Where is the logic?

I read a lot of message boards and blogs online, and one social networking site I visit has a “rant” section.  Recently, another member on that site ranted about how women who are obese should not claim to be BBW (Big Beautiful Women). 

I tried to stay out of the thread.  Really, I did.  But I lost that Will roll (gamers will understand that reference).

Over the course of a few days, the responses to that rant have been about 50/50 between “Yah, how dare fat people think they could be beautiful” and “who are you to say I’m NOT beautiful”.  Of course, there’s shades in between, but I was actually pretty surprised there were so many people standing up for themselves.

Well, the guy who started the thread said tonight:

Do some research, there’s no secret to losing weight, regardless of how old you are or what kind of genes you have. If you are burning more calories then you are consuming, you’ll lose weight, period. If you want to argue against that… you’re beyond help.

Now, if it’s true that America has the distinction of being the “fattest nation” and that over 60% of Americans are obese (which I’m not saying it is, hear me out here), then what this guy is saying is that over 182 million US citizens are … what?  Lazy?  Stupid (because we don’t know that eating a “healthy” salad but drowning it in dressing isn’t “good for you”)?  Want to be subject to ridicule for our whole lives?  Want to hear “you’d be so pretty if you just lost weight?”  Want to have total strangers say, “You have to get off the couch and eat less”?

I mean, where’s the logic in this?  We are bombarded daily with messages on TV, on the internet, in print, and on the radio about the “death fats” and how “fat leads to” all these bad health problems.  We are bombarded daily with stories and articles telling us what food is “good” for us and what food is “bad” for us.  Do people really believe that we “don’t know” that eating 10 cupcakes in one sitting is probably not healthy (definitely not healthy for me, as eating 10 cupcakes at one time would make me physically sick)?  We are bombarded with all this advice, from exercise gurus like Richard Simmons, Bob Green, and others, telling us how much we need to exercise because Americans just don’t get off the couch enough.  We are bombarded by nutritionists and chefs who tell us don’t eat eggs because it will raise your cholesterol, don’t eat fat because it makes you fat, don’t eat carbs because that’ll turn to fat, don’t eat meat because it’ll lead to heart disease and heart attack (so what can we eat?). 

Do people really think that that 182 million people, just in the US, are really that stupid?

Where is the logic in that? 

I get told all the time that my belief that correlation does not equal causation is illogical.  That the death fats really does cause diabetes and heart disease and stroke and high blood pressure, and when I point out that all my tests come back firmly in the normal ranges, I’m called a liar.  But, the guy who started the jogging craze in the 70’s, Jim Fixx, died of a heart attack while jogging, and nobody claimed it was his “lifestyle” that caused it.  A high school basketball player died of a heart attack in 1999, and being healthy and playing a fast paced game weren’t blamed for his death.  Lot’s of normal size people die young, from complications of diabetes, and people don’t say they brought it on themselves by making the wrong choices.

Am I saying that exercising and being healthy will cause a heart attack?  No, that’s as silly as saying that being fat WILL cause death by heart attack/diabetes/stroke/whatever.

What I’m saying is that death is inevitable.  Healthy, “normal sized” people die of so-called fat related diseases every day.  So why don’t we hear about the dangers of eating broccoli, spinach and tofu?  Why don’t we hear about how physical exercise causes death?

There is no logic in this selective blaming.  To bad people can’t see how they are being so illogical.

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27 Responses

  1. but I was actually pretty surprised there were so many people standing up for themselves.

    Great, the erm, *stuff* is hitting the fan, rock on us!

    Where is the logic in that?

    Ha, ha, this isn’t about logic, this is about what people want to believe, it’s a choice.

    More than reasoning, it is our resistance, making them doing all their dirty work themselves, rather than doing it for them by hating ourselves that is going to give them something to actually think about; for once.

    For all their talk of our laziness, they’ve had a very easy ride so far.

    Let’s see how they make out when they have to do all the work themselves.

  2. When it comes to irrationally hating fat people, there never is any logic.

  3. Now, if it’s true that America has the distinction of being the “fattest nation” and that over 60% of Americans are obese…

    Actually, only about one-third of Americans are obese. The 60 percent figure includes both people who are obese and overweight. Very few people in that obese category are super-obese, that is, weigh more than 400, 500 pounds. Most people who are obese today would probably teeter on the overweight range had not BMI ranges been lowered in the late 1990s.

    • Most people who are obese today would probably teeter on the overweight range had not BMI ranges been lowered in the late 1990s.

      I just do not understand why this is never mentioned in discussions of “skyrocketing” obesity rates. I’m one of those people who is usually “obese” by the current standards, but would have been “overweight,” even at the top of my usual weight range, before 1997. And, most of the “obese” women I know are around my size. If we returned to the pre-1997 BMI classifications, I doubt we’d be able to sustain all the hysteria over the “obesity epidemic” we’ve had since then.

      Whenever we talk about “skyrocketing” rates of things–diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity–it is always, always ignored that the diagnostic criteria keeps getting pushed downward. It seems absurd to talk about rising prevalences when we’re comparing diagnoses based upon different diagnostic criteria.

      • I just do not understand why this is never mentioned in discussions of “skyrocketing” obesity rates

        You’ve answered your own question!

        I doubt we’d be able to sustain all the hysteria over the “obesity epidemic” we’ve had since then.

        • This whole thing drives me absolutely insane! I’m 5’4″ and as of yesterday (admittedly after a weekend of younger brother graduation related large meals and dinners out) weighed 174 lbs. “Officially” obese. Except I have no health problems. My body fat is around 29%. I exercise regularly, and try to eat well.

          Um. Sure. Clearly I’m just not trying hard enough to lose weight.

      • Yeah, the fact that obesity rates are far from skyrocketing (in fact, obesity rates among children leveled off years ago), also says something about the ways in which the entire “epidemic” is greatly over-exaggerated.

    • *nods* Which is why I said “not saying that it is”. 🙂 I was going on a different tangent, instead of bringing up the actual percentages.

      That’ll be a topic for another post! 🙂

  4. Very few people in that obese category are super-obese, that is, weigh more than 400, 500 pounds.

    This is a nitpick, but I weigh just over 300 pounds and am considered super obese (which is the category beyond morbidly obese). I supposed that’s because I’m only 5’3″. I’ve definitely given up dieting… if I could just get 6 inches taller, though….j/k

    There is no rationality involved in this at all. There is no logic. Why would anyone choose to be fat in a society where it is stigmatized so deeply? That’s something the weight-loss trolls never seem to think about, because they’re not thinking about the objects of their derision as real people.

  5. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. That they cannot see beauty in fat people is their loss, not the problem of those beheld.

  6. @Bree: I don’t think there’s a great deal of logic behind hating any group of people as a whole.

    The fact that half the commenters are standing up for body diversity is a wonderful, wonderful thing, IMNSHO. Even a couple of years ago, it would have been at least 90% chiming in on the ‘calories in/calories out you big fat ugly fatties’ side. We’re coming out of the closet and loving ourselves publicly.

    You know, I feel inspired to dress myself to the nines and flaunt a bit in public in honor of this thread. I am short. I am fat. I am awesome. I choose to share myself with the world.

  7. @ Fantine, I’ve got an extra seven inches (I’m 5 foot 10) and I am a little over 300.

    I’m “super obese” too. Whatever that means.

    • Aww, darn, so growing six inches (as likely as massive weight loss at this point in my life, since I’m about to turn 33) isn’t going to help me! LOL

  8. Even the criteria for being “super obese” has changed. I’m 5′ 8″ and 395 lbs and I’m considered “super obese”. Now, where’s my cape and super-heroine tights?
    That designation sure doesn’t keep me hiding at home, ashamed to show my face (and the rest of my body) in public because I’m fat. So those who hate on fatties had better get used to seeing more and more of us fatties out and about, living and loving life and ourselves.

  9. Did you direct Mr. Do-Your-Research to the UCLA meta-analysis of diets and challenge him to come up with better sources?

    • Yes, I did. But you know, that would mean he’d have to open his mind to information/data that conflicted with deeply held beliefs.

      You know, that fat is a choice, and that everybody who’s fat is making a choice to be so. *rolls eyes*

  10. It came to me yesterday (I’m a little slow sometimes) but if America is the fattest nation in the world, all fat people are lazy, and the US has the largest economy in the world…

    Are they really claiming it’s only skinny people in America who are responsible for the hard work that creates our relative prosperity? I mean, seriously?

  11. i’m fat. i’ve been working my way towards acceptance of myself as i am, and it’s difficult. some days i feel super confident- other days, totally ashamed of myself. i feel like i’m just starting out on the road to actually liking myself.

    i also suffer from mental illness. major depression, ptsd, etc. as a result, i often can’t get out of bed, nor do i want to anything.

    i also was sexually abused by 6 members of my family (both sides). i know that i used comfort as an escape back then. i know that when i binge now i am trying to give myself something safe.

    my fat protects me. people can’t see my body, can’t lust after it, can’t molest or abuse or rape me. (i recently found out this is not necessarily true). but i hide behind it, too. it says to the fat-prejudiced world “don’t get too close to me.”

    i realise i have issues, and that most fat people do not have them. so i am speaking for myself, my own super obesity-ness and my own motivations and triggers.

    i just started exercising. this week. yesterday i rode 5 miles on an electric bike, today i rode 6. it’s really hard work, and i hate it. at the same time, i can feel it boost my serotonin levels and decreases stress.

    i’m not doing this for obesity reasons. i’m doing it for myself. my mental health, actually. i don’t care if i don’t lose weight. that’s not my goal.

    i hope this doesn’t make anyone angry. as i said, i’m new to accepting my fat and myself as i am. i just thought i’d tell you a bit of my own journey, and struggles.

    • sweetie, there is a difference between “i am learning that being heavy to protect myself is a lie and i want to feel better about myself” and “OMG i gotta be ultra skinny to be like the model types!”

      weight acceptance is about being ok with yourself how you are. you arent happy about yourself, and your weight is part of it. its ok.

      i was abused by family members, and my first husband. i still struggle with flashbacks and ptsd moments, some 18 years after all that ended. it might be forever, and i accept that. i accept how i look even though i’m not thin because i am loved for who i am on the inside, not what i look like on the outside (although he seems mighty fond of THOSE bits too!).

      i wish you well on your journey, and will tell you that there are good people out there who will be supportive of you, and idiots who will not. the job is to figure out which is which. *hugs*

    • Oh my gosh, this is totally off topic, but I loved your book! I happened to come across it in a bookstore I was working at, and it just blew me away. I’m really fortunate to have been raised in a church that was unconditionally loving and accepting and that my journey to the Episcopal Church was just a natural outgrowth of that, but your story just touched me so much. I actually ended up sending it off to a friend who had a really damaging upbringing in a fundamentalist church and was struggling with how they could keep their faith, and they loved it, too, and found it really helpful.

      Exercise is, for me, so good for my mental health. I have panic disorder, and, aside from Zoloft, aerobic exercise is the number one thing I can do for my emotional well-being. I hated it at first, but now I absolutely love it. My morning walk is one of my favorite times of day. I don’t lose weight even when I’m exercising a lot, but I do feel so much happier and more stable when I’m getting in regular workouts.

      I’m so glad I clicked on your blog link and saw who you were. It’s like meeting a celebrity. 😀

    • Welcome to the blog, Iphy!

      First of all, I have struggles too with accepting myself and my body just as it is. So you haven’t made anybody angry with what you’ve said.

      One thing I would suggest is to find an exercise you really like. If you hate riding the bike, it’s setting you up for failure down the road. If, rather, you like swimming, then do that as your exercise. Hard fast swimming will give you the same boost to your serotonin levels as riding a bike will, with the added benefit of actually liking what you are doing, so the activity will be more satisfying over all.

      You are learning a hard lesson: that being fat doesn’t protect you. Yes, in some ways fat people are more invisible in society, but in other ways, due to the fat phobic society we live in, fat people stick out more. Especially with so much media attention these days to the OMG!!!1111!! Obesity epipanic!!!111!!!

      Also, something I learned in my life — also the hard way — is that my body size didn’t protect me from anything bad happening. People who are preditors will not be stopped by fat.

      Accepting oneself, just as you are, can be a hard thing to do. I know for me, it’s been the hardest thing I’ve ever done. But it is also the best thing you can do for yourself.

    • Iphy (is that for Iphegenia?), I totally echo what welshwmn3 said about exercise. See if you can find a form of exercise that is really enjoyable for you, even if it’s not aerobic. I found that I really like resistance training (using the weight machines) at the gym, and I detest the treadmill (it’s boring) and going for walks for no reason (also boring). I like choreographed dancing, like square dancing and the kind of stuff you do in community theatre.

      If you don’t like to exercise in public (not my favorite thing either), can you get some tapes from your local library on yoga or aerobics or dancing or something else that might be fun? Or what would make the bike more enjoyable for you? I don’t mind the treadmill or taking a walk so much if I can listen to music while I do it.

      I feel so much better about exercising when I allow myself to do activities that I truly enjoy and skip the activities that feel like a chore. I’m pretty new to fat acceptance as well, and still struggle with the shame and depression and anger sometimes. It’s only natural. But reading blogs like this is a great help!

  12. So, who is it that’s hating fat people? Thin people? LOL!

    I’m so angered by the assumption that all fat people are gluttons. Some are, but not all are. That assumption comes from ignorance.

  13. […] is the logic, part 2 Posted on May 20, 2009 by welshwmn3 Later on in the thread mentioned here, another person started complaining about how much fat people cost him.  His insurance premiums […]

  14. That’s funny – I was recently told by a medical professional that the amount of food I eat or the type of exercise I do means nothing unless I get my thyroid checked and fixed. I was also told that my weight was NOT my fault, and that I actually eat less than most people – but I could have told you that.

    I’m also on a medication that has made me gain weight – but I need it to act like a normal human being in public.

    “Calories in, calories out” is faulty and cannot possibly apply to the complex machine that is the human body.

  15. There was actually a good show on PBS recently about “FAT”, and it was pretty good. It’s available online if anybody wants to bother, but the point is that it is complicated, not simple at all. It would be really nice if this stuff was general knowledge, because those who assume it’s as easy as “calories in, calories out” has never had a problem with weight.

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