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» Hatrack River Forum » Active Forums » Books, Films, Food and Culture » I agree with this guy. (Page 1)

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Author Topic: I agree with this guy.
Tittles
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todayhealth.today.com/_news/2013/01/24/16664866-fat-shaming-may-curb-obesity-bioethicist-says?lite

I don't think there's anything wrong in reminding people that eating the entire bag of chips isn't the right thing to do.

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Geraine
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Shaming people and reminding people are two totally different things.

Do we have an obesity problem in this country? Yep. Is shaming people the way to get rid of it? Absolutely not.

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scifibum
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Oh, sure. That will work WONDERS. Wonder why no one thought of reminding someone that they shouldn't eat a whole bag of chips. Thank goodness we have the answer, now.
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stilesbn
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quote:
Originally posted by Geraine:
Shaming people and reminding people are two totally different things.

Do we have an obesity problem in this country? Yep. Is shaming people the way to get rid of it? Absolutely not.

While I agree with you, often times there is little to no difference between reminding and shaming. Especially when it comes to obesity. Bringing any attention to someones weight, even indirectly, is shameful in our culture.
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Rakeesh
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Goodness, this makes perfect sense. There's already a dearth of shame among the obese about their own health and body image, and the amount of shame decreases the more obese they are. Therefore this makes perfect sense and isn't at all a justification for some people to do what they wanted to be doing already.
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Stephan
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Has nobody head that depression can lead to over eating?
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stilesbn
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You know, thinking about this more, in some instances shaming people does work and it does it very effectively. Perhaps only where there is a lack of shame and the cost of change is much lower (like in the linked example of driving)?
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Strider
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I apologize, but this conversation reminded me of this:

http://imgur.com/gallery/dHytl

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Tittles
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If a guy smokes two packs a day, he's an idiot who deserves to be ridiculed. If he single handedly makes McDonald stockholders wealthy though, he's just a poor soul who needs our understanding.

Gotcha.

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Tittles
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Not to mention that there are actually pro-fat groups out there. Only reasonable to have a little pushback.
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TomDavidson
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I'm pretty sure the "pro-fat" groups are the pushback against an entire society that shames and ostracizes fat people.
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Itsame
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As someone who used to be fat but managed to lose the weight when I was 17, I am totally pro-ostracism. I actually think the problem is that we aren't doing it well enough. We have to make people recognize that it's their fault, for the most part at least, and that it *is* bad.

Strider, that picture just made my day. (Not really, but I chuckled heartily.)

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Tittles
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Exactly, Jon. Nobody had a problem with ostracizing and shaming smokers, and those campaigns have made people healthier.

Although it'd probably be better to focus more on the shame and less on the ostracism. Probably makes it harder for someone to put the effort in to lose weight if their only friends are Ben and Jerry.

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King of Men
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So your basic position is that sure, we shame, ridicule, and ostracise fatties, but do we do it enough? Not a bit! Clearly, if fatsoes were forced to wear little turd-shaped patches of brown cloth on their clothes, so that goodthinkers could recognise them for the shitbags they are without having to endure the stress of actually looking at, ugh, fat, then pretty shortly they would all go on diets and the problem would be solved. But really, why stop there? We know how to make people thin, indeed skeletal: [strike]Concentration[/strike] Health camps! Just ship them off to eastern Kansas for a healthy summer of 1000-calorie diets and hard physical labour! It's a proven technique, in fact the concept is more than half a century old. Why hasn't our government taken this simple step towards a thin population?
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Strider
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quote:
Originally posted by JonHecht:
Strider, that picture just made my day. (Not really, but I chuckled heartily.)

Glad you got a kick out of it.

I should also note, my posting of the picture is not an endorsement of either side of this debate.

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Tittles
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Again, it's similar to smoking. Society has to pick up the tab for lung cancer and COPD, and we took steps to lower those cases. The exploding obesity in this country is going to reap it's own crop of heart disease, diabetes, and choking to death on deep-fried Snickers bars. The public stance that obesity is unhealthy and undesirable, serves everyone. It helps those shamed into losing the weight, and it helps taxpayers in general.

And strawmen aside, a summer of hard physical labor on a 1000 calorie diet would do a lot of people good.

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Kwea
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I say we start with the chronically stupid. Thanks for volunteering, tittles...


BTW, your smoking influences my health. Your fat doesn't.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
Although it'd probably be better to focus more on the shame and less on the ostracism.
I am sincerely curious how you'd expect to achieve that, as ostracism is to my mind a necessary function of shaming.
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Itsame
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OK, clearly I'm not being clear. I didn't say we're not ostracizing fat people enough. I said we're not doing it WELL enough. We probably too it far too much, but we don't do it in the right ways so as to be effective. We just act like ***holes instead of concerned and morally disgusted beings. (I do think it's unethical for various reasons.)
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LargeTuna
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I'm going to counter with the opinion that we should be nicer to fat people. And people in general.

What I'm saying is that I like it when people are nice to each other.

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Itsame
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I agree, just in a paternalistic sort of way.

Edit: Not *just* paternalistic, mind you, I think that it is a serious waste of resources and makes the world worse as a result. The willingly obese are acting in an unethical fashion, and should be severely chastised for it. I am being nice by trying to improve their character.

I realize this is a touchy subject for some, but as someone who has been through it, I guess I just feel willing to be harsh. Yes, self control is hard, but sometimes things aren't easy.

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Mucus
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I feel like, although there's a bit of competition with the UK, the US is probably the most "pro-fat" country I've visited. So I'm curious about the idea that the US is particularly harsh on overweight people.
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TomDavidson
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You haven't "been through it," Jon. You were a fat kid for a few years.
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Noemon
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quote:
Originally posted by Mucus:
So I'm curious about the idea that the US is particularly harsh on overweight people.

Is that an idea that's been promoted here? It's possible, but if so I must have skimmed past it.
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Mucus
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Search and highlight "our culture" or "we're" or "an entire society." I guess it could be possible that people are using inclusive definitions that cover the entire world, but usually on Hatrack, I usually read references as pertaining to the US or occasionally, the West.
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Kwea
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Funny thing about overweight people...a person who is overweight because of medical conditions looks EXACTLY like one who is overweight for other reasons.


It's really not any of your business. Be disgusted if you want. I personally am disgusted by haughty, pompous, self-righteous morons...and regardless of if YOU are one, talking about this idiotic idea of shaming people due to their weight makes you SOUND like one.

Funny, how that parallels...

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Itsame
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
You haven't "been through it," Jon. You were a fat kid for a few years.

I weighed 289 pounds and was 5'10, from when I was 12 to 17-18. (Gained a few inches and lost over a hundred pounds since then). I wasn't just "the fat kid". I was morbidly obese.

Edit: I'm not trying to be a self-righteous asshole: I'm trying to be a selfish one. Food shortages are imminent, and there is massive environmental damage being done.

[ January 30, 2013, 11:42 PM: Message edited by: JonHecht ]

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King of Men
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quote:
Originally posted by Tittles:
And strawmen aside, a summer of hard physical labor on a 1000 calorie diet would do a lot of people good.

Indeed! Work will make them free from the chains of their awful, awful bodies!

Here's another idea: Math textbooks, clearly, are not doing enough to encourage the ideas of fitness and discipline. Perhaps we could write some problems along these lines?

quote:
Treating heart attacks caused by the fat deposits in the veins of people with no goddam willpower costs society $100 billion per year. How many single-family homes, at $150000 each, could have been built instead for this money?
quote:
Jenny guzzles two pints of Ben & Jerry's ice cream every night. If the ice cream is 1000 calories per pint, and African children typically have a diet of 1500 calories daily, how many children is this fat pig selfishly starving to death by hogging all the dairy products for herself, assuming that 2000 calories is enough to maintain a healthy body weight?

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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by JonHecht:
I'm not trying to be a self-righteous asshole: I'm trying to be a selfish one.

No, you're being self-righteous...

quote:
Originally posted by JonHecht:
Food shortages are imminent, and there is massive environmental damage being done.

Because you believe in this alarmism, you think it justifies that self-righteousness.

This is a common trend across many fields and many people.

If you convince yourself that there is some major, imminent, existential threat, then that makes it much easier to morally justify coercing/shaming/etc. people into doing whatever you think is needed.

It doesn't, though.

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Itsame
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quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
Because you believe in this alarmism, you think it justifies that self-righteousness.

Yes, I am crazy. Why bash gas guzzlers but condone this?
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Rakeesh
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The problem with a campaign of moral disgust is just how very, very few people are actually in a position of such moral authority as to be entitled to it.

Clearly some people, like the OP, are aside from interest in trolling the board interested in a justification for mockery. There's nothing quite like culturally sanctioned 'I'm better than you' to make one feel a height that they aren't entitled to, so it's not surprising he would be interested in it.

I'm quite a bit more surprised to hear this sort of talk from you, though, JH. I mean, it worked for you when you were 17...so it's a good idea? Somewhere there's an adult who was found locked in a cage by some social worker when they were a child who nonetheless managed to be a decent, contributing member of society later.

The problem with what must be called out as a profoundly stupid idea that shame and ostracism are effective tools for combating obesity is that they don't address the causes, and they don't deal with the real problem of what, exactly, you do when this shaming and ostracism leads someone to be a shut-in as 21st century society makes if not easy then considerably less difficult?

You're not going to find very many people who after being raised with good nutrition and exercise...hmm, values?...and examples in their childhood simply pivot to obesity and morbid obesity in adulthood. Geeze-it only takes a few moments of consideration to see how absurd this idea is. If people could be shamed skinny, why on Earth are there so many obese children?

Even if we accept another stupix, unsubstantiated notion-that society is somehow ambiguous on shaming obesity-it doesn't deal with the fact that it certainly hasn't been. The obesity in America today springs out of generations where shaming and ridicule *were* very common tools to handle obesity, and yet somehow it had steadily risen.

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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by JonHecht:
quote:
Originally posted by Dan_Frank:
Because you believe in this alarmism, you think it justifies that self-righteousness.

Yes, I am crazy. Why bash gas guzzlers but condone this?
Woah, woah, woah... why would I bash gas guzzlers? Gas guzzlers provide a service! [Smile]

But anyway, I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do with your links, man.

Food is scarce in an aboriginal community? Okay, sure, sounds plausble. They could probably use some more industrialization. That's tragic.

A paper by Paul "Mass Famine by the 1970s" Erlich, who's made more failed predictions about imminent collapse than anyone since Nostradamus? He's an idiot, and an alarmist. I'm not impressed.

And a public health company wants to frame the obesity discussion as overconsumption to better manipulate people? ... Right, that's the whole topic that you've brought up here. That's what you're doing. But that doesn't explain why it's a good thing to do.

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Itsame
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You're right. I've been too reactionary, and I don't think shaming is really the right way to go about this. I'd like to blame having a high fever, but that's not really why I posted the things that I did. I'm frustrated. I'm genuinely frustrated that people aren't taking a very serious problem seriously enough. That people are tolerating what I take to be morally dubious (at best) behavior makes me want to lash out. I guess this is how people who are pro-life feel. They believe that a constant stream of babies are being killed.

I don't believe I've made a post as inflammatory as this in a very long time, so that may go to show my particular concern about this issue. I didn't mean to offend anyone, but I'm sick of keeping my views about this to myself because it's not acceptable in polite company. Shaming probably isn't the right way to go about it, but the degree of tolerance for this sort of culture (the fact that people are willing to watch, never mind *enjoy*, Honey Boo Boo baffles me) is not right either. We need to find a middle ground.

I tried to get this across, but again clearly didn't do so well. I don't want us to insult the obese. I want it to be clear that they are reprobates, however, and that cumulatively devastating harm is not only being done to themselves (I don't care) but others as well (I care very much).

Edit: As for the aboriginal link, that was a mislink and has since been corrected.

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Rakeesh
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There is not now, nor has there ever been, anywhere that suffered a food shortage because of obesity. These wastes of food you're decrying? The food wouldn't have been produced if societies hadn't been built up around generating enormous surpluses of food and then wasting quite a bit of it (which is actually pretty interesting, considering for how much of our history food shortages have actually been a problem).

You need to rethink some of your fundamental assumptions, because to describe food shortages like this points to some profound ignorance.

Anyway, who exactly is condemning gas guzzlers? In the United States? Are you kidding me? Where did you hear that this is happening? Did someone complaining about someone driving a Hummer indicate a nationwide intifada against excessive fossil fuel consumption?

quote:
I weighed 289 pounds and was 5'10, from when I was 12 to 17-18. (Gained a few inches and lost over a hundred pounds since then). I wasn't just "the fat kid". I was morbidly obese.
Here's the disconnect: do you imagine that the shaming and ostracism you describe as having been done to you was somehow unique to your own personal experience? I mean, surely you realize that whatever happened to you in junior and high school was almost certainly happening all over the country to children at that age, all the time.

Yet here we are, a nation with a serious health problem on our hands. See the flaw in your reasoning?

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Xavier
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If one were to ask me what the worst problems are in the US today, obesity would surely make my top three. I think its a terrible trend that is just going to get worse.

But still, this doesn't seem (to me) to be the right kind of approach. Surely cultural changes are our best bet in the near term, but this one I can't see doing much good.

Honestly, I don't think much is going to help until medical science comes to the rescue. Some wonder pill that suppresses appetite without unbearable side-effects, or one that increases your resting metabolism. Perhaps a combo of drugs that does both.

Maybe even a genetic engineering approach that gives people the fantastic metabolism we all want (and which some of us had as teens). Of course, if food does get scarce for the western world, a slow metabolism becomes a good thing again. Perhaps a few genetic modifications that make nutrient rich foods taste amazing and calorie rich foods taste bad?

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Itsame
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The reason I stopped being obese wasn't because of shaming, as I have acknowledged. A large part of it was because I recognized that what I was doing was immoral. The overconsumption leads to unnecessary use of medical and environmental resources (certain trace minerals in popular fertilizers *are* non-renewable). Many studies (they're easy enough to find, since you don't like the ones I choose) indicate that environment plays a significant role in whether someone will be obese, so let's change the environment.

Edit: How's this for you. http://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&as_sdt=0,15&q=phosphorus+non+renewable We require phosphorus to, like, live and stuff.

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Dan_Frank
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quote:
Originally posted by JonHecht:
I guess this is how people who are pro-life feel. They believe that a constant stream of babies are being killed.

Jon, I just wanted to pop back in to say I think this is an admirable bit of self-awareness. This is exactly what I was trying to get at.
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Rakeesh
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quote:
I tried to get this across, but again clearly didn't do so well. I don't want us to insult the obese. I want it to be clear that they are reprobates, however, and that cumulatively devastating harm is not only being done to themselves (I don't care) but others as well (I care very much).
I'm still not sure why obesity gets this...extra intensity? I mean, you feel (correctly) that it is one of the most serious problems facing our country. I absolutely agree. What would you say is the next most serious problem, in either direction? And does the scorn you feel for those people measure up proportionally to the scorn you feel for this?

Here's the thing: obesity is a very serious problem that we as a society are being appallingly negligent about actually addressing. But it is also nearly unique among...hmm, problems caused by perzonal decisions? Personal health problems? What have yoh...in that it is visible at once to anyone, expert or layperson, who puts eyes on a member of that group.

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Itsame
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"What would you say is the next most serious problem, in either direction? And does the scorn you feel for those people measure up proportionally to the scorn you feel for this?"

1) The environment (broadly construed) is the most important issue, of which I consider this a subproblem.

2) Yes.

"I'm still not sure why obesity gets this...extra intensity?"
It doesn't. Most people on this website already are intense about the environment, so there's no need for me to add on to it. I'm not actually being that much more intense than many people on here are about that. I'm just in a minority here, so I seem more intense.

http://www.livescience.com/4900-fat-people-bigger-carbon-footprints.html

"A 2004 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that for every ten pounds gained by the average American, airlines burned 350 million more gallons of fuel to carry the additional weight. That fuel spewed an estimated 3.8 million extra tons of carbon dioxide into the air."

"Jon, I just wanted to pop back in to say I think this is an admirable bit of self-awareness. This is exactly what I was trying to get at."

Then I'll keep it up. If I were you, operating from your beliefs and valuation system, I'd think I were a judging ****, too.

Edit: In terms of intensity, the same goes for other issues on this forum. I don't need to tell you all that torture, NDAA, SOPA, and racism are bad.

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Parkour
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quote:
Originally posted by Tittles:
And strawmen aside, a summer of hard physical labor on a 1000 calorie diet would do a lot of people good.

Would you care to volunteer to show us how long a person can survive death from malnutrition and organ failure doing hard labor on a thousand calories a day?
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Dogbreath
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If you're taking the right vitamins and making sure you're getting plenty of green, leafy vegetables and protein, you could survive a summer just fine. There are people who have fasted for longer than that, with vitamins. I often eat 1300-1500 calories/day when cutting. (and usually around 4000-5000 when bulking...) Honestly, though, it's not about the calories but about where they're getting those calories. It's hard to get fat off of grilled chicken, salad, oatmeal, cottage cheese, and fresh fruit, for example.

Anyway, I belong to an organization where shaming is not only expected, but encouraged. I remember in boot camp, for example, one of the overweight recruits being forced to stand in front of the chow hall as every recruit walked past him, point to himself, and say "this recruit is fat" over and over again for about 45 minutes, because he tried to sneak a cookie. They install a pretty strong negative reaction to any level of fat - and it does work. I've never been over 12% body fat in my life, and I'm still constantly self conscious about my weight.

It's also illegal to be fat in the Marine Corps, and if you fail a weigh in/taping, you're punished by being non-recommended for promotion, you automatically get poor proficiency marks, and are forced to work out for an extra hour to hour and a half a day with a platoon of other fat people (called BCP) until you're in shape. If you fail to bring your weight under control in 6 months, you get discharged under other-than-honorable conditions.

You sure don't see too many fat Marines.

Applying this philosophy to society as a whole is a pretty terrible idea.

On the other hand, I think our (American) society doesn't take obesity near seriously enough. The general consensus I see is "if you're fat, it's just the way you are, you can't help it." Look at European countries where obesity rates are below 10%... those people are genetically the same as us, yet far fewer of them have "disorders" that make them fat. I don't think shaming or disrespecting people is the answer, but I'm all for advocacy... specifically telling our populous that weight is something you can personally control, and that it largely has to do with diet, exercise, and self control. There are people with genuine thyroid problems - and there are also treatments for those diseases.

But overall, when I see someone who's fat, I think "they must already be pretty miserable, is it really my business to make them feel worse about themselves?" I think about all the things I do for physical recreation - hiking, mountain climbing, playing football, running on the beach, snorkeling, dancing, skating, camping, biking... and think about people who have been obese since they were 6 or 7 years old and will *never* know what it's like to be physically fit, and how good it feels to, say, run up a mountain trail for an hour and stand at the peak, pouring sweat, lungs burning, with a tingling ecstasy spreading through every muscle in your body, and it makes me incredibly sad. Why should I lord it over them that I didn't have parents that force fed me McDonalds and KFC and giant drums of coke as a kid?

That's another thing - I can't help but look at an obese little kid and feel like they're being abused. It's something that will hurt them and severely limit their ability to enjoy life, not to mention greatly reduce their lifespan and cause numerous health problems. I think feeding kids fast food should be viewed as similar to giving kids alcohol or tobacco - it has similar deleterious effects.

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scifibum
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I believe that agricultural subsidies and the influence of the agriculture lobby on federal agencies are both significant causes of obesity in America.

For a long time, we were told by the USDA to eat mostly bread and pasta. And at the same time, corn sugar is incredibly cheap and in almost everything. Drinking a half gallon or more of sugary liquid every day is pretty normal and quite affordable. (Including subsidized milk.)

Sure, it "has to do with diet, exercise, and self control". But it also has to do with beliefs about what one should eat, involuntary cycles of appetite and mood that are tied to many difficult to control factors and that have to be broken or escaped, and what the culture and economy around us encourage. And it's not as simple as directly encouraging people to improve their diet and exercise - factors such as the work we do, the places we live, and the way we organize our schedules are probably more significant than whether there's a lot of strong PR for whole grains and leafy green vegetables.

That small subsets of society with rigid structure and harsh methods of compliance enforcement (Marines) can use shame successfully doesn't surprise me. After all, they can just kick you out if it doesn't work. Whoever is left is who it worked on (not to mention various up front filters that keep obese people out).

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Swampjedi
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Terrible idea. I spent 15 years obese, peaking at 315lb in college. Want to know when I was the fattest? When I hated myself the most, and was drowning in shame. Being fat was shameful, which usually ended up with me being fatter.

Climbing out of the fat pit is hard enough without people throwing stuff at you. Unlike with other addictions, you can't just go cold turkey on eating.

How many people are truly proud of being fat? I don't know, but the cable news would have us believe it's widespread. Outrage sells!

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Rakeesh
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I think Dogbreath's analysis is pretty darn solid. I would add one thing to his remarks, though. That would be that in societies where shaming is more...official?...it's also coupled to a lot more direct central control over the individual's day-to-day life.

What I mean is, it wouldn't be reasonable to say that shaming is the reason you don't see many obese Marines (not that I think that was the sum of what you were getting at, Dogbreath). It's a big part of the reason, but I think there should probably be two other primary reasons: one, a very large degree of central control over the individual and two, ejection from the group of those who prove impossible (in the boundaries of the rules) to correct.

quote:
On the other hand, I think our (American) society doesn't take obesity near seriously enough. The general consensus I see is "if you're fat, it's just the way you are, you can't help it." Look at European countries where obesity rates are below 10%... those people are genetically the same as us, yet far fewer of them have "disorders" that make them fat. I don't think shaming or disrespecting people is the answer, but I'm all for advocacy... specifically telling our populous that weight is something you can personally control, and that it largely has to do with diet, exercise, and self control. There are people with genuine thyroid problems - and there are also treatments for those diseases.

I do think it would be useful to look at societies with similar standards of living but lower obesity rates and see what might explain the difference.

quote:
That's another thing - I can't help but look at an obese little kid and feel like they're being abused. It's something that will hurt them and severely limit their ability to enjoy life, not to mention greatly reduce their lifespan and cause numerous health problems. I think feeding kids fast food should be viewed as similar to giving kids alcohol or tobacco - it has similar deleterious effects.
Now, *this* would be an area where I think something like shaming or at least strong social disapproval would begin to be more useful. But then we get into questions of things such as food deserts, a term few people have ever even heard of much less considered.
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NobleHunter
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quote:
I think about all the things I do for physical recreation - hiking, mountain climbing, playing football, running on the beach, snorkeling, dancing, skating, camping, biking...
You know what all that list says to me?

Pain, pain, pain, pain, pain, pain, pain, pain, pain...

Because I'm overweight and out-of-shape, all that stuff hurts. And it hurts way before any pay-off. Then it hurts the next day and the day after, and the day after. Even if I don't injure myself in the process. Maybe I'm doing it wrong, but any worthwhile exertion screws my equilibrium for days.

So I passively choose to remain sedentary. I don't like it; it's aggravating and frustrating; and I can't do everything I want to do. But the barriers to changing it seem insurmountable and life (for a little while) goes on.

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Itsame
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quote:
Originally posted by Swampjedi:
Unlike with other addictions, you can't just go cold turkey on eating.

This was probably the hardest part of it for me. What I realized, though, is that it is possible to go cold turkey on unhealthy foods, and that goes a long way. It's not easy. In fact, it's incredibly difficult. But some degree of "cold turkey" is possible. It also requires learning to cook for yourself, if you don't already do it. Completely eliminating pre-fab foods, and not using much sugar, fat, or white starches in cooking, makes a massive difference.

quote:
Originally posted by NobleHunter:
You know what all that list says to me?

Pain, pain, pain, pain, pain, pain, pain, pain, pain...

Again, I'm quite sympathetic to this. It's really difficult to exercise when you're significantly overweight. It freaking hurts all your joints and leaves you constantly sore. I found that I had to lose a lot of weight through intense diet first, before I was able to exercise (I still don't exercise as much as I probably should, to be honest). Thankfully, it is possible to lose a lot of weight through diet--at least enough to get you to the point that exercise no longer hurts.
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ambyr
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An interesting article about one (of the many) reasons people end up at fast food places.
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Lyrhawn
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Thanks for the link ambyr, that's really interesting.
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Stephan
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I am tired of the hate on fast food restaurants. I know I consume more calories at most sit down restaurants, especially the chain ones, and the healthy options at fast food places are a lot cheaper than elsewhere.

Skip the cheese, skip any size but a small fry.

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theamazeeaz
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quote:
Originally posted by NobleHunter:
quote:
I think about all the things I do for physical recreation - hiking, mountain climbing, playing football, running on the beach, snorkeling, dancing, skating, camping, biking...
You know what all that list says to me?

Pain, pain, pain, pain, pain, pain, pain, pain, pain...

Because I'm overweight and out-of-shape, all that stuff hurts. And it hurts way before any pay-off. Then it hurts the next day and the day after, and the day after. Even if I don't injure myself in the process. Maybe I'm doing it wrong, but any worthwhile exertion screws my equilibrium for days.

So I passively choose to remain sedentary. I don't like it; it's aggravating and frustrating; and I can't do everything I want to do. But the barriers to changing it seem insurmountable and life (for a little while) goes on.

You have to not take it too hard, too fast. That's the secret. I'm doing couch to 5k (okay, I just finished week 1), but the instructions say, even if you can do more, DON'T. Because you aren't used to the exercise, you will be dead the next day and then you will just give up. The key to distance running is to run as SLOW as possible so you can sustain the fact that you are running. Also stretching. And proper shoes.
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