Saturday, 7 August 2010

Conflating weight loss with WLD

This particular thread has got rather long, unsurprisingly as it contains stuff about dieters and therefore, dieting. Looking at this comment, I had some thoughts which I decided to post here rather than there.

I just wanted to write it down, rather than get into, or end a discussion. it's gotten rather long so I've split it into two.
Or the simple observation that we differ significantly in our beliefs about weight and weight loss.

I think this is a tricky bit, even those of us firmly on board with fat acceptance and in favour of no surrender to self/body hate in any way shape or form differ on our beliefs about weight loss.

To me, the conflation of weight loss, with weight loss dieting is a product of the weight loss industry and serves them hugely, IMHO.

Weight loss, is not owned by the slimming industry, it is not intrinsic to them nor invented by them. It does not belong to them. Rather it is an automatic human biological process, a side effect of providing our bodies with the constant supply of energy they need to run. Right now virtually all our bodies are engaged in a cycle of losing and yes (re)gaining weight as part of providing that steady stream of energy and not leaving us light headed or blacking out every time we exert ourselves, minimally.

It belongs to biology, that actually achieves it viably and effectively, not commerce which does not.

The issue is our desire to lose/gain weight doesn't match our knowledge of how to achieve this deliberately and consciously, of our own volition. Into that void steps the bankrupt calorie restriction hypothesis, or WLD if you prefer.

If anyone is on board with that conflation they are serving the purpose of it which is to shore up weight loss dieting by helping to protect it from that premise of scrutiny-comparing it to the bodies automatic version of it, with the results of the calorie restriction model.

This primes our minds to accept as fact that weight loss is inherently painful and hard, when that is actually weight loss dieting. The cycle of weight loss and gain doesn't hurt-unless there is something going badly wrong.

By saying that weight loss is WLD, the weight loss diet contingent are actually protecting WLD from greater scrutiny by conditioning people to compare WLD only to itself, rather than to that natural effect that occurs without pain or conscious effort and therefore keeping a continuous question mark over why it's so painful when we apply our 'intelligence' to it and not at all, when we do not. Why the huge disparity between the two? Why the abject failure pain and upheaval of one versus the absolute ease of the other. What explains that?

That enables them to get away with shaping our whole consciousness on weight loss. It means that rotten pills that are far more efficacious in being toxic and suicide inducing are accepted-because everyone knows the unshakable 'fact' that weight loss is a world of hurt.

No sorry, weight loss dieting is the world of hurt, calorie restriction/ manipulation is the corrupting and degenerate mindset. It's efficiency lies more in producing every form of eating disorder/ variety of disordered eating known to man. It is an able facilitator and enabler of fat hatred. And that creates and perpetuates the devaluation of the fat body and the attacks visited on it.

Fat hating supports WLD and comes out of it.

All the above is assisted by this conflation and yes, fat acceptance by passively and unquestioningly going along with this is not deviating from this at all. And putting fat acceptance in the line of fire between those who want weight loss and those selling it. We should at least get out of the way and let them get on with it.

I'm not accusing people who do this of being bad I can totally understand this position, if I bought this conflation, I'd probably come to the same conclusion too. However I don't. I just need to say that the reasons why everyone is not on board with a certain view of weight loss are not the same and that should at least be fully understood, whether you agree with it or not.

I sometimes get fed up of the way folks in FA only pay respectful attention to any quackery or pseudo science, above any thoughts some of us may have. What's the point in complaining about lack of credibility when the people who have least credibility in FA, is many people in fat acceptance.

A lot of us come out of the mainstream views on weight and we need to be a little bit more aware of that, I include myself in that. We carry to much unexamined baggage from weight loss diet culture that surrounds us and by not examining it more closely, point by point, we can just end up unwittingly perpetuating that which we are against.

The culture of calorie restriction has had a huge and massive distorting effect on the whole of society's ideas about weight and eating we should not take any of the ideas we have for granted-no matter how truthful they may seem. Without close examination and objectivity, that should be filed under pending further investigation. They have held total sway over us, they have gone unquestioned for decades and the idea that form their basis, centuries, probably.

It is a bit naive of us to assume that a little bit of celebration of self and slow inching toward self acceptance, swimming against the tide, is going to bring all that and all that supports it, crashing to it's knees.

As for the idea of being able to lose weight, in the way the body does, with the ease of the metabolism doing what it is designed to do, rather than attempting to mis-use the smaller conscious input into eating, which it was not. And how much that has to do with the current state of fat annihilating evisceration, breaking the conflation helps to see why again, I'm not so convinced that the notion of weight loss in itself, fully explains fat phobia.

I've said before this is a question of science and knowledge, it is simply not a moral issue. Those at the top (and bottom) of the weight scale need assistance in this area, they need proper function to be re-established to keep them from suffering. Like it or not, this means that weight loss for them is probably weight loss for everyone. Full stop. If you deny weight change to anyone, you deny it to those who's metabolisms are actually malfunctioning. Not just merely as perfect as they would wish.

There's also another matter which seems to be ignored. Weight is not a totally separate entity in and of itself. In some ways, that is an artificial notion borne of the obsession with dieting/obesity, itself. It is deliberate and in a sense political, similar to the way pills are doled out to people for their 'disease' of being run over by the societal machine-sorry depression. To avoid looking deeper which then leads to questioning of the source of stresses and strains on us. We collude in this because we love our modern societies with the promise of retail therapy and such. We've all been seduced by it.

The sense at some level that it just can't go on, comes out partly in the ferocious aggression aimed at fat people. There is a fear that our bodies are making some kind of comment on that, and that we have been neglectful and careless to expose this in a way that it cannot be avoided. Now this may be bull, however the point is the panic that fosters this fear and the resultant aggressive response. Weight is not interconnected with the overall function of our bodies and has definite interactions with aspects of ourselves and our health. I don't regret that, I think, clever body.

An obvious example of this is mental health, we know there is a connection between weight and depression, probably more than one and at all weights in some way. It seems that metabolic response varies, some lose weight, some gain when they are depressed. The point is, if we can manipulate weight, that will affect the ability to treat depression and other mental illnesses, even if that means making some people fatter until their mental issues can be dealt with.

Metabolism is (a) possible switch or leverage re-set/restore mental health, either gain or loss, remember the two are mirrors of each other. If you understand something about one, you may end up understanding the other, sometimes. This is just one example, there are others and there is the potential that any methodology could be more widely applied to other areas.

So weight loss as verboten doesn't add up, nor seem like an option, it's like those people setting themselves against embryo research because it's triggering. You cannot hold up legitimate progress merely because of bad history, the failure of the cynical and corrupt should not affect that of those who are genuine and seek to enhance our knowledge and empower our agency over our own bodies and health. We can learn from history, it's a mistake to use it to give us a reason to stagnate or regress.


  1. Deep post, you've given me a lot to think about.

  2. Thanks, it started off a relatively manageable length, then just went on and on!

  3. I've always rather liked the idea that one day we might discover a way to intentionally lose or gain weight that is neither dangerous nor pointless (by which I mean the person is then thinner, but with no health benefits). Just because it hasn't been found yet, there is no reason to insist that all weight loss is bad; no exceptions. All weight loss methods currently in existence are, yes. But weight loss itself is just a process.

    I believe that we as the FA movement should spread the following messages:

    - Nobody should be pressured into losing weight.
    - Being healthy at a high weight is not impossible.
    - Each person's health is their business alone.
    - Your worth does not depend on your weight or health.
    - There is currently no healthy and effective way to lose a lot of weight and keep it off.

    Did I forget anything? My point is that I'm leaving out "all weight loss is inherently bad" on purpose because it's entirely possible that a healthy solution will be found one day and from then on telling people not to make use of it would be like telling them not to get any tattoos or piercings. Or not to remove their warts, if the weight is causing them physical trouble.

    Some might argue that we need to base our arguments on the current state of things, but that's ridiculous. Reality changes constantly, after all. And for the sake of those who actually suffer from the effects of weight alone (rather than correlated diseases), scientists should be able to go looking for harmless weight loss methods without getting criticised for it.

    I hope this didn't turn out all too long, heh. I like to ramble, too.

  4. Tiana,

    Nah, I thought it was an excellent comment. I'd just add that virtually all the methods we have-bar things like slim through the power of your mind- are essentially one, that of controlling/manipulating the body's supply of energy.

    Even though that comes in different forms, pills, diets, operations, exercise regimes etc., they all set out to do exactly the same thing. And they all fail for the exact same reason/s.

    That appearance of a variety of approaches actually helps to maintain the impression that 'we've tried really hard/so many things don't expect too much.....'

    And of course people don't.

    It's amazing how a ruthless and single minded dedication to your own advancement can give you a sort of amoral cleverness.

    No wonder people are drawn to the dark side.