Monday, 19 April 2010

One route, many forms

Despite appearances, there is only one real basis of deliberately induced weight loss and that is by manipulating calories. By this I mean trying to reduce calorie intake-whether that increases or decreases the amount eaten and increase in expenditure of calories, increasing activity and things like increasing muscle mass in order to try and raise basal metabolic rate (the energy you use merely existing!).

And whether it's weight loss diets, exercise, gastric bypass or other weight loss surgeries, pills, the aim is the same, to starve and/or purge to induce weight loss. And that has become more important than weight loss because of what energy manipulation has come to equal. Control. The idea of control trumps weight loss, in a way reminiscent of the way a sense of control comes to trump dieting for anorexics.

All the current weight loss strategies are an attempt to work this hypothesis, it is the only real basis of weight loss. This is a distinct ideology of intervention as it does not compare with those who are naturally (metabolically)thin. The basis of the obesity crisis is for the purpose of substantiating that ideology, rather than making fat people thin. Which is entirely secondary.

Rather like a devout believer, say a Christian goes to a developing country lacking infrastructure to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS and refuses to promote condoms/safer sex practices as this doesn't accord with their beliefs, instead they promote only abstinence.

It is possible to say, that this person is compassion, dedicated, someone prepared to use their energies to help others, however, what is the most important thing about their approach (for them), reducing the spread of the disease, or their beliefs?

If they would rather cease their efforts than promote safer sex education, etc, then you would have to conclude that whilst it may or may not be important for them to reduce the spread of disease, their beliefs are actually most important, even more important than people's lives.

They would probably object to this by stating that abstinence works, if followed as advised.

This seems to me to be the way it is with the whole anti obesity campaign. Regardless of what people think about the dangers or consequences of obesity may or may not be, supporting the underlying ideology that we can regulate weight through the calorie control mechanism, is more important than anything.

This aspect reveals the part of the hold that anorexia can gain over a person's mind, in this example, it's the mind of society in general.

It shows how potent the desire for control of self is in our modern societies, this has made even the appearance of control important enough to protect at whatever cost.

This is one of the dilemmas of fat acceptance, by buying into the conflation of weight loss, an entirely natural part of the processes of the body with weight loss dieting an artificial and failed attempt at altering the course of the metabolism, we let society off the hook for it's behaviour.

Taking again, the example of HIV/AIDS, activists in this field may raise funds for research, raise awareness of things that actually have some effect.

And although there are campaigns on this score funded by voluntary organisations and government agencies, there is never any question that the answer is to be found in more research into the condition. Equally so, with other conditions that are also sexually transmitted even though they have a long history of intermingling with sexual stigmas.

Those who claim to be against obesity should have their behaviours and attitudes questioned by comparison to these kinds of examples of activism against a chosen condition- whether one thinks the disease model is appropriate for fatness or not. Because it's not merely the fact that we are in disagreement that is the problem, it is the behaviour of those engaged in the war against obesity that is that is truly indefensible. Even when taken on it's own terms, that is of the desire to prevent and or reverse fatness.

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