I think its terrible that healthy food is a luxury for those who can afford it (meanwhile the government hands out corn subsidies like candy).

    I’m not saying “everybody should be eating salads”. I’m just pointing out that, in some cases, people who would benefit from eating salads choose not to for psychosocial reasons.. and that sucks.

  21. Fenriswolf
    Fenriswolf January 19, 2012 at 2:00 pm |

    Drifting somewhat off topic here but I must say I struggle with bringing “good” food to work because I actually despise being congratulated for my food choices (really??) more than being hassled.

    When I’m disorganised and don’t bring lunch I get a quiche and chips from across the road – people have occasionally been known to give me shit and I tell them to bite me. When I am organised I bring things like grilled chicken and raw beans (seriously, nom) and get pats on the back. It makes me all tense and I want to avoid people so I don’t have the food discussion. >_<

  22. Jadey
    Jadey January 19, 2012 at 2:09 pm |

    I’m not saying “everybody should be eating salads”. I’m just pointing out that, in some cases, people who would benefit from eating salads choose not to for psychosocial reasons.. and that sucks.

    Okay, and I guess my point is that the list of psychosocial reasons is longer and more complicated than your first comment that I responded to got at.

  23. Emolee
    Emolee January 19, 2012 at 2:20 pm |

    Consider a person who is overweight and works at a desk – I’d argue that the salad is much better for them than McDonalds. Yet, if they bring a value meal into the break room, nobody bats an eye.

    You must live in an area with a very different culture than where I live. If I, a fat person who works at a desk, ate McDonalds in front of other employees, people would do much more than ‘bat an eye.’ I would definitely be judged and talked about behind my back and possibly harrassed to my face. Eating a salad would give me much more of a chance to be left alone.

  24. Mezzanine
    Mezzanine January 19, 2012 at 2:25 pm |

    Consider a person who is overweight and works at a desk – I’d argue that the salad is much better for them than McDonalds.

    And in some cases, you’d be wrong.

    It’s not always that simple.

  25. Bunny
    Bunny January 19, 2012 at 2:31 pm |

    Yeah, I think part of the problem with the “health nut” phenomenon is also how poorly advised most people are about nutrition and health. We’ve been given this mantra that calories = bad and fat = bad and sugar = bad that people equate a “healthy” diet with one that simply lacks nutrition.

    I’ve had coworkers going on diets telling me they don’t eat any fruit because it “has sugar in”, my mum telling me that my preferred snack of a handful of mixed seeds or nuts is bad for me because they are “full of calories”, while eating a dinner comprised of literally nothing but pasta with a squeeze of lemon and olive oil on, and people telling me that my herbal teas are not a “healthy choice” because I add a couple spoons of sugar to them.

    The idea that a truly healthy diet is one that provides an appropriate balance of all kinds of nutrition (appropriate for that individual and their personal physical and mental health needs, is what I mean) just isn’t really acknowledged by most of the people I know. The only message they get is that a healthy diet is one which contains no fats or sugars, and as few calories as possible.

    The notion of health we’re presented with in the media is an impossible one. Healthy means being like the celebrities who spend half their day working with a personal trainer and eating foods recommended by such totally-trustworthy sources as MeMe Roth. There is no middle ground.

    I can easily see why being a “health nut” would seem unappealing to someone who equates healthy food with a plate of plain lettuce, and healthy exercise as doing something you hate to the point of exhaustion.

  26. auditorydamage
    auditorydamage January 19, 2012 at 2:56 pm |

    This thread is giving me a craving for a nice, cool salad. Lettuce, spinach, cucumbers, grape tomatoes, maybe some celery or carrots, some yummy dressing… *drool*

    *wipes mouth* What was the topic again? Stupid beauty product advertising? Makes my IQ drop five points and my blood pressure spike for the duration of the spot. Few things enrage me like blatant attempts at manipulation and misinformation.

  27. LotusBen
    LotusBen January 19, 2012 at 2:59 pm |

    Yeah, I think part of the problem with the “health nut” phenomenon is also how poorly advised most people are about nutrition and health. We’ve been given this mantra that calories = bad and fat = bad and sugar = bad that people equate a “healthy” diet with one that simply lacks nutrition.

    Yeah, that’s a shame. A lot of messed up factors in society converge to make this happen. Both low-fat and low-carb were diet crazes in different decades, and a lot of hacks made a lot of money by promoting them on talk shows and through magazines and books. Then, that got institutionalized with all the consumer products that started marketing themselves to people’s ignorance by slapping the words “low fat” or “5g net carbs” on their boxes to make more money. Fortunately, my parents were very knowledgable about actual nutrition, and they taught me about it growing up. For the most part, I’m able to laugh off the onslaught of false information out there. But it’s not really funny when you consider how many people are deceived by this deliberate, completely irresponsible manipulation.

    I think there is this idea that nutrition is about limiting “bad” foods, rather than incorporating “good” foods. This dovetails nicely with the idea that beauty is about hiding one’s physical “flaws.” One’s bodily nature is inherently the enemy; it must be disciplined and controlled to make it good–that’s the prevailing view. The view I try to have, on the other hand, is trying to help my body (which is an integral part of me) reach its full potential by supporting it in ways that feel good and are good for it. Nutrition and beauty should be more about lovingly watering and fertilizing a flower so it can blossom, rather than vigilantly uprooting noxious weeds.

  28. Shoshie
    Shoshie January 19, 2012 at 3:02 pm |

    The only message they get is that a healthy diet is one which contains no fats or sugars, and as few calories as possible.

    Oh man, this. I remember getting really frustrated with Mr. Shoshie once because every time we ate something, he would always insert some comment like, “Well, it’s not the healthiest thing in the world, but…” And I would get testy and say something like, “What does that even mean? Why isn’t it healthy?”

    “Well, you know, there are a couple tablespoons of oil in it”

    “…”

    He’s gotten a lot better, though.

    And I’ve definitely gotten the food congratulations too. Once someone actually said “Good girl!” when I was buying a breakfast of yogurt and a banana. Which was SO WEIRD and gross. And I’ve gotten bad fattie judgement over eating an avocado for lunch. AN AVOCADO. Because OMG FATS.

    And, to rant a little longer, even wealthier people who can afford food luxuries (like fresh kale and avocados and quinoa) have different needs. Of my immediate family and in-laws, 2 people are pescatarian, 2 have IBD, 2 have IBS, and 2 have PCOS (oh, hi, Ashkenazi family). We ALL have different food needs. That’s ignoring silly things like food preferences, like the fact that I hate celery and most salads and Mr. Shoshie hates potatoes, bananas, and squash.

    I do agree that there is this cultural idea that eating nutritious foods and engaging in activity is meaningless if it doesn’t result in weight loss. But, I believe quite strongly that this idea breaks down as the conflation of health and thinness also breaks down, so that people who are interested in pursuing a healthier lifestyle can do so without feeling like a failure if they don’t lose weight or their body changes in upredicted ways or, y’know, not at all. (NOT that anyone is obligated to do so, of course).

    Basically, shit is complicated, and I will continue to chow down on my Indian leftovers full of delicious, delicious butter and delicious, delicious cheese and delicious, delicious vegetables. Mmmm…biryani.

  29. Joe from an alternate universe
    Joe from an alternate universe January 19, 2012 at 3:07 pm |

    Regarding the eat right and exercise statement not necessarily leading to a thin or muscular body, I agree. People use phrases like “eats healthy”, “works out”, “in shape”, or “takes care of their body”, as euphemisms for thin for a woman or muscular for a man. How many people on the dating sites click the “overweight” option on physical atttribute in the what I’m looking for section?

  30. Maria
    Maria January 19, 2012 at 3:11 pm |

    1. Nice video. I thought the swipe about eating healthy and dieting was a misstep.

    2. Yes, there are people who look down on health nuts. There are people who eat unhealthily because of their financial situation and lack of access to healthy foods, but there are also people who most certainly could eat healthy foods but regard those who do as lacking in some regards. I’ve noticed lots of these people tend to be men and women who see themselves as one of the boys, so I suspect it’s because seeking out healthy foods is considered effeminate or liberal on some level.

    I recall a commentator on Fox talking about how Michelle Obama couldn’t force him to eat his veggies and he had every right to stuff himself full of unhealthy foods.

    3. If you’re fat, it’s possible that someone will comment on you eating a hamburger. If you’re fat, it’s possible that someone will comment on you eating a salad.

    When others perceive you as being overweight, no matter how healthy you may be, your body becomes an object for public scrutiny. People aren’t commenting on your food choices because your food choices are relevant; they’re commenting on your food choices because you dare to exist while being fat.

  31. Joe from an alternate universe
    Joe from an alternate universe January 19, 2012 at 3:16 pm |

    Oh, and BTW, referring to my post at 29, I’m somewhat of a hypocrite. I was interviewing for months and not getting any job offers so i lost 34 lbs. and dyed my hair. I got 3 offers in one week. Oh, well, if you can’t beat them, join them, I guess.

  32. Joe from an alternate universe
    Joe from an alternate universe January 19, 2012 at 3:33 pm |

    Maria at 31,
    You’re correct that the “bran muffin” crowd is looked at as effeminate or liberal. Hell, even if one is a guy and likes to cook the guys will make jokes. I’m a foodie and can cook well and my ex’s three macho brothers chided me all the time.

    Regarding the issue with Michelle Obama’s campaign: As a libertarian on a lot of issues I don’t like the idea of the government telling restaurants what to serve, or me what to eat. And the argument that an unhealthy – i.e. fat- person causes us to pay higher premiums is a slippery slope, which most libertarians reject. Liberals seem to have no problem with overweight people being charged more for insurance, if the Washington Post is any indicator. A recent official with the FDA criticized restaurants for the size of the portions they served. How much they serve me is between me and the restaurant.

  33. Emolee
    Emolee January 19, 2012 at 3:38 pm |

    When others perceive you as being overweight, no matter how healthy you may be, your body becomes an object for public scrutiny.

    So true and well said.

  34. Miriam
    Miriam January 19, 2012 at 4:40 pm |

    We need a nutritionist to do a progressive, feminist, fat-friendly version of “Eat This, Not That”. I’m so messed up over the decades of bad food and diet advice I’ve received that the only thing I’m sure about is that processed is bad. But even then.

  35. groggette
    groggette January 19, 2012 at 4:51 pm |

    @Miriam,
    The fat nutritionist is probably who you’re looking for.
    A couple starter links for you.

  36. Rage Inducing Discussions of Breasts « Craft is the New Black

    [...] We can never measure up to the fashion magazines, not being followed round 24/7 by airbrushers and photoshop and makeup artists and hairdressers and stylists and lighting people and assistants and personal [...]

  37. Drew
    Drew January 19, 2012 at 10:06 pm |

    Okay, and I guess my point is that the list of psychosocial reasons is longer and more complicated than your first comment that I responded to got at.

    Point taken. :)

  38. Drew
    Drew January 19, 2012 at 10:07 pm |

    Consider a person who is overweight and works at a desk – I’d argue that the salad is much better for them than McDonalds.

    And in some cases, you’d be wrong.

    It’s not always that simple.

    In most cases, I’d be right.

  39. WitchWolf
    WitchWolf January 20, 2012 at 12:02 am |

    Wow awesome!

  40. Justamblingalong
    Justamblingalong January 20, 2012 at 4:46 am |

    There’s nothing contradictory about simultaneously arguing that fat-hatred is wrong, that judging people based on their weight is bigotry, that fat people are unfairly discriminated against, and that fatness is also a legitimate health concern which is increasingly a societal problem in the US, as well. We don’t generally decide that people with bacterial infections are morally evil and must be shamed, but that doesn’t mean we have to say “yay for the flu, anyone who invents antibiotics is a bigot!”

    We know that the vast majority of people who are fat are not simply larger people. Behavioral and environmental factors are responsible for most obesity; we know this because the obesity rate has quadrupled in the last thirty years. 3/4 of Americans are overweight, and the medical costs of this phenomenon have surpassed those of smoking. As such, I think it’s entirely appropriate to discuss ways to reduce the obesity epidemic- ways that don’t rely on body-shaming or fat hatred, which isn’t effective even if it was ethical, and ways that aren’t coercive. Making healthy food cheaper and more easily available, for example, has been shown to be highly effective at controlling weight gain. Getting people to stop ‘fad dieting’ helps too; most types of diet will, in the long run, make you fatter. And of course, some people simply are going to be fat no matter what they eat, and that has to be recognized too.

    What’s absolutely inane is when making the above points are met with ‘you’re just an evil fat-hating bigot who kicks puppies!”

    Regarding the issue with Michelle Obama’s campaign: As a libertarian on a lot of issues I don’t like the idea of the government telling restaurants what to serve, or me what to eat./blockquote>

    And if Michelle Obama was doing anything like telling you what to eat, you might even have a point (as it is, you just sound like you’re purposefully conflating “suggesting you eat healthy food” and “shoving lettuce down your throat,” aka an asshole).”

  41. LotusBen
    LotusBen January 20, 2012 at 6:15 am |

    I think those are some interesting points justamblingalong. From what I’ve read, people’s weight is a lot like their height. The main determining factor is genetics, but environment plays an important role as well. Height has increased in the West over the years as people’s nutrition has improved, for example. Just like people’s weight has increased over the past 30 years due to changes in society and lifestyles. I believe whether people are average weight, above average weight, or below average weight is mainly genetic. But how high or low that average is for the whole of society is largely a result of the material and cultural environment.

    So definitely the increase in the average weight over the past 30 years is not something that is inevitable or natural. But is it undesirable? I think a lot of the evidence associating being fat with problems like diabetes, heart disease, etc. is overblown. A lot of it relies on correlation rather than causation. Nonetheless, being “overweight” may very well be, in general, a factor behind negative health outcomes. But that’s really irrelevant. As you pointed out, trying to control one’s weight or diet is normally counterproductive anyway. I think society should make it easier for people to eat nutritious food, exercise, get plenty of sleep, have unstressful lives, and be protected from manipulative advertising for unhealthy products like fad diets. All these things would allow people to be a lot healthier. It might also bring the average weight of society down, or it might not. I don’t think the average weight of society should really be the focus.

  42. Norma
    Norma January 20, 2012 at 6:47 am |

    Getting people to stop ‘fad dieting’ helps too; most types of diet will, in the long run, make you fatter.

    Conventional wisdom is changing on the idea that just fad or extreme dieting makes you fatter in the long run. It’s beginning to look like *all* calorie restriction makes you fatter in the long run:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/01/magazine/tara-parker-pope-fat-trap.html

  43. Justamblingalong
    Justamblingalong January 20, 2012 at 6:50 am |

    So definitely the increase in the average weight over the past 30 years is not something that is inevitable or natural. But is it undesirable?

    Controlling for gender, income, and race, children who are obese by age 11 live an average of 7.5 years less, and people obese by 40 live an average of 3 fewer years. Every 5 BMI points above 25 increases your five-year mortality risk by 30%, your risk of diabetes by 20%, your risk of cardiovascular disease by 10-15% and risk of kidney and liver disease by around 10%. These are peer-reviewed studies published in JAMA and the Lancet, not back-of-the-box fad diet program blurbs. So yes, I would say that the quadrupling of obesity rates over the last 30 years is undesirable.

    One might niggle with individual points- the BMI doesn’t work for all people, some people are healthy and fat and some people are unhealthy and thin; but in aggregate, the numbers don’t lie.

    I think society should make it easier for people to eat nutritious food, exercise, get plenty of sleep, have unstressful lives, and be protected from manipulative advertising for unhealthy products like fad diets. All these things would allow people to be a lot healthier.

    Agreed, wholeheartedly. In behavioral economics we talk a lot about ‘nudges,’ or policies which take advantage of people’s irrational choices without being coercive or damaging. For example, in cafeterias with stacked trays of food, people will take the food option at shoulder level about 5% more often than hip level or eye level. So, put the healthier foods there, and the less healthy foods somewhere else. It’s totally non-manipulative, because you were going to be nudging them in some direction regardless of whether it was intentional. Same goes for opting-in vs. opting-out of organ donation.

    I don’t think the average weight of society should really be the focus.

    I’m not sure if we’re disagreeing or not, but in my opinion the evidence is pretty clear that obesity is a serious health problem commensurate with smoking. It costs the health care system a ton of money, affects predominantly poor Americans, and has a significant impact on lifespan and economic productivity, so if we can reduce the rate at which people are becoming obese without being coercive or shaming, then I really think there’s a moral obligation to do so.

  44. Bunny
    Bunny January 20, 2012 at 6:51 am |

    Important point.

    Regardless of whether or not weight is a cause, or a contributing factor, in some health conditions.

    Seeking out and working to maintain a diet and level of exercise appropriate for oneself will improve health regardless of whether weight is lost or gained.

    We know that weight loss regimes have a 95% failure rate under medical test conditions. We know that no diet in existence has passed the WHO requirements. We know that access to the time, energy and expensive produce required to live what most consider the “good” lifestyle is limited for most people. We know that many people have different nutritional needs and that illness and disability can have a huge impact on the sort of exercise and upper level of health attainable for many, many people. We know that the social expectations of size heaped on women are unrealistic and we know that constantly reminding fat people of it doesn’t stop them from being fat. We have seen that tests comparing the health and habits of a group of dieters versus a group that practiced HAES showed that practicing HAES resulted in more health improvements and that the positive habits learned through HAES lasted longer than dieting.

    Out of curiosity, what actual good does it do to state, every time that a discussion of size and health habits comes up, that fat is unhealthy? Or “correlated with medical problems and poorer health”? Whether or not that is strictly true is still up for debate, given the medical studies done to date. And even if it is true, it’s akin to people discussing the pressure on older people to maintain a facade of youth, and someone always chiming in that “old people get heart disease, you know”.

  45. Bunny
    Bunny January 20, 2012 at 6:53 am |

    TL;DR, why can’t we just focus on the stuff that works. The benefits of improving access to nutritious food and the space and time for exercise for all people? Because right now, fat people are giving up their highly restrictive and unrealistic diets in the realisation that they are unlikely to reach model-level thinness, and slim people are not bothering to exercise or work on their nutrition because they “don’t need to”.

  46. Justamblingalong
    Justamblingalong January 20, 2012 at 6:55 am |

    It’s beginning to look like *all* calorie restriction makes you fatter in the long run

    Which points to why childhood intervention is so important; once people become fat, it’s incredibly difficult to undo.

  47. Bunny
    Bunny January 20, 2012 at 6:56 am |

    Wait… evidence indicates that being put on a diet makes people more likely to be even fatter in the long run so we should… put people on diets younger?

  48. Norma
    Norma January 20, 2012 at 7:21 am |

    Every 5 BMI points above 25 increases your five-year mortality risk by 30%, your risk of diabetes by 20%, your risk of cardiovascular disease by 10-15% and risk of kidney and liver disease by around 10%. . . One might niggle with individual points- the BMI doesn’t work for all people

    This is a common mistake, but it’s important to note that BMI is meant to measure obesity in populations, *not* in individuals. The BMI calculator can’t determine an individual’s health risk. The studies you’re talking about are measuring risk in large populations. The point being that individuals are different, and it’s really important not to automatically associate thinness with health and fatness with sickness.

  49. LotusBen
    LotusBen January 20, 2012 at 7:36 am |

    Controlling for gender, income, and race, children who are obese by age 11 live an average of 7.5 years less, and people obese by 40 live an average of 3 fewer years. Every 5 BMI points above 25 increases your five-year mortality risk by 30%, your risk of diabetes by 20%, your risk of cardiovascular disease by 10-15% and risk of kidney and liver disease by around 10%. These are peer-reviewed studies published in JAMA and the Lancet, not back-of-the-box fad diet program blurbs. So yes, I would say that the quadrupling of obesity rates over the last 30 years is undesirable.

    One might niggle with individual points- the BMI doesn’t work for all people, some people are healthy and fat and some people are unhealthy and thin; but in aggregate, the numbers don’t lie.

    I’m not an expert on this topic by any means. I just want to put that out there because I recognize I very well may be wrong. But these studies, as you’ve described them, still seem to indicate correlation rather causation to me.

    As an analogy, women on average live longer than men. Does that mean that being a woman causes one to live longer than being a man. Not necessarily. It could simply be that women are statisically more likely to be affected by a “factor X” than men are, even though that factor X has nothing inherently to do with being a woman. And, incidentally, factor X also makes people live longer.

    In other words, just because people with a BMI over 25 live less long, or have a higher incidence of certain diseases, doesn’t mean that their higher BMI is causing those things. Even if you control for their race, gender, and income–there’s hundreds of other potentially pertinent factors you aren’t controlling for. To prove causation, you would have to actually have some sort of really controlled experiment in controlled conditions rather than simply doing a longitudinal statisical analysis. Of course, this would be fairly difficult. Which is why fields like sociology and psychology rarely achieve the degree of consensus that you find in the “harder” sciences like physics or chemistry where a greater degree of control in the experiments is possible.

    Of course, I may be missing something. This is my honest reaction, but I’m a little skeptical even of my own reaction because I realize I’m going up against conventional wisdom that’s backed up by a lot of experts who have done research, whereas I don’t particularly know what I’m talking about.

    In any event, I don’t know if we really disagree in terms of how the problem should be handled. I mean, I would like to see incidence of heart disease and diabetes go down, and the sort of “nudges” you mentioned would help with that. As well as all the things I talked about in my post. So it seems that we agree on the solution even if we don’t entirely share the same analysis of the problem.

    And I guess my hesistance to come out and say that being fat caues one to be less healthy is derived from not wanting to feed into the social stigma associated with being fat. Social justice for heavier people is important to me, and I want to subject claims about the health consequences of being fat to careful scrutiny and not accept them on face value.

  50. LotusBen
    LotusBen January 20, 2012 at 7:47 am |

    I co-sign what Bunny said. Even if something is factually accurate, that doesn’t justify saying it all the time. When I communicate, I try not to merely say things that are true; I also try to say things that are useful. If I walked around saying “the sky is blue” to everyone I met, 200 times a day, people would think I would an annoying idiot.

    So even if being fat were to cause worse health outcomes (which I’m still not convinced is the case), why say it all the time? Especially when talking about ways to help people eat more nutritious food and incorporate exercise into their lives (not matter what their weight is) would be much more helpful?

  51. thinksnake
    thinksnake January 20, 2012 at 8:51 am |

    BMI’s been completely abandoned as a measure of obesity in Australia, as it has far too many exceptions that need to be factored in. Waistline measurements, which are largely not dependent upon bone mass and other variables, is promoted as both an easier-to-understand measure, and also generally a better guide to whether someone may be at risk.

  52. Norma
    Norma January 20, 2012 at 9:41 am |

    I want to clarify my responses to Justamblingalong, which I think look like I’m just quibbling about statistics. It’s really frustrating to me that almost (or actually?) every time a feminist blog discusses fat shaming and unhealthy body image, someone’s got to remind us all that obesity *is* a problem; fatness *is* unhealthy; “we” have a moral obligation to save fat people, who are poor and ignorant about nutrition and just need us to help them make rational choices.

    Can we have a discussion about unrealistic advertising and society’s body image issues without the constant reminders that fat is bad, unhealthy, a problem needing to be solved? No matter what language you dress it up in, it’s still the same derail– just making sure that we don’t get so carried away in doubting the media’s shaming of imperfect bodies that we actually think it’s ok not to be thin.

  53. Jadey
    Jadey January 20, 2012 at 9:42 am |

    @ justamblingalong

    Except there are epidemiological studies from the same peer-reviewed sources which have found obesity to have no relation to mortality or *protective* effects against mortality. And remember that obesity goes hand in hand with poor medical care, because fat stigmatization has been found to be rampant among medical professionals (survey studies provide the numbers, and anecdotal stories provide the gory details). So some of the stuff attributed to obesity alone may yet be the results of a statistical confound, which is not impossible even in well-conducted correlational studies.

    Michelle (The Fat Nutritionist) has been compiling a list of relevant journal articles for years. Junkfood Science is another good source, although it hasn’t been updated recently. Whether you agree with everything there, it’s still more than enough to avoid a “case closed” conclusion.

    Also, the analogy to people with bacterial infections doesn’t work because, as you said, we don’t moralize that group of people. We do, however, moralize about fat people, and that in and of itself can impact health. How healthy do you think you would feel in a world where you can’t eat in public without being scrutinized; that every thing you do is attributed to your weight whether it’s actually related or not, including in ways that prevent you from receiving necessary medical care unless you go on inappropriate diets; you are the subject of mockery and disgust in media and every day life; your body size and shape are not provided for in the everyday architecture and design of life; and you are portrayed as a “major problem” with contemporary society and either pitied or reviled for it or both?

    Absolutely, there are people out there who are unhealthy because they are fat. And there are people who are fat because they are unhealthy. And there are people who are unhealthy and not fat, and those who are both fat and healthy and neither fat nor unhealthy. But we kind of suck at figuring out who is who and who needs what, if any, assistance.

  54. Jadey
    Jadey January 20, 2012 at 9:44 am |

    Oh, right, and there’s also studies on Michelle’s page which look at dieting practices themselves (which fat people are more likely to engage in) as health risks. More potential evidence for obesity as a confound, not a cause.

  55. LotusBen
    LotusBen January 20, 2012 at 10:05 am |

    It seems to me that society’s basic objection to fatness is that it is “ugly,” “gross,” or “lazy.” It seems like the health scare about obesity is largely just an attempt to put a scientific veneer on these prejudices so they can live on in an era where openly expressing them without backing was starting to fall out of favor.

    Hopefully this analogy won’t offend people. But I can see this as somewhat analogous to rise of “scientific racism” about 100 years ago. Some of the old bases of racism, whether in religion or folk belief, were starting to be undermined, so it was necessary to have a newfangled, (psuedo) “scientifc” foundation to prop them up. But the basic content of the racist stereotypes remained unchanged. Just as the basic content of the sizist stereotypes have remained unchanged even when they are couched in the terms of the obesity scare.

    I’m not trying to imply that racism and sizism are in any way the same, just that I see a bit of a similarity in this one particular regard.

  56. EG
    EG January 20, 2012 at 10:18 am |

    When others perceive you as being overweight, no matter how healthy you may be, your body becomes an object for public scrutiny.

    Absolutely true, and true to a lesser degree of thin people as well, at least if those people are women. I’ve had everyone from complete strangers to senior colleagues come up to me and apropos of absolutely nothing besides my wearing clothing and eating in public–i.e. we weren’t having a conversation at all, much less one having anything to do with body shape or weight–start haranguing me about my body type, and at least in one case, when I replied, tell me that they didn’t want to hear anything I had to say. I know the women who have done this are coming from a place of insecurity and unhappiness with their own bodies, but that doesn’t make their behavior make me feel any less bad. The fat-hating, body-hating culture we’re living in is toxic to every woman–not only is there no such thing as “thin enough,” but it turns women against each other and makes us all feel lousy. I always thought that Naomi Wolf got it exactly right when she wrote that the point of our misogynist dieting culture isn’t female thinnness; it’s female hunger. How we look doesn’t matter as much as how much we suffer. By that, I don’t mean to imply that fatter, fuller-figured women don’t suffer any more than thinner ones; what I mean to say is that their suffering is the point, not whether or not they actually lose weight.

  57. Drew
    Drew January 20, 2012 at 10:32 am |

    http://www.obesityinamerica.org/understandingObesity/diseases.cfm

    Are we really debating that obesity is linked to health problems? Are we really debating if fresh vegetables are more healthy than a Big Mac? Seriously?

  58. LotusBen
    LotusBen January 20, 2012 at 10:37 am |

    EG, that reminds me of how the “frigid” “prude” women get mocked as much as the “sluts.” Women can’t win for losing in a misogynistic culture.

  59. LotusBen
    LotusBen January 20, 2012 at 10:46 am |

    Also I seem to remember certain celebrities–Mischa Barton comes to mind–popping up on celebrity gossip sites for being “anorexic” and “scary skinny” then a month later she’s gained 10 pounds and she’s a “whale” and “disgustingly fat.” Huh? Like what’s the ideal range, exactly? Is the margin of error like 3 ounces or what?

  60. Shoshie
    Shoshie January 20, 2012 at 10:47 am |

    justamblingalong- I’d be interested in reading those studies. Can you post the citations?

    But, really, there are many things outside of gender, income, and race that could account for the discrepancy.

    1. Higher likelihood of dieting, which has been shown to cause health complications.
    2. Less likely to see a doctor or receive quality medical care.
    3. More likely to experience stress due to discrimination.
    4. More likely to be on psychoactive medication.
    5. More likely to have correlational diseases/syndromes (PCOS, diabetes, Cushing’s, some others which I’m not remembering right now).
    6. Less likely to be involved in physical activity, due to body shame.

    There are similar studies that show correlation with x and mortality, where x is height, race, and other genetic factors. We don’t go around blaming those factors for the increase in mortality, or telling people they better go change their height for the sake of their health and the country and the children.

    Another example:

    Mr. Shoshie and I have different teeth cleaning regimens. While he brushes three times a day + fluoride at night without fail, I brush before bed and floss maybe when I feel like it. But, probably due to genetics, he’s had several cavities and is getting his first root canal next week and I’ve never had a cavity bad enough to get filled. The dentist still tells me to brush and floss 2-3 times/day and use fluoride mouth wash every day. As he should. Because those are good practices regardless of your genetic lot. We don’t target that information at people who have cavities or crooked teeth or whatever. We target that information at the general population. Furthermore, to touch on Jadey’s point, we don’t talk about tooth brushing whenever we, say, talk about eating or smiling. During those discussions, we don’t wag our fingers at people who drink too much tea and coffee or who have braces or cavities. So, why can’t we do the same with food and physical activity? From a public health perspective, it’s universally valuable for people have access to fresh, nutritious foods and access to a variety of physical activities. The value of having access to those things is not restricted to those with BMI > x or whatever. So why not simply emphasize those things? Why bring weight into it when we know that it’s counterproductive?

  61. Emolee
    Emolee January 20, 2012 at 10:57 am |

    Since there is no proven effective way to make fat people not fat (dieting has a 95% failure rate and tends to make people fatter in the long run), what exactly is the point of saying “but fat is unhealthy!” to fat people? I happen to believe (after a lot of research) that the health concerns attributed to fat have been exaggerated and in many cases causation has been confused with correlation. However, even if fat is very unhealthy, what are those fat individuals supposed to do about it?

  62. Jadey
    Jadey January 20, 2012 at 11:06 am |

    @ Drew

    Yes, we are in fact challenging the received wisdom about relationships between health, nutrition, and weight. We are doing this within a context of social analysis which links attitudes toward weight with such novel concepts as sexism, classism, ableism, and racism (without suggesting that these are interchangeable oppressions – rather, that they are part of an intersectional web of normative body policing). We are even doing so by providing thoughtful arguments and links to substantive empirical evidence. Try to keep up.

    (I am being snide because this is the 1,000,000,000,000th time I’ve had this conversation and I ran out of patience and good graces in the early millions.)

    @ LotusBen

    Trick question! There is no “correct” weight in that model – the margins of error overlap! There is only an inherently shameful body. Isn’t it fun?

  63. Shoshie
    Shoshie January 20, 2012 at 11:08 am |

    Drew:

    Are we really debating that obesity is linked to health problems?

    The issue is correlation and causation. Right now the “common knowledge” is that obesity causes health problems. But the causal link is actually pretty shaky. There has even been evidence that the correlation may not be as strong as many people believe. So, yes, we are debating the link between obesity and health problems.

    Are we really debating if fresh vegetables are more healthy than a Big Mac? Seriously?

    When you speak in universal terms, you need to accept universal concerns. The reality is, that for many people, purchasing vegetables for a salad is a less healthful decision than purchasing a Big Mac. Having enough food is an important health concern. Yes, even for fat people. The issue is that there isn’t some cut and dry continuum of foods. For instance, I frequently donate blood. At the end, they offer us cookies and fruit juice. The cookies give a quick, accessible burst of energy to help us recover from the blood donation. In that instance, cookies are a healthier choice than some celery sticks, because the celery doesn’t provide that required energy burst (also, I think celery is gross). Or, as I mentioned above, I have 2 family members with Crohn’s disease. For them, the Big Mac would be a healthier choice than the salad because it would be less likely to irritate their digestive tract and make them sick. For them, high fiber foods need to be taken in moderation.

  64. Dao
    Dao January 20, 2012 at 11:13 am |

    Shoshie already beat me to it. What ze said.

  65. Donna L
    Donna L January 20, 2012 at 11:38 am |

    I have 2 family members with Crohn’s disease. For them, the Big Mac would be a healthier choice than the salad because it would be less likely to irritate their digestive tract and make them sick.

    As another person with Crohn’s — sometimes I feel that everyone I ever meet who has it is Jewish; every time I’m in my doctor’s waiting room, and every time I’ve ever been in the GI floor at Mt. Sinai, all I see is Jews (of course, that could just be because I’m in New York!) — I’ll chime in to agree. As much as I love salad, eating it more than once in a while would not be the best thing for me. (I’ve had my share of McDonald’s hamburgers in my life, too, but I can’t even think about them anymore, ever since they were the only protein my son was willing to eat for a year or so when he was around 8, before he just gave up and became a vegetarian. Of course, I might have become a vegetarian myself if McDonald’s were the only other choice.)

    Anyway, for me there’s actually a direct correlation (but not a causal relationship) between how much I weigh and how well I feel: the more I weigh, the healthier I am. It’s when I’ve been really thin, and people have said they envied me, that I’ve been sick. Be careful what you wish for. And it’s when I’ve been down under 100 pounds or even 90 pounds — I’ve been known to lose more than 25 pounds in the space of a week — that I’ve ended up in the hospital.

  66. Andie
    Andie January 20, 2012 at 11:56 am |

    Drew..

    an example to kind of go along with Shoshie’s. For a long time, eating red meat was considered bad for you (and in general, might still be). Due to some severe bouts with colitis, I have a tendency towards anemia. My doctor has, at these times, advises me to eat MORE red meat, because of the iron content.

    Even taking ‘common knowledge’ into consideration, people’s nutritional needs will vary from individual to individual.

  67. Andie
    Andie January 20, 2012 at 12:03 pm |

    It’s when I’ve been really thin, and people have said they envied me, that I’ve been sick.

    Oh my god, I KNOW. When I was in university, I had one of my worse colitis flare-ups and lost about 30 lbs and people kept telling me how great looked and I was like ‘really? I feel like shit.’

  68. Drew
    Drew January 20, 2012 at 12:06 pm |

    Yes, we are in fact challenging the received wisdom about relationships between health, nutrition, and weight. We are doing this within a context of social analysis which links attitudes toward weight with such novel concepts as sexism, classism, ableism, and racism (without suggesting that these are interchangeable oppressions – rather, that they are part of an intersectional web of normative body policing). We are even doing so by providing thoughtful arguments and links to substantive empirical evidence. Try to keep up.

    Thoughtful arguments like “But what about the one circumstance in a million where a three hundred and fifty pound sedentary person should be eating a super sized McValue meal instead of a fresh vegetables”?

    Please.

  69. Drew
    Drew January 20, 2012 at 12:13 pm |

    Drew..

    an example to kind of go along with Shoshie’s. For a long time, eating red meat was considered bad for you (and in general, might still be). Due to some severe bouts with colitis, I have a tendency towards anemia. My doctor has, at these times, advises me to eat MORE red meat, because of the iron content.

    Even taking ‘common knowledge’ into consideration, people’s nutritional needs will vary from individual to individual.

    That’s true – individual needs vary and there is a ton of misinformation out there.

    But everyones individual needs being different doesn’t mean that, say, Coke (which is a bunch of HFCS with no nutritive value) is “good”.

    Yes, maybe in some circumstances, few and far between (like a high level athlete about to engage in rigorous exercise), a can of Coke is acceptable and even useful – but in the vast, vast, vast majority of cases, a person is better off not having the Coke.

    Yet if someone is crazy enough to look at the 99.9999 percent of situations, in which Coke is an unhealthy choice, and say “Coke is bad for you”, somebody on the internet is going to start shouting about that .0001 percent of situations where the person *should* drink it.

    Its like saying “People should wear seatbelts”. In the vast majority of cases, wearing a seatbelt is a good idea. In a tiny number of cases, people have been injured because they were wearing a seatbelt (or trapped, etc). Since there is some tiny number of cases where wearing a seatbelt was “wrong”, should we constantly question those who say that wearing a seatbelt is a good idea?

  70. Dao
    Dao January 20, 2012 at 12:14 pm |

    Thoughtful arguments like “But what about the one circumstance in a million where a three hundred and fifty pound sedentary person should be eating a super sized McValue meal instead of a fresh vegetables”?

    Please.

    How about you do some learning about body policing and the fat acceptance movement? I’m so glad you appear educated enough to make judgment calls on what a “three hundred and fifty pound sedentary person” should be eating. The ableism in this post is also astounding because a “sedentary” person might be sedentary for legitimate health reasons. Some people are also allergic to fresh vegetables, even if it tends to be a milder allergy. Many “fresh vegetables” are also sprayed with so many pesticides that they are not always the healthiest option.

    Please.

  71. Emolee
    Emolee January 20, 2012 at 12:21 pm |

    Drew, you seem to really have an issue with fat people. So, you believe that this “350 pound sedentary person eating a big mac” in your imagination “should” be eating fresh veggies in order to be living her life optimally. OK. Maybe she also “should” break up with her boyfriend or eliminate her credit card debt or meditate more in order to be living her life optimally. Or maybe not. But bottom line, it is none of your business.

    Also, what I hear you saying is that fresh veggies are healthier than McDonalds. While I think that the exceptions and concerns that people brought up are valid and important, I’m willing to go with you on that one at least for the sake of argument. What I wonder is why do you have to make it about fat people? Why does it matter if the person is fat? Wouldn’t you argue that the fresh veggies are healthier than McDonalds for people of all sizes? Are you actually concerned with health or just with making people smaller?

  72. Shoshie
    Shoshie January 20, 2012 at 12:24 pm |

    Thoughtful arguments like “But what about the one circumstance in a million where a three hundred and fifty pound sedentary person should be eating a super sized McValue meal instead of a fresh vegetables”?

    First off, when we talk about an obesity epidemic, we’re not talking about hordes and hordes of people weighing 350 lbs. I am considered super obese. I am a 5’2 woman who weighs 250 lbs or so. I’m at the end of the bell curve. I am usually the fattest person in the room. 350 lb people are even further to the end of that bell curve, unless they are very tall. So, really, you’re the one talking about the exceptions, rather than the rules.

    Secondly, conditions that cause weight gain are far more common than you might think. Almost 10 percent of USians are on anti-depressants. 6-10 percent of US women have PCOS. ~2% of women are pregnant at any given moment. I don’t know how many women are on birth control medication, but that can also cause weight gain. Sports injuries can also cause weight gain and, at least in my klutzy experience, can happen pretty frequently (I’m finally recovering from an an ankle sprain that happened in OCTOBER).

    Furthermore, if we’re talking about food decisions, almost 15% of people in the US are on food stamps and clearly need to be concerned about the efficiency of their food purchases. Only ~ 0.1% of the US population has IBD, but that’s still far more than one in a million.

    But, because I disagree with you, Mr. Oh Noes Fat People Are Fat, clearly my arguments aren’t particularly thoughtful. Well, fuck you.

  73. Drew
    Drew January 20, 2012 at 12:27 pm |

    The issue is correlation and causation. Right now the “common knowledge” is that obesity causes health problems. But the causal link is actually pretty shaky. There has even been evidence that the correlation may not be as strong as many people believe. So, yes, we are debating the link between obesity and health problems.

    Ok, its fair to debate whether the correlation is causative or not. Lets say its causative – excess bodyfat causes health problems, so eating a diet that is best suited for your personal needs and exercising is a good idea, because those habits will lead to weight loss, which will reduce the cause of your health problems.

    Now, lets say its correlated – that unhealthy activities/lifestyle choices, which lead to health problems also lead to obesity. So, making better lifestyle choices (such as eating healthy and exercising) will lead to less health problems and also less bodyfat.

    It just seems to me that, either way, “eat healthy and excercise” is a good idea, whether the link between obesity and poor health is causative or not.

    When you speak in universal terms, you need to accept universal concerns. The reality is, that for many people, purchasing vegetables for a salad is a less healthful decision than purchasing a Big Mac. Having enough food is an important health concern. Yes, even for fat people. The issue is that there isn’t some cut and dry continuum of foods. For instance, I frequently donate blood. At the end, they offer us cookies and fruit juice. The cookies give a quick, accessible burst of energy to help us recover from the blood donation. In that instance, cookies are a healthier choice than some celery sticks, because the celery doesn’t provide that required energy burst (also, I think celery is gross). Or, as I mentioned above, I have 2 family members with Crohn’s disease. For them, the Big Mac would be a healthier choice than the salad because it would be less likely to irritate their digestive tract and make them sick. For them, high fiber foods need to be taken in moderation.

    How many people have Chrohn’s disease? How often do people give blood?

    I’m sorry, you’re simply playing the “But in this tiny minority of circumstances, its different!”.

    I can, without hesitation, say that punching someone in the face is wrong. Even though punching someone in the face is good if you’re in a boxing match, or if you have to do it to stop them from harming someone else, or if you’re being held at gunpoint and your choices are to punch them in the face or throw them off a cliff. Just because *some* exceptions exist doesn’t mean the entire concept is flawed.

  74. Shoshie
    Shoshie January 20, 2012 at 12:30 pm |

    Now, lets say its correlated – that unhealthy activities/lifestyle choices, which lead to health problems also lead to obesity.

    Except…that’s not what correlated means.

    But you’re clearly not actually reading what I’m writing, so why should I actually put effort into looking up silly things like statistics and studies and facts?

  75. Dao
    Dao January 20, 2012 at 12:32 pm |

    It just seems to me that, either way, “eat healthy and excercise” is a good idea, whether the link between obesity and poor health is causative or not.

    Yes, because we can all “eat healthy and excercise [sic]. People here have give you enough examples to refute your “logic” but it really seems to boil down to the possibility that you have an issue with fat people, or people you perceive to be fat. It’s time to examine what makes you willing to judge and dismiss people who make lifestyle decisions that you don’t agree with.

  76. Drew
    Drew January 20, 2012 at 12:40 pm |

    Secondly, conditions that cause weight gain are far more common than you might think

    The conditions that cause weight gain are way more common than the ones you mention – the fact that nutritionally vapid, good tasting, cheap, fast, highly processed food is everywhere, the high levels of stress people face, sedentary jobs, psychosocial pressures, etc.

    I don’t blame anyone in America for being overweight, because its like America is designed to produce overweight people.

    But, because I disagree with you, Mr. Oh Noes Fat People Are Fat, clearly my arguments aren’t particularly thoughtful. Well, fuck you.

    lol.

  77. Emolee
    Emolee January 20, 2012 at 12:41 pm |

    making better lifestyle choices (such as eating healthy and exercising) will lead to less health problems and also less bodyfat.

    NOT NECESSARILY!

    trigger warning for some diet talk

    In a lot of people it may, but I am so tired of the assumption that ‘healthy’ eating and exercise will necessarily reduce body fat. A few years ago, I worked out rigourously with a trainer 2+ hours a day for two years in order to meet some fitness goals that were necessary for me to be allowed to take on a certain assignment (which, by the way, turned out to be mostly paperwork!). Before that I rarely exercised. During this time I was also eating what most people would consider an extremely healthy diet, which was also moderately calorie controlled. I did see my health improve, my energy improve, my muscle strength and definition improve, and my endurance improve. But I did not lose weight. And I was (and am) considered very “overweight.”

    A lot of people say that I am the exception. I do have two endocrine disorders. However, my response to these people is how do you know I am the exception? What studies have you done? Also, even if I am the exception, I still count.

  78. Jadey
    Jadey January 20, 2012 at 12:42 pm |

    It’s conversations like this that make me really, really, really want to punch Michael Pollan, despite (especially?) having been one of his early converts.

  79. EG
    EG January 20, 2012 at 12:42 pm |

    It just seems to me that, either way, “eat healthy and excercise” is a good idea, whether the link between obesity and poor health is causative or not.

    It’s an idea that holds individuals responsible for large trends. If I wanted to address healthful eating in the US, I’d start restricting factory farming and the kind of claims fast-food joints could make in their advertisements. I wouldn’t finger-wag at people who make choices different from the ones I imagine would be ideal for them.

  80. Jane
    Jane January 20, 2012 at 12:43 pm |

    @Norma 52: Yes. Yes so much.

    For once I would like to see a conversation about fat and health on a (somewhat mainstream) blog where fat people weren’t called upon to justify each and every food choice (with extremely legit rationales such as “this ‘healthy’ food would make me sick” or “this is the tastiest/most calorie-efficient food I have money for” — but of course there are never enough reasons to not eat how others think you ought to be eating), and instead the people who continually whine about “being fat is so unhealthy” and “fat people must just not know what ‘healthy’ foods are” were called upon to justify that their “concern” is coming out of someplace other than either a fundamental bigotry against fat (because, fun fact: SOME OF US WOULD BE FAT NO MATTER WHAT, “healthy” choices or no*) or a belief that they have a right to dictate others’ day-to-day choices. Because, yes, believe it or not, we can have a conversation about improving access to high-quality food at a variety of economic levels without anyone sharing their opinions of how horrible it is to be fat.

    @ Drew — I am really impressed by how polite everyone is being to you in spite of the shit you are spouting. As you are clearly uninterested in actual people’s lived experiences with food and weight (because food issues are “one in a million!” no one REALLY has food allergies or trouble accessing tasty/high quality food, amirite?) and are instead committed to parroting banal lines about “the sedentary 350 lb person” who obviously NEEDS (because you’re a fucking doctor, is that right? and you know every “obese” person’s life history, and you know their mental health state, and how much energy they can afford to put toward food acquisition and preparation, and every other commitment they might have in their lives, and whether “eating healthy” is a priority next to “paying rent” or, hell, “having hobbies that make my life interesting and not hellish,” and whether eating diet food triggers a downward spiral of self-hate and misery which is as destructive as any 5 mg of cholesterol found in a Big Mac? Because after a lifetime of being told you are ugly and disgusting, that is really fucking common, I assure you), please, PLEASE, I beg of you, SHUT UP. There are millions of you people who are deeply committed to policing fat people’s choices and making sure we hear at every moment of every day that we are unnatural, unwanted, and a burden. You can rest assured that even if you don’t run the record of “fat is unhealthy” and “if you don’t lose weight you will die early” today, WE FAT PEOPLE WILL STILL GET TO HEAR IT. YOU ARE NOT SAYING ANYTHING NEW OR INTERESTING.

    There are two fundamental things that you are (I have to assume purposely) missing: 1. You can’t by looking at someone if they are healthy. 2. Health aside, YOU HAVE NO RIGHT TO TELL PEOPLE WHAT THEY SHOULD BE EATING. Even if they are on their fucking deathbed, it’s none of YOUR business. People get to make their own choices based on their own rationale, and they are not obligated to justify it to you.

  81. Drew
    Drew January 20, 2012 at 12:45 pm |

    Yes, because we can all “eat healthy and excercise [sic]. People here have give you enough examples to refute your “logic” but it really seems to boil down to the possibility that you have an issue with fat people, or people you perceive to be fat. It’s time to examine what makes you willing to judge and dismiss people who make lifestyle decisions that you don’t agree with.

    LOL. Listen, if you’re going to point out my typo by repeating it along with [sic], do yourself a favor and don’t, directly after, tell me that “People here have give you enough examples”.

    I also like how you’re jumping on the “You must be against fat people” bandwagon — seems common around these parts that “If you disagree with me, its because you are an ____ist”.

    I don’t have anything against fat people, and I think that *EVERYBODY* should eat healthy (as best they can, in whatever way is best for them) and get exercise (as best they can, in a way that is good for them).

    It doesn’t change the fact that fresh vegetables, in the VAST majority of cases, are a better dietary choice than a super sized Big Mac value meal.

  82. Shoshie
    Shoshie January 20, 2012 at 12:46 pm |

    Ugh, one more thing.

    How often are people deciding between a salad and a Big Mac? Personally, I haven’t been able to eat a Big Mac for several years (I keep kosher) and I generally dislike salads. I will have them for side dishes occasionally. Speaking of occasions that are in the vast minority. Usually I’m deciding between chili and quiche or cookies and yogurt or apples and chips or chumus and guacamole. Furthermore, if you look at the multiple times during the day that people make food decisions it doesn’t seem particularly healthy to choose salad every single time. Hard to get enough calories that way, unless, of course, your salads have way more stuff in it than mine do.

  83. Drew
    Drew January 20, 2012 at 12:48 pm |

    It’s an idea that holds individuals responsible for large trends. If I wanted to address healthful eating in the US, I’d start restricting factory farming and the kind of claims fast-food joints could make in their advertisements. I wouldn’t finger-wag at people who make choices different from the ones I imagine would be ideal for them

    This, exactly. Get HFCS out of every god damn food, stop letting fast food joints make ridiculous claims, stop letting the god damn department of agriculture design our fucking food pyramid (because, *gasp* the department of agriculture says we should eat a lot of the stuff the department of agriculture produces! who would have guessed).

    I absolutely agree that changes should start at the top down.

  84. Drew
    Drew January 20, 2012 at 12:53 pm |

    @Jane: Yell all you want. All you’ve done is build up a bunch of strawmen, and accused me of saying shit I haven’t said. You don’t really deserve a meaningful response.

  85. Dao
    Dao January 20, 2012 at 12:53 pm |

    @ Drew

    Considering you came onto another thread on this blog and admitted that you hadn’t done your homework and were “sincere” in wanting to learn about labiaplasty and FGM and all that, I can see you’re not sincere about actually shutting up and learning anything.

    So here’s another “Fuck you.” You need to shut up, listen, do some homework, and then try to intelligently engage in these conversations without touting your “lols” and other immature bullshit.

    I’m not saying you hate fat people because we disagree. I’m saying you must have something against fat people because of the comments you’ve continued to make on this thread. I’m on the “bandwagon” because they, and I, can see you’re just another anti-fat preacher who thinks “healthy eating and exercise” is what everyone should do. If you’ve got such a beef with Big Macs, take it to McDonald’s.

  86. Drew
    Drew January 20, 2012 at 12:58 pm |

    you’re just another anti-fat preacher who thinks “healthy eating and exercise” is what everyone should do.

    Be…because eating healthy and exercising are..good things to do.

    So, wait a second… me saying “Everybody should eat healthy and exercise” makes me a hateful bigot? It means I must have deep seated issues with people who are overweight? That I’m “body policing”?

    Holy shit are you serious? Because, really, fuck you. Fuck your self righteous indignation that someone would say that eating healthy and getting physical activity is a good thing.

  87. Shoshie
    Shoshie January 20, 2012 at 12:58 pm |

    Oh HAI GUYS!

    I TOTALLY KNOW WHAT EVERYONE NEEDS TO EAT ALL THE TIME!

    Those fat people are super gross, amirite!

    Here’s how to get rid of them:

    Eat salad!

    I’m brilliant, right?!

    What, you say you’re hungry if you eat salad all the time?

    LIAR! 99% of the time, you should eat vegetables! It’s SCIENCE!

    What, you can’t afford to eat salad all the time?

    You’re the exception! What am I, some kind of wizard?

    What, you have a medical reason for being fat?

    EXCEPTION! I DON’T WANT TO HAVE TO THINK ABOUT YOU! Because fat people are ICKY. I mean, those people! Who are 350 lbs! GROSS! Why don’t they just eat salad? Salad salad salad I love salad and I totally eat it all the time for every meal because I would never be a hypocrite.

    LOL!

  88. Drew
    Drew January 20, 2012 at 1:00 pm |

    Oh, right, I’m not a doctor, so I have no basis for saying that eating healthy and exercising are good.

    I’m also not an electrician, guess I have no right to say sticking a fork in an outlet is a bad idea, either.

  89. Drew
    Drew January 20, 2012 at 1:03 pm |

    Those fat people are super gross, amirite!

    Show me where I said this, or anything that logically leads to this. Or, admit that you built a strawman argument and accused me of saying something I never said.

    “Fresh vegetables are a better dietary choice than McDonalds” =/= “Those fat people are super gross, amirite!”

    No matter how many times you accuse me of hating people who are overweight, it wont be true.

  90. Jane
    Jane January 20, 2012 at 1:04 pm |

    @ Shoshie: You’re awesome.

    @ Drew: Because acknowledging what hateful dynamic you fit into is a “straw man.” You are wrong because you are ignorant and making up shit and ignoring people’s lived experiences, not because people are pinning things on you that you didn’t say. I repeat, shut up, and add, go fuck yourself.

  91. Shoshie
    Shoshie January 20, 2012 at 1:05 pm |

    No matter how many times you accuse me of hating people who are overweight, it wont be true.

    You vehemently believe that you know how to live our lives better than we do. That is fatphobia at its core. And it is just as gross as flat out saying that you hate us.

  92. Emolee
    Emolee January 20, 2012 at 1:07 pm |

    and you know every “obese” person’s life history, and you know their mental health state, and how much energy they can afford to put toward food acquisition and preparation, and every other commitment they might have in their lives, and whether “eating healthy” is a priority next to “paying rent” or, hell, “having hobbies that make my life interesting and not hellish,”

    This is a good point and one that often gets overlooked. I went through a period of time where I ate a lot of fast food. I was under a lot of stress and juggling way to many obligations, many of which were emotionally very taxing, such as taking care of two very ill family members. Eating the fast food was not ideal (for me). I probably “should” have been eating more unprocessed veggies and fruits, etc. But the bottom line is that I was doing the best that I could at the time and prioritizing other things above my food choices. Some would argue that was bad prioritization. Others would argue, if I had been at the gym or at home cooking, that I should have been at the hospital with my family or working to make money to pay the bills. Ultimately, you make the best choices you can at the time- and often, if not always, some choices are not ideal.

    I don’t understand why, with food choices (especially made by fat people), there is so little compassion and instead so much policing. I bet I could find at least one area of each of these “policers” lives in which s/he was not living up to my idea of what is ideal. However, it would be none of my business to do so.

  93. Dao
    Dao January 20, 2012 at 1:08 pm |

    Lol.

    Forks are for eating salad! Healthy salad!

    I mean, people who eat Big Macs instead of salads are sedentary and unhealthy and fat! OMGS! DEATH FAT!

    I know from my learnings that eating healthy and exercising is the only way and will keep you from being obese!

  94. Drew
    Drew January 20, 2012 at 1:09 pm |

    Because acknowledging what hateful dynamic you fit into is a “straw man.” You are wrong because you are ignorant and making up shit and ignoring people’s lived experiences, not because people are pinning things on you that you didn’t say. I repeat, shut up, and add, go fuck yourself.

    Ohhhhh, I get it now.

    Because someone ELSE who hates fat people said everyone should make healthy food choices and exercise, I *MUST* hate fat people. I get it! You don’t have to listen because you can file me under a “hateful dynamic”, based on what OTHER PEOPLE think.

    Thats awesome!

    Now, why don’t you show me the part where I said “Fat people are gross”, or anything of that nature, before you continue on telling me that nobody here is pinning things on me that I didn’t say.

  95. Shoshie
    Shoshie January 20, 2012 at 1:09 pm |

    Irony! As I am railing against Drew, I am also borrowing a copy of Veganomicon from the library! Because fat people don’t only eat from McDonalds! *gasp*

    But, Oh NOES, I also had cookies for breakfast (and they were DELICIOUS). Bad fatty, bad.

    It’s almost like people are multi-faceted and make varied and complex decisions.

  96. Dao
    Dao January 20, 2012 at 1:11 pm |

    A great place to go that addresses the Fat Acceptance movement, as well as healthy eating/diet claims that are often used to police people of any size:

    http://www.bodylovewellness.com/2010/06/30/just-so-were-clear-some-fat-facts/

  97. groggette
    groggette January 20, 2012 at 1:11 pm |

    Food does not have a moral value.
    Exercise does not have a moral value.

    People who do not eat and exercise in the exact way that some random fuckwad stranger thinks they should are doing nothing wrong.

  98. sb
    sb January 20, 2012 at 1:12 pm |

    @Drew

    See, this is why I didn’t define “healthy eating” or even “healthy” when I replied to your first comment — health is complicated, and leaving it at “healthy” I’d hoped we could avoid derailing into HAES 101. But since we’ve gone there…

    The point is that you don’t know what other people’s circumstances are, and they’re not your circumstances to judge. You say:

    *EVERYBODY* should eat healthy (as best they can, in whatever way is best for them) and get exercise (as best they can, in a way that is good for them)

    but then you dismiss every example that points out that “as best they can” and “whatever way is best for them” are complicated topics, and cannot be boiled down to Big Mac vs. Salad, and that you’ve contributed to a culture that does try to boil it down this way and says hurtful and unproductive things to anyone for whom the Big Mac is the healthiest feasible option for them.

    So, even if I’m talking to a brick wall, have another one: if I’ve just hiked up a mountain and back down, hot diggity that Big Mac would likely line up with my needs more. (Granted, if you gave me that exact choice, I’d pick the salad, as I’m a vegetarian for non-health, i.e. religious, reasons. But I’d murder a plate of nachos or something nutritionally similar to a Big Mac. Actually, if I could, I’d eat both the salad and the greasy food object.)

    That’s not a special medical case or anything else. And, by the way, you’d look at me and see a fat person, who I expect you’d guess couldn’t go do a nine mile hike in the White Mountains.

  99. groggette
    groggette January 20, 2012 at 1:12 pm |

    Personally I think it’s a lot healthier to eat what makes you happy / sates you then to be shamed by an asshole into eating something you don’t want to eat.

  100. Drew
    Drew January 20, 2012 at 1:15 pm |

    This is a good point and one that often gets overlooked. I went through a period of time where I ate a lot of fast food. I was under a lot of stress and juggling way to many obligations, many of which were emotionally very taxing, such as taking care of two very ill family members. Eating the fast food was not ideal (for me). I probably “should” have been eating more unprocessed veggies and fruits, etc. But the bottom line is that I was doing the best that I could at the time and prioritizing other things above my food choices. Some would argue that was bad prioritization. Others would argue, if I had been at the gym or at home cooking, that I should have been at the hospital with my family or working to make money to pay the bills. Ultimately, you make the best choices you can at the time- and often, if not always, some choices are not ideal.

    I don’t understand why, with food choices (especially made by fat people), there is so little compassion and instead so much policing. I bet I could find at least one area of each of these “policers” lives in which s/he was not living up to my idea of what is ideal. However, it would be none of my business to do so.

    I absolutely understand where you’re coming from with this, and I never said, or meant to imply, that everyone *has* to make any certain food or exercise choices.

    A problem here is that, given that there are so many people out there who are hateful and judgemental of the overweight, its almost impossible to encourage healthy choices without sounding like you align yourself with that “hateful dynamic”.

    Encouraging someone to get a gym membership seems to sound, to many, like “Yes, you are fat and disgusting, now get your ass in there and make yourself acceptable to me”. When it can also, in as many cases, be “You should do it because you’ll feel good, sleep better, have more energy, etc”.

  101. Jadey
    Jadey January 20, 2012 at 1:17 pm |

    Drew, fuck you for not listening when people tell you that what you think you are saying when you say, “eat healthy and get exercise”, is not the only thing you are saying. We are trying to let you in on a world of real cultural baggage going along with that, but you are so happily ensconced in your comfortable assumptions about how much you know about all there is to know, you aren’t interested in hearing it. You are playing into a narrative about weight and health whether you realize it or not, intend to or not. Everyone on this thread cares about health and people having the ability to maximize their own health in their own way as much as they can. The difference is that we have a much broader understanding of what “health” entails and what it means and what kinds of nuanced considerations these conversations must entail in order not to perpetuate oppressive bullshit. (For example, no one is obliged to be healthy and “health” is often used as a way of beating down women, PWD, and people of every size, particularly non-normative sizes. WHICH IS WHY SOME OF US ARE A BIT TOUCHY.)

    Drew, you don’t have to consciously hate women to play into sexist, misogynist narratives. Does that make sense to you? Well you don’t have to consciously hate fat people to play into body-policing, sizeist narratives either. That’s what everyone has been trying to tell you.

    Tip: When you start to fill up the Bingo card (transcript/image description here), consider that maybe you’re not saying anything original or persuasive anymore.

  102. Emolee
    Emolee January 20, 2012 at 1:19 pm |

    Be…because eating healthy and exercising are..good things to do.

    So, wait a second… me saying “Everybody should eat healthy and exercise” makes me a hateful bigot? It means I must have deep seated issues with people who are overweight? That I’m “body policing”?

    There is a BIG difference between saying “eating healthy and exercising are good things to do” and “everybody should eat healthy and exercise.”

    The first statement is just a fact (people could argue if it is a true fact or not; I think most people would agree with you although healthy eating means a lot of different things to different people, including experts).

    However, the second statement is a judgement about how others should live their lives.

    You seem to think that if the first statement (“eating healthy and exercising are good things to do”) is true, then the second (“everybody should eat healthy and exercise”) is also necessarily true. It’s not. And even if it is true, it is not your place to tell other people how to live. Just because something is a “good thing to do” does not make it ok for you to expect everyone to do it.

  103. Drew
    Drew January 20, 2012 at 1:19 pm |

    So, even if I’m talking to a brick wall, have another one: if I’ve just hiked up a mountain and back down, hot diggity that Big Mac would likely line up with my needs more. (Granted, if you gave me that exact choice, I’d pick the salad, as I’m a vegetarian for non-health, i.e. religious, reasons. But I’d murder a plate of nachos or something nutritionally similar to a Big Mac. Actually, if I could, I’d eat both the salad and the greasy food object.)

    That’s not a special medical case or anything else. And, by the way, you’d look at me and see a fat person, who I expect you’d guess couldn’t go do a nine mile hike in the White Mountains.

    Okay. And if you’re on your lunch break, at a job where you work at a desk, and you can get a Big Mac or, say, hit up a salad bar where you can get fresh vegetables, chicken, egg, nuts/seeds, etc – given that circumstance, would you agree that the latter is the better choice?

    Also, I’m sorry that I keep going back to “salads”, but the problem there is that there aren’t that many good, quick options for someone who is running out to pick up lunch on their break.

  104. Drew
    Drew January 20, 2012 at 1:22 pm |

    You seem to think that if the first statement (“eating healthy and exercising are good things to do”) is true, then the second (“everybody should eat healthy and exercise”) is also necessarily true. It’s not. And even if it is true, it is not your place to tell other people how to live. Just because something is a “good thing to do” does not make it ok for you to expect everyone to do it.

    This is a fair argument – you’re right, what I was trying to say is better phrased as “Eating healthy and exercising are good things to do”.

    Mea Culpa.

  105. groggette
    groggette January 20, 2012 at 1:25 pm |

    And if you’re on your lunch break, at a job where you work at a desk, and you can get a Big Mac or, say, hit up a salad bar where you can get fresh vegetables, chicken, egg, nuts/seeds, etc – given that circumstance, would you agree that the latter is the better choice?

    Nope. I work at a desk job. I am overweight. I mostly eat vegetarian but every once in a while my body really craves red meat and I listen to my body because it tends to know what up at least as far as food is concerned and what nutrients my body needs right then. I’d be doing my body wrong to eat your “good” salad in that instance.

  106. Drew
    Drew January 20, 2012 at 1:26 pm |

    WHICH IS WHY SOME OF US ARE A BIT TOUCHY

    First, I’d like to say its funny that you, knowing absolutely nothing about me, have decided what I do and do not know. I grew up overweight – I know exactly what its like to be mistreated based on size.

    Secondly, here’s a fuck you right back: DON’T FUCKING CALL ME A BIGOT JUST BECAUSE YOU’RE FUCKING TOUCHY ABOUT SOMETHING.

    If YOU’RE too fucking touchy to have a discussion without trying to accuse me of shit I didn’t say, or falsely assigning motives, thats on YOU, not me.

  107. Dao
    Dao January 20, 2012 at 1:27 pm |

    Encouraging someone to get a gym membership seems to sound, to many, like “Yes, you are fat and disgusting, now get your ass in there and make yourself acceptable to me”. When it can also, in as many cases, be “You should do it because you’ll feel good, sleep better, have more energy, etc”.

    Either way you’re still making judgment calls on what people should do. I’d hate to have a “friend” who encouraged me to get a gym membership or to eat a certain way because it will “make me feel well, sleep better, etc” I’ve heard enough of that faux concern with regards to my depression. I DO eat healthy and exercise and still my depression is a struggle. Really, people shouldn’t give advice unless someone asks for it.

  108. Dao
    Dao January 20, 2012 at 1:29 pm |

    Holy shit are you serious? Because, really, fuck you. Fuck your self righteous indignation that someone would say that eating healthy and getting physical activity is a good thing.

    Holy shit I AM serious! And really, who is the one being self-righteous and full of indignation for the choices people make regarding their diet or health?

  109. Shoshie
    Shoshie January 20, 2012 at 1:33 pm |

    I grew up overweight – I know exactly what its like to be mistreated based on size.

    I’m shocked! SHOCKED!

    Sorry, but the people I know who were fat kids and grew up to be thin adults are pretty much the worst at spewing fatphobic bullshit. They’re the worst at the “I did it so you can too!” shenanigans and the “fat people just need to exercise and eat salads!” bandwagon. Newsflash: life! It’s not the same for everyone.

    Also, you can use language that’s primarily employed for shaming fat people and then be shocked and offended when people get upset because you’re shaming fat people, even if you didn’t mean it. Intent isn’t magical pixie dust that turns hurtful things into not hurtful things.

  110. Jadey
    Jadey January 20, 2012 at 1:35 pm |

    Also, I’m sorry that I keep going back to “salads”, but the problem there is that there aren’t that many good, quick options for someone who is running out to pick up lunch on their break.

    Wait, really?

    Soups and stews (so many options and my personal favourite because I work near a lot of great soup places), sandwiches, bagels, and wraps (so many options and also easier to carry and eat than salads or soups), pizza (you’re going to say this is “unhealthy”, but it’s no more or less “healthy”, according to your standards, than the ingredients it’s made with), and, if it’s morning, oatmeal, eggs, toast – lots of lovely possibilities, if only one lives/works where one can get them and can afford them! There are definitely no salad bars where I work, and the kinds of salads I can buy with their gloopy cream sauces that I hate, cheap, unsatisfying iceberg lettuce and under-ripe bland carrots and tomatoes aren’t a lunch that would ever sustain me. I’ll stick to the delicious soups and the bagels I bring from home (because they’re the only things that travel well on the bus) and the occasional cheap fast food meal when I need a warm lunch but don’t have the extra cash for the soup (which costs almost twice as much). I’d bring in my baby carrots and apples more often, except I moved to a neighbourhood where the produce is so nasty and wilted (and on occasion mouldy while sitting in the store) that I can’t keep stocked in them because I have to travel three neighbourhoods over to get anything decent and I don’t have a car.

    So it looks like it really does have a lot to do with incredibly diverse personal circumstances. Gee.

  111. Dao
    Dao January 20, 2012 at 1:36 pm |

    Intent isn’t magical pixie dust that turns hurtful things into not hurtful things.

    I just wanted to repeat this for emphasis. Yes yes yes!

  112. Jadey
    Jadey January 20, 2012 at 1:43 pm |

    If YOU’RE too fucking touchy to have a discussion without trying to accuse me of shit I didn’t say, or falsely assigning motives, thats on YOU, not me.

    I notice that you haven’t removed yourself on the basis of being upset and frustrated. Why should I?

    And I haven’t called you a bigot. I’ve argued with you, I’ve cussed at you, and I’ve tried to point out ways in which your comments have dovetailed with larger problematic narratives (which is not the same as assigning a motive – rather, it’s pointing out that your motives don’t matter), but you are eliding all of us who disagree with you into one single entity. It’s understandable, but inaccurate.

  113. Donna L
    Donna L January 20, 2012 at 1:47 pm |

    How many people have Chrohn’s [sic] disease?

    Since you seem to think it’s just a tiny number, I thought I’d mention that approximately 1.5 million people in the USA have either Crohn’s Disease or ulcerative colitis (two diseases that are often very difficult to diagnose differentially, and are treated somewhat similarly up to the point of surgery). They may be shameful, embarrassing diseases that nobody likes to talk about, but there are plenty who have them. As there are plenty of people for whom other exceptions exist for the “rules” you posit.

  114. Emolee
    Emolee January 20, 2012 at 1:55 pm |

    I just took my fat body from my sedentary desk job to get some lunch. It was not a salad. It was also not a bigmac. It was a turkey sandwich. On whole grain bread, with some fresh veggies. But it did have mayo, too. And then there is the business of the diet coke- no calories, but filled with chemicals.

    What I am getting at is I’m not sure what circle of hell I belong in.

  115. Maria
    Maria January 20, 2012 at 2:29 pm |

    I’m not convinced that high-fructose corn syrup is more dangerous or harmful to the body than a regular sugar syrup. Banning it would just lead to people using cane sugar again, which also metabolizes quickly and can give you a quick burst of energy.

    groggette…

    Food does not have a moral value.

    It most certainly can. Human Slavery in the Tomato Fields of Florida.

  116. IrishUp
    IrishUp January 20, 2012 at 3:31 pm |

    Jadey, I just need to say thank you thank you thank you. I’m quite sure I would have blown a lobe otherwise. I’m also going to whip out a big ole can of Michele TFN: ALL FOOD HAS NUTRIENTS. NUTRIENTS ARE GOOD FOR YOU. No, really. I’m serious.

    OTOH, dieting aka (USian culture) “eating healthy” is the gateway drug to Eating Disorders. Estimates are that >80% of people who develop ED, do so after dieting. It’s the big cultural trigger to a chronic and devestating diagnosis.

    EDs affect ~5-8% of the population right now, depending who you read and which disorders you include: ~1% Anorexia nervosa, 2-3% Bulimia, ~2% Binge Eating Disorder, ~2% ED-NOS (catch all for people who don’t fit neatly into the other categories). This is at least 4x the highest number I’ve seen for the incidence of morbid (ie medically troublesome) obesity.
    - EDs carry an excess mortality rate of ~.5-1% a year.
    - AN is the LEADING CAUSE OF DEATH for women 14-24yo in the US.
    - Estimates are >50% of people diagnosed with AN, bulimia or EDNOS will have at least 1 hospitalization.
    - Medical costs per ED hospitalization: 13 days and ~$9300.
    - A Canadian study estimated the loss of quality life years (a measure not just of longevity, but functionality through lifetime) to be ~26 years for AN.

    The scientific evidence that TOO MUCH FOOD = TOO LITTLE HEALTH is well, actually, there ISN’T good science. Lots of bad science, but the good science doesn’t support this equation at all. In contrast, when you food shame, promote “healthy eating” where HE= $ONE SIZE FITS ALL, equate what you eat with how moral a person you are, promote eating where whole food groups are underreprestented or missing, scare the shit out of parents and kids about the OBESITY EPIDEMIC BOOGA BOOGA, you are doing stuff that we KNOW causes actual harm.

    And Maria – the way food is produced and distributed ABSOLUTELY has a moral value. The food ITSELF? Not so much.

  117. IrishUp
    IrishUp January 20, 2012 at 3:32 pm |

    Caperton – super funny.

  118. Drew
    Drew January 20, 2012 at 3:35 pm |

    I’m shocked! SHOCKED!

    Sorry, but the people I know who were fat kids and grew up to be thin adults are pretty much the worst at spewing fatphobic bullshit. They’re the worst at the “I did it so you can too!” shenanigans and the “fat people just need to exercise and eat salads!” bandwagon. Newsflash: life! It’s not the same for everyone.

    Also, you can use language that’s primarily employed for shaming fat people and then be shocked and offended when people get upset because you’re shaming fat people, even if you didn’t mean it. Intent isn’t magical pixie dust that turns hurtful things into not hurtful things

    Still waiting on you to substatiate your claim that I called fat people “gross”.

  119. IrishUp
    IrishUp January 20, 2012 at 3:36 pm |

    BTW, that should be 1 hospitalization PER YEAR.
    (sorry for the serial posts. carry on)

  120. Drew
    Drew January 20, 2012 at 3:40 pm |

    I notice that you haven’t removed yourself on the basis of being upset and frustrated. Why should I?

    And I haven’t called you a bigot. I’ve argued with you, I’ve cussed at you, and I’ve tried to point out ways in which your comments have dovetailed with larger problematic narratives (which is not the same as assigning a motive – rather, it’s pointing out that your motives don’t matter), but you are eliding all of us who disagree with you into one single entity. It’s understandable, but inaccurate.

    I’m sorry, then, to have accused you of doing something you did not.

  121. Emolee
    Emolee January 20, 2012 at 3:48 pm |

    Caperton, yes the video was funny. If only that one line could have been left out, I would have loved it. It does get to me that even in a spot like that, which is challenging the beauty standard, there is still a message of ‘you should work harder’ or that if only you did x y and z (diet and exercise) you could “look like” some specific body ideal. Still funny overall, though.

    And you make an excellent point re the frosty/fry situation. Something I did think of earlier and didn’t get into was that when you see a person eating a certain thing (yes, even a 350 pound person eating a gosh darn big mac), you usually have no idea what that person ate earlier that day, or yesterday, or last year, or what they will eat tomorrow, etc. I don’t think we should judge people’s diets at all, but if we are going to be in that business, we certainly cannot do it based on one meal.

  122. Shoshie
    Shoshie January 20, 2012 at 3:51 pm |

    Still waiting on you to substatiate your claim that I called fat people “gross”.

    *You* may not have specifically called fat people “gross,” but you did dredge up language that’s generally used to tell fat people that we should just fucking disappear already. Again with context being important and intent not being pixie dust.

    Sort of like how you may not call women sluts, but if you say that women who get assaulted should really not have been drunk and wearing short skirts, you buy into that narrative and you deserve to get called on it.

    And I’m still waiting for you to fucking respond to all the other points that I made, instead of sticking your fingers in your ears and saying “lalalala!”

  123. Drew
    Drew January 20, 2012 at 3:51 pm |

    I’m also sorry to have given the impression that I support those problematic narratives. I do not.

    I would explain further, but, frankly, I’m about done with the “call out and pile on” culture here – it wont matter what my actual positions or beliefs are because OH MY GOD YOU SAID SOMETHING THAT SOMEBODY ELSE SAID WHEN THEY MEANT SOMETHING ELSE SO YOU MUST THINK WHAT THEY THOUGHT!! I THINK YOU HATE FAT PEOPLE SO EVERYTHING YOU SAY SECRETLY MEANS YOU HATE FAT PEOPLE AND HOW DARE YOU!!

  124. Drew
    Drew January 20, 2012 at 3:58 pm |

    *You* may not have specifically called fat people “gross,” but you did dredge up language that’s generally used to tell fat people that we should just fucking disappear already. Again with context being important and intent not being pixie dust.

    Sort of like how you may not call women sluts, but if you say that women who get assaulted should really not have been drunk and wearing short skirts, you buy into that narrative and you deserve to get called on it.

    And I’m still waiting for you to fucking respond to all the other points that I made, instead of sticking your fingers in your ears and saying “lalalala!”

    Okay, so I didn’t, but you said that I did, because I used language that somebody else used. And that’s okay, and its my fault, because I’m responsible for the language someone else uses, and you have the right to accuse me of saying something I didnt say, based on what someone else did. Sweet.

    There’s a difference between “The language you are using is problematic, here’s why” and “WHEN YOU SAY X YOU MEAN Y BECAUSE THE OTHER PERSON SAID X AND MEANT Y”

    Yes, everyone has a right to their own dietary/lifestyle choices. No, no one deserves to be judged on their weight, or their dietary/liftstyle choices.

    I disagree with the apparent idea that encouraging others, in a healthy, supportive way, to make healthy decisions, is “bad” or “shaming”.

  125. Shoshie
    Shoshie January 20, 2012 at 4:03 pm |

    Also, I never actually accused you of calling fat people gross. I used it in my parody of a fat shamer based off of things that you had said. Pff.

    And I made fun of you after, fairly politely, explaining why your statements were problematic. So, um, yes.

    But please, dance some more. It’s good exercise for you.

  126. Drew
    Drew January 20, 2012 at 4:04 pm |

    I dont think you and I disagree as much as it seems, Soshie. I dont think fat people are “gross” or “disgusting” or that they need to “disappear”.

    I don’t think fat people “need to lose weight” or “should lose weight because I dont want to look at them”. I don’t think people should be shamed for their weight or their choices.

    I do know from experience, and have seen with others, that making healthy choices leads to a host of health benefits. I’ve seen convincing enough evidence that behaviors that lead to obesity are also linked to health problems.

    I think a step in the right direction is to move away from the “You should do it because you hate yourself” model and more toward a “Vegetables taste good as hell” and “Exercise feels good” model.

  127. Shoshie
    Shoshie January 20, 2012 at 4:06 pm |

    I’m also sorry to have given the impression that I support those problematic narratives. I do not.

    Oh, and here’s a thought.

    Instead of:

    “I’m sorry that y’all got offended so easily over shit I said that was totally not problematic but w’evs.”

    Try:

    “I’m sorry to have said hurtful things that were uneducated and thinsplainy. Next time, I will try to listen when people tell me that I am being a privileged douchemonkey.”

  128. Drew
    Drew January 20, 2012 at 4:07 pm |

    Also, I never actually accused you of calling fat people gross. I used it in my parody of a fat shamer based off of things that you had said. Pff.

    And I made fun of you after, fairly politely, explaining why your statements were problematic. So, um, yes.

    But please, dance some more. It’s good exercise for you.

    Oh, so while you were having an argument with me, and saying that I was fat shaming, and then created a parody of a fat shamer, you weren’t accusing *me* of saying those things, only that those were things a fat shamer (which you accused me of being) would say.

    How could I be so silly as to think you were implying that *I* was saying those things.

    Like it or not, you put words in my mouth. I understand that this is a sensitive subject, and why you did it, but don’t try to backpedal now with this “I didn’t say *you* said it” BS.

  129. Shoshie
    Shoshie January 20, 2012 at 4:08 pm |

    behaviors that lead to obesity

    *facepalm*

  130. Shoshie
    Shoshie January 20, 2012 at 4:09 pm |

    I’m pretty sure you never said “saladsaladsalad” on this thread either.

  131. Shoshie
    Shoshie January 20, 2012 at 4:10 pm |

    And we weren’t having a debate. You were saying the same thing over and over again and ignoring everyone else’s arguments. That’s not a debate.

  132. IrishUp
    IrishUp January 20, 2012 at 4:13 pm |

    (supresses urge to go into Monty Python skit with Shoshie)

  133. Shoshie
    Shoshie January 20, 2012 at 4:18 pm |

    Ooooh, you know what else is gross (aside from celery and fat people)? SPAM!

    Though spam egg sausage and spam hasn’t got much spam in it.

  134. IrishUp
    IrishUp January 20, 2012 at 4:30 pm |

    I suppose spam spam bacon spam tomato and spam would be pretty healthy, if you ordered an extra side of tomato?

  135. Shoshie
    Shoshie January 20, 2012 at 4:34 pm |

    I don’t WANT any spam!

  136. Justamblingalong
    Justamblingalong January 20, 2012 at 5:14 pm |

    Oh, goodness!

    1) The question of whether being obese is healthy, and whether it should be morally stigmatized, are entirely separate. Conflating them, for any reason, is silly and misleading. You do not have to prove that fat is healthy in order to prove that we shouldn’t hate fat people.

    2) Being obese is demonstrably unhealthy, on average. A more obese population will, on average, die younger and have more medical complications, then an identical population which is less obese.

    3) Nobody (smart) is saying that there aren’t people who are fat and healthy, or that there are no people who are naturally fat. But there has been a quadrupling of obesity in the last thirty years, and that is clearly not the result of a massive coincidental spike in the number of naturally large people being born.

    4) Appeals to correlation as opposed to causation are only powerful if we don’t understand the mechanisms by which Cause X produces effect Y, and studies aren’t adequately controlled.

    5) The reason that this keeps getting brought up on fat-acceptance threads is that some people feel that stopping sizeism also means denying any health risks of fatness.

    6) Once people become fat, it’s almost impossible to reverse the process, which is why diets are generally awful ideas. That’s why childhood nutrition is so important (Bunny: no, trying to reduce childhood obesity does not mean putting children on diets).

    7) Even if we disagree on all of the above, hopefully we can agree that programs which make nutritious food more available, keep children physically active in school, and reduce the amount of absolute junk that goes into our foods (say, massive corn subsidies) are good things, and that fat-shaming is a bad thing, and build our coalition around that.

  137. IrishUp
    IrishUp January 20, 2012 at 5:43 pm |

    JAA
    1. Agree
    2. Nope, <4/5 "obese" people have medical sequalae associated with obesity. <20% is a far cry from average.
    3. The vast majority of the alleged "quadrupleing" happened when the BMI standards were arbitrarily lowered ca. 1998, IIRC.
    4. Zuh? Not sure which you are arguing, but for the record, there is precious little evidence that *high BMI by itself* CAUSES $_Bad Health Effect X.
    5. If we all ignored the "health risks of fatness" the world would be a MUCH HEALTHIER AND HAPPIER PLACE.
    6. More bullshit. Nutrition is important for everyone. Nutrition is how our bodies carry on th process of life. No evidence whatsoever that making children miserable helps anything. Emerging evidence that focusing health talks on children is leading to earlier onset of EDs though. Also increasing the bulying and shaming of children, and their parents (read mom's who of course it's their fault).
    7. Well, it depends. If I disagree with the above – which I do, because it's misinformed and largely unsubstantiated – it's likely that anyone agreeing with the above will propose misguided solutions. For one thing, systemic issues (food production and distribution in the US and globally) should not be treated as a problem solvable by individual "health" behavior. Also, if one agrees with points 2 – 6, you will be contributing to fat shaming, despite your best intentions.

    And now, a message from the Swedish Prime Minister…….

  138. outrageandsprinkles
    outrageandsprinkles January 20, 2012 at 5:55 pm |

    Oooh, ooh, I wanna play I wanna play! I mean, since we’re all talking about fat people and I am a very, very fat person, I think it’s my turn. So! My thoughts:

    1. Eating healthy FOR YOU is a good idea. By “for you”, I mean whatever is healthy for each individual. If you need more protein, eating more protein is good. If you need a steady stream of fruit and veg to feel lively and energetic, go for the fruit and the veg. As has been stated already, some foods may be inherently healthy (like, say, green leaf lettuce) but that doesn’t mean green leaf lettuce is the best choice every single time I get hungry. I, personally, do best with a mixed diet of fats and proteins to keep me full, with veggies to get those nice vitamins and whatnot. But basically I eat what I want.

    2. Being physically active is also a good idea! Regular, moderate hysical activity has been shown to produce positive results REGARDLESS OF WEIGHT. If you are able to be physically active, go for it, and if you WANT TO BE, go for it.

    3. NONE OF THESE CHOICES MAKE ONE PERSON BETTER THAN ANOTHER. Not everyone who wants to eat salad all the time can afford to. Not everyone who wants to exercise is physically able to. Not everyone who can afford tons of veggies and lean proteins wants to eat those things. Not everyone who is able to exercise really wants to. We don’t HAVE to do these things. No choice is morally superior. And shaming people for supposed unhealthy habits gets REALLY fucked up when you start unintentionally shaming people who don’t really have a choice.

    At the end of the day, I will always agree that a healthy (for you) diet and moderate physical activity are good things, because that seems like a given. But I will never, ever argue that doing those things is the “right” choice and not doing them is “wrong”. As a really fat, fat fatty, I’m sick of being shamed for eating a cheeseburger. Fuck that noise.

    And I’m out! Huge thanks to everyone who has been arguing so fantastically against fat shaming.

  139. outrageandsprinkles
    outrageandsprinkles January 20, 2012 at 5:55 pm |

    Oooh, ooh, I wanna play I wanna play! I mean, since we’re all talking about fat people and I am a very, very fat person, I think it’s my turn. So! My thoughts:

    1. Eating healthy FOR YOU is a good idea. By “for you”, I mean whatever is healthy for each individual. If you need more protein, eating more protein is good. If you need a steady stream of fruit and veg to feel lively and energetic, go for the fruit and the veg. As has been stated already, some foods may be inherently healthy (like, say, green leaf lettuce) but that doesn’t mean green leaf lettuce is the best choice every single time I get hungry. I, personally, do best with a mixed diet of fats and proteins to keep me full, with veggies to get those nice vitamins and whatnot. But basically I eat what I want.

    2. Being physically active is also a good idea! Regular, moderate hysical activity has been shown to produce positive results REGARDLESS OF WEIGHT. If you are able to be physically active, go for it, and if you WANT TO BE, go for it.

    3. NONE OF THESE CHOICES MAKE ONE PERSON BETTER THAN ANOTHER. Not everyone who wants to eat salad all the time can afford to. Not everyone who wants to exercise is physically able to. Not everyone who can afford tons of veggies and lean proteins wants to eat those things. Not everyone who is able to exercise really wants to. We don’t HAVE to do these things. No choice is morally superior. And shaming people for supposed unhealthy habits gets REALLY fucked up when you start unintentionally shaming people who don’t really have a choice.

    At the end of the day, I will always agree that a healthy (for you) diet and moderate physical activity are good things, because that seems like a given. But I will never, ever argue that doing those things is the “right” choice and not doing them is “wrong”. As a really fat, fat fatty, I’m sick of being shamed for eating a cheeseburger. Fuck that noise.

    And I’m out! Huge thanks to everyone who has been arguing so fantastically against fat shaming.

  140. outrageandsprinkles
    outrageandsprinkles January 20, 2012 at 5:57 pm |

    Also, Shoshie, I think I love you.

    Ok, NOW I’m out!

  141. outrageandsprinkles
    outrageandsprinkles January 20, 2012 at 6:03 pm |

    Oh hey, I just read comment 86, so one last time:

    Nobody SHOULD do anything. In my first comment I said that eating healthy and being active were good things. However, nobody SHOULD do them. People SHOULD do what they can and want in regards to their own bodies.

  142. Bunny
    Bunny January 20, 2012 at 6:13 pm |

    So can we maybe go back to the point I made some time ago and that seems to have been forgotten?

    That WE ALREADY HEAR THAT EVERY SINGLE TIME ANYONE MENTIONS FAT IN EVEN THE MOST PASSING MANNER. There has not been one single time (outside of the now inactive Shapely Prose) where I have been able to have a conversation with people about the problems with fat-shaming, with the unrealistic expectations of dieting and with the overall negative effect that this mindset has on the human race that hasn’t immediately been derailed by someone deciding that, y’know, just to be sure, they should probably edumacate us that fat is bad.

    As I said above, even if it is true, and the medical evidence is far from conclusive, we know that 95% of people will either fail to sustain weight loss or will end up fatter as a result of dieting. Every single time a diet has been tested under medical conditions it has failed to show weight loss sustained for the five year minimum required for the WHO, or has cut the test short (say three years) and declared victory despite participants already showing signs of the five-year-failure curve seen over and over again.

    We know that there are many, many restrictions on a person’s ability to access “healthy food”, and that what defines healthy food is different for everyone. Doubt that? Then why are there dozens of different diets designed to engineer weight loss? As it is, we’ve got vegans telling people that meat and dairy and fat are the cause of all obesity and heart disease, and paleos saying that meat and fat are good and carbohydrates are the source of all evil. And both groups are able to wave their hands at vegans and paleos who are perfectly healthy. If healthy food was a known, easily defined thing, there would only be one diet.

    We also know that there are many things which can restrict a person’s ability to exercise. Almost every single person on the planet will, at one time or other, experience disability. Some temporarily, in the case of a broken bone. Others long-term or permanently. And that is even assuming that the average person in the West, working 40+ hours a day, doing the housework, feeding and bathing and assisting homework with their kids has the time and physical space and money to access exercise. And, after doing all that, the energy to do so.

    We also know that the constant pressure put on people to worry about weight has led to people forgetting that weight and health are not the same thing. Several of us above cited examples in our own lives where people we knew had very strange ideas of what constitutes “bad” food.

    Here is a fact for you. If every person in the world was given access to enough food, to a wide variety of food, and the time to prepare healthy (according to their needs) meals. If everyone was given access to forms of exercise that suit their needs, and the time to do them, you would see a massive global improvement of health. This would happen even if not one single one of those people lost a lb of weight. Every study that has monitored health against these things has found that health indicators improve even when weight stays the same or increases.

    Given all of this, when people repeatedly chime in with the “fat is bad” rhetoric, they are not helping one single person. They are not educating one single person. They are not saving one single person. They are, in fact, making the situation worse.

    So if you really care about people’s health, shut the fuck up about the size of their bodies.

  143. Justamblingalong
    Justamblingalong January 20, 2012 at 6:29 pm |

    Also, if one agrees with points 2 – 6, you will be contributing to fat shaming, despite your best intentions.

    No, see, that’s bullshit. See point 1). Saying condition X is a health risk is not the same as shaming people for having condition X.

    Nope, <4/5 "obese" people have medical sequalae associated with obesity. <20% is a far cry from average.

    Hint: that’s not how averages work. The fact that obese people die at a younger average age does not mean that the average obese person dies at a younger age.

    If we all ignored the “health risks of fatness” the world would be a MUCH HEALTHIER AND HAPPIER PLACE.

    Well, the world (or at least the US) has been getting progressively less healthy as a result of increased fatness, so no, I don’t think it would.

    More bullshit. Nutrition is important for everyone. Nutrition is how our bodies carry on th process of life. No evidence whatsoever that making children miserable helps anything.

    You’re seriously arguing that we shouldn’t try to make healthy food available to kids because they might not like the taste of broccoli? And yeah, there’s actually a good deal evidence that children who regularly eat fruits and vegetables do better in school, and are healthier, than those who don’t.

    NONE OF THESE CHOICES MAKE ONE PERSON BETTER THAN ANOTHER.

    Agreed!

    This whole conversation reminds me faintly of arguments with religious folk. As such, I’m going to peace, because once someone decides to privilege ideology over observed reality, debate becomes pointless. The bottom line: being obese carries roughly the same level of risk as smoking. The thing that’s getting missed is that this fact comes with no moral component, whatsoever.

  144. Justamblingalong
    Justamblingalong January 20, 2012 at 6:29 pm |

    Also, if one agrees with points 2 – 6, you will be contributing to fat shaming, despite your best intentions.

    No, see, that’s bullshit. See point 1). Saying condition X is a health risk is not the same as shaming people for having condition X.

    Nope, <4/5 "obese" people have medical sequalae associated with obesity. <20% is a far cry from average.

    Hint: that’s not how averages work. The fact that obese people die at a younger average age does not mean that the average obese person dies at a younger age.

    If we all ignored the “health risks of fatness” the world would be a MUCH HEALTHIER AND HAPPIER PLACE.

    Well, the world (or at least the US) has been getting progressively less healthy as a result of increased fatness, so no, I don’t think it would.

    More bullshit. Nutrition is important for everyone. Nutrition is how our bodies carry on th process of life. No evidence whatsoever that making children miserable helps anything.

    You’re seriously arguing that we shouldn’t try to make healthy food available to kids because they might not like the taste of broccoli? And yeah, there’s actually a good deal evidence that children who regularly eat fruits and vegetables do better in school, and are healthier, than those who don’t.

    NONE OF THESE CHOICES MAKE ONE PERSON BETTER THAN ANOTHER.

    Agreed!

    This whole conversation reminds me faintly of arguments with religious folk. As such, I’m going to peace, because once someone decides to privilege ideology over observed reality, debate becomes pointless. The bottom line: being obese carries roughly the same level of risk as smoking. The thing that’s getting missed is that this fact comes with no moral component, whatsoever.

  145. LotusBen
    LotusBen January 20, 2012 at 6:34 pm |

    I love the pro-Frosty and french fries sentiment (although I’m not much of a Wendy’s fan personally, and dipping french fries in a milkshake. . .well, maybe, I’ve never tried that before though). But like, why this obsession with being “healthy”? The biggest thing you can do for you health is reducing your stress level, and the best way to do that and be generally relaxed and happy is doing what you want in life.

    For example, I like to drink and use drugs. I don’t do it because I believe it increases my longevity or decreases my risk of diabetes. I do it because it’s fun. Why should food be any different? It seems like getting pleasure out of eating should be a primary consideration, but it often gets ignored in conversations about what people “should” eat.

  146. Bunny
    Bunny January 20, 2012 at 6:39 pm |

    You’re seriously arguing that we shouldn’t try to make healthy food available to kids because they might not like the taste of broccoli? And yeah, there’s actually a good deal evidence that children who regularly eat fruits and vegetables do better in school, and are healthier, than those who don’t.

    I fucking loved broccoli as a kid. And brussel sprouts. And cabbage. And carrots. And peas. And virtually every vegetable offered to me. I was still fucking miserable when someone put a plate of salad in front of me with an expectant look. Because the veggies did not exist in a vacuum. They were offered to me along with a constant background radiation of shame about food, about admitting to hunger, about my size and shape and whether I was pretty enough, and teasing in school about my weight (which, during puberty, became comments about me being “too fugly to rape”) that was only supported by the sympethic response of “oh that’s cruel of them, let’s put you on a diet!”.

    Before the first time I was put on a diet, I was a pretty happy kid, food-wise. Healthy, too. I was fat, but I ate the decent, veg-rich meals made for me, didn’t feel any particular need to snack and while I liked dessert, I never expected to get it or felt bad if it wasn’t offered. We were never really dessert people, anyway. After my first diet, I started sneaking into the kitchen at night to steal cheese from the fridge, because I was so fucking hungry but afraid to admit it because I’d been taught that admitting hunger made me a weak,greedy person.

    For the last bloody time, it isn’t the food. It’s the attitude that accompanies it.

  147. IrishUp
    IrishUp January 20, 2012 at 7:25 pm |

    Hey JAA -
    I have command of my fund of knowledge here. You, OTOH, have some shit to read up on and work out. Also learn to logic.

    Because bottom line? Fucking NO.

    And Bunny – a tray of comfy things for you.

  148. Shoshie
    Shoshie January 20, 2012 at 7:26 pm |

    Some facts:

    1. There is likely a correlation between fatness and mortality.
    2. The source of this correlation is unknown. It could be due to the stress of oppression. It could be due to medical discrimination. It could be due to a link with depression or other mental health disorders. We don’t know. EMPHASIS: We do not know why there is a correlation between fatness and mortality.
    3. Acting as though there is a causative relationship between fatness and higher mortality is very harmful to fat people. It causes discrimination, poorer medical care, weight-loss dieting (known to be harmful), and eating disorders.
    4. Access to nutritious foods and venues for physical activity is universally valuable, independent of size.

    With these facts in hand, why does it make sense to put so much emphasis on fatness when we talk about nutrition and activity? As Lesley Kinzel said, if you have a choice between giving an inspiring speech and giving an inspiring speech while throwing knives at the audience, wouldn’t you opt for the former?

    If we can promote access to nutritious foods and venues for physical activity without actively harming part of our population why wouldn’t we?

    In my honest opinion, as a fat woman who grew up as a fat child and has suffered a whole bunch due to her size, the best way to promote nutritious food and physical activity is through a HAES approach, not an Obesity Epidemic approach. They have the same goals, but one is far less destructive than the other.

    Caperton- Funny video!

  149. groggette
    groggette January 20, 2012 at 7:44 pm |

    I’m suddenly reminded of the time I went to my (now former) doctor and in the course of my visit she congratulated me on my weight loss and told me to keep up whatever I was doing. I just stood there, mouth agape (and I think that might have been the last time I went to her) because the reason I went in to see here that day? I had been vomiting near constantly for the previous 2 weeks and not able to hold much of anything past tea or chicken broth down.

    Yep she sure was concerned about my health and knew that the real reason I was sick was because of my fat.

  150. Jadey
    Jadey January 20, 2012 at 7:49 pm |

    I have this theory that people who get pissed off at fat activists for being “ideological” because we refuse to capitulate to their flawed reasoning are also people who suspect that most fat activists are really just poor disillusioned saps looking for validation for our brownie binge cravings and that’s why we cling to our wacky crank peer-reviewed research findings.

    Which is not to say that fat activism and fat acceptance is a perfect movement with no flaws ever. LORD NO. But I have a reason for my brownie binge and it is that I like brownies. I don’t need a research study to validate that. But brownies also don’t impede my ability to review scientific findings critically. (Well, unless they are special brownies.)

    Shoshie, IrishUp, Bunny, Emolee, and everyone else who pitched in – you guys are awesome. And the poptarts are on me!

  151. Bunny
    Bunny January 20, 2012 at 8:16 pm |

    groggette, I wish I could say that was shocking, but sadly I’m not surprised.

    I remember the time a torn muscle in my back that resulted in me being immobile from the hips up, save one arm, was diagnosed as “you’re too fat, which is why your back hurts”. Later correctly diagnosed and fixed by a physiotherapist who, unlike the doctor, actually examined my back.

    And the time I went in with a persistent chest infection having had 2 a year ever since my tonsils were removed… and was asked to get on the scales, prove I could touch my toes and describe my diet. When I eventually got tired of this and asked if they were going to look into the chest infection I was told that “we don’t do tests on you having a cough unless it lasts at least three weeks. So about your weight…”

    *hugs* to you if you accept them.

  152. Fenriswolf
    Fenriswolf January 20, 2012 at 9:58 pm |

    Oh I’m probably going to regret this, especially since I only got 3/4 of the way through this thread – but you seem genuine Drew. Apologies if this is no longer relevant. :P

    Seriously mate, if you understand what it was like to be the “fat kid” well before the “obesity epidemic” rhetoric picked up, you should have some idea of why people get shitty at bland statements like “salads are better than McDonalds!”

    Like… no shit. Most of the time, that very specific example is true. But: what relevance does it have? It only makes sense in this context if you’re trying to imply that fat people make the “worse” choice more often than not or are too stupid to make educated food choices. No matter what you think you were saying.

    You need to really think about the reality of the strong script of fat = bad. So every time in a discussion about weight and health and you’re nodding along and throw that out there and people are like “yeah!” what a hell of a lot people are actually saying is “yeah! Why do fat people eat crap all the time?”

    I agree there should be more initiatives to help access fresh, whole foods. I agree there should be a push for employers to HAVE to support a work life balance where people have the physical and psychological energy to do anything other than work-eat-deal with house/kids-sleep.

    But even if there was, if we continue to have this virulently fat shaming culture very little will change because people still think if you’re not fat you’re not unhealthy and everything a fat person does puts them under scrutiny. People have to want to eat food that makes them feel good because it helps them have energy and joy in their life – eating food you don’t enjoy to “fix” your body is not a healthy choice.

  153. Drew
    Drew January 20, 2012 at 10:18 pm |

    Shoshie 1.20.2012 at 4:10 pm | Permalink
    And we weren’t having a debate. You were saying the same thing over and over again and ignoring everyone else’s arguments. That’s not a debate.

    Um. Did you see the part where I admitted that I had spoken my position incorrectly, and said Mea Culpa?

    Or where I responded to the arguments that certain foods are not always healthier than other foods (when I said that those instances are in the minority)?

    You have no grounds to say that I’ve “ignored everyone elses arguments”.

  154. Drew
    Drew January 20, 2012 at 10:23 pm |

    Seriously mate, if you understand what it was like to be the “fat kid” well before the “obesity epidemic” rhetoric picked up, you should have some idea of why people get shitty at bland statements like “salads are better than McDonalds!”

    Like… no shit.

    Uh, okay. If the statement is true (or, as Caperton would say, an “obvious truism”), then, uh, why the fuck is everybody tripping all over themselves to tell me that its SO NOT TRUE?

    Its insane. Half the people here are screaming that its *SO* wrong to say vegetables > fast food (because Crohns! because red meat! because endocrine disorder!… by the way, 1.5 million people would be roughly .5% percent of the population. Yes. One half of one percent of the population is a minority).

    So what I said is offensive because its not true, and its also offensive because its so true that its obvious. The fuck.

  155. Drew
    Drew January 20, 2012 at 10:29 pm |

    It only makes sense in this context if you’re trying to imply that fat people make the “worse” choice more often than not or are too stupid to make educated food choices.

    Or it means that people often make the nutritionally “worse” choice for other, perfectly reasonable motives. Or it means that we live in a society where people are encouraged to make the nutritionally “worse” choice. Or it means that people often make the nutritionally “worse” choice because they associate vegetables with self hatred and misery.

    For you to say that what I said can *only* make sense in this one way (which pins me as a bigoted sizeist) is unfair.

  156. Bunny
    Bunny January 20, 2012 at 10:47 pm |

    How about the fact that a fuck load of us do not make the “nutritionally worse” choice and are still fat. Not to mention that you are still equating a burger with “nutritionally worse”. If you’ve got someone on a low income, for whom getting enough food is an issue (and you may be shocked to learn how very many people in our supposedly rich Western world face that daily) then the salad is “nutritionally worse”. Because you’re not going to get anywhere near the calorie density you need for the day with the sort of salads available within the same price range.

    The reason people are debating your point that the burger may be a worse choice is because you are equating superior nutrition with less nutrition. And the reason other people are saying that your comment is an “obvious truism” is that you’re fucking up on so many points that it is becoming necessary to go pre-101 with you and start with the “if we concede X for the time being, Y still does not hold true because…”

    Again, I would ask. What positive effect do you believe it will have to repeat the mantra fat=bad at everyone? Do you think no one here has heard it before? That everyone here is just too stupid to get it? What outcome are you expecting to achieve with this? Because someone brings it up every time any discussion of fat comes up and it never seems aimed at actually achieving anything.

  157. Cara
    Cara January 21, 2012 at 1:00 am |

    just that a lot of people seem to fall into the mindset of “Yeah, I’d go to the gym and eat better, but I’m not going to look like a model, so whats the point?”

    It’s more likely that they fall into the mindset of, “No matter what I do some jackass is going to just assume things about my mindset and make up stories in their own heads about what I’m really eating and how much I’m really exercising–that is, if they’re not making cow noises at me while I’m jogging on the street.”

  158. Cara
    Cara January 21, 2012 at 3:09 am |

    We know that the vast majority of people who are fat are not simply larger people. Behavioral and environmental factors are responsible for most obesity; we know this because the obesity rate has quadrupled in the last thirty years. 3/4 of Americans are overweight, and the medical costs of this phenomenon have surpassed those of smoking. As such, I think it’s entirely appropriate to discuss ways to reduce the obesity epidemic- ways that don’t rely on body-shaming or fat hatred, which isn’t effective even if it was ethical, and ways that aren’t coercive. Making healthy food cheaper and more easily available, for example, has been shown to be highly effective at controlling weight gain. Getting people to stop ‘fad dieting’ helps too; most types of diet will, in the long run, make you fatter. And of course, some people simply are going to be fat no matter what they eat, and that has to be recognized too.

    None of the above “we know” is really a fact, you know. We don’t “know” jack about why some people gain, some lose, some can’t gain, some stay fat, some lose under stress and regain, some gain under stress and lose it again. We DON’T know.

    And, as always, minding our own flipping business instead of spouting “We have to DOOOO SOMETHING!!! FAT FAT OBESITY OMG!!” must not be an option.

  159. Cara
    Cara January 21, 2012 at 3:16 am |

    Encouraging someone to get a gym membership seems to sound, to many, like “Yes, you are fat and disgusting, now get your ass in there and make yourself acceptable to me”. When it can also, in as many cases, be “You should do it because you’ll feel good, sleep better, have more energy, etc”.

    Actually, Drew, I think what people are saying to you is that you have no business encouraging, commenting on, or, indeed, giving the slightest bit of thought to what any adult person eats or whether they have a gym membership. Because it’s not your business.

  160. matlun
    matlun January 21, 2012 at 4:54 am |

    I am not sure why there is such a focus on Big Mac vs salad. When we are talking about obesity, it is the total caloric intake that is the issue and not the amount of vitamins you consume.

    In fact, a Big Mac is a fairly good meal. The fries and the soft drink are less so.

    @Caperton: I would say that “exercise and healthy food” is good for everyone. It is just that the food and type of exercise that is healthy for the individual person may vary. And “healthy food” of course most critically includes considering the amount of food as well as the type.

  161. Drew
    Drew January 21, 2012 at 5:05 am |

    Caperton – I’ve done a bit of thinking, and you’re right. What I was saying was overly simplistic.

    I’m sorry for letting frustration cause me to debate so badly.

  162. tmc
    tmc January 21, 2012 at 11:01 am |

    I love food. Eating to me is a divine experience, one that I take full pleasure in doing. I loved food when I was a super skinny teenager and I still love food now as an overweight adult. The entire concept of dieting has never made any sense to me; just as I don’t abstain from sex because it feels good and I like to do it, I don’t abstain from food that tastes good and that I like to eat. In fact, if I had to choose between abstaining from sex and abstaining from the food that I like for the rest of my life – I would absolutely rather have the food.

    Unfortunately a lot of my friends are all wrapped up in dieting and food guilt and all of that stuff. When we have lunch together, they lament over every bite of food that they raise to their lips, while I just enjoy the sensuality of my meal. I don’t comment on their diets even if I think it’s silly because I think it would be rude – with one exception: when one of my friends announced that she was going to limit herself to 500 calories a day, I pleaded with her to rethink it because I was genuinely afraid for her life. I may have crossed a line but I just couldn’t bring myself to smile and nod like I usually do when she talks about her dieting habits.

    I’m overweight and I am training for my first triathlon later this year, so I eat what my body and mind demand. Sometimes I crave sugary or fatty comfort food; sometimes I need lots of carbs; sometimes I need more protein than anything else; sometimes I can’t rest until I’ve eaten a gigantic salad. I just let my body tell me what it wants, and sometimes those things aren’t “health food,” sometimes it’s Rocky Road ice cream or bread pudding with strawberry sauce or all of the skin off a rotisserie chicken.

    It’s working for me so far. I haven’t lost any weight, but I have the energy I need to sustain me through my training, I’m sleeping pretty well these days, and in general I just feel stronger than I ever have in the entirety of my life. My doctor is going to tsk-tsk me for not losing 20 pounds this year like she commanded me to (“You’re completely healthy, except you’re in danger of becoming OBEEEEESE which is BAAAAAD”), but really, I don’t give a fuck. I FEEL good, I run at least one local race every month, I can ride my bike the ten miles to work if my car doesn’t start Monday morning, I can keep up with my toddler when she’s bouncing off the walls. In every measure of life that matters to me, I am doing GREAT. I genuinely cannot be bothered to give a fuck about the number that shows up on the scales.

    And I’ll be honest – I secretly don’t really want to lose the weight that I’ve gained over the last decade because then I’d have to compete in my age division instead of the weight division in my races. Being able to compete in the Athena division (women over 150 pounds) helps my ranking significantly because I am a slooooow athlete. I wouldn’t do anything to deliberately stay over 150 pounds (deliberate weight gain is just as unappealing to me as deliberate weight loss), but I’m grateful that my body’s set weight point seems to have planted me there.

    I have tons of privilege that allows me to eat and exercise the way that I do. I don’t mention any of this for the purposes of prescribing anything to anybody, because it won’t bring joy to everybody the way that it brings joy to me, not everyone has the privilege to focus on those things that bring them such joy, and it’s none of my business what anyone else does anyway. My point (I guess?) is that I found what works for my mind and body, some of which aligns with the conventional wisdom about what you “should” do, and some of which does not. I am an individual and I had to find, through lots of trial and error, what makes me feel good. All of the obesity scaremongering and fat shaming in the world isn’t going to change what ACTUALLY works for me, so you know what? I’m just going to do what’s right for me and thumb my nose at the rest.

  163. tmc
    tmc January 21, 2012 at 11:13 am |

    And one more thing on privilege: I had thin privilege for 90% of my life. I’ve only been fat for a few years, ever since the birth of my child, and there’s a lot of internalized bullshit that I’m still dealing with. One thing that I’ve had in common in my experience as a thin person and as a fat person is that healthcare providers DO NOT LISTEN. When I was skinny and complained of health ailments (I had dizzy spells all the time), my concerns were blown off because I was skinny and young and HAD to be healthy right? And now that I’m fat, my health concerns are blown off because I’m fat, so obviously the problem is my fatness. What the fuck.

  164. Drew
    Drew January 21, 2012 at 2:41 pm |

    I don’t comment on their diets even if I think it’s silly because I think it would be rude – with one exception: when one of my friends announced that she was going to limit herself to 500 calories a day, I pleaded with her to rethink it because I was genuinely afraid for her life. I may have crossed a line but I just couldn’t bring myself to smile and nod like I usually do when she talks about her dieting habits.

    I don’t think you were in the wrong for showing concern for another person. I’ve found this thread frustrating because, well, imagine that you said something out of genuine compassion, and you were told that you were “thin shaming” and “body policing” and “judging” and “a sizeist”.

    Actually, Drew, I think what people are saying to you is that you have no business encouraging, commenting on, or, indeed, giving the slightest bit of thought to what any adult person eats or whether they have a gym membership. Because it’s not your business.

    Okay, but I also think people should engage in destressing measures (meditation, yoga, breathing, just doing something you enjoy). I think people should try to get a decent nights sleep. I think people should be free to show and recieve love and affection. I think people should be free to have sex without guilt or shame. Of course, I’m using “should” as in “This is good, and is a good idea”.

    None of those other areas of a persons life are “My business”. Would you (or they) be as upset if I said I encourage people to destress?

  165. matlun
    matlun January 21, 2012 at 3:28 pm |

    @Caperton: I disagree that it is that complicated in practice. True, finding the absolutely optimal diet for yourself is very difficult but that is not that important. Simply not having obviously unhealthy habits goes a long way.

  166. librarygoose
    librarygoose January 21, 2012 at 3:52 pm |

    Would you (or they) be as upset if I said I encourage people to destress?

    I would. I hate unsolicited advice when I am stressed, it just stresses me more.

  167. Drew
    Drew January 21, 2012 at 3:55 pm |

    I would. I hate unsolicited advice when I am stressed, it just stresses me more.

    Okay, fair enough.

  168. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable January 21, 2012 at 4:02 pm |

    Drew, comparing fat-shaming to “thin-shaming” removes all of the existing contexts in society.

    librarygoose @169 – omg that x 20! It’s not that it makes me stress more, but it makes me angry, which doesn’t help the stress any. Like, OH. DE-STRESS. I never would have come up with that solution were it not for x person’s helpful suggestion.

    Unrelated, but it’s amazing how much misinformation there is around healthy eating. For instance, those 3-4 dollar naked juice smoothies? I had one the other day that had no sugar added and was made of pomegranates, blueberries, apples, and grapes. And a shit ton, too, according to the label. Explain to me how there was 0% of my daily Vitamin C intake in that bottle. Literally the only reason I’ve had that shit (a bottle is 300 calories but I justified it because I’m vitamin deficient), and it had no Vitamin C. I didn’t even think to look, because it should have been obvious.

  169. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable January 21, 2012 at 4:03 pm |

    Ahh, trigger warning on the last comment. I suppose the calorie-justifying thing is pretty shitty that I don’t wish on anyone.

  170. igglanova
    igglanova January 21, 2012 at 4:11 pm |

    Okay, but I also think people should engage in destressing measures (meditation, yoga, breathing, just doing something you enjoy). I think people should try to get a decent nights sleep. I think people should be free to show and recieve love and affection. I think people should be free to have sex without guilt or shame. Of course, I’m using “should” as in “This is good, and is a good idea”.

    There is actually an essential difference between your first two statements and the latter two. The first two attempt to dictate a person’s behaviour while the others declare your belief in people’s freedom from such prescription.

    On a personal level, few things irritate me more than people’s oh-so-helpful suggestions that I try to get a good night’s sleep more often. I have struggled with insomnia and disordered sleep for close to a decade, along with the predictable chaos that has wrought upon my personal life and education. It is not as easy to just get into a better sleep schedule as people like to think. Circadian rhythms and the like are biological processes over which people have uncomfortably little control.

    None of this invalidates that fact that a good night’s sleep (and healthy eating, and exercise, etc.) is good for people. But the language of ‘should’ suggests an imperative. It does not simply mean ‘this is a good thing to do,’ even if you try to assert this definition upon it. If you think people are wrongly perceiving your ideas because you use the language of imperative, then the blame lies on you, actually, and not with them. We judge you by the words you choose because they are the only things we can see. It’s how the written language works, folks.

  171. Drew
    Drew January 21, 2012 at 4:25 pm |

    If you think people are wrongly perceiving your ideas because you use the language of imperative, then the blame lies on you, actually, and not with them.

    True. Comment 104.

    We judge you by the words you choose because they are the only things we can see.

    This is funny, coming from you, who, on the FGM thread, ignored the part where I qualified that I was asking a question sincerely and responded as though I was asking the question sarcastically.

  172. Azalea
    Azalea January 21, 2012 at 4:37 pm |

    Can we agree that being fat is not some horrible thing?

    Can we also agree that some foods are indeed healthier than others?

    Im not going to give a speech about eating right and exercising because I will go to a restaurant order my dessert with drinks, get an appetizer then have an entree that I more than lkely wont finish to save room for more dessert. Why? Because I’m an adult and I can do what I want but I would never in a million years allow my kids to do the same thing while the are minors.

    I have an uncle with GI problems stemming from all of the processed foods he ate as a kid. Serious GI problems. Diabetes run on my side and my husband’s side. I am far less concerned about my children’s weight (I’ve posted before about loving having “chubby little cherubs”) than I am about making sure they get their daily value of vitamins and minerals that so many black and hispanic children don’t get to help with their overall health.

  173. LotusBen
    LotusBen January 21, 2012 at 4:37 pm |

    People after my own heart. There’s few things in the world I hate more than unsolicited advice. It’s like, I’m already doing fine living my life, thanks.

  174. Drew
    Drew January 21, 2012 at 4:44 pm |

    Can we agree that being fat is not some horrible thing?

    Yes. A persons weight is no reflection of their character.

    Can we also agree that some foods are indeed healthier than others?

    Doubt it. If you say wild alaskan salmon is healthier than ben&jerrys ice cream, somebody is going to come up with a scenario where Phish Phood is a better choice than actual fish. Don’t bother.

  175. Dao
    Dao January 21, 2012 at 5:09 pm |

    Doubt it. If you say wild alaskan salmon is healthier than ben&jerrys ice cream, somebody is going to come up with a scenario where Phish Phood is a better choice than actual fish. Don’t bother.

    You’re still missing the point after all this time…

  176. Tony_
    Tony_ January 21, 2012 at 5:09 pm |

    Just popping in to say this video has 1.8 million views since January 9 on YouTube. Good going, Jesse.

  177. Katie
    Katie January 21, 2012 at 5:10 pm |

    None of those other areas of a persons life are “My business”. Would you (or they) be as upset if I said I encourage people to destress?

    Every person who has ever said that to me has been covertly saying one of the following:

    1) your health problems are all in your head
    2) your sleepiness is really your own fault (I’m narcoleptic!!!)
    3) your depression symptoms are interfering with things I want/need from you
    4) stop being a baby, everyone has these problems (because depression, migraines, and narcolepsy don’t “count” since everyone gets sad, sore, and tired)
    5) Implied, you are too stupid to figure out that stress = bad

    So a big fuck you to everyone who ever has or will pull that shit.

  178. Drew
    Drew January 21, 2012 at 5:15 pm |

    Katie: Is there some chance some of those people made a suggestion without any of the aforementioned motives?

    Like it or not, what you’re doing (by claiming to know the “covert message” in every instance) is claiming to be able to read other peoples minds.

  179. Vi
    Vi January 21, 2012 at 5:18 pm |

    The use of “race” (i.e. “adjust your race”) when the videomaker actually means “skin color” gives me occasion for pause.

  180. Jadey
    Jadey January 21, 2012 at 5:27 pm |

    “Health”, as a concept, is relative and contextual and too broad to be applied in a general way to a specific situation. So one food option can be healthier than another within a given context, but not in an absolute way. It just doesn’t make sense – it would require an overly narrow and inadequate definition of “health”.

    Michelle really has said it all already.

    Which of course in no way negates people figuring out what’s healthy for them at any given time and making decisions based on that. It just challenges the received wisdom that one stranger can confidently tell another stranger what they should be putting in their mouth and when. I’m still staggered by how offended some people are by what seems to me to be a fairly straightforward and relatively inoffensive concept.

    (Also, given the state of Alaskan wild salmon what with the spread of disease and sea lice from the farmed populations, you probably could have picked a better example. But at least it’s not salad.)

  181. Jadey
    Jadey January 21, 2012 at 5:33 pm |

    Oh for the love of concern trolling…

    INTENT IS NOT MAGIC. It doesn’t matter what you are thinking when you say something, it only matters what words you use (which you choose) and what context you use them in (which you cannot choose as much, but you can at least try to be aware of), because that is all we can interpret. *That* is what gives your utterances meaning and connotation, not what you think you mean. So consider how little yours or anyone else’s precious motives matter.

    Caperton, please ban him. Please tell me that this level of irritating nonsense and inability to let go and move on is ban-able. I am trying to ignore his comments, I swear, but is they are like a drug that only makes me feel bad and yet I CAN’T QUIT.

  182. Jadey
    Jadey January 21, 2012 at 5:35 pm |

    Vi @ 183

    Now that is an excellent point, re: skin colour /= race.

  183. Drew
    Drew January 21, 2012 at 5:47 pm |

    So there you go. A Big Mac better than a salad. Peanut butter better than a salad. Not-exercise better than exercise, even while struggling with dietary requirements. Are they outliers? Sure as hell. But they’re certainly not the only people in the world whose best practices defy conventional wisdom.

    Okay. I’ve already stated several times that some circumstances exist where the conventional wisdom does not apply. And, yes, I have exaggerated how much of a minority those instances are. I apologize for that.

    My point, since the beginning, has been “Just because some outlier cases exist where the conventional wisdom does not apply, it doesn’t mean its not still a good general idea.”

    So, I gave an example of a situation where the conventional wisdom DOES apply – and I was told I was sizeist, etc.

    I realize I’m starting to come across as some irrational ideologue who won’t accept reason, although I hope I’ve made it clear that I certainly acknowledge the value of healthy diet and exercise on a macro level. I mean, that part’s pretty basic. I’m not going to pretend that salmon isn’t more nutrient-rich than ice cream–again, basic. Would I be better off eating more veggies and fewer Frosty? Arguably. (Well, more veggies, anyway.) But any time the question of fat and health and obesity comes up, someone feels obliged to say, “Well, diet and exercise–I’m not sayin’, I’m just sayin’.” Yes, okay? You’re exactly right. Salad, not Big Macs; salmon, not ice cream; precisely; universally; now you’ve solved the world’s problems.

    I admit I’ve engaged in shitty debate tactics, but I think its equally unfair for you to pull this “Yes, you’ve solved everything, thank you so fucking much” routine.

    Yes, *generally* salad > big mac. *Generally* salmon > ice cream. Not “Always salad and nothing but salad ever” (as your “Drew-approved diet” remark seemed to indicate). Not “Never big mac, never ice cream, never fries in Frosty.”

    I sincerely apologize for coming off as saying anything like “Everyone should always choose a salad over a Big Mac.” That was not what I was saying, and I take responsibility for it.

  184. igglanova
    igglanova January 21, 2012 at 6:01 pm |

    This is funny, coming from you, who, on the FGM thread, ignored the part where I qualified that I was asking a question sincerely and responded as though I was asking the question sarcastically.

    Yah, you know why? Even when a person takes great pains to tell everyone he’s being sincere and not a concern-trolling twit, it doesn’t make his insistence at all credible. Holy shit, you mean people might be skeptical of a person who claims to have never heard of social pressures that influence women’s decision to get labiaplasty? Far out!

    Besides which, if you feel you have to use so many qualifiers explaining why what you’re saying is totally not what your words appear to mean, you should look into either 1. writing more clearly in the first place, or 2. cutting out the weaseling and bullshitting, if you’re actually doing this deliberately to cover your ass, and just feigning the offense of being misconstrued.

  185. Drew
    Drew January 21, 2012 at 6:18 pm |

    Yah, you know why? Even when a person takes great pains to tell everyone he’s being sincere and not a concern-trolling twit, it doesn’t make his insistence at all credible. Holy shit, you mean people might be skeptical of a person who claims to have never heard of social pressures that influence women’s decision to get labiaplasty? Far out!

    Besides which, if you feel you have to use so many qualifiers explaining why what you’re saying is totally not what your words appear to mean, you should look into either 1. writing more clearly in the first place, or 2. cutting out the weaseling and bullshitting, if you’re actually doing this deliberately to cover your ass, and just feigning the offense of being misconstrued.

    You’ve made it clear that you’re going to interpret anything I say in the least generous way possible, so I’m not going to continue on this. I will respectfully try not to engage you in the future.

  186. Bunny
    Bunny January 21, 2012 at 6:39 pm |

    Okay, first off Drew thank you for rethinking your argument, and I apologise if I blew up at you.

    Can I point out however that one of the points I’ve been making from the start is that…

    My point, since the beginning, has been “Just because some outlier cases exist where the conventional wisdom does not apply, it doesn’t mean its not still a good general idea.”

    Regardless of whether or not this might be correct, the conventional wisdom is also not useful. It isn’t helpful, and no one’s lives are enriched by being told that “healthy diet and exercise are good”, because as I already said, we’ve all been told this a thousand times over, again and again and again.

    And also because, regardless of what an accurate representation of that statement might be (by which I mean, you could say that “eating foods that are of the greatest benefit to your personal needs at the time and engaging in physical activity to a level that best suits your needs and lifestyle is good if you want to do that”), in the wider world no one uses it like that.

    We hear the unqualified phrase “healthy diet and exercise” all the time. At the same time, we get so much misinformation about “good” and “bad” food, about how fat people need to restrict their intake as much as is needed to initiate weight loss even if the only way to achieve that is to actively damage the body, about how calories and fat and sugar are somehow evil things. Remember that even if your intent is positive, neither you nor the person you speak to exists in a vacuum.

    When you say “healthy diet and exercise” to my mum (who I love to bits, and who is brilliant in almost every other way) she hears “eat one meal a day comprised almost entirely of carbohydrates, never eat nuts or drink fruit juice, avoid things with calories in”.

    My nan hears “you already eat a pescatarian, low-carb, very low fat and almost completely sugar-free diet but should still feel bad about your “forbidden pleasure” of the odd piece of cheese because it contains fat”.

    My best friend hears “deny that you are hungry, throw up when you think no one will notice and obsess over the fact that your mountain-climbing, athletic body has a small amount of fat around the stomach”.

    My MIL hears “police your athletic rowing, fencing and mountain climbing daughter’s food intake because yesterday she had a snack between meals, and sure it was half a mango but it is still food outside of meals and so bad because she has a body shape that includes a butt!”.

    When I hear it, I hear all the “advice” given to me throughout my life by people who thought that either I must be lying about my dietary habits, or they just need to keep pushing and analysing enough and they’ll find the magic cause of all my fat. I hear my mum lying about the cause of my father’s death because she thinks if she attributes it to diabetes that will make me stop eating… I remember telling my mum I was eating 1000cal per day on a diet, while secretly feeling proud of the fact I hadn’t eaten in a day and only consumed 500 calories the day before, and the desperation I felt when even that stopped resulting in weight loss.

    The phrase is vague. Anyone hearing it attaches their own interpretation of what it means. As such, the statement contributes nothing but reinforcing what the individual already believes. Given the environment we live in now regarding food, that means that for most people, the statement only serves to reinforce damaging myths and behaviours.

  187. igglanova
    igglanova January 21, 2012 at 6:42 pm |

    Your passive-aggressive swipe is duly noted. I am distraught at the (curiously conspicuously announced) ‘respectful’ decision to give me the ol’ snub. After all, where’s the fun in wrinkling your nose with disdain if everyone else can’t even see it??

  188. Justamblingalong
    Justamblingalong January 21, 2012 at 8:04 pm |

    Holy shit, you mean people might be skeptical of a person who claims to have never heard of social pressures that influence women’s decision to get labiaplasty?

    Yeah, actually, neither had I. Quick poll of the women in the room: three didn’t know what it was except it sounded gross, the other one had heard of it from Nip/Tuck and couldn’t believe anyone would actually get one. They’re also now questioning what I’m doing on the internet, so that’s good.

    I mean, I have no idea whether Drew was arguing sincerely or not, but it’s possible not to have come across those pressures, and mentioning that does not equal denying said pressures exist. And on the FGM thread, my reading of his comments was that he was genuinely ignorant of the topic, and looking to be informed. Perhaps I’m giving him to much benefit of the doubt, but I didn’t really see any comments to the effect of “I’ve never heard of it therefore it’s made up (in fact, didn’t he specifically say the opposite?)”

    Not trying to jump all over you Igglanova, just my two cents.

  189. Dao
    Dao January 21, 2012 at 10:32 pm |

    @Jadey

    Thank you for finding that link! I couldn’t remember the name of the blog post about intent is not magic.

  190. Katie
    Katie January 21, 2012 at 11:34 pm |

    Katie: Is there some chance some of those people made a suggestion without any of the aforementioned motives?

    Like it or not, what you’re doing (by claiming to know the “covert message” in every instance) is claiming to be able to read other peoples minds.

    They are all people who have made variations on those comments prior to or subsequent to that statement.

    What I’m saying is that when people are concern trolling me with blatantly obvious statements, I’m perfectly capable of figuring out what they’re trying to say without getting their heads taken off for being a jackass. They are still being jackasses, just trying to fly under the radar.

    Oh and as to fish vs phish food? I’m under doctors orders to eat ice cream. I have no such orders regarding fish.

  191. Jjuliaava
    Jjuliaava January 22, 2012 at 1:53 am |

    I don’t have fgm or chrone’s disease or athletic injury, I am just poor.
    Anybody ever had the experience of wanting the salad bar for $6.99 per lb. but being forced to have a $0.25 little debbie snack cake for brunch 5 days a week to conserve $$$? Or wanting to take a nice 1.4 mile speed walk at the park on a beautiful night, but were afraid you’d be hungry again after? SALAD vs. BIG MAC = first world problems.
    “Obesity” is a symptom of poverty; but thanks for the great advice on food choices…

  192. PeggyLuWho
    PeggyLuWho January 22, 2012 at 1:59 am |

    The question is, what is the weight limit to being able to eat Big Macs? See, thing is, when you’re thin, you get to eat all the Big Macs you want. When you’re thin, no one tells you that you need to “eat healthy and exercise”. When you’re thin, and you eat salads, people ask you if you don’t think you’re thin enough.

    The fact of the matter is that the only time anyone ever gives a shit what anyone else eats is when they think they’re body isn’t “right”. So there’s no fucking god damn way to bring up what’s the best thing for people to eat, or what’s better or more healthy, without sounding like a body policing, fat shaming, douchecanoe. Because CONTEXT, motherfuckers!

    I am what would be considered thin by most people. I’m neither fat nor skinny, but thin. I eat so much fucking bullshit and drink beer. I also eat a lot of kale. No one cares. No one says a god damn thing to me about what I eat (except for when I eat bacon in front of vegans.) You know what that’s called? PRIVILEGE.

    And you know what it’s called when you keep insisting that you’re not a body policing, fat shaming douchecanoe, and that you’re being totally maligned, even though you keep using the language of a body policing fat shaming douchecanoe, and are completely unwilling to acknowledge that using their same language and flawed logic does support and maintain the sizeism and kyriarchy? PRIVILEGE.

    Eyes on your own god damn fucking plate motherfuckers!

  193. PeggyLuWho
    PeggyLuWho January 22, 2012 at 2:07 am |

    Every person who has ever said that to me has been covertly saying one of the following:

    1) your health problems are all in your head
    2) your sleepiness is really your own fault (I’m narcoleptic!!!)
    3) your depression symptoms are interfering with things I want/need from you
    4) stop being a baby, everyone has these problems (because depression, migraines, and narcolepsy don’t “count” since everyone gets sad, sore, and tired)
    5) Implied, you are too stupid to figure out that stress = bad

    So a big fuck you to everyone who ever has or will pull that shit.

    THIS!

    Katie, you’re not alone. I love you. *hugs* I have faith that you will work out how to best deal with your body, and its needs, and I know that you’ll ask for help and advice from someone you trust when you need it.

    And if anyone tells you that you just need to take a yoga class, send them my way, and I’ll black out long enough to scream at them.

    Seriously, why do the concern trolls always think yoga is the magic cure all?

  194. Jjuliaava
    Jjuliaava January 22, 2012 at 2:12 am |

    AND ANOTHER POINT:
    Fat people know way, way a million times more about nutrition than unfat people, in my humble experience as a fat woman, since complete strangers/friends/fam offer wonderful tips on the regular (drew included)…
    My peops know I’m broke, so–
    Gramps and I went out for my birthday and we split an appetizer, we settled on a shrimp basket. He said, “See, its healthy!” (teaching me dieting rules?) I said, ITS FRIED. The next weekend my fab gay boy took me out, we also split appetizers: crabcakes and calamari. He said, “See, its healthy!” (teaching me the dieting rules?) I said, ITS FRIED.
    Once upon a time, I lost 65 lbs calorie counting and low impact cardio, weighing myself on 2 scales all day everyday like a crazed lunatic, playing games like drink a cup of coffee–weigh myself–shit–weigh myself…. Moral of the story? I FUCKING KNOW BETTER THAN ANYONE HOW TO LOSE WEIGHT FOR ME SO SHOVE IT UP UR ASS WITH UR UNWARRANTED UNNEEDED BOGUS ADVICE TELLING ME WHAT I SHOULD EAT JERKS.

  195. PeggyLuWho
    PeggyLuWho January 22, 2012 at 2:20 am |

    Fat people know way, way a million times more about nutrition than unfat people, in my humble experience as a fat woman, since complete strangers/friends/fam offer wonderful tips on the regular

    SERIOUS! How many times do you see some thin person turn over a package of something they’re eating, and go “ohmygod! There’s 300 calories in this!”?

    ….said the thin person.

  196. Jjuliaava
    Jjuliaava January 22, 2012 at 2:24 am |

    @Caperton–
    I love this super hilarious video! Good stuff! Well, I am off to Photoshop the crap outta my social network profile pic! Cya!

  197. Bunny
    Bunny January 22, 2012 at 3:53 am |

    SERIOUS! How many times do you see some thin person turn over a package of something they’re eating, and go “ohmygod! There’s 300 calories in this!”?

    Ha! Now, I don’t want to go making assumptions about thin people myself, because I know some seriously calorie-obsessed thin people. But what I always find amazing is the reaction “OMG 300 calories!” always points out the extreme lengths to which we go to police food intake.

    I mean, if we assume for a moment that the RDA for calories as quoted on the backs of most cereal boxes is true, ie that roughly 2000-2500 calories is what a generic person should consume daily, then how the hell is a sandwich containing 300 calories a lot? You could consume seven of that in the day and still come within what the numbers say are okay.

    It seems like more and more, the default intake for people not ostensibly on a diet is to try and consume as far under the RDA as possible. Missing that the number isn’t the “speed limit” on food.

  198. Drew
    Drew January 22, 2012 at 4:57 am |

    Your passive-aggressive swipe is duly noted. I am distraught at the (curiously conspicuously announced) ‘respectful’ decision to give me the ol’ snub. After all, where’s the fun in wrinkling your nose with disdain if everyone else can’t even see it??

    What do you want me to say then? I seem to piss you off, so instead of continuing to piss you off, I’ll just leave you alone. Okay? Is that better? Is there some way you can twist that into a “passive agressive swipe”? Just after I point out that you deliberately interpret everything I say in the most malicious way possible?

  199. Drew
    Drew January 22, 2012 at 5:08 am |

    If you say wild alaskan salmon is healthier than ben&jerrys ice cream, somebody is going to come up with a scenario where Phish Phood is a better choice than actual fish. Don’t bother.

    Caperton:

    I’m not going to pretend that salmon isn’t more nutrient-rich than ice cream–again, basic.

    Jadey:

    Also, given the state of Alaskan wild salmon what with the spread of disease and sea lice from the farmed populations, you probably could have picked a better example.

    Katie:

    Oh and as to fish vs phish food? I’m under doctors orders to eat ice cream. I have no such orders regarding fish.

    This.

  200. Drew
    Drew January 22, 2012 at 5:10 am |

    So there’s no fucking god damn way to bring up what’s the best thing for people to eat, or what’s better or more healthy, without sounding like a body policing, fat shaming, douchecanoe. Because CONTEXT, motherfuckers!

    Yeah, I’m starting to get that. I’m going to make an effort, in the future, to try to use language that doesn’t imply a moral imperative towards a certain choice.

  201. Drew
    Drew January 22, 2012 at 5:36 am |

    I’ve also been thinking about the whole “Intent is not fucking magic” idea – frankly, I don’t agree with it, in some respects. Yes, using a racist/sexist/homophobic/transphobic, etc slur is harmful, no matter how you “meant” it. Yes, kicking a person out of a shelter for being trans wont magically make it okay because you “dont hate trans people”.

    However, in many cases, two entirely different narratives may have some point of intersection, and you can’t say that its wrong for one narrative to include it, because you disagree with the other. Two examples: a disproportionate number of Black men are incarcerated in America, and homosexual men have a higher rate of depression than heterosexual men.

    A racist may say “A disproportionate number of Black men are incarcerated in America, proving that Black men are all dangerous criminals.” Someone else may say “A disproportionate number of Black men are incarcerated in America, showing that America suffers from a large degree of systemic racism, which leads to more convictions and longer sentences for Black men than White.” Two totally different arguments, with that point of intersection. It’s simply unfair to call the latter “racist” because what they said was *also* said by someone as part of a racist narrative.

    Same with the second example. A homophobic bigot may say “Homosexual men have higher rates of depression than heterosexual men, proving that homosexual men *know* that what they’re doing is wrong, and hate themselves, as they should.” Someone else may say “Homosexual men have higher rates of depression than heterosexual men, because homosexual men are routinely threatened, attacked, and otherwise harassed, and this constant mistreatment leads to depression.”

    I understand that some people say “Eat healthy and exercise” as part of a bigoted, sizeist narrative. But I also think its possible to say “Eat healthy and exercise” without the sentiment being part of a sizeist narrative. In a good deal of my posts here, I’ve explained that I *don’t* agree with the defining points of sizeism, fat shaming, etc. I dont think people who are overweight should change to conform to someone elses standards of acceptability. I don’t think weight is a reflection of character. I don’t think a person who is overweight should hate themselves, or feel at all ashamed of themselves. I don’t think a person who is overweight is any “less” for being overweight. Yes, “I think its a good idea for people to eat healthy and exercise” may be a point of intersection with sizeists, but I feel its unfair for anyone to pin me as being a sizeist based on that intersection.

    That said, I apologize for taking up so much of this thread, and, unless I am asked any direct questions or quoted, will back away from it to allow discussion of the original topic to resume. I also apologize to those I addressed in a disrespectful way, or used shitty debate tactics against.

  202. Bunny
    Bunny January 22, 2012 at 6:26 am |

    The thing about intent not being magic is that whatever you meant, anyone you say a thing to will filter what you said through the context of their own lives. Everyone does it. Me, you, complete strangers who overhear you.

    In the scenarios you mentioned above, the context of the statements are changed by added qualifiers. So yes, it is unwise and unhelpful to just say “a disproportionate number of black men are incarcerated” if that’s all that is said. Or if any other statements made are tangentially related such that it seems more like the person saying it means it in a racist way, rather than in a social-justice-supporting-way.

    And even if you ignore that, again it isn’t a helpful statement on it’s own. Consider if, in a discussion on a forum about a lack of representation of the issues faced by people of colour, someone popped in apropos of nothing and said “there’s a lot more black people in prison than white people.” That would add nothing to the conversation and would, on its own, serve only to derail what is actually a really important issue, that being the alienation of people of colour from a movement that claims to be about social justice and progressive change.

    People can say “healthy diet and exercise” without themselves thinking about the sizeist narrative, certainly, but they cannot control whether or not their words will add to that narrative for the people they are speaking to.

    As an example, just discussing the matter in this thread – a thread in which almost everyone has remained respectful and in which there has been a lot of positive discussion – triggered some problematic behaviours I’ve been working for years to expunge from my life. I found myself putting off making food hours after I felt hungry, and enjoying the sensation of hunger. Later, while cooking, I snuck a piece of cheese out of the fridge. And felt disgusted with myself.

    It isn’t anyone’s fault that I reacted in that way. There’s no one to blame, because I made the choice to participate in the discussion in the first place. But blame and fault are not the point of the “intent is not magic” narrative. It’s about recognising that some narratives are unavoidably harmful and seeking alternatives.

  203. Kaz
    Kaz January 22, 2012 at 7:40 am |

    @Bunny:

    [quote]Ha! Now, I don’t want to go making assumptions about thin people myself, because I know some seriously calorie-obsessed thin people. But what I always find amazing is the reaction “OMG 300 calories!” always points out the extreme lengths to which we go to police food intake.

    I mean, if we assume for a moment that the RDA for calories as quoted on the backs of most cereal boxes is true, ie that roughly 2000-2500 calories is what a generic person should consume daily, then how the hell is a sandwich containing 300 calories a lot? You could consume seven of that in the day and still come within what the numbers say are okay. [/quote]

    Oh my god do I ever hear you on this one. I hate, hate, hate the “calories are BAD” bullshit because, you know, we need to consume a certain amount of calories in order not to STARVE TO DEATH.

    To add to the “exceptional cases” list – I’m disabled and have a great deal of trouble with regular meals. (Yay executive dysfunction!) My overall goal is getting at least one meal a day, more than that is a bonus and better than expected, sometimes even that doesn’t quite work out (the first time I read this post I hadn’t eaten in over 24 hours, which made the comments kind of ironic.) That means that for me, a Big Mac is also frequently preferable to a salad, because I cannot survive eating one salad a day! And is one of the reasons I get so very ragey about “calories are evil!” because if I am only eating once a day I need that meal to contain calories, thank you ever so much “healthy” ready meal option at my local supermarket.

    I think a lot of people think that the “exceptional cases” are far more exceptional than they actually are – there’s so very many things that can impinge on your ability to access food or affect what sort of food you need etc. – and far more easily identifiable than they actually are. My food-problem-causing disability is not visible, not one where most people realise it can have those effects and not one I talk much about in RL. I’ve participated in conversations like these before where I’ve had people tell me that of course they’d never judge me for eating how I have to, but immediately add the “but…”. They don’t seem to get that as long as they do judge people on basis of their food consumption it’s very hard to avoid hitting some who are in situations like mine along the way, because there is generally no way to know.

  204. igglanova
    igglanova January 22, 2012 at 10:34 am |

    What do you want me to say then? I seem to piss you off, so instead of continuing to piss you off, I’ll just leave you alone. Okay? Is that better? Is there some way you can twist that into a “passive agressive swipe”? Just after I point out that you deliberately interpret everything I say in the most malicious way possible?

    If you’re going to back away, just back away. You don’t have to announce it every time with such fanfare, especially since you’ve already sucked so much air out of this conversation with your constant posting.

    It’s not passive aggressive to just ignore people, but telling everyone in the room ‘I am going to ignore you now’ has a distinct element of performance. It’s obnoxious, and, I would argue, passive aggressive, because it is a way of slinging a dis at someone while attempting to maintain plausible deniability. Poor Drew, everyone is just being so mean in the way they misconstrue his deliberately ambiguous words and actions.

    No twisting of your words is required. I’ll go out on a limb here and say that you’ve made them twistable by design. You’ve done this too many times for me to believe that you’re doing it by accident.

    Damn, I miss having honest trolls. At least they have a shred of backbone and integrity.

  205. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable January 22, 2012 at 11:47 am |

    Trigger warning, maybs?

    SERIOUS! How many times do you see some thin person turn over a package of something they’re eating, and go “ohmygod! There’s 300 calories in this!”?

    I mean, I literally did this upthread. That exact number re: naked juice. I wonder what the breakdown is between shaming others and shaming yourself out of drinking it. I’ve never been diagnosed with anorexia, but I probably could have been at one point in college. I do know, however, that if someone ELSE did this regarding a food choice I made (i.e. said something about Naked juice in front of me while I was attempting to buy it). I suppose whatever the reasoning, it has the same net effect. Man. Dominant narratives are stupid.

  206. Drew
    Drew January 22, 2012 at 1:05 pm |

    Bunny – those are very good points, I agree. In the future I’ll try to make more effort to communicate my whole position earlier in the conversation.

  207. PeggyLuWho
    PeggyLuWho January 22, 2012 at 1:35 pm |

    @PrettyAmiable – Oh yeah! Totally my bad!!

    I wonder if the people that made Photoshop ever realized that this was the way that it was going to be used.

  208. PrettyAmiable
    PrettyAmiable January 22, 2012 at 2:06 pm |

    Hahahaha, it’s not like your point wasn’t valid

  209. LC
    LC January 22, 2012 at 3:38 pm |

    Actually, I think they didnt know PhotoShop was going to be used that way. Digital photography just wasn’t a big thing at the time. It was developed for graphic design. (They knew pictures would be manipulated, but the casual extent probably caught them unawares.) They developed Lightroom specifically as PhotoShop désignés for photographers. While it has color and tone control, it doesn’t have the body manipulation power. The blind spots on how it would be used may have been due to privilege, but I am pretty sure they didn’t see it coming when originally designed.

  210. Jane
    Jane January 22, 2012 at 7:22 pm |

    SERIOUS! How many times do you see some thin person turn over a package of something they’re eating, and go “ohmygod! There’s 300 calories in this!”?

    (PeggyLuWho)
    Ugh, unfortunately I hear this from my mother about virtually everything she puts in her mouth. (And, of course, she assumes that she is doing me a favor by counting calories for me — recently when I asked her to pick up some yogurt for me at the store she made sure to purchase the ‘lite’ yogurt that tastes like chalk BECAUSE THE REGULAR HAS ONE HUNDRED MORE CALORIES!!!1) There are few things more obnoxious that a person who is, at this point, roughly half my size, going on and on about how she needs to “get off the feedbags.”

  211. LotusBen
    LotusBen January 22, 2012 at 8:34 pm |

    No twisting of your words is required. I’ll go out on a limb here and say that you’ve made them twistable by design. You’ve done this too many times for me to believe that you’re doing it by accident.

    igglanova, I’ve been observing Drew on this website for a while. Drew, I don’t dislike you–there’s been a lot of times you’ve said things that were nice, and a lot of times you’ve said things that were funny, and a couple times even you said things that were insightful.

    But igglanova, I don’t disagree with you. Drew, you seem to have a nasty habit of saying things on this website and then having your “words twisted.” Perhaps (?) you would think or say this has to do with the fact that this is supposed to be a safe space for women, most of whom have to deal with disgusting misogyny in their day-to-day life, so when they come on here, they don’t want to have to deal with it, and they are sick and tired of all the trolls that come here, so they have a hair trigger and overreact and read things into your comments that aren’t actually there.

    But I don’t think this is what is actually going on. The large majority of the women here are not unreasonable in the slightest. And you simply get into too many “misundestandings.” This thread, the FGM thread, the Girl-on-Girl victim blaming thread. Of course, I don’t know what’s actually going on with you or what the real root cause is. But I get the distinct sense (and I may be wrong) that part of you enjoys being misunderstood, part of you enjoys provoking people to jump on your case. Of course, I have no idea why this specifically would be the case, or to what extent your desire to provoke people is conscious or subconscious. But if I were you Drew (warning: unsolicited, patronizing advice ahead), I would carefully examine my motives.

  212. Drew
    Drew January 23, 2012 at 1:45 am |

    LotusBen 1.21.2012 at 4:37 pm | Permalink
    People after my own heart. There’s few things in the world I hate more than unsolicited advice. It’s like, I’m already doing fine living my life, thanks.

    LotusBen 1.22.2012 at 8:34 pm | Permalink
    But if I were you Drew (warning: unsolicited, patronizing advice ahead), I would carefully examine my motives.

    Uhhhh.

  213. librarygoose
    librarygoose January 23, 2012 at 2:35 am |

    Hey now Drew, let’s keep perspective. It’s not like he’s advice-shaming you. He’s just trying to let you know how to live a happier , healthier life. It’s just sounds like advice-shaming because you’re willfully misreading it. I know this, because as a child I was an advice giver.

  214. Drew
    Drew January 23, 2012 at 2:46 am |

    Hey now Drew, let’s keep perspective. It’s not like he’s advice-shaming you. He’s just trying to let you know how to live a happier , healthier life. It’s just sounds like advice-shaming because you’re willfully misreading it. I know this, because as a child I was an advice giver.

    Um. I don’t quite get the parallel you’re trying to make here. He’s giving unsolicited advice, after saying he hates unsolicited advice. I’m not accusing him of giving unsolicited advice – thats what he freely admits he was doing.

    That’s a bit different than me saying “Vegetables are better for you than gummy bears, so you should eat vegetables instead of gummy bears,” and someone accusing me of saying “Everybody should only ever eat vegetables and never eat gummy bears ever, and if you ever eat a single gummy bear you belong in HELL and you have to never EVER eat ANY gummy bears and ONLY eat vegetables FOREVER because you’re disgusting and ugly and stupid if you eat anything other than vegetables, on the Drew-approved vegetable only diet, and I erase the experience of the small percent of the population who have medical conditions which make vegetables a bad choice for them.”

  215. librarygoose
    librarygoose January 23, 2012 at 2:54 am |

    No real parallels. Just being sarcastic. I enjoyed the irony in your quotes from LotusBen but thought it kinda hysterical that you would bother to call out someone for giving unsolicited advice even if they themselves never want to hear it.

  216. Drew
    Drew January 23, 2012 at 3:00 am |

    No real parallels. Just being sarcastic. I enjoyed the irony in your quotes from LotusBen but thought it kinda hysterical that you would bother to call out someone for giving unsolicited advice even if they themselves never want to hear it.

    Fair enough. I find it ironic that you’d use a misogynistic term like “hysterical”. :P

    You’re right, though – it is a touchy subject and I would have been better off trying to phrase things in ways that didn’t imply an imperative. Mea Culpa, again.

  217. outrageandsprinkles
    outrageandsprinkles January 23, 2012 at 3:02 am |

    Drew, just shut the hell up already, this is getting ridiculous. For someone who supposedly wishes no ill-will upon fat people, all your comments here are just giving this fat person a headache and certainly making me feel some ill-fucking-will. No one cares anymore. Go away.

  218. Drew
    Drew January 23, 2012 at 3:09 am |

    Drew, just shut the hell up already, this is getting ridiculous. For someone who supposedly wishes no ill-will upon fat people, all your comments here are just giving this fat person a headache and certainly making me feel some ill-fucking-will. No one cares anymore. Go away.

    I clearly stated that I would back away from the thread unless anyone said something to me directly – and LotusBen and LibraryGoose did. Oh, and now, you. To tell me that you don’t care. Or, rather, to speak for everyone and say that “no one cares anymore”.

    I don’t care how much you weigh, or how much you disagree with what I’ve said – you have no right to be rude to me, fuck you very much.

  219. librarygoose
    librarygoose January 23, 2012 at 3:09 am |

    Fair enough. I find it ironic that you’d use a misogynistic term like “hysterical”. :P

    I meant as in, ” I fell into hysterical peals of laughter at the idea of such deep dissonance.” I just knew I was going to have to add a comment or clarify that.

  220. outrageandsprinkles
    outrageandsprinkles January 23, 2012 at 3:31 am |

    So terribly sorry, Drew. It’s not like your entire presence has been rude to me and many other fat people. Big ol’ tears of regret, rollin’ down my face.

  221. PeggyLuWho
    PeggyLuWho January 24, 2012 at 6:00 pm |

    PeggyLuWho, I’m not seeing anything overtly ‘shopped there, but I might be missing something. What do you see?

    I’m not an expert, but it looks off to me.

  222. Iris
    Iris January 26, 2012 at 9:45 am |

    The video touched on a few things I think are worth noting:

    No one will ever attain the ideal beauty standard.
    Pokes gentle fun at those chasing that ideal.
    “Plastic skin” really is seen as more desirable when setting beauty standards.
    Our bodies will never be good enough without some sort of ongoing expensive intervention.

    I agree with the other posters that the race comment was weird – how does one change one’s race? And then I think of that book Black Like Me. But still weird.

    I read all the comments on this thread. Imo, it’s generally useful to replace all the “shoulds” one may feel inclined to share, with the word “needs”. As in, all people need to be kind to one another, instead of, all people should be kind to one another. Using the word “need” opens up the dialog while using “should” shuts it down. “Need” makes one stop and think – is that true? “Should” is a command with no room for other options.

    Sort of like our culture sends the message we “should” strive to be beautiful or as close to it as we can. So is that true? Do we really need to do that? What’s the payoff? Is it worth the time and effort?

    There was a young man in the deli, the other day, who attempted to fat/age shame me when he was unable to answer a simple question. I had to laugh, tho, because he guessed I was 50 years old & weighed 300 pounds. For the record, I’ll be 56 in a couple of months & I weigh about 165 lbs. on a 5′ 3″ frame. He was sort of hard to take seriously after that. But, yeah, the thought crossed my mind: do I “need” to lose weight to not be shamed when I have a disagreement with someone? Nah, then it would just be my age.

  223. LotusBen
    LotusBen January 26, 2012 at 7:39 pm |

    Great point Iris regarding “should” vs. “need.” Shoulds imply that there is some external imperative that requires obedience whereas needs implies something more internal and integral to the individual.

    In my opinion, most people do need to be beautiful. But the mainstream narrative has it ass backwards. Beauty comes from our own perception of ourselves, not from conforming to some external ideal. If a person wants to be beautiful, they need to stand up to or avoid people who shame them and challenge the negative thoughts in their own head that tell them they are ugly.

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