“Body positivity”: the ups and downs

This article from HuffPost (yes, shoot me now!) highlights the tenets of the “body positivity”  movement (also called “fat acceptance” movement); click on screenshot to read it:

It highlights the cover of the new Self magazine, a magazine traditionally devoted to women’s fitness:

This week, Self magazine unveiled its first digital cover, featuring a surprising photo choice: plus-size model Tess Holliday, posing in diaphanous fuchsia, her bare back and one of her upper arms forming the center of the image.

And it adds this (my emphasis):

But now, here we are: Tess Holliday is nearly topless on the cover of Self, her voluptuous back rolls unaltered and in full view. And as cynical as I have become on the subject of fat acceptance as a mainstream topic, I looked at this and thought, in spite of myself ― finally, someone is trying to do this right.

From Holliday’s declaration that she has given up trying “prove” her worthiness by asserting that she is one of the “good, healthy” fat people (“By telling people that you see a doctor, and telling people that you’re healthy, it’s perpetuating the abuse against bigger bodies and the mindset that we owe it to people to be healthy. The reality is I don’t owe you shit and I don’t have to prove that I’m healthy or not, because it is nobody’s business”), to the methodical takedown of what we actually understand (and don’t understand) about the connections between fat and illness, to personal essays from Jes Baker, Sonya Renee Taylor and others, this issue ― guest edited by Ijeoma Oluo ― has been handled remarkably correctly, especially for a magazine that has been responsible for decades of toxic messaging to women about weight and health.

Now I think we can agree about these issues re body positivity:

1.) The media, or at least the world of fashion, often presents unattainable or even unhealthy underweight role models for women. The fashion industry, especially, sometimes presents way-too-thin women as vehicles for high fashion clothing—women who are on the verge of anorexia (many models smoke to keep weight off, or eat almost nothing). This is, however, improving as more average-sized women are used as models.

2.) It is simply wrong to shame people for being overweight, or to hector them about being unhealthy. Most of that shaming is done to women, who are expected to conform to traditional standards of bodily conformation—standards that of course have changed over time and from place to place. From talking to overweight people, I’ve learned that all of them know they’re overweight, so nothing is gained by telling them that.

3.) Although, as I recall, statistics show that overweight people aren’t hired as often as slimmer people with the same qualifications, that shouldn’t be happening. As I pondered this, I first thought, “Well, maybe there’s some point to that, because obesity is correlated with health problems and medical leaves—things that no company wants. After all, some companies won’t hire smokers, and prohibit employees from smoking off the job.”  But the more I think about it, the more I think companies simply have to absorb the costs of that healthcare. After all, many people have debilitating pre-existing conditions that aren’t as visible as obesity and aren’t asked about on job interviews. So I don’t think there should be any job discrimination based on weight.

In fact, the only downside of the “body positivity” movement—and this is a serious downside, is this: It sometimes tries to convince people that being overweight is not unhealthy. And in that sense, holding up dangerously overweight people as role models is itself dangerous. This article implies that in the bolded bit above, but I’ve seen it stated far more explicitly in other places. When you present people who are likely to be unhealthy as role models, and don’t mention the downside of why you’re presenting them, then I think you’re misleading those who may not yet be obese, but could be convinced that it’s okay. And the article gets close to this view in a later statement:

Self’s Weight Issue steps outside that script in a dramatic way. It conceives of a world in which fat bodies are valid as they are, regardless of how healthy they may or may not be, and takes a stand against widespread stereotypes about fat and health.

But that’s as much as it says about obesity and health. I don’t know what a “valid” body is, but I suppose it’s one that shouldn’t be shamed or hectored. And I agree with that. But the “stereotypes” about fat and health are not just stereotypes, they’re real: being way overweight is a danger to your health.

Maybe I don’t need to write this, as most people realize the health dangers of being overweight, which are many (heart conditions, joint damage, diabetes, and so on). But imagine a parallel movement: a “Smokers Positivity Movement” that tries to dispel negative views about heavy smokers—view that are, I think, just as pervasive as negative views of obesity. You might say, “Well, smokers have a choice but obese people do not,” but that’s wrong. Smokers often find it just as hard to quit smoking as obese people do to lose weight. Yet to write about such a smokers’ movement without mentioning the health costs (after all, smoking is a pleasure, and I have an odd cigarette every few months), would bring down wrath upon you.

When my mother died, and I was so distraught that I bought a pack of cigarettes some years ago, a man in line chided me saying, “Don’t you know those could give you cancer?”, without even knowing that I don’t smoke–except rarely, sparsely, and only in times of great stress. Yet somehow it is far more socially acceptable to come down on people for smoking than for being dangerously overweight. The health costs to society of obesity are just as real as the health costs of people smoking, so there’s no substantial ground for treating people differently there, either. The only difference is that it’s okay to ban smoking in public places because there are secondary health costs to nearby nonsmokers.

What to do about this? Stop shaming overweight people, don’t treat them unequally compared to everyone else, don’t inform them they’re endangering their health—and don’t do that to smokers, either. But I would add that if you are going to present people who are dangerously overweight as role models, it’s incumbent on you to mention the health dangers. It’s no different from pointing out in a “Smoking is cool” or “Smokers’ Positivity” campaign that there are health dangers to inhaling tobacco smoke. .


  1. Diana MacPherson
    Posted July 1, 2018 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    As someone who was shamed all her life for being too pale (I just told the story this week of when in my late 20s and outside at my work during a fire drill, a male co-worker came up to me and scraped his shoes from my knee to my ankle because he wanted to scrape off my fake tan), I am bitter about shaming in general. I controlled my bitterness by being anorexic for most of my youth because if I was going to be seen as ugly for being pale, damn straight I was going to have a good body and a good body was and is an undernourished one. A person on a cancer support group got a ton of compliments when she lost weight due to cancer. I told her to respond to people, “This is what malnutrition looks like” but we live in a society that really values the look of malnutrition in a society that provides us access to crazy amounts of calories.

    • dabertini
      Posted July 1, 2018 at 11:13 am | Permalink

      Yes, but being pale is healthy since you are not exposing yourself to the sun. I don’t get these people who body shame. They are just creating another problem as you have pointed out. There is a societal advantage to helping the obese and those who have difficulty giving up smoking. Belittling or shaming is counterproductive and downright cruel.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted July 1, 2018 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

        It’s questionable about being healthy and pale but in my case i was born that way and for me it’s healthy because I wi just burn and get cancer otherwise. To stop the remarks, I used to wear fake tan. Now I don’t. I got a remark last year ago from a stranger after receiving none for ages. He felt the need to point out I was very pale and it was sunny and then go on about my skin colour all while waiting for the shuttle bus at work. I tried to get away from him but he followed me to the same seating area on the bus. Happily I sat near someone I knew and he decided to remark on his tattoo which annoyed him too. But better him than me. Lol.

        • Heather Hastie
          Posted July 1, 2018 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

          Pale-shaming happened here when I was young, but stopped years ago. NZ has the highest skin cancer rates in the world and there is s high awareness of the issues. People with fair skin who stay fair by using lots of sun block or covering up are universally seen as sensible.

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted July 1, 2018 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

            I got the worst burn on my nose in my life in NZ and I was wearing sunblock. I promptly bought a floppy hat. I couple years later a Maori friend got skin cancer. So if a dark skinned person can get it i would get it and also probably be microwave cooked (but with UV rays).

            So far no pale remarks this summer but it’s only started to get hot enough for me to show my legs and arms regularly. You’d think they’d lay off now that I’m middle aged.

            • Heather Hastie
              Posted July 1, 2018 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

              The ozone hole is much bigger down here in summer than the one in northern hemisphere summer. Weather patterns mean all the damage done by the northern hemisphere drifts down here and collects. So there’s no ozone protection and you’re getting radiation direct from the sun. Every NZ school kid knows that. A floppy hat is even part of school uniforms for protection, and kids wear swimsuits that look like light wet-suits .

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted July 1, 2018 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

                Yes, I don’t think there is an ozone hole in the northern hemisphere, so we up here get complete ozone protection. I think it’s the southern hemisphere that gets that exclusive privilege of having a hole in the ozone. Also, the earth is closer the sun in your summer but I doubt that makes a difference….I just like adding it.

          • phil
            Posted July 2, 2018 at 2:39 am | Permalink

            Bloody kiwis stealing Australia’s best! AUSTRALIA has the highest skin cancer rates in the world. So we’re often told.

            There must be a lot of goths who think pale skin is fashion nirvana. Well that’s fashion for you. Sorry it didn’t work for you Diana.

            • Heather Hastie
              Posted July 2, 2018 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

              It’s possible you guys have taken over from us. We’re closer to the hole in the ozone layer and so have been making a point of educating about it for a long time now, and longer than Australia. Assuming our efforts are making a difference, it’s likely you guys are now worse than us.

    • Posted July 1, 2018 at 11:39 am | Permalink

      What happened to you is monstrous and I am not even sure how to respond to you except to say that I am sorry you had to endure such cruelty.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted July 1, 2018 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

        Thank you. That work place was horrid. I should write a book about it.

      • Posted July 12, 2018 at 7:08 am | Permalink

        + 1

  2. Mikeyc
    Posted July 1, 2018 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    I think you got it covered – don’t shame or discriminate against fat people but don’t pretend their weight doesn’t put them greater risk to their health. Left unsaid is that no one should feel bad about not being attracted to fat people either. I think some fat apologists want them to though.

    • harrync
      Posted July 1, 2018 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

      Mikeyc – You said pretty much what I would have said.

      • Fat Bastard
        Posted July 2, 2018 at 5:55 am | Permalink

        Ditto. I’d only add that (unfortunately) like xenophobia and a tendency towards racism, we come into the world loaded with a negative bias towards fat people. This has been studied in toddlers, so let’s not kid ourselves about our disposition towards the fat.

  3. Posted July 1, 2018 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    The mere fact that there’s a magazine called Self is disturbing to me.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted July 1, 2018 at 11:06 am | Permalink

      A magazine called “Other” would probably be worse in this political climate! 😺

  4. Posted July 1, 2018 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    Great points! I never liked that underweight models have been used since that isn’t the size of the average person. They often are anorexic or bulimic and couldn’t possibly be healthy if they continue that path. Just as very overweight people will develop health issues in the long term…it is a strain on the heart to be very overweight.

    • mikeyc
      Posted July 1, 2018 at 11:32 am | Permalink

      Skinny models are used because they sell clothes.

      Some fat advocates are focused too narrowly. Demonizing the ad agencies is easy – low hanging fruit an all. But they are just the pointy end of the cultural stick. They use skinny people as models because that’s what society wants – it works. It sells things.

      Fat advocates best chances are at the other end of that stick – changing social views of weight. Popular body images change a lot, (look at fashion images form the turn of the 20th century, for example) so it may be easier than one might suppose to swing our culture around to a more realistic sales force.

    • Gabrielle
      Posted July 1, 2018 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

      Tall thin models are used because photos can make individuals look heavier than they really are. Using thin models mitigates some of this visual effect. And after decades of employing tall thin models in magazines and on runways, this look is what is commonly thought of as ‘fashionable’ and ‘best’. It’s also a near impossible ideal to achieve for the average woman.
      I have noticed that fashion magazines, especially Vogue (the ultimate arbiter of what is fashionable NOW) has been using models who are not perfect blond beauties, but who are somewhat unconventionally attractive.

      • Carey
        Posted July 1, 2018 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

        Good point. I think it was Kitty Carlisle who said cameras add ten pounds to your weight. That’s why you should never eat cameras.

      • darrelle
        Posted July 2, 2018 at 10:15 am | Permalink

        There is that, but another major reason that tall thin models are favored in the fashion world is that they make the designer’s clothes look good. Designer’s design their clothes like a 3-D sculpture and a thin model is like a standard dress form that minimizes any distortion of the idealized shape the designer was trying to achieve. Designing for real bodies is more difficult and introduces many more variables.

        My wife earned a degree from FIDM in LA and learning something of what making fine clothing entails by watching her design clothes from scratch was fascinating. Designing well fitting clothes is much more technically complex than most might realize, and then of course there is the craftsmanship / artistic side of it as well.

  5. eric
    Posted July 1, 2018 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    2.) It is simply wrong to shame people for being overweight, or to hector them about being unhealthy.

    I think that somewhat depends on the situation. I’m fine with my close family hectoring me on my bad habits, including my weight. But I think Tess is right when we’re talking about meeting a stranger or dealing with co-workers or people you don’t have a close relationship with; their health is none of your damn business.

    I think the parallel to smoking is a good one; I would never think to ‘lecture’ a smoking co-worker on the badness of smoking. But if my mom started smoking again, I’d certainly tell her my opinion on that. And the same thing with an unhealthy weight.

    • Posted July 1, 2018 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

      I am an ex-smoker and people both friends and family as well as strangers would not shut the hell up about how awful smoking is or making cough cough sounds when walking 20 yards by. This to go along with all the government approved shaming such as ads that show extremely rare side effects from smoking (lung cancer in a twenty-something-year-old) or allow companies to straight up not hire me.

      I put on a few pounds and no one says anything negative. I have heard people that are clearly morbidly obese (100 plus pounds overweight) that don’t even know they are overweight.

  6. Randall Schenck
    Posted July 1, 2018 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    Why is it that humans can only seem to go from one extreme to the other. Do they put the enormous on the cover of a magazine to shock people and make their point, or are they just trying to sell magazines? All I can think to say to anyone of any size is put some clothes on. And I would probably also be thinking, that tattoo sure does not make you look any smarter.

    • phil
      Posted July 2, 2018 at 2:50 am | Permalink

      “Why is it that humans can only seem to go from one extreme to the other[?]”

      I think because it simplifies complex situations, makes the thinking easier, though possibly false. An analogous occurrence is when people think that being an atheist means you believe there is no god, or that a cold snap means climate change is bunk.

      I think people need to think more in terms of peak effects or optimum quantities, i.e. some is good does not imply more is better.

  7. GBJames
    Posted July 1, 2018 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    A Miss Piggy tattoo?

    • Posted July 2, 2018 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

      Oh, thanks a lot GB – you ‘forced’ me to have a second look to find Miss Piggy, and as they say, some things cannot be unseen!

  8. Ken Kukec
    Posted July 1, 2018 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    “Smoking is cool”

    Until fairly recently, movies and tv shows always portrayed smoking as way cool.

    Hell, I remember going to the theater when I was 12 to see Help, and watching Ringo let that butt hang out of his mouth and burn down ashes while playing “You’re Gonna Lose That Girl.” It was like the coolest thing ever. Couldn’t wait to get my first set of drums and pack of ciggies.

  9. Posted July 1, 2018 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    Oh and the difference with smoking is that smoking is a choice, being obese is not.

    I can guarantee you that every single overweight person who ever went to a Dr for help was told to “eat less and move more” which is starvation and only makes your body more metabolically deranged.

    • mikeyc
      Posted July 1, 2018 at 11:49 am | Permalink

      Hmmm. Not sure I agree with you there, doragonmama. There are some people with serious metabolic issues which make obesity likely and there is no doubt that there is a large variance in the limits to caloric use and storage (some folks can eat a lot and not gain any weight while others seem to only look at a cookie and their hips get bigger). But in the end, with some notable disease exceptions, it really does come down to calories in, calories out.

      There is one aspect of the obesity epidemic where one could get traction on the “lack of choice” argument – childhood eating habits. We develop metabolic set points by the time we are are in our teens, which is why it can be so difficult to loose weight by dieting alone (a a simplification – if one has grown up eating a high calorie diet when, as an adult when you start a diet your body “thinks” your’e going through a period of starvation and so enters a biochemical storage/rationing state that undermines the weight loss effort). Further, a childhood of poor eating habits establishes patterns in our diets which are very hard to overcome.

      This is actually why the obesity epidemic will be so hard to overcome – we have generations with many people who grew up eating high calorie diets and they will struggle with their weight for most of their lives.

      • Marta
        Posted July 1, 2018 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

        No, it’s really not calories in, calories out.

        Food and nutrition science is a scientific backwater, and what we think we know about how people get fat is still pretty primitive.

        For years, we’ve had it pounded in our heads that a calorie is a calorie, or we should be eating low fat foods, etc. or drinking 8 glasses of water per day. We all know this stuff, and it’s all wrong.

        People are fat for a lot of complicated reasons, not least because they’re genetically inclined to be obese, or their metabolisms are screwy, or their thyroids are busted, or they live in a food desert but fast food is abundant and cheap. Just for starts.

        Obesity is a by product of a lot of co-factors, and the only thing that’s clear about it is that people aren’t obese as a choice.

        • Posted July 1, 2018 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

          Its amazing that all of these different factors only became an issue in the last 30-40 years. And that it’s just a total coincidence that the rise in obesity matches the rise in calorie consumption.

          • Marta
            Posted July 1, 2018 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

            Well, there’s your problem, isn’t it?

            There’s no comparison to food 30 or 40 years ago, is there?

            Forty years ago, our food wasn’t mostly corn syrup and coconut or palm oil. I mean, it was still possible to buy a soft drink that was made with sugar rather than corn syrup. (Sure, 12 teaspoons of sugar.)

            Our food now is not like food then, nor are our food patterns the same.

            • Posted July 1, 2018 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

              By ‘sugar’, you mean sucrose?

              Interestingly, more complex saccharides require more energy to break down.

              The problem with corn syrup is: it’s an inexpensive way to add sugar to commercial food products. And, as we all crave sugar, sugary products sell. So sugar ends up in all sorts of foods where we don’t expect them. We think we’re avoiding unhealthy foods, but we aren’t.

            • Posted July 12, 2018 at 7:12 am | Permalink

              I think that today’s carbohydrates and fats are as calorie-rich as those 40 years ago. But today people apparently eat more and move less.

        • Mikeyc
          Posted July 1, 2018 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

          You’re right that obesity is complicated, both its causes and its effects. Its also a very complicated thing to resolve, if one wishes to.

          But there is no getting around the fact that our weight is ultimately governed by the calories that come in vs the calories we burn. It’s thermodynamics and there is no getting around that.

          • Mark R.
            Posted July 1, 2018 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

            I agree because that’s how I lost 70 pounds in 2012…I started paying attention to what I was putting into my mouth. And 6 years later, I haven’t put back a single pound because I still pay close attention to what I put in my mouth.

          • Posted July 1, 2018 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

            Yes, but calories-in v calories out is a bit more complicated than people think.

            There are a couple of studies now that are backing this up.


            • dabertini
              Posted July 1, 2018 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

              These articles do not refute law of thermodynamics. Rather they point to the challenges faced by people who are energy restricted. Of course our bodies change as weight is shed. For one the more weight lost, less energy is required to maintain the lower weight and so further energy restriction is required if further loss is desired. The other thing to note is that weight loss does not only mean fat loss. When we energy restrict we are also losing lean tissue which reduces our bmr. This makes it even more difficult to shed weight and why increasing physical activity is recommended along with energy restriction to improve results. The added bonus of adding exercise is that it may help in maintaining lean tissue. And of course adherence to the new lifestyle is key. The person can’t go back to eating the way they used to or the weight lost will be regained. A sustainable diet is a must or it will never work.

        • Posted July 1, 2018 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

          There aren’t different types of calories. A calorie isn’t a ‘thing’ itself, it’s a measurement quantum.

          • Diane G
            Posted July 2, 2018 at 3:20 am | Permalink

            But that’s well-known shorthand to refer to calories from fat, calories from protein, calories from carbs, and sometimes finer distinctions, all of which are metabolized differently. (Which I’m sure you know–you are, of course, correct scientifically, but we sometimes have to bow to popular usage.)

            • Posted July 2, 2018 at 9:33 am | Permalink

              That is already factored in when calculating food calories.

        • phil
          Posted July 2, 2018 at 3:01 am | Permalink

          I strongly disagree. The basic physics of the universe dictate that it really is calories in, calories out. The difficulty arises in accounting for all the calories, mostly out. It is a complex problem. How many nutritional studies of energy consumption of individuals actually measure the calories that went out their back end, unabsorbed. For a start it probably comes out hotter than the food that went in.

          The human body is not 100% efficient at using the calorific input, so accounting for every little channel for energy consumption is a complex task. Energy is released and absorbed in chemical reactions, so if some energy is absorbed or released creating new compounds in your poo, when is that counted? And not everybody’s poo is the same.

          • dabertini
            Posted July 2, 2018 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

            What energy is not absorbed is taken into account and is actually included in energy content of food.

    • Posted July 1, 2018 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

      This is nothing but anti-science bullshit.

      Eat less move more is not starvation and it is an insult to people that really are starving.
      What even is metabolically deranged? But, no you don’t damage your metabolism if you lose weight you just lower your BMR as you are not supporting as much tissue.

      Obesity is a choice made one meal at a time. There is no disease or condition that can produce adipose tissue without energy input.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted July 1, 2018 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

        A lot of preventative medications for seizures and migraines as well as hormone treatments for cancer cause severe weight gain. Women after menopause gain weight around their stomachs. Eating less is often dangerous as they are eating a healthy diet. Many are very active but still over weight. Some can’t exercise much because of the illnesses that they have and that their medication is treating. It’s not always about how much you eat. My cancer support group is full of women on hormone treatment who have gained a lot of weight. It’s horrible. We hate what has happened to their bodies and hate how people see them when they have gone through absolute hell just to be alive.

        • Marta
          Posted July 1, 2018 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

          A friend of mine, a petite young woman, gained 100 pounds after her kidney transplant–a result of the steroid medicines she was taking.

          It’s pretty depressing, that some of the people commenting here would take one look at her and shame her for being fat.

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted July 1, 2018 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

            A good friend of mine struggled with her weight because of thyroid issues. Then she got cancer and she got through that but 3 years later, the cancer spread to her brain so she need whole brain radiation and steroids to keep the brain inflammation at bay and control the seizures. When she died, she had gained a ton of weight and that was in only about a month. She felt awful and didn’t want to post pictures of herself because of the puffy steroid weight gain. i would have lost my mind if someone had said something to her when she mustered up the strength to go to a restaurant for her daughter’s birthday. Because, looking at her, most people wouldn’t think “there is a lady with metastatic brain cancer”, they’d think, “there is a woman who is endangering her health by eating too much. What a jerk!”

        • Posted July 1, 2018 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

          “A lot of preventative medications for seizures and migraines as well as hormone treatments for cancer cause severe weight gain.”

          Not true. There are medications that increase appetites which causes more calorie consumption. Or they will decrease activity levels which means a person will need to decrease their calorie consumption or gain weight. But, its still all Calorie In Calorie Out.

          “Women after menopause gain weight around their stomachs”

          Only if they consume more calories then they need.

          “Eating less is often dangerous as they are eating a healthy diet.”

          Peer review evidence for this? The peer review on what is a good diet is a mess with contradictory and of clinically meaningless results. Being a normal BMI has shown time after time after time to be much better than being overweight and especially obese.

          “Some can’t exercise much because of the illnesses that they have and that their medication is treating.”

          Then they need to consume fewer calories.

          • Marta
            Posted July 1, 2018 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

            Welp, your mind is made up and and apparently spot welded at the hinges.

            Fat people are fat because they eat too much.

            Got it.

            • Diana MacPherson
              Posted July 1, 2018 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

              And apparently women get super hungry at menopause and eat everything. Also women must get really hungry during cancer treatment and when getting organ replacements. Steroids and estrogen limitation all just make you hungry.

            • Posted July 1, 2018 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

              Show me the peer review science then. Better yet show me the Noble prize winner in physics and medicine that discovered a way around the thermodynamics.

              • Heather Hastie
                Posted July 1, 2018 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

                You do realize you’re coming across as a bit of an a$$ho£€?

                More a$$ho£€-shaming, less fat-shaming!

              • Posted July 1, 2018 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

                I am the a–hole? Not the people spreading anti-science, that respond with snark and an appeal to nonsense?

                And where did I fat shame?

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted July 1, 2018 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

            Um no. Look up Tamoxifen. It lists a side effect as weight gain not increased appetite. Also look up Lyrica. Same thing. Maybe you should call my oncologist as you seem to be an expert in all these medications.

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted July 1, 2018 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

            Oh and BTW you know why Tamoxifen causes weight gain? Because it blocks estrogen. Look up what happens when you get reduced estrogen and you are a woman. It isn’t that you get hungry.

            • Mikeyc
              Posted July 1, 2018 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

              Diana you and Marta aren’t wrong – weight is governed by lots and varied things – genetics, development, culture, general health, personal histories etc, and all of these are connected in complex ways to biochemical and hormonal mechanisms. That makes it a very difficult problem to resolve as there are many ways it manifests.

              But in the end, no matter the cause, etiology or the way one wants to address it, it must always come down to the calories one is consuming. That is the fundamental, necessary component. Weight homeostasis ultimately comes down to balancing the calories one is consuming and the calories one is burning. If homeostasis is lost then we lose weight if we burn more than we consume and gain weight when we consume more than we burn.

              How that imbalance is addressed is a different and very difficult nut to crack.

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted July 1, 2018 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

                I agree it is complicated but simply reducing calories isn’t enough as not all calories are equal. Jerry points to some research about why calories in and out isn’t the whole answer. In fact, it can be dangerous. It’s why he nurses told me to make sure to eat a healthy diet and not just stop eating to lose eight while I was doing cancer treatment. They know women will do this because eating normal calories won’t get them weight loss and so they will do something drastic like reduce calories to dangerous levels and get sick.

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted July 1, 2018 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

                Oops I mean “aren’t” equal and Grania not Jerry.

              • Mikeyc
                Posted July 1, 2018 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

                As I said, Diana, you’re not wrong. One of the reasons why it so much more than calories in, calories out is the metabolic setpoints we establish when we’re young. They are derived from genetics, development, and our environment. If as children our environment is filled with high calory food, when we are adults our metabolism is “set” to that. This makes dieting dependent on those set points and, clearly, people have very different responses. If some one is ill, on drug or hormonal therapies, has an underlying disease, has difficulty getting low calory nutritious food (sadly a common problem in poor America) or is in a social environment that doesn’t serve them well, weight loss can be much more complicated than counting calories.

              • Posted July 1, 2018 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

                By definition, all calories are equal. Just as are all kilograms, seconds, yards, volts, etc.

              • Heather Hastie
                Posted July 1, 2018 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

                The calories are equal, but their effect isn’t. The same number of calories can have a very different effect depending on who is eating them, and your (Matt) response is just snarky. We know they’re equal. We’re trying to discuss some of the reasons why that isn’t the point.

              • Posted July 1, 2018 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

                My comment wasn’t intended as snark. But I’m fine with snark, so Marta’s and Diana’s biting retorts didn’t phase me.

                You are correct that the same amount of calories will have different effects on bodies with different metabolisms. But people do commonly speak of different types of calories coming from this or that food group. Diana did say “not all calories are the same” without any elaboration — what was one to make of that?

                And if Diana had more clearly articulated from the start, a good deal of misunderstanding and acrimony with her several interlocutors could’ve been avoided.

    • Posted July 12, 2018 at 7:18 am | Permalink

      This is denial of reality. It is spread around because it makes overweight people feel better about themselves. I understand that some prefer to live with obesity, its complications and a likely shorter life span, than with living in constant craving of food. I think it is a legitimate choice. But I’d prefer it put the way it is, rather than as presenting doctors as ignorant villains and fat bodies as magical devices producing energy from nothing.

  10. Posted July 1, 2018 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    When I try to post this I get told it’s a duplicate, but I do not see it posted so sending it to you


    The ignorance is palpable here

    Obesity is a symptom of disease, not the disease itself.

    No one is fat from overeating, your body will not let you eat past need when you are healthy.

    When you are metabolically damaged your body will not process nutrients properly and store most of them as fat, leaving your cells starving for food which of course tells your brain that you are still hungry and must keep eating, but the body again misdirects the nutrients and stores them as fat ad nauseum

    Then if you are following the governments dietary advice you eat a low fat high carb diet that spikes blood glucose and causes an insulin reaction, and insulin is the hunger hormone, it signal hunger so you eat more high carbs and spike BG again, rinse repeat…

    It’s a vicious cycle and calorie counting/starvation only makes it worse.

    And obesity does not cause diabetes, it’s the reverse, diabetes causes obesity.

    I have Cushing’s disease, I used to weigh 105lbs and I am more than double that, I am post op pituitary tumor surgery and still not cured.

    I eat less now than I did at my 105lb weight, yet my body STILL wants to pack on fat.

    It’s all about the metabolism and the hormones that control it, it’s not about how much you eat, but it is about what you eat.

    Without a ketogenic diet I put on weight every single day, but at least with keto I can stop gaining weight and even lose a bit if I keep my macros right.

    There are a lot of diseases that cause the body to store fat, and every fat person you see is suffering from one of them.

    Regards, Sandi Fortin

    On Sun, Jul 1, 2018 at 8:45 AM, Why Evolution Is True wrote:

    > whyevolutionistrue posted: “This article from HuffPost (yes, shoot me > now!) highlights the tenets of the “body positivity” (also called “fat > acceptance” movement); click on screenshot to see it: It highlights the > cover of the new Self magazine, a magazine traditionally devoted to” >

    • mikeyc
      Posted July 1, 2018 at 11:53 am | Permalink

      “No one is fat from overeating, your body will not let you eat past need when you are healthy.”

      This is false.

      • Posted July 1, 2018 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

        I have personally disproved that with a rack of baby backs.

    • andrewilliamson
      Posted July 1, 2018 at 11:58 am | Permalink

      “No one is fat from overeating.”

      That is how virtually everyone gets fat.

      “There are a lot of diseases that cause the body to store fat,”

      Nope. Until one generation ago, only a small percentage of people were obese. Our genes haven’t changed in one generation. It’s what people put in their mouth that has.

      “And obesity does not cause diabetes.”

      It absolutely does.

      • Posted July 1, 2018 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

        No, it doesn’t, diabetes cannot metabolise glucose so it is stored as fat.

        Body fat doesn’t make you diabetic

        • mikeyc
          Posted July 1, 2018 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

          Well, it is certainly true that one can be diabetic without being fat – type 1 diabetes or insulin dependent diabetes (used to be called juvenile diabetes) is caused by an autoimmune response against insulin producing cells in the pancreas.

          Type II diabetes – or insulin independent diabetes is caused by our cells inability to respond to insulin (and glucagon in some cases). That inability has several causes one of which is obesity. Obesity causes insulin resistance, the most common form of type II diabetes.

      • Posted July 12, 2018 at 7:27 am | Permalink

        I think the difference is more in how much people move (less today than before) rather than how much they eat.
        I think it must be forbidden for a district to have no sidewalks.

    • GBJames
      Posted July 1, 2018 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

      “No one is fat from overeating”

      Really? That’s how I got fat.

      • Mark R.
        Posted July 1, 2018 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

        Me too…I ate whatever and whenever I liked because I could do that in my 20’s and never gained weight. In my 30’s and 40’s, I continued gaining weight because I kept with the same bad eating habits. When my blood pressure was too high, and my asthma was getting worse and I was 70 lbs. heavier than I was in my 20’s, I decided to do something about it and lost the 70 lbs. I did it the same way “weight watchers” do it. Calorie counting and exercise. Once the weight was off, it has been easy to keep it off by paying close attention to what I put in my mouth.

        I’m not saying there aren’t many other factors that cause obesity (many of which are mentioned here by the readers), mine was just the simplest of reasons; eating a lot of high calorie meals all day, every day.

    • Posted July 1, 2018 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

      The fact that obesity-causing diseases exist does not mean obesity can’t be caused by overeating. This is the classic “all men are humans therefore all humans are men” fallacy.

      I am healthy, ie, I don’t have any kind of metabolic disorder, yet I’ve often eaten much more than I need. Sometimes a dessert alone will contain a full day’s allowance of calories (2,000 or so), to say nothing of the rest of the meal.

    • dabertini
      Posted July 1, 2018 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

      That is more anecdotal. You can lose weight on any diet. It is called the law of thermodynamics. Provided energy in is less than energy out you will lose weight, period.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted July 1, 2018 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

      I just get this idea that most of what you are saying is nonsense. So I’ll pick one. On diabetes, obesity does not cause diabetes. The fact that many, many of the overweight people on this earth have Type II is just an accident? Please give us a break.

      • mikeyc
        Posted July 1, 2018 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

        What’s worse for doragonmama’s claim is that what we know isn’t just an association; (most of) the biochemical and genetic mechanisms by which obesity can cause diabetes are well understood.

        • dabertini
          Posted July 1, 2018 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

          One of the positives of reducing weight, if you are obese and have type ll diabetes, is improved insulin sensitivity.

        • Randall Schenck
          Posted July 1, 2018 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

          Yes, when I became type II about 10 years ago I tried to blame it on different things. Really stupid. But then you listen to the information all of the experts give you, make the appropriate changes and do the right things to manage it. You can do that and live or make up stuff and die. It’s a pretty easy choice.

        • Brujo Feo
          Posted July 1, 2018 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

          As mikeyc said above, “But in the end, with some notable disease exceptions, it really does come down to calories in, calories out.”

          It’s hard to believe that on a science-based site, that still needs to be said.

          All of these people who think that they’ve discovered some magical metabolic exception to the laws of physics need to explain the mysterious disappearance of all of those fat people in the *Konzentrationslager*, and on the Bataan Death March. Not to mention in the various waves of starvation endemic in Africa and other places.

          When food disappears, people get skinnier. In a hurry. If cutting calories didn’t work, then bariatric surgery wouldn’t either. Want to lose weight? Eat less. Burn more. No one says that it’s going to be easy, or pleasant. But junk science (junk medicine being just a sub-set) won’t help.

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted July 1, 2018 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

            There is also many other factors. Hormones is a huge one. And we are talking about obesity and being overweight in the same way on on this post. I gained a bunch of weight being on tamoxifen and getting radiation. Doctors don’t know why radiation can cause weight gain but it often does. I never lost that weight from 3 years ago and I’m as active as I can be with major foot problems. Also, medication for chronic migraines (Lyrica) also causes weight gain. A lot of people are suffering with illness and getting judged as being unhealthy when they are doing their best because they are considered lazy over eaters is really unhelpful.

            • Brujo Feo
              Posted July 1, 2018 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

              Diana: I will quote thejimisawesomehere:

              “There is no disease or condition that can produce adipose tissue without energy input.”

              1. Would you not agree that your last three posts suggest that the statement above is untrue?

              And: 2) if that is the case, would you not agree that there is one low-hanging-fruit EASY Nobel Prize just waiting for the researcher who can explain the mechanism–ANY mechanism–by which something comes from nothing?

              You say: “Look up Tamoxifen. It lists a side effect as weight gain not increased appetite.”

              This weight gain–it’s made of molecules of *something*, right? Since these molecules don’t come from food, whence? Does Tamoxifen open a portal to another dimension? Or are you saying that the medication reduces the human metabolism to zero, or thereabouts, creating a perpetual-motion machine? (I told you that there was a Nobel Prize in here.)Or if my first two guesses are wrong, what is the third way that I haven’t imagined?

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted July 1, 2018 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

                I’m saying weight gain isn’t ALL from eating too much. This is actually current science. Not all calories are a like for starters. Marta made a good point about corn syrup vs sugar. Furthermore, Tamoxifen blocks estrogen which causes you to basically get the joys of going into menopause. Low estrogen causes weight gain. Women in their 50s aren’t hungrier and eating more. Of course, weight gain is also caused by other issues as you age: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/womens-health/in-depth/menopause-weight-gain/art-20046058

                Are you really saying women going through cancer treatment are eating more and that the medication has nothing to do with it? Because I think you should contact these people and let them know https://www.breastcancer.org/treatment/side_effects/weight_change

              • Brujo Feo
                Posted July 1, 2018 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

                [Reply to Diana MacPherson’s last post]:

                Diana: I’m not saying any of those things. I’m simply pointing out that no one, to my limited knowledge, has even suggested a *mechanism* to get around pretty well-understood laws of physics. And I notice that you didn’t answer any of my three questions.

                OK, so I’ll suggest a mechanism. Non-caloric things that come into the body include water and air. So that gives us oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, argon, and some trace elements to work with. Somehow, medications, or radiation, or whatever, make food (or the elements in the meds themselves) grab these elements and turn them into molecules of …*something*…that is stored by the body.

                Theoretically, that would be a possible mechanism that wouldn’t violate the laws of physics. So surely *someone* has at least proposed such a mechanism. What is it?

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted July 1, 2018 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

                I’m not suggesting that it takes violating the laws of physics to gain weight by not eating more. FFS I’m saying as I’ve said all over this thread that it isn’t as simple as eating more makes you fat. You can eat the same and suddenly that same amount of food intake makes you fat. You think this is suggesting a violation of the laws if thermo dynamics. I suggest it is more than calories in and calories out. And it turns out it is more than calories in and calories out. Check the research Grania posted for instance. Hormone cahnages is one of those things. It can cause you to absorb calories less efficiently and store those calories as fat. Aging can cause you to just store more fat and produce less muscle. Thyroid conditions can do the same. Steroids do the same. That is why my friend gained weight taking steroids for her brain cancer. She wasn’t eating much since whole brain radiation doesn’t exactly stimulate your appetite, and yet she gained weight. Are you saying that didn’t happen and me saying you did is suggesting I think the law of thermodynamics is wrong? Again, it is more than energy in and energy out. Do I have to say it again? Things happen in the body that isn’t just in ans out.

                Sure you may be able to not get quite so fat if then change your diet and eat less but sometimes you still will be fat because you can literally starve before getting much thinner.

                But sure go ahead and make obtuse snarky remarks about the law of thermodynamics. There is more to the physics than energy in and energy out as things actually happen within the body. We aren’t all just getting hungrier.

              • Posted July 2, 2018 at 2:21 am | Permalink

                Hormone cahnages is one of those things. It can cause you to absorb calories less efficiently and store those calories as fat. Aging can cause you to just store more fat and produce less muscle. Thyroid conditions can do the same. Steroids do the same. That is why my friend gained weight taking steroids for her brain cancer.

                Aren’t those just the mechanisms modifying how much energy goes back out? I don’t see how this contradicts the “energy in, energy out” bit mentioned.

              • Diane G
                Posted July 2, 2018 at 3:47 am | Permalink

                “You can eat the same and suddenly that same amount of food intake makes you fat.”

                And that is the crux of the matter. Suddenly the same amount of calories is not being metabolized as it was when you were young, cancer-free, not taking certain meds, etc. Meanwhile your body still has a set point and makes you feel deprived if you try to eat fewer calories than you were used to. It’s easy for those who’ve never had such problems to keep restating the laws of thermodynamics as if no one ever heard of them before. You might quit repeating yourselves and try cultivating some empathy for those facing problems you probably are not.

                Did anyone read the articles Grania posted? They seem to be based on research.

              • phil
                Posted July 3, 2018 at 2:31 am | Permalink

                Diana: “I’m saying weight gain isn’t ALL from eating too much.”

                But it is. What you don’t seem to be considering is that in the out half of calories in, calories out, is a whole load of calories that just go straight through, i.e. aren’t absorbed or processed by your body.

                It is probable that the causes for weight gain that you mention actually increase the efficiency with which calories in are processed, so that more of them are processed by the body, and fewer get flushed down the loo.

                In that case, your (generically speaking, not you personally) metabolism was well balanced before whatever caused weight gain, but afterwards your calorific intake exceeded the requirements of your body, and your body then converted this new excess into fat.

                It is not physically possible to increase one’s weight without consuming more calories than one’s body requires.

                The confusion arises because people seem to assume that their metabolic rate, the rate at which they consume calories, remains static, unaffected. Quite obviously this isn’t so.

                Consider this. You can’t digest wood pulp but it fairly obviously contains a lot of calories. Eating it wouldn’t allow you to put on weight, unless you acquired some gut bacteria that can metabolise wood pulp (that’s pretty much what some cockroaches do).

                I think one of the shortcomings of the calories in part is the relatively crude way they are measured. It used to be they were put in a bomb calorimeter and essentially burnt. Now it’s plain we don’t consume calories by igniting them so the actual processes that consume calories in our bodies is different. Essentially the way the calories in and out are measured is flawed, but that doesn’t mean that the physical laws of the universe are somehow suspended, it means we don’t properly understand the processes in our bodies. It’s the method of measuring calories in and out that is flawed, not the basic physical principles of the universe.

  11. Posted July 1, 2018 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    I have previously had much to say on this subject. One need examine oneself and one’s knee-jerk prejudices. In the case of overweight people, some dislike them merely because they are easily-identified by outward manifestations. This brand of cataloguing and judgement demonstrates an unutterably appalling amount of intellectual inferiority, for a person is neither inferior nor superior to another – particularly based on an accident of appearance – until he or she has proven him or herself to be by some act or acts, which delineate that individual as a person; which classify him or her.

  12. Linda Calhoun
    Posted July 1, 2018 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    One key difference between obesity and smoking is that obesity does not poison other people’s air.


    • Brujo Feo
      Posted July 1, 2018 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

      No, but it can sure ruin an airplane ride. A friend, wiry-skinny at about 140 lbs. or so, is incensed that he pays the same ticket prices, and has the same luggage limits as the 280-lb. folks he often sits next to.

      Imagine a pricing scheme where you pay by the pound for an airline ticket. Bring one suitcase or five. Just pay for it by the pound. Or bring none, and use up your money to transport your personal bulk. I’m not saying that all of these phantom “metabolic disorders” would vanish into thin air (so to speak), but I think that said friend has a point.

      • Adam L
        Posted July 1, 2018 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

        There’s a comedian called Steve Hofstetter who does a great bit about big people on airplanes. You can find it on YouTube by searching “Steve Hofstetter flying”

        “Oh you didn’t want to pay for two seats”
        “I didn’t want to pay for one seat but I don’t fit in no seats”

      • Diane G
        Posted July 2, 2018 at 3:54 am | Permalink

        But a large part of the problem is that the airlines get away with continually narrowing the seats and reducing the distance between the rows. (And removing padding–I’m 5’5, underweight, and still get exceedingly achey on any flight of more than an hour.

    • Posted July 1, 2018 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

      Yes, I pointed that out (see the end of the post).

  13. Jessy Smith
    Posted July 1, 2018 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    Employers may be able to ask about medical conditions if it can effect the potential or current employees ability to their job (depending on the state).

    It’s not unknown for employers to fire employees who are driving up health insurance costs, even though it’s illegal. It’s usually unspoken though and passed off as something else, and easy to get away with.

    I’ve known chefs who told me they don’t hire women because they get pregnant and it makes it hard to replace them on a temporary basis.
    This reason sounds bogus to me since restaurant kitchens tend to have very high turnover in staff.

    For almost twenty years of my adult life I weighed 135 lbs (5’8″). Strangers were constantly telling me I was too skinny and I needed to eat more.
    The thing is, I did eat. A lot. It was just my metabolism.
    Middle age cured that “problem”.
    Believe me, as a chef who really, really likes food and cooking, that wasn’t a terrible problem to have.

    • phil
      Posted July 3, 2018 at 2:35 am | Permalink

      A nationally organised single provider health care system would alleviate some of those problems.

  14. Gabrielle
    Posted July 1, 2018 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    SELF magazine is not primarily a fitness magazine; it’s more of a fitness/beauty/lifestyle/health/fashion magazine. Taking a look around their website, they do use models of various body types, though none I would characterize as obese or unnaturally thin. Like a lot of women’s magazines, though, most of the aim of these publications is to focus on one’s appearance and to get you to buy things: workout clothes, makeup, regular clothes, ‘healthy’ foods, and so on.
    As I was reading the article about the plus size model Ms. Holliday, there was an ad running in the sidebar for Starbuck’s Ultra Caramel Frappacino, a cool 420 calories a cup.
    As for myself, I was fairly thin up till my 30s, then slowly gained weight. Now in my 50s, the only way I’ve been able to keep from being seriously overweight is to count calories.

  15. CFM
    Posted July 1, 2018 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    Does this work the other way as well? If so, “way-to-thin-women” would not “owe anybody shit” either. But saying that showing them is “toxic”, as the cited article does, makes clear that “body positivity” is not meant to be claimed by size-zero models as well.

    While “shaming” anybody is clearly wrong, and while a broad range of sizes can be healthy, a BMI under 18 or over 30 is in most cases either a health risk in itself or a symptom of a health problem, whether physical or psychical. Of course, we normally point this out only where our nearest and dearest are concerned – and rightly so.

    My cousin nearly died of anorexia, and I am very grateful that the people around her reacted and got her the help she needed. Pointing out that it is unhealthy to be that thin (and acting under that premise) is not “abusive”, it can be live-saving. I feel the same about being grossly overweight.

    There seems to be a movement that goes way beyond “in general, accept people as they are”. A movement that does not accept categories like “normal” or “healthy” as relevant anymore. This is true not only for size, but also for psychological disorders. In my opinion, that is dangerous.

    • phil
      Posted July 3, 2018 at 2:37 am | Permalink

      ‘While “shaming” anybody is clearly wrong…’

      Including Trump and those who lie for him?

  16. dd
    Posted July 1, 2018 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    As a formerly obese person, yet it is what you eat and yes, you can control calories. I also see this in others who exercise with me time and again.

    Must you have an entire pizza and a couple of muffins?

    It’s a lie and a disservice to overweight and obese people to tell them that it’s not calorie intake related. Very rare that it’s quote unquote genetic.

    BTW, if single payer is going to have a chance, such things as obesity will need to be controlled. Good luck with that.

    • Posted July 1, 2018 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

      The pizza? Pretty much, yeah.

    • phil
      Posted July 3, 2018 at 2:41 am | Permalink

      We’re working on it. In Oz we have reduced smoking rates, with things like plain packaging. One of the strongest justifications for it was that we have a sort of single payer health service. If the gummint has to fix you up when you get sick from smoking the gummint has a right to convince you not to smoke. Note that we didn’t ban smoking.

  17. Posted July 1, 2018 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    The fashion industry uses thin models for several reasons, a lot of them more pragmatic than people give them credit for . For one, clothes look better on a woman with smaller breasts; she’s showing off the clothes, and not her body. (The androgynous look is also a fashion-statement in itself.) Second, models tend to be very tall, and normal-weight; very tall women tend to look much thinner than average (I am one of them). One of my sisters modelled for a while, and I can’t remember her being very concerned about the other girls being too thin or anything like that. They’re mostly normal girls with an exciting (but high-stress) job that asks for a lot of commitment for a short period of time. If there’s one thing I am concerned about when it comes to modelling (and it’s not the weight), it’s the very young age of some of the girls. Ever wonder why the women on posters and ads look so young? That’s because they are! If you’re 25 as a model, you’re way too old according to the industry’s tastes.

  18. Posted July 1, 2018 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    My partner is very heavy, down from morbidly obese. I’ve learned some things.

    On a person to person basis, don’t bring up the fat / health issue. There is no heavy person in this country at least who doesn’t know that.

    Recommending that a person loose weight is counter-productive. Many times, the excessive eating is (at least in part) a result of feeling bad about ones self. Therefore, more shaming = more feeling bad = more eating.

    The heavy person is the only one who can choose to loose weight — and even then, it’s really hard, with lots of ups and downs. Just be a friend.

    • Diane G
      Posted July 2, 2018 at 3:59 am | Permalink

      Beautifully said.

  19. W.T. Effingham
    Posted July 1, 2018 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    A magazine cover telling me what is none of my business is not too likely to get my business.

  20. Posted July 1, 2018 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    I can understand being heavy, or being obese and still being able to live a comfortable life. What I don’t understand those who end up bedridden (400-600 lbs)and and dependent on relatives/others for everyday needs. At what point does it become enabling and *not* being a friend?

    • Diane G
      Posted July 2, 2018 at 4:00 am | Permalink

      For the extremely overweight person, it’s probably a combination of something very much like an addiction with severe depression.

  21. FB
    Posted July 1, 2018 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    Irresponsible parents that routinely buy unhealthy food and drinks for their children should be shamed in some way. They know that what they’re doing is wrong.

    • Posted July 1, 2018 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

      Since there is no free will, no one should be ashamed, not even parents who give their children unhealthy food.
      Instead of thinking about forms of abashment, one should inform and enlighten those parents. It would be equally important to raise prices for unhealthy food, which is often cheaper than healthy food.

      • FB
        Posted July 1, 2018 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

        No, irresponsible parents should be ashamed because in many cases they destroy their children’s lives, or make their children miserable. Just like sexual harassers that destroy women’s lives. I don’t think there’s a difference.

    • phil
      Posted July 2, 2018 at 2:34 am | Permalink

      I am not a parent, but I’ve noticed a few things about being a parent. For a start it can be a big job: parents usually have to look after their kids welfare as well as hold down a job, and often those needs conflict. There is also the problem of pester power, in that fast food retailers target kids because they are easier targets and can overcome parents’ better intentions. Also (as noted) junk food is often cheaper than real food, and often doesn’t require as much time and effort in preparation. Parents often don’t get much free time, and giving kids a treat can solve a lot of immediate problems. Remember that even one week of junk food is unlikely to make you fat.

      • Posted July 2, 2018 at 7:21 am | Permalink

        Why is unhealthy food a ‘treat’ for kids? Surely that attitude can only come from the parents. I would also suggest that fresh meat and vegetables, which yes do require time to turn into a meal, are actually cheaper than junk or processed foods. Lastly, you’re right, a week of junk food won’t make you fat but, if it is loaded with sugar, it could be the start of an addiction which will quickly lead to excessive weight gain.

        • GBJames
          Posted July 2, 2018 at 7:24 am | Permalink

          Fresh meat and vegetable are often not readily available in some communities.

          • Posted July 2, 2018 at 7:27 am | Permalink

            You may have to look a little harder or walk a little further but I’m sure they’ll be there

            • GBJames
              Posted July 2, 2018 at 7:28 am | Permalink

              That sounds like the comment of someone with a nearby Whole Foods store.

              • Posted July 2, 2018 at 7:29 am | Permalink

                Nearest food store which is really small is 20 minutes walk away, the next is another 20 minutes further on

            • Posted July 2, 2018 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

              You’re sure “they’ll be there” if I just “look a little harder?”

              It’s not a question of “walking a little bit further.”The food stores just aren’t there, or are of a much lesser quality and variety.

              Food stores from my house, 9 miles:
              • Walmart / 9 miles, New! Right off the expressway. Quality very good, have many brands, variety; • Aldi’s and • Food-for-Less (bag-it-yourself stores) Quality OK, has some brands. (One has downsized dramatically, may be going out of business; other has changed names/owners several times in six years.)

              Nearer, 3.3 miles:
              • Jewel Foods / Quality great, have almost all brands and variety. Winding road to it runs through a forest preserve. No sidewalks, not safe for pedestrians or cyclists.

              One mile from my house:
              • Save-A-Lot and • Windy City Market. Quality poor. (One-of-a-kind stores- no variety. One milk, one bread, some vegetables.) Vegetables are bruised, scratched or ones considerable unsuitable for the very good or great stores food stores.

              My suburban neighborhood hasn’t been able to attract/sustain a food store for the last 30 years of the 50 I’ve lived there. The immediate surrounding communities are not much better off. For stores 3-9 miles away, you’d still have have to walk a mile to get to public bus transportation, for a circuitous route that will take you 4-6 times longer than by car.

              And walking there is not as big a problem as trying to return home with a week’s worth of groceries. Fortunately for me, I have a car.

              • Posted July 2, 2018 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

                But you have lots of fast food places which are much closer by? As a community, do you have space where you could grow vegetables as a co-operative?

              • Posted July 2, 2018 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

                Sure, we have junk food, fast food and a few restaurants! Within…

                1 mile: several gas stations, 7-11, a Dollar store / All carry chips, pops and candy.
                2-3 miles: TacoBell, Subway, Duncan Donuts, one independent sandwich place.
                3 miles: White Castle, Wendy’s, McDonalds.
                4 miles: Panera, Olive Garden and The Chicago Dough Company / Seated restaurants. (First two are by the expressway exit, other is right next to a busy Metra train line.)

                We have a Farmer’s market, downsized dramatically over the years, was once many vendors of vegetables and locally produced honey/jams, now a quarter of the original size, with one vegetable vendor and 2/3rd devoted to bible studies and t-shirt vendor booths.

                There is a community garden- very underutilized- and a local gardening club (mostly flowers). And no one is prohibited from growing stuff in their own backyard.

                Didn’t say we weren’t eating out here, just that we can’t sustain fresh food stores.

              • Posted July 3, 2018 at 12:00 am | Permalink

                If you have a community garden that’s great – healthy, fresh, cheap food for everyone on your doorstep and if you all work together not too much effort. If you have something like that you don’t need to rely on the stores once you’ve got it up and running 😊

              • GBJames
                Posted July 2, 2018 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

                What’s your point, All-About? That food deserts don’t exist? That there’s no reason to be concerned about distance to high quality food stores because everyone should be an urban farmer?

                It sure sounds like you are all in for blaming the victims of a food distribution system that gives easy access to high quality produce to some people while leaving others with easy access to little more than Cheez Whiz and potato chips.

          • Posted July 2, 2018 at 8:26 am | Permalink


          • FB
            Posted July 2, 2018 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

            Former Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien: “People have to move sometimes,” “It’s desirable to stay if they want to stay, but it’s not always possible.”

      • FB
        Posted July 2, 2018 at 9:36 am | Permalink

        I said “routinely buy”. There are no excuses for parents that routinely buy soda, ice cream and chips for their overweight children In many cases those children end up with health problems. We need ads on media shaming irresponsible parents.

    • Posted July 12, 2018 at 7:35 am | Permalink

      It isn’t, unless the child has diabetes.

  22. Posted July 1, 2018 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    What we’ll see from The Huffington Post next year:

    Tess Holliday lost 120 lbs. You won’t believe how she looks now!

  23. Posted July 1, 2018 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    Tess Holliday’s health is everyone’s business, because she’s eagerly made it a topic of public discussion with her claims of ideal health.

    Since the onset of her notoriety, she’s gone from a size 22 to a 26, and her BMI is over 47.

    Like the pro-anorexia ‘support’ groups and claimants of chronic Lyme Disease, The fat acceptance movement is in a self-reinforcing state of denial, rejecting solid health science as a conspiracy and ‘gaslighting’.

  24. jhs
    Posted July 1, 2018 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

    Obese people are at much higher risk for many diseases and health conditions. I suspect Ms. Holliday knows very well potential health consequences of obesity. Perhaps, the article is intended to improve her mental health.

    Holliday’s health or weight is indeed none of my business. I wish her all the best.

    However, honestly, if she were my daughter, I probably would BEG her to work with a registered dietitian and a physical therapist. Confucius’s teaching that filial piety starts with taking good care of ourselves comes to my mind.

  25. Posted July 1, 2018 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

    Have a look at the obesity data, 1990 – 2016.


    My state of residence remains the least obese, but the current rate would have made Colorado by far the fattest state in 1990. I side with the calorie in/calorie burned crowd, acknowledging that there are some confounding factors in the calorie burned portion of the equation. However, it seems fairly clear to me that way too many people eat way too much whilst sitting on their lard asses rationalizing why they are gaining weight.

  26. Posted July 1, 2018 at 11:09 pm | Permalink

    Yes! Thank you for this! Ive battled with weight all my life. I was badgered and bullied. I knew I wasn’t healthy. But even when I lost weight & had a healthy BMI I still had family members (one in particular)badgering me. That’s when I learned it was her pushing her insecurity about herself onto me. The one that that irks me though is when people tell me that if I lost weight, I wouldn’t have fibromyalgia (considered an autoimmune disease). There is no correlation between fibro & weight. In fact, the worse my fibro got, because of that, I gained weight back. I was battling it while skinny. I think it comes down to this: It’s not anyone’s business & they don’t know the ins & outs of some one’s health. Fat, of course, causes health problems. But there are health problems that cause weight gain (fibro, thyroid) as well as medications.

  27. phil
    Posted July 2, 2018 at 2:22 am | Permalink

    When you write that you “have an odd cigarette every few months,” in what way exactly are they peculiar? 😉

  28. Posted July 3, 2018 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    Sometimes the attempt to lose weight would produce more stress and other things; so it might over-all be a net loss. But that’s for an individual, with the help of loved ones if necessary, physicians and son etc. to determine.

  29. thecornerinfo
    Posted July 6, 2018 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

    Yeah obese people are already aware of their weight, and the health problems that it entails. However, some choose to look away from that issue and start over-glorifying their weights and it seems that they are still convincing their selves – and not entirely believing it-that being obese is okay. If it’s okay for her to accept how she is, then I guess I’ll leave her be and respect her for being brave (or is it just a state of mind?). I am just not okay with the possibility that children might follow her lead and be apathetic about their weight as well. I do applaud those trying to lose weight, too. It’s not easy and I hope they get all the support they need.
    As the day goes by we are leaning more on the side of accepting various societal differences instead of balancing it with hard, cold, biological and psychological facts. But the question remains, what does it mean to have a normal and ideal body?

    • Diane G
      Posted July 6, 2018 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

      You’re a mannequin?

      • thecornerinfo
        Posted July 6, 2018 at 11:27 pm | Permalink

        Nope. Nor do I wish to be one, obviously. But I have been weighing less than 90 pounds in my whole existence due to having a genetic condition and disability. Am I happy being on the other end of the scale? Being underweight? Definitely not! How I wish I could properly run and walk!

        Gaining weight is as hard as losing weight. Why would you propose me that unrelated question?

        • Diane G
          Posted July 7, 2018 at 1:17 am | Permalink

          Lame attempt at a joke. Even worse now that I know of your condition. I apologize.

  30. Posted July 8, 2018 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

    Body positivity is such an important movement. I’ve always been a huge supporter, because growing up, I’ve had trouble with both under and overweight body issues.

    I’ve noticed though, that the movement is positive and supportive of heavier bodies (which is fantastic by the way)… but tends to have undertones that shame skinnier, underweight bodies. It’s quite upsetting. Just my opinion.

  31. Posted August 8, 2018 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    I think your outlook on this is eye opening. For me, I weight is a pretty sensitive topic for most people, even those who are in a healthy weight bracket. Maybe it’s the sensitivity that everyone has that keeps them from publicly drawing down on it/those who are overweight.

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