Friday, 28 August 2009

Less calories in = less calories out!

When constantly caught up in torrents of emotion like shame and regret it's easy to lose sight of even the most obvious things. I was thinking to myself the other day, what exactly does calories in, calories out mean?


The number of calories you take in must match the amount you expend.

Now I realise a I was just hearing, 'you're not doing that'. I wasn't able to follow it as a line of rationale, rather hearing it was another opportunity to engage with my sense of shame.

As that noise has quietened, I've felt a bit perplexed. I suddenly find myself asking, what's the logic of this or that "advice"?

I see now that if you reduce calories in you reduce calories out, as a consequence. And vice versa; if you increase calories in, you increase calories expended. I sensed there was something incomplete for a but I just couldn't identify what it was.

Gary Taubes explained that cals in/out as it stands behaves as if those two factors are independent of one another. When in fact they adjust to each other or are dependent variables. As someone who actually has some grasp of physics, he's managed to elucidate this self defeating balance.

What you experience with weight loss dieting is in a sense, inefficiency, perhaps that's true with weight gain too. When you reduce the amount you eat, and/or increase the amount you expend through activity, your body responds by slowing down the rate at which it uses energy, presumably so we don't run out.

Though it had been assumed it would dig into abundant fat stores instead. It seems reluctant.

The amount of weight you lose, if you do at all, is it's inefficiency at preserving energy, that increases depending on how much you've lowered your intake. Ditto the other way around. If you increase the amount you eat, your body increases the rate at which it uses energy to compensate, the amount of weight you put on is it's inefficiency at increasing that spend.

Especially when we are not talking about starvation, but semi-starvation and that's probably been underestimated, as long as there is some constant energy going in, there is enough to give the body a fighting chance to thwart weight loss or gain efforts. Depending on the tendency of your body to gain or lose in the first place.

That knotty assumption of why weight gain seem easier than weight loss seems even more doubtful. The asymmetry seems disingenuous, born of our incredible emphasis on inducing reluctant loss. Every force has one that counters it, I don't know if there are any exceptions, but that's pretty universal.

It seems the body is extremely efficient, probably at both gain and loss. If you take people trying to gain weight, it seems to require a lot of effort, compared to those who gain it spontaneously. The same with dieters, their weight loss is not the same as the down part of the everyday cycle of gain and loss, or spontaneous loss (which does happen).

Or like the naturally slender who are expending energy to remain that size. Unless and until something underlying changes....

Because weight loss has become so acutely desired and dieting generates this hate fuelled culture, there's so much riding on it in general as well as personal terms.

A lot of "gainers" seem to be either ex-dieters or people who are spontaneously fat, they flip flop between the two, as if a period of one leads to a period of the other for them. They don't seem to protest that much about having to lose weight after a period of gain, they seem to be quite prepared for it.

Some just seem to find changing themselves thrilling, like they are changing themselves and in  control.

Dieting down, does seem harder on your body, but it depends, forcing yourself to eat more would be quite unpleasant too. But because few seem to, the comparison isn't common. 

Going through these assumptions and pieces of received wisdom can be very hard. It goes to show again that fat hatred and all the emotiveness bound up in dieting and weight loss, stops thought, as a side effect.

Imagine how much we could have known by now if we hadn't bothered.

"Diet's are not the answer"

Traci Mann and Janet Tomiyama looked at how successful dieters were at keeping weight off. The conclusion was not at all.
"It doesn't matter what diet you go on," Mann says. "They all work for a little while, and then they fail."
That 'little while' is often the time it takes your body's defenses to overcome your intent to restrict intake, for some, it's no while at all. And don't forget, those who get to the end of the line of actually losing weight are outliers.

One of the things it's difficult to find is stats on how many people on average drop out of diets. From experience I'd say it's a hell of a lot by the time you get to losing significant weight. Experts agree  the primary reason for that failure is our fat-laced 'obesifacient' society. Balls. The only reason for the failure is your body is designed to thwart it and if you get through that-to reverse those losses. How long is it possible to maintain this extent of willful obtuseness?

Take a good look at definition no.1. With so much access to so much fatty food, people find it almost impossible to manage obesity without professional help, according to Dr. Arya Sharma,the chair of Obesity Research and Management at the University of Alberta (oh pleeeze). Really? Well prove it Sharma.

Have you got any 'reduced obese' that you've managed to help dodge the body's overwhelming defenses? I'd love to see them. Until then, stop pretending that you've got anything but played out fantasies. We know you've got nothing, wake up to yourself.

But most people do not have access to long-term help and try instead—over and over again—to lose in months what took years to gain. 

How do you know how long it took to gain? Often weight gain comes within a very short space of time, in a stage or stages, with [huge] gaps in between. Not one pound every week or whatever. As you purport to study weight, I would have thought you'd have noticed that by now.

This becomes yo-yo dieting, or weight cycling, which has been shown to adversely affect health and even increase the mortality rates of obese people who lost weight compared with their more weight-stable peers.

Weight cycling is to not accept that dieting doesn't work, and act on that, which is what we are told to do by all smeckperts and quacks.

"A lot of our weight-loss recommendations are unethical because we shouldn't be saying lose weight when there is no chance people will keep it off," says Sharma. 

All weight loss recommendations are unethical because they depend on the same premise, calorie manipulation. You and others choose to pretend that there is a difference between fast dieting, i.e. weight loss dieting and slow dieting, lifestyle/long-term dieting.

What's this about workplace wellness programs? An example of a "promising practice" is "weight-loss competitions." They're always promising because they never deliver. Diet deluders are always trying to get people to participate in their hare brained schemes, they don't wait for them to finish, because they know deep down they are going to fail, but before the inevitable, they take an interim measure.

It's just become an exercise in protecting their chosen delusion. As the study's author, economist John Cawley, says, "This intervention is less effective than getting people off heroin."

Obesity-to bring about its own terms

Reading a post about our own seeming self defeating prejudices against ourselves-in this case denying ourselves range and opportunity for movement. I couldn't help thinking that this is surely the point of the obesity crisis. To bring about its own terms-being fat as unhealthful.

The prognosis of fat people would be too variable without this kind of manipulation being applied to us. So there is a real understanding that fat people are not as "inactive" as we are supposed to be. Or as unhealthy.

I doubt we would be any less active, overall, than anyone else otherwise. Especially when you consider heavier bodies tend to use up more energy to do everything.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Sacrificial weight gain

Randomquorum has written previously about a friend to us poor benighted fatties one Paul James aka "PJ". Our supporter is sacrificing himself to do a supersize me style experiment, (don't they all?)

Here here's our fatmate again. He claims to wish to walk a mile in a fat man's shoes, though really, I can't help wondering if he's just a bit of a feeder. His excuse, reason for gaining is unconvincing. I feel that he's rebounding from his ultra healthy eating diet-read, highly tedious and restrictive. He's suffering from a form of burnout.

Also I note his sense of anticipation at losing the weight too. Binge and fast. There's a lot of joy for some at becoming as fat as they possibly can; hello Morgan Spurlock, then reversing it. Like taking a really pushing every last bit of breath from your lungs that you can, creating a powerful vacuum drawing a fuller than normal breath in.

It is not acceptable to just do this-like poisoning yourself with alcohol, sorry, getting drunk- so a rationale has to be provided for oneself and everyone else. Nor is a 'good diet' supposed to exhaust your tolerance for its restriction.

The excuse of walking a mile in a fat man's shoes is a bit like, walking a mile in a gay man's shoes; having lots of sex with men in order to better empathize and understand them.


Why not just ask them and listen objectively and well? Presumably this is more fun than extensive questionnaires, interviews or just listening more acutely to actual fat people. He's done admirably well on the gaining, possibly too well for his expectation, as he may be having a little trouble caging his temporarily liberated inner fatteh than he realises.  

Point of note PJ put on 88 pounds in six months. If you're a fat person and have been since some point in your childhood or teens, do a little test. Divide the amount of weight you would have to lose to be acceptable, (BMI 25 or under) by the intervening years.

I did similar-started off from when I became concerned about weight, up to date (then). It turned out I had an average gain of about 5lbs a year. I'm guessing that even if you are bigger than me, it's likely that except in cases of hormonal flux, puberty, pregnancy, mood disorder, ie. depression, psychosis, that you've not averaged 88 pounds every six months.

If I did that I'd double my weight in the next two years. Healthy living, pursued to an extent can have the similar unbalancing effects on one's weight regulation, as dieting, it's just less acute due to the absence of calorie restriction. I know this because it resembles what unbalanced my eating to the extent of a rampaging disorder far more than the weight loss diet-rebound pattern we more readily think of.

This can and does create a form of rebound of it's own that you are endlessly seeing off. This is perceived as our innate greediness playing up, rather than the body trying to evade the extent of stricture you're imposing on it. This is often waved in fat people's faces with people exclaiming thinness doesn't come naturally.

All this artificial manipulation whether its avoidance of types of (desired) foods or food itself can leave the body on this metabolic precipice and it only takes a fall off the wagon, usually something with emotional impact- a serious relationship ending a bereavement or change of circumstances to allow the state of metabolic conservation to express itself to fuller effect. Hence 88 pounds in 6 months.

When these ignorant fitness devotees stop exercising abruptly, voila, you have an explanation for quite a lot of their assumptions about weight gain, fatness and fat people. This kind of 'experiment' just reinforces that.

It doesn't occur that the rate of gain of this type of person at least suggests we are telling the truth when we say we have gained in the face of strenuous attempts not to. Easy come easy go though, that state does seem to be the same in reverse, because it is artificial and not a product of your metabolic function. We don't try to gain weight, we do that's the difference.

And is it me, but when you look at him posing with his new belly, is it me or is there some deep love there? Pride even?

He seems awfully fond of it, I could go further, but I'll spare you.

Saturday, 22 August 2009


We don't know how the precise mental or physical make-up of any individual human may lend itself to eating or not eating this or that foodstuff.

We share a lot of genes with other animals, about 96% with chimps, we don't however tend to eat chimps, we share about 60% with chickens.

Maybe this is where zoomorphism comes from, it's also the tendency to view the behaviour of other animals in the terms of our own, and more pertinently in this case the other way around.

Human people always use what they eat and their thoughts around this as some kind of reflection of their inward identity.

This applies whatever the diet they adopt. Whether they eat 'health' food, foods that are expensive or rare, foods of their ancestors, foods that are not from other animals, eschew food groups, or substances such as sugar, fat, etc. You can bet that this diet makes them purer and better or gives them qualities unavailable to those who don't follow it.

The exchange of spontaneity, for rules and strictures seems to lend itself to this compensation of moral superiority. PeTA, the controversialist animal rights pressure group's latest offering, is an attempt to persuade fat people to become vegetarian, on the promise of weight loss .

It may be because I was never called a "beached whale", but I can't be offended by having this aimed at me. I find whales to be very impressive. Check them out and see one leap, propelling their palpable physical gravitas into height, before gracefully dropping back into the water. Inspirational; no less to those of us who've experienced such disenfranchisement from the true physical state of our (fat) bodies, that we are shocked and surprised by fat people doing the most basic physical feats and humiliated, at the realisation that our minds might have talked ourselves out of seeing what we could do.

I am not offended by being compared to a whale, elephant, hippopotamus, even a pig. I see humans as animals, no really, I've always thought of us as animals who don't quite understand ourselves too well and have trouble coming to terms with this. A lot of that shame brings a leaning towards moral vanity which obscures from us our true feelings and motivations. Leaving us to scramble around trying to find out what the hell we are doing and why. Often, it's not what we fancy we should, as human units, be doing/ achieving.

PeTA and others like them trade in the idea that the trouble with us humans is we need bringing down a peg or three. By comparing us to other animals, they seek to shock us out of our complacent assumption that we are the best of all the species, although we can't tell whether other creatures share that sensibility themselves, PeTA helpfully assumes they do not.

This arrogance is why we use/eat animals and it's shattered by stating that we are no better than other species.

And yet.

If that were so, why would we wish to stop eating/using them, when it would be like any other creature, a matter of survival, inclination, desire?

Surely the only reason why humans should not eat other animals, is because of our superior moral consciousness, real or imagined?

Without the assumption of betterness, why would we feel bad about other animals, what is PeTA appealing to?

We must cut down our pedestal whilst remaining on it.

I've noticed the cruelty of factory farming in the same way I noticed the cruelty of especially, child humans working in sweat shop conditions. I didn't like it and did not need animal rights activists to make me feel something is not right or sustainable about factory farming. Similarly in factory living for humans. Where we live to be used up in soul destroying meaningless toil and try to squeeze other bits of life in the gaps, if we can manage it.

Maybe free range humans might instinctively extend that principle more easily to other species, although I wouldn't necessarily want to play zero sum on that.

I will or will not be thoroughly vegetarian-in a sense I am vegetarian until I consume animal products/flesh- for the same reasons animal rights people are; because I want to, because I feel like it.

If I was to become overwhelmed by an ethical sensibility that I must not eat other species, my health would be a close second to that. I hope I would be prepared to risk myself for my beliefs. In a sense, this is the real insult, that I would only become vegetarian, to save my fat neck. Don't appeal to any possible abstract sense of-this is who I am and this what I stand for, just appeal to my sense of shame and lowest common denominator self preservation.

Why don't PeTA see if there's a link between fat phobia and animal cruelty, oh what?! Maybe I might want to draw together any threads, then again, maybe not, but I wouldn't know, because peta, doesn't want to get beyond the image of a fat brain dead wobbling mass of fear and anxiety, clutching an ice-cream in each fist. So yeah peta, just play on those fears to gain compliance, just like everyone else.

We are here for your use, to project on as you wish, (ring any bells?).

Command Control

FA people are not suggesting we have no control over our bodies or minds. Control is what it is not what its supposed to be. Having actual control means directing or being in sync with attaining your desired aim. Not just acting the part as if this will somehow conjure up what you want amidst the real anarchy you're generating.

Nor is being in control any guarantee of outcome.

The need for control is the core of us. To be without it or merely the threat of that can be distressing enough to prompt angst ridden, self comforting gestures of a performance control. If we can't have it or don't know what it is, we will impersonate it as a means of soothing our mounting stress.

Those with various eating disorders especially forms of anorexia, or people with OCD may feel what appears to be control over food or performance of other repetitive habits gives, gives enough of a feeling of control in the face of acute anxiety. They are both caused by and are the cause of pressure.

When the rest of us are or feel overwhelmed by things we too reach for what feels safe even if it is nothing close to a good thing. Often that need is the driver, the action just an outward manifestation of that need. 

Our minds refer almost fetishistically at times to things we associate with any performance of control. The military style rigidity of posture, tone or attitude, shows of force, talking loud, being harsh in speech and so on.

Controlling calories can be as much about anxiety displacement as anything. A sense of catharsis diverts us from the storms of response it triggers in our bodies. Those storms of response are marked as our inner fat self trying to retain control and we must repress it, rather than listen, respond or work with rather than against our bodies.

Calorie restriction is not in itself control, the chaos it causes is too overwhelming. It is more like an interruption and blocking of dynamic processes that are part of an innate and self regulating system-that is us. We don't direct the whole process from a notion in our conscious minds.

We get hungry when we lack energy.

Not responding to this only the surface appearance of control, the reality doesn't match up.

We have taken the point we are most conscious of-an  overspill of our current fixation on rational and logic as the highest of human thought. In this scenario, our minds become the ultimate director of our creation. Declaring it the creator of the overall dynamic of our mass and matter, rather than just a part of it.

What we've learned is the militaristic command and control model is not the only type of control. That it comes to mind most readily tells us about the societies we live in and the values they're based on. One that likes to deal with things in rigid and direct modes of punitive action. When that target is you it becomes civil war, victory and loss in the same site.

Weight should never require a militaristic narrative, as we know the body can regulate its energy, eating and weight very well. What is needed are ways to get it back on track if somethings derailing that. To find a way to link that with our conscious awareness-in a chain if necessary- to what we are not wholly in conscious  control the unseen metabolic pathways that operate on their own.

We cannot better them and the powerful defences that defeat our crude attempts at manipulation. A huge amount of wasted energy and will goes into trying to "stick" to weight loss diets, when we could invest that in areas less well defended. Working with the body not against it.

Like a rider on a horse or a surfer using the power of the sea to navigate balanced on a board.

Friday, 21 August 2009

Victimhood, doesn't have to be purified

The theme of spousal rape caught hold in this post about a letter to an advice column. Maybe I'm being dense but this felt like something slightly more complex than rape. Despite that being ground that should perhaps be left alone. 

I kept thinking this unusual illustration of how being bound by an intense sense of obligation can cause us to collude in our own mis-use. I was told to read this. I didn't feel that was what I meant at all. I don't believe women should have to have a fight back test.

The story is of a woman repulsed by her husband due, she says, solely to his 100 lbs weight gain. He was plump when they met and she could see that, but considered him attractive;
When we first met he was probably 25 pounds overweight, but he was handsome and we had great sex.
So for her sexual arousal is directly bound up in the way he looked.
Five years later he’s 300 pounds. I find his naked body gross. His face is bloated, and I can’t see the good-looking man I married.
Her repulsion is palpable. The bit about not seeing "...the handsome man I married", is telling, like she feels he's been replaced with someone else. Sometimes even quite minimal changes in weight are described as a new body. Then comes the chilling part;
Occasionally, I’ll let him “use” my body to appease him so he’ll stop arguing and yelling.
Whilst I do not condone any pressuring anyone for sex, I feel the label of rape perversely, ends up papering over the cracks. There's an element of someone colluding in their own violation. That's important because it can enable us to have the strength to say no and stick with that. And no, I'm not "blaming the victim", I'm trying to point to a way that women's conditioning and our own personal vanity can make the bounds of consent less than straight forward at times.

We all hide from uncomfortable feelings ones we feel we shouldn't have. There's no doubt he should not be arguing to the point where she feels the need to appease him physically. However, I don't know whether he knows that is what's happening here.

Rape is not the only way you can feel violated. Guilt seems to be involved here, though many felt she was physically threatened by him I didn't get that sense, nor did she say such, it was assumed, ironically due to his size. The confusion of boundaries being crossed because of a conflicting set of obligations and feelings. The upshot is having allowed oneself to be used in ways that feel like violation when your contrary feelings catch up with you.

It is not unusual for women especially to try to screw the anger out of men. It's one of the reasons so many end up with a sexual impulse that is absent without leave. Wondering, what happened? I detest the term "sexual dysfunction", because is it dysfunction if you mis-use your sexuality, get out of sync with it, as we women especially are too often sidelined into by the need for us to still be mere adjunct to male (hetero)sex?

It can peter out just like any other mis-used instinct. It happens to some people with their hunger if they overlook or try to suppress it too often. They too can find it becomes 'dysfunctional'.

Offering sex as a placatory soother, as a means to an end parts it from visceral desire. Both men and women do this, but women are taught that their sex is in service of others.

The letter speaks for a sex that still doesn't feel a full sense of ownership of it's own sexuality. If we did we wouldn't be on offer. Let me add that I am not ignoring the fact that this man's reaction to being denied access to the body of his wife is not acceptable. I''m not blaming her for the situation, it's more awareness. I suppose I'm trying to say that sometimes we can leave ourselves open to being victimized because we can't let go of ideas of how we should feel or behave.

That doesn't mean we are not being victimized. We don't have to be put into a narrative of innocence against guilt. Women don't have to be pure and perfect. We can make unwise moves and thinking about them and why, is not colluding with abuse. It's trying to identify patterns that draw us in. 

It's illuminating to know that and how we can and often do pay for the split in our sense of agency, between duty of care-taking the feelings of others and being true to or even identifying our own. In the end, its more reason to end the relationship. Kate makes a very apt point when she says;
So suck it up, accept that you’re the kind of person who can’t be attracted to a fatty even if you’d like to think you’re better than that, and cut him loose.
This is the key to so much of our problems it's not that we don't know what we want but that we also have a judgement about what that makes us and that's the bit that's stopping us from acting.

If the woman had accepted that it's okay to be repelled by the size of her husband and have done with it, she'd have been able to act accordingly, rather than wrestle with the idea of being a better woman.

Thursday, 20 August 2009


One of the more mystifying things about the whole obesity debacle is how self appointed, barely qualified 'nutritionists' get away with spreading eating related mayhem, seemingly scot free.

I'm not talking about the medically qualified ones-dieticians-who we hear all too rarely from. I mean the ones who turn up in the media, showing the world how to hate fat people and advancing themselves and their influence off the back of that.

Positioning themselves between fat people and the rest of the public; obliquely suggesting us, i.e. fat is how you'll end up, if you do not use our services, is how they've advanced themselves from a laughing stock to their exalted position of being able to insult and order people around, without being told to take a running jump.

We used to think anorexia was a strange eating disorder affecting mainly young girls. A whole generation of nutritionists helped to teach us, that is what fat people and others should aspire to practice in order to avoid the hellish fate of becoming fat scum.

I know people will say, I've seen a nutritionist and found it useful. I don't doubt this. I myself have been useful to numerous people I've never met before and probably won't again. At bus stops for example; giving everything from recipes to advice and directions etc, usefulness is not difficult.

Truth is, alternative/complementary practitioners are often felt to be helpful, they listen. Often that's the greatest thing anyone can do. It makes a person feel special.  Concern for our welfare is dispensed with a practiced flow. Such a relief after silence, indifference, even outright hostility to one's plight.

If there's hope of solutions, even better. A direction out of confusion and not knowing what to do can be medicine. I don't underestimate the value of that, however it could be provided by any practioner or counsellor and I'm not sure it makes up for their mischief.

Part of which I believe is the increasing spread of disordered eating as the norm. They've legitimized flirting with anorexic attitudes and behaviours over the last couple of decades of their growing influence. As much as the fashion industry, including models.

They could have been a corrective to counter the too unchecked food industry and its determination to feed us anything it can inject with with flavour and paint with 'colourings', fortified no doubt with vitamins not present in whatever base materials it is using.

Instead we are stuck with way too many underqualified fanatics some of whom are parlaying a failed attempt at an eating disorder-often anroexia-into a career. Often full of bitterness about what they see as their failure to achieve the desired holy state, and boy do they hate loathe and detest fatties.

We in some way represent this failure and somehow in their mind, are or represent the reasons for it. Fat people are their failure, their inner fatty come to life and they hate our guts with an intensity that was not the default before they came on the scene and showed the way.

Now everyone's in a perma strop with fat people. 

There has always been bullying of fat people, no doubt some of it unpleasant, but this raging intense fury of justified loathing would have been challenged, before. They've passed their own disordered mentality-be terrified of food, sugar is poison, fat is toxic, panic all the time, about all food that isn't a high water vegetable etc., Their eating and exercise habits make them very hatefuelled and angry.

When others do the same, they get exactly like them and that is what we are surrounded by. Lots of irritable, hungry people who are gunning for your fat arse because its somehow your fault in their vacuous minds.

Don't even think to mention they've made their own choice, continence is not their strong point. Some of them are some of the stupidest people you'll have the misfortune to encounter, with the vicious meanness of stupidity. Nutritionetics or whatever they call the subject they profess to study, could actually become a real intellectual discipline, an opportunity for women to make headway in a field they have congregated.

Instead, they've displayed why the suppression of the female intellect is sometimes not felt as any great loss, even to many women. 
 o regain a true sense of what normal eating is.

Choosing to be fat, 2

Choosing to be is not the same as being responsible for being fat, I can accept that my actions made me fat or fatter by raising my appetite. That I didn't listen to my body, I treated it with outright contempt and rode roughshod over the feedback it was giving me, although I didn't see it that way at the time.

I saw it as trying to overcome the weak spirit and lack of willpower that was the cause of my lack of control and excess appetite and hunger.

I choose to collude with the pretence that being slim meant you knew exactly why you were slim and created your own slimness, even though I knew many people who didn't and told me so.

I choose to beat myself up to a self harming degree and would not relent even though I had notions early on that this couldn't be right, I suppressed them and carried on with the form and pose of weight watcher, sorry, healthy lifestyler.

I knew at some point that this was putting further pressure on my hunger and appetite by invoking the comfort eating response, I remember working that out.

I am comfort eating a lot, this means I'm seeking comfort (a lot), don't others who don't have ups and downs?

Oh wait, I know, my state of discomfort is a permanent background, in which the little ups and downs of everyday life are able to unbalance me more, this triggers that mechanism to come into effect more often and more strongly. On a daily basis in fact. It's managing that background state, enabling it to be, it is therefore, technically, untenable.

I think my view of depression helped with this. Still, I carried on, I had this single minded focused irrationality that you notice in a lot of haters, I was committed, I couldn't give up, because that was inconceivable. If I just kept trying, my resistance would yield.

That's what a lot of FA sceptics cannot get into their heads, so many of us used to have their views on eating and weight. Except I never had their hatred because i never saw myself as a dieter, I saw myself as someone who was pursuing health.

That's why I sniffed out, the don't say diet say healthy lifestyle for the bullshit euphemism that it is.

Let me add to that, it's not just euphemistic, it attempts to hide the fact that you are supposed to build your life around dysfunction. IOW, a diet is what you fit into your life, a healthy lifestyle is living a diet in which you fit life into.

It's purpose is to obscure the failure of calorie counting by slowing it down and making failure harder to spot. It won't work of course, but that's never stopped the weight loss brigade before and it won't now they'll explain it in the usual way, it's your fault/ addiction/ derangement/ madness etc.

So by ignoring my own body, I am responsible for being fatter than I may or may not have been otherwise.

But choice? I can only say that if I felt that choice was so unspeakable, so intolerable, that I had to punish myself for it, in order to be able to state that I tried not, and to be honest with you, I can't wholly rule that out either.

Choosing to be fat

Whenever people mention the perfectly reasonable suggestion that they choose or are choosing to be fat or remain fat, or that fat people should think of ourselves in this light, I feel ticked off.

At the same time, I've had to wonder why that is. It is true that this would mean that slim people choose to be slim, which many of them say they do not, it is effortless and natural to them.

Having said that, the choice could be more that they didn't choose to do things or go down routes that would put pressure on any innate capacity for fatness within them (or not!).

I always was dogged by the feeling that depression was my doing. I saw it as a mismanagement of the way I see myself on a moment by moment basis which equalled states of depression.

Whereas with fat, I took direct steps to avoid becoming not just fat, but to avoid chubbiness before that.

I failed and in the process I became exactly what I tried to prevent. I became greedy in a way that I never was when I became worried that my appetite seemed to be bigger than other children around my age.

This was because the reaction to my neurosis about what I ate and fat prevention lead my body to respond by protecting it's integrity by raising my appetite. I was going to say hunger too, but what it really did what lead my hunger to become more disturbing and upsetting therefore making it more imperative that I ate. It overwhelmed me in fact, this is what is known as compulsive eating disorder.

Although I didn't realise for a long time that this was a) a disorder, I thought it's what you did if you were fat, or becoming fat and b) I didn't realise this was the cause of compulsive eating, until I finally stopped trying to diet. Which I did not out of logic but complete nervous burnout.

Because of this, I've found myself deeply resenting the idea of saying that I choose to be fat.

I want to honour the fact that I really did try beyond the point of reason in fact, to lower my weight.

It's not even that I feel that I'm not implicated or responsible for my weight, I don't object to that idea, I couldn't care less as I know that I've nothing to reproach myself for or at least I've already punished myself enough for being fat in general. I've served my time so to speak.

But still I can't just happily say, 'I choose to be, I'm choosing to be fat' because I know it will be misconstrued.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

"Grown for flavour"

Some years back this started to appear on labels attached to tomatoes sold in the UK. It begged the obvious question; what were they grown for before?

Witness Nigella and other admirable food lovers, if they are concerned with one thing above all else it's flavour and taste. They wallow in their senses of taste, smell and sight, in NL's case sound too; they trust their senses. Neurotic food faddism and enthusiasm for and knowledge of food don't go together.

If you're one of nature's cooks and seek to increase your skill, there will always come a point where any interest in 'nutrition' will have to bow to greater considerations such as the integrity of the ingredients, the balance of the dish, the elements of a meal; the flavours themselves. At the tipping points, one or the other has to go.

Nutrition enthusiasts are rarely great shakes in the kitchen. A lot of them hate and fear food. This is as pointless as it is deadening to the sensual nature of food.

When was the last time you examined a cookery book approvingly only to wonder whether it had been endorsed by a nutritionist? Nutritionists are not associated with excellence in the culinary arts. The ideological constraints of maximum 'nutrients' per calorie has not inspired great new dishes we are all desperate to try.

It helps to not to be unbalanced by the imperative to favour foods that you've invested with almost supernatural properties of goodness, rather than because you enjoy them and wish to create using the desire and inspiration that flows. Because they are good for you is no substitute.

Note the capacity most exploited by this is our capacity for greed. For what is greed if not the ability to eat things you neither desire, want nor need? To override your actual needs in favour of an ideological quest for a supreme and illusory state of health, requires similar techniques to those of people who go take "all you can eat" as a direct challenge to their potential.

As well as respect for food and the pleasure it can give, a liberation of the senses, a love for your fellow humans helps to draw out our interest in ingredients and raw materials. Misanthropic nonsense such as you cannot trust your body to regulate your food intake properly, if you do, it will choose 'rubbish' and kill you-because deep down you have a death wish. Doesn't. Those healthists who don't have this view seem in the minority, either because they are, or because they are quieter than those who are constricted, prissy and prudish about food. They (all genders) are today's versions of the pinched old maids of yore, sentenced to being terrified and restricted in life then angry and as bitter as hell at those who are trying to avoid that kind of fate.

There's talk of the horror of Big Food, but what I've been waiting for from those who push healthy eating, is a campaign for fruit and vegetables that actually smell and taste of something.

As a child, I was convinced I detested plums. Tasteless, insipid, yet managing an asinine sourness that underlined their unrewarding nature.

One day, whilst walking through my local market to the high street, I came across a glorious fragrant sweet smell that was so heavenly, I actually thought, in my dreamy state I was imagining it at first but it's insistence made me realise it was real. It was absolutely in my direction, and as I got closer I realised whatever it was, I must have some.

I'm sure you've guessed, it was plums, beautiful deep purple Victoria plums. They were the most divinely balanced mix of sweetness, and piquant sour I've ever tasted, and the fragrance. What angels would eat, if they existed.

I can say one of the best eating experiences of my life; ever. I don't think I'll ever be able to identify as a plum hater again, even if I never eat another one; they still had some left the next day, they were still marvellous, but had just passed the point of perfect ripeness.

How much encouragement would we need to eat veg and fruit, if we were lead by the nose? Tempted by this produce, how many of us would just buy it and try and think of/ find out what to do with/ put it in? Ah, we'll never know, because that's something to do with enjoyment and that our betters, don't want, unless you count their evident satisfaction in denying us the prospect of it.

Assailed by smells as well as colours, I think we'd let go of any obsession with perfectly shaped fruit and veg, that has probably been sold to us in lieu of the sensory deprivation of perfect looking fruit that smell and taste of nothing.

As it is, abstract exhortations to "eat veg" just tend to encourage a lot of waste from people buying out of duty rather than desire. It should be the job of nutritionists to identify and come up with ways of dealing with the reasons why we might not be so enthusiastic.

Alas, that would require different motivation from their usual ones, or they'd become exhausted by what they have to overcome internally.

IOW, they can't be bothered.

* Edited for clarity

Managing absurdity

Absurdist story from Australia, apparently they are going to 'regulate' the diet industry. Good luck with that because regulation would probably mean non-existence. Seriously how are you going to regulate something that doesn't work?

The impulse for this is that someone noticed fat people are continuing to exist even in sunny Oz famed for its sporty outdoorsy lifestyle-I hear some Aussies cracking up, but I'm only relaying your image from the outside.

Anyhow, some have decided that lack of regulation is the cause of this lack of intervention, they wish! They'd love to be in control of our weight, but failing that, they've just decided to be in control of themselves which is why they have not be shut down.

I notice the tiresome dietetic ( or whatever) profession are sticking their tiresome useless oar in claiming yes, commercial diets should be assessed oh really, what has the increase in dieticians done? Considering the claims that they have acquired weight mastery through their "discipline"?

Since their ascendancy was largely off the back of fat people, spreading their ugly fat hate to all and sundry, they've not been called either. I'm not surprised they want everyone to overlook that and focus on the more unpopular weight loss diet industry.

How politique.

Really, this is all about regulating the impression that things are under control.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

How did we get here?

One of the difficulties of getting out from under the obesity thing, is that it is like an estuary with many streams of thought flowing into it. We are trapped within that; directed there more by momentum as reason. 

Opportunism- the desire to take advantage of circumstance to gain the greatest opportunity for personal or group advancement, will always exist. What makes the crisis tricky to get a grasp of is that it depends on so much we've all have come to accept as 'fact'. We have come to believe in certain ideas of ourselves and are trapped until we can begin to examine these in a new light.

The ways we have come to see eating, activity and even the ways we make things happen for instance.

Fat acceptance is fascinating in that it is at times said to be radical. To me that means to take an idea at its root following through with it, logically. Taking in information and testing that logic with facts along the way. To then come to understand and conclude from that.

A theme from the sixties has led that word to refer to anything which challenges the status quo - or appears to. I'm not sure fat acceptance can do this yet. We are all too formed in the image of mainstream tenets of how fatness is defined, along with food and eating to be able to offer an alternative that could be deemed radical. I'm not even sure it if is necessary in the case of eating, it has a distinct unalterable biological purpose.

We got here by changing these things to fit the model that says eating is an act of self creation and food the building block. We are what we eat.

Seeing eating purely as an act of self willed creation, is more extreme or radical than not. (Though the latter would be in a tortuous sense of not seeing eating as intrinsic to being human). A radical notion  that attacks the root of what it is to be human at least.

Monday, 17 August 2009

Intuitive eating

This refers to responding to your body's own dictates when deciding what you want to eat. 

It's often mis-interpreted eating whatever comes to mind when you want to eat or spending ages trying to hear what your body wants.

This is understandable after what seems like the rigid control of dieting-it actually isn't control as it just messes with your body's design for self regulation-in the aftermath, your eating may have been so derailed by good/bad foods, disordered thinking stress /tension, that your best bet is to minimize, possibly even abandon any attempts at conscious regulation.
That would be a mistake in the main though because what dieting does wrong is not to have a conscious input in dieting, i.e. considering things other than what you may fancy right now, but a complete conscious take over, making eating mostly a curtailed and a pre destined decision.

Once you abandon that, there's no need to go the whole way, unless you are in a very bad state re your eating.

I must admit, I don't like the term much as it seems to suggest eating is some kind of guesswork. When actually, it's a product of your history, environment/ terrain and personal bio and psychological chemistry.

Whatever the affect of the mental and physical demands on you, will also shape your desire. The obvious is being very hungry or having extended effort=hunger for calorie dense foods as opposed to lighter things.

It's good to think about what you eat overall, in a context of what you've been eating lately. Sometimes we do get into a pattern which we could do with reminding ourselves to get out of, for change and varieties sake.

We sometimes forget what can be on offer, especially if we have limitations of budget and so on. It should be a minority of the influence though and should be in a mediating, supervisory kind of role.

"The more I drink, the better you look"

I've seen this slogan on a few T-shirts recently. Although the definitive statement about slogans on t-shirts was made by the poet Fran Landesman who is reputed to have said;
"If I don't want to hear from you; what makes you think I want to hear from your damn T-shirt?"
However, seeing it again today invoked some feelings about underlying meanings. Before I'd just thought about the beer goggles aspect, sex and regret under the influence and stopped there.
This this time I thought; drink, released inhibitions, makes you look lovelier, me feel relaxed, better, the world seem, be-youtiful, ahhhhhhh.

Then I realised that is what a lot of people have been getting at regards beauty and being fat. Often caricatured as fat people wanting the 'right' to be found attractive. It's tricky because we are trained to believe that attractiveness is natural and unfettered, hardwired even. And yet we know that isn't quite the whole truth, what is and is not judged attractive is filtered through our conscious judgements.

At first it seems like a joke, but alcohol is a way of getting out from under these rules, which a lot of the time we don't even choose.That's often why we are so emphatic about them, to try and make them belong to us, when we know they are imposed by peer pressure. Usually guys maintain a front of insisting that when it comes to their playmates they are extremely chooooosy and would not stoop to dipping their wick in anything less than the acme of physical perfection and beauty. We all know this isn't true, but they feel an imperative to state it.

Rather than, 'I'll have a beer and oh by the way, hick, may I say how splendiferouzly shaggable you're looking right now?' You have a beer because that's what it takes to let go and give you courage to overcome the part of you that polices society's expectations of you. Underneath everything, you just want to live, to have a good time and that isn't compatible with outer dictates that don't really give a damn about your needs or real opinions.

The strain of the standards we impose upon ourselves and the pleasure it steals from us, leads us to overindulgence and worse when we can take the imbalance no more. This is the story of a whole lot of human unhappiness and how we have to bypass or blunt our minds to relieve the strain when it gets too much. We love to say that we are a different person when drunk, we are not responsible for that version of ourselves, even the law recognises this to an extent.

All because of peer pressure. Ah the much criticized peer pressure, for that's what the obesity crisis is made of. It is toxic when children are using it, but in the hands of us grown ups, why it's going to save the world from the coming adipocalypse.

Friday, 14 August 2009

Classism that undermines FA

It's not just the good/bad fattie that needs to be thought about by us in FA, it's the way we other fat people on low incomes too.

People repeatedly make allusions to the idea that being fat and poor is somehow intrinsically unhealthy in a way that it isn't for those who are fat and not so poor. Rather than recognising that being poor in and of itself can take years off your life. Ben Goldacre talks about two streets in a London borough, one rich one poor. In the rich one, the average life expectancy is just about 80 years, in the poor part it's 70 years.

Endlessly it is stated that the reason why poor people are fat is because they can't afford gyms, even though poor people are likely to work in occupations that require physical graft, even if that's not of the fat burning kind. Instead of using this to inform FA, that being physically active doesn't make you thin, fat people are made into a separate class of fattie.

Then there's this thing where if you are fat and poor, you are supposed to be a receptacle for greater pity, because you are both fat and poor, more than if you are thin, somehow. And not just because of the attitude of health care professionals but simply because you are fat.

Often this combination is used to elicit sympathy for FA, there's a lot of this within different advocacy movements, where integration of the poor is not on their terms but to serve the needs of the more well off people within those movements.

Whilst I recognise change takes time and there is at least some kind of attempt to address the fact that the poor exist, it is not really good enough and keeps unnecessary distance between us.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

The echo of drug addict's patterns

Is leaving quite an imprint in the conclusions from the study reported here. Apparently it concluded fat and slim women respond differently to larger amounts of their favourite calorie dense snack foods.

Exposure to these portions, after performing tasks which would give points which went towards getting their chosen foods, found slim women's disgust reflex kicked in causing the desire for that item to decline

Which more or less is what's supposed to happen, to protect you from getting too much of certain kinds of nutrients and too little of others. 

The fat women tested worked harder for the larger portion of their snack.

This high motivation to eat the same thing is an eating skill more commonly found in situations where poor people have to eat the same kinds of affordable foodstuffs. This ability enables them to continue to appreciate them and maintain motivation to do what is necessary to get the means to feed themselves.

This is something of the adaptability and range of skills built into our eating. Leaving aside qualms about the pretence that fat and slim women are someone how undifferentiated phenotypes who eat and respond to food according to their groupings.

The question about why these particular subtle discrepancies is potentially fascinating.

Would it be too fanciful to wonder whether these particular fat women were poorer than the slim ones? Could they have been chosen from a different pool? Perhaps the slim women were taken from among the researchers and the fat women from elsewhere?

I'm speculating with fanciful abandon.

If this is some adaptation to the usual impositions on fat people, it could be more about the effect on dietary habits. The ever present mindset of attempting to deny oneself energy overall and/or through avoidance of calorie dense foods, could mean the suspension of the disgust reflex. To facilitate a sort of grab it while you can impulse to meet the constant threat of energy scarcity/ certain desirable foods.
Scientists have postulated that one reason for the high failure rate [of dieting] is that people feel deprived of their favorite foods and end up making up for their period of abstinence.
You can see if this "abstinence" is on-going, or even just a constant threat hanging over someone, the response could be on going as well, instead of temporary.

Though slim people diet, it tends to be more episodic, rather than a permanent way of thinking. 
In some cases, [fat] women reported still wanting the food even though they didn't like it.
So in some, the disgust reflex may have been functioning. Yet the urge to get these foods was out of sync with it. That is a well known feature of deprivation or the permanent (and highly charged) threat of it. When the integrity of the appetite isn't responded to on cue it can become sort of unfit, sluggish, a bit ragged at the edges.
The pattern is strikingly similar to that seen in drug addicts. "We're exploring this idea of sensitization, which happens with drug use," Temple said. "Response to a drug will actually decrease over repeated use." And that leads to more drug use.
The first sentence is suspect and manages to provoke curiousity. When the next refers to "sensitization" it's really pointing to how the body reduces the amount of endogenous opiates-due to the intake of similar via drug use-to prevent overdose. This is the real basis of addiction, your body not making enough of the chemicals needed to enable you to function smoothly.

That isn't the same as an appetite that may be misfiring, "running on" past aversion due to being frustrated and thwarted by restriction or the permanent threat of it.

The key to the lessening response to drugs mentioned- through repeated use- is a reduction of the amount of similar chemicals made inside the body. Similar to one of the main problems of managing chronic conditions long term. Ones where you have to take in some substance the body is failing to make enough of.

The very top-up that is saving your health, can provoke further decline of that function in your body. That's how it tends to behave, making less of what can be taken in as its ability to measure its needs declines with regulation from outside.

What would be interesting is if they could name what that would be in the case of eating. What does eating provide that would be causing an atrophy of mechanisms inside?
"This suggests to me that people who were obese were not eating out of hunger," Grant said. "There was some other need that eating was filling for them."
They'd have to answer that question, otherwise the comparison would be not only wrong but rather pointless and confusing.
"I stop short of calling overeating an addiction," she added. "I don't think it has all of the same properties, but I think we can learn something about overeating behavior from the drug world. We're applying the same experimental paradigms to food and trying to see if obese people might be more susceptible to having an increased response to repeated food administration."
Well, that's a relief. We can gain unexpected insight by comparing things. That doesn't necessarily mean they are the same. Again, the framing of  being "susceptible to having an increased response to repeated food administration" is misapplied, as that isn't the crux of what happens with addiction.

Repeated drug use lessens the bodies ability to revert back to it's normal production of the type of chemicals being ingested. What they are comparing it to sounds more like an appetite that has adapted to the threat of withdrawal of fuel. Hardly the same thing.
"This suggests to me that people who were obese were not eating out of hunger," Grant said. "There was some other need that eating was filling for them."
 It suggests they remain motivated to work for the type of foods that many feel they should deny themselves, negative emotion is not conducive to enjoying food. Which could be the missing thing, the continuous ability to fully enjoy food from a guilt free basis. Without censure or harsh judgement or fear to dampen it.

There are many fat people out there who have forgotten or don't even know what its like to behave normally around certain kinds of food. For the "some" especially, it could actually have been the first time they'd felt permitted to eat these foods freely. Their bodies could have been responding to that as much as anything.

Surprise! Exercise doesn't = thin

I know it's shocking isn't it? For an article that reiterates the obvious and sends us round in the same circles, this is well worth reading-thanks zaftig chicks- because it tells us the truth for once. It could all be summed up thus; we are all born with instincts to move, developed as part of us, before we are even born.

The more those remain free flowing and potent, the more likely this is to show we've been relatively  unimpeded by that which which would tend to reduce or derail them. Things that are also liable to stress us and our health.

We are designed to meet our energy and nutrient requirements pretty accurately, inside us. If those remain free flowing and relate to our needs and desires, it is more likely that they've been subject to stresses and pressures that will tend to unbalance them and our health.

I suppose I'm one of those who believes that the whole health living=health tends to just turn that on its head. It's typical of that kind of mindset, I'm not saying it never works that if you imitate a healthy person that it can't stick and reverse negative health effects.

But we can tell from how difficult people tend to find it that it often doesn't and those advocating that, can't be bothered with that and often become enraged, like their sense of entitlement has been thwarted.

Our bodies are whole, I've no idea why we expect titanic emotions combined with crises and other highly charged should leave us intact. Don't get me wrong, most of the time they do, the body is incredibly resilient, but it has its limits and we are unpredictable in the effects things have on us.

There's something a bit old fashioned about this article, as if certain things have not reached the peak of intensity that they have. It contains some real gems, the author describes his regimen of exercise thus;
'a personal trainer will work me like a farm animal for an hour, sometimes to the point that I am dizzy - an abuse for which I pay as much as I spend on groceries in a week.' 'push myself up in various hateful ways for an hour' 'the extra half-mile my grueling expiation of any gastronomical indulgences during the week. ' 'I have exercised like this - obsessively, a bit grimly - for years'
And you thought that fat hate was specifically about you as a fat person? It may be directed at you, but this is it's fuel. The unpleasantness of this imposition of movement on yourself, not for its own sake, but because its "good for you".

All of this unpleasantness of course comes at a price. It seems that it not only stimulates your hunger, as creating an energy deficit tends to, it also can lead you compensate by doing less during the rest of the day. There's a lot of disagreement about that, whether exercise reduces or increases your appetite.

It undoubtedly can do both, but until someone finds out what's going on in either case, its good to be aware of the likelihood that you will compensate. People tend to either remain the same weight, or go down a bit and plateau.

A lot of people "reward" themselves with calorie dense grub afterwards due to the kind of dip in  mood the author described above. Calories in calories out indeed. It seems it means if you lower the calories in, you'll automatically lower the calories out.

This is the big bust of calorie manipulation, compensation, or the body seeking to re-balance itself, which diet/ exercise advocates cope with by having hissy fits.

Same critiques they especially like to beat fat people over the head with, because your actual experiences and those replicated by many others don't count unless its what they want.

He doesn't do the recommended (this week) amount of the right kind of exercise-60-90 minutes most days of the week, the aerobic kind only. That is the non answer for everything, you're doing in wrong-unless you get the 'right' results of course.

Failing to understand if the patient cannot take the medicine, that counts as not working. Impotent.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

The creation of the obesity crisis

The weight loss diet or slimming industry packaged the proffered solution. But the dissemination of the actual obesity as a crisis was more about ambitious scientists involved in the disjointed field of "obesity science."

Even Big Pharma, is there because of the potential profit to be had from the dream of a successful calorie restricting drug.

Obesity used to be a cinderella subject, those involved couldn't get anyone interested in it. I mean who cares if someone else is fat? Do you care if someone else is slim? What the hell has that got to do with you personally?

Sweet FA is the answer.

So how to interest people in what they don't rightly give a rat's arse about?

Make it about them. How much it's going to affect them personally. Starting with the threat to their health and then their society's resources how much it will "cost" them. Hooking a certain mindset in emotively, with anger and rage, rather than sympathy. Fat people are selfish- lazy and greedy. It's all highly explosive stuff, given weight loss dieting was from the start a highly individualised process.

It was not unusual for whole families to be eating normally in the presence of one or more who were underfed and having to watch them eat. 

Indicative of the recklessness of authorities decision to go down this line is this used to be used by charities and other agents for social reform to calculate the cost to society of illegal drug addiction. To show the cost of the war on drugs, not the cost of drug addicts to already primed to anger"tax payers."

This meant people were able to wake up to the costs without turning that directly addicts, in the main.

All this concern about personal weight gain/healthy eating habits was sold mainly to the middle classes or what's patronisingly dubbed 'the worried well'. Which maybe why they of all political stripes have led the hate charge. Along with the fact that middle class (and upward) people are distinctly more thin friendly than lower socio-economic/class groups.

Recruiting the M/C has been crucial. There is something intrinsically bourgie busybody about telling people to eat less and "take"exercise. It sounds like them, poking their nose in other people's business, whilst wishing to draw a veil over their own activities.

In fact, I'd say the two are related the second following from the first. 

This crisis is the product of ambitious scientists wishing to elevate their chosen field, into a bona fide science.

The reason they picked this is hard to ascertain. The usual motives; an unquenchable curiosity, a thirst for knowledge, the intellectual challenge, the pitting of wits with nature (i.e. biology) the desire to relieve suffering, don't apply in the main.

So it's interesting as to why fatness. I suppose it has an unusual mix, in that it is seen as related to health, a personal social element. Health has dovetailed more and more with science, especially in more recent decades.

And perhaps most of all, it has a 'cure'. One that takes the pressure off, removes the sense of urgency that comes from looking for answers.

The fact that it isn't an answer is solved by the authoritative assertion that it is and it's their word against the amateurs.

Trying to turn being fat into a disease has been a standout. In a way its in the post religious stream of turning every undesirable or inconvenience into 'disease.' I wonder if its the earliest example of this?

Addiction and alcoholism see to have become 'diseases' after it.

Certainly, it's also to make fatness sound important and serious, give it some dignity. Fatness is seen as clownish an aesthetic challenge, nay, affront, fat people are often seen as inherently ridiculous. A caricature of the human form.

Using disease is an attempt to make it a part of the scientific cannon as if that in itself will facilitate progress of some kind. Rather cargo cultish. The contagion had a magic bullet, invoking that has deviated from method to metaphor.

Though I can't say for sure whether they want a cure, they seem to concentrate mainly in telling everyone just how bad-therefore important- fatness is. Loads of money should be directed at research so they can provide even more hype.

Certainly that whetted the appetite of major pharmaceutical companies, though I'm surprised that they don't seem to have figured calories in/out for a dead end as far as any perspective drugs would be concerned. I think there's a mystery there.

Unless is just the prospect of money shinning a glare in their eyes.

I am surprised the way weight is split up like this, doesn't offend those who consider themselves critically engaged. But then, Freudianists got away with pretending that was scientific for a while.

Webble metabolism

Says she who has only ever intentionally dieted for the total of one afternoon, although if I understand the dieting research correctly, my complete lack of willpower is probably why I haven't gained weight overall since reaching adulthood.
From a Megan McArdle post. The other day I was talking to someone about why some people get it and others don't. I said that I think it might be a kind of personality trait that enabled some to grasp the facts on fatness and weight loss.

I've just realised that when MM mentioned that she was 6" 2, maybe that explains how she went from saying that people on welfare should be denied food stamps to being able to grasp that the obesity crisis is mainly B/S in two years.

She's a size outlier herself. I've noticed the way some tall people feel incredibly ungainly and exposed themselves, like they take up too much space and feel self-conscious about it and not just women.

There's possibly the nerve state after growth sensitivity thing too, perhaps.

The above quote was from a comment from Tracy W caught my eye, it was honest and amusing. She says she has appalling willpower because of course that term now = how well you can diet, which is a shame.

In reality, the fact that extensive willpower is so ineffectual that really shows just how useless dieting is, anything efficacious would yield to such force of will as have been applied to it, that's the whole point of it the power of your will, it is not magjick. It works when there's something to work with it.

What this woman seems to have is a webble like weight regulation which no matter what happens just seems to go back more or less its original setting for no apparent reason. Neither goes up nor down.

I've never understood why they don't study these kinds of people, her inability to diet may well be due to that integrity. Funnily enough, my capacity to diet is about equal with hers, difference is, I kept trying.

That way madness lay.

Insulting yourself at once remove

You can go your whole lifetime not particularly downgrading or impugning your self respect and still end up with it compromised. By insulting yourself at once remove, that is, by the way you describe others and how that ends up reflecting on yourself.

Some martial theorist or other has said that one should never put down ones enemy too much, or one lessens the victory? See, even when you trounce someone, you can end up a loser if you make them  nothing, because that makes you very close to nothing yourself. Only when it is you equal or better can you say you've achieved something to be proud of.

Self acceptance is not the same as saying that everything is tickety boo and it is no improvement is possible. It's recognising that degrading your self respect is a false equation. And the truth of every person's need to be on their own side, not in a way that allows for no fault, but neither one that allows no room for virtue.

Self esteem and self improvement

Reading this I had cause to ponder;
....Fat Acceptance was as “evil” as McDonald’s* and that people really shouldn’t have as much self-esteem as those in Fat Acceptance believes everyone should.
The notion at the heart of the crisis mentality rests on this kind of thinking. Self esteem=complacency. It's rather capitalistic, in that undermining self worth, sans whatever product is being flogged-which will of course save the day is how we are sold most things.

The crisis goes further, it insists self esteem should be absent so it can be made up by becoming slim. It's sort of mortgaged on that basis.

What it doesn't considered is, what do you run on in the meantime? Whilst you are attaining the requisite slimness?

And anyway, would it be so wrong to not feel the need to strive to improve oneself? The assumption is that a desire to strive toward self improvement is a good and desirable thing, but is it really? I used to firmly believe this myself, now I'm not so sure.

One flaw is that it automatically implies that you are not good enough as you are. It's one thing to add skills, another to talk of "improving" oneself. We can bring our talents to fruition, but does that really make as any better as people?

Are we worth more somehow than our nascent selves?

The biggest fear we have of self esteem because of these sorts of doubt. That, if we felt pleased with ourselves, we'd come to a complete halt.

The work ethic bites. 

Monday, 10 August 2009


Just re-jigging this blog a bit. Getting rid of some old posts that I feel could have been expressed better. I may re-post them if I feel I can clarify what I was trying to say.

I've requested I be taken off the fat feeds as although I'm an enthusiast for fat acceptance, I'm not sure this is or will be a fat acceptance blog. I'm not sure it's a good fit.

I also feel that trying to avoid stepping on certain sensibilities is not the best aid to my flow. Which can be spirally at the best of times.

My aim is to write more about what I've learned, rather than being so reactive. There is nothing wrong with that, it's more the way I'm reacting and what I'm reacting to.

One of the more frustrating things aboutthis whole experience is getting the viewpoint and experiences of myself as a fat person-I hope others can share in that, if not, fair enough, at least I can say, that's what I thought and was able to express to the best of my abilities.

Friday, 7 August 2009

Are thin people really so cheap to society?

In all this talk of what fat people cost their societies, has anybody bothered to calculate what slim people cost? Not that it sounds any less irrational than the other if fact it plays up just how weird the concept of grouping people by their weight is without cover of fatness. Even if I had much faith in the health estimates regarding fatties, I have to say that health costs are not the only costs. What about social costs?

I very much doubt slim people cost less on that score. Most of the drug addicts, alcoholics and others who cost money like criminals, seem to be disproportionately slim. Not that it keeps me aware at night.

What about mitigation, in the sense that if more fat people became slim and they developed more of the habits of the slim and proportionate rates, what effect would that have in costs to society overall?

It's not that fat people are nicer or better behaved I just think we are more repressed as a whole and more used to taking orders from authority regularly, therefore it takes more personal energy to exceed behavioural boundaries.

I've often felt this is one of the many reasons why we are so objectionable to the usual professional do gooding types like social workers, psychologists and others connected to mental health etc., We have been cast in a mode of miscreant that simply is the opposite of what we are hence the endless disappointment of not fulfilling that promise. Many of them are attracted to working with those close to the edge and here we are rather mainstream and obedient, that is annoying to many as they do not get the genuine danger of thrill from working with those who are often quite 'edgy'.

No wonder they don't voice their usual objections to stigma being used as a tool to keep us in line. A wholly different mindset is attracted towards fat people. Those who perhaps would be displaced from more progressive climbs, finger waggers, tut tutters, bullies and the kind of reductive small minded conservatism that even some people on the right fear.

I wonder why this hasn't been noticed though, perhaps it's about time ordinary people got a taste of the medicine they tend to dole out to-or is doled out in our name- to those who do not fit for some reason?

Feminism is not evil

Never has been and if it keeps to the truth of itself, never will be. Stumbled upon some staggering drivel what a mess.

It goes wrong from the title onwards, "why modern feminism is illogical, unnecessary and evil". It is none of them. I'm not sure why he makes a distinction between modern and 'ancient' feminism, presumably, that's lost in the mists of time, therefore can develop a rosy glow.

Though what kind of feminism Satoshi Kanazawa an "evolutionary psychologist" would find acceptable is hard to imagine from his statements. He feels feminism is;
the radical notion that women are men
Cheeky! It's the radical notion that women are human beings. But you can see the source of his angst, having more than one half of  the species being fully human is just too much. It probably goes against the true exegesis of evolution.

It's one or t'other, men or women.

How depressing.

No wonder he's in a bit of a bad mood.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Chaging of the body's use of energy and type 2 diabetes

This article, basically a puff piece for how great and safe GBS is and how its a diabetes cure, references a small study which showed fat diabetics who have GBS lose less weight on average than those fat people who do not-have diabetes that is.

I learned that losing 40% of "excess weight", not weight at surgery as I thought, is considered a success for the procedure. Of 310 patients studied,  92% who weren't diabetic achieved that figure, and 79% of those who had diabetes.

No one is sure why. The speculation from Dr. Guilherme Campos, head surgeon at the bariatric facility concerned noted though the procedure is the same, surgeons use internal the persons anatomical markers as to how to shape the reduced stomach. 

I wasn't sure why that was relevant unless those tended to vary according to having on not having type two diabetes. Ditto the flexibility of the stomach, with regards to its capacity to recover its previous size. That sometimes is total or as near as before, meaning between 5% -15% of GBS patient lose no or little weight. 

A more pertinent possibility was mentioned- medication taken to combat the condition. Which tends to preserve weight due to actions to regulate, lower blood sugar. I'm not sure how that's related to what happens when that energy when is driven to exit the blood.  

It's a salient connection, lowering of blood sugar with weight preservation/ gain, which points to weight's defensive possibilities. That would be a connection to uncover properly.

I note Campos himself defines diabetes as "a consequence of being overweight." If that was the case, all fat people would have it and no slim people. Clearly there's the usual question of direction of cause plus the influence of innate susceptibility.

As I mentioned, its just as easy to explain the other way around. Fatness is a defence, self management, or a side effect of the development of diabetes.

The argument against that is lifestyle change staves off  the onset of diabetes, even reverses it, which would again be to do with the alteration in the body's use of energy. What would be intriguing is to find out exactly what is going there.

It's been noted that the so called curative affects of GBS kick in before any real weight loss can occur, which is to do with the re-routing i.e. bypassing of part of the small intestine. Another example of a change in the processing of energy.

Exercise won't make you thin?

It's hard not to be entertained by this kind of finding, even though it shouldn't be necessary to keep, "finding" it (out). Exercises regularly yet weight remains stable, returning back to the beginning at the end of every week, month, whatever? No way! D'you really mean you just don't use up your body, whittling it to a stub?
But the past few years of obesity research show that the role of exercise in weight loss has been wildly overstated.
People who exercise tend to eat more to compensate as they're demanding energy from their bodies. It's surprising how rarely we question the fact that slim people start exercising and remain more or less slim, rather than becoming so emaciated that they need to take a break to recover some weight. Yet this is the supposed principle of slimming down someone who's plump, before you even get to fat.

I'm sure this factor doesn't help either;
I will push myself up in various hateful ways for an hour
Some might be nitpick, but we have embedded a culture of physicality that literally trades on something akin to self abuse. This is laziness on the part of the fitness industry and its professionals who, though they are improving are still content to trade on the virulent levels of shame and self disgust easily invoked in matters of weight, to promote disconnection from the bodies distress signals.

A country's level of gym membership doesn't stop weight from rising over that same period any more than the extent of their slimming industry. People used  to be routinely advised to check with their doctors before they went on any diet and/or exercise regime to make sure their body could stand exercising, due to the nature of stress it puts on one. Yes, that does differ from gaining weight.

Equally, the body's defences are amazing in their multifariousness;
.....they compensated in another way, by moving around a lot less than usual after they got home.
Do you know people often don't notice this effect at all? It isn't conscious. It's the body contriving to make good any losses sustained from your endeavours. When you are up against this amount of sneakiness, it's hard not to end up admiring it and realizing our best hope is to work with that process, rather than against it. 

Trust insurance

I just read this and because as I read on another blog the other day, I lack the edit gene, I thought I'd just post it here. This comment caught my eye;
Underwriters use BMI when assessing mortality risk. If BMI didn’t correlate with death, the underwriters wouldn’t use it.
Sometimes it's tricky to spot whether you are just not seeing the other person's viewpoint, but I think this undermines itself, it's the highlighted part that's telling.

I don't know how BMI in general correlates with a higher death rate?, but I think it's also fair to note, that the assertion of such 'correlation', is an opportunity for the insurance industry-amongst others. To the extent that it's hard to see how they'd have any incentive to find out, especially if their targets are somewhat accepting of the situation.

If it is generally accepted by enough people with influence that fatness increases mortality in a steady line, then that is an opportunity for them to raise premiums for a substantive proportion of their customers, in one fell swoop.

Whether their pay outs match that supposition is another story isn't? The argument is framed wholly on their terms and who is going to 'disprove' it?  This is why we are having so much trouble putting our point across it's framed in a way that only allows for one POV and that is the one that backs up the crisis. So we can't actually win it, due to our position-no where.

We actually need to introduce our own framing, rather than succumb to other people's all the time. It's a very hard habit to get out of though because if you've spent years believing and acting on these beliefs yourself, it's just a continuum, which is why it is so important to overcome this. Even more than winning or losing an argument, it's important for the recovery process.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Curse words

I come from a cultural background in which notions of witchcraft and black magic are common representations of power. Though it can give me the creeps I was rather dismissive, never quite able to grasp what it was for emotionally.

My relationship with it especially when I was growing up could be summed up as incomprehension. I know they're a form of religion, but I didn't get that much, either.

Theoretically, I sensed it was a form of psychological power playing, to manipulate people mostly through fear to do your bidding. What I found so hard to grasp was the how, or even why? What was the point of it? These are in a sense a stupid questions. It's a little bit like an atheist person asking why religion?  

That seems dense now but I really remember that lack of purchase, it took me a long time to slowly realise it was about the interplay of mental energies between people. The power it was trying to contain, manage and use was the same the world over just called different things, approached in different ways.

The management systems are named differently, they rely on different central sources.

The obesity crisis has often been aimed at "worried well". Mostly seen as the middle classes who look upon their doctor like some used to look to a parish priest for guidance. They seem very into the OC, regardless of their political or intellectual affiliations to an extent suggesting it is using themes already deeply inculcated in them.

Usually the major religions start from good- god- and speaks of fighting evil. The crisis is drawn from fighting its designated evil-fatness and is concerned mainly with fighting with that. Rather than being uplifted by goodness though it does establish it's version of that-slimness; it seeks to fight fatness.

Hence its rage. It is very angry with our fatness. The fact that within each of us is there is that potential corruption waiting to appear and get a hold of us. Religion tries to save souls, the crisis, tries to destroy and punish them, in order that they be restored in goodness.

It draws people with punishment and its avoidance rather than utopia. This makes it feel like having the bad finger put on you. When the spectre of fat is raised when the word "FAT" is spat at you in rage,  when you are told you are going to become fat if you do x or y, it can make you wonder whether it is a wish a prediction or a warning.

The sense of being caught and trapped can been overwhelming, such is the extent of feeling invested in the term. To bear it can be like sinking into a depression, being under a black cloud. There is something of the occult about the use of this to control people.

When religions behave like the crisis, the irreligious are appalled yet many are happy to board this bandwagon. Getting the same out of it as others get out of various cults. I've been somewhat averse and sceptical of what Terry Eagleton calls the "Dicthkins" effect and why its really emerging.

The crisis and its little habits and quirks have actually help me to gain a more emotional sense of how these systems of mind power spread, how they work and manage to affect people so deeply. You do it to yourself in the main, it is you that feels impelled to act out your role under the influence of those whom you defer to, it's as much about that, as what is actually being put across.

Through seeing how the investment of meaning creates the weight of terms, I can grasp more of the way fear and neurosis can control people's actions. When someone feels they're living under a curse, it can be hard to meaningfully relate. But what's to be said about someone being told what they are and finding themselves just acting it out as if their lives depended on it?

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Feed me

Looking through some of the archive at Harriet Brown's blog, Feed Me, I happened upon this post. It attracted me in part because I have a post with that title that I've not managed to finish. Ha! It was well worth a read, as indeed is the whole blog.

To sum it up, the post was regarding a comment along the lines of they don't get why those who are fat and healthy get pissy, when they get obesity slammed, as they must know that it doesn't apply to them only those who are fat outliers.

Which is of course the point of why obesity is a nonsense in the first place. A comment made my Jen summed things up;
If someone is morbidly obese, like, help me I can't get out of bed/haven't left my house in 10 years because I'm too big to get out the door, that's a problem.
I was about to opine when I realised that HB had closed the comments. During that time, I was staggered enough to realise that I kind of fitted into this category more than would be obvious. Before I go into that though, let me set down my problem with this analysis.

Very fat people, those at the top of the scale, how have they been helped by the crisis exactly? The one thing it could have done that health campaigns usually do is to reduce or extinguish stigma.

Have you stopped laughing yet? I'll continue. People who are against obesiness, don't give a flying fig about people who are fat way beyond more quotidien fatness. I don't see the physiotherapy set up to see not only if more can preserve or increase mobililty, but to see if there are any physical set of motions that could be discovered/ invented to help the body to soothe any pains or even help reverse their fatness enough for the same ends.

I don't see much evidence of trying to see if their weights can stabilized at all, in any way. Thing is, when it comes to studying any human condition, it is de rigeur of the science to become obsessed with the outliers of said state so much so that the lesser cases get upset at the lack of attention.

Oh to be complaining about obesity science's obsession with those who are unusually fat? Can you imagine it? All attention placed on them in a totally non judgemental way, trying to do everything to allieviate anything that might be exacerbated by weight in itself, not just out of a natural desire to relieve suffering, but because actual attempts to relieve suffering have pushed forward so much of medicine, something that is consistently underrated.

That's why the hatred is such as sign of a desire not to progress, because if you are desperate to ease pain, you barely give a rat's jack about creating negative judgements.

The above quote sounds like the 'immobility' that can be induced by depression. It's kind of sad that someone so fuses their lack of movement with a high weight, but not surprising.

Drill yourself slim

Deep brain stimulation-how ironic, it's precisely the lack of engagement of the brain which leads a person to the conclusion this could be a good idea. Ho hum.
inserting electrodes into the brain to deliver tiny bursts of electricity to alter the patient's behaviour.
This method has been used for Parkinson's disease. Now that is a real disease, a serious degenerative nerve disorder. So it would be extraordinary if this method can reduce or stop tremours yet not affect fatness.

A surgery featuring this approach was performed by Dr. Donald Whiting he says something that epitomizes what should be in the forefront of anyone's mind;
Whiting admits it is a drastic procedure - 'but obesity is a drastic problem'.
Nothing sums up better the close relationship between the hype of extinction for encouraging people to overcome their sense of self preservation, permitting these kinds of assaults on themselves. Providing a justification for their extent of desperation to lose weight which it might otherwise make more sense to contain, in the process. There's a whiff of corruption about it, a mis-use of their power of influence.

In spite of the drastic nature of drilling a hole in your skull to access and stick electrodes your brain matter, I'm still prepared to bet against it being of any use, the past should provide lessons for us all. I simply do not believe there is anything wrong with fat people's brains and certainly nothing that couldn't be altered without the need for such drastic action. It's like a way of getting human animal testing under the cover of writing off fat people's lives.

According to David Ashton "a leading obesity expert" there is a risk of stroke from this approach. Something fatness is supposed to increase the risk of.

Because being fat has been labelled disease/pathology, observation of difference in brain function is assumes "cause of disease" and therefore becomes a pathology in itself whether it is or not, merely because it is found in fat people. It could just be evidence of the underlying change/difference that permits fatness in the first place, once it is triggered.

That may sound like cause, but what I'm saying is that it could be part of the overall process allowing the body to fatten, like increased blood vessels which supply extra fat and muscle tissue, or on a more surface level stretch marks.

I always have a problem with the fixation on cranking up the metabolism when it comes to fatness via the nervous system full stop. Now they're onto the brain people should be very wary given the history of high brutality for low rewards from the guess work that has marked the history of "weight loss interventions".

Up till now, this crude aggression has just seemed to wreak destruction on other parts of the body, organs, usually the very ones implicated as being "obesity related", liver, heart, kidneys etc.,

This suggests to me that fat people's systems aren't sluggish as presumed, just like the fat cell before it was discovered to be one of the most active cells in the body.