Saturday, 30 May 2009

Real 'obesity'?

A while back Sandy used a phrase that struck me, the "real obesity". This so goes against the image her detractors have of her, but it raises a point, what could "real obesity" be? I don't know what her answer would be, but I wonder if she was alluding to when the when the body's ability to regulate and maintain its weight seems to have substantially broken down.

As in the case of those at the highest weights.

That can include eating large amounts or virtual starvation, it can be at the very fat end yet also not so much. I've known of some slim people who seem to have it. They have minimal intake and/or don't even eat everyday. For instance, the type who describe themselves as 'forgetting to eat' until they start blacking out from lack of fuel. I remember one saying that she'd keep feeling faint and wondering why and have to think until she remembered oh, I haven't eaten since the day before yesterday.

I remember an Oprah show where there were a group of these people, though I think they made efforts not to eat. What was surprising about them at the time, was they weren't noticeably thinner than those who are also slim and eat normally.  Assuming it is normal to eat everyday, shocking though that may seem, who knows?

I think it may be about the mechanics of how the body regulates being put so off track, either physically (in terms of intake or both) that the person's body doesn't match their intake, their intake and/or weight are of epic proportions, or what they eat is so mind bendingly small that it is painful to contemplate.

What I find amazing is how little some can manage without their system going ape on them. It's when their ability to eat nothing matches their body's acceptance of this. It makes me think again, that those on either end of the weight and/or eating spectrum have more in common than they do with their specific weight groups.

I see metabolism as referring to and including the whole of eating and weight regulation together. Separating eating from physiological function is an affectation of those who insist weight can be (re-)regulated consciously through calorie regulation.

Every way eating weight and metabolism are described favours that model, shoring it up against reality which has not been kind to it. Eating both serves and reflects all our physical needs, including balance of nutrients and yes emotions, do they not happen in our bodies?

Singling out energy intake or output as if it was controlled separately as a  conscious fancy, like choosing what colour you want to paint your house is implausible, how would you consciously know exactly what amount of energy/balance of nutrients any part or organ of your body needs at any one time? Plus incorporating your energy expenditure into that equation? It's just not an efficient place to generate the urge to eat-the conscious mind, breathing wouldn't be either.

All your major organs have their own nerves which are connected to and are part of your overall nervous system in which the brain is the highest seat, why would information not be gathered and sent to it from all corners? Why would those nerves not register what is happening in the parts they are intimately connected to, but your mind further away would somehow know better?

That would be bad design indeed.

The control we have over our eating is mainly centred on how we decipher and carry out our impulses using the information we know about food and eating. We are responding to not initiating with the conscious parts of our minds as we've been taught to  assume.

Unlike commercialized sex, people don't sit watching people eating to get them in the mood, even though sex isn't a wholly conscious minded activity either. There's clearly much more room for interaction between our conscious thinking and the genesis of sexual impulse, than there is with eating, probably because, sacrilegious though it may be, we don't actually need to have sex to remain alive.z

There is a job to be done here and the 'obesity' field is not doing much thus far, more than go round and round its preconceived and failed convictions.

To work out what happens when this kind of breakdown occurs, at either end. repair and reversal should be available. This should be efficient and intelligent without any hint of moralizing but with the desire to relieve any discomfort and/or suffering, to exercise human intelligence for the benefit of humankind. It is an intellectual quest as this is about how human beings actually function.

As metabolic types i.e. fast/slow burners, muscly/fatty /large boned types etc., are distributed across the weight arc, separating them into categories would seem too obscure, there is much overlap of features between groups.

It also makes it harder to see what is normal and therefore what is pathological especially when it comes to fatness which has been labelled as intrinsically so.

What I suspect is that there are plenty of fat people who eat normally and are fluently active and people in other categories who fit the profile of 'obese' far more snugly than they ever could, apart from weight.

All this needs to be fully mapped out so that any genuine rather than assumed differences can be seen and similarities too can be acknowledged and crossed off as not the decisive factors in the creation of weight. 'Obesity' as a science cannot do this as this would require integration and constant comparison. Weight as a whole rather than in parts which may not describe function closely enough.

The 'obesity' conceit might have been worth supporting if it had taken the route of a proper science and had been scrupulously objective. If that was so, one of the things it would never have involved itself in would have been stigma or hate campaigns which would be direct and invasive intervention disrupting the integrity of its potential findings, how much would they be measuring the product of the campaigning and how much the actual human condition?

Indulgence in and lack of protest about this suggests a lack of serious intent with regard to proper scholarship. Only the dubious are happy to study the product of their own manipulations. In fact, I'd say that is a defining feature of quack science.

That and self perpetuation.

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