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RSS icon Comments on Sweet Jesus, Kate Harding is Such a Dishonest, Paranoid Douchebag


this was from the same column, dan, and this brit is right on the money:

"Seems to me that the problem with the fat issue in the U.S. isn't that people are fat (which they undeniably are: I've never seen such a collection of sweaty porkers as I see in the USA when I visit), but that they're so goddamned crazy and angry about being fat."

one more time: if you're morbidly obese, you got no one to blame but yourself.

Posted by scary tyler moore | January 13, 2008 2:09 PM

BAD -- I just made a big ol' batch of my famous Chicken Velvet casserole for tonight's dinner party.

GOOD -- In 40 minutes, I'll be playing 90 minutes of soccer.


Posted by Jubilation T. Cornball | January 13, 2008 2:10 PM

Dan sounds like one of the most fat phobic people out there

Wonder how big his mom is? Did she embarrass him in childhood?

There needs to be more education about eating and exercise ... we hear some of it, but it has not taken root yet.

I know no urban dweller, except the bike riders, that get real exercise.

And computer squatting is a real problem.

Posted by Larkin | January 13, 2008 2:23 PM

America has a variety of fucked up attitudes towards weight that start to get confused in peoples heads after a while. I'm with Dan: saying that an obese woman with an excess of at least 200 pounds is at fault for her weight problems and needs a severe change of lifestyle is not criticizing all women who aren't bikini-modelesque.
Love handles and less than rock hard abs, thats ok.
Weighing nearly 400 pounds is not, strictly in terms of health.

Posted by mintygreen | January 13, 2008 2:24 PM

as a naturally average but currently overweight woman (working on it!) who yo-yo's when i both eat unhealthily and cease to be active, i wholeheartedly agree with dan.

fat people do get discriminated against and that is wrong. being mean or rude is never going to give anyone the healthy encouragement they need to make changes, if that their ultimate goal and that's true with most anything.

if anyone is really interested about the incredible amounts of pure SHIT we put in our bodies by eating the "usual stuff" around us, i'd suggest reading michael pollan's new book, "In Defense of Food".

people simply do not eat the way they used to 50-60 years ago, straight up.

Posted by giannissima | January 13, 2008 2:37 PM

Curvy is sexy, morbidly obese is not. Pretty much the moment you weigh so much that your skin folds into it self you stop being attractive, IMO.

With rare exception there is no genetic or biological basis for such things. What possible survival advantage would it have ever served to be physically unable to move or function. Motorized scooters do not exist in nature. Stocky, sure, a bit fatter then average, of course, but 400 pounds, sorry but no.

Even those who have a biological condition that makes them fat, that is not really an excuse to throw up ones hands. No more then a person born with MS, no legs, or any other condition should just throw up their hands and give up.

Like Dan, I am of course not saying that everyone should be a size zero model, thats not really healthy either. And one need not obsess over an extra 10, 30, or even 30 pounds, but if you are betting out live stock in raw tonnage, it might be time to reevaluate the way you live your life, as something is not quite right. Either that or accept the fact that few will find you attractive, you will annoy and inconvenience people at the moves and on planes, your health will suffer, and many activities will be unavailable to you.

Posted by Giffy | January 13, 2008 2:38 PM

@3 says, "I know no urban dweller, except the bike riders, that get real exercise."

That's the most absurd thing I've read in a long time. Which urban dwellers are you looking at?

Posted by Tone | January 13, 2008 2:41 PM

for real, tone. i'm an "urban dweller," and i walk to the store, walk to friends apartments, ride my bike to the gym, where i run a few miles on the tredmill. it's beyond bizaare to claim that people who live in cities are fatter or get less excercise. it's just that we don't get that excercize by working the fields from sun up to sun down.

Posted by konstantConsumer | January 13, 2008 2:49 PM

I absolutely hate all the euphemisms people use to try to hide the fact that they're fat. Kate's use of "Shapelings" (the first time I've heard it) is fucking god-awful. Fat people are not a race. Calling yourselves "overweight", "Shapelings", "heavy", "large" and the interminable "people of size" makes you seem desperate to make being fat even more culturally acceptable. These people are fat. Some are obese, some morbidly so. Lightening the term does not change the condition. Want to not be fat? Eat less and exercise more. It's simple arithmetic: put in less than you use up.

@3: I live in Vancouver, BC, right downtown in fact, and regularly ski the north shore mountains, hike, and kayak in Indian Arm...that's not real exercise?

Posted by Tdub | January 13, 2008 3:01 PM

Actually, statistically, you're more likely to be obese in rural and suburban areas than in urban areas--except for minority neighborhoods, which lack grocery stores.

I remain baffled why we aren't looking at the mental health angle: someone who weighs 400 pounds very likely is dealing with an untreated condition of some sort or other ("taking responsibility for one's mental health" only works when the mental health issue allows for that--many conditions do not).

Here is one recent study, among dozens, that are bearing this connection out:

And other summary:

Most people with depression and bipolar symptoms, in particuar, are not able to take "personal responsibility" and seek treatment either for their mental health or their weight.

Many would argue that someone who weighs 400 pounds by definition has a problem that needs the attention of a mental health professional, in addition to nutritionists, etc.

As usual, however, Americans are quick to ignore psychiatric or psychological issues in overall health and instead "blame" people with these conditions for their "moral" shortcomings. These 19th century attitudes die hard, but they are impeding our ability to solve the obesity problem.

Posted by S. M. | January 13, 2008 3:10 PM

I second 7's comment. I'm an urban dweller and I play on a soccer team, do Pilates every day, and swim or run at least 3 days a week. Because, after all, I give a shit about my health and my weight.

And I have to say that I am completely in agreement with Dan. Yes, people come in a variety of shapes and sizes. But as someone who comes in a somewhat larger size than average, I know that when I get 'too busy' to exercise and cook my own healthy and tasty food, I get heavier. When I start exercising again and eating better, I lose weight. Not enough to be a size 0 (or even a size 8), but enough to ensure that I am healthier, fitter, and a hell of a lot happier.

Really, the problem with the weight issue is that you really can't tell at a glance if someone is overweight and unhealthy, or overweight and fit. I can understand the frustration of being the latter and yet having everyone assume that you're still unhealthy, which I think is the root of a lot of the hostility coming from Kate Harding and others like her. But frankly, I think there are better ways to respond than to assume the person is a horrible evil fat-bigot.

Which is the cue, I suppose, for someone to start accusing me of hating myself/my mother/other fat people/the boogeyman...

Posted by Megan | January 13, 2008 3:11 PM

tearing down fat people is in my own best interest. the less health care money spent on fatties the better.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | January 13, 2008 3:19 PM

I’m fine with you being big—I have nothing against people of size, really,

Hah! This is such a huge lie that I can only assume that you are completely lacking in self-awareness on this issue. Your hatred of fat people and fear of becoming one comes through clearly on everything you write on the subject. You win the douchebaggery contest. Yay, you!

Posted by Sniper | January 13, 2008 3:33 PM

Americans love to complain about each other because we have lots of free time on our hands. Of course if one is a persecuted minority not protected by law, (Gay Americans for example) complaining is understandable. Overweight Americans are 65% of the population and hence not in the minority. SO quit yer bitchen.

Posted by Sargon Bighorn | January 13, 2008 3:34 PM

@ 2:

That sounds DAMN delicious!! Wish I had that recipe, what a great meal to warm yourself up on before playing soccer, and a great way to drop those inevitable calories..Mmm.

Posted by MistressCorrine | January 13, 2008 3:40 PM

The vast majority of fat people are not afflicted with a genetic or other disease. Those who want to blame this are simply making excuses or avoiding responsibility.

If you want to be fat, fine, but realize your life choice will bring you scorn and ridicule.

Simply put, most fat folks were simply raised with horrible eating habits combined with a sedentary lifestyle. In the old days, you'd work the fields and then eat a huge dinner. Now, you sit on your ass and eat 3 huge meals.

Don't trot out the small minority of folks who have issues as an excuse for you to keep eating and avoiding exercise.

It's a straw man argument to say your critics want you to be an impossible stick figure zero body fat seen in the media. This body type is not the standard we are holding you to. We agree you can't be a fashion model, but you also cannot be 100lbs overweight.

Posted by Medina | January 13, 2008 3:47 PM

For the record this fat dude *hates* the term "shapelings", gag.

I realize that there are no fat people on CapHill so this might be a stretch, but I would challenge Dan and the Stranger to do some stories on this subject that aren't of the "those damn fatties" gist.

Stories on the impact of agribusiness on nutrition, on people like Zak who posted in the last thread, on the scourge that is high-fructose corn syrup, on related topics.

Posted by bob | January 13, 2008 3:48 PM

Boy, the ignorance here is so thick you could cut it with a knife...

"Shapelings" isn't a "euphemism"... it's the term for fans of Kate's blog, SHAPELY Prose. See how that works? Shapely, Shapeling... like Star Trek fans are called "Trekkies."... if you read her blog, you'd see she disdains euphemisms and calls herself fat.

The movement is "Fat Acceptance", after all, not "People Of Size Acceptance"... if you want to know who's using the euphemisms, it's people like Dan "Watch Everything I Eat Lest The Pounds Come Back!!!" Savage who call people "of size".

Now, if you'll excuse me... my fat urban-dwelling ass is going to walk to the grocery store to pick up some iceberg lettuce.

Posted by Alexandra Erin | January 13, 2008 3:48 PM

Dan, you can post on this again and again, and your underlying point - i.e. "Personal behavior does indeed have something to do with weight gain in many cases" - will always, always, always be read as "Fat people suck!", no matter how many disclaimers you add.

I don't know why you bother, beyond a desire to stir shit up.

Posted by tsm | January 13, 2008 3:52 PM

Medina -

This came up in the previous thread, if you think obesity is related to "sitting on your ass" how do you account for the fact that obesity rates are much higher among blue-collar workers who do physical labor 8 hours a day, compared to white collar workers who sit on their ass 8 hour a day?

Posted by mrobvious | January 13, 2008 3:55 PM

@20 -

if you think obesity is related to "sitting on your ass" how do you account for the fact that obesity rates are much higher among blue-collar workers who do physical labor

There were two factors mentioned there, mrobvious - sitting on your ass and diet. Figure it out.

Posted by tsm | January 13, 2008 3:57 PM

Dan, I was not going to even comment on these latest posts on SLOG. I mean, they follow a predictable pattern. It's getting a little boring: You pull up some bullshit article, complete with bullshit logic, on the great terrible scourge that is obesity, and what follows is ten to twenty comments by SLOG readers who are all apparently experts in this field, and know exactly why people are fat and how fatties are lazy and it's the corn, etc, or have emotional problems but really they just are hating on the fatties. Then, someone calls you on your bullshit, and you go find their blog where they call you on your bullshit, post it here...

Rinse, repeat.

I mean what is the point of this?

I think Sniper at #13 has got your number. Really truly.

Posted by Seriously | January 13, 2008 3:59 PM

mrobvious - might that partially be because the average white-collar worker commonly goes to a gym to work out? Most white-collar workers tend to be image conscious and indeed exercise.

Posted by Sam | January 13, 2008 4:00 PM

I thought big people were suppose to be jolly

Posted by Seanford | January 13, 2008 4:00 PM
You pull up some bullshit article, complete with bullshit logic,

Indeed, how illogical of Dan to not believe that humans are exempt from the laws of thermodynamics. The fat acceptance folks insist that diet has no effect and I'll stay the same weight regardless of whether I eat 500 or 5000 calories a day, so it must be so!

Posted by tsm | January 13, 2008 4:02 PM

Codependent thought police? Bitch, please. You posted commentary on a Slog entry and Shakes responded to it. Both commentary and response were a little knee-jerky but there you go.

And that is how we make a Blogosphere!

Posted by LRascal | January 13, 2008 4:04 PM

We get hate fat people but won't say it. You didn't really need to write all those paragraphs.

Posted by Emily | January 13, 2008 4:05 PM

oh dan, I'm about 60lbs over weight and I still love you. In fact, your recent slog post has inspired me to loose weight. I just think you're wonderful.

Keep it up.

Posted by conehead | January 13, 2008 4:05 PM

If you're thin, people cut you slack for hitting the drive-thru once in awhile or skipping a workout. In fact, they don't ask in the first place because they just assume you're automatically making the healthy choice in every situation. (Or, corollary, if you personally are thin then you consciously or unconsciously assume that everyone heavier than you must make the unhealthy choice more often than you do, regardless of whether you hit the drive-thru never, seldom, or regularly.)

If you're fat, thin people won't "absolve" you for it until they have satisfied themselves that you NEVER eat fast food or sugar, work out a minimum of an hour a day, and have an intake of 1,200 calories or less. Actually even once they have that information, they simply assume you're lying about your diet or exercise. This is my problem (and I think, one of Kate's) with discussions like your advice to Ms. English. I know nothing about her personally, and for all I know she is hitting the drive-thru daily and taking in three times the calories she requires and never getting up off the couch (a la "Medina explains it all about why you are fat and a bad person, while she is thin and a good person"). This is certainly possible. But my problem is with the automatic assumption that this is the only explanation for a given person's weight. Her stated admission of "sometimes" taking the "easy way out" is no more or less than the way most thin people live every day (making the best choices they can, but occasionally choosing ease or convenience over health). I certainly had thin co-workers who ate McDonald's for lunch more often than not, and nobody was holding them up as symbolic of the downfall of American society.

Would Ms. English (like the rest of us) be healthier if she never went through a drive-thru again, and started exercising 5 days a week without fail until she died? Sure, but most thin people don't achieve this level of black-and-white "healthfulness" either, and still they remain thin and are able to move through society without judgment and hatred.

Posted by spacedcowgirl | January 13, 2008 4:09 PM

Mental health issues are examined for people considering weight loss surgery. At the hospital where I work candidates are required to complete a psychological evaluation before being approved. I used to enter the raw data for the MMPI and other tests conducted by the two psychologists in the department I work for and send the final reports to the referring doctor. The women were generally 300-400 pounds and were looking at quality of life; the men were often 500 pounds or more and were likely told by their doctors that they would be dead in a few years if they didn't do something.

What the psych evaluations looked at, among other things, were why the reputable diets (e.g. Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, etc) didn't work. Surgery is, of course, the option of last resort. Also, if the patient overate because of stress, how are they going to handle stress when overeating simply isn't possible after surgery that greatly shrinks the size of the stomach? Or did they have someone in their life who was sabotaging their weight problem? For example, a jealous husband or boyfriend (most patients were women) who were afraid of losing them to other men if they became more attractive? Or possibly an overweight friend who was similarly worried about the relationship ending if their "eating buddy" no longer could join them at their favorite restaurant.

Of course the bariatric surgery candidates we saw were probably healthier mentally since they had acknowledged the problem and decided to do something about it. Yes, some people are naturally bigger than others and 50% will by definition be heavier than average. But God/Nature/Whoever did not intend anyone to weigh 400 pounds. Someone who has reached that weight definitely has some issues.

Posted by RainMan | January 13, 2008 4:11 PM

TSM, So what's your theory, blue-collar workers are just too stupid to know how to eat correctly, (unlike the skinny denizens of CapHill)?

Seriously, the issue of race and class hasn't been brought up (speaking of that, when is Charles going to jump in here?). But obesity rates are significantly higher among low-income and minority populations.

And a lot of upper/middle-class whites have a real repulsion about obesity, it goes far beyond simple concern about the health of others. It's seen as a huge moral failing and I don't think it's a coincidence.

Posted by bob | January 13, 2008 4:14 PM

Kate Harding is severely overweight and misanthropic, which I think says more than any number of paragraphs she spews ever could.

Posted by Gomez | January 13, 2008 4:14 PM

@31 -

TSM, So what's your theory, blue-collar workers are just too stupid to know how to eat correctly, (unlike the skinny denizens of CapHill)?

It's not just a theory; poor Americans do tend to have a far worse diet. Of course, in the name of being combative, you've phrased this as if I claimed this was some kind of personal failure on their part. Which I did not, and wouldn't.

And yes, race and class are issues. But these things are issues because of the way they effect diet and exercise habits.

Posted by tsm | January 13, 2008 4:18 PM

("effect" should be "affect")

Posted by tsm | January 13, 2008 4:20 PM

Does anyone ever feel as if the weight discussion in America in class-oriented? Example: I am a poor college student living in the Midwest, an area that is at best upper middle class and at worse trailer trash. I am not obese, but then I am still young (23.) The problem is, living in the Midwest really doesn't give you access to fresh produce except during those very slim summer months. Additionally, healthy food is damn expensive. I mean, DAMN expensive. Even working a 25 hour a week job at $8.50 I can barely afford to pay for vegetables and fruits that aren't going to last the two weeks until my next paycheck. The Midwest is also notoriously rural, and while I would love to walk everywhere, even walking from campus to my house is a good 45 minute hike, and when it's -10 below, well. Driving is easier, and especially in Wisconsin weather, sometimes safer. Fast food is cheaper, by far, than most "healthy" foods by a sizeable margin.
So where does class and geographical location play into this whole discussion?

Posted by Marty | January 13, 2008 4:21 PM

She didn't do this to just you! She also posted a bunch of comments written by Violent Acres (A woman) here:

Yet, when Kate posted them on her blog, she took them completely out on context and credited them to a male author.

Seriously, she's such a loser. You can't believe a word she says.

Posted by Helen | January 13, 2008 4:23 PM

Sam -

So you believe that an hour on the stair master 3 times a week is equivalent to doing physical work 8 hours a day? Obviously never swung a hammer have you?

Posted by mrobvious | January 13, 2008 4:24 PM

It seems that the argument here is that there are Good Fatties and Bad Fatties.

It also appears that Ms. English admitting to 'some easier choices' is her admission that she eats mostly or a lot of fast food and never or rarely exercises. Whereas I don't see anywhere her making those sorts of quantitative statements in this quote. What I do see is that Ms. English has been struggling her whole life. Recall bias works within each of us, and I suggest that if Ms. English has indeed "struggled" for years and years with her weight, she's going to be hyper-aware of any "infraction". I have certainly seen that reaction in all sorts of people: the 'stereotypical' behaviour of any given group is loaded with meaning for the observer and the person themselves. Sometimes this is positive: I notice when I am polite, and being Canadian confirms that image of myself, even if there is a much politer person of French origin in the room.

I first dieted due to teasing before puberty and kept it up off and on for 20 years. My body reacted poorly to that sort of treatment. Perhaps Ms. English has a story of hunger behind her weight ... or perhaps she is a sedentary suburbanite.

I can imagine based on the little that we've heard of her a thousand stories. I can be compassionate to her in all of them, and can see her difficulty in most.

Perhaps she starved herself, lost all her muscle mass, and in the subsequent regain period became heavier than her frame can easily carry - therefore it is hard for her to exercise. Perhaps she tried to take up jogging and pushed it too hard at some point, and she's blown her Acheilles tendons. Perhaps she's got more kids with less support than she can handle, and she's working too many stationary jobs and then trying to get caring for her kids done in what little time she has left. Or, yes, she could just be lazy.

The quote you posted DOES NOT TELL US HER MEDICAL HISTORY, and your treatment of her is assumptive. It assumes that 400 pounds is not humanly possible but for sedentary fast food lifestyles that can be easily rectified by your simple "stop eating crap and exercise more."

It's a weird post.

Where is the line you're drawing behind nature and nurture? Is it BMI based? Do you have special Fat-Dar that can tell which Fatty is Misbehaving? Or is it a behavioural scale irrespective of size? Do I cross the line when I miss 3 workouts in a single month? What if I eat fast food twice in a week?

Do thin people cross that line, or is it ONLY fat people? Because I certainly know lots of thin people who both eat more fast food and exercise less than I do. I am not motivated to be disgusted by them: I am one of those odd souls who enjoys exercise and does not much enjoy fast food.

Posted by Arwen | January 13, 2008 4:25 PM

"Of course, if Ms. English is content at 400 pounds, and wants to assume the health risks that come with morbid obesity, and isn’t interested in making changes to her eating and exercise habits, that’s her absolute right. She shouldn’t be mocked or discriminated against or poked with sticks."

And you stand behind this conviction that mocking fat people is bad by.... calling your reader "Lardass"? How does that work, exactly?

Posted by occhiblu | January 13, 2008 4:28 PM

While I agree with Dan, that we all must take personal responsibility for our bodies, we must all make an effort to eat carefully and work out more, the fact of the matter is that the American systems are broken.

A lot of fat people become fat because they have to work 80 hours a week to support their family and have no time to exercise. Then they go out and buy the cheapest food there is- McDonalds. It is a sorry state of our society that processed, refined, corn-laden, carb-laden high calorie food is cheaper and more convenient than nutritious fruits and vegetables, but there it is.

Yes, people should take personal responsibility for their actions. But that absolutely does not mean that we should not also be calling for the government to stop subsidizing corn, for healthy lunches in school cafeterias, for a more sane farm bill, and for an increase in the minimum wage so people don't HAVE to work 80 hours a week, and have time to you know, go for a walk.

Posted by arduous | January 13, 2008 4:31 PM


You missed the point. My question is why do non-fat people get *so* emotional about obesity and fat people. I mean, denials to the contrary it's clear that a lot of people on these threads *hate* fat people (I don't know if Dan falls in this category but I don't completely buy his denials).

Is it just a coincidence that obesity is highly correlated with race and class and the fact that many middle-class people *do* see it as a moral issue?

Posted by mrobvious | January 13, 2008 4:32 PM

@41 - No, you missed the point. Because, like 4,398,291 other folks here, you read Dan saying that diet and exercise affects weight - which is ALL HE SAID, AND NOTHING MORE - as some kind of anti-fat hate speech. Dan's said this before, and every time it starts off a kajillion posts about how (1) fat people are unfairly discriminated against and (2) "It's NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS how much I weigh anyway!"

I tell you, there sure are a lot of beat-up straw men on the floor around here.

Posted by tsm | January 13, 2008 4:36 PM

Yeah, tsm, how stupid ARE these other commenters for doing something like, oh, I don't know, reading every other word Dan has ever written about fat people and then getting a little suspicious that he might view fat as some kind of moral failing?

Come on. Seriously? You think there is no moral, self-righteous component to Dan's references to weight and fat people?

Posted by spacedcowgirl | January 13, 2008 4:39 PM

Seriously, she's such a loser. You can't believe a word she says.

Wrong. I'll break it down for you.

1. Some reader of Violent Acres (WTF?) copied most of a VA post and sent it to Shapely Prose uncredited.

2. When people pointed this out, Kate edited the post to reflect the new information.

That's it.

Posted by Sniper | January 13, 2008 4:43 PM

Ok, second attempt at posting. The spam filter does not allow hyperlinks - go figure, as that would allow informed discussion. This is a a recycled response to the same recycled bigoted issues that everyone always brings up. I'd like to include the links, of course, but you can find them easily enough with a search. Enjoy:
Now, I am not against walking, and I do not deny that being active is good for you. However, presenting walking as a cure for obesity is not only incorrect, but it is very harmful. Let's take a look at the Research:

First off, your figures on the average adult weighing 25 lbs more. Well, Did you also know that the average adult is considerably taller, than in 1960? An extra inch of height can add as much as 4 lbs of healthy weight? This is supported in various articles. An extra 2 inches in height can mean an extra 8-10 lbs of healthy weight.

Now, your assertion that 2 out of three people are now overweight. I assume you've based this on CDC studies, and of course the BMI index. Well, surely you remember that a significant part of the population became overweight or obese OVERNIGHT in 1998? Well, have a look:

[link omitted - search on]

Based on numbers used in 1960, the 2 out of 3 figure changes substantially. Now, the health problem of obesity, that the CDC is killing thousands? Well, they've had to eat their words!

[link omitted - search on]

This is further complicated by the fact that NO published studies at least that I've found, and I've looked) have ever separated obesity related health problems from sedentary lifestyle related health problems. In other words, active fat people, and sedentary fat people, are lumped together in all studies, and not statistically separated, and sedentary skinny people, and active skinny people are grouped together in studies as well. This result in considerable sample error in these studies.

Now, here is the fundamental problem with this statement being slipped into this story; for some, walking will not result in significant weight loss. You see, there is more to obesity than meets the eye. Now, the diet industries would like to you to think otherwise, but statistics show an underlying truth:

[link omitted discussion of how diets don't work and actually do damage to the metabolism]

Why don't diets, and for that matter, exercise work for most, if not everyone? Well, the first answer is genetics. We know that appetite is controlled very substantially by genetics. People that suffer from Prader-Willi(an genetically inherited condition) Syndrome have no appetite control. That is one considerable factor. Tastes are also genetically controlled. While some crave fatty foods, others crave healthier foods. Do you find broccoli bitter? if so, you are a supertaster, and have a gene for tasting a specific chemical that others don't.

But this is just a part of it. Genetics is a much more complicated issue than anyone would have us believe. Take a look at this article studying genetics in rats:

Here is a quote from that article:
"Rather than focus on a single gene, Churchill and his colleagues decided to explore the entire weight-control network. They selected a big, lean strain of mice and mated them with small, fat ones. The offspring of this union grew to many different sizes and weights. Churchill and his team then measured how large the animals grew and how much of their body weight was fat versus muscle. They also measured how the fat was spread out on each mouse. Like us, mice tend to accumulate fat in certain places, like their haunches and their bellies. Finally, the scientists scanned the genome of each mouse for hundreds of markers to see which ones were linked tightly to each trait.

The map they came up with looks like a flowchart from hell. Churchill’s group identified a dozen sites in the mouse genome where genes are influencing the body weight of mice. But the genes have different effects. Some make mice large-bodied, and being big makes mice more likely to get fat. But they also found genes that had separate effects on both body size and fat levels. In some cases, the same gene could make a mouse both big and lean. Other genes influenced only how fat the mice were, with no effect on their body size. Still other genes determined the size of different fat pads. One region of mouse DNA appears to make mice fat overall while actually making the fat pads on their haunches smaller."

In all likelihood, a similar matrix of genes, or perhaps an even more complex one, exists in humans. For those that have genetic tendencies for obesity, it is considerably harder to lose weight - even with walking!

Now, from the statistic you cited, 25 lbs since 1960, there has been some increase in weight gain. This means something MUSt be environmental, for, our genetics has not changed. Well, this is true. Epigenetics, or the expression of genes. Have a look at this article:

"Remarkably, the researchers effected this transformation without altering a single letter of the mouse's DNA. Their approach instead was radically straightforward—they changed the moms' diet. Starting just before conception, Jirtle and Waterland fed a test group of mother mice a diet rich in methyl donors, small chemical clusters that can attach to a gene and turn it off. These molecules are common in the environment and are found in many foods, including onions, garlic, beets, and in the food supplements often given to pregnant women. After being consumed by the mothers, the methyl donors worked their way into the developing embryos' chromosomes and onto the critical agouti gene. The mothers passed along the agouti gene to their children intact, but thanks to their methyl-rich pregnancy diet, they had added to the gene a chemical switch that dimmed the gene's deleterious effects."

Now, from this article, we now know that the methylation cycle, and related properties is critical. The problem is, some people carry genetic traits that interrupt their methylation cycle abilities
[link omitted - see] And, some people participate in behaviors that interrupt the methylation cycle. Smoking, especially while pregnant is one of the key factors. SO, those that are obese? the fact is, the largest single thing that could have helped them to be thin, happened while they were in their mother's womb.

The book, Rethinking Thin, by Gina Kolata presents a great deal of peer reviewed studies that show this. You know, this book is a good idea for a future report for your show. She talks about large gov't studies involving entire towns showing that major lifestyle changes, resulted in no weight loss for the population.

Other things interrupt the methylation cycle too. Some people want to blame aspartame, and it is possible, though the verdict is out. But take a look at this article:

[link omitted - see]

So, this whole obesity epidemic has several parallel factors which correlate: smoking while pregnant, increases in vaccines (mercury, like thimerosal is a methylation interruptor), autism, increases in PCOS, and much more.

In conclusion, what this all means, is that this blurb about obesity in this article just doesn't belong. Now, had you couched it in terms of being healthy, that is fine, because research (unbiased research) shows that an active lifestyle is good, beneficial. However, the way you presented it, that is, without any supporting research, and the context it was in, you furthered the idea that "if you are overweight, it is your fault, and if you'd just get off your butt, you'd be thinner." unfortunately, research shows that this will not be the case. And, this belief is the foundation for people to be cruel and discriminatory against obese people. After all, if its their fault, why not be cruel?

Well, this cruelty hurts - for real. Take a look at page 7 of this study:

[link omitted - see]

Discrimination against obese people is a real issue, and a real problem. I and others would appreciate if you as journalists took this issue more seriously as well. Part of this responsibility means making a clear separation between obesity, which is greatly out of control of the individual, and active/sedentary lifestyle, which is in control of the individual.

Posted by squurp | January 13, 2008 4:44 PM

Umm, Dan, guess what? You're wrong. I happen to weigh 382 lbs, at 5'8", and have weighed that for the last 10 years (due to repeated failed diets and a failed weight loss surgery). My cholesterol is normal, my blood sugar is normal, my blood pressure is normal, I'm not asthmatic (and wonder of wonders, I'm married to a man who loves me just the way I am). I happen to eat a low-carb diet because my husband is diabetic and that's what helps control his blood sugar the best. So I'm not eating fast food, nor am I eating junk food, and I get plenty of exercise cleaning the house, playing with our 2 cats, chasing after grandkids, cooking meals, doing laundry and dishes, etc etc etc. For your information, I have been what is called morbidly obese for 30 years of my 54 years of life. It hasn't killed me yet, and probably won't, considering that all of my grandparents were fat and they all lived well into their 80's and 90's. My parents are fat and both are still alive and kicking ass at the ripe old ages of 73 and 74. So fat isn't automatically a death sentence, and telling people that if they just eat a healthy diet and exercise they will magically get thin and stay that way the rest of their lives is nothing but a big fat lie. Been there done that, and life is too short to obsess over every damned bite of food I eat just because some people think it's easy to get and stay thin. We all die sooner or later, and there isn't one damned thing you can do to prevent it. When your time is up, it's UP!! Doesn't matter if you've eaten nothing but junk food all your life and sat on the couch doing nothing, or if you've eaten the most healthy diet in the world and exercised like a hamster on speed, when it's time for you to die, you're fucking dead.

Posted by vesta44 | January 13, 2008 4:45 PM

@42 - I believe what the Fat People are saying is that diet and exercise don't have a habit of being able to make fat people skinny for any length of time. Just like curling your hair doesn't make you have curly hair.

Most of us have a range where the top end is EAT JUNK AND SIT ON ASS and the bottom end is WORK OUT AND EAT WELL. My range is about 15 pounds wide. When I am healthy me, I am still a size 18.

The ASSUMPTION that your personal experience of body is the exact same experience of body for everyone else is where you're getting the "fat-hater" thing from. It's not even that it's hatred: it's that it's blind privilege. That YOUR experience of what is possible is the gold standard. That my ass is bigger by some linear multiple of cheeseburgers and couches.

Posted by Arwen | January 13, 2008 4:48 PM

@41, Mr.Obvious - You know, it strikes me as interesting that I come from farmer's stock and would have had the shape once described as the "milkmaid's" body. Now I've had two kids and look much like the pudgy farming-women my great-grandmothers were.
However, we were obviously farming-stock class marked away back then. My grandmothers were never going to look good as flappers.

Posted by Arwen | January 13, 2008 4:56 PM

I'm a long time reader of Dan's, or at least I was, until he started to go off the deep end on shit like this. But now, I'm forced to have to nominate Dan for GINO -- Gay In Name Only. Dan takes the cake for being the least understanding and least accepting person I can remember.

Every debate point he makes to take issue with the fatties not putting down the fried chicken hits just as similarly (and lamely) if you replace "fat" with "gay." Dan, you clearly have a problem. You're gay. You need to stop being so gay. If you would only try a little harder to be straight, you could succeed. It's a *PROVEN FACT* according to some radical conservative nutjobs, that if you would just go away to "gay camp" and learn how to *LIVE RIGHT*, you'd have no problem stopping being gay.

This is obviously bullshit. Except in your mind, when you change "gay" to "fat" and take on all the fatties. If only they would just *try harder*, all while you're kind enough to name call. Suddenly you're buying into all the same hater bullshit that, if the people that don't like you had their way with it, you'd have found yourself lynched long ago.

Yes, we know you don't like teh fatties. Yes, we know you have an eating disorder, and Have Issues. Thank you, but your arguments work only in your small mind, and in the small minds of the other small minded people who don't know any better.

As you yourself have stated to Kate, and others, your own personal life experience doesn't translate to a perfect guide regarding everybody else's. You're absolutely sure a 392-pound woman would drop all the weight off like magic, if only she would exercise and eat more vegetables? What's wrong with this picture? Your lack of a medical degree and lack of personal experience with this woman's situation for starters.

But wait a minute -- vegetables? You just mentioned how you're on a no-carb diet, and how great it was to eat bacon and eggs for breakfast. Uh, so you're trading one kind of heart attack (from obesity) for another (from clogged arteries). Great. Maybe you shouldn't be so quick to judge. (And enjoy your ride on the slow boat to liver damage.)

Posted by Al | January 13, 2008 5:01 PM

You never see these commenters so agitated over other unhealthy people or behavior like smokers or alcoholics or unsafe sex the way they are over the VERY EXISTENCE OF FAT PEOPLE!!!! THE HORRRRRRORRRR!!!!!!!! If you don't rag on fat people on the internet, you get fat too!!!! its contagious!!!

Face it Dan, you ARE poking this woman with a stick by pointing this post out.

Posted by anna | January 13, 2008 5:05 PM

@43 -

Yeah, tsm, how stupid ARE these other commenters for doing something like, oh, I don't know, reading every other word Dan has ever written about fat people and then getting a little suspicious that he might view fat as some kind of moral failing?

From this very post:

I do solemnly swear that I believe people come in all different shapes and sizes, and that not everyone can or should be a size 0, and further I believe that people can be healthy, relatively speaking, and large, and I believe that big people are attractive—to people that are attracted to big people.

Now then, what are you looking for, exactly? You're just trying to pick a fight here.

Posted by tsm | January 13, 2008 5:13 PM

Dan, I'm really surprised you have so much time to write about this issue. Shouldn't you be out exercising, to make sure you never get fat like all these appalling people?

Posted by gadfly | January 13, 2008 5:15 PM

The irony with the "10 or 20 lbs is OK" but "100 lbs is definitely BAD LIFESTYLE" is it's totally bass-ackwards. For 10 or 20 lbs you can talk about blame and personal responsibility - that's the kind of weight gain/loss that lifestyle *can* reasonably effect.

But for 100 lbs or more? That's probably mostly out of the individual's control. A person who's 300+ lbs almost certainly has a different physiology from somebody's who's just a little bit heavy. Maybe in a different environment or with a totally different lifestyle they'd have been 275 or even 250. But they would absolutely have been fat - real fat.

It's like the people who look at the 200 lb 8 year olds and scream *parental neglect!* No, a kid who's 10 or 20 or 30 lbs overweight maybe has bad parents. But a kid at that extreme end of the bell curve - there's something wrong there. You could sit most kids down on a stack of twinkies to play video games day in day out and they're never ever going to look like that.

Posted by km | January 13, 2008 5:22 PM

1) Farmwork is not aerobic exercise. What made the difference in the "old days" was a different diet, walking to and from fields, and aerobic hobbies like dancing. Modern fieldworkers, while I've never met a morbidly obese one, have about the same health profile as factory workers, and usually have horrible blood pressure. (Yes, I used to work in farmworker health).

2) It's always fat women, have you noticed? Wah, sexism, except it totally is always women who are expected to care about this. Personally, I would rather not die of heart disease just to spite the patriarchy, but doesn't it ever seem like slut-shaming, except with food?

3) Citydwellers are skinny because they walk everywhere. Suburb-dwellers are fat because they spend hours in the car every day. Poor people are fat because, see #1 and apply it to housekeeping, factory jobs, etc: poverty-level jobs are often physically hard and wear you out, but they aren't aerobic exercise, plus poor people often live in unsafe places / live on crap food. (In my part of the country, landed rural poor people can often at least garden and hunt for lean meat, but that's not the story for "suburban poor")

I'm not saying that an individual in the _worst possible_ situation can't make positive changes and improve their health, but it is possible to _plan_ our urban/suburban design, rural subsidies, etc. in ways that make staying in good physical condition less of a struggle.

Posted by purpleshoes20 | January 13, 2008 5:26 PM

[quote]Wrong. I'll break it down for you.

1. Some reader of Violent Acres (WTF?) copied most of a VA post and sent it to Shapely Prose uncredited.

2. When people pointed this out, Kate edited the post to reflect the new information.

That's it.[/quote]

So says the liar, Sniper. But frankly, she's already proven that not a thing she says is to be believed.

Posted by Helen | January 13, 2008 5:29 PM

Dan "Watch Everything I Eat Lest The Pounds Come Back!!!" Savage Alexandra Erin

I'm not sure how that's an insult.

how stupid ARE these other commenters for doing something like, oh, I don't know, reading every other word Dan has ever written about fat people and then getting a little suspicious that he might view fat as some kind of moral failing? spacedcowgirl

There's the answer right there, you gotta read every word, not every other.

Posted by PdxRitchie | January 13, 2008 5:31 PM

If you're fat, you're fat, it really isn't a big deal. I don't know about turning it into a cause though. "I am fat, hear me roar"

It's the difference between saying "yeah, I'm fat and if you don't like it, you can suck a big one" *shrug shoulders, move on* or better yet "oh look, a complete stranger on the internet made some comments about being fat. Ho hum, let's see what's on sale on eBay" and being all "oh that mean man hurt my feelings. How dare he say such mean things? It is just WRONG WRONG WRONG. Oh why do people pick on me" or even worse, "that evil bastard has a vendetta against me. I'm going to get him. I'm going to set up a website and invest a lot of mental energy feeing all righteous & vitriolic."

If you ask me, that's where the real sickness is.

Posted by Maxine | January 13, 2008 5:35 PM

I'm honestly sick of this shit from "fat acceptance" activists.

It gets personal when family members of mine are overweight, are told specifically to lose weight and get more exercise, and hide behind this garbage to keep from losing weight. If there is a choice between a loved one consistently eating two Big Macs while sitting on their ass in front of a TV, and staying around for a few more years, you'd better *fucking* believe that I'm not going to accept their fatness.

Of course there are people with real problems with weight that aren't due to things that they can really control. If you don't have the time or the money to eat healthy, or if you have some sort of metabolic disorder, then sure... that's a bad thing.

But when you travel to different countries and you realize that most other people around the world actually get exercise and don't eat shit and don't waddle when they walk down the street, it kinda tells you that there's something wrong with what we're doing here.

Posted by bma | January 13, 2008 5:43 PM

Here's the exact text of the "comment" that was submitted to my blog, as it was e-mailed to me by WordPress for moderation. Please direct your outrage about plagiarism at this person:

Author : Demonchild (IP: , E-mail : URL : Whois : Comment: Quit making excuses! Quit telling me what you can’t do! You’re a human being! You’re capable, intelligent, and strong! You are a warrior! You can do whatever the fuck you want!

“But our self esteem is in Jeopardy!” the Fat Acceptance Movement people sniff, “People make fun of us!”

Cry me a fucking river. Just because someone mooed at you yesterday when you walked across the street doesn’t mean you get to put a patent on victimhood. You don’t think skinny people ever get made fun of? You don’t think people whisper about them behind their hands or constantly speculate on whether or not they’re anorexic? You don’t think they blush a little when they get up from a meal to use the restroom after they hear you quietly insist to the table that they’re heading there to puke? No one ever calls their bodies disgusting or bony or unhealthy? No one ever laughs and makes jokes about their bodies resembling little boys? Please.

So, if you’re fat and people make fun of you, suck it up and join the club. Everyone gets made fun of. Everyone is the object of ridicule and disgust. Grow up and get over it already.

You’re full of shit and you know it. Having abs is totally awesome. Having gigantic bags of sweaty flesh painfully attached to your chest is not. Quit feeding people a bunch of bullshit.

Without physical progress, human beings are nothing. You may appear to be fat, spoiled and happy. But you and I both know you’re nothing more than a bored, angry, fat bitch.

Posted by Kate Harding | January 13, 2008 5:45 PM

Christ, let's have some sympathy here. We all know food isn't made the way it used to be, and organic foods with wholesome ingredients are much more expensive (and time-consuming to buy and prepare) than most things stocking grocery store shelves. People born with bodies naturally inclined to hold on to calories are punished the worse from fast food and pre-packaged meals. And even the skinniest people among us can probably relate to a time in their lives when they gained 10 or 15 pounds and just simply lost the will to exercise for a few months. On a heavier person, gaining 50 pounds can feel just as natural as gaining 10 pounds does to a skinny person.

A lot of us, including myself, are lucky. We're naturally thin. Eating poorly and not exercising might mean getting out of shape and putting some pounds on, but we know we'll always be in a weight and size range considered "normal". We could take that for granted, but most skinny people don't. We work out and eat well because the carrot at the end of the stick - looking great in a bathing suit, or having legs to kill for - is easily attainable by working out. So we have more encouragement to work for it.

Picture yourself being 400 pounds. You could overhaul your lifestyle, eat foods you don't quite care for, get up at 6am and run a few miles each morning, and know that maybe, over time, you'll lose 50 pounds. And maybe you'll keep it off. Maybe. Is going from 400 to 350 worth all that effort?

Shit. My best friend used to weigh a 100 pounds more than she does. She was then, and still is, an athlete. She played tennis and soccer, and walked to and from work each day in San Francisco. 7 miles of walking on hills. Every day. She couldn't drop the weight. She only has now because she monitors every last thing she eats and has increased her exercise. I don't know where she finds the time or the willpower. She knows the minute she stops being so careful, the pounds will come right back and she won't like the way she looks again. I could never do what she does.

So yeah, diet and exercise are important, at least to stay healthy and keep one's mind uncluttered. But some people can't help it, or they just aren't so unhappy with their lives that they're willing to take the extraordinary measures they'd need to take to help it. Either way, it's no one else's goddamn business.

Posted by Gem | January 13, 2008 5:52 PM

Notice that Kate posts and copy/paste job and not a screen shot of the original email. And even if she did post a screen shot, who's to say she didn't set up the email address herself and send herself the email?

Personally, I think the fact that EVEN NOW she refuses to link to as particularly telling. It's like she didn't want VA to know what she was doing, so refused to link to her in the hopes that she wouldn't find out.

Pathetic, Kate. Just pathetic.

Posted by Helen | January 13, 2008 5:52 PM

This fat-acceptance nonsense is simply dangerous. You don't see "alcoholism acceptance" groups, so why should eating be treated any differently?

I recently lost 40 pounds through Weight Watchers. How did I do it? 1) Smaller portions, 2) more exercise, 3) no junk food, 4) more fruits and vegetables.

I could still stand to lose another 20 pounds, but the difference in how I feel just by losing 40 pounds is significant. I can be more active physically, I get a lot more attention from the opposite sex, overall I feel about 100% better about myself.

These people need to stop eating to fill the emotional voids in their lives.

Posted by AMB | January 13, 2008 5:54 PM

Holy crap, this discussion has raised more passion than any Obama/Hillary rant-athon or other red herring.

No truth is absolute, but Dan is basically correct.

Eating crap and sitting around will lead to obesity. And like any bad habit gained over time, like smoking, it is VERY difficult to reverse. But it -is- possible. As a former fattie (and still a work in progress), I was cajoled and annoyed about it, with all sorts of unwelcome advice, but serious improvement did not happen until I just decided to study the situation.

No solution fits all, but I highly recommend checking out the Glycemic Index, and its bearing on metabolism. is a noncommercial site run by the U. of Sydney. No preaching, no weird synthetic shit in little packets, no moronic Atkins idiocy, just don't eat the stuff on the high end of the GI scale. Baked Goods/Potatoes/Rice are the killers.

What I've found is the overall appetite drops dramatically after a month. And -this- is where the improvement comes from.

Posted by Karlheinz Arschbomber | January 13, 2008 6:05 PM

So says the liar, Sniper.

Oh, for fuck's sake. There is literally no way she can win here, is there.

You know what? Dan Savage doesn't exist. Kate made him up with help from the food service industry and a cabal of evil Fat Acceptance activists. She created him for the sole purpose of having something to get angry at so she could increase blog traffic and ultimately rule the world!

She's laughing at us all now, I tell you! She's laughing at the deluded fat people she's forcing to eat donuts and lie on the couch all day, and she's laughing at the Dan Savage defenders who think they're making a point.

Prove me wrong!

Posted by Sniper | January 13, 2008 6:14 PM
Posted by banjoboy | January 13, 2008 6:19 PM

Sniper, then why would Kate, upon learning that she had been duped, link back to the original accurate source?

Let me guess: she didn't want to sent mean ol hateful VA traffic.

Yet...yet...she linked to Mr. Mean ol Hateful Dan Savage.

I'm sorry, but it looks to me that Kate was trying to pull a fast one and was hoping not to get found out. The only reason I can see that Kate would link to Savage and not VA is because Dan already has her number for being the liar that she is.

Posted by Helen | January 13, 2008 6:20 PM

Hi Dan - I'm a fellow journalist and I've been a fan of yours for years. Your advice to folks is often smart, funny, open-minded and informed.

Which is why I find it disconcerting that you've failed to truly educate yourself on this particular issue before writing about it.

Seems obvious to equate health with diet, and to equate weight with lifestyle, doesn't it? But just because "everyone knows" something, doesn't make it true. Here are two examples:

1) It's been unequivocally proven that many fat people eat far fewer calories than "regular" sized individuals.

How can this be? Because every time you diet you reduce the number of calories your body needs to put on weight.

Weight loss never lasts for longer than five years without a further and incrementally further reduction of calories and a corresponding increase in exercise. Unless you're willing to continually stress your body and take it closer and closer to starvation to "maintain" a weight loss, you will always gain the weight back, and you will do it while consuming fewer calories than before.

So in other words, dieting makes you fat.


The reason the numbers appear to have increased is that the BMI charts were adjusted a few years ago, causing more people would fall into the "obese" category. So people's weights haven't changed, the categories have changed.

So, given the above info, here's a question or two...

Did you ever wish you weren't gay, Dan?

Was there ever a point where you realized that by continually trying to change yourself, you were only making yourself LESS healthy?

(Maybe you've always accepted yourself unconditionally. If so, good for you.)

I've been dieting since I was 11 years old, and I wasn't fat at the time I started (!). But I've wrecked my metabolism. I can now only eat about half of the calories a day my twenty year old production assistants eat. (Recently, a young house-guest turned to my husband and said about my organic, whole food, rather gourmet (and usual) lunch: "Could you get by on that tiny amount of food?")

I'd love to think it could still be possible for me to diet and get to some smaller weight, look "great" and stay there, but the reality is altogether different.

I've finally figured out that if I try and diet, I'll just. get. fatter. Not at first, but eventually. So I've finally stopped.

I'm just going to be who I am: someone who eats healthy, eats normal amounts, works out, and among other things, is creative, smart, beautiful and fun. I am the size that I am.

If people jump to conclusions about my lifestyle, well, as my young friend would say, "whatevs."

Why should I have to hate my body for doing what nature designed it to do?

You are someone who has learned to be true to their own nature Dan. I'm pretty sure that eventually, you'll have caught up on this learning curve as far as what nature intended when it comes to body size.

Here are a couple of sources to get you started (through the second link you'll have access to the studies behind the reality about weight):

Does Exercise Really Make Us Thinner?


(P.S. I've been one of your readers far, far longer than I've been one of Kate's. Sure, her language is occasionally harsh and her tone is sometimes weary. Like you, she encounters judgementalism and ignorance because of her position on a particular issue and her willingness to speak out about it. Your language is like that too when you encounter such things. )

Posted by SB | January 13, 2008 6:24 PM

Wow. Kate really takes the cake, doesn't she? (literally!)

Say what you will about Violent Acres and Dan Savage, but at least they credit their sources.

Posted by Madness | January 13, 2008 6:29 PM

Kate Harding is a self-obsessed, deluded loser. As a feminist and gay activist, I would never want to be lumped in with her "activism." What a horrible ass this person is.

Ignore her, and she'll go away.

Posted by Rach | January 13, 2008 6:31 PM

The junkfoodscience site is paid for by the food and business industry. The writer is a PR person, working for the CEI! Look it up, fools.

Posted by Rach | January 13, 2008 6:33 PM

some of you people are scary!

It's actually quite simple: One can eat a healthy diet, avoid fast food and exercise regularly and still be fat.

So you will excuse me if I get annoyed at Savage, et al, for perpetuating the stereotype of fat people as junk-food eating couch potatoes.

Posted by Lacy | January 13, 2008 6:34 PM

Y'all who are harping on the so-called "plagiarism" are seriously deluded. Kate Harding's explanation makes perfect sense, and makes much more sense than your ridiculous conspiracy theories about Kate making up a comment (or sending a fake comment to herself).

Posted by Holly | January 13, 2008 6:54 PM
Overweight Americans are 65% of the population and hence not in the minority. SO quit yer bitchen.

Yay, Sarghorn! You just proved that you're a moron, again!

If you think that the minority can't oppress the majority, you need a serious lesson in world history.

Posted by keshmeshi | January 13, 2008 6:58 PM

I'm sick to death of Dan's bigotry and ignorance on the subject, so I'll just comment on last time on it.

Fact #1: Diets (euphemistically referred to by Dan and others here as "lifestyle changes") don't work for 95 percent of people who attempt them. Of the 5 percent for which they do work, those people have to eat less than the number of calories it takes to maintain their weight in order to maintain that weight loss. Most people can't/don't want to live that way and I don't blame them.

Fact #2: Yo-yo dieting (that would be dieting for the 95 percent of people for which diets do not work) are worse for a person's health than not doing anything at all, and it often makes people fatter than not doing anything at all.

Fact #3: Negative reinforcement makes people fatter. When fat people get negative reinforcement (i.e. revulsion at their very existence), they will do anything to lose weight. They diet, they work out a lot, they eventually slow down or stop, they regain all the weight and then some. Please refer back to Fact #2.

Fact #4: Even extremely fat people can benefit immensely from moderate exercise and moderate changes in their diet, but not enough to make them lose weight. Unfortunately, thanks to you assholes, they're not going to do this. Thanks to you assholes, they're going to enter a cycle of yo-yo dieting that makes them fatter, more miserable, and more unhealthy.

Thanks a lot, guys.

Posted by keshmeshi | January 13, 2008 7:04 PM

Dan sounds as militant as a former cigarette smoker. My guess is he's a former (and reformed) butterball who hates anyone who reminds him of his former self.

But as the feminist blogosphere points out over and over: don't take offense from a comment if it doesn't apply to you. If you're not a 400 pound chick, what Dan says about Ms. English does not apply to you. Let it go.

Posted by flabulous maximus | January 13, 2008 7:05 PM

"The junkfoodscience site is paid for by the food and business industry. The writer is a PR person, working for the CEI! Look it up, fools."

You made the claim, you provide the info to back it. Since we're all so concerned here about cites and truthfulness and correct attribution and all.

Posted by gadfly | January 13, 2008 7:08 PM

Holly, no one accused Kate of plagiarism. What she was accused of was taking comments out on context and purposely misleading her audience to believe that some else wrote comments that she knew darned well belonged to someone else.

In her post where she calls out trolls, she implies that Dan Savage was replying to her lifestyle specifically when he criticized someone else. She also very strongly implies that V is a sexist male who sent her an email. The way she attempted to cover up that little doozy is incredibly laughable.

Now she's playing the victim by trying to claim people called her something they didn't. Fact is, the only person who called Kate a plagiarist is Kate herself.

Posted by H | January 13, 2008 7:11 PM

I thought fat people were supposed to be jolly! But some of these comments! Lord have *mercy*! Guess I was wrong. I was a fat and happy guy once (fatty mc tubbs!) until I, you know, went through a "lifestyle change" and ate less and exercised more. And then I lost weight! Really, people, it works! And I was surrounded by short, round people. My genetic background predisposes me to be round, y'all. And I love potatoes. I eat cheese. I drink alcohol. But I exercise and am healthy. So SNAP, you fat activists. Snap! My experiences can be applied to everyone. Right? Am I right?

Posted by Michigan Matt | January 13, 2008 7:16 PM

Has the SLOG been transferred to Egypt? Reading some of these replies has me convinced I'm walking on the shores of Denial.

I'm just not buying it, ladies. Stop pretending there is nothing you can do about your overweight bodies. It just makes you sound pathetic.

Posted by montex | January 13, 2008 7:21 PM

I'm fascinated by the obesity shows on TLC, especially the Brookhaven ones. Some of these people are 700 pounds and will break the rules, having food ordered out and brought in to the clinic. It's almost like watching a junkie on "Intervention." Or Jeff Conaway on "Celebrity Rehab." There are some definite choices involved.

Posted by It's Not Easy Being Wolfboy | January 13, 2008 7:22 PM

What a painful, occasionally educational thread, just like the last one.

The manual labor issue & the blue collar folks:
er, what manual labor? Who hammers nails anymore? Pneumatic nail guns, electric pallet jacks, gas-powered leaf blowers -- there's not a whole lot of toting and lifting and stevedores hefting things upon shoudlers anymore! Garbagemen don't even lift cans to empty them into the truck anymore.

I live in the epicenter of this stuff -- the Southeast -- and I'm here to tell you, you Slog /PacNW folks are generally quite up on all of the latest poop re. how shitty mainstream American factory food is. Er, let me just say... lots of blue collar folks around me down heah don't have a CLUE. They're eating it all, with no worries. (And it shows.)

One class issue just might be where folks get their information from. In my personal experience, I don't see blue collar folks and poorer folks doing much reading, certainly on subjets like Michael Pollan's up to lately. Some folks just seem to get the word... late. Late on smoking, late on seatbelts, late on sunscreen...

>>>So I'm not eating fast food, nor am I eating junk food, and I get plenty of exercise cleaning the house, playing with our 2 cats, chasing after grandkids, cooking meals, doing laundry and dishes, etc etc etc.

This just proves what I've suspected for many years now: most Americans (of all shapes and sizes) don't know what excercise is. That's not excercise, that's keeping busy.

When folks who don't know what excercise is lament that their body fat situation is unchangeable, it's no surpise when people who know what excercise is point and snicker.

Posted by CP | January 13, 2008 7:23 PM


Right, and it's obvious that she did that because it's so obviously to Kate Harding's personal benefit for her to pretend that's what happened.

She never said that VA's a male who e-mailed her. She said--truthfully... I know you have no evidence that she lied but can you even think up a motive to do so, when the truth would be so quickly discovered?--that she received a comment from a person named Demonchild, and as she sometimes does with trolling comments, she responded to it with a "Douchehound" post instead of approving it for the site.

As Demonchild gave no indication that he was quoting somebody else's words, she responded as if they were his own.

Somebody whose reading comprehension skills are about on the same level as yours replied to the original post pointing out that she should cite VA if she was going to reproduce her words--thus labeling Kate a plagiarist--and she then verified that the comment was indeed taken from VA's site and edited the post to note this.

Then a bunch of sycophantic mouthbreeding cronies of Dan "I Am The Very Model Of A Modern Stereotype Of The Shallow, Self-Loathing, Misogynistic, Weight-Obsessed Gay Man" Savage looked at the brouhaha without understanding what was happened, made a bunch of ill-informed comments, and she responded by reproducing the original copy of the comment which was delivered to her e-mail box for moderation by her blog platform.

Chresus H. Jist, if you're going to accuse people of something, accuse them of something that makes sense.

Posted by Alexandra Erin | January 13, 2008 7:23 PM


Then why did Kate go out of her way to delete VA's link out of her comments? Why did she absolutely *refuse* to link to the original post where the comments were made? Don't you think if she was going to respond to VA's comments, she could have at least linked to the original post so people can read what was said IN CONTEXT?

Kate didn't do that. Kate went out of her way to hide VA's link....even when other people posted it in her comments, she edited it so it didn't work. I'm guessing it was in an attempt to hide from VA what she was doing. Namely, misrepresenting VA's words, sex, and intent.

Sorry, but that's just shady.

Posted by H | January 13, 2008 7:36 PM

I'll never forget getting handed an LGBT flier my first day of college. As I walked away the guy who had just given me the flier snarked: "nice thighs." Loud enough to draw the attention of half the quad. My self-image was shot to shit, like any fat teenage girl who'd been through it, so I teared up, thinking everyone was staring at my enormous, disgusting, unacceptable body.

As a way of hiding my tears, I looked down at the flier as I hurried off. In big 24 pt caps it read: TOLERANCE. I didn't know what to make of it.

Posted by km | January 13, 2008 7:39 PM

so if fat people being fat is the fault of the fatty, that doesnt change that they are less attractive then someone who at least appears to take care of themselves.

even if fatties cant help themselves, its not my fault they are still ugly.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | January 13, 2008 7:41 PM

Oh wow. Again. I should not read the stuff they say, I know I shouldn't, and yet I keep doing it. The whole "fat acceptance" thing drives me bananas.
I have always been somewhat fat, and and have endured a lot of teasing and hurt from hateful people through most of my life. So I can somewhat understand being defensive about it.

But it's one thing to decide you are OK with being fat and don't care what people think, and an entirely different thing to say that someone who weighs 400 lbs can't do anything about their weight.

I am 5'2" and got up to an all time high of 326 pounds a year and a half ago. I now have high BP, Type II Diabetes, sleep apnea, and other problems. I got scared when I realized just how big I'd really gotten and decided to do something about it.

I have a problem with food. I think about it all the time, and if I don't exercise any self control could spend my whole waking day eating. It made me feel miserable and guilty, but I couldn't seem to stop.

But because I want to be able to have kids and enjoy a healthy life I've finally gotten the motivation I needed to control myself. At first I thought it would be impossible to stop eating unhealthy food and exercise, but I've now lost over 70lbs and I feel fantastic. I have more energy and I'm not really hungry all the time. I'm learning new methods of food prep and normal portion sizes. Food doesn't seem as important to me as it used to now that I am able to enjoy other things that my weight prevented.

It really upsets me and makes me feel nuts to see people saying that there is no hope for me to keep the weight off, and that I will have to starve myself to be healthy. It is hard for me to discuss this topic rationally at all really because obesity is something I'm working hard to fight my way out of. I don't appreciate people telling me there is no hope for me that I am destined to weigh over 300lbs.

I wanted to say thank you for this post Dan. It actually made me feel better when I saw it.

Posted by nean | January 13, 2008 8:09 PM


As others have mentioned, my take on Dan's views of fat people isn't based on one Slog posting but the fact that he's been obsessed about fat people for *years*, in the Stranger, in Savage Love, etc.

I read what he read at the start of this posting and I'm not buying. Its remind me of my uncle who is always talking about "the homosexuals." Oh, he'll assure you have has nothing against "the homosexuals" but boy, does he talk about them a hell of a lot.

Posted by mrobvious | January 13, 2008 8:10 PM

CP @81 - Right on on the "not knowing what exercise is" thing. I live in a big city, walk everywhere, jog my dog to the beach (1.5 miles roundtrip) at least 1-2 times a week, and do lots of house cleaning/laundry, etc. But, unless I get my ass to the gym 3-4 times a week for some intense cardio (an hour-long step or kickboxing class) and weightlifting, I start putting on weight.

Posted by Julie | January 13, 2008 8:12 PM


Good for you, keep it up. The only difference between you and the fat-acceptance types is that you're willing to *do something* about your weight problem. To deny the connection between calories consumed vs. calories burned and weight gain is to live in fantasy land.

Posted by AMB | January 13, 2008 8:16 PM

I bet if any one of you were in a room with her right now you wouldn't dare say what you wrote to her face. And you KNOW she's reading this,,,

that said, wow, mean! funny! My favorite part was "for crying out loud"

I used to love it when my mom would say that to me as a kid. I still love the literalism of it!

Posted by hjar | January 13, 2008 8:21 PM

I have been reading these posts with interest and there are a number of things I would like to address.

1. Buying healthy food is NOT more expensive than unhealthy foods. I have yet to see a bag of carrots or beans surpass potato chips in price-and beans bulk up in weight too, so they are a great bargain. One need not buy dogs or chips to stay within budget. I shop for my family of three for less than 50 bucks a week, and I buy wild salmon and expensive milk and such. I also garden in the summer. One need not buy expensive salads or Lean Cuisines to lose weight. Frozen veggies will do just fine.

2. Cooking healthy food is not time intensive. I can whip up a meal in less hands on time than drive through. I work (albeit part time), have a preschooler and go to grad school so I don't buy "having a busy lifestyle."

3. "Fat people eat less calories than thin ones" This is UTTER BULLSHIT. Unless you have a valid medical condition, you are just eating too much for your personal needs.

4. The world is not going to change. Accept that being fat means having some people not find you attractive. People don't have an obligation to like or accept your fat, just like most people don't like zits, or overbites, most people don't like fat. Just like people have the right to hate you unfairly for any reason.

5. A great weight loss site is , I have used it succesfuly to lose tons of weight. It is free, and you can log the amount of food you eat. It calculates calories.

Posted by mla | January 13, 2008 8:21 PM

I'm guessing it was in an attempt to hide from VA what she was doing. Namely, misrepresenting VA's words, sex, and intent.

I'm guessing that Kate Harding beat you in a spelling bee 20 years ago. Could be! It's the internet. We don't know VA's sex or intent, and the unattributed quotes were sent in by someone using a guy's name.

Posted by Sniper | January 13, 2008 8:23 PM

I have mixed feelings about this, and I'll be honest about that in this ramblin' amblin' comment.

I'm a fatty. I call myself that, but I'm uncomfortable with other people calling me that, because as I've been a fatty since adolescence, I dealt with a lot of high school teasing about the issue. Not, like, the occasional joke or something, but a day to day thing for me during adolescence which was pretty traumatic. Take a mildly overweight girl with self-esteem issues and a tendency to emotionally eat and combine her with the hell that is high school for most people, and you get an incredibly insecure fat adult. That's what happens. Exercising, while a possibility for me, is problematic for me due to exercise induced asthma I've had since I was a toddler. Eating healthy is an option for me, and I do at times, but I often find myself backsliding into the fast food eating ways that I was raised with. From a mental health stand point, I have a significant fear that as much as I hate my body now, what if I still hate myself if I get skinny? So, I try to eat healthy, am trying to get up the courage to join an exercise program, but I also try to be honest with myself about who I am. A fat unhappy person can't expect a miracle to occur in their life where they are suddenly skinny and happy.

So, here's the deal. I'm not cool with mean teasing of any kind. So, the people on here calling other people fat-asses and the like make me uncomfortable, because it's clearly not a good natured ribbing between friends- it's meant to hurt. A friend of mine was obese- easily over 350 pounds, and probably closer to 400. He lost over 80 pounds, and was incredibly proud of it- and he should have been. He made an amazing and difficult change to improve his health. You don't know that the fatty you see on the street and make fun of hasn't come through a similar circumstance, so stop thinking that it's only fair make fun of fatties because it's "their choice." EQUALLY PROBLEMATIC for me is the INCREDIBLY offensive tone of Kate's remarks. "At least food is supposed to go in our mouths"? That's CRAZY homophobic. Dan's fatty-hatin' is borderline- I'm not sure if it's real or just perceived, and not knowing Dan personally, I can't make that assertion. The incredibly homophobic remarks in Ms. Harding's comment are not perceived. They exist. They are a fact.

Being an asshole to people is not acceptable. Don't be a jerk to fatties because you think they can control it. Don't presume you can know what they have and haven't done to improve their bodies. And fatties? You don't get a free pass to be an asshole because other people were assholes to you at some point in your life. ESPECIALLY when you write a letter to Savage Love, which is an advice column. Don't put yourself on the line if you're too vulnerable to listen to an honest response.

Posted by Sara | January 13, 2008 8:39 PM

Reading these threads puts me in the mind of a bunch of conservative Republicans talking about poor people, how they just need to take "responsibility for themselves", how it would be easy for them to "pull themelves up by their bootstraps", blah blah.

Is there some degree in truth in their comments? Of course, fat people should watch their food intake and get more exercise, just like poor kids should stay in school, etc.

Do they Republicans understand about all the factors that make it difficult for people to get out of poverty? Do they care about those people, are they really interested in helping them?

Fuck no. Like most of the posters in this thread they just enjoy pissing on people and if all the fat people got thin tomorrow they'd have to find a new target.

Posted by bob | January 13, 2008 8:47 PM

@#70 (and any other person who wants to discredit the junkfoodscience site)

Feel free to show that Sandy Scwarc is on the payroll of the food industry. More importantly, please prove that her interpretations of the studies she reports on are incorrect.

Such as the study of diets at Stanford:

Explain why this post is inaccurate:

Go ahead. I'll be you can't do it.

Next, please prove to us that Gina Kolata and Gary Taubes are being paid by the food industry. That Stanford and the NIH are being paid by the food industry.

Can't do that either, huh? Go figure.


How about backing up your claims with some stats and sources? Are you a scientist? I eat extremely healthy, cook at organic food at home, and eat less than 1600 calories a day. I am also about 40 pounds overweight.

You don't have to think I'm hot (tho' some people do).

And I don't have to cut my calories further just because you are an ill-informed person who can't understand science and who feels righteous for temporarily losing weight. (And yes, dear, it's temporary.)

Tell you what - let's both come back here in five years and see how many calories you're eating each day, and whether you've gained back the "tons" of weight you say you've lost.

You'll be fatter, and eating fewer calories, I promise you. Even so -good luck!!

Posted by SB | January 13, 2008 8:49 PM

Her health risks are legion.

A lot of people say that about gay men, too.

They also say sexual orientation is a choice -- that gay people could be straight if they wanted to. Just like fat people could be thin if they wanted to, right?

I don't get it. Can't you see the hypocrisy here?

Posted by Patia | January 13, 2008 8:53 PM

I think people are confusing junkfoodscience and, they're two different sites.

Junkscience is in fact funded by industry, I've seen no evidence yet that the same is true of junkfoodscience.

Posted by luke | January 13, 2008 8:54 PM


You wrote, "EQUALLY PROBLEMATIC for me is the INCREDIBLY offensive tone of Kate's remarks. "At least food is supposed to go in our mouths"? That's CRAZY homophobic. Dan's fatty-hatin' is borderline- I'm not sure if it's real or just perceived, and not knowing Dan personally, I can't make that assertion. The incredibly homophobic remarks in Ms. Harding's comment are not perceived. They exist. They are a fact."

I agree that this is incredibly homophobic and should be condemned - but it is not a quote from Kate Harding, but from an anonymous letter writer to Dan. So perhaps Kate could be criticized for not explicitly condemning the remark, but certainly not for making it.

Posted by Holly | January 13, 2008 8:56 PM

"I live in a big city, walk everywhere, jog my dog to the beach (1.5 miles roundtrip) at least 1-2 times a week, and do lots of house cleaning/laundry, etc. But, unless I get my ass to the gym 3-4 times a week for some intense cardio (an hour-long step or kickboxing class) and weightlifting, I start putting on weight."

So basically, you are predisposed to being fat unless you do an inordinate amount of exercise. The activities in your first sentence should be enough, but you've chosen to try and keep your body at a weight that isn't natural for it.

Posted by hmmm... | January 13, 2008 8:56 PM

@62 - Good for you! We'll see you over in Kate's blog in 2 years (which is when all of the governmental research says that you'll most likely have gained it back, but you might be one of the lucky ones to have a whole five years!).

Good grief, so much irrational hatred. Science, people.

Posted by Risha | January 13, 2008 9:04 PM

nean @86... congrats on your success. Don't pay any attention to the people who say you have no hope of keeping your weight off. If you keep up your lifestyle changes, there is hope! As Dan said though, some people require a lifelong, permanent change to keep the weight off. Unfortunately, some of us will always have to go to the gym and watch what we eat to maintain our weight.

Posted by Julie | January 13, 2008 9:08 PM

Oh, and also @62 - last time I checked, 25 Weight Watcher points was approximately 1250 calories a day. And most people who experience your sort of weight loss are eating less than that. Please make sure that you're eating enough nutrients if you actually do plan to spend the rest of your life subsisting at starvation level.

Posted by Risha | January 13, 2008 9:10 PM


Thanks for the kind words and well-wishes!

I'd tell you to go fuck yourself, but you probably can't reach your genitals under all the folds of flesh.

Posted by AMB | January 13, 2008 9:13 PM

It seems painfully obvious to me that most of Dan's posts are written to stir shit up and get the maximum response. He must be clicking his heels right now, he's got over a hundred comments.

And these are some of the longest, most elaborate comments I've ever seen. Of course a lot of people are sensitive about their weight, so this one was a no-brainer. He must be thrilled with this heated debate that he created.

And he's not the only one, Josh and ECB do it too. Seems like almost everything I read here now is a calculated attempt to gain maximum response. Why do you think they had such extensive coverage of the primaries? This is getting really boring.

Posted by The slog is clogged | January 13, 2008 9:16 PM


Please don't feign concern for my well being. I lost that 40 pounds via Weight Watchers over a period of 8 months. 5 pounds per month is hardly subsisting at starvation level!

I've been off WW for 2 months now, and have been holding steady at my weight. The difference between my eating now, and my eating pre-WW, is that my portion sizes are smaller, and my physical activity level is greater.

Enjoy your denial.

Posted by AMB | January 13, 2008 9:18 PM

If people were half as enthusiastic about changing the shitty food system and living/economic arrangement that keeps (some of) us fat and unhealthy as they are about bitching about Dan's thoughts on ONE OR TWO fat people we would usher in a golden era of hotness for everyone.

Posted by Zak | January 13, 2008 9:19 PM

i use that many commas, people laugh.
a professional writer uses that many commas, everyone's only interested in the subject matter.


ps - my baby loves broccoli.

Posted by diggum | January 13, 2008 9:22 PM

@99. 4-5 hours a week of high-intensity exercise is inordinate?? I would call that "the level of activity human beings are meant to have".

You have basically just proved the point about people not knowing what exercise is.

And, yes, I am "predisposed to being fat." Meaning, if I was honest with myself, what I am predisposed to want to do is eat cheeseburgers and chocolate chip cookies everyday, and not ever go to the gym. That would deinitely cause me to be fat. But, I care about my health (high cholesterol & diabetes run in my family), and my appearance, so I exercise and (try to) watch what I eat. I see a noticeable difference in my weight when I slack off on these things...

Posted by Julie | January 13, 2008 9:25 PM

Thank you for correcting me- when I reread the original post I realized my error. Please know that I only meant to condemn the homophobic comments written by the original anonymous letter writer, and not Kate Harding.

Posted by Sara | January 13, 2008 9:26 PM

(Sorry I missed all the fun- I was out hiking at Denny Creek with my kids.)

I find this topic utterly tragic. I know Dan is a compassionate person with a barbed tongue. I don't know Kate Harding from a hole in the ground, but (other than posting people's IP addresses) she too seems an articulate person with a barbed tongue.

What I find tragic is that the "take responsibility" crowd and the "it's harder than you think" crowd are talking past each other. The first thinks the rise in obesity rates means that people are getting more slothful, and the second thinks that many years of trying and failing to lose weight makes it impossible to do so (I'm not going to argue the "I'm fine being fat" argument- whatever, that's not me, I'm a fat guy who doesn't want to be fat.)

What I find heartbreaking is that I believe most fat people desperately do want to lose weight and try very, very hard to do so. But I believe, and the latest science strongly suggests, that the VERY advice the government, the medical establishment, and the diet industry gives us makes us LESS likely to lose weight.

I've discussed this at length, so I'm not going to rehash the science here, but the net net is that concerned thin people say "come on, man, I'm concerned about you. Lose some weight." So the fat person goes on a "sensible diet" using Weight Watchers or Nutrisystems and chocks themselves full of high-carb/low-fat/low-cholesterol/high-fiber food, ratchets back the calories, ratchets up the exercise, doesn't see a result, ratchets back the calories further to an unsustainable level, ratchets up the exercise to an unsustainable level, eventually the starvation diet pays off, but they burn out because starvation diets suck, and go back to the "sensible" diet but by this point their body is packing on the pounds. They feel like a failure, their friends grow more concerned but now worry that their fat friend is incapable of controlling themselves, and the cycle starts all over again.

WHAT IF IT DOESN'T HAVE TO BE THIS WAY? What if deciding to lose weight, and making changes to your diet, resulted in actually losing AND KEEPING OFF the weight? Then this horrible cycle would end.

Frustrated thin people: "FA" aside, don't assume just because somebody is fat that they haven't *desperately* been trying to lose weight. Frustrated fat people: DON'T GIVE UP. If you don't want to be fat, look at the latest science. Treat the marketing of "healthy" foods (low fat cookies with sugar as the first ingredient!) *very* skeptically. Don't assume the conventional wisdom is correct.

Posted by Big Sven | January 13, 2008 9:29 PM

You wrote, "EQUALLY PROBLEMATIC for me is the INCREDIBLY offensive tone of Kate's remarks. "At least food is supposed to go in our mouths"? That's CRAZY homophobic.

I completely agree that that's both INCREDIBLY offensive and CRAZY homophobic, which is why I never would have said anything of the kind. Holly, thanks for pointing that out.

And Helen, I have no idea who the fuck you are, or when I stole your boyfriend or killed your dog, but in answer to all your questions... you can find links to a screenshot, the source info, and yes, THE POST I ABSOLUTELY REFUSE TO LINK TO right here.

If you go through my comments over the past few days, you'll find several links to that very post. I changed one in comments today -- without hiding the url for anyone who wanted to cut and paste -- because quite frankly, I was sick of sending VA the traffic.


Posted by Kate Harding | January 13, 2008 9:31 PM

@Big Sven.

You wrote:
'chocks themselves full of high-carb/low-fat/low-cholesterol/high-fiber food, ratchets up the exercise, doesn't see a result'

I'm not sure which people these are you're talking about, but everyone I met at WW who followed the plan lost weight. And they did it all while eating real food, not special diet food.

I see a lot of people wanting to make excuses for their weight problem, which is understandable. I lived in denial about it myself for a long time. It's uncomfortable to recognize our own roles in creating our problems.

Posted by AMB | January 13, 2008 9:40 PM

I'm curious - who posting here has lost weight and kept it off for more than five years?

Posted by | January 13, 2008 9:44 PM

@108 (Julie)

You believe in a myth. Sorry, hon.

The hour of exercise may work for you personally, but there is no scientific proof that exercise keeps weight off. That's why the "recommended" amount of exercise per day has now been reduced by the AHA to a half hour:

"The 30 minutes recommended by the AHA-ACSM report is a departure from the recent guidelines of other authoritative organizations—the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies and the International Association for the Study of Obesity—both of which, like the USDA, have recommended that we exercise for up to 60 minutes a day to avoid what the USDA calls 'unhealthy weight gain.' But the reason for this 60-minute recommendation is precisely that so little evidence exists to support the notion that exercising less has any effect."

Try and educate yourself a little before deciding that overweight people don't exercise and don't eat right. (I exercise. I eat right. I'm still fat.)

Posted by SB | January 13, 2008 9:54 PM

@113...200 pounds for 4 years, then gained 40 when I moved to the city from the country :-(

Posted by Zak | January 13, 2008 9:58 PM


When I was 20 I lost 70 pounds, which I kept off for 10 years. My subsequent weight gain came about from a combination of a few different factors: a change to a sedentary desk job, moving to a pedestrian-unfriendly neighborhood, catered high-calorie meals at work, and being in a nightmarishly bad relationship. Ultimately though, my weight gain after all that time was due to consuming more calories than I was burning.

A system like WW isn't about following a diet, but is instead about learning how to eat properly and control your portions.

Isn't it curious how cultures that don't traditionally see a lot of obesity all of a sudden do once they start eating a western diet? These cultures didn't suddenly gain genetic predispositions to weight gain, their people are eating fatty American-style fast food and sitting on their asses.

Posted by AMB | January 13, 2008 9:59 PM

Karlheinz @63: Thank you for providing the link. I was a bit curious when you mentioned rice as a culprit since I have not generally observed a lot of overweight people from parts of the world where rice is a major part of their diet. I was similarly puzzled when Big Sven mentioned rice on yesterday's thread. The website was not easy to figure out--maybe it's late and I've had too much to drink (I'm not fat but I do have my vices). And I was able to gather that some foods are more equal than others regarding quality. But I would like some clarification on how to use the GI.

By the way, congratulations to both you and Sven for the weight you've lost. I hope your success will continue. Thanks again for the link.

Posted by RainMan | January 13, 2008 10:01 PM

fat people hate jesus

Posted by adrian | January 13, 2008 10:03 PM

If anyone wants to lose weight I recommend the Cardiovascular wellness program at Swedish Hospital. They help you learn how to change your conduct. Every week you go get weighed and hear and read a short segment of material on diet, exercise or stress. You track your portions and your exercise every day. The focus is to only make tiny, tiny changes every week so tht success breeds more success. A change can be as small as substituting skim for regular milk in your coffee. That's it for that week. What you learn is that behavior modification is doable if you have small measurable goals.

About 60% of the people in this program lose 25-40 pounds in the first few months. And learn about healthy eating and living in the process. It costs about $600 and lasts a year. That's a lot of one on one monitoring and teaching for the price.

Posted by Cleve | January 13, 2008 10:06 PM

how does one lose weight in a healthy way then, if exercising causes weight gain, diets don't work, etc etc.

it sounds like people are doomed to be fat once they are fat, which i think is really defeatist.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | January 13, 2008 10:23 PM

I'm just happy to see that every possible thing anyone could say about this subject has now been said and we will never again have to see a Dan Savage fat thread on the Slog. I can't imagine how many calories all this typing must have burned off.

Posted by elenchos | January 13, 2008 10:25 PM


Close, but it's not quite that simple. I'm still trying to figure out some of the details, and hence determine what will work best for me personally.

As I understand it, science shows that most folks have a genetic set point as well as a genetic set potential (or range) their body gravitates towards.

To go far beyond your range in either direction (up or down) you have to use behavior that isn't normal for your body...for example, eat too much OR too little. Exercise too much OR too little. This causes all kinds of behind the scenes maneuvering by your body, which begins to alter your hormones and your metabolism in an effort to get your body back into the range it thinks it should be.

So your body will do it's best to sabotage your efforts to lose weight, and over time, you will activate your body's capacity to store fat while slowing down the ability to burn excess weight.

I don't mean to sound defeatist, but I can't figure out a way around it. Every time I lose weight it eventually comes back, and I don't eat more or exercise less. I just get more susceptible to weight gain.

So personally, I'm afraid to cut back any further on calories or work out even more until I figure out what the hell is normal for my body. I really wish I'd just left myself alone when I was a pre-teen and not tried to diet to an unnaturally thin weight.

Once your body thinks there's been a famine, there's no going back. Because I've dieted so many times, my body thinks there could be a famine any minute. (The one thing that seems to help is building muscle.)

What won't help is hating my body or harming it more by dieting. As Kate and her colleagues say "when diets fail, you can't hate just yourself into being thin."

Defeatist? More like realist.

Posted by SB | January 13, 2008 10:44 PM

Shapeling? Yeah, I suppose Jabba the Kate is a shape.

Posted by thehawke | January 13, 2008 10:51 PM

Kudos to Squurp @ #45 for drawing the line thus:

...Part of this [journalistic] responsibility means making a clear separation between obesity, which is greatly out of control of the individual, and active/sedentary lifestyle, which is in control of the individual.

I recently met rather small-framed and lean-looking man who was despairing about his daughter. After enduring every test available, there was still no medical explanation for why she is obese. He felt that there had to be an answer to the 'problem' - after all, her size didn't come genetically (as far as he could tell) from either him or his equally petite wife, so WTF?? It actually seemed really obvious to me ~ the only thing wrong with his daughter was that he didn't like what she looked like; that without a medical reason to explain why she was big, he couldn't accept her as she was. Now tell me that isn't going to f*ck her up and make her feel more unloved and self-conscious than being 'big'.

If we lived in a world where everyone was the exact same size, there would still be groups of people hustling up reasons to shame others into trying to be something that was beyond their natural ability...smarter, smaller, saintlier, prettier. It seems humans are programmed, above all, to be as*sholes. Aren't you tired of that yet?

Posted by StuckInTheMiddle | January 13, 2008 10:53 PM


To respond to your comment, I am going to have to trot out my Taubes shpiel. I apologize in advance to those who are already familiar with his arguments.

The idea of WW- people getting together to support each others' weight loss efforts- is awesome. But the specific details of the program don't work very well.

The research says that the most optimistic estimates of WW average losses are 5% over 26 weeks and 3% over 2 years. Wow. Alley English could go from being a morbidly obese 400lb woman to a morbidly obese 388lb woman. Look out Missouri bachelors!

The problem is that all the WW programs at their essence are high-carb/low-fat/low-cholesterol/high-fiber diets. They emphasize primarily grains (preferably whole), secondarily vegetables and fruits and fiber, and tertiarily low-fat proteins. This follows very closely the American Medical Association, American Cancer Society, and American Heart Association guidelines. What it doesn't follow closely is current nutritional research.

How so?

(1) Taubes argues that nutrition research is showing that high carb diets, particularly those with high glycemic index carbs that cause rapid oscillations in blood sugars and insulin, seem to cause obesity. And that low-carb / high-protein / high(er)-fat diets seem to help lose weight. (Counterintuitive? Yes. That's why he has a truckload of data. Read the book.) So rice and potatoes and bread are the *last* things you want to eat if you are trying to lose weight.

(2) Any look at GI (, for instance, which lists peer reviewed literature for all data) show that whole grains, while carrying more nutrition, do not have lower GI levels than white (bleached, processed) grains. Some vegetables and fruit, such as bananas, are also very high GI.

(3) Taubes writes that increased fiber consumption reduces nothing except constipation- not cancer, not heart disease, and not obesity. This is particularly amazing, because large (40,000+ data point) studies showed this as early as 1999, but the "fiber crowd" has continued to pursue this idea- because it can't hurt to have more fiber, right?- despite the clear counter-evidence.

Can you lose weight from a 1200kcal diet? Of course you can. Can you maintain a 1200kcal diet? No, most can't, and you shouldn't have to- if you eat healthily (which, Taubes argues, doesn't mean what you think it means) you can eat a moderate diet and still lose weight and keep it off.

Posted by Big Sven | January 13, 2008 10:58 PM


RE: Japan and rice- nobody is arguing that minimal subsistence diets don't keep you thin. Japanese in the 50s and 60s were still struggling to get enough food as they continued to recover from the war. But recent research out of Japan is that once the Japanese started getting enough food, rice-based diet or not, obesity started to rise.

Depending on which data you look at, rice (white or brown), has just less a tad less or just at tad more effect on blood sugar levels than consuming TABLE SUGAR STRAIGHT OUT OF THE SHAKER. It's hard to find a natural substance that has a higher GI than rice. Potatoes are almost as bad.

Posted by Big Sven | January 13, 2008 11:09 PM

@Big Sven

Not sure I agree with you here:
"The problem is that all the WW programs at their essence are high-carb/low-fat/low-cholesterol/high-fiber diets. They emphasize primarily grains (preferably whole), secondarily vegetables and fruits and fiber, and tertiarily low-fat proteins."

This was not my experience at all. In fact, I'd be hard pressed to identify any particular emphasis with WW apart from portion control.

WW has two eating plans. One is called Flex, where you are allotted a certain number of points per day, plus an additional number of "free" points per week. The other is called Core, where you can eat as much as you want, until you feel satisfied (not stuffed!), from a list of low-calorie foods.

I never used Core, as it seemed too restrictive. It was low in fat, yes, but still included *some* fat. But far and away the emphasis in Core is on fruits and vegetables, *not* carbs.

Flex, the main thing is they urge you to get sufficient nutrients in your points allotment. There too, there's no emphasis on carbs at all. If anything, carbs are discouraged because of their low nutritional density.

I'm not sure where you are getting your information from about WW, but it's wrong (or severely out-of-date).

Posted by AMB | January 13, 2008 11:12 PM

I did WW in 1986, 1992, and 1998. But when I looked at the current plans, both Flex and Core emphasized lowering fat and increasing fiber, and the list of five Core example foods included rice and potatoes, Public Enemies #1 and #2 on any GI-based diet.

Please don't get me wrong- I think that having a support group for losing weight is a GREAT idea. And my wife, the charming Inga Svenson, always loses weight when she is on WW, is on it now, and plans to stay on it long term (though she's been making South Beach meals at home at night, and cooking me eggs&sausage for weekend brunch.)

I just find the new nutritional research amazingly compelling, especially as it dovetails with what I see which is people trying hard to lose weight using the prescribed methods and failing. Obesity really took off in this country in the late 70s and early 80s, right as the high-carb "food pyramid" took off. The nutrition research and common sense makes me think that we didn't suddenly suffer an epidemic of sloth or gluttony at that time- thus Taubes' theories resonate with me.

But ask me again in a year- I'll either be at my 245lb goal and even more evangelical, or I'll be in WW or a similar program. And then ask me again in five years. Dan's right, it's not about dieting it's about changing your life to achieve and maintain your goals.

Posted by AMB | January 13, 2008 11:28 PM

Whoops. Don't know how that happened. @128 is me, not AMB. Sorry about that.

Posted by Big Sven | January 13, 2008 11:29 PM

Uh, what do you think fruit and vegetables are made up of?

Posted by mrobvious | January 13, 2008 11:38 PM

Sven - Thanks for all the good info. I know some of the low-carb plans call for really low carb intakes, on the order of 20g or less. You seem to be having success, approximately how many carbs a day are you taking in?

Posted by wombat | January 13, 2008 11:48 PM

This makes me so sad and frustrated. I weigh 340 pounds. I do not overeat and I never have. I don't binge. I am not addicted to food. In fact, I was raised by a health food nut, was a strict vegetarian for 12 years and now, even though I am no longer a vegetarian, I don't eat red meat and frequently consume meat substitutes. I have been fat since I was about six months old. What they thought was baby fat turned out to be a lifelong struggle. I have been on every diet you can imagine. I have had weight loss surgery (and lost 90 pounds before a complication forced them to have to go back in and undo part of the surgery to fix it). I eat about 600 to 1000 calories a day. My nutritionist has calculated that I start to gain weight at 1400 to 1500 calories a day, so I try hard to stay well below that number. I don't eat any sugar. No honey, no syrups and barely any fruit. I think about everything I put into my mouth for fear of getting even fatter.

It kills me when I read the common assumption that hugely fat people are the ones who are eating themselves sick. Those of us who are the largest are the ones whose bodies are unable to keep our weights within a normal range. There have been multiple studies that show that a normal body cannot gain a significant amount of weight. I believe 40 to 45 pounds is the most people are able to gain from overeating. These are people who were paid to get as fat as possible. Only a body that doesn't process food normally is able to become hundreds of pounds overweight.

Look at the comments to this post. They are just vile. They assume things of me that make me want to cry my eyes out. I want to hide away from the world. You are all so wrong. So so so misguided and wrong. How DARE you hold these hateful and damning opinions about me and others like me.

I hope that one day you are all pained in the way that I am pained daily by having to live in this world full of assholes who judge me harshly and wrongly every day of my life. I hope you will have to struggle and struggle just to maintain a situation that is miserable. I hope you are persecuted and disbelieved and sneered at by people who have the story entirely wrong and refuse to see the truth about you. And I hope it kills your soul like it has mine. I truly hope this. Fuckers.

Posted by Scarlet | January 14, 2008 12:28 AM


The sad fact is I don't know how many g of carbs I'm taking in. While I measure my total kcals/d religiously, I haven't gone to the severe carb restriction diets.

20g of carbs is 80kcal. I shoot for 2500kcal/d. For a 330lb guy, this seems to be giving me ~2-3lb of weight loss per week, which is on the upper edge of reasonable. Part of a low-carb diet is that my appetite is not as out of control as before, and I actually struggle to get *up* to 2500kcal/d most days.

But that would mean reducing my carbs to 3% of my total diet. And given that (embarrassing cough here) I haven't talked to my doctor yet about my new diet, I don't want to go off the deep end.

Today was a high carb day, as I was eating out with my kids for both meals (skipped breakfast as we were in a hurry.)

I had some tortilla chips as an ap (the rare carb treat since I was going out hiking immediately after) with tortilla chicken soup and a beef enchilada for lunch, a cheeseburger and a cup of hot chocolate for dinner, and 300kcals of very high cocoa (72%) chocolate for dessert to get my numbers up. So the tortilla chips, tortilla bits in the soup, the bun of the burger, the sugar in the cocoa and chocolate probably added up to 500kcals of my 2100kcals thus far- 24% carbs.

But I'm sure I was at 60-70% carbs before I started on this diet. And without going into gross detail, I'm confident I'm in ketosis this evening even with 24% carbs today.

I suspect that most days are on the order of 15-20% carbs, mostly consisting of bread, yogurt, veggies (yes, mrobvious@130) and the occasional low-GI fruit.

Posted by Big Sven | January 14, 2008 12:34 AM

Okay folks, if you made it this far, bless your hearts. I just want to remind people of a few things, since we all seem to be missing the big picture:

DAN DOESN'T HATE BIG PEOPLE BECAUSE THEY ARE BIG. HE DOESN'T. Say it a few times to yourself. Look at his closing lines. He understands (like many reasonable people) that we all have a natural size, and for a good number of us it isn't that of a swimsuit model.

All he wishes to say (and this is ALL OF IT, there's nothing more than this): No matter what your natural size is- big, small, medium, what have you- you will be a healthier (and presumably, thinner) person if you eat well and exercise.

Is that really so hard? If I pay attention to and selectively choose to eat nutritious food (as opposed to throwing any unhealthy crap down the chute), it will be better for me. And I will be closer to the ideal weight for my size than I will be to being overweight. And get this: exercise is better for you than no exercise! Who would've thought?!?

Is that really so contentious? He's not saying "Anybody can become a swimsuit model if they sucked it up." No! He's just saying (with regards to this specific quote) "You CAN be healthier (even just a little bit) if you eat better and exercise than if you don't. I'm sorry that you don't like hearing it, but it's true, you can!"

I don't see why this is so hard. . .

Posted by paul | January 14, 2008 12:40 AM

I'd like to suggest, at this point, that Big Sven, AMB, and the other weight-loss planners here get a room, so we can get back to the original post.

Which post, from the title, wasn't about weight-loss, but about Kate Harding, and reading further, the fat-acceptance movement, and how Dan has nothing against fat people. (Although it seems as though many of his commenters do -- oh, and to all you people who are so worried about "health" -- do you rail at your thin friends like this when they neglect a healthy diet and exercise? -- because studies indicate that these skinny people are less likely to survive a heart-attack that these unhealthy choices might lead to. If you love 'em, better whip their asses as you've so delightedly gone to town on the lardasses here.)

But back to the post. Dan, you neglected to point out exactly how Kate Harding is being "dishonest".

Nor have you convinced me of Ms. Harding's "paranoia". If you were, as you say, not talking about anyone else, but specifically addressing Ms. English's situation, a simple change of pronoun would have convinced me that you're not talking about ALL fat people -- as in: "No SHE can't lose weight . . . ".

And to all the commenters who thoughtfully included references to lazy, ugly, gluttons etc. in regards to fat people -- thanks for proving to me why fat-acceptance and HAES is so important.

Posted by PortlyDyke | January 14, 2008 12:52 AM

Because, paul, it's also true that you can exercise and eat well and still weigh 340 pounds. And the world mocks you and assumes you're a trashy person who is emotionally and mentally unstable. And the media backs this up. And Dan Savage writes a bunch of shit in his sex advice column about how it's perfectly reasonable to leave your partner when their bodies don't behave in exactly the way you'd prefer. In fact, he writes these things with a venomous tone and with increasing frequency. Fat people ANGER Dan Savage. He enjoys looking down on them, which is particularly shameful considering he's gay and should have a deeper understanding of how it feels to have something about you that you cannot control called a "choice." Not every human body responds to a healthy diet and activity level the same way. NOBODY SEEMS TO UNDERSTAND THIS! I don't see why this is so hard...

Posted by Scarlet | January 14, 2008 12:54 AM

Man, someday in the future we'll have genetic cures for fatness and this will all be moot.

I mean, why wouldn't you want a genetic cure for fatness? It makes people more prone to dying; they're weaker; it's "unnatural".

Maybe Dan can give us a few more things he'd like to see a genetic cure for?

This vitriol needs to stop, Dan. I'm a 215 lbs. 6' male eating ≈ 1500 kCal a day with a petite gf who outeats me at every meal. And after not regularly exercising for two years, I find that I've gained 20 lbs. (from 185 to 215) while she's stayed the same. Hell, she can not go outside for a month, then go run 4 miles without breaking a sweat.

I eat healthy and am now working more exercise into my day, but realize I may never be perfectly thin and muscled. People have body types and trying to coerce someone into another type is harmful at best, so lay off your spiel Mengele.

Just because the original letter writer was horribly offensive doesn't mean you get to follow suit.

Posted by Jason Petersen | January 14, 2008 2:05 AM

Damn math; 215-185 = 30 lbs., not 20.

Posted by Jason Petersen | January 14, 2008 2:06 AM

Holy shit, Dan. How old are you? "Kate Harding is a Dishonest, Paranoid Douchebag"? Her words must have had some real impact on you to garner that kind of respose. If you are so sure that you are correct about fat, why don't you just ignore Harding? According to you, she'll die of any number of diseases in a few years and be out of your hair anyway. Yet you keep right on engaging her, leading me to believe that you care quite a bit about what this "paranoid, dishonest douchebag" and all those unhealthy, gross fat ladies out there think of you.

Posted by ottermatic | January 14, 2008 5:03 AM


Your words:
I’m fine with you being big—I have nothing against people of size, really, but I’m happy to be your pretenemie it turns your crank—but I have to take exception to the way your dishonesty humps away at your self-regard.

Doesn't it strike you as being more honest if you don't waffle about whether or not you like fat people? I thought you were a man of opinion and style. If you don't like fat people (which is what comes through despite your pretenassurances), why not just come out and say it?

Honestly, being a bigoted asshole is certainly nothing new, and you are definitely qualified. It's always sweetest when oppressed groups find a different group to be bigoted about, isn't it? Seems like it would be more true to your overall personality and form, don't you think, if you did just keep on being bigoted here, about fat people too, than caving to external pressure and criticism, showing your yellow streak and acting like you really did care about us and our fat asses.

Be honest, honey. Just be honest, and the rest of the world will of course lap up all the rest your bullshit.


Posted by Malcolm | January 14, 2008 5:04 AM

"Doesn't matter if you've eaten nothing but junk food all your life and sat on the couch doing nothing, or if you've eaten the most healthy diet in the world and exercised like a hamster on speed, when it's time for you to die, you're fucking dead."

This 382 pound lady claims to be a grandmother -- I wonder if this is what she tells her grandkids. No wonder we have an obesity epidemic among children.

Posted by Rick | January 14, 2008 5:55 AM

@140: Okay, so you just decide that he's bigoted against fat people, despite the numerous times he explains that he's not? How does it "come through"? Because you say so, or because you're fat and anyone who offends you must hate fat people?

This is exactly the point he was making. How it that any comment about healthy eating or weight loss makes a person bigoted against fat people? He's just making a point. You can't make it disappear by claiming prejudice.

Oh, and 99? The fact that you referred to that woman's exercise plan of one hour a day 3-4 days a week as "an inordinate amount of exercise" is just baffling. And very, very telling.

Posted by JoeSon | January 14, 2008 5:57 AM

I come from a long line of fat/overweight/slightly heavy people, and it was easy to see that my body wanted to follow that path. But I made a different choice.

I eat healthy foods as often as I can stand it (but I'm not into self-denial, and I have a beer and pizza night once a week) and I work out like crazy. And rather than going to the gym, I go to a Karate class, so I'm a size 4 and a black belt. And that feels damn good.

So I can tell you from firsthand experience that diet combined with exercise make all the difference. The hard part for most people to accept is the exercise. You have to sweat, and sweat a lot to get the results you want.

My dear sister can't get a date to save her life, though she's funny, smart and a real sweetheart. But a petite blond black belt who has tons of muscle and a few ladylike curves-I have to beat them off with a stick. Thankfully, a few of them like that.

Posted by Poecile | January 14, 2008 6:50 AM

@113. I lost 80 (from 230 to 150) pounds about 13 years ago. I've kept if off since.

Posted by Michigan Matt | January 14, 2008 7:08 AM

i thought i was all for fat acceptance until i started reading some of these "fat acceptance blogs." you would think they would be positive and open-minded and pro-health - but the are full of name-calling bitter people who never post your comments and live in a fantasy world.

I wanted a positive experience about women who love their bodies and keep them healthy and accept their natural size, but what I got was a lot of bad science and denial.

they are just plain mean and won't listen to anything except their cultish ideas. it reminds me of people who don't believe in evolution - there's simply nothing you can say to Kate Harding to make her think.

i WANT to be on their side - i think body image has gotten out of control in this country - but i can't say that lifestyle changes don't get people down to their natural weight, and i can't imagine being so mean to people all of the time.

thanks for stepping up, Dan. they try to make us feel bad or "fatist" for the things that we say, but they're only trying to make themselves feel better. most people - even overweight people - agree with you.

Posted by seaswell | January 14, 2008 7:11 AM

I'm very fat (290 @5'8"), and I think my girlfriend is beautiful.

BUT THAT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH CAUSE AND EFFECT. If you eat too much or exercize too little, you'll gain weight. I think Kate Harding is fooling herself and acting like an asshole to a lot of people (fat included). I don't mind Dan Savage writing about this, I find his comments tend to be insightful and I don't think that he's "picking on" anyone.

Most people I know who are obese (not overweight, but obese) don't put forth the effort to exercise or eat a reasonable amount. Most of them are in a constant cycle of "rewarding" themselves with food and "starving" themselves by eating 1500-1800 calories a day. They think that they can continue this cycle and magically lose weight -- and when they don't lose weight, they think that they've done all they can do. When really they haven't done shit.

Frankly, if this is how the rest of the fat population acts I think I'll keep "starving" myself by eating 2000 calories a day and exercizing 3-4x per week. I'll keep losing weight and eventually I really will be the outside looking in.

Most of you people need to get over yourselves.

Posted by Griffin | January 14, 2008 7:11 AM

@108. I don't exercise 60 minutes when I go to the gym because of some guidelines set by the AHA, but because I can't get to the gym every day, so I try to stay longer when I can. I was not arguing that everybody needs to spend 60 minutes exercising in order for it to "count", I was arguing that housework is not exercise. The basic point is that you need to get your heart rate up (for at least 20 minutes) and, as someone above said, "sweat, and sweat alot" to get the most benefit out of exercise.

That article you linked to absolutely did not ring true to me based on how my body responds to exercise. I'm willing to consider the possibility that I am in the minority here, but... I am more inclined to believe that it is only a small percentage of people for whom exercise wouldn't make a difference.

And, I never said or even implied that "overweight people don't eat right or exercise". I know plenty of people who are overweight and exercise (overweight, not obese). Why is it that anytime anybody says anything about diet or exercise, there is a group of people who jump to the conclusion that that person thinks all overweight people eat junk and are lazy? I know there have been some asshole comments on this thread, but not everyone thinks that way.

Posted by Julie | January 14, 2008 8:24 AM

For the record, I happen to be gay...and I also once used to be fat, but then lost it through diet and exercise, and have kept it off. So while you may never stop being gay, I find it hard to believe that most fatties can't stop being fat.

I moved to South America three years ago, and it startled me to see how morbid obesity and even moderate obesity was so rare here -- and no, in the cities at least, people are not starving, not even the poor.

So does this mean that Hispanics have been spared the plague of the "fat gene" or whatever other excuses are being thrown up?

By the way, I don't "hate" fat people: some of my best friends are fat, just as some of my best friends are smokers. What I hate is when certain fatties try to push this bullshit that they can't help being fat, that being fat is healthy, and then top that with how it is unfair that I don't find them physically attractive.

Posted by Rick | January 14, 2008 8:28 AM


"How about backing up your claims with some stats and sources? Are you a scientist?"

As a matter of fact, I used to be a scientist-a biologist, and a meteorologist to be exact. More importantly I also used to be a casheir at a grocery and right now I am a waitress-and I see firsthand what what a wide variety of people are eating.

However, you don't have to believe me.

"I eat extremely healthy, cook at organic food at home, and eat less than 1600 calories a day. I am also about 40 pounds overweight. "

That means you are overeating calories FOR YOUR PERSONAL NEEDS. Lower your caloric intake and you will most likely lose weight-IF YOU SO DESIRE. Everyone has different caloric needs. I maintain at 1700-2000 KCal. I lose at 1600 when I bike about 10 miles/day.

"You don't have to think I'm hot (tho' some people do)."

No, I don't have to think you are hot, and I'm sure some people do. I'm sure many people do. But people finding fat hot is not a requirement, and society is not going to change. The truth is most people like slim folk.

"And I don't have to cut my calories further just because you are an ill-informed person who can't understand science and who feels righteous for temporarily losing weight. (And yes, dear, it's temporary.) "

Maybe it is-Maybe I will gain but at least I will gladly admit that it is because I am eating too much for my personal needs. You see, I have a little something called PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY.

Basically what you are saying is that you personally do not wish to go below a certain number of calories, not that decreasing calories will not make you lose weight. It will. You have made a personal choice.

"Tell you what - let's both come back here in five years and see how many calories you're eating each day, and whether you've gained back the "tons" of weight you say you've lost."

It's been three years now-And you are right, maybe I shall gain it all back. But it will be because I am eating too much for my personal needs. This is called PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY

"You'll be fatter, and eating fewer calories, I promise you. Even so -good luck!!"

I don't doubt it. It is NORMAL for aging people to lose muscle mass and need less food as they age. It is my PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY to lower my calorie intake accordingly or lift weights to increase my muscle mass.

I don't know where all the hate is coming from. What you are saying is hurtful and a personal attack. All I am asking for from people is a little personal responsibility.

Want to be fat? I don't care. I just don't like to hear excuses. Metabolism low? SO WHAT! I don't care. You can't change your metabolism, but you can change your behavior. Noone likes excuses.

1600 KCals is not a god-given right of calories. Some people may personally need less than that, some more. I'm not going to eat 2500 just because someone else can.

Posted by mla | January 14, 2008 8:31 AM

Rather than talking back and forth over each other's heads, let's go back to what was ACTUALLY posted, shall we?

Ms. English, 28 years old and 392 pounds, is quoted as saying the following:

“As we get older, life does get more rushed and we do tend to make the easier choices sometimes." .. "But you can’t say if you quit going to the drive-through, exercise more and eat more vegetables, you’ll lose weight. There are so many more factors involved.”

To which Dan Savage objected:
"No, you certainly can’t say that you’ll lose weight if you stop eating fast food, get more exercise, and eat more vegetables. It’s true, of course, but you’re not allowed to say it.”

to which in turn Kate Harding objected as follows:

"I’m not even gonna bother with that. Obviously, I’m lying through my teeth about my eating and exercise habits, as are the majority of Shapelings. It’s all donuts, all the time."

It seems to me Kate was responding angrily to imaginary points that Dan never made, but your mileage may vary. As I guess this thread shows.

Posted by strawmenflying | January 14, 2008 8:45 AM

I think we are the product of previous generations. Our grandparents suffered the great depression in which food was no wasted. Every last scrap was eaten and when kids didn't want to finish what they had they got, "you're not leaving this table until your plate is clean."

So the next generation who were forced to not waste food told their kids, even though food was plenty and piled high, as THEIR parents said, "clean your plate."

Well that was all fine and dandy when mom was filling the plate in the first place. But the kids and grandkids of the "clean your plate" generation are no longer cooking their own meals because they are rushed. Their days are filled with things more important than cooking. Besides, they can just go to Applebee's or McDonolds or where ever. The problem with where ever is one serving will feed a family of four.

So here we are, all programmed to "clean our plate" without taking into account that said plate has four meals on it. Not only that but it's made with mostly processed foods which contain the lovely high-fructose corn syrup and transfatty goodness.

So it's no wonder America is fat (and yes, America is fucking fat. Get over it) We were trained to eat everything because we didn't know where our next meal was coming from but now we actually DO know where our next meal is coming from.

So... ditto to numbers 5, 16, and 19.

@#10, also true but not for everyone. My mom stops eating when she's depressed and I make love to all the sugar I can find.

#3, bullshit. People living in urban areas will walk 4 or 5 or further to the store. People living in rural areas will drive a block rather than walk. Been there, done that.

So yeah, I don't want to be fat. In fact I'm afraid of being fat. That fear (and general concern for my health) makes me eat healthier and exercise. My dad is fat. No, my dad is/was obese. He's my "how not to" example who used to make me clean my plate.

PS, by the way, there's this great show called The Biggest Loser. Watch it sometime. It's pretty good.

Posted by monkey | January 14, 2008 8:48 AM

if one can rarely lose weight and keep it off through exercise and perma-diet changes, wont that motivate people to take unhealthy means to prevent becoming fat in the first place?

Posted by Bellevue Ave | January 14, 2008 8:54 AM

I say let the fat people eat as much as they want. We should develop pneumatic air tube systems that go directly from the fast food drug dealers right to the porker's living rooms.

I say, if they want a cheeseburger, we should encourage that cheeseburger.

Because here's what'll happen after too long: They'll eat themselves into obsolescence. Evolution is a wonderful thing. First they'll die young, then their kids will die younger, and the 400-pound dump trucks we call human beings will soon have eaten their genes into non-existence, because they'll be dying before they can breed.

Let's encourage the, 'shapelings.'

When their pseudo-science and crying and whining about being helpless over their morbid obesity kicks them into an early grave, all we'll hear is sweet silence.

Frankly, I don't see how over eating is any different than shooting smack or smoking crack. All three activities are firmly rooted in addiction, and all three followed to their logical conclusion end in an early demise.

Posted by Evolution | January 14, 2008 9:19 AM

153, oh wait, i make 154, Comments on this thread...that's crazy!

Apparently, fat is the new black...

Posted by michael strangeways | January 14, 2008 9:33 AM

Bottom line - Dan disagreed with a 392-pound, 28-year old woman who said "But you can’t say if you quit going to the drive-through, exercise more and eat more vegetables, you’ll lose weight."

and Kate objected vociferously. Readers can make up their own minds.

Posted by strawmanflying | January 14, 2008 9:49 AM


Your link doesn't point to any stats or sources. That is a feature article that explains a theory. Where is the proof that this works? Is the proof that "everyone knows?"

Go back to my original post and read the analyses I linked to, which break down the details of actual studies showing that reducing calories is not effective for long term weight loss.

If you'd read the material I presented to you, you'd understand why I don't want to go below a certain number of calories. It's not because I *want* to be fat, it's because I don't want to eventually get fatter. I'm fat because of all the years in my teens and twenties I ate only 800 calories a day.

I take plenty of personal responsibility, thanks.

My point in my original posts was that I should be able to decide what is best for my body, and after having read the research I chose to stop reducing my caloric intake any further. The research demonstrated that all I'd be doing by reducing calories is making the situation worse over time.

But I guess it's pointless to try and explain all this in a comment thread. The research is there, and what you've been duped into believing is based on inaccurate conventional wisdom, NOT science.

I'm sorry that you feel you must somehow master your body into submission and overcome it's nature to achieve an arbitrary state determined by fashion, big pharma and healthcare insurance industries. And the fact that you say you will take "personal responsibility" and continue to reduce your caloric intake over the years in order to maintain that arbitrary weight indicates that you think it's "responsible" to treat your body in a way that wasn't intended by nature.

I think people should just focus on making their body healthy and then just see how it looks.

Take a look at the BMI project, mla.

People are different, and nature makes people different.

I prefer to just play a round of golf or two, go hiking with my husband, swim now and then, and lift weights for a few minutes each morning.

I'll use my other time to meet friends, go to parties, work on my novel, paint, attend events, and advance my career -- rather than spending an hour and a half each day forcing myself to run on a treadmill to meet some ridiculous standard. No way am I going to build my life around the "responsibility" of looking like someone else says I should.

When you talk about my "personal needs" you have it backward. A certain number of calories are REQUIRED for optimal brain functioning and good health.

(And for the record, when I say some folks think I'm hot, let me be very clear. I mean regardless of my weight, not because of it, which would be an entirely different thing.)

Posted by SB | January 14, 2008 10:23 AM

I am genetically thin. I've always had a hard time gaining weight. I also live in the city, do not drive, and do not drink sodas. i.e., I walk everywhere and don't ingest syrup-water.

I agree with what most people said here: Larger-sized people are cool. Obese people are not.

I'm shocked when I go to McDonalds and order an iced tea and receive the HUGEST CUP I'VE EVER SEEN. There is no way I would ever drink that much tea in a 24-hour period. And yet, many people drink cola like this all day long.

Go to any restaurant and the serving size is HUGE!!! Most of the time I have to take a doggie bag home, because I can't finish my mean in one sitting.

What I'm saying is that FAT PEOPLE and UNHEALTHING EATING are hard to escape in America. I feel bad for them because restaurants try to feed you way to much ("Supersize?").

But I also notice the lack of walking in America. If you're fat and can't jog or work out, you can at least walk. I have friends who feel they have to DRIVE 2 blocks to get to Starbucks. How lazy is that??? Get OUT. Wave to friends on the street. Get fresh air. Walk the freakin' 2 blocks to get to Starbucks. Save the gas, too.


Posted by Skinny Dude | January 14, 2008 10:24 AM

Scarlet @ 132 / 136, Is the intense desire for eye for an eye, let them suffer as I have suffered, style vengeance a sign of emotional and mental stability or instability?

Posted by mirror | January 14, 2008 10:48 AM

@144 What method did you use and what do you do to maintain it? (Were you a massive overeater before? Or more like a normal eater who binged or something? In other words, why were you fat?)

Posted by | January 14, 2008 11:30 AM

I like triple-bacon cheeseburgers. And sitting on my butt watching TV. And charging everything on my credit card when I don't have any money to pay it back. And getting fucked up the ass without a condom. And drinking beer for breakfast. And smoking unfiltered Lucky Strikes. And driving fast without a seat belt. And snorting crystal. And playing the slots at the casino. It's genetically and/or environmentally and/or socially impossible for me to quit eating crap or to exercise or spend less money or practice safe sex or quit drinking or smoking or abusing drugs or gambling or complaining. SO WHY CAN'T I FIND A THIN, FIT, RICH, HEALTHY, SOBER, SAFE AND HONEST BOYFRIEND WHO WILL JUST ACCEPT ME THE WAY I AM???

Posted by Poor Me! | January 14, 2008 11:45 AM

I think we're waaaaay off subject.

Let me just interject some common sense here: Dan is a douchebag.

Posted by Laurie Ruettimann | January 14, 2008 12:05 PM

I'm in complete agreement with you #161, he's just here to antagonize us all. I wish he would just start his own blog. That would be a real treat.

Posted by Dr. Zaius | January 14, 2008 1:10 PM

The reason the fatties cost "so much more" to insure? Look up the "obesity paradox." Individuals classified as overweight and class 1 obese by BMI -live longer- than anybody else. If you die younger, of course you're going to cost the insurance companies less money.

Posted by Catnik | January 14, 2008 1:29 PM

I don't mind fat people so much as long as they don't flaunt it in front of us regular people. Stay in your house and for God's-sake don't eat in public, wear loose-fitting clothes when you have to leave the house, and generally act contrite and embarrassed about your fatness and I can tolerate you.

Posted by thinman | January 14, 2008 1:59 PM

You're right. She will lose weight most likely. And it will mostly come back, even if she keeps up "healthier" behaviors, just as those who find themselves injured and taking off a few weeks from their activity will experience a temporary gain. Because that is how our bodies work. Anybody with a basic knowledge of medicine knows that our bodies compensate when they experience caloric deficit, and we don't know how to permanently make fatter people thinner or thinner people fatter. Find me 1 single study that has shown a way to induce significant weight change that lasts over 6 years in the majority of the participants. Go. Seriously! (I've spent my entire academic career looking for one, but maybe you'll have better luck.)

Posted by GL | January 14, 2008 2:33 PM

"Curvy is sexy, morbidly obese is not."

I would amend that to say "curvy is sexy, but being round is just a curve".

Hello from a reader of Violent Acres...

Posted by Scott | January 14, 2008 3:10 PM

@105 - OK, I was laying it on a bit thick. However, I notice that you didn't bother to refute my assertion that you're living on 25 points or less a day. And ~1200 calories IS a starvation level diet for virtually anyone over 100 pounds. Honestly, I find the idea that anyone is planning to spend the rest of their life living on 1000 to 1200 calories per day to be unbearably sad. Think on it.

@103 - You have no idea how I may or may not look, so feel free to fuck right off.

Posted by Risha | January 14, 2008 3:38 PM

Now I know why my blogs don't get much traffic. I don't stir up sufficiently enough bullshit drama to get *real* attention from the big players.

Posted by K | January 14, 2008 3:39 PM

Hi Dan.

I'm fat and it isn't my fault. I'm offended by your opinion because there is no way I can lose weight. I've tried everything. I don't super-size my orders, I only drink diet coke, twice a day I walk up and down 5 stairs (and I have to, to get to my front door, so you know I'm not lying), and I've tried Atkins almost as many times as I've tried exercising. Stop being such a fucking asshole, you STUPID head.

Brb 4th lunch.

Posted by Mr. Poe | January 14, 2008 4:02 PM

So lemme see if I got this right. You are fat because you ate 800 calories a day as a teenager but now you are going to eat 2500 calories a day because that won't make you fat?

Posted by thehawke | January 14, 2008 5:21 PM

Interesting. I eat around 1400 calories a day and am far from starving. And with a sedentary lifestyle and entering middle age, I am somehow losing the weight. Maybe because my body has learned it gets along perfectly fine on 1400 calories a day + a little fat from my cells. Once I get to the weight I want, I can gradually increase my daily caloric intake and still maintain my ideal weight (and no, my ideal weight isn't a size 2. It's the weight that I feel healthiest at).

Wife is on the same lifestyle choice of eating less than she expends and has lost close to 20 lbs since october (the hacker's diet, in case anyone is interested). She has a higher calorie count than I do but she's a big-boned gal and quite a bit taller.

Its amazing what you can do when you just cut out the most mundane things in your diet (no whipped cream on my lattes, leave the pat of butter off the potato, etc). I can still eat whatever I want. I just find as time goes by, that I want less of it.

Posted by thehawke | January 14, 2008 5:35 PM

@170 You're confusing me with someone else. I do not eat 2500 calories a day, and never said any such thing.

Posted by sb | January 14, 2008 6:29 PM


Hello again, and I am happy to see that you have elaborated on your original posts.

"Your link doesn't point to any stats or sources. That is a feature article that explains a theory. Where is the proof that this works? Is the proof that "everyone knows?"

That article was from the Mayo Clinic. Perhaps you have heard of them? Well, here is some research on average calorie intake through the years.

In 1971, the average woman ate 1,542 calories a day, but was eating 1,877 in 2000.

For men, the increase was 2,450 to 2,618 calories per day.

200-330 KCals/day doesn't sound like a lot, does it? Well, it is enough to make an entire country gain weight. Unless the laws of thermodynamics stop once they reach my ass, consuming less calories than I expend will cause weight loss.

Well, here were my original claims:

1. Buying healthy food is NOT more expensive than unhealthy foods.

This claim is true, as most processing done to food is likely to make it more expensive. A few things like brown rice are more expensive than white, but is even brown rice really more expensive than, say, chips?

2. Cooking healthy food is not time intensive.

This one is true as well. I whipped up today's dinner in exactly 5 minutes hands on time.

3. "Fat people eat less calories than thin ones" This is UTTER BULLSHIT. Unless you have a valid medical condition, you are just eating too much for your personal needs.

Using my personal experiences as a cashier and waitress, I can tell you, that the morbidly obese will eat more IN GENERAL, and worse than the thin or overweight. The ultra thin eat the least-as in sharing a dinner and still taking half of it home-without dessert. Since I may just be "noticing" things that fit my current beliefs, I will attempt to actually quantify this over the next few shifts. My results will be in by next week-and I will gladly eat crow if I am wrong.

4. The world is not going to change. Accept that being fat means having some people not find you attractive.

Noone has to like anyone. People are allowed to be racist, bigoted, and they are allowed to hate fat people. People are also allowed to hate cute little puppies and baby dimples too. That said, I do not condone rude or nasty ACTIONS or WORDS fueled by this dislike.

"My point in my original posts was that I should be able to decide what is best for my body"

No argument from me here. Everyone should do what is healthiest for their particular body.

"But I guess it's pointless to try and explain all this in a comment thread. The research is there, and what you've been duped into believing is based on inaccurate conventional wisdom, NOT science."

I haven't been duped into anything. Most reliable sources agree with me. You are the one that is arguing with me. What I am doing works for me, and you can do what works for you.

"I'm sorry that you feel you must somehow master your body into submission and overcome it's nature to achieve an arbitrary state determined by fashion, big pharma and healthcare insurance industries. And the fact that you say you will take "personal responsibility" and continue to reduce your caloric intake over the years in order to maintain that arbitrary weight indicates that you think it's "responsible" to treat your body in a way that wasn't intended by nature."

I'm sorry that you assumed that. I lost the weight because I was FAT AND DYING. My cholesterol was through the roof, I was getting diabetes, and angina in my thirties. I also had chronic lower back pain and an old knee injury which flared up more and more. All of this was weight related and completely went away when I reached a proper weight FOR ME.

"I think people should just focus on making their body healthy and then just see how it looks."

I think so too.

"Take a look at the BMI project, mla.

People are different, and nature makes people different. "

Yes, but BMI is only a screening tool, not a diagnosis of obesity. The government has not claimed otherwise. Besides, I have no problem with a healthy fat person that admits that they eat too many calories to become thin. It is their personal choice, and totally their PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY.

Also, I am not the one saying that slightly fat people cannot be healthy (that is known too), but you are saying that I am miserable being thin! Who is judging?

"I prefer to just play a round of golf or two, go hiking with my husband, swim now and then, and lift weights for a few minutes each morning.

I'll use my other time to meet friends, go to parties, work on my novel, paint, attend events, and advance my career -- rather than spending an hour and a half each day forcing myself to run on a treadmill to meet some ridiculous standard. No way am I going to build my life around the "responsibility" of looking like someone else says I should."

No, but IF someone is unhealthy due to their weight (too low OR too high), they have a PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY to correct that. My tax dollars are through the roof already. (Europe currently spends 6 percent of its health care budget due to obesity related issues-that would cost me about 200 bucks a year just in my insurance(not even counting taxes)-if the USA has similar percentages)

"When you talk about my "personal needs" you have it backward. A certain number of calories are REQUIRED for optimal brain functioning and good health."

If you are overweight, it is not your brain using up all those calories. If you choose to stay that way, and you are healthy, that's fine with me. I certainly have no problem with that, and find the overweight but fit form significantly sexier than the thin "I never work out" form with the pancake-butt that merges with the back of the leg.

"(And for the record, when I say some folks think I'm hot, let me be very clear. I mean regardless of my weight, not because of it, which would be an entirely different thing.)"

True that!

In closing: I have no idea why my original post bothered you. Obviously you are admitting to making certain choices and can live an apparantly wonderful life with those choices, right? I was talking about those people (of which there are many) who don't take any responsibility for their obesity, or other problems for that matter. Not everyone is a victim, and really, not everyone has a low thyroid or microtumor-Please!

Posted by mla | January 14, 2008 6:51 PM

American Heart Association/American College of Sports Medicine joint statement, August 2007 -

"It is reasonable to assume that persons with relatively high daily energy expenditures would be less likely to gain weight over time, compared with those who have low energy expenditures. So far, data to support this hypothesis are not particularly compelling."

Posted by thefacts | January 14, 2008 7:41 PM

Finish the quote please.

"but some observational data indicate that men who report at least 45-60 min of activity on most days gain less weight than less active men.[16] Furthermore, the specific types and amounts of activity required to prevent weight gain in the majority of people have not been well established using prospective study designs, and it is clear that they cannot be precisely set without considering individual factors such as energy intake and genetics. Thus, currently it is best to assume that the specific amount of physical activity that will help prevent unhealthy weight gain is a function that differs from individual to individual, but that in general more activity increases the probability of success."

Posted by mla | January 14, 2008 7:53 PM

Right, so if you work out 45-60 minutes *most* and you're male you might gain less weight (note it doesn't say lose weight) than men who don't work out. And women, they're screwed I guess.

That hardly matches the simplistic "all you need to do is work out a little and you'll lose weight" attitudes we've seen on these threads.

Posted by thefacts | January 14, 2008 7:59 PM

PS - This explains why working out often doesn't result in weight loss.

Posted by thefacts | January 14, 2008 8:01 PM

Thank God for mla. Keep on truckin'.

Posted by ED | January 14, 2008 8:18 PM

"I find the idea that anyone is planning to spend the rest of their life living on 1000 to 1200 calories per day to be unbearably sad. Think on it."

What's unbearably sad is that your view of food is so warped. I probably consume around 1600ish calories in a typical day. I've come to view a 350-400 calorie lunch as normal. People eat too much, and that's a fact.

I suggest going to the Bodies exhibit and seeing how large a normal stomach actually is.

Posted by AMB | January 14, 2008 9:49 PM

Scarlet (and others),

Like you said, "you can eat well and exercise and still be 340 pounds." I never said that wasn't the case, neither did he. This, again, goes back to different body types and, like you said "not every body responds to a healthy diet and activity level the same way".

He didn't say (and neither did I) "you can be a hot skinny girl/boy if you eat vegetables, exercise, and suck it up." Or "Big sizes can be eliminated if you just stop pigging out, fatties!" None of this was what was said (though it appears to be what you heard).

No, he really only said "You can be healthier and in better shape if you do those things than if you don't." 'Better shape' means different things to different people (as you've pointed out, and that I or he never objected to) - to a lucky few, 'better shape' is a swimsuit model (instead of what a beer belly), to others, it 340 lbs. (instead of 390, or what have you), and to most, it's somewhere in between. Eating well and exercise puts you in better shape (and 'better shape' can still be big! 340 lbs big! But fine!)

Dan doesn't object to big people because they're big. He objects to big people who tell him he can't say "exercise and good food are better than not including them in your lives" (which is a completely true statement: exercise IS better than none, and eating selectively is better than indiscriminate eating) and then (as the person quoted in the article said) they go eat drive-through fast food and drink triple-thick milkshakes.

Judging from what you mentioned in #132, THIS DOESN'T SOUND LIKE YOU or anyone else who seems so miffed. You (and many of the others) seem to work very hard to do the best things for your body.

Posted by paul | January 14, 2008 10:40 PM

Moreover, you say "he writes a bunch of shit in his sex advice column about how it's perfectly reasonable to leave your partner when their bodies don't behave in exactly the way your prefer"

Not really. What I mean is, someone wrote in and said "I'm no longer turned on by my partner because they gained lots of weight. What should I do?"

You're right in that he didn't respond "YOU JERK! You're just a selfish, materialistic asshole and you should love her the way she is!"

He instead wrote "tell them about it, work on it," which you seem to take as him hating 'teh fatties'. Notice he treated the fatness that the writer of the letter was being turned off by just like any other turn-off someone might notice with their partner (snoring, leaving the toilet seat up, etc): "Tell your partner that it's turning you off, and try to find a solution."

Considering that the writer of the letter (probably a selfish, materialistic asshole) wasn't likely to change his ways anytime soon, I thought it was good advice.

Not everybody did though, and Dan later published an entire column displaying other suggestions he got to it in the mail.

Finally, you write "the world mocks you and assumes you're a trashy person who is emotional and mentally unstable."

Well, a) the bottom of your post @ #132 doesn't really help your case there, but b) yes, you're right, they do. The world does treat you worse for it. It sucks, and is unfair. But they do the same to people of different races, different genders, different ethnicities, having an accent, you name it. Your big, I'm black, she doesn't speak English, he's a trans-sexual immigrant amputee. We all get shit for things we really can't control, and I'm sorry it's damaged you as much as it has. But really, big people are not the only victims in the world, nor necessarily the biggest ones. It's unfair, but the best you can do try to move past it.

Posted by paul | January 14, 2008 11:00 PM

Wow. It sounds like Mrs. Harding has what psychologists call "an external locus of control." Basically, people with this frame of mind place the credit or blame for anything that happens to them on external factors that are beyond their control. Get good grades in school? Either the teachers gave easy tests, or you got lucky. Gaining weight? You must just have the "fat gene." It's an easy way to avoid guilt and avoid change, and it makes for some very entertaining stupidity.

Posted by L | January 15, 2008 1:35 PM




Every time I masturbate, I hear Car Talk or Calling All Pets.

Posted by RADIO PENIS | January 15, 2008 11:25 PM

Let's talk a little bit of science.

Post #173 makes some assertions, but presents little scientific evidence.

Starting with this:

"That article was from the Mayo Clinic. Perhaps you have heard of them? Well, here is some research on average calorie intake through the years.
In 1971, the average woman ate 1,542 calories a day, but was eating 1,877 in 2000.
For men, the increase was 2,450 to 2,618 calories per day.
200-330 KCals/day doesn't sound like a lot, does it? Well, it is enough to make an entire country gain weight. Unless the laws of thermodynamics stop once they reach my ass, consuming less calories than I expend will cause weight loss."

One problem with this research is that first, people are significantly taller than in 1971, and that would necessitate an increase in calories. Now, thermodynamics only applies to chemical reactions. Simplified, it means, energy in, energy out, or stored. Applying this to a very complex living organism is a simply not at all scientific. This all gets at the root of the problem. The Mayo Clinic study was descriptive, not causal/comparative. They simply looked at the caloric intake, without regard to factors that may have effected it, in other words.

What causes a body to store energy is not the intake or the output, rather it is regulated by a complex set of hormones. This is supported by research, which you can certainly find, but for brevity, I’ll leave the citation out. For example, Progesterone causes increased appetite, a change in the type of foods a person prefers, and weight gain. Now, this is made even more complex when we consider that fat cells secrete some of these regulatory hormones. We are just beginning to understand the complex hormonal system that is our body. Just as an example of the unexpected effects of hormones and how little we understand them:

The Mayo clinic's research is nice and all, but it is a survey type study, and doesn't intend to determine the causes of obesity. Don't read into this study more than it says.

And this assertion:

"1. Buying healthy food is NOT more expensive than unhealthy foods."

In my experience, buying healthy food is incredibly more expensive. I could never make a meal as cheaply or as quickly as I could buy it at McD's - I've tried! while the thought that more processing makes things more expensive is true, the use of mass production more than counteracts that cost, making the food significantly cheaper. A simple search in google using “cost reduction” and “mass production” will bear this out. Also, certain processing eliminates the need for refrigeration, greatly reducing costs. For example, to make a salad, nearly everything must be refrigerated. Those produce aisles in the grocery store? Well, there is a great deal of refrigeration there – of course the store passes that cost on to the consumer. By boxing something up and eliminating refrigeration, and extending shelf life, there are significant savings to the consumer. Anyway, I could go on, but I’ll let you all do some research on the subject.

And this assertion:

“3. "Fat people eat less calories than thin ones" This is UTTER BULLSHIT. Unless you have a valid medical condition, you are just eating too much for your personal needs.”
Well, it is not utter bullshit, but sure it is uninformative. Simply put, no generalization can be made here. Some fat people more calories, some eat less. Some skinny people eat more calories, some eat less. What makes a person fat or thin is very complex. First, there is genetics, and you can see my previous post for links on this. Then there is epigenetics (or the expression of genes) and again, you can see my previous post. Of course, these things are the instructions for hormones. But our environment today is full of endocrine disruptors – much of which science has yet to tackle. Then of course, one must realize hormones not only have effect on fat storage, but also on cravings, appetite, and all sorts of behaviors. And let’s not forget some social issues like compulsive eating. Sure, that happens sometimes, but please, don’t be so ignorant to assume that is always true with every fat person. And herein is the problem with this all. SOME thin people want to think they are better than fat people, that they have more self control or something. In other words these people have a bigoted belief. The same arguments used in fat discrimination have been used in discrimination against African Americans, and minorities throughout time. Look, I know personally some thin people that have great self control. I also know some thin people who eat terrible and hardly exercise at all! I know some fat people who maintain a rigid exercise routine and have amazing self control as well.

So, bring it to a close right? Fat people are people – just like anyone else. Not better than skinny people, not worse than skinny people. Yup, we’re all humans, and statistically, we have a lot more similarities than differences. No valid argument for discrimination against fat people can be supported by research any more than an argument for discrimination against jews, African Americans (or whatever!) can be supported by research.

Posted by squurp | January 16, 2008 3:00 AM

"She shouldn’t be mocked or discriminated against or poked with sticks."

Perhaps she shouldn't be, from a strictly moral perspective (because that's not nice)... but, in reality, that's what's going to happen. That's just part of the "lifestyle" that she's chosen for herself! Choices have consequences, and all those things are part of the consequences of choosing to be that morbidly obese, in reality.

Posted by Jacob | January 16, 2008 9:54 AM

"Average height in the United States has remained essentially stagnant since the 1950s".
From Wikipedia

Yeah yeah, I know it's not from the Mayo Clinic or anything like that, someone just wrote that. But people keep saying that Americans are getting much taller. I read this but I actually remember reading recent articles saying that Americans on average are getting shorter.

Can't we just admit that we're eating more calories now as a population than we used to? Don't we remember growing up and having our sodas rationed out to us? (or maybe not)

This is such a weird discussion, are people really saying that they don't notice that Americans are really large in comparison to people from any other country? I think that's what gets people worked up. We're all in this country together, why are so many of us getting so large?

Posted by didyoureallyeatthat? | January 16, 2008 7:21 PM


So, this is a great argument for racism then. I mean black people chose to be born black, so therefore it is ok to persecute them? What about all the jews that choose to be jewish? Ok to persecute them? I hope you realize how ridiculous this statement is.

Posted by squurp | January 16, 2008 8:12 PM

187, actually, based on some of the comments can be apart of obesity.

I am blessed that I have health care, but that isn't always true for other minorities. Causing more health problems to arise within Minority groups.

Even worse, miniorities are more than likely to get discriminated against when they are in the hospital....

Oh yeah, and that whole factor about black women being obese than other female counterparts....just seems really obvious to me...

I hate to say but...
From the previous comments saying shit like "it's all good that fatties don't get healthcare" that like saying something pretty much on the racist sides of things.

And I do agree that what type of neighborhood you live in may have and effect on people becoming obese.

If you want to think outside the box, and hold you tongue for a little while, try reading Hungry for More.

And I am not going to go on about either one of their comments (dan and kate)



you can change the way you react to it.
If you feel as though you want to change the stereotypes of what Dan maybe dishing out to people that refuse to think beyond the surface, then so be it.

I don't understand, how anyone can have so much hate toward someone that they don't even know.

People may think Dan chooses to be GAY, but others may not think so. BIG FUCKING SHIT.

PROVE "THEM" through positive action, not this going back in forth online. What is a bunch of opinions from anon's going to really do to you???

It isn't like you can go up to them punch them in the face, because some of them would be f**king wussies and could not face you regardless...

Posted by WTF... | January 16, 2008 9:07 PM

Seems like a whole lot of anger and a whole lot of drama, what exactly? She said something rude! He said something rude!

Look, it's junior high again. And over what? The size of someone's ass, no less. What's next on the agenda? Like, um, the football game? Or maybe that cute boy by the locker? 'Cuz that's like, totally like, relevant.

Posted by Demandra | January 17, 2008 5:30 PM

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