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Or at least I am according to my "BMI".

After reading the comments in louisev's diary about the woman who died of kidney failure thanks to airlines that wouldn't/couldn't seat her due to her obesity I feel the need to rant just a bit about what being overweight really is per the "standard" and about how people who are overweight are treated in our society. Follow me over the fold for more.

First about me. I am 6'4" and I weigh between 220 and 230lbs. I am active even though I sit behind a desk all day and you'd be hard pressed to pinch an inch on me as I am in good "shape". But according to my BMI I am overweight, fat, obese. I call bullshit. Even more I call bullshit on those who think it's perfectly fine to criticize others as being unhealthy, fat, obese, whatever based on a measure that was never intended to be used for an individual and based on how they "look". This is personal for me, not just because of the fact that per the "standard" I am overweight but because I lost my younger sister to suicide partially due to her self-image as it related to her weight.

BMI is bullshit

According to wikipedia, what became known as the Body Mass Index was originally developed in the 19th century as part of "social physics". It wasn't until the 1970's that the name was changed to BMI. Even then it was not meant to be used on an individual basis.

Reading more on this, in 1998 the NIH and CDC revised the BMI numbers:

In 1998, the U.S. National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention brought U.S. definitions into line with World Health Organization guidelines, lowering the normal/overweight cut-off from BMI 27.8 to BMI 25. This had the effect of redefining approximately 29 million Americans, previously healthy to overweight.[13] It also recommends lowering the normal/overweight threshold for South East Asian body types to around BMI 23, and expects further revisions to emerge from clinical studies of different body types.

The U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey of 1994 indicated that 59% of American men and 49% of women had BMIs over 25. Morbid obesity—a BMI of 40 or more—was found in 2% of the men and 4% of the women. The newest survey in 2007 indicates a continuation of the increase in BMI: 63% of Americans are overweight or obese, with 26% now in the obese category (a BMI of 30 or more). There are differing opinions on the threshold for being underweight in females; doctors quote anything from 18.5 to 20 as being the lowest weight, the most frequently stated being 19. A BMI nearing 15 is usually used as an indicator for starvation and the health risks involved, with a BMI less than 17.5 being an informal criterion for the diagnosis of anorexia nervosa.

Amazing isn't it? They tinker with the numbers a bit and suddenly 29 million more people are considered fat/overweight.

Even better, a quick google search gives a visual aid illustrating the ridiculousness of the BMI metric.

Being overweight/fat/obese doesn't mean you are unhealthy

My wife is a BBW, for those who don't know what that means she's a big beautiful woman. She's 5'9 and 270lbs. Hell according to the BMI calculator she's close to Morbidly Obese yet when she goes to the doctor and gets her blood work done her cholesterol is low, her sugar is perfect, by all measurements she's healthy as can be. But, OMG, she has a belly and her BMI is so high! She also eats well, gets regular exercise and in general is not sitting around doing nothing all day. My point is there is a lot more to it than just appearance and weight. Just as the saying goes "you can't judge a book by it's cover".

Are there lots of fat unhealthy people? Yup, and there are a lot of skinny unhealthy people and "normal" unhealthy people.

You wouldn't be fat if you just did x, y, and z

Easy for you to say. Hell I eat healthy, I exercise regularly and so does my wife. In fact the only thing we do have in common that will most certainly lead to health problems is the fact we both smoke which we've vowed to rectify this year by quitting. But here's the thing, according to the BMI I'm fat and my wife is borderline "morbidly obese" yet we're in relatively good health.

So what are us "fat lazy slobs" to do? I know let's start taking diet pills! Or hell let's pay a fortune and go to a weight loss clinic! Wait, even better, let's go have part of our stomach removed or even let's just have a tube wrapped around our stomach that can be tightened or loosened as needed!

A close friend of ours went with option 3 after diet and exercise just weren't cutting it, you see everyone in her family was overweight...pesky genetics...and now she can barely eat anything, can't keep certain foods down, and relies on supplements because that's what gastric bypass does.

There is now a new mega-industry out there for weight loss, all based on the idea that a number, the BMI, is a real measure of a healthy weight. Go to any store and most of the time there'll be an entire aisle dedicated to weight loss supplements, everything from MEGA GREEN TEA to the latest legal form of speed. We're bombarded with commercials for Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, Nurtri-system and every other program out there. They're all in it to make money off the latest "epidemic".

Do we as a society have to make some changes? Sure. I'd love to see the fast food industry go the way of the do-do. I'd love to see real sugar used in the place of HFC in soft drinks (they taste better to me). But for some people Fast food is all they can afford. It's cheaper to get something off the dollar menu at McDonald's than it is to go to a grocery store and buy the ingredients for a healthy meal. So many end up getting their calories when and where they can. Want to fix that issue? Let's start by raising the minimum wage, improving our education system so kids can grow up to get good paying jobs that will bring them and their families out of poverty. What we shouldn't be doing is sitting on our high horses criticizing people who appear to be fat or are considered unhealthy simply due to their weight.

Fat is Sexy

I said it and I will continue to believe it, in some cultures it's still considered to be a very attractive quality and if I was given my choice between some runway model who ate like a bird and a woman who ate well and had meat on her bones I'd take the woman who had the meat on her bones any day. We need to seriously start re-evaluating our body image when it comes to what is "normal" and what is "attractive". Not every man can look like an Abercrombie And Fitch or Calvin Klein model and not every woman is going to look like whoever or whatever the latest supermodel/pageant winner looks like and nor should they.

People come in all shapes and all sizes. Just because someone doesn't "look" a certain way or because they "weigh" a certain amount doesn't mean that they are unhealthy, slovenly slobs who are just plain lazy and don't do x, y, and z. For some it's a medical condition, for others it's inheritance, for others still it's socioeconomic and yes, for some it is just their lifestyle choice. But that doesn't make it ok to judge or criticize.

Poll

Based on what your BMI is are you

28%40 votes
9%13 votes
44%62 votes
16%23 votes

| 138 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Great diary - and I agree (13+ / 0-)

    I don't think you can take the BMI and apply it to all body types with a simple weight-height calculation.

    I always say that when the zombie-apocalypse comes, I've got fat to burn.

    I'm 6-3 and 250 and haven't been sick beyond a case of the sniffles  in 20 years.  

    The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. --George Orwell

    by jgkojak on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 09:39:05 AM PST

  •  6'4" 275 (10+ / 0-)

    Could lose some weight, but according to those charts I should be <170!   At my lowest I was 225 and I had ribs sticking out as I have a big frame!  i was still overweight at that point!

    BMI = BS

    95% of all life forms that once existed on earth are now extinct. It is only a matter of time until the Republicans follow suit.

    by PRRedlin on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 09:43:21 AM PST

    •  I was 160 at one point (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DeathDlr73, kkjohnson, denig, liz dexic

      and was rail thin. I looked horrible.

      Sarcasm: It beats killing people...

      by Dreggas on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 09:45:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  BMI is not precise (5+ / 0-)

      it's a general guide. To know what your real BMI is, you'd have to be properly tested for it. There are clinics that can do that, but for most people it's not necessary if they have average frames.

      The BMI guidelines that I've seen have a pretty wide range - several points between overweight and underweight - for that reason. And some unusual people will be outside that range, such as yourself apparently.

      I can say for myself that when my BMI was in the "obese" range I was not healthy. I've managed to lose about 30 pounds, with twenty more to go, and I feel quite a bit better. I'm sure glad I didn't sit around thinking that I didn't need to lose weight. I'd probably have shortened my life considerably, based on the overwhelming scientific evidence to that effect.

      •  When I was (6+ / 0-)

        Doing an astonishing amount of exercise (100 mile bike rides, averaging 18 mph were not unusual), with a resting heart rate of 47 bpm; so muscular that when I subsequently became pregnant, they at first worried my baby wasn't growing because my abs were too strong for the normal measuring techniques to be accurate; and had a much lower than average body fat composition, the charts still listed me as obese. I actually have big bones, and I actually have a preponderance of round muscle instead of long muscle.

        As of puberty, I have always looked fat, and weighed more than others of my height. This means that, even when I had the health of an elite athlete (though I didn't compete), I was lectured about my weight by medical professionals and lay-persons, alike.

        We had a great demonstration many years ago:

        Our son and a friend's son were born two weeks apart. At 18 months, they were the same height, and overall size. Judging them visually, they should have weighed the same.  But when I picked up our friends' son, using the amount of force needed to pick up our son, I nearly launched him into the air, he was so light in comparison.

        These otherwise identically-sized children have entirely different mass. Our son got the very heavy bone and muscle structure of my family, their son got the very light (and osteoporosis-prone) bone structure of his mother's family.

        The tables are a good guide for people who fit into the "average" body structure. They're entirely useless for people who fall toward the tails of the curve.

    •  That's what my husband "should be" too. (4+ / 0-)

      He's 6'2" and 210. He looks best when he's between 195 and 200. He'd look like a skeleton at 170!

      Now, I am overweight and I'm not going to give specifics on what I weigh. I am trying to get down to a better weight for me, but I don't expect to be as thin as I was in high school!

  •  6'0", 152 lbs = 22.7 BMI (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nina Katarina, Anne Elk, Dreggas, Kevskos

    Supposedly good, right? Then why is everyone always trying to feed me, and commenting they can see my rib cage.

    FYI, fast metabolism. Same weight for almost 20 years.

    "I am not just a strange dude; I am a SUPER strange dude!" - Super Grover 2.0

    by DeathDlr73 on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 09:51:18 AM PST

  •  get out the calipers: body composition matters (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    EthrDemon

    My BMI says I'm high normal, but the calipers say I'm 25% fat.  Does that sound healthy to anyone?

    Something's wrong when the bad guys are the utopian ones.

    by Visceral on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 09:52:06 AM PST

  •  Glad you have decided to quit smoking (8+ / 0-)

    You will never regret the cigarettes you didn't smoke.  

    "I wish I had never quit smoking," is a phrase that is never uttered at the deathbed.

    It's the Supreme Court, stupid!

    by Radiowalla on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 09:54:51 AM PST

  •  It all comes down to health and comfort. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dreggas, Kaina PDX, suzq, greengemini

    I am presently 20 lbs over where I'm comfortable. I'm way too old to worry about what others think, so that's not an issue. But when I tire easily or have difficulty moving, I hate it. And while health may not be a problem for you, many who are obese are headed for problems. They just haven't shown up yet. Like you, really skinny people make me a bit queasy.

    Now, let's talk about smoking. I don't know how much you smoke, but I was a heavy smoker for 40 years (2 packs/day). I only quit because I was diagnosed with emphysema, and it sucks. Like being chunky, smoking gets you eventually.

    I'm on my way to read the diary you mentioned. I hope it doesn't ruin my day.

    Thanks for speaking up for we chunkies.

    •  Please be careful (5+ / 0-)
      Like you, really skinny people make me a bit queasy.
      Body shaming isn't okay on either end of the spectrum.

      "When did it fall apart? Sometime in the '80s / When the great and the good gave way to the greedy and the mean." - Billy Bragg

      by Vacationland on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 10:02:19 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's not body shaming if I don't say anything. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dreggas

        And I didn't say that to be mean. The queasiness just happens spontaneously.

        •  Have to agree with you (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          HappyinNM, Kaina PDX

          It's one thing to say "skinny people make me queasy" it would be different if you said "skinny people are disgusting stick figures". It's not body shaming to say that they make you personally queasy.

          You are more likely to hear someone who is overweight/obese called "disgusting", "slob", "cow" or other names than you are to hear a skinny person called something equally derogatory.

          Sarcasm: It beats killing people...

          by Dreggas on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 10:33:01 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Disagree (6+ / 0-)

          While I'm sure you didn't say it to be mean, you did say it (in this forum, not to someone's face, but you put it out there). Imagine how it feels to be a person with body image issues reading that statement. Now imagine replacing "really skinny people" with any other marginalized population. You probably wouldn't feel comfortable stating it in a public forum, for one thing, even if it was a spontaneous, otherwise private reaction.

          Saying something makes you physically sick is inherently negative. Just pointing out that there are people reading this who might fit that description and may now read everything you say through the filter of "this person thinks I'm less than..." or "...I make this person sick just by being who I am."

          Not that it matters, but I'm not a skinny person; I just know that body image is a huge hot button issue for many folks at all ends of the size spectrum and casually negative comments like this can do some real damage to people who are already struggling with self-acceptance.

          I don't think body shaming is limited to direct, hurtful statements toward specific individuals. I think it can (and does) encompass a range of actions, including such statements.

          "When did it fall apart? Sometime in the '80s / When the great and the good gave way to the greedy and the mean." - Billy Bragg

          by Vacationland on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 10:45:11 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  For many if not most people (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FG, cassandracarolina, Egg, ScienceMom

    Losing the weight involves the following:

    Eliminate or drastically reduce sugar and refined carbohydrate consumption.

    That's it.  So you will basically eat vegetables, Meat, Cheese, nuts and certain fruits (berries are best).

    80% of food available at a typical supermarket has added sugar and THAT is what is making people fat.

    Try low carb, it works and you don't have to count calories.

    We are killing our population with corn subsidies

    •  I think portion size has a lot to do with it. (7+ / 0-)

      I've been eating better for almost three years and lost 120 pounds, entirely due to eating right and increasing my exercise.  No surgery, no fancy diet, just becoming more aware of how much I eat, and what is included in each meal.

      I was shocked when I started this journey to learn that what I considered a normal portion was at least 50% or even 100% of a recommended portion.  Once I learned how much I should eat, I was able to create a plan that gave me the nutrition I needed and lose the excess weight.

      Most people who think they have a healthy diet, actually eat more than they should because their portion sizes are too large.  

      You also make a great point - most prepared food has a lot of hidden sugar and that's a factor in people taking in more calories than they should.

      "If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all." — Oscar Wilde

      by chicagobama on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 10:10:56 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I am deliberately fat. (11+ / 0-)

      I have to work to maintain it, too, and it's not easy.

      I used to be thin, perhaps morbidly so. I wasn't sickly when I was thin (I still had a great immune system), but I broke bones easily, sprained joints easily.  I was always in a cast or a splint, and we joked that someday, I'd be wearing a full exoskeleton to protect my bones.

      Then I contracted cancer. I did get morbidly thin at that point.  My lowest weight was 45 pounds - as a 40 year old adult.  I decided I would never, ever be skinny again.

      So I researched diets. How few there are to gain proper, healthy weight - sports diets are not appropriate for non-sports people, and that was virtually all I could find. Sports "bulking" diets are not healthy for people who merely want a nice protective layer of healthy fat and weight.

      So I coupled exercise with a larger, healthy diet - no fake foods, no artificial ingredients.  Real sugar, real butter, fresh foods.  

      It took a couple of years to do it right, but I'm now at a comfortable, healthy, large size.  Except for the time I slipped on the ice and broke my hand (my hands and feet never did develop a nice protective layer, they are dreadfully thin and fragile), I haven't broken any bones, had any sprains.  My blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugars, flexibility, endurance, lung capacity, and strength are all good.

      I don't want to lose weight, and I deeply resent anyone who tries to tell me how to lose weight, who thinks I should lose weight, who tells me what sort of exercise I should be doing to lose weight, who tells me I'm fat because I have the wrong diet, and their pet diet will work for me.

      I do not ever want to be thin again.

      Never.

      All knowledge is worth having. Check out OctopodiCon to support steampunk learning and fun. Also, on DKos, check out the Itzl Alert Network.

      by Noddy on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 10:18:02 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I agree on the corn subsidies part (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Noddy, suzq

      If people shopped by going around the outside aisles of the store (where most of the fruits, vegetables, meats and dairy are) and avoided the middle of the store it would be a good thing. Unfortunately many have little choice and have to count every dollar or don't make enough time so they choose the cheap and easy route of buying frozen dinners or instant meals.

      I recently discovered the glory of the store Sprouts and one thing I noticed, no frozen dinner section but they have a ton of fresh ready made meals for sale.

      Personally I shop there for the cheese but they have lots of good stuff at reasonable prices for the most part.

      Sarcasm: It beats killing people...

      by Dreggas on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 10:36:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  This is not always true anymore (0+ / 0-)

        Many stores have caught on to the "shop the edges" and have rearranged the stores so the fruits and vegetables and meats can be anywhere the store.  Some stores have arranged it so ingredients (fresh, frozen, packaged) are located "conveniently" together in "dinner stations".  The produce and meats could be scattered through the store.

        And we had a Sprouts open recently - a far better selection and prices than the "Half-Foods" store.

        All knowledge is worth having. Check out OctopodiCon to support steampunk learning and fun. Also, on DKos, check out the Itzl Alert Network.

        by Noddy on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 11:05:10 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I haven't seen stores doing that here (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Noddy, greengemini

          in my part of California anyway. Sprouts is awesome and evil (in a snarky good way) IMO given they carry mini peaches and cream scones as well as other delicious goodies. For the most part their prices seem to be as good as the local stores like Ralphs or Albertsons.

          Sarcasm: It beats killing people...

          by Dreggas on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 11:15:22 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  California..... (0+ / 0-)

            I'm so envious of the grocery stores there (and the fabric stores....)

            Many of our grocery stores are moving to that model - Homeland (which used to be Albertson's), Sav-a-Lot, Buy-4-Less, Crest.  The only other stores we have are WalMart, Super Target, and the little ethnic grocery stores.

            I haven't been in WalMart, but the SuperTarget here is doing that with some things, and may move more in that direction.

            They set up small sections in the shelves with all the ingredients for a meal, under the supposition that you use the same ingredients they do - as an example, if you wanted to make spaghetti, they'd place the garlic spread, Italian/French loaves for making garlic bread, the jarred and canned spaghetti sauces, the pasta, and then some salad fixings: lettuce, tomatoes, fresh basil. and this would likely be set up in either the bread aisle or the canned vegetable aisle.

            So, if you wanted lettuce and tomatoes and fresh basil, you'd have to go to that aisle, but they wouldn't be in the former produce aisle.

            Bananas, and sometimes berries, are in the cereal aisle.

            They claim it's a time saver, to find all the ingredients you need in one place, but it takes me longer to shop in stores that have gone to that set-up.  As soon as I see that, now I just leave and go to some other store that hasn't done that yet. Like Sprouts, or the ethnic grocery stores.

            All knowledge is worth having. Check out OctopodiCon to support steampunk learning and fun. Also, on DKos, check out the Itzl Alert Network.

            by Noddy on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 11:43:00 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Agree. (4+ / 0-)

    Dislike weight snob comments.
    Personal observations have shown be sub 25 bmi's are too often
    1. smokers
    2. eating disordered
    3. substance abusers
    4. people who can eat a whole lot w/o excercising that I have to assume are extreme fidgeters or have a body that can not metabolise some foods. (these people were roommates etc that I saw in close quarters)
    5. extreme excercisers, 3 plus hours/day of strenuous excercise

    •  Maybe (2+ / 0-)

      I recently crossed that threshold (I'm 5'10" 170lb BMI 24.5, down from 225lb BMI 32.)  It was mostly a combination of drinking less beer and ice skating a couple times a week.

      Pushing 10 years since a cigarette, quitting may have been part of what pushed the weight up to begin with.

      Those who support banning cocaine are no better than those who support banning cheeseburgers

      by EthrDemon on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 10:31:10 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yeah ... (4+ / 0-)

        as a BMI around 22-23 who doesn't have any of the 5 items the above comment listed (and who have a lot of friends who are the same) I am doubtful. I'm sure there are some who fall into those categories but there are plenty who don't. (I'm in my 40s so don't still have the teen metabolism either.)

        Some of the comments in this diary (like the one above claiming a 6'4" person is supposed to be under 170) indicate that some people might want to take another look at the BMI table. The range for <25 BMI for someone that height is 35 lbs higher than that comment would suggest.

    •  Ann Coulter is thin and (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dreggas, Radiowalla, greengemini, kareylou

      subsists on a diet of Chardonnay and cigarettes.

      Source: David Brock.

      What is truth? -- Pontius Pilate

      by commonmass on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 11:01:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Mine's around 22... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Egg, Kevskos, ScienceMom

      and I've never been a smoker, I don't have an eating disorder, I'm not a substance abuser, my metabolic rate is nothing special, and I'm not an extreme exerciser.

      The fact is, I love everything about food, and I cook and bake often as a hobby.

      A few things I do:

      1. I fast for a 24-hour period once a week. It's not as hard as it first appears, especially considering you're sleeping for nearly a third of it. I find that doing so clears my mind and perhaps has some long-term health benefits (at least in lab rats).

      2. I drink nothing but water, with one exception: my end-of-the-day beer.

      3. I do my best to eat right, but I have a serious chocolate addiction. It's my kryptonite.

      Now, having said all that, I am fully convinced there's more to a person's weight than science has figured out yet.

      When I see someone as large as Chris Christie, I can't help but assume there are other things involved besides his food intake. He's the governor of a fairly large state, right? So, I imagine that his job is time-consuming and at times overwhelming.

      For him to not only get that big but maintain that weight level, there's something going on that goes beyond his eating habits.

      For me to gain that much weight and then maintain it, I'd have to spend 14 hours a day eating.

      Someday, hopefully soon, science will provide better answers on the subject of weight gain.

      How about I believe in the unlucky ones?

      by BenderRodriguez on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 01:22:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Dislike (0+ / 0-)

      weight snob comments and then post four.

       

    •  26.2 here and falling. (0+ / 0-)

      None of the above, just stopped eating crap except for rare special occasions (and not much then), reduced portion sizes, and started getting lots of exercise.  No magic to it.   Who knows, maybe my body will eventually fight it or whatever's supposed to happen, but the lifestyle that got me to 28.5 or whatever it was is not coming back.

  •  Two "fat" men: (6+ / 0-)

    Sadly, we're just in our 40's.

    What is truth? -- Pontius Pilate

    by commonmass on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 10:58:21 AM PST

  •  Umm... BMI of 19.4, which they say is normal (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ScienceMom

    and healthy...

    So, if I'm so normal, why the hell doesn't anybody stock pants in my size?

  •  Now, I am fat. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dreggas, suzq, Noddy, Radiowalla, greengemini

    As in, morbidly obese plus.  As in, down to 395 lbs. (5'8"), from a high a couple of years ago of 420.  My ultimate goal is to be back down to around 250.  Diet and exercise, especially the latter, are the only things that will help in my case.  And, yeah, it's my fault, for having jobs where I sat at a desk all day, and let them run me intro the ground, and developed the bad eating habits I have.

    My back and legs, especially my hips, hurt most days.  I can't walk for any distance without being completely exhausted; if a store doesn't have mobility scooters, I don't shop there, because who needs to be in pain?  Tasks that once would've taken me a moment -- a moment -- can now take me an hour, and that's if I don't just say fuggit I'll do it later.

    Yet I am lucky: I know my problems, and I can deal with them.  I know a few too many people who weigh a hell of a lot, who did everything right and were betrayed by their biology anyway.

    Fortunately, I have friends who support me, a fantastic and gorgeous lady who loves me, and a lot to contribute that has nothing to do with my weight.  I have doctors who help me out, test me for problems now and then, and keep me honest with myself.

    It's our duty, whenever possible, to support other people who are oversized, for whatever reason, and keep them honest with themselves.

    -----
    Tom Smith Online
    I want a leader who shoots for the moon. The last time we had one, we got to the moon.

    by filkertom on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 11:09:31 AM PST

  •  I want go go to the gym and for a swim (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dreggas, True North, Noddy

    But I don't.  Why?  Because I'm FAT.  And I can't stand to hear all the little snickery comments.  They are said just quiet enough that I'm not supposed to hear, but just loud enough so that I will hear.  

    So, for the benefit of all those little snickery skinny jerks, I stay away from the gym.  And I gave up my beloved swimming.  Actually, it was so i wont get arrested for punching one of them!

    If you want to know the real answer: Just ask a Mom.

    by tacklelady on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 12:02:27 PM PST

    •  Exercise (0+ / 0-)

      Isn't that important for weight loss anyways (although it is important for other reasons)

    •  Have you been to a community gym lately? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      greengemini, NancyK

      The YMCA?   I was just at the County pool last week and I can assure you, there were very few snickery, skinny, anybodies over the age of 30.  

      Find the cheapest gym with a pool you can find.  Go there, where all the regular people are.

      •  That's decent advice, (0+ / 0-)

        but what if there are no longer any gyms with pools in her area?

        I ask because the last gym that had a pool here was bought out by some other fitness company, and they closed the last indoor pool in the area. She may not have the option to go to a gym with a pool anymore.

        All knowledge is worth having. Check out OctopodiCon to support steampunk learning and fun. Also, on DKos, check out the Itzl Alert Network.

        by Noddy on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 02:10:57 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  How About Walking? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      greengemini

      All the "snickery skinny jerks" don't own the sidewalks or the hills for a gentle hike or the beach.  Walk thru a public park.  Walk around your block about 10:00 in the morning when most people are either at school or @ work.  It's a peaceful, great way to start the day.

      When the weather's bad & I can't make it to the gym....I walk up & down the stairs inside & around my house for 30 minutes.  Don't let them take swimming away from you.  

      I lost 20 lbs recently just by cutting back on meat & processed foods.  The gut was the first thing to go away....Thank God!

  •  ISTR reading somewhere (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dreggas, True North, greengemini

    that according to current guidelines, George Clooney, Will Smith, and Brad Pitt are all "morbidly obese".

    Hige sceal þe heardra, heorte þe cenre, mod sceal þe mare, þe ure mægen lytlað

    by milkbone on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 12:11:34 PM PST

  •  According to the BMI I am normal (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dreggas

    However my bones are visible and I look very thin.  My doctor says my normal BMI should be 26.   I am about 20.  We need to go back to the MetLife tables.  

    •  I should have said I wear a size 2 at 5'5" (0+ / 0-)
      •  I wouldn't even trust the MetLife tables (0+ / 0-)

        because they were made up by insurance agents and were not medically verified (and then when they finally were, their "recommended" weights were apparently too low).

        There is no substitute - none - for knowing what is right for you. (Sounds like you incline more toward mesomorph and/or endomorph than ectomorph - there's a lot of us, and we have to work twice as hard, or more, at figuring things out, since nothing is geared to us.)

        If it's
        Not your body,
        Then it's
        Not your choice
        And it's
        None of your damn business!

        by TheOtherMaven on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 01:57:32 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Research on fat, thin, fit, unfit (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Egg, Kevskos, Dreggas, greengemini, NancyK

    Prof. Glen Gaesser is an exercise physiologist at the University of Virginia who has been doing research on exercise, diet, health, fitness and weight for years.

    His research participants have included people of various ages, races, weights, degrees of fitness, health conditions, etc.

    A few of his points, in a nutshell:

    People who are thin can be fit or unfit.

    People who are fat can be fit or unfit.

    Fit fat people are healthier than unfit thin people.

    What he found is that research participants who went on an exercise program alone started to show improvement in health within days: better numbers for blood pressure, cholesterol, etc. Over the course of the weeks or months of the project, he saw many people greatly improve their health, whether they lost weight or not.

    The exercise program he suggests is not something like running marathons or working out in a gym for hours and hours every week.

    Yes, he suggests a healthy diet, including advice to keep dietary fat to a lower level than the standard American diet. He doesn't have his own trademarked regimen for people to follow.

    And he questions the use of BMI for the same reasons that have been mentioned in this diary already.

    His first book for the general public was Big Fat Lies. It is out in paperback now.

    •  I don't doubt any of that (0+ / 0-)

      It fits my personal prejudices quite nicely at any rate.  Anecdotally, the difference in my own feeling of physical and mental well-being when I have been exercising versus when I haven't for a long time is almost night and day -- and it only takes a few days of starting up exercise again to feel that "wellness" coming back.  (More anecdata: my mother, who was a homecare physical therapist for a long time, always swore that she could tell on sight who was doing their exercise and who wasn't -- they just looked so much more healthy.)  

      However, it is important to note that statistically speaking, if you are of moderate weight you are much more likely to be fit than if you are fat.  Much of the difference may have to do with the numerous barriers that being overweight presents to getting enough exercise; and of course lack of fitness may have contributed to being overweight in the first place.

      •  Statistics (0+ / 0-)

        I read the book, Big Fat Lies, quite a while ago. Going on memory, though, Prof. Gaesser wasn't doing his research on the question of the distribution of fitness over the entire bell curve of individual weight.

        His interest has been in the health of humans: the thin ones who range from very fit to very unfit, and the fatter ones who range from very fit to very unfit.

        He's done a lot of research over the years, so I can't possibly do justice in a couple of comments to his interests and the diversity of projects he's done.

        Basically, though, he wanted to study the effect of exercise on the health of a whole range of people, all sizes, all levels of fitness.

        At the time that he was working on his first studies of what effect exercise has on health, the conventional wisdom was that people who were heavy and had health issues had only one possible remedy: dieting to lose weight. Otherwise, forget it, no hope for you if you failed to become thin. The conventional wisdom was also that a person who is thin is therefore fit and a person who is fat is unfit. (Not so.)

        It was a conventional wisdom that suited the huge diet industry, of course.

        But there were then, and are now, problems with dieting. For one thing, it might take quite a while for someone to reach the target weight, and typically they weren't getting much healthier during that time. Secondly, diets don't work.

        His study was one that offered a lot of hope to people who wanted to be healthier.

        His finding was that someone who started to exercise regularly would start to get healthier whether they lost weight or not. Some participants started to show improvement within days. Throughout the months of the study, he was tracking their exercise and all of the usual numbers pertaining to health--not just weight, but also blood pressure, cholesterol, and so on.

        The ones who showed the fastest improvement were those who went from being sedentary to exercising (even moderately), but everybody benefited from the exercise.

        This was research that brought a lot of hope to people who wanted to be healthier but had not had success with diets. It was possible to start, right now, where you were right at this moment, and to start seeing improvements in your health within a couple weeks.

        And that could be done without signing a contract with some company in the diet industry.

  •  I inherited all the wrong genes. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Dreggas, greengemini

    My mother admitted to 250 lbs.  She was 5'3".  She never had high blood pressure, high cholesterol , diabetes or any other health problem except hypothyroidism (and no, she didn't blame her weight on that).  She could hike up any mountain and swam like a seal.  She lived to 97.

    My father was 5'5" and never over 130 lbs.  He hiked, kayaked, rode horses and swam all his life.  He had high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes and eventually, congestive heart failure.   He died at 72.

    I have always been an athlete.  I have never been overweight; at times I was too thin (90 lbs at 5'4").  I am a vegetarian and do not smoke.  I have had high blood pressure since I was a teenager and developed cholesterol problems after my thyroid stopped working and my lipids went insane.  Now I have an irregular heart beat.  So far, my blood sugar is ok but inching up.

    Genes - they can be the death of you.

    "May the forces of evil become confused on the way to your house." - George Carlin

    by Most Awesome Nana on Fri Feb 01, 2013 at 02:34:07 PM PST

  •  Thanks for the diary! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Radiowalla, Dreggas, greengemini

    I'm also fat (5'2", 325 lb is fat).  I didn't used to be - but I've always been treated as though I weighed 1000 pounds!

    I was a teenager in the 1970's - when the ideal female figure was a 10-year old boy with boobs.  My measurements were 38-24-40, and I weighed 140 pounds.  I was treated as though I was a beachball with feet!

    The only time I go to the doctor now is when I have an acute condition (i.e, bronchitis, etc.).  Why?  Because when I was 30 years old, and weighed 225, the doctor suggested that I have bariatric surgery!  Oh yeah, I definitely want to screw up my digestive tract over 60-70 pounds.

    Then, at the glorious age of 50, I entered menopause, and put on 20 pounds in less than 90 days, all in my gut.  Did I suddenly start living on a Pepsi and Twinkie diet?  Stop moving altogether?  Nope.  But I did stop menstruating.  How is diet and exercise going to help that?  I now look like all the women in my mother's family, who did exactly the same thing at roughly the same age.

    And before anybody gets on me about MY diet - I probably eat healthier than most people.  I drink predominantly water.  I have 8 oz of skim milk once a day, and occasionally orange juice (and I buy the stuff that's strictly concentrate and water - no HFC's!). I do not drink any carbonated beverage, coffee or tea.  I eat fresh fruits and vegetables preferentially (and usually raw).  My preferred cooking styles are roasting, steaming, and broiling.  Yes, I eat meat, but I specifically purchase the 3-4 ounce cuts, and I eat chicken and fish more often than beef or pork.  I don't drink alcohol (never developed the taste for it) and  have never smoked.  And my cholesterol, blood sugar, thyroid, etc., are all NORMAL.

    Yes, I should exercise more - but childhood programming is the hardest to get past, and I'm still working on it.  As a child, I was what used to be referred to as "sickly."  I could be healthy in the morning, and deathly sick by evening.  My parents were POOR, and the doctor (even in the 1960's) was expensive.  So I was rewarded when I was quiet (i.e., reading, coloring, sitting still on the couch watching TV, etc.), and punished when I ran about like little kids do because it very often triggered an attack.  I learned to hate exercise for its own sake (BOOOOOOOORING!).  But I do walk around my neighborhood, don't try to find the nearest parking space, take stairs when I can.  

    Just because I'm fat doesn't make me lazy, slovenly, ugly, stupid, weak-willed, or immoral.  Although certain people's attitude towards me being fat does make me homicidal. :)

  •  I argued my way through med school- (0+ / 0-)

    people are very invested in conventional ideas around weight and weight loss. I think it's because it allows thin people to feel superior, often unconsciously, working in the same way as racism and other "isms." People find just enough wiggle room in the idea that weight is controllable (which it may be to greater or lesser degree) to allow them to escape seeing themselves as prejudiced.
    There is some good science being done around obesity but much is poisoned by poor assumptions.
    Thanks for writing this. There is a lot to be said on bad science and fat prejudice; I've considered writing diaries and never followed through. There's a great need for public education in this area, so again, much appreciation :-)

    Stay fired up: now is the time to focus on downticket change! #Forward

    by emidesu on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 03:24:27 PM PST

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