Monday, 30 March 2009

Set point theory

I'm not wholly on board with this theory especially when it is used to explain why we cannot lose weight or retain weight loss. That's down to dieting not any underlying impossibility based on its failure.
The set-point theory suggests that body weight is regulated at a predetermined, or preferred, level by a feedback control mechanism.
I agree with this, as long as your weight is undisturbed by numerous other factors which can affect its course. In that case your weight is not necessarily within your original pre-determined set point range. It may be above or below.

The way your weight responds to varying stimuli and environments conducive to affecting your metabolism; different forms of stress, mental imbalance/disturbance, grief of all kinds ageing, even things like climate and so on is genetically influenced. And possibly quite individual.

The reason why such a large group of people put on weight is that there are many of these factors and combinations of them, our metabolism is designed to make sure our needs are met making it highly responsive. Yet at the same time it is incredibly secure and regular.

The overall problem I have with a rigid idea of pre-determined set point range is not the idea of it so much as the application of it to suggest that what you weigh now is inevitable destiny it might be, it also may not be. I believe that’s the case only if nothing you are susceptible has acted on it to change it. In a way that has not be reversed or nullified. There's also the interesting way the upward trajectory of our weight seems to have an overall set point range of its own.

If the latter is not the case but the former is, you could be quite far from your weight's original aim and/or in/outside its range. It might be altered by things, on its way there so you might never have been at your original destination.

The theory, which is really an observation of the fact that our weight regulates itself and within a far narrower range than it seems from our end. Obsessed as we've become with every pound, we forget that we eaten and moved around more or less every day of our lives, with relative freedom and yet it has all worked itself out with surprisingly little variance overall.

It doesn't explain why we cannot lose weight and remain that way. That's not directly about set point per se, rebound happens whether you are in your range or not. If anything rebound is a mirror of the self regulation process of weight.

You are programmed to go back to (more or less) where you were when you started the diet because you are programmed to make good that particular loss, regardless of whether that is your pre-destined weight or not. Sometimes if its not, you can find the re-gain stops short or goes beyond if you were below your set point.

Using set point to explain either why we return to our starting weight after a diet, confuses the issue of weight change making it harder to explain anamolies. Its more about why our weight remains constant if there is nothing powerful enough to re-route it either way.

I understand people appreciate the idea that they were meant to be this fat/thin after being made to feel what they weigh is illegitimate, however I don't think it should matter either way. Where you are is where you are. If you live in the sun your skin may darken and the opposite in cold climbs, who cares?

You are still what you are, not defined in solely in terms of what you are not.

Shared premises, shared quackery

Seeing the title of a post fat acceptance quackery, I had fanciful notion someone might genuinely be able to question some of the more unfinished notions floating about the F'OS. That reveals the desperation of not being able to hear someone (anyone please) run FA through their critical intelligence and not fat phobia, which is a form of brain death.

Unfortunately, it turned out to be more of the latter hoisting itself with it's own petard. This blog has some kind of link with a site called my big fat spouse, which like its title is notable for its redundancy.

I'm sometimes in two minds about criticism of fat acceptance. At times it feels odd to disagree with people opposing it when what is most disagreeable about what they're saying is shared by a lot of people within FA and forms the basis of many of our incorrect conclusion and assumptions.

Or when I agree with their objections but for wholly differing reasons. It makes me feel strangely split. Like I have to support what I don't agree with because it's the closest to what I agree with. Though sometimes I feel more like the best friend in a messy divorce.

The quackery of the title consists of a) Intuitive eating b) Set point theory c) Lack of research support for fat acceptance. I wouldn't say intuitive eating is quackery just that it is mis-guided in its assumptive basis about what eating is. Its name holds the key, eating is not anymore intuitive than breathing. It seems to take this idea of intuition from dieting's pretense that we consciously control eating and to be a reaction to this.

This causes understanding to slightly skewered with regard to how we eat normally. That's no biggie on the surface, however, the way many tend to interpret IE shows that this is more important than it seems.

I do believe in eating what you want when you want and as much or as little as you want, I'd say that's normal eating. However, what you want can be consciously inspired too, meaning you can decide that you’ve been eating a bit too much of one thing to the exclusion of something else for instance.

You can and do seek balance in your eating in part with your conscious wisdom, that’s part of knowing "what you want" and part of eating, because you know yourself and your preferences.

The real issue with dieting is by seeking to centre eating wholly in your conscious mind it causes it to overreach itself and we know when we do that we tend to fall over. Not only was it not a) designed for that b) something else was and that something is disturbed by this incompetent interloper.

I actually share the writer's scepticism about weight gain after stopping diet behaviour being about reaching your set point though I don't dismiss the latter. That gain is more about the way the body adapts to dieting making it more efficient at storing calories, this means that switching back to whatevers left of normal for you may lead to weight gain.

But you may well have been gaining steadily all through you dieting career too. And if you'd done earlier what your doing now, you might not have reached this point if your body stabilizes of course.

I disagree with his conclusion though which is to dismiss a more normal way of eating as having scant research evidence. Fact is, normal eating should be obvious how can you not have noticed that your eating regulates itself. No wonder people think we are too stupid to understand dieting if they're too stupid to understand eating. Even if you don't know what its called, people who do not diet eat what they want.

Having said that the extent to which many in FA love to underlying points with research means I don’t know whether that dismissal would be considered fair opposition or not on those grounds.

It has to be noted though that he thinks set point theory “seems” to be an invention of the FAM. In fact you don't have to have read any science to find out that the term does not originate with FA. Anyone who could make that mistake cannot have read much of anything to do with weight, let alone science as it comes up a lot. Plenty of diet blogs make reference to it for goodness sake.

But then those in opposition often do blame fat people in general for things, genes, glands, when they couldn't possibly have come from lay people. All of the most popular 'excuses' for fatness come from scientists. People have to remember science is not finished, therefore hypothesis and theories abound that are usurped by more information subsequently.

I also note trouble finding anything relevant on the internet, I’ve found that myself it is a nightmare and hard to understand when this subject is so much to the fore, although seeing as this person and oh so many others have read extensively on weight, you'd think they'd remember where they read it. Suppose it must all be in print.

As for anorexia, it is not that dieting is not a "gateway" to it, dieting is it so if it doesn’t lead to it’s because our internal defences against it are working-which I think is what they are for. What causes anorexia, the absence or failure of them.

They do that annoying thing where they claim fat acceptance is feminist it isn’t, feminism has consistently rejected fat liberation/acceptance. Its far more into anorexia, in fact this idea of feminism being represented as fat women is people trying to think of something to 'insult' it with, along with ugly and hairy. I’d say it is anorexia as a lifestyle which represent anorexia.

Someone who cannot perceive these things is not doing much thinking.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Pseudo science grade humans

The cynical targeting of this ‘initiative’ almost takes my breath away then leaves me feeling rather sad and defeated; as if people who are struggling to survive don’t have enough to contend with. They are targets for a dangerous enterprise to restrict weight gain in pregnant women. Laudable though the ignorant may see this as, the fact that it is still taboo, even in the near hysterical atmosphere and obsessive devotion to losing weight and counting calories, should sound an alarm.

If this provokes ironic weight gain and long term health consequences in their children like it did in the Dutch post war study, it is the parents who will have to answer for that not those conducting this experiment. That’s an important point, because the hook selling the programme is that it will be good for them and their babies.

During pregnancy, the body’s metabolism has to adjust enough to grow another human life, in a relatively short period of just 9 months. Its priority is to maintain a constant and regular supply of energy as any interruption could be utterly devastating to foetal development. This is crammed into a short enough period and at specific times its rate can be even more astonishing. Deliberately encouraging a lack of energy and potential nutrient shortfall can lead to long term and irreversible developmental and health consequences.

At this time the body’s capacity to alter its rate of use-of energy- can slow, for want of a better word to such an extent that tremendous weight gain can occur, which is unsurprising given this state. Yes it varies tremendously and can overcompensate sometimes to a very marked degree similar to when one has been on a diet. Those who’ve ever had a’ break’ within a long weight loss diet and have eaten what they wanted,for a week, say on holiday, know just how much one’s metabolism can adjust by the amount of weight they can put on in a short time, sometimes a pound or more in a day, on average.

That is because dieting slows the rate of burn and this break is not long enough for it to adjust itself to a greater setting. Pregnancy can mean the metabolic rate reaches a similar crawl, dieting at that time is simply not a good idea and can cause a rebound within the pregnancy itself or after giving birth. Given that there is the issue of post natal mood, one side effect of both restriction and the body conserving its energy can be mood disorder especially clinical depression, when you add that to the hormonal flux which itself can see to trigger post natal depression, it is not a time to get radical with the need for energy.

Science, although, I’m not even sure if this counts as that has a sad history of experimenting with the more marginalised and under resourced communities of society, it ought to know better by now, but seeks to continue using these people as guinea pigs. Someone has to be, but not with calorie cutting, it should be with a non invasive method of metabolic alteration-when that is found.

And the fact that these women are not being informed of what could be palpable risk to their unborn foetuses is lacking in conscience to say the least, let alone the experiment itself. There is no evidence that this sort of intervention will slim mother or child long term, but those who believe in it, believe hard and will not stop trying until they can get the results they want.

Whatever the weight concerns of society, this is just not a good idea, full stop and I cannot understand why it is being allowed to happen and who these people are accountable to if anything goes wrong. If they seriously wanted to aid pregnant women they could have look at other factors, training and monitoring of stress and its relief and better balance in the diet, if necessary.

Exercise especially to help with delivery could be a good idea too, especially when it comes to post natal health. Stress has long been linked with provoking weight gain in those susceptible but also with the development of diabetes, ditto, so it is important to know what a difference can be made by managing this. These women would be an apt target audience for that and the findings could be of use to others.

Calorie restriction can be incredibly stressful an exhausting, not least because of the range of defences the body uses to try and fight it off, which is why it doesn't work, the aspect of the body conserving energy means less available and there’s the stress of not being able to respond according to your needs and desires, ergo, fatiguing.

That doesn’t attest to the other things going on in women’s lives, looking after other children/family, and working. A real difference could have been made to contribute to better outcomes, instead, they might as well be a slimming club what’s wrong with people who cannot see anything but calories and what people eat?
The co-director of this programme says;

“obesity in pregnancy may be contributing to the epidemic of childhood obesity and diabetes that we are seeing today.”

That’s right, MAY, that’s a rather small word for a taking a risk with these mothers and their prospective children, but then it’s like there are grades of humans to be experimented on, and they have been assigned lowly.
All of this dubiousness nestles nicely not just in the mania for calorie manipulation, several of these women had gastric bypass surgery and feared weight gain, such a shame that hard won losses compromise the women’s ability to put foetal development first. The growth of which is the basis of a lifetime.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009


One of the things that pains the movement for fat acceptance, our intense sense of a lack of personal credibility. This is one of the things that has always shocked me, that we keep saying this.

To me, credibility's something that comes as much if not more, from within. It's not something given to you, and even if it was, you'd have to accept it, so why not just cut out the middle man(literally) and do it yourself?

Yes I know people are often saying it when they are talking about how if we say something everyone guffaws and dismisses, sorry, so what if they do? That is now, not tomorrow. Also, how do we feel about our inner selves, about our credibility to ourselves, is that increasing? For me it has and I consider that, along with other people's, to be a real victory and one worth celebrating and keeping in mind.

What do we expect them to do? Let's work it out. Unless fat people are erased from the discourse it cannot be owned by those who have taken hold of it now. They've got nothing if all things were equal because we know ourselves, we know more than them, being fat is our home turf not theirs. They can only look like owning it if they keep us out. We went along with this because we didn't know before, we believed the same things as everyone else, the things we were taught too. Experience has been our teacher.

Now it's different, now we are beginning to be able to assert the benefit of our own hard won knowledge and even though we don't feel confident, we still refuse to back down and shut up. Maybe if you run out of all alternatives and the only thing left is the truth, you don't need confidence you've no real choice. I'm sure the confidence will come out of that.

Saying we have no credibility as if it's a statement of fact, colludes with the old erasure that occurred when we were busy with the experiment. Yes, when we speak it feels eerily inauthentic at times. That sense has been fostered by the endless denial of what was happening to us, by all around that we love and believe in. This is bound to leave it's mark. Whilst I'm not saying we should or need to deny other people's view of us, if it's not going to stop us, what's the point in caring so much about it?

Mentally, intellectually we know that we are right, so this inauthenticity is purely an emotional recollection of the past. It will abate eventually and we aren't the only ones, many who've been silenced and marginalized have had it far worse than we could ever imagine.

So yes, acknowledge the feeling without being defined by it, because that's wrong. Our credibility is not defined by others feelings about that, especially when they are so clearly necessary in serving their agenda.

Our voices do not lack anymore credibility than anyone else's but we have to believe that, against our emotional stores of negating memories. We must declare to ourselves and each other over and over again that we are real, we are sentient, we are conscious.

We can stop speaking of our so called inauthenticity or lack of credibility as if it's just a fact, when we know clearly that it isn't.

We could also do with cooling it a bit on the 'you're slim therefore you've the cred'.

It's about others seeing what we're seeing, even when it's from a different vantage point. If we hadn't gone along with so much and they'd not gone along with so much privileging of slimness, we'd all be better off. No of us would say the latter means slim people lack credibility because of their previous attitudes.

Sometimes I think we are stuck too much in the past, trying to get the cool kids on side, when in actual fact, it's turned out that the cool kids aren't so cool-some not at all, fat phobia is shocking for revealing just how out of it a lot of them are when their well connectedness doesn't count for anything- and we are not quite so uncool as we thought we were, who really cares in the end?

We need ourselves even more than we need other selves, we are the ones who will revive our credibility whether we like it or not and we need to ditch the passivity of mind that we have previously been trammelled into behind.

* that's how you spell it, apparently.

Monday, 23 March 2009

The 'O' word

Thinking about the reasons I quit the obesity personae.

In order to clarify for those who think this can be turned into some emotionally loaded word that cannot be spoken in polite company. I'd like to say that I am not upset by being called obese, nor am I frightened of the sound of the word, or prone to feel insulted by it's spelling, genesis or etymology.

What I find irksome is the underlying mindset, that because a load of scientists think that a human trait should be called a disease, we all have to go along with this.

I don't and never have. I was sceptical firstly regarding religion, I wasn't going to go along with that.

Subsequently, I've become hugely sceptical about the pathologising of anything that is seen as an imperfect human state.

This includes, I'm afraid, human angst grief and pain, as an illness called depression. Anything such as shyness being called, social phobia and children who have hard to contain desires for constant physical and mental stimulation being automatically labelled ADHD.

I will qualify that by saying that emotions such as sadness, can either immediately or after the cause is unrelieved, to develop a momentum of their own, that can continue even when there is some resolution. A bit like rebound weight gain after dieting can exceed your starting weight, due to the momentum of the rebound; which is itself caused by the initial semi-starvation that is dieting.

I am always wary of calling human imperfection illness, it makes us misunderstand ourselves and I think, can cause the kind of unnecessary and peripheral pain of the kind caused by stigma.

IOW, it can aid and deepen our terror and fear around what is happening, because we feel this is beyond what should occur to any human, when sometimes it is a necesary reaction to the extreme internal and/ or external pressures we are subject to. The sense of feeling like we must have done bad, in order to be feeling this bad, is a more natural facet of feeling bad than we give credit for.

My objection to obesity is nothing to do with the word, I could care less whether it was called porcinicity or syndrome porko, it's the underlying mentality that is objectionable and calling oneself obese, validates that. It's says to the (mainly) boys.

That we will passively receive whatever labels you choose, because you choose them. If that was the way, I reckon we wouldn't have individual brains, we'd just be connected up to a giant uberbrain, via a wire. As that isn't the case, I'm going with we each have one, and it's supposed to be used, even to consider our own experiences.

I hope that's not too outlandish.

Sunday, 22 March 2009


Whilst discussing the term/concept thin privilege, I mentioned the collusion of buying into the obesity crisis.

I had cause to think about my own collusion in the process of stigmatising fatness. Although I was never someone who hated other fat people, my issue was with myself because I did have an issue with my eating and therefore felt that I was the archetypal fatty being described.

Until I hit the fatosphere, I never really thought about using such a direct term, although the fact that I had colluded, past a certain point was never in doubt. I've never felt that this was all imposed upon me. I'm not sure that I could have avoided it, certainly not now. But I could have taken so much better care of myself, looked out for myself better and therefore cannot write this all off as the oppression de moi.

I first started trying to lose weight when I was 11 years old. That lasted about six months. I cottoned on that this wasn't going to work, without even having to turn that into words just in my head. It was the feelings it gave me, the sense that this was simply untenable.

Where I went wrong was to switch my focus to healthy eating and exercise and the belief that this must lead to thinness. Just like is proposed by many as the answer. There's always one.

It took me far longer to see through that one, in terms of it making me thin as opposed to overall health.

In the end, I was not stopped by logic which I didn't so much ignore as just keep thinking of without joining the bits together, probably kind of on purpose. What stopped me was, I burned out, I was actually stopped physically rather than working it out mentally. Any long term serious dieter knows, that when this happens the only thing you can do is to stop dieting until your nervous system recovers, only rest will do that, to my knowledge.

What the fatosphere has helped to teach me through hearing from those bigger than myself is my assumption of fatter = more hurt was shattered. Ironically, I'd long been disabused of the idea that thinner = less suffering. Rather like we know that thin people can eat a lot, but apparently fat people eating the same are greedy (it can take a while to see through that one).

Because of this I could no longer behave as if feeling as badly as I did was solely down to being fat. The extent to which my own bad feeling was very much an internal process of to some degree, my own choosing became (even) clear(er).

Yes, I was undoubtedly encouraged if not set on that path and kept there by external forces, the people around me as well as establishments medical and otherwise. But, that didn't mean I had to go along with it to the extent that I did.

My feeling is that the extent to which your inner self esteem holds up is key to how much you can be damaged by the crisis, (unless it gets too much more out of hand).

If you can separate fatness from yourself, who you are you can emerge more intact than those who make no distinction. Which is why many fat self haters can hate so bad and not know it, but also why they can manage not to have such low self esteem as their fat hating would point to.

It's as if their fatness takes most of the hit.

For me thinking about colluding in this process is about healing, forgiveness of self and letting go. Of saying, there is no law written that places a limitation on how much your errors can hurt you. And you not to let that frighten you. You can own up to your part face it and say never again without feeling down and depressed because you betrayed yourself.

At least I have to say, I feel I did.

I didn't question enough apart from in a dissociated way. At the time there was a lot of if these perfectly nice and rational people are upset with me, I must be doing something wrong.

Why won't I do right I'd wail endlessly, at a loss as to how much more I had to do to do more, how much more constant unyielding focus it would take how much hurt I have to endure before I would start to do what I was supposed to do.

It became more than about weight it became about my determination, tenacity and refusal to be beaten. Unbeknownst to me I was just beating up myself, for nothing.

Whatever the risk of victim blaming, I'd rather face that head on than try to obscure or hide behind, it was all society....

Because I feel so badly about it all about the unfairness of my earnest desire to please and be pleasing being taken such advantage of and then denied, because I was taken so for granted.

It's even more than that it's that, for want of better words, you just can't do me that way and get away with it. That's not a threat, or even a promise, it's just the way it is. That energy, all that focus everything that I put into trying to be slim could have taken me places and right now, the place it's going to take me is as much outside the aegis of that which kicked me around, that which I allowed to kick me around.

I thought it was 'the right thing'.

It's not enough to just stop and wave the fat acceptance flag I have to at least attempt to dismantle everything that lead up to that desire and more than that, what made me stick to it with such pointlessness though admirable resolution.

It's not even a matter of principle.

It's just the way it is.

* Edited for clarity, believe me

Friday, 20 March 2009

"Collateral damage"

Interesting post over at shapely prose, regarding the results of a study suggesting that slim girls who believe they are fat, but aren't, are more likely to have suicidal ideation and more likely to actually commit suicide than those who actually are fat.

The tenor of the post was that this was a side effect of the obesity crisis directed at attacking fat people, yes, but the aim of the crisis has always pointed at this particular target, those who are worried about becoming fat.

Without their engagement in the crisis stigmatizing fat people could not or would not have reached it's current peak. It is they who have to be scared and angry for it to have taken off. This is a lesson that has been learned by those who wish to advance themselves on the back of obesity know. From numerous attempts to engage others in fatness. Before this, obesity was a decidedly Cinderella subject and liable to remain so.

And the end of the day, who cares if fat people are fat? How does that affect anyone else? It doesn't, unless you make it so using that which people have invested a huge amount of belief and trust in the science of health and manipulate information to make fatness intimately to do with the non-fat.

As it is clear that no-one is interested in people merely because they are fat-it's kind of meaningless really, they attacked what people are interested in, their money and themselves. Stoking up fears such as the prospect of health rationing, which was on the table before fat people were in the frame for it. Something is always about to "Bring down the healthcare system."

More than that, it's those who have kudos and privilege tend to fear stigma and loss of status the most. Thinking about what you can lose tends to concentrate the mind more than some barely perceptible gain.

Without their direct and intimate input, there is no crisis, or at least, no-one would take it seriously.
That's one thing I remember recognising as a teenager was that it was an advantage to be fat in that I could not fear what had already occurred. I was living proof that the idea of fat as a fate worse than death is false.

It also had to take it's place alongside other status zapping stigmas and -isms.

So relative to them, fatness was a bit crowded out.

If you are thin in addition  to being middle class, you have the double effect of not having other things get in the way of the fear of fatness. A fear that goes unchecked can reach epic proportions, the fear of stigma is the fear of loss. If you are stigmatized within your class milieu, you are acutely aware of how bad it is.

So the question is, just how much can be gained from the privileging of thinness, if it leaves you suicidal?

That kind of thing is what is giving me pause for thought.

It's impacting on these young girls, because it is aimed at them and their kind, even though it attacks them less directly than fat people.

I've always been under the impression that fat people, youngsters as well, are less likely to commit suicide than those of lesser weights. Though I've not managed to find anything that addresses this directly, I've heard it consistently at about a 5% advantage, for fat people on that score.

I heard a couple of years ago that this advantage was lessening, I wouldn't be surprised. I'm unsure whether that is the case or not, because there is a concerted desire amongst obesity wallahs to claim obesity is linked to depression. If it is, it is because the pressure of the 'crisis' is wiping out fat people's advantage and this may well be showing up first in the very young.

Certainly in the case of young people, whenever teens and pre-teens that have committed suicide hit the news, its striking is how rare it is for them to be fat.

This may well be changing at this moment, but it is important that we monitor changes rather than just blithely obscure them through anticipation. Those who wish to shape how fat people feel are getting their way. They are changing what it means to be fat into being as pathological as they want it to be.

This is one of the things that has possibly lead me to have such an overwhelming sense of urgency (misplaced?), feeling that if this juggernaut could not be derailed, at least some of us could bear witness to any of it's costs.

* Edited to remove the more egregious errors.

Thursday, 12 March 2009

This is why your fat

Through April I've encountered this blog, again. *Note, it's recently been taken down by it's owners, no reason given. And its back. [29/07/13]

I first encountered it through one of it's featured dishes, I can't remember what it was, but it featured bacon heavily.

Here's another one in a similar vein, although the title is not quite so benign. I have no hesitation in saying that this particular kind of thing does appeal to me at all at best it amuses at worst disgusts, mostly it just bemuses because I cannot understand why you'd either want to create or even eat these 'dishes'.

I put that in quotes because they don't seem to be dishes per se more more creations that bow to an underlying ideology of food. In most of those senses they remind me of the more extremist healthist eating. They strike me as unbalanced by a dominant conceit and obsessive to the point where it becomes unpleasant, for the sake of that idea.

A lot of the reaction to this around the fat/blogsphere has been negative, but I can't help feeling that the "fat" in the title is not a direct accusatory reference to fat people, per se, but to what some people call "fat days". Yes I know that is somewhat fatphobic, however the blog isn't saying look at what fatties eat. It seems more a kind of Jackass for food.

It's about letting your wildest food fantasies have full reign, yes they are limited and rather pathetic, but that's what I get from it. It feels like it's about what people might be denying or curtailing or feel bad about eating (in lesser extremes). It's about your imagination's desire to bust through limitations, even to the extent of gross out.

The title plays on the usual moralistic admonishment of healthist eating shoulds, you should not be eating even a little of these things, so let's go for it. But I'm not sure it wholly subscribes to it. There's a real sense of unarticulated ambivalence. Like there's some underlying noting of a connection between repression and explosion. The lady blog author said she fantasied about a creation that was a hot dog wrapped in french fries to look like an ice cream cone. I bet it tastes even worse than it looks, but she spoke longingly of this quite monstrous looking creation-I honestly thought the filling was Spam and that turns my stomach.

The guy's a vegetarian.
Whether it's because they eat the same food as us, or they imagine they deny themselves hugely, thin people fantasize about food to the extremes sometimes of those with more disordered eating. I wouldn't have been interested in this even when my eating was disordered, because I would have eaten.

I didn't so much fantasize as have my appetite and hunger settings ramped up so high that all aspects of it were heightened, so my "fantasies" were just my mind running on. I actually wanted this to stop, but couldn't. I could not have sat there fantasizing about food, I can only do that now, because my eating has calmed down enough to recover, strange.

There is a palpable sense underneath some of the hate that fat people are free and really enjoying themselves with no care for tomorrow, there are a lot of fat people around who retell this legend about themselves. Well, it's more positive to many than the helpless glutton. There's sometimes a real sense of disappointment when fat people present contrary to our designated type/s.

One of the more surprisingly disturbing things for many is the idea that fat people aren't necessarily eating more than others-not simply because of 'lying'- but the idea that you can be fat without extra pleasure is deeply threatening in some way. And the idea also that you can eat a lot and not enjoy it all. Nothing is what it seems in this crisis as is often the case with crusades.

I remember years ago when in still in thrall to my ferocious hunger admitting mouse like but determined that I did not enjoy eating, atall. One of the women I was with got so increasingly hysterical, "you must, you must" she cried. Weird. I felt I had to retract,in order to calm things down.

What could possibly explain such feelings?

In this crisis many strange and eerie feelings about food have been siphoned off into the required hate and anger-now I know more about what those are made of. Sometimes it's still possible to perceive that people think we so much stronger than we tend to imagine they feel we are, because they've learned the language of contempt and it is so effective.

I wonder how much that feeling adds to the level and edginess of vitriol directed at us.

Saturday, 7 March 2009

The disease model is overextended

I'm beginning to realise why scientists and the medical profession are so keen to turn fatness into a disease.

It's the disease model.

That is, that disease is caused by pathogens, which overwhelm the immune system.

This is defeated by a magic bullet, i.e. drug that zaps the bugs and kills them. Ergo, people are cured of disease.

Long term chronic disease has never yielded anything like as well to this paradigm. Mainly because it tends to be about things like replacing a substance the body is no longer producing or producing in sufficient quantities, i.e. Types I and II diabetes.

The problem with managing long term symptoms is that no matter how closely the person is monitored, it's hard to match the body's own accuracy, complications can occur due to this. Although this is far more the case when the body ceases production completely as opposed to merely reducing it.

I must admit I hadn't quite noticed that medicine has become so devoted to this, over and above it's usefulness.

IOW, I didn't realise that they use it because it's the thing to do, as opposed to it's the best way to go about it. I've been concentrating on motive, because I keep working on the assumption that medico's want to cure without fear or favour in the best way they can think of.

When the truth is, they get used to what they know the same as the rest of us and sometimes sleepwalk into mindless adherence to their procedures, regardless.

That would be more forgiven if they didn't scream like banshee's because you politely ask them to reconsider the wisdom of turning virtually every facet of the human character and condition into a disease of some kind.

What I'd forgotten is that like anyone, they get very comfy and used to things being the way they are. Even when this creates or exacerbates problems, or obscures further understanding and knowledge.

Like a nervy spectacle wearer, when they don't understand things, they put on their specs, out of habit, even though the problem is that not that they cannot see, but cannot understand.

Once they decided being fat was a problem, they reached for their specs- the disease model- because they cannot quite grasp anything outside what they've been taught.

It's clear that if weight is to be adjusted, it's a question of resetting cycles, rather than zapping germs, the adipose cell is not one.

Trying to get round that by pretending it is like cancer, would be pitiable if it wasn't causing so much damage already and threatening to cause more everyday.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Why diet's don't work, again

What creates weight undoes them, I mean our metabolic functioning. Dieting is an attempt to adjust weight that sets up a fight with our bodies, rather than working with the way they actually work. It's too partial and inflexible a method of taking on what is an extremely versatile, multifarious and comprehensive set of systems.

The basis of dieting is eating is consciously controlled because that's the part we are most aware of. It is an important part, yes but by no means the whole or even most of it. The extent to which dieting fails suggests the size of its involvement.

If that was right, we'd change our eating by changing our decisions, we wouldn't need diet plans at all. All the planning and scheming is in place of what's already working that out without direct conscious in put.

The purpose of eating is to refuel and provide nutrients the body cannot make itself. For this it needs to know how much energy each part and therefore the body needs as a whole. That information must come from the parts and systems of the body themselves. If you look at anatomy, you can see they are all connected by nerves to the nervous system. This goes both ways but information on what is needed must travel up to the brain which becomes both your perception of hunger and what you need to make up that hunger-nutrient needs.

The purpose of your brain is to carry out these instruction, it seems to contain the 'switches' activated by and part of these information pathways.Your conscious mind takes into account environmental factors, such as availability, personal preferences, cost etc.,

Hunger and appetite cannot be generated solely or even mostly by the conscious mind a crucial mistake of the diet hypothesis. Our eating habits are not just habit, they are part of our history, experience and culture. By using food to respond to hunger our body builds up an internal profile of what works well to satisfy our needs. Dieting throws that aside and sets the body and mind into confusion.

Its a bit like changing job and moving home all at once. You have more or less the same as you had before, but its not exactly the same and it can take a while for your mind to adjust to what has been suitable for you and that you have worked with and adapted to. It's not about the capacity of your body to shape itself singularly around things it is used to, not a bovine refusal to change.

It has to re configure that to changes and that doesn't take into account the attack on its ability to survive-through calorie restriction.

The body measures your energy needs and matches it to your intake it counts calories for you, that's another reason its hard to stick to diets, you are disrupting and messing up its accurate calculations with your crude and inflexible ones.

You are duplicating a process designed to do what you are doing badly and stopping it from working to the best of its ability. Your body's signals build to cravings when you try to cheat them for the purposes of starvation. Succumbing and responding to these is not 'rebellious' it is almost inevitable. It is making up for the loss you created, isn't that initial denial 'rebellion'?

Boredom is a form of tiredness your brain and/or body are going short of energy so it is part of your loss of will, you are using it up. That article actually indicates that your will has a basis in energy, namely glucose and when that is depleted your ability falls and when replenished, rises again!

If so no wonder you crave high calorie/ sugar foods, also due to your body wanting to replenish its lost 'fuel' as quickly and as efficiently as possible, before you get any more funny ideas. Well, can you blame it? This is the source of a lot of eating disordered behaviour, the lack of trust that you will meet its needs. Like a poor person snatching at unexpected bounty, it develops a legacy of insecurity as you keep messing it around and can adjust your appetites accordingly around this.

And don't believe you 'return' to your old eating habits, which refers mostly to the amount you formerly ate. Why would you if you've lost weight and proven you can eat less? You've done the hard part and adjusted to that, some diets last more than a year that's before any rebound.

In the end your body plays the long game, it can wait, for any chink any snatch of light and it's in there pressing the buttons most likely to usurp your efforts or bombarding you with more than you can handle.

Eventually, everything just gangs up on you. The body just keeps adding and adding and even if you manage to dodge these obstacles over and over again, they just keep coming and/or repeating eventually something will get to most people or the effort of endlessly trying to outwit or adapt to each hurdle will become too much.

Some people just simply burn out, it's not one thing specifically, it's everything, it getting to the last straw.

It's like trying to stay awake for ever, eventually your body, after numerous attempts to thwart your intent just takes over and drowns your fading will in its own.

More obesity nonsense

Courtesy of attrice, this. In trying to fit obesity as a disease into a scale of stages of progression they expose what lax standards the 'field' holds itself to.

And these are supposed to be the good guys.

The size of your body, whether fat or thin cannot be described as disease, whether it correlates with worse health outcomes or not. If you compare prognoses across class, ethnicity even religious beliefs results differ between groups.

Virtually none of the symptoms given for obesity are specific to it. Only one, Type II diabetes, could be said to be overly prevalent enough in fat people and even then the causal direction of fatness=the cause has not been convincingly made even though it is often alluded to as if it has.

What is the underlying pathogenesis here? When compared with actual fat people it comes unstuck, the first stage has absolutely no symptoms whatsoever, this takes a cheap shot, implying that this is appearance only and is somehow suspect for thwarting the authors assumption.

Perceiving a disease comes when symptoms appear in common if they don't you have not narrowed in on your target properly. The extent this is missed makes it seem like whoever came up with it either doesn't understand the concept of disease or the course of disease progression or fatness.

It reads like a parody by people who know they've got little but don't care, there is no imperative to make them care, certainly not a thirst for truth or knowledge.That is always disturbing no matter how much one encounters this.

Ditto the dubious use of "psychopathology" meaning pertaining to abnormal behaviour or mental symptoms. How can merely being fat be a diagnosis of mental illness? Technically speaking, how can a fat person claim to be sane under these conditions? Because hey, psychiatrists are well known for being able to tell the difference when they suspect someone is not right in the head aren't they?

I'm shocked at the way mental distress is included as diagnosis when believing exactly what you are told as a fat person produces abnormal psychology even in the sane as a trawl around the 'spher will show. Whether its have no emotional sense of belief to match your reality or the terror that every ache and pain is your death knell along with weight loss diet induced trauma plus disordered eating cause by the same.

If you have none you are liable to be accused of having narcissistic personality disorder or of being arrogant, suicidal, etc., Including a nebulous reference to mental problems as if it is intrinsic to fatness is emotive and underhand. If that is required to formulate part of the "diagnosis", you must be desperately short of actual symptoms.

No mental illness is specific to being fat nor has been shown to be directly caused by it. All sorts have been linked with weight loss dieting which is endlessly recommended for fat people. There's depression which has become more associated with fatness. It's only in the last decade or so that weight gain stopped ruling the person out of a diagnosis. It was insisted that if you were depressed you had to lose weight because you lost your appetite as it became depressed too.

There's an interesting overlap between pronounced anxiety and clinical depression, they are often present and one can lead to or even seem to be the other. The dominant thrust of the crisis rhetoric is to scare unnerve and keep fat people in perpetual self disgust and in a state of high anxiety.

And unless you are going to teach people not to give a damn about what people say which would defeat the object of the bullying, what is the treatment drugs of course. So drug companies as well as 'obesity' doctors end up with a stake in bullying. The more of it occurs the higher their profits, the more fat prognosis matches that of obesity.

Fatness is not ill health in itself, if it is anything it tends to be a sign of something else, of struggle of survival the need for stamina, etc., How can a healthy fat person who's weight levelled in the teens or early 20's be said to relate to someone who's put on many pounds after a course of psychiatric medications? Any more than someone who's naturally thin can be compared to someone thin through being ravaged by cancer?

Speaking of this, that is the attitude towards underweight, strenuous attempts are made to weed out anything which lowers the health of thin people. Warning that link thanks Walter Willett.One of the usual complaints is failure to control for cigarette smoking, but if thin(ner) people tend to smoke more than fatter one's as seems to be the case then that may be part of the overall comparative thinness of the slim population.

I can see how inclusion is problematic, however exclusion so is exclusion. If you wish to zero in on fatness solely on paper fine , however when you lift the results to actual fat or thin people in real life you are measuring theory versus reality.

A cure for conditions these conditions in fat people would be the same for everyone unless we are being told that these conditions differ among differing weights. What is the purpose of this segregation? Unless this is so they can focus intensively on the needs of fat people to create a new engine of medical progress that feeds through to everyone.

Is obesity about weight or about disease?

If there was a remedy for fatness, why would it be any different for someone who's very fat as opposed to someone less fat or slim and wanting to lose 5 Ibs? And if it cured these debilitating conditions, where would that leave thin people with said conditions? A slim person could have as many of the above symptoms and progression mentioned, what would this "relate" to?

It does mention treatment which is laughable as it has nothing, the scale vaguely suggests drugs and behavioural therapy, which cures heart disease how I wonder. That is a novel idea. The stages are thus;

STAGE 0: Patient has no apparent obesity-related risk factors
Why would they be a 'patient' then? Oh yes, because they are fat. Then that would be the obesity related risk factor wouldn't it? Its use of the word "apparent" is churlish.
STAGE 1: Patient has obesity-related subclinical risk factor(s) (e.g., borderline hypertension, impaired fasting glucose, elevated liver enzymes, etc.), mild physical symptoms (e.g., dyspnea on moderate exertion, occasional aches and pains, fatigue, etc.), mild psychopathology, mild functional limitations and/or mild impairment of well being.

If its not related to obesity what is it related to?

STAGE 2: Patient has established obesity-related chronic disease(s) (e.g., hypertension, type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, osteoarthritis, reflux disease, polycystic ovary syndrome, anxiety disorder, etc.), moderate limitations in activities of daily living and/or well being.

Thank goodness we are told it is related to obesity so that we can tell.

STAGE 3: Patient has established end-organ damage such as myocardial infarction, heart failure, diabetic complications, incapacitating osteoarthritis, significant psychopathology, significant functional limitation(s) and/or impairment of well being.

Is heart disease/ osteoarthritis really combined with mental illness in this way? Are they saying fatness produces psychopathology via the action of fatness or that it is intrinsic to having large fat stores or of having a different ratio of fat to leanness, if so via what route? What if a fat person has the mental symptoms without the physical or vice versa, what would be their stage?

STAGE 4: Patient has severe (potentially end-stage) disability/ies from obesity-related chronic diseases, severe disabling psychopathology, severe functional limitation(s) and/or severe impairment of well being.
Wow, past organ damage, diabetic complications heart attacks/failure and still alive! This is the palliative stage no different from anyone else who is dying.

Treatments are I quote "phramalogical" and "behavioural", which is extraordinary, I'm sure those in fields dealing with actual chronic and potential disease are investigating this behavioural treatment for their own patients.

Who knows, maybe treating behaviour can cure serious disease such as say cancer. Has anyone thought fit to try?