I understand that not all of you have had the struggle some of us had, so I am divulging a bit of personal info in hopes you can understand better.
I admit it -- I am one of those "fat" women who (according to some people) "eats too much" and (supposedly) "isn't active". One thing has been constant in my life: no matter what I weighed, there's always been someone who said I was fat.
I don't seem to eat as much as my thinner friends, and I don't eat meat, rarely drink, & never do fast-food. And I rarely sit still. I used to blame myself for my weight, believing somehow I was a bad person by having this body type. Over the years I came to realize (through countless diets, doctors, and gym memberships), this is just how I am. I am not the lazy or gluttonous pig that fat people are made out to be. I am not hiding "behind my fat", mentally ill, or a victim of abuse. There is no secret subconscious meaning. And if you want to blame me for what my scale says, you may as well try to blame me for what color my eyes are. Neither is likely to change anytime soon.
My lowest adult weight was back as a teenager in college. I had so little padding it hurt to lay on a hard surface, I was that bony. However, I still did not fit the government weight chart. With a larger 5'10" frame, I was always a plus size. I remember being ashamed that I had to shop at the fat-people stores, and I'd sneak in during off hours. But I was as active as anyone: I had no car on campus, so I was walking constantly plus Scuba class & swim workouts, visits to the gym, and generally keeping busy. Looking back, I was not overweight, but I was convinced I was because that's what the weight charts and the fashion industry said. Our culture doesn't even let normal weight people relax -- the message is "thinner, thinner!"
Over the years, I used to believe people who said "just eat less". I was painfully (ravenously!) hungry quite a bit. It didn't help the weight but it did make me tired and irritable, so I may not be fun to hang around. I blamed myself that I couldn't fit into the hottest little fashions. I've exercised to the point of hurting myself (shin splints, back strain, repetitive stress injuries). I did diets. Supplements. Doctors & specialists. You name it, I've done it, in the name of changing my body to look the way others think it should look. And even with hours
of exercise a day, I gained weight (muscle) but I didn't lose an inch off my waist.
The reality is that I will never be a size zero. I will never be a skinny little Britney Spears. All I want is for people to stop telling women like myself to look more like celebrities or models.
In the quest to change to meet society's ideal, I've spent my whole life talking to more experts and trying more things than you can possibly imagine. Having someone who doesn't know me tell me to "just eat less" falls somewhere between unhelpful and insulting.
I'm now pretty much ok with my body shape. If someone else isn't ok with me, I now realize it's their problem not mine. But it does get old hearing gems of wisdom such as "watch portion size" or "try taking the stairs". I bite my tongue and resist the urge to say "gee I had not thought of that".
But I nod politely and thank them, because I know they cannot possibly understand what it's like.
moggy wrote:Vets have a similar problem trying to get owners to realise that there is no escape from the fact that too much food, and not enough exercise, causes their animals to be fat.
My cats must not have gotten that information, because I have thin ones and heavy ones, even know they all have the same access to food (free choice). Two cats I have at the moment are rather chubby, even when kept away from the wet food. The chubby ones don't live at the food dish. The most active is my youngest who is coincidentally one of big ones. How do we explain it?
My dogs also get free choice food, and my vet is happy with their consistently good weight. Why is it some can eat the same food as others and not gain?
jimx wrote: that doesn't change the scientific fact that consuming more calories than you expend is going to make you put on weight.
I respectfully disagree that's how the formula works. Base metabolic rate can vary, even in people who are active. I'm not a doctor but I can think of easily half a dozen hormones which control how calories are digested/stored/utilized, and if any one of those hormones is ignored or not produced enough, you can have problems. Simple efficiency of the adipose [fat] tissue in absorbing extra nutrients makes a difference. Number of adipose cells and type is correlated with how likely a person is to hold onto their calories. Previous eating style (eg starvation diets) not only control how many calories you store but increase your hunger.
Take the example of someone who is put on a calorie restricted diet. Commonly what happens is they start to lose a few pounds, but their body adjusts to a lower rate and weight loss diminishes. Restrict calories too much and your body goes into a starvation mode, holding on to every calorie you take in. It's not as simple as "eat less".
Fallen_Horse wrote:Every disorder/syndrome you mentioned applies to < 1% of overweight people. I hate to tell you, but it IS calories in vs. calories out. People may differ in their genes, but it just doesn't account for THAT much of a discrepancy....
Can you point me to how you came up with the <1% figure?
The research I've read shows they've just started discovering the actual genes which effect weight loss/metabolism. We have no way of knowing yet what % of the population is affected.
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m ... _72789126/
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 ... 210425.htm
If we don't 100% understand how the body regulates metabolism and hunger, how can we judge other people's weight as a sign of failure?
Overall: As a culture, we lose sight of the fact that having excess body fat is not a new issue which only appeared 50 or 100 years ago. If people get access to the amount of food that they're hungry for, some will eat themselves to a higher weight, plain and simple. Look at the standard of beauty in renaissance paintings. If anything, historically a little body fat was embraced and loved. It's only been recently we've become so obsessed with runway models and minimum body fat numbers.
Here is a fun web page: estimates of celebrity BMI:
http://diet.health.com/2009/01/08/surpr ... rity-bmis/
Arnold Schwarzenegger and Tony Romo would be considered "obese" by our BMI standards. Angelina Jolie is estimated to be underweight, even know the critics seem to think she's hot.
It's so bad that in Europe there is talk of finally banning extremely underweight models. The fashion industry won't self-regulate. Skeleton look is in. I personally had a local a friend who died from complications of a lifetime of anorexia/bulimia; she was all of about 40, dying in her sleep last winter. She was a wonderful person doing amazing scientific work for wildlife preservation, and her death affected many many people.
Glamour magazine's recently chose to print a photo of a woman who looked like a real
woman. Sadly people still insisted on calling her "fat" and "plus sized", but it was a step in the right direction:
http://www.glamour.com/sex-love-life/20 ... rentPage=1
Which stirred up a lot of controversy:
http://www.politicsdaily.com/2009/08/21 ... ve-curves/
Why is it so hard for us to accept ourselves the way we are? As the Glamour interview said:
"“When you focus on the body parts you love, your ‘flaws’ fade away.” "