Uh, what are the health risks of being gay exactly?
the planet is overpopulated as is. perhaps we shouldn't worry about people who are overweight and obese if they don't want to help themselves. if they die off early, it leaves more space on the planet for others.
note: i myself am overweight with high blood pressure and cholestoral--but i am doing something about it. so i'm not a skinny fuck spouting "anti-fat bigotry". :)
Angry Andrew, there are plenty.
Conservapedia will fill you in!
Posts like this are fine. Its the mean spirited ones that bug me. Obviously losing weight is NOT an easy thing to do, if it was, everyone would be doing it.
Heh. Good point #5.
The plight of the extremely obese is incredibly intriguing to me, which is why TLC's "Big Medicine" show is so fucking fascinating. It's about really really fucking fat people and their health problems—all they're trying to do and not willing to do to become less fat. Riveting.
And, yes, I’m willing to acknowledge the health risks associated with being gay
Pending a possible response from Dan, this quote of his puts him in league with Bush's surgeon general nominee.
Oh give me a break, BD...it's perfectly fine to be something (gay, straight, white, black) and still acknowledge the unique quirks/shortfalls/generally agreed upon characteristics of your group. To say that Dan (gay) can't say he acknowledges some health risks of being gay is like saying that you can't criticize Bush about the war or you're unAmerican and you side with the Axis of Evil. Don't be so small minded.
If we didn't have some bizarre fucking nostalgia about corn farmers, we could wipe out the obesity epidemic. We've got an embargo on Cuba that makes sugar too expensive to use as an industrial sweetener. We've got subsidies to corn farmers that encourage them to plant as much as possible, keeping the price low, meaning that high fructose corn syrup or animal feed is a better choice than serving it on the cob. If it weren't for ethanol driving the price up, we might be totally doomed.
Still, our new Farm Bill will keep the fat status quo going. Vegetables will remain expensive, grains will remain cheap, and meat will be subsidized.
I like the pleasantly plump (not obese and certainly not eating disordered) women who are into belly dancing for sport and don't give a damn what audience members think about body image.
By coincidence, lots of them will be dancing this weekend in the 20th annual belly dance festival at West Seattle's Hiawatha Park.
I agree completely. One of the things I wonder if fat will be the new norm. I already hear comments from women I know who are heavy (almost without exception) about how women come in all different shapes and sizes and they're all beautiful. True, women do come in all shapes and sizes, but you can still be fit and be a different size and shape. It seems like a blanket approval to just grow and grow because they're never going to look like supermodels anyway. That's OK! Just be healthy and fit for your shape/size! It's better for you, society, the healthcare system...you might actually like your body and want to share it with a man if you take care of it better!
"Yes, yes: some heavy people are active. But the active obese person, like the three-pack-a-day smoker who lives to be 90, is a lucky exception, not an epidemiologically significant study."
Exactly. Every time obesity is brought up as a health issue, there's a handful of folks yelling "I'm overweight and I exercise all the time!". Good for them, but most of the large number of Americans who are obese got that way because they don't get enough physical activity in their daily life. It's not a perfect correlation, but it's still a pretty strong one.
Speaking as someone who could stand to lose a few pounds (but only a few), I'm surprised to find Dan still dancing around with politically correct terminology on this issue. Can we please call fat people "fat" and not "big." Being fat and being gay or black are not at all similar. As hard as it is to lose weight (@4, I know, it's hard for me too), at the end of the day, you can choose not to be fat. Yes, there are exceptions (those who are legitimately "big"), but the fact that statistically more people are fat just proves that more people are CHOOSING to be fat. I'm glad many people are feeling sexy with their fat selves and whatnot, and I know about Reubens, etc, but even most people who are overweight, if they're honest, don't find fat people attractive. That's because being fat (unlike being "big") is unhealthy. Instead of equating being fat to being gay or being a minority, let's use a more realistic analogy: A fat person is like a nicotine addict. Yes, it's hard to quit smoking. But you wouldn't say being a smoker is akin to being gay (even though there are genetic factors that make you more susceptible to cigarette addiction). Enough with the politically correct code words. Being fat (like smoking) is unattractive and unhealthy. We need public health policies that address this fundamental truth without coddling the (ever growing number) of people who are overweight.
Thus once again making it easy to spot a gay man in a crowd.
jesus, the sky is falling! on fat people! and in like 5 years that's going to be you! or at least 75% of you.
well, if this alarmist bullshit turns out to be true, and the global warming alarmist bullshit comes to pass as well, then the 75% who are morbidly obese will be the only survivors, since fat floats. bon voyage, skinny mothafuckas!
With #12. Also, I'd like to bitch once again about phrases like "real curves" and "real women." Just because a woman might be naturally thin, or more stickish than usual (my mother comes to mind, and she eats healthily), doesn't mean she's any less feminine or "real" than another. Oh, I'd still secretly hate her anyway, but yep, some people are just born that way, and lucky for them.
This hate-on for all skinny women -- whether they attained that shape by natural, healthy means or not -- just reminds me of the extreme some women have gone to by bashing all men in order to promote women's rights. A bit backwards, ladies.
You're right clever one BD, Dan and Dr. Holsinger are in the same league, but that observation doesn't mean they are on the same team. That is to say, just because they argee on the health facts and risks, doesn't mean their end usage of the facts will be the same.
I would put out there that they both agree the sun will rise tomorrow, but not as far as to say they would agree that the sunny day will be a good, emotionally rewarding day come nightfall.
Gay men are at higher risk for all sorts of STIs--because we're gay men, not because we're gay men--and anal sex is the most efficient means of HIV transmission. These are just facts, and there's nothing homophobic about recognizing them. In fact, it's crucial that gay men, of all people, recognize their greater risks of STIs, inform themselves about prevention and treatment, etc.
My question to Mr. Savage, as he so frequently espouses the death/disease potential of gay sex is: Is natural gay sex inherently unhealthy?
i pray you're being ironic.
@21 no, i'm not. and i'm an epidemiologist. how scary is that?
It just seems like what Dan is trying to say that being gay carries a health risk if you in Homophobic town, USA where you might risk being beaten to death, and also for those who have unprotected sex with strange random people that can give you an STI.
The same thing can happen if your straight minus the being gay bashed thing.
can you answer my question @#20?
I'm sorry, maybe I'm an insensitive ass hole guy, but I'm NOT attracted to overweight women. Skinny women are ok, but I like FIT women. And I'm not setting a double standard either. I work out like 5 to 6 times out of the week. Why? Maybe I'm a bit of an endorphin junky, maybe I wouldn't mind my college abbs back (women tell me they are fine), maybe the taller lankier guys I find are the most loyal gym rats on the planet, regardless, why I should be made to feel guilty for objectifying women a little. Yes personality counts, it counts a lot, but it's my spirit, and my personality that keeps me going to the gym ... and it's really more for my pride in my body than anything. Someone has to love yourself, right? It might as well be you.
And to top it off, when you DO get to play, you play that much harder and are so much more sensitive to it.
I for the love of god don't understand what is wrong with people.
BD, he did answer your question. The point is not that gay sex is "inherently" unhealthy, but that, from a purely statistical perspective, gays face a higher risk of contacting certain diseases than straights. It doesn't follow that every instance of gay sex is unhealthy. (Here this was presented as an analogy to being overweight - not every fat person is unhealthy, but fat people as a group are more likely to be unhealthy.)
No, gay sex is not inherently unhealthy. What is unhealthy is the extreme degrees of promiscuity that some gay men engage in -- extreme hetero promiscuity is equally unhealthy, for that matter. But it's harder for heteros to achieve the degrees of promiscuity that gay men can... because women won't, you know, have butt sex with strangers in the dark at places like Club Z.
Well, most women won't. Some will, of course, but not enough to create a market for a Club Z catering to breeders.
The problem with most fat activists is that they cherry pick their data. There are a ton of studies out there, most of which are completely contradictory.
Diets work. No they don't. Fat is genetic. No it isn't. Only thin people are healthy. Fat people who exercise are in reasonably good health.
Guess which studies fat activists embrace and which ones they reject.
Since it is so difficult to lose weight and keep it off, public policy needs to be directed toward keeping people from getting fat in the first place, which means directing energy and resources at kids. The adults are a lost cause.
We should probably all stop pretending, though, that saying things against fat people means we're just Really Worried About Their Health.
More often than not, the stuff that raises my ire is stuff like what happened here on Slog last week, when even a picture of someone overweight doing something so innocuous as crossing the street for lunch inspired a pile of hateful comments about her appearance, regardless of her personality or intelligence.
To me, that's an invasion that doesn't seem right, like because she's overweight she has a right to be mocked and judged. It's objectification in a different direction, and it still rubs me the wrong way.
I think the other thing that gets me is that people who shout so loudly for others to live and let live can't even give an inch on this issue, as it were. More than once I've seen a Slog post degenerate into a comment post of gay men making awful comments about a fat person's body. I'm not saying that I'd like to buy the world a Coke or anything, not asking for any sort of solidarity, but what is it? Is it a case of one picked-on group of people picking on another just to draw attention away from themselves?
As a fat woman, I must tell you that it really does feel, every day, like fat is the last mockable group. And it really, really sucks. All those times that people ask you to substitute a race or sexual orientation or gender when thinking about mocking fat people, there's a reason for that. It feels like a persecution that really doesn't do anyone any favors.
I would just ask that people keep in mind that you can't lose 100 pounds overnight. I realize that fat is unhealthy and people have a natural predilection to shy away from that (it's just how we're wired, i imagine, just like we shy away from even thinking about open sores and the like because of the obvious health risks involved in them), but we also possess reason. Fat seems to be the last bastion of people going with their gut instinct (ha!) of disgust. I would just challenge people to realize that when you see someone fat walking on the street, that perhaps to them that's the most exercise they can do. No, they're not walking to Burger King, they're trying to get their joints and muscles and body working again.
About half the time I exercise outside of my home, I am subject to comments about my weight, or even just people laughing at me. I'd like to say that I could let it slide off my back, but it hurts, and is discouraging. And no, they're not concerned about my health.
Use your reason, people, and just back off a bit. In the end, yes, some people are proud to be fat, some people insist they're fit and beautiful at any size, and some people know they need to make changes in their lives. We know it's easy to paint us all with the same brush -- we're fat, not stupid or blind. We see every day that some people aren't as open-minded as they claim to be.
There are many reasons that people are overweight, and it isn't always a "choice". There are issues with the food we eat, especially the processed and preserved convenience foods that are pushed on us every day. And it starts very early. Just watch one commercial break on a Saturday morning and you'll see sugar and synthetic crap being advertised willy-nilly to young, impressionable children. Hell, just look at the "part of this balanced breakfast" part of a cereal ad. There's a glass of milk, juice, a piece of fruit, maybe some toast AND the cereal. Looks to me like you could leave the cereal out and eat the rest and be much better off... but that is the whole point of the ad, to make the children WANT the sweet, processed stuff. This is a cultural issue as much as a personal issue.
The word "fat" has a pejorative sense to it, so that is why many people object to being called fat. "Big" is just a nicer euphenism than fat, and I have no problem with that.
PS, Dan.... I agree with you that there are some health risks with being gay, but the same can be said for being straight. HIV is rampant in Africa, where the majority of the infected are heterosexual and acquired the virus through heterosexual sex. There's nothing inherent to gay sex that is "risky" that is not also inherent to straight sex. Body fluids are exchanged, so there is always a risk.
eek, sorry about double post.
I'm with you. As someone who grew-up in Wisconsin (helloooo deep-fried cheese-curds!) and who struggles with her weight I really, really think it's an education issue. People grow-up thinking their parents have their best-interests in mind, and then when they reach adulthood they realize their parents didn't have a fucking clue either. I grew up hearing things from my parents & grandparents like: "Microwave popcorn is good for you" etc.
Then you have the corporations shoving coke, pepsi, & McDonald's in your face all day. Then I grew-up, moved away from Wisconsin, and watched "Super-Size Me". I gave-up fast food, soda, and miracle of miracles! I lost a ton of weight!
Like the Tobacco industry I think fast-food and other un-healthy industries should be banned from television.
My twin brother and I each used to be 80lbs heavier than we are now, and we come from the Short Round People. We lost weight when we went to college, stopped eating snack food and other corn syrup-laden foods, started eating well, and became more active. I didn't even try to lose weight at first. It was a simple lifestyle change that made a massive difference. And we've both managed to keep it off through the miracles of regular exercise and smart (usually) eating.
A good motivation for me now: the fact that virtually every older member of my family (dad, dad's sister, dad's parents) had heart attacks between the ages of 50 and 60. Yeah, some of it's genetics, but some of it's lifestyle, too. And I'm doing what I can on the lifestyle end.
Jonathan@32: Great points you bring up. I've just finished reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, by Barbara Kingsolver & Steven Hopp, about their year spent eating only local food and subsisting mostly on food they raised themselves. She makes many comments about the fact that our country is so reliant on two huge crops -- corn & soybeans, while there are other varieties of foods that have disappeared from our radars completely.
There is a small movement toward bringing the heirloom & heritage foods back, but it requires a lot of work and sometimes an initial outlay of more money than people are able to spare. And advertising and food labeling are so ubiquitously deceptive that it makes it difficult to avoid things like high fructose corn syrup, which is just crap for your body and doesn't do it any favors.
Forget "real curves" or all that -- real food is what we need, and we're up against a brick wall on that one. We're lucky in Seattle, for farmer's markets and all that. We need a national sea change, though.
Having a preference to date larger women is just that, a preference. Some men like tall women, some like Asian women, some like skinny women, some like fat women. It is a preference and there is nothing wrong with it.
Losing weight is not easy. This is evidenced in this study by everyone getting so fat. If it were easy even Monique would do it. I love her but I know she'd do it in a heartbeat.
I once weighed over 300 pounds and the only way that I lost that weight was to have the lapband weight loss surgery 4 years ago. Diets don't work.
I have all the sympathy in the world for people trying to lose weight (since I'm one of them). I certainly don't think overweight people should be mocked in any way. And of course corporations influence us by trying to sell us unhealthy products (though the same corporations are blamed for making skinny people desirable through fashion ads, but whatever). But I also don't think it's good to say that being "big" is healthy and normal just because some people are overweight. Call it fat or big or purple or whatever-- it's still the same thing. Being fat, unlike being gay or black, is (in most cases) a choice. A hard choice, granted, but a choice nonetheless. Overweight people shouldn't be mocked for their condition, but neither should it be celebrated or recognized as a minority.
@ 29 - true dat.
the big hot-button issues in public health right now are obesity and smoking. studies that toe the line on these issues are not only more likely to be picked up by the media, they tend to be held to a much less rigorous standard than other peer-reviewed studies and are thus more likely to be published in the first place. but the running caveat in epidemiology is that *no study is perfect* and has all the answers. but you won't see that as a footnote in any newspaper article.
i'm not sure why people in public health feel the need to club people over the head with their message. i don't think anyone will dispute the fact that obesity is bad for you [how many obese senior citizens do you know?], but i don't see how telling people that we're all going to get fat and die in the next 8-10 years helps matters.
Diet is very important, moderate exercise is important, yes I'm an exercise junky, but the one thing I do marvel is that my body more or less tells me what it needs, which is kind of weird. Complex carbs, whole grains give me more energy for power cleans etc. etc. especially for doing laps in the pool. Straight sugar is death, I feel like hell when I eat things like pringles. In college I used to eat that crap to help me stay up late to study. I would kind of feel feverish and then not as drowsy. Sick? Most of that crap has gone the way of binge drinking, just getting too old for it.
Nonetheless, I do like to buy more organic produce. I shy away from corn syrup. Dairy is ok (I eat a TON of yogurt, probably too much cheese). Cream sauces and super fatty salad dressings when I go out for the most part. I guess, just don't buy the crap and keep it in your house, treat yourself when you leave, that would be my best advice to anyone trying to loose weight. We never had sugar cereal in our house growing up, I tend to keep it that way today.
The other thing, and I must stress this ... because the hippies HATE this reality. Yes, I buy organic food, but only for my selfish reasons. ORGANIC FOODS ARE A LUXURY!! The numbers are quite depressing when you consider that in order to grow enough food to feed the world, 75% of the worlds nitrogen is fixated by humans using the haber-bosch process and NOT by nature. That is the fertilizer we need to feed all 8 billion of us. It's not great at putting nutrients back into the soil and gives an inferior product with respect to vitamins and minerals. We load up our food with refined sugars and cheap oils to cleanse our pallet (or at least attempt it). Keeping food cheap and available for an ever increasing population more and more removed from the source of food.
@14 Not all fat women hate skinny women. And not all fat people are unattractive. But nice blanket genralizations.
I am a fat woman. I wear a size 18 on a good day. Do I like being fat? no. Am I okay with it? sure. Am I actively DOING something about it? Most days. Is it anybody else's goddamn business? Not really.
There are plenty of fat people in the world who DON'T buy into the whole "fat and healthy" mantra of the crazy asses who run NAAFA. If fat was healthy walking the two flights of stairs to my office wouldn’t leave me a little breathless, and my knees would probably be a little happier with me than they are. I am fat, I am unhealthy, and yes it is my fault. I own that. But fat isn’t always a “self control” issue. It is more often than not a mental issue or a parenting issue or a social issue. That fat little girl eating a double quarter pounder extra value meal next to her mother at McDonald’s isn’t to blame for her obesity, is she? Of course not. But when she hits adulthood she automatically becomes just another fat person with a “self control” problem. How screwed up is that?
In a very gray sort of area, it kind of is a self control problem. We are all victems in some shape or form in our life. Some of us have better head starts than others. But around adulthood everyone of us has to assess who we are and what we want in life. Our parents may have have been just as human as all of us, and I'm not JUST refering to their eating habbits, they screwed us over in a number of ways. It's just finding the inner strength to make the person you want to be on the inside come out. Or find some balance in between. I remember working at mothers vegetarian cafe and watching a mother and daughter come in, order iced coffees and watch mom show her daughter how to properly mix the flavor syrup so that it gets nice and dissolved. Her daughter was about 16 and had a little bit youth of her side, but I can just tell she was on the line of totally falling apart and loosing control over her body.
We can spend our whole life feeling sorry for ourselves, or we can give ourselves a good slap in the face and start to do the little things that will eventually change the person who want to be. No instant gratification, but a long slow drawn out process, and one of these days, someone will notice. I do it to, for things other than obesity. You just have to have a passive moderately aggressive (not aggressive aggresive ) control over it, or yes ... it will fail.
I have yet to meet a fat person who needed to be told that a) they were fat, and b) they'd probably be healthier if they were not fat. Most fat people are already quite well aware of those things. What they do or do not choose to do about it is none of my fucking business. The End.
Follow up to 42.
IF you want to be fat, then by all means be fat. It's a free country. I'm not mean spirited and riduculing you. I guess I don't really care that much. If you don't want to be fat, and complain about it. Then don't be fat. It's usually your choice in the end. It might take a while, maybe it might take a long time to get there. But there is one plus side, you get to appreciate your body a WHOLE hell of a lot more than someone who was just handed an in shape one than someone who earned it.
I like big butts, and I cannot lie. You other bruthas can't deny.
That when a girl walks in with an itty bitty waist and a round thing in your face, you get sprung.
I'd be interested to see the socioeconomic distribution of BMI's for the u.s. population. And if that were to confirm what I already know, this is inevitable.
And the Bears will inherit the earth.
Is there a disproportionate number of chubby chasers to chubby women?? Yeah I thought so!
Oh boy, a lot of you made really good points.
As a chubby girl (who used to be much heavier and is now working to break the final frontier)I know it feels like shit to have people comment on your weight. After being made fun of on a daily basis in school, I promised myself I wouldn't make fun of people for shit like this. It was so bad at certain times I thought of suicide, and probably would have were it not for the fact that I've always loved art and used that as a refuge.
While we are all responsible for our own choices, our culture does play a large role in the obesity epidemic (for lack of a better word). Our government subsidises corn and soy, but not fruits and vegetables, making them expensive as hell (at least here in Hawaii). Meat is subsidised as well. Why do we allow corn syrup to be in everything? I tried to go to a regular supermarket to buy whole wheat bread. EVERY FUCKING BRAND had high fructose corn syrup in it. Unless I went to Whole Foods or something like that, I'm eating that corn syrup if I want to eat bread.
Society is also arranged to make activities (like walking to the store) impossible for most people because things are so spread out and there's no public transportation in most places. We consider it ok that most Americans watch four hours of tv a day.
I could go on but I will spare you. My point is there are a lot of contributing factors. Every person is in charge of their own lives, but the odds are stacked against us. No need to make others feel like shit. They know they're unhealthy.
So, in other words, all of your ranting is directly related to the slim pickings of athletic women in this country, i.e. it's harder for you to get laid.
If you want to be a shallow asshole, that's fine by me. I don't date people I don't find attractive either, but don't hate on fatties for not existing to please you.
I'm sorry, I was trying to speak in simple economics.
In reality, I actually want to kind of defend the fatties ...
In my twisted mind, there is just some weird twisted mismatch. I hate the fact that I feel guilty for turning down the vast majority of women who throw themselves at me, and I'm not attracted to them. I am actually quite shy when it comes to strangers, extremely gaurded, been burned enough. Some peoples bane in life is to loose weight, I have to learn to set appropriate boundries and trust people. When I do cave (inevitably), it just turns out very very very ugly. I hate rejection, but I'm even more terrified of rejecting. We all have problems, etc. etc.
My gripe with Chubby chasers is that they act like children in a candy store, and everything is FREE. They are all amped up, and generally don't settle down and get away with murder. You want to knock me for objectification? They can break one heart after the next and TOTALLY treat a woman like an object, and get away with it, because it's simple economics. It's one of the shadiest head games out there.
Naturally there must be some better balance than this.
Why I was ranting?
I think I know too many people who have been reading the damn secret, and I'm trying to get control over my life? Fat people making excuses, it's no worse than me making excuses for crap because I'm locked in working in a research lab. No one wants to hear it, and it doesn't make you feel better to dwell on it, take charge of your life damn it! I suppose the same principle applies to fat people.
And that damn cat call of the chubby chaser got me thinking that there is something out balance in this whole world.
High Fructose Corn Syrup is the primary dietary culprit of obesity, and it's in just about everything that's processed.
Beyond that, yeah, sedentary lifestyles are the other culprit. We just don't need to move around to get anything done anymore.
I'm from a big family, and our body types **would** chart towards overweight (based on our relatives on both my mother's and father's sides) except for one thing:
When my youngest brother was three, he was diagnosed with Type I diabetes. And since my mother wasn't running a short order grill, we all instantly had to change our eating habits along with him. And those changes were pretty much permanent, once they'd be ingrained in us.
The thing about diets that people need to understand is that they cannot be goal-oriented and finite; you don't cross the finish line and relax because you've lost that pesky 10 or 20 pounds. Whether for health or for vanity, what you eat, how often you eat, and the quantity of what you eat are choices you commit yourself to for the long haul. Anything else won't work.
I second Gomez. It seems like our luxuries will have to be taken away from us before we will begin to move around and start using our bodies to get things done. It makes you think though, if in the year 2015, some kind of revolution will take place and laws will be set to keep the American population from dying off. I hope it doesn't come to that..
Fat is the new thin.
Smoking is bad for you, (but now you can be a larger person, without shame).
Saturated fats are illegal, but cram in as much cheese and bacon as you can at breakfast, lunch and dinner. Just, for God's sake, Don't eat any BREAD!
Or whatever the fad is this year/week/day/hour.
When I was a pup, some 20 years ago, everybody, or almost everybody was thin. Pump in the Bovine Growth Hormone, put everybody in computer stalls answering customer service calls, doing no work, and buying box sets of television programs on DVD, so that life becomes a kind of infinity of navel-gazing...
And fat becomes unavoidable. Hence, the new thin, the new black, the new in thing.
Who dares to say, "I really don't want to have to pay a dime for health insurance over some nominal emergency-medicine fee, but I am now Forced to, because so much of the culture is miserably, chronically inactive, unhealthy, glutted, poorly- but overly-fed...so I've got to pay Your premiums, just to get a stitch or two!"
Who will say so? (I just did, and it is precisely how I feel).
Being hugely fat is not healthy, but you can't mandate health. The only thing you can mandate is paranoia (like 'bird-flu pandemania') so that everybody throws themselves over to pharma co's who will give you there best, worst new treatments for diseases that they have invented.
But don't worry about eating healthy, or less, or walking once in awhile. Just get in the car, shut up, plug in the iPod, and drive, drive, drive.
Somebody said something about a natural die-off, and you've got to credit mother nature with a self-regulatory system. Plagues and die-offs don't come out of nowhere. They come out of a damaged environment, overcrowded, unsanitary living conditions, and a chronic toxicological burden.
Aids in Africa is a fantasy - a brand name. The numbers we are given are, by definition, from the UN and WHO, 'estimations' and 'projections' given by taking a small sample of young, pregnant women, and giving them non-specific, cross-reactive blood tests, and then projecting those non-specific reactions to entire nations.
If we did that here, we'd have the same "hiv prevalence" as the millions who can't get clean food, water, or enough to eat in much of sub-saharan Africa.
Or, I suppose you can actually choose to Believe that black people die when they have sex. Which is the running joke under the 'aids in africa' campaign.
Chew carefully. At least 20 times, and maybe more.
My friend LJ and I are both classified as elite athletes. We both run for nationally recognized teams. We're both at the front of the group. We're both tired of people getting down on us because we're thoughtful about what we eat and, most days, work out twice daily. This happens when you bike to work up really big hills and go running or rock-climbing when you're done with work to decompress. And I have people acusing me of starving myself, of being Type A, or of being insecure. And here's the thing of it: we're sick of it. LJ and I are sick to death of the haters who think that they can attack us over our discipline and admirably healthy habits. Now, I'm the first to confess that it took me ten years to get here, but I do it because it makes me happy. I do it because it makes me healthy. I do it because I don't want to look like my father, who needs to lose weight. Since when did healthy become insensitive?
Yo, Matt, we Matts are prefixing our names with our home-state now; an ingenuous device pioneered by Michigan Matt. Until now, we've just relied on the fact that all of us regular Matt posters tend to be pretty awesome, and so we cause no embarrassment to each other. But still, I think we should adopt Michigan Matt's visionary taxonomy.
How the hell did all these Matt's find the site and have so much free time on our hands?
come to think of it ... I grew up with the guy who may have almost been the 300 pound smokes a pack a day, drinks like a fish and is active .... with flag football and softball.
and well, he has had three knee surgeries.
the moral of the story, you can be big AND strong AND fast ... but it's really hard to take care of yourself and they have pros that keep guys like that moving. They work in the NBA and NFL.
I'm a woman in my 40s who spent a great deal of my life in sedentary occupations and hobbies. When my weigh skyrocketed to nearly 300 pounds, my blood pressure and cholesterol soared right along with them. I decided to do something about it, and after doing a lot of reading and research, I figured out the best way to lose weight was essentially the "Dr. Phil Diet" - EAT LESS, MOVE MORE!
I've dropped nearly 90 pounds because I go to the gym every morning and MOVE. A LOT.
My blood pressure is now normal and so is my cholesterol. That was all the evidence I needed to know that being fat was bad for me, no matter what fat activists keep hollering in my ear.
Am I ever going to be super-thin? Hell, no. But I'm damned sure going to keep moving from now on. :-)
As wealth increases to the point where everyone is middle class, a new divide is emerging: the fats versus the fat-nots. While celebrities and the super-rich get thinner and thinner, the average population gets heavier and heavier. This has also bred a new resentment against those who successfully resist the trend towards obesity. Traitors, the overweight shout; your existence proves that we could be thin too if we wanted, that we cannot just blame everybody but ourselves. Or is it just nature's way of reclaiming some of the additional life expectancy we've gained over the past generation? Modern life's plenty is meeting its punishment.
Yes, being fat is partly a matter of choice. So if I'm fat then it's my fault. If only I was able to force myself to exercise and give up the horrible diet I would find thinness, endorphins and etended youth.
Only problem-I don't have a horible diet. I get lots of exercise at my job, which is NOT in a cubicle farm. I don't keep things like cookies in the house and a quart of Ice Cream can least me 2 weeks. I hate most soda drinks, don't smoke or drink much booze. So I work at getting in more exercise, which I'm lucky enough to be able to afford, and often spend my day feeling hungry, even if I snack on raw veggies or moderate amounts of fruit. And I'm a reasonably afluent person living in a safe neighborhood, with good food options available. But getting weight off and keeping it off are a huge challenge.
And being told that IT'S! ALL! YOUR! OWN! FAULT! gets really depressing, and eating is often used as way to feel better in the moment. (by the way- you can exercise just as compulsively as some people eat, and do yourself major injury at the same time.)
So for all of those poor kids, being fed on food stamps and school lunches, living in areas where playing outside can get you killed, where the future is a lot more scary to think about, where recess and gym classes at school have been cut so that they can all cram for the tests, where the only fresh vegetables around are expensive and of crappy quality, where eating high sugar, high salt, high fat foods makes you feel better in the moment, it's a lot less of a choice.
Check out the recent news that programs aimed at getting kids to eat better foods have almost all failed-some have kids eating fewer vegetables at the end than at the beginning.
A choice, certainly-but one that will need a large social effort to make a real change. Just a few years ago, a person asking to be able to go hear live music without breathing cigarette smoke was seen as wierd. Now the opposite is true.
If the government, health organizations, insurance companies, etc. are really concerned about the health of its citizens and the rising rates of obesity, perhaps they should mandate that the foods we consume have natural sugar in them again instead of having us all mainlining high fructose corn syrup in almost everything we eat. HFC is the crack cocaine of sugars. It is so sweet, that we crave more and more sugar. What used to be sweet enough now doesn't satisfy us, in comparison, so we add more sugar.
The only way to avoid this poison is to choose items (diet soda, artificial sweeteners) that have fake sugar in them (and who knows the long term effects of our bodies trying to metabolize that crap.)
Eliminate that and perhaps the next generation (those born between now and 2015)will not be as fat. Perhaps it will help us all lose weight. But then again, when sugar is used to make ethanol instead of corn, perhaps we won't be able to afford the powered white stuff anymore, and will be stuff with the HFC crap.
Lots of blame for high-fructose corn syrup. Lots of blame for the American diet (breakfast cereals etc.). Lots of blame for the evil corn syrup-driven conspiracy to kill organic foods.
No one's mentioned the real problem. think about Nintendo and the Internet. I'm 45 and when I was a kid we ran around outside all evening. Not running marathons, not anything organized, just being active. And there was probably one fat kid in any given class.
Is it any coincidence that kids started getting fat around the time that they started sitting on their asses and playing video games or working on their MySpace pages every waking minute?
Our genetics have not changed significantly (and within any given family they have not changed a bit) in one generation. Our diet has not changed all that much either (don't tell me that all the Captain Crunch I scarfed down as a kid was healthier than what kids eat now).
What's different is that we are lazier. Pure and simple. We don't get any exercise-most of us try very hard to avoid it. Walk? Nah. get a Segway. Ride your bike? Nope. Stay in your car and bitch at the people who do ride for being on the road. Take the stairs to the second floor? Why would you do that when there's a perfectly good elevator? The last building I worked in would not even ALLOW me to access the stairwells to go up one flight. And then the schools think that they have to drop PE (the one bit of activity a lot of people used to get) to make room for more time to study for standardized tests.
If you live the way most of us do you ARE going to get fat. It's just the reality of it. Should not come as an surprise.
Seen this New York Times Health section article about bicycle fitness?
Ah well, guess it can be dismissed as "not an epidemiologically significant study", just a random article in some paper.
It's a complex problem. Lifting subsidies on meat and corn would help. Also, parents need to stop buying their kids a bunch of video games or sitting them in front of the TV instead of actually interacting with them. Nutrition should be taught in schools. Schools should absolutely not serve junk food or soda. Certainly media images of super skinny celebrities and models doesn't help, leading a lot of girls to overeat to overcome their feelings of inadequacy. In general, we live in a prosperous society, dominated by the car. We are able to overindulge. Our fast food industry is insanely good at advertising. It's so much easier to just eat and veg out now and think about the consequences later. Perhaps extreme stigma placed on the truly unhealthy obese people would help wake people out of their sugar comas.
I did see that article and it brought up some interesting points. Most importantly, what really matters is not absolute size, but body composition. There are lots of people who are larger than average because they have a lot of muscle mass or have larger frames. As an extreme example, no one is going to say that a bodybuilder who puts on lots of muscle and weighs a lot but is totally ripped is not "fit". (And i don't want to start any threads about steroids etc.)
As the article pointed out, cycling does not place a premium on accelerating your body mass back and forth like running does so your absolute weight does not matter quite as much This only goes so far though-note that the guys in the Tour de France are all fairly light (generally sub-160 lbs).
I am a longtime cyclist and I do know people who ride and are not small. What they do have is a better body composition (at least the ones I know well enough to have an idea of it). They have what seems to be a fairly low body fat % (and correspondingly more muscle).
This is also why BMI is a lousy measure of overweightness. As muscle is denser than fat a fitter person can actually have a higher BMI than one of the same size who is sedentary and all fat. Body fat percentage is a much better measure of fitness (but harder to put a calculator for on a Website). The old "pinch more than an inch" test isn't so bad either if you are in doubt.
As an obese person, I agree there is nothing wrong with pointing out the health risks of obesity. I actually find these are articles good and could encourage our society to make changes. We need to help obese people lose weight. We need to find ways to prevent it. Harm is done when these articles are used to encourage hatred of obese people or seek to punish them. I object to the idea that my obesity is a choice or because I lack self-control. Obesity is a complex problem with sociological, psychiatric and economic factors. Losing weight costs money. Organizations like Weight Watchers and gyms are expensive. Healthy food costs more. The medical community does not provide help. If I went to my doctor, what would he recommend and would my health insurance pay for it. There are also psychological factors to obesity. A viscous cycle happens. Our society at every turn bombards us with ridicule, hatred and false ideals. This results in self-hatred and depression. The obese individual now seeks to either medicate their sorrow with food or subconsciously harm him or herself by overeating. I think people like Monique are trying to effect this cycle and personally find it encouraging. Obesity is a complex problem and we need to take the hatred out of it.
Problems can have more than one cause. I know it's hard to think about two things, but maybe the exercise will make your brain big and muscular.
For my part, I blame the relegation of exercise to a leisure activity. Moreover, the way exercise is marketed makes it a cosmetic choice--get toned! get tan! get the girls!--rather than a health issue.
It's funny. I think society really does mess with us. I'm very fit, probably best shape of my life, yet I actually have terrible body image. I mean there are two reasons to be fit right? Fit to be attractive and fit to be healthy. Well, seriously unless you have a heart attack of find yourself in a life threatening do a pull up or die scenario, who can look at themselves and give a shit about being fit to be healthy. We all are living creatures our drive isn't so much for longevity, it's companionship to procreate etc. etc. Well, you get the idea. If you can't be slim to be attractive? Well then who cares, right?
I completely agree that exercise marketing is inadequate. I am definitely afraid to go the gym with a bunch of super attractive people. I want to lose weight really badly, but I just feel like everyone is scrutinizing and criticizing me while I'm trying. It just makes me feel worse about myself and want to eat even more. And in today's world where you can basically have an entire social life on the internet, it's easy to stay at home, eat and not subject yourself to ridicule. So I think part of the solution to obesity would be to somehow inspire self confidence. Growing up I was slightly overweight and constantly made fun of. My weight has only increased throughout the years due to low self esteem and depression. I am NOT preaching fat acceptance. I know I am extremely unhealthy. But people should be teaching their kids not to make fun of other kids who carry a little extra weight because of genetic factors.
Why is everything for "diets" and being healthy so expensive? Gyms, personal trainers, even a bike or some equipment to work out on your own, the good food, etc is all too much money.
People who grew up or now grow up poor eat shit food - bleached flours, the hi-frutctose corn syrup, hi-carbs, hi-sugar, hi-fats is all in cheaper foods. Things need to be more affordable. Swith it around so that the shit food is expensive and things that are good for ones health are cheaper. That would help the lower income families raise healthier kids.
Plus the level of activity keeps getting less and less. Today's kids and lots of adults sit at computers and video games instead of getting out and doing something.
Monica: I agree with you a lot. I think trying to increase hatred or stigma around fat people, obesity, 'overweight', etc is harmful and not particularly productive in addressing issues either for an individual or for a society/economy/etc.
I would really like to believe it's possible to have a reasonable discussion about the health effects on an individual of being fat or of not exercising that did not automatically turn to unabashed hate or anger. I would love to hear a discussion that is precise about cause & effect and crisp on terminology and exact meaning (e.g. 'overweight' 'fat' 'obese' 'fit'). I think this comment string shows that there are thoughtful and not hateful people out there, but it also shows a lot of hate, anger, and emotion.
It is a complex issue. No single thing, a law, a marketing campaign, a product is going to solve it (Shall we try a 'War on Fat' anyone?).
I'd love to start by trying to take the emotion out, and bring facts, reason, and new ideas in. I don't know if that can happen. It's not as simple as 'fat acceptance'. It's not as simple as 'eat less, exercise more'. It's not as simple even as 'hate the sin, love the sinner'. It is okay to need complex solutions for complicated problems. It is okay for it to be difficult. That doesn't mean there aren't solutions to be found, made, or discoverd.
Time out, I'm not necessarly saying I'm that much of a hater, but damn ... maybe I'm a bit of a massochistic here, if you aren't happy being fat then DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. And take baby steps, that is all. Then at least you don't have to live with regret about not doing anything at all and then have the deeper depression set in. Self empowerment and pride, especially if you don't get skinny overnight and takes years and years of hard work and dedication. You are building a relationship with YOUR BODY. Isn't that cool?
You don't loose weight to appease the haters, you do it for you. Like I said, maybe I'm a bit of a massochist, but I was a tooth pick and walked into a gym when I was 16 incredibly intimidated and really haven't walked out. I guess now that I think about it, I only wish I can give that kind of encouragement and praise to people who just keep showing up regardless of their fitness. Maybe us bigger guys stick out a little bit more, but we all started from somewhere. I'm not exactly sure if that would make the problem better, to walk up to some obese person and say "good job", but rest assured there is at least one guy who thinks that.
One more thing ... Men do seem to have an easier time than women shedding the pounds. I wonder if it's something to do with earlier childhood peuberty and all the fucked estrogen mimics in the environment that make women ... more shapely, etc. etc.
56. The sad alternative is for the unhealthy obese to just die out en masse, thinning the herd and leaving mainly the healthy masses who didn't let themselves slide down he slope.
You don't need a gym membership to loose weight, or expensive sports equipment. Really the key is to find some physical activity you like and do it every day.
A little high fructose corn syrup in your toast isn't going to kill you either...just don't eat too much of it. Oh, and getting plenty of protein and fiber is essential to feeling full.
Finally, for those who are depressed and overweight - regular exercise, sunshine, a diet with less sugar (and none around bedtime) and SLEEP are probably the best antidotes to depression around.
I eat dessert (and chocolate after every meal), and have had a baby, and I'm still in good shape. I just don't eat too much...and I love taking my little boy to the park!
Walking is often my exercise of choice-it's free, it's a time to think, it comes without a musical soundtrack.
It's possible because I can walk around my area without worying about being harrassed, beaten or killed. For many of the people with the worst problems, it's not really an option. If going to play basketball at the local court requires encountering bunches of potential enemies, then I might just stay home too.
And a good diet is essential-but how do you get one if you live in the projects? $23.00 a week won't buy much in the way of fresh produce.
Lifestyle choices can be aided or hindered by society at large, and our society does not yet want to see that the largest amount of food is not the only criteria of value. Or that not driving is a valid way to get around. So the population that's expanding the fastest is the one with the fewest resources for change.
(consider how much of the immigrant population comes here from extreme poverty-an all you-can-eat buffett is the epitome of luxury. Damn skippy I'm going to eat there every chance I get!)
But seeing there's a problem is the beginning of a solution. Let's just not stop at blaming the fatty as the answer.
It's your body, it's your sex life, it's your income etc. etc. WHO IS GOING TO DECIDE HOW YOU LIVE IT. Who is going to decide what you put into it? Who is going to decide how it's used? The government? society? At the end of the day it's going to be you. Some days are going to be harder than others. Some people are going to be given better tools in life to deal with it, some people perhaps have better will powers. I was reading an article about a mixed martial artist who can only afford to do calisthenics the old fashioned way, can't afford the weights or gym membership. I've seen workouts done with water filled jugs and a stick. There was a Kenyan man who won the olympic's marathon in 60's 70's WITH NO SHOES! Yes some people are going to have it harder than others. But there are stories of all sorts of fun people who overcome adversities to acheive athletic greatness and all the fatties of american have to do is walk around the block a few times a week, not to look sexier, but just stay healthy and alive. Maybe we should find these stories of inspiration,catalogue them as sort of chicken soup for the overweight/obese. My father struggled with obesity all the time growing up, now he does tai chi, LOVES it best shape of his life, and he's 49? ie it's never too late. If you don't want it that bad, then don't complain about it, be proud and accept yourself for who you are. It's a free country, but you can play the blame game but you still have to DO something about it. Wait until society to mandate stomach stapling surgury? No thank you
problem that people have idenified: gyms and weight watchers and shit are expensive.
solution: check craigslist and places like recycled cycles right here in Seattle. look for a bike and buy it, one can be yours for as little as $125 dollars, less than 3 months of bus passes or two weeks of gas for a car, and it can be yours forever.
ride it to work, and exercise will become part of your daily commuting routine, and not something for which you have to pay extra, or devote extra time in your already busy day. unless you commute from here to the moon and back every day, you can find a way to make it work by bike. ta daaaaa!!!!
OR Matt has said something that resonates very strongly with me. I too am currently in the best shape of my life. I'm 175 lbs, have a reasonable amount of muscle, and normally am very good about being physically active. And yet, in spite of this, it is still very difficult for me to think myself attractive and in fact the reason for losing weight and getting in shape *was* primarily to be attractive.
You know, I often hear from women that men don't know what it's like to have to live up to an impossible body ideal and that advertising is not set to make us feel horrible about ourselves the way it is about them. That's kind of funny, as I have recently seen a TV commercial trumpeting weight-loss diet plans for men where one of the men in the commercial flat out says "Now my wife doesn't think I'm a disgusting slob anymore." In my life I can't remember seeing a commercial for any women's product that came right out and said in plain language "You are a disgusting slob. You need this product to stop being disgusting."
In order to combat spam, we are no longer accepting comments on this post (or any post more than 45 days old).