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Dan, you are naughty.

Posted by Big Sven | January 22, 2008 11:10 AM

Don't be afraid to order the cheesecake?

I don't understand, I thought that they were born fat.

Posted by AMB | January 22, 2008 11:12 AM

Cheesecake indeed. Fat pigs.

Posted by Chowhound | January 22, 2008 11:19 AM

hy diet and level of physical activity, some people will be thin by average human standards, while others will be fat.

2) Many people in developed nations are eating more calories and moving around less, and this is contributing to rising obesity rates.

I don't understand why we need to have so many people ignoring (1) and overstating (2), and why a bunch of fat activists have to then respond by declaring (2) heretical and overemphasizing the case for (1).

Posted by tsm | January 22, 2008 11:21 AM

Damn it, that didn't come out right. Take two:

1) Given a healthy diet and level of physical activity, some people will be thin by average human standards, while others will be fat.

2) Many people in developed nations are eating more calories and moving around less, and this is contributing to rising obesity rates.

I don't understand why we need to have so many people ignoring (1) and overstating (2), and why a bunch of fat activists have to respond by regarding (2) as heretical and overemphasizing the case for (1).

Posted by tsm | January 22, 2008 11:23 AM

This is what happens when the world is too PC.

What I don't understand is why there aren't a ton of people with smoking blogs. Telling everybody they are insensitive for pointing out all of the health risks associated with smoking, and vociferously refuting ex-smokers who will of course just be smoking again in 2 to 5 years.

I'm not saying that I'm anywhere close to in shape, but I also own up to the fact that I like to eat shitty food and not move around much. Some people do have a harder time losing weight than others, but some people have a harder time with addictions than others. Doesn't mean they still shouldn't stop.

Posted by Lushy J | January 22, 2008 11:24 AM

Genetics versus lifestyle? Give me a break.

Posted by Ryan | January 22, 2008 11:26 AM

Meh. I'm so bored with these "fat" posts on Slog. Every one is exactly the same: Dan posts a link to an article and offers his opinion, then we get these 100+ comment threads where A) skinny people accuse fat people of having filthy habits and no willpower, and B) fat people accuse skinny people of ignoring the fact that body type is at least to some extent caused be genes and not lifestyle preferences. Time for something new.

Posted by Hernandez | January 22, 2008 11:26 AM

The NYTimes has been getting dumber and dumber recently, but this journalistic laziness: "...there may be benefits to being overweight, including a large study that found that underweight Americans are more likely to die than those who are moderately overweight" is the worst I've seen lately.

Aren't we ALL "likely to die"?

Posted by Donna | January 22, 2008 11:26 AM

When I look at crowd photos from thirty years ago there aren't lots of morbidly obese people in them.

What was considered heavy thirty years ago is the new normal.

Posted by jeffg166 | January 22, 2008 11:27 AM

I'll get my rant in early. The truth is orthogonal to what most people on both sides of the argument are going to say in the 100-200 comments that are going to follow Dan's post.

"The just exercise and eat less" crowd is wrong. The "there's nothing I can do about it" crowd is wrong.

The diet industry is telling you the wrong information on how to lose weight. The government is telling you the wrong information on how to lose weight. Eat what your grandparents ate before the "health craze" of the 70s and 80s, avoid starches and sugars, and you will lose weight.

Posted by Big Sven | January 22, 2008 11:28 AM

This pro-fat business is starting to get out of hand. It kills me when an obese person gets into the elevator in my building and takes it up one fucking floor. I get the feeling a lot of these pro-fat people are this type of person that eats whatever they want and barely even walks around.

I'm not disagreeing with the idea that everyone's got a different natural body shape, but morbid obesity is not natural.

Posted by T | January 22, 2008 11:32 AM
When I look at crowd photos from thirty years ago there aren't lots of morbidly obese people in them.

Yup. Because 30 years ago the government adopted the "food pyramid". Everyone started focusing on rice, bread, potatoes, and pasta. When they got fat, they bought "diet" and "low-fat" foods with even more starches and sugars. "Fat-free" cookies where sugar is the #2 ingredient.

Does anyone actually think humanity has gotten significantly more slothful in the last 30 years? And I say humanity, not America, because everywhere that is not chronically malnourished that has adopted the high starch "healthy" diet has seen increases in obesity.

Posted by Big Sven | January 22, 2008 11:34 AM

And they reject a core belief that many Americans, including overweight ones, hold dear: that all a fat person needs to do to be thin is exercise more and eat less.

There's a difference between being big because you're shoving cheesecake down your gullet and being big because of genetics. One doesn't naturally lead to type II diabetes, for example, nor does it lead to cardiovascular or musculoskeletal problems associated with carrying around a hundred more pounds than you need to.

And no, I'm not going to accept it, because I'm not going to accept relatives of mine that are eating their way to an early grave. Satisfied?

Posted by bma | January 22, 2008 11:35 AM

Everyone has a right to be just as fat as they want to be just as I have a right to make fun of them for being big fat cows.

Posted by monkey | January 22, 2008 11:38 AM

Really, at this point there's no reason not to just go with "blobosphere."

Posted by Olo | January 22, 2008 11:43 AM

I grew up as a "fat" kid who by today's standards would look pretty normal. Yes, people are much fatter than they used to be. It's very American too. I just got back from Europe (I've always wanted to say that) and at a US size 14, I was one of the largest around. Here in the US, I'm much more mid-range when compared to the people I run across on a day-to-day basis (I live in the Midwest, which is probably a factor too).

I have no illusions of ever being thin by anyone's standards, but I do try to keep my weight to the lowest level I can manage without extreme measures. And I manage to have a lovely life...

Posted by Molly | January 22, 2008 11:55 AM

@5, I agree with both of your points. But, while I'm totally on Board with #1 (I am "naturally" a size 10 given healthy diet and exercise while a good friend of mine is "naturally" a size 0), I think a very, very small percentage of people are "naturally" obese.

Posted by Julie | January 22, 2008 11:57 AM

I seem to remember a certain Dan Savage writing something about having a kid so he could get fat in a little book called The Kid. Hmm. Maybe it was just my imagination. So when you get fat dan, are you going to start your own blog about your ass?

Posted by hippo-crit? | January 22, 2008 11:59 AM

@18, I agree. And it's annoying that many of the fat acceptance folks speak as though all obesity is "natural" in that way. Perhaps they are naturally bigger, but assuming their experience is representative, and that therefore anyone's efforts to lose weight are likely pointless, is effectively what they often complain about thin people doing - overgeneralizing based on personal experience.

Posted by tsm | January 22, 2008 12:02 PM

I don't think the food pyramid has much to do with obesity...does anyone or has anyone ever consulted a geometric shape to determine their diet, or listened to what the government had to say on ANYTHING?

And people prior to the 60's weren't magically fit due to better, healthier diets...americans have been chowing down on meat, 'taters, and desserts for a very long time.

we're a fat country due to the combination of less physical activity, poor eating habits, processed foods laden with fats and corn syrup and acute laziness.

or in a nutshell, you can blame Coke, McDonalds, television, the Internet, the automobile, the suburbanization of America, the corn syrup lobby, poor parenting and mean gym teachers who make kids hate physical activity...

i'm also sure that the homosexuals probably had something to do with it, too. We have such hot bodies, that everyone else just gave up in frustration. That, and our constant and persistent cruising in locker rooms has scared off most heterosexuals.

Posted by michael strangeways | January 22, 2008 12:04 PM

Fatosphere, blobosphere... both are pure brilliance.

Posted by w7ngman | January 22, 2008 12:20 PM

I believe the point of this NYT article is to show that all fat women blog. I know this to be true, as well.

Posted by Voice of Reason | January 22, 2008 12:28 PM

I am fat because I'm sitting here reading this blog while wolfing down a Pink Feather Boa doughnut from Top Pot. I plan to excercise later by walking to the john and purging.

Posted by Spoogie | January 22, 2008 12:40 PM

It's always somebody else's fault.

Posted by Yeek | January 22, 2008 12:52 PM

Keep cashing in those victim checks, people. That's how you get ahead in America.

Posted by Greg | January 22, 2008 1:34 PM

Voice of Reason hits it.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | January 22, 2008 1:48 PM

'Fat vs. thin' is the wrong question. Australians frame the issue as 'fit vs. not fit'. Fit people can run 5 kilometers without wheezing, carry a heavy load on their back without strain, and endure long hours of physical labour without tiring. 'Fit' is an indicator of good health; 'thin' is not.

Posted by Mrs. Jarvie | January 22, 2008 1:59 PM

Mrs. Jarvie - I'm in fantastic shape (slim, very low body fat, not insignificant muscle tone), and I lift three times a week and run two - four times a week. But there is no way in hell I could run 5k without dropping.

Posted by Gander | January 22, 2008 2:32 PM

Bloggers? Fat? SHOCKER!

Posted by Smon | January 22, 2008 2:41 PM

Isn't obesity *by definition* unnatural?

Posted by w7ngman | January 22, 2008 2:53 PM

wow, masses of people completely missing the point on both sides.

Posted by Jeff | January 22, 2008 3:59 PM

I draw you all to the song "Big, Blonde, and Beautiful" from the soundtrack to Hairspray.

Ya'll can argue all you want, fat people are still going to be fat and skinny people are still going have their opinions of them. It doesn't really matter who's right or wrong here. Fat people know what they need to do and whether or not it will work for them. This argument is old and pointless and Dan needs to let go of it already.

Fuck the "fat activists", and fuck the skinny assholes trying to tell people what to do. Your both full of shit.

Posted by brandon h | January 22, 2008 5:36 PM
Posted by Lou | January 22, 2008 7:50 PM

Yeah, I'm still never quite convinced by fat people who say they 'tried everything' and nothing worked. I just heard it from a co-worker today, a similar story I've seen online lately: "I started a diet, I lost weight, and then when I got off the diet, all the weight came back and then some! Diets don't work!"

Um, gee, ya think? If you stop the part of the diet where you eat healthier foods in smaller portions, the diet might not work anymore.

And don't even get me started on what some people consider exercise. There was a post earlier on Slog where a commenter said her exercise was "washing dishes and doing laundry." Wow.

I know, I know, this doesn't apply to every overweight person, but it does apply to some of them.

Posted by DJ DeeJay | January 22, 2008 7:57 PM

It seems like you all sort of don't get the point of fat activism. It isn't about fat, it is about being treated like human beings. What happens when a group of people are objectified and ridiculed? They become the scapegoat. There's nothing like a bunch of fatties to fill your scapegoat quotient. Who cares how we degrade and dehumanize these tubs o' lard anyway...they aren't human they are just tubs o' lard lapping up hot wings and chugging ranch dressing while typing blogs with their chunky fingers while sitting around on their fat lazy asses.

Posted by Kristin Bell | January 22, 2008 11:27 PM

Kristin, you're high.

Pointing out the very real health risks associated with morbid obesity isn't dehumanizing. The fact you take it as such illustrates just how impossible rational discourse becomes when people start playing the victim card.

You control how many calories you consume, and you control how much you exercise. When fat-acceptance blog authors encourage readers to go ahead and eat cheesecake, they've clearly abandoned any pretense at advocating healthy living.

Ever notice you don't see blogs promoting alcoholism acceptance? And how you don't see bloggers saying to go ahead and drink more vodka because it doesn't matter anyway?

Posted by AMB | January 23, 2008 12:11 AM

I am the one who wrote "don't be afraid to eat the cheesecake." But if you read it in context, you'll see that I wrote it alongside "don't be afraid to go to the gym." Fat people are shamed no matter what we do, and fear and shame shouldn't rule anyone's life.

And I don't even like cheesecake.

Posted by mo pie | January 23, 2008 5:47 PM

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