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Author Topic: The Fat Acceptance Movement
Dogbreath
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quote:
Originally posted by CT:
Dogbreath, what's your take on the research in the intervening 15 years since that article was published? *interested

I've read some on survival paradox, which seems to be a relatively new field of research on the subject. I'd say the most recent research I've read is from 2010, an article doing meta-analysis on the correlation between overweight/obese mothers and underweight babies. Unfortunately, most of my reading on the matter is summaries rather than original research for two reasons: 1) a lot of the original research is behind pay walls and 2) I'm not a medical professional/scientist, so my interest in the subject and the time/money I'm willing to invest isn't high enough. (Also, since I lack the education to neccesarily understand or appreciate the research meaningfully, I'm not sure how much good it would do me as opposed to listening to professionals/scientific consensus)

(I read the article above, for example, since my sister is a medical professional who works neonatal and sometimes with expectant mothers and deals with obesity amoung other diseases that can cause complications)

quote:
---
Edited to add: I've been interested in following the ongoing conversations in the literature about outcomes. As I mentioned before, my read is that it is more complicated than often portrayed, especially given large meta-analyses coming out in the last decade or so.

*nods* If you're talking about survival paradox then I'm somewhat familiar with this, though I'm interested in your take on what it means and what the ramifications are. I was kind of hoping you would weigh in on the discussion more since I believe you've got the most experience with the subject. [Smile]
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CT
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Oh god, mostly I've learned how much I don't know. [Smile] Let me get my head together, and I'll try to come up with something.

First, though, is noting that part of the problem has to do with varying definitions. The WHO definitions of overweight and obese can vary more or less from the CDC definitions (depending on the timeframe), and that has very little to do with how the words are used in popular culture. I mean, nobody is calling Naomi Campbell obese (I think!), but some people would be called overweight in much popular discourse in some areas, but not others. So discussion of research is problematic, much less discusison of popular culture.

And then (as you rightly pointed out) the Fat Acceptance/healthy At Every Size movement isn't so much a movement as a loosely affiliated cacophony of voices with varying agendas and styles, speaking broadly to the same topic but sometimes with very different perspectives. So critique of the movement (such as it is) is probably going to end up being critiques of subgroups or threads of the discourse, rather than the entire discussion, because the rubric can embrace so much.

And then there is just general people-with-jerk-status, which it seems you and your sweetheart have had the pleasure of encountering in memorable ways. None of which, by the way, would I ever support. What you and she went through sounds decidedly unpleasant, and it would have angered me to experience it.

But how do I take all of that, distill it for myself, and make sense of how to discuss weight and outcomes? How do I interact with my teenagers and their parents (and, sadly, with preteens and even younger) in a way that promotes health instead of driving it away? That's a huge task. In a patient population of about 1600 (ranging from newborn to 17 years old), I have 7 kids with diagnosed eating disorders, 4 of which have been hospitalized for critical status. I have concerns about 5 or 6 others, given remarks they have made. And I have about 2 dozen families who are concerned about weight gain in their kids and are seeking ways to address it.

Help. [Smile]

I was trained at 2 sites with specific interests in obesity treatment and prevention. I'm trying to stay on top of things, but I don't feel okay about using any one source (including people who trained me and that I respect) to tackle this. Nonetheless, this very conversation we are having will be really helpful in making me clarify my thoughts. I'll do my best.

It's not coming from a position of authority, though. just so's we're clear on that.

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Dogbreath
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quote:
Originally posted by CT:
Oh god, mostly I've learned how much I don't know. [Smile] Let me get my head together, and I'll try to come up with something.

First, though, is noting that part of the problem has to do with varying definitions. The WHO definitions of overweight and obese can vary more or less from the CDC definitions (depending on the timeframe), and that has very little to do with how the words are used in popular culture. I mean, nobody is calling Naomi Campbell obese (I think!), but some people would be called overweight in much popular discourse in some areas, but not others. So discussion of research is problematic, much less discusison of popular culture.

*nods* The BMI scale is particularly problematic in it's oversimplification. At 6' 2" and 220 lbs I have a BMI of 28.2 which is "overweight" and near obese, but am 8% body fat and have been, on occasion, called "painfully thin." Mostly because I have a very large frame, wide shoulders, wide chest, long arms, etc. Other guys my same height and weight and body fat but with smaller frames look considerably more muscular, and non-athletic guys of my height and weight look noticeably fat. If I was actually at the low end of normal weight according to BMI (145 lbs) I would be dangerously underweight.

Which is why I'm hesitant to believe figures stating that 1/3rd of the US is obese and 2/3rds are overweight. I would be curious to see similar studies done using, say, body fat percentage calculated with skin calipers or bioelectrical impedance analysis as weighing and even taping aren't necessarily accurate measurements of how fat you are. Let alone how fat you should be.

quote:
And then (as you rightly pointed out) the Fat Acceptance/healthy At Every Size movement isn't so much a movement as a loosely affiliated cacophony of voices with varying agendas and styles, speaking broadly to the same topic but sometimes with very different perspectives. So critique of the movement (such as it is) is probably going to end up being critiques of subgroups or threads of the discourse, rather than the entire discussion, because the rubric can embrace so much.

And then there is just general people-with-jerk-status, which it seems you and your sweetheart have had the pleasure of encountering in memorable ways. None of which, by the way, would I ever support. What you and she went through sounds decidedly unpleasant, and it would have angered me to experience it.

One of the most curious and saddest things about these movements is how centered they are on women and women's bodies. I've seen everything from wonderful things like "you're beautiful just the way you are" and the body positivity groups, which I support whole-heartedly, to openly shaming and ridiculing skinny women saying "they're not real women" or "they're all bitches" or talking about their lack of sexual appeal, etc. This seems like a particularly shameful thing to do to young women, who already have enough problems at it is with body image and eating disorders.

Last year my wife and I went to a baby shower for my friend's wife. A lot of my buddies and their S/Os were there and she was fairly nervous because it was her first time meeting these people. She wore a nice, modest dress and walked in and was extremely friendly, introduced herself to everyone, brought cookies, and we brought a very nice gift.

All but 1 of the women at the shower completely ignored her. Every time she tried to join a conversation, they all stopped talking and glared at her. Eventually after trying for an hour and a half she just came over and watched football with me and my buddies in the living room. I went to use the bathroom and heard the women talking amongst themselves "skinny little bitch, thinks she's so much better than us." "Ugly little haole bitch." We left shortly thereafter.

It may be partly a cultural thing, but her appearance is constantly a matter of criticism from women around her. Women glare at her in the gym (where she teaches a group fitness class), when we go out I notice other women looking at her hatefully, and they can be quite brutal. Which admittedly made me extremely frustrated with Shanna's comment about how "they're just expressing frustration with the image of thin women" and how "if she's not a bitch she should calm down because it doesn't apply to you." (I've heard similar justifications for using the 'n' word mind you...) Yeah, bullcrap.

I don't think any good comes from replacing one arbitrary beauty standard with another, or that hate is any better depending on who the target is.

But the sad part is that, as a guy, my body has never been the subject of ridicule or discussion. Nor have I felt especially pressured to embrace one beauty standard or another. My friends range from toothpick thin to obese, and I can't think of a time when I've ever felt self-conscious about my weight or like I shouldn't socialize with people of other weights.

quote:
But how do I take all of that, distill it for myself, and make sense of how to discuss weight and outcomes? How do I interact with my teenagers and their parents (and, sadly, with preteens and even younger) in a way that promotes health instead of driving it away? That's a huge task. In a patient population of about 1600 (ranging from newborn to 17 years old), I have 7 kids with diagnosed eating disorders, 4 of which have been hospitalized for critical status. I have concerns about 5 or 6 others, given remarks they have made. And I have about 2 dozen families who are concerned about weight gain in their kids and are seeking ways to address it.

Help. [Smile]

I don't envy you whatsoever. Especially with teenagers, shame and the desire to be accepted play such crucial roles and they're incredibly sensitive and receptive to criticism. I.e, just suggesting or talking about a healthy diet and exercise to a teenager (over, under, or normal weight) might give them the impression you think they're not ok. OTOH, that sort of education is absolutely vital - I knew a lot of kids in high school who would "diet" by systematically skipping meals for a day or two and then binging on junk food, or eat very unhealthily in general - and maybe a doctor talking to them about nutrition and health would have really helped. School education about nutrition and exercise is already woefully lacking (and what is there is under attack by a lot of fat acceptance groups for being "discriminatory"), and I think a lot of parents are very lacking in their understanding as well. I.e, when Napoleon Dynamite came out it made me think of a guy I knew whose parents would regularly pack him a tupperware full of just tater tots or french fries for lunch. I went over to his house occasionally and they would eat TV dinners, or hot pockets, or snack food for meals. He ended up getting sick a lot.
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Dogbreath
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Jezebel has a pretty good article about "All About That Bass" and the rather anti-feminist nature of the FAM in general. (As does the NY Post)
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CT
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What are the take-home points for you from the Jezebel article? I think I might be seeing a different message there, and I'm interested in your take on it.
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Dogbreath
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That promoting body positivity by saying "look, boys like the way I look better!" or generally basing your self esteem on your percieved sexual desirability/what other people think of how you look is a step backwards, not forwards.
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CT
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Yeah, I think we're on the same page for that.

I'm a bit muddled about this, though -- has that been a focus yet in the conversation here, or is it a new but related concern you wanted to bring up?

I am a bit afraid this will sound challenging, and I don't mean it to. I'm having trouble following this conversation, and I know at least part of that has to do with some of the vagueness about it in my own mind. [see my long digression above]

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CT
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Argh, maybe this will help -- I read the article and wasn't clear on how it linked to the concerns already raised in this thread. I wonder if your experience of FA is much more heavily tinged with the flavor of sexual self-objectification because of the experience you relate early on in the thread?

It may be that the connection isn't there for me because it is not the context in which I experience the FA movement (such as it is, and such as I do).

---
Edited to add: that is, maybe it is an aspect not visible to me but obvious to others.

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Shanna
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quote:
Originally posted by Dogbreath:
quote:
Originally posted by Shanna:
Some healthists also sell the lie that body size equates to general health and well-being.

http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=192032

quote:
The estimated number of annual deaths attributable to obesity among US adults is approximately 280,000 based on HRs from all subjects and 325,000 based on HRs from only nonsmokers and never-smokers.
I highly encourage you to read the study above, as well as the wikipedia article on obesity and it's citations. Simply put, this is not a "lie" that doctors and the healthcare industry conspired to start telling people to make them feel bad about their weight, it is the truth. Obesity being an extremly unhealthy condition that kills hundreds of thousands of people every year is factual. While I completely respect your choices as far as what you want to do with your own body, trying to push dangerous lies on other people for a political agenda or because the truth *hurts your feelings* is immoral and, in the cases where children are involved, abuse. Telling people not to listen to medical professionals because you don't like what they have to say, or accusing doctors who choose to practice medicine with integrity and honesty "healthists", is also immoral and evil.

I'd counter by saying healthy people are healthy, and unhealthy people are unhealthy. Simple as that.

There are thin people who get winded climbing stairs and there are heavy people who run marathons. There are medical conditions that equally affect thin and heavy people but when a medical professional refuses to approach them equally, then we have a problem. When a heavy person has medical concerns that are ignored and improperly treated because a doctor is fixated on their weight when it may or may not have any bearing on their symptoms, then we have a problem.

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Dogbreath
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quote:
There are thin people who get winded climbing stairs and there are heavy people who run marathons.
Yes, and there are unvaccinated people who are healthy and vaccinated people with autism, there are non-smokers with lung cancer and smokers who live 100+ years, etc, etc, ad ad nauseam. This argument is nothing new. Do you think a doctor ought to tell a smoker to keep smoking because, hey, nonsmokers get sick too?

quote:

There are thin people who get winded climbing stairs and there are heavy people who run marathons. There are medical conditions that equally affect thin and heavy people but when a medical professional refuses to approach them equally, then we have a problem. When a heavy person has medical concerns that are ignored and improperly treated because a doctor is fixated on their weight when it may or may not have any bearing on their symptoms, then we have a problem.

Pretending weight isn't an issue isn't going to solve the problem of incompetent doctors. It'll only exacerbate it. Which isn't to say this argument - that we should pretend a serious medical problem (perhaps *the* most serious medical problem in the developed world) doesn't exist because doctors might fixate on it too much - makes any sense.

But also, in all my reading, I've yet to encounter any evidence of doctors systematically ignoring problems that heavy people have because of their weight. In the case of misdiagnosis - which is a problem across the board in medicine - it could probably be because weight so commonly causes those problems that it's the most likely culprit. I.e, if 95% of the time a problem is caused by being overweight and my patient is severely overweight, I'll be inclined to assume that's the cause. If I'm a competent doctor I'll run a few extra tests and try and see if anything else is wrong, but in many cases it's difficult to pin down the exact cause of an illness if there's more than one possible cause so I'll try and address the most probable (and fixable) one first.

For example, if a doctor has a patient with emphysema and he knows the patient smokes 2 packs a day, his first response will be to tell the patient to stop smoking. It's possible that something else actually caused it and a good doctor will ask enough questions to rule out anything else, but he's going to focus on the most probable cause first. Plus, stopping smoking will both alleviate some of the symptoms and help make it easier to figure out what other causes there might be.

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kmbboots
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For years my doctor assumed that my fatigue was caused by my being overweight. All he would suggest was that I should lose weight. I am pretty sure that if I came in with a stab wound, he would tell me to lose weight before he stopped the bleeding. Which, of course, I should. However, turns out that my fatigue was caused by being dangerous anemic. It got to the point of muscle cramps and heart palpitations before it was diagnosed - and then only because I donate blood regularly and it was noted then. I also probably gained 40 pounds due to the anemia because of the fatigue. If the doctor hadn't been so sure that my symptoms were indicative of a moral failing, I would be healthier now.
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Dogbreath
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*nods* It sounds like your doctor failed to even order a blood test, which is something I get every year during a physical exam. It baffles me that he would fail to notice it after years of annual physicals. I'm not a doctor but any of the symptoms you mention - fatigue where it wasn't present before, sudden weight gain, muscle cramps, etc. - would make me suspect anemia. The question is if he was being a bigot or merely incompetent - I've had doctors more or less ignore or brush off medical concerns I've had as well. (I.e, while dealing with severe fatigue and anxiety being told "you should probably sleep more")
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kmbboots
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Or he just could see past the fat. My Dad was obese - he had gall stones, they assumed heart attack first. When he did have heart trouble, it took them awhile to diagnose the mitral valve damage because they were so sure that he had blocked arteries even though angiogram after angiogram showed clear arteries.
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Dogbreath
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By "see past the fat" do you mean consider diagnoses other than the most likely one (being thorough) or simply ignoring fat as a likely cause of certain diseases?

Like with your dad, I'm going to go out on a limb and guess they assumed a heart attack because most of the symptoms indicated that to be the case and the wanted to treat the most serious possible problem first. After they ruled that out (and possibly other things) they were able to diagnose the gallstones correctly. That's generally how diagnosis works - they start with the most likely thing that the most evidence supports, and move down from there. Not because the most likely thing is always true, or even almost always true, simply most likely to be true. I think ignoring obesity will have a pretty deleterious effect on diagnosis, much like ignoring smoking in cases involving lung disease (even though there are many other things that cause it) would also be unethical.

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kmbboots
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I am not sure that the relationships between those things are as clear-cut as you assume. Dad's heart issue was, in all likelihood congenital. The weight exacerbated it, but didn't cause it. My heart, despite being considerably overweight, is in great shape. My blood pressure is low-normal as is my heart rate. I have COPD despite never having smoked. Go figure.

I don't have a problem with checking most liklies first; I do have a problem with the dogged insistence that a lack of will power is the cause of every problem to the point of not looking for other possibilities until the patient loses weight.

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Rakeesh
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It seems like there's some strange crossover going on here. Are there many scenarios in which obesity will be misidentified as the pressing health problem in a given individual? Well sure, that seems like it should go without saying. Is this likely because many people turn off the analytical parts of their thinking when faced with something they can judge a moral failing, or something that is generally accepted? Also true, I have no doubt.

None of that seems to have any bearing on what seems clear, that while being overweight or even being outright obese may on a case by case basis not be a significant health problem, it's not going to ever be the ideal 'setting' so to speak for one's body. However, that can seem a lot harsher than it really is I think. 'Not ideal' could describe many people who are active and will live to be ninety in good health who are also overweight. However, it will also describe the person who is carrying an extra hundred pounds and will not.

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Dogbreath
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
I don't have a problem with checking most liklies first; I do have a problem with the dogged insistence that a lack of will power is the cause of every problem to the point of not looking for other possibilities until the patient loses weight.

I think we're mostly in agreement here, then.

quote:

None of that seems to have any bearing on what seems clear, that while being overweight or even being outright obese may on a case by case basis not be a significant health problem, it's not going to ever be the ideal 'setting' so to speak for one's body. However, that can seem a lot harsher than it really is I think. 'Not ideal' could describe many people who are active and will live to be ninety in good health who are also overweight. However, it will also describe the person who is carrying an extra hundred pounds and will not.

Yeah, it's a matter of science and statistics, which makes dealing with people who rely on anecdote to inform their life choices incredibly frustrating. I.e, with the smoking, I bring that up because I know several people who when confronted about how dangerous it is will claim "my aunt Ruth lived to 102 and she smoked 2 packs a day" and use that to completely dismiss what science and medicine have to tell them.

Likewise, I'm sure there are thousands of anecdotal stories of obese people who live well into old age, don't experience heart problems, respiratory problems, or any of the other problems associated with having your internal organs compressed by large amounts of fat. Just like there are people who have had kids start showing signs of autism or die of SIDS or whatnot right after vaccination. And of course there are nonsmokers who die of lung disease, skinny people who have heart attacks, and vaccinated people who catch the measles.

But when you actually look at the physiology of the human body and look at hundreds of years of medical research tell you, as well as exhaustive statistical analysis, you find an overwhelming amount of proof that being severely overweight is bad for you and drastically reduces average lifespan while increasing the risk of various diseases. And I'm immediately distrustful of anyone who tries to advance a cause that challenges or attempts to refute science as we know it by using anecdotes, feelings, "instinct" ("parent's instinct" or otherwise), or guilt. (or religion for that matter)

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scifibum
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I think direct opposition to science and rationality are a bad thing. However, I'm curious about whether self-acceptance might be a (minimally qualified) good, when it comes to outcomes. That is, what if "fat acceptance" helps position people, emotionally and cognitively, to adopt more self-caring and health-improving behaviors? (Relative to "being fat is bad, don't be fat" messaging?) This seems rather plausible to me, although I have not looked into it.
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kmbboots
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Yep. My emotional response to visit to this doctor is to go get a hamburger.
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Traceria
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There is something to be said for how loving yourself as you are can be a positive motivator.
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ElJay
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quote:
But when you actually look at the physiology of the human body and look at hundreds of years of medical research tell you, as well as exhaustive statistical analysis, you find an overwhelming amount of proof that being severely overweight is bad for you and drastically reduces average lifespan while increasing the risk of various diseases.
Dogbreath, CT has repeatedly and politely told you that you are wrong about this, and it is not a currently accepted fact in the medical field. Yet you keep repeating it, like some sort of zealot not interested in listening to facts. Go re-read her first post in the thread, and then please stop saying it's a matter of science and statistics, when it's really not that clear-cut.
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Rakeesh
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Hmmm. Having read her post again just now, I'm not sure she would disagree since he qualified it with 'severely' and unless I am mistaken the key point of her post was that it's neither statistically or medically clear that being slightly overweight is actually detrimental to one's health.
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Dogbreath
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Yes, if I understood CT correctly, her point is that there is some meta-analysis that indicates being slightly overweight might be good for you. That's what prompted our discussion of the inaccuracy of BMI earlier on this page, for example. But even the link she posted clearly states being obese is bad for you and shortens one's lifetime. At no time did she say I was wrong or actually disagree with me on that point.

Reading almost any journal on the subject, asking any doctor, or simply perusing the wikipedia article on the subject will show you that it *is* an accepted fact in the medical field, indeed one of the most clear cut and agreed upon ones.

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Rakeesh
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I would characterize her position as that there is a bit more than just meta analysis that being slightly overweight etc, but that's just my take on her post.
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theamazeeaz
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quote:
Originally posted by Dogbreath:
quote:
Originally posted by theamazeeaz:
but as long as you're well away from either extreme, and your lifestyles includes healthy food and exercise, than you should be fine.

Unfortunately, this idea that you should maintain a healthy body weight, eat healthy food and exercise regularly makes you a "healthist" and an oppressor.

I wonder of the HAES/FAM people realize how much they have in common with Pro-Ana groups, or realize just how damaging shaming people (especially young women) for their body can be.

Those people are nuts. I haven't really encountered HAES/FAM people in the wild. Are people like this the norm or the extremists in the movement?
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Dogbreath
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As with any movement, the most extreme ones tend to be the loudest, so hopefully they're not the norm. I have a few friends on Facebook who fall more towards the extreme end of this movement, and it gets into some fairly whacky territory. (mostly by attempting to translate concepts and phrases from other social justice movements in a way that doesn't really make sense.)

On Healthism:
http://****nohealthism.tumblr.com/ (slightly NSFW, you have to substitute the ****s for the 'f' word) is an excellent compilation of quotes that outline anti-healthist beliefs pretty clearly.

This video turns into a debate between several HAES/FAM and physicians/fitness trainers about several of their claims. (starts about the 5 minute mark. Goes several experts talking about increased risk for disease, the fact obesity costs Australia $60bn/year along with some of the HAES/anti-healthists expressing their views)

Edit: Actually, really recommend this video for everyone looking for a better understanding of the subject and some of the claims being made by the HAES movement. It's a very civil discussion with none of the yelling or grandstanding we see so often on American TV, which is nice. It also covers some of the horrific diseases caused by excess weight. (including a girl who got bariatric surgery because her size was damaging her ovaries to the point of possibly making her infertile)

On thin privilege and sizeism: http://thisisthinprivilege.org/
http://everydayfeminism.com/2012/11/20-examples-of-thin-privilege/

On thinsplaining:

http://bioethicsbulletin.org/archive/dan-callahan-thinsplains-obesity

Those are a few examples, and as can be expected some of them are fairly reasonable and understandable, or even things I agree with. (nobody should be bullied or singled out or treated like crap due to their size, period) There has, however, been an alarming uptick in anti-healthist articles and activists as of late, which is what has made me start to worry about the general direction the movement is heading in.

Mostly I'm worried about using sociological or psychological concepts in an attempt to refute or ignore medical science. I.e, a thin man arrogantly saying "I don't know why you're so fat, losing weight is *easy*" is definitely an asshole and also probably benefiting from "thin privilege" (if such concept can be said to exist in our society where the majority of persons are overweight...). A medical doctor telling you it would be healthy for you to exercise more and eat less until you lose 50 lbs is definitely *not* thinsplaining, or exercising thin privilege, or enforcing an system of endemic oppression.

Whether he is wrong or right to do so is another matter, but it should be decided by science, and as CT and I have discussed there's quite a bit of research and debate on the very subject. When you start telling people to ignore their doctors for social justice reasons, or make science and medicine the boogieman of your movement, I become very wary of it.

Actually, I generally find any movement that relies mainly on appeals to emotion and empathy rather than fact and logic inherently distrustful. For example, with the recent anti-cry it out movement, I knew absolutely nothing about it (I have no children) until reading this article:
http://www.phillyvoice.com/screaming-sleep/

The first page or two is all anecdotal purple prose, and where science is involved at all, it's neither clearly stated nor systematic and consists mostly of various doctors "saying" things.

So I googled the subject and sure enough, it's been proven again and again to be safe and effective. Not that I really care about the subject, but I can't think of a "pop" science debate I've seen yet where the group mostly relying on emotion, anecdote or outrage to press their point has been remotely right.

[ February 11, 2015, 01:51 AM: Message edited by: Dogbreath ]

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dkw
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Do you really want to bring in another oversimplification of a complicated topic to illustrate your oversimplification of a completely unrelated complicated topic?
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Dogbreath
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You know, since literally the first post in this thread I've discussed the movement and the science behind it in detail. I've discussed the nuances of different beliefs they hold, the implications of various research and concepts like BMI, and the kinesiology and physiology of the human body. I've also been willing to discuss this topic in good faith with anyone interested in doing the same.

So I don't think accusing me of oversimplifying the subject with a one sentence post is very fair or accurate.

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dkw
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Here's where I think I'm feeling disconnect with your thread: Health issues are between a person and their doctor. They're not really anyone else's business. Weight is one of the few health risk factors that is very public; any other risk factor, even something like smoking that is directly behavioral, can be hidden. Yes, the science that being overweight is associated with negative health outcomes is clear. But so is the science that shows negative health outcomes associated with depression.

If there were a movement to help people with cancer feel better about themselves would you feel the need to point out that cancer really is unhealthy?

I think you're looking at a few wackos who go too far and extrapolating it into a huge risk of people aspiring to get or stay overweight. The science that being massively overweight is not healthy is clear. The science on what is causing the obesity epidemic is not. I would bet quite a lot, though, that fat-acceptance extremists are not a significant factor.

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Dogbreath
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quote:
Originally posted by dkw:
Here's where I think I'm feeling disconnect with your thread: Health issues are between a person and their doctor. They're not really anyone else's business.

Yes, absolutely. And this is what I've argued throughout the entire thread. Which is why I think a movement that openly tells people to ignore their doctors, or even ridicules doctors as "healthists" is so dangerous.

Likewise, the public shaming of skinny women with calling them "skinny bitches" being socially acceptable. I have never made any assumptions or judgements about an overweight person, or made derogatory comments about them, or in any way treated them with anything but respect for their body. Neither has my wife, actually, yet she's been repeatedly attacked by these people just because of how she looks and the career field she's in.

quote:
Weight is one of the few health risk factors that is very public; any other risk factor, even something like smoking that is directly behavioral, can be hidden. Yes, the science that being overweight is associated with negative health outcomes is clear. But so is the science that shows negative health outcomes associated with depression.
Yes, which is why it's probably not good to shame people. Or make them feel bad about their size.

quote:
If there were a movement to help people with cancer feel better about themselves would you feel the need to point out that cancer really is unhealthy?
In this analogy if they were claiming cancer was perfectly healthy, or telling people to ignore their doctor about the dangers of cancer and how to treat it (because doctors who treat cancer are part of a system of oppression), then I would absolutely, vociferously, 100% do so.

I think there's a vast difference between feeling good about oneself despite having a disease and attacking anyone who claims that it *is* a disease. For a somewhat ludicrous (and yes, oversimplified) analogy: I have a buddy who got his leg blown off in 2010 and wears a prosthetic leg. He's very active and healthy, competes in paralympics, and is part of a support group for amputee athletes. I can't imagine that support group (which does a lot to raise awareness of some of the challenges facing amputees, and some of the bigotry against them) ever claiming that losing a limb is a desirable or healthy thing to have happen or that doctors who operate to save people's limbs after accidents are bigots. (though again, it's an imperfect analogy)

quote:
I think you're looking at a few wackos who go too far and extrapolating it into a huge risk of people aspiring to get or stay overweight. The science that being massively overweight is not healthy is clear. The science on what is causing the obesity epidemic is not. I would bet quite a lot, though, that fat-acceptance extremists are not a significant factor.
I absolutely agree they're not a significant factor in the cause right now. The movement (especially the extreme edge) is growing at the moment though, and I'm worried about what impact this profoundly anti-science movement will have on future generations. Specifically, the danger of anti-vaxxers isn't in the people who believe it, it's because those people have children they don't vaccinate. Likewise, a belief that obesity isn't dangerous might lead one to raise obese children, or even deemphasize PE and nutrition in school. (Whatever still remains of it)

But my main concern isn't with the movement causing obesity, it's with how it impacts our society is a whole. Specifically, attacking and shaming girls and young women about their bodies can lead to eating disorders. Also, I think encouraging people to ignore the deleterious effects obesity has on their health, or what their doctors recommend to treat it, is dangerous and definitely will lead to more sick or dead people.

In the video I posted above, for example, a HAES woman berates a 20 year old woman for choosing to have bariatric surgery in order to treat several dangerous, possibly life-threatening diseases that were greatly exacerbated by her obesity. Which isn't to say I think bariatric surgery should be commonplace or that I think it's very safe or desirable in most cases, but I don't think it's ok to attack people for choosing to undergo it, especially if the alternatives are worse. Which is really my entire beef with the FAM - it has less to do with making people feel good about themselves (which I totally support) and more to do with attacking anyone who believes obesity is unhealthy.

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Risuena
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Dogbreath - I think you and I have completely different experiences of the "fat acceptance movement" (also, disclosure, I am fat and am pretty solidly in the "morbidly obese" category).

Most of what I have seen is people essentially saying that just because you are fat, it doesn't mean you are unhealthy. Yes, you are more likely to have health issues due to your weight, but not necessarily. Most of the people I see talking about these issues aren't advocating for people to go ahead and get fat (or saying that fat is better than skinny), they're just saying that you can't know how healthy someone is by looking at them. There are plenty of skinny people who eat crappily and don't work out and there are lots of fat people who are active and eat healthily.

And as I've said, I'm morbidly obese (I'm trying to work on that). But there often seems to be an assumption that someone who is as heavy as I am is unhealthy in every way, or every issue they have is weight related. But, that's not true - I have genetically low blood pressure (like scary low, which is the opposite of what you'd expect of someone my weight) and cholesterol.

Basically, to my mind, weight is a risk factor. Like smoking is a risk factor. But neither is a simple causative. Ideally, lower weight is better, but not every skinny person is healthier than a heavier person (and FYI - despite my genetic blessings, I don't assume I'm healthy, I just figure it's a couple of things I don't have to worry about for now)

It sounds like you've dealt with a lot of crappy people who purport to be part of the FAM. I'm sorry you've had to deal with them or other wise crappy people, but they're also not representative of everyone.

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Dogbreath
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Risuena: I actually more or less completely agree with you, and I think you and I are on the same page here. You'll notice I address weight as only one factor affecting health - in my own life I consider it to be far less important than diet, exercise, mental health, respiratory and cardiovascular health, even dental health. If I gain or lose fat I don't consider it a big deal... I would start to worry about it more if I approached 25% or more body fat, I think. Which is sort of a point we may or may not disagree with - the further overweight one becomes, the more negative effects it has and the further up the list of health concerns it goes. I don't think it goes past certain things, though - eating disorders are far more likely to kill you if you engage in them then almost any level of obesity. So is smoking (something people occassionally try to lose weight), albiet more more slowly.

The difference in experience is something I have tried to account for in this thread, though maybe I haven't done a good enough job.

Generally the perception one gets from outside or fringe of a culture or group is entirely different from what one gets on the inside. The image the FAM projects to those outside of it comes mostly from it's most vocal and confrontational elements, which unfortunately happen to be it's most extreme ones.

This is more or less a ubiquitous problem, though: as a male I rarely, if ever see the sort of horrible things some guys say to women, nor get the full context. Though thanks to the internet it's easier to see this due to the fact that anybody can read what anyone says, and while my initial reaction to being confronted about men being sexist may be to be defensive (because *I* don't experience it very frequently), I've come to understand and value the outside perspective about the group I belong to.

Likewise for being white, or for being part of the military, or for belonging to a certain faith, or political party. As an insider and not an extreme one, I'm often uniformed or underinformed about some of the things members of my groups do or say.

My post was never intended as a attack on everyone in the movement, but rather certain aspects of it that I've encountered increasingly frequently, and in some cases, reather personally and painfully. If I didn't make that clear enough then I apologize for any offense given.

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Nato
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quote:
Running is what humans do best
There's a lot of harmful thinking in this thread. To me, fat acceptance is simply accepting people of all shapes as people, recognizing that they have equal potential of being valuable humans. 'People' is a much broader category than 'people for whom running is their top talent', and this kind of language is harmful to people whose concentration of talent isn't in athletics. Fat people are people too.

As a taxpayer, I support all people's right to get a share of tax dollars for the medical care they need, even if they're a smoker or overweight or addicted to drugs. All these health issues are risk factors and part of the human experience. I'm not going to begrudge anyone the basic respect that I think all humans deserve because they've got one or the other. People who are fat have plenty of opportunities to be lectured about this risk factor.

There are a lot of nice people in the fat acceptance movement, I can assure you.

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Dogbreath
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Are you aware of the context of that quote, Nato? [Smile]
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Risuena
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Dogbreath - I realized I never came back to this.

We do agree more than not. I think my biggest issue was that you started off speaking about the fringes of the FAM as if their beliefs were the core of the movement and then later you clarified that you were talking about the fringes, even if they are an exceptionally vocal fringe.

I can't say that I'm part of the FAM - although I fit the demographic and am sympathetic to many of their positions. They can also piss me off with some of the "real women have curves"* or other things that can come off as shaming. Women (and men) come in all sorts of shapes and no one should be doing any judging or shaming of different body types (Yes, I am an idealist, why do you ask?).

*When did curves become associated with weight? Skinny women can be curvy, fat women can be straight. Curves aren't weight dependent.

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Dogbreath
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quote:
Originally posted by Risuena:
Dogbreath - I realized I never came back to this.

We do agree more than not. I think my biggest issue was that you started off speaking about the fringes of the FAM as if their beliefs were the core of the movement and then later you clarified that you were talking about the fringes, even if they are an exceptionally vocal fringe.

Yes, I did do that. Frankly, it was a mixture of ignorance about the scope of the FAM (I rather ignorantly assumed that the parts we had experienced represented the majority view of the group) as well as some level of naivete about how the post would be received. Could I go back and rewrite it, I would probably be somewhat less cavalier in my approach and couch my terms more carefully.
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theamazeeaz
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Relevant:
http://www.rhinotimes.com/uncle-orson-reviews-everything-drowned-fish-and-shaming-the-obese.html

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scifibum
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I can't help but suspect that OSC is overstating a few of his facts in support of his thesis, but I agree with his main points.
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Dogbreath
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Reading it mostly made me wonder who these horrible friends of OSC's are who keep making fun of him for being fat and laughing when he breaks chairs or falls down.

Like, I've only ever seen a single chair break from having an overweight person sit in it (I don't suspect it's a very common occurance) and as soon as it happened several of us rushed over and helped her up, made sure she was ok. Are his friends seriously that cruel?

Other than that, of course fat shaming in any form is stupid and hurtful. I do like how he managed to throw this into the mix:

quote:
The very people who are so understanding about other people’s irresistible sexual desires (“men will be men,” “the heart wants what the heart wants”), are often brutally judgmental about other hungers.
So yeah, if you're a supporter of gay marriage or are just more permissive or less judgemental of people's sexual choices you're most likely also a bigot towards overweight or obese people! [Roll Eyes]
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Samprimary
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I respect my father so much that it's difficult to really explain how much I love him in text. I can hardly really put my endorsements of his character into words sufficient enough, blah blah, whatever. If he got fat and then as a result literally broke a chair by sitting on it because he was fat, both myself and my mother (who is similar in our complete respect for the guy, our reverance and love, so on) would be laughing so hard we could probably not breathe or stand up, which is really rather tragic as it would make us easier targets
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GaalDornick
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quote:
Originally posted by Dogbreath:

quote:
The very people who are so understanding about other people’s irresistible sexual desires (“men will be men,” “the heart wants what the heart wants”), are often brutally judgmental about other hungers.
So yeah, if you're a supporter of gay marriage or are just more permissive or less judgemental of people's sexual choices you're most likely also a bigot towards overweight or obese people! [Roll Eyes]
I haven't read the article, but from the context of your quote it doesn't sound like he's referring to gay marriage supporters. It sounds like he's referring to people who defend overly forward men.
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Samprimary
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that said where the hell do you find a chair these days that will break under anything shy of 500 pounds, do people regularly sit in flimsy wicker recliners somewhere I just don't know about or what

i mean i'm in a 20 dollar ikea chair right now. i could be so fat that i would have to sit my butt over both the armrests just to be technically sitting on it, and it still wouldn't break

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scifibum
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quote:
Originally posted by GaalDornick:
quote:
Originally posted by Dogbreath:

quote:
The very people who are so understanding about other people’s irresistible sexual desires (“men will be men,” “the heart wants what the heart wants”), are often brutally judgmental about other hungers.
So yeah, if you're a supporter of gay marriage or are just more permissive or less judgemental of people's sexual choices you're most likely also a bigot towards overweight or obese people! [Roll Eyes]
I haven't read the article, but from the context of your quote it doesn't sound like he's referring to gay marriage supporters. It sounds like he's referring to people who defend overly forward men.
Since I can't really think of anybody who defends "overly forward men" as a demographic, I think it's more plausible that he means the following:

*"men will be men" is a (sloppy to be sure) caricature of a position that having multiple sexual partners before/instead of monogamous intra-marital sex can be a healthy expression of sexuality

*"the heart wants..." is a sloppy caricature of slogans in support of tolerance of homosexuality and same sex marriage, as well as justifications for divorce when you don't love the person you are married to any more.

IN OTHER WORDS he's referring to less restrictive sexual mores in general, in contrast to conservative religious views on sex.

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TomDavidson
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Speaking as a 300 lb. man, there are indeed chairs that I will only gingerly and carefully use. If a chair has a wide wicker or cloth base with no wooden seat, or has thin legs and no crossbraces, or is old and brittle, or has started to loosen over the years and shifts under my weight, I will look for somewhere else to sit or, barring that option, will not allow my full weight to rest on the chair.

I have broken one chair in my life, back when I weighed another forty pounds or so. It was a stackable plastic patio chair and basically shattered into shards the instant I committed myself to it.

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Dogbreath
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quote:
Originally posted by GaalDornick:
I haven't read the article, but from the context of your quote it doesn't sound like he's referring to gay marriage supporters. It sounds like he's referring to people who defend overly forward men.

scifibum beat me to the punch here, but based on articles and movie reviews OSC has written in the past, he's using those terms to characterize approval for sexual promiscuity and homosexuality respectively. I can't really see someone justifying overly forward men by saying "the heart wants what the heart wants"... that, and that also stretches the analogy to the breaking point here. (Not that it was a strong one to begin with)

The "men will be men" one is more dubious, but I think he's talking about the theory he's written about several times (see his review of "He's Just Not That Into You") that "alpha males" are naturally promiscuous and use that sort of "men will be men" attitude to flout social mores, civilization, and commitment.

It is an admittedly (possibly intentionally) vague line, but it falls in line with everything else he’s written.

(And yes, I realize I’m basically writing an exegesis of an article published in a small town paper written by an aging science fiction author. Which is probably not too high up there on write in responses to those "what is your hobby?" questionaires)

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Samprimary
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
It was a stackable plastic patio chair and basically shattered into shards the instant I committed myself to it.

Oh my god I just lost it at this mental image of you detonating the fragmentation chair
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TomDavidson
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It was pretty funny. I was holding a plate of watermelon, baked beans, and cole slaw at the time, which had the expected result. And only one of the shards actually drove itself any distance into my calf, meaning that there was much less blood than there could have been. *wry laugh*
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Dogbreath
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See now, that sounds more "oh my God he's got a piece of chair sticking out of him call 911!"-horrifying than hilarious to me, but different strokes I guess.
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TomDavidson
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Oh, there was no way in hell I was going to let anyone know that I'd impaled myself on a chair bit. I went to the bathroom under the pretext of cleaning off my clothes, patched the hole, and carried on.
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Samprimary
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it's like the enemy had broken through the front lines and tom was like WE HAVE NO CHOICE. I MUST DETONATE THE CHAIR and he grabs his beans and coleslaw and lands right on that mofo and it immediately explodes into plastic chair shrapnel and eleven charging enemy troops do that japanese movie exxagerated flailing and screaming in pain thing before falling down dead

my god, tom, you've saved us all, here's your purple heart

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