Saturday, 29 June 2013

Weight has Purpose

Looking at this rather predictable effect of increased alcoholism after surgically induced weight loss (or should that be thought of that as tissue loss?) One has to wonder how much restricted access to scientific findings-too many paywalls-is affecting scientific knowledge amongst scientists;
A small group of scientists gathered last week at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study to share ideas about a medical mystery: the increasing evidence that some types of weight loss surgery affect not just the stomach, but the brain as well.
That last line is a bit of a doozy. The stomach area has the second highest concentration of nerve cells outside the brain. So what "increasing evidence" would that be when this has been well known for aeons? And indeed that last link reflects the fact that it's been known of in far Eastern and Ayurvedic medicine. It even affects their attitude to posture, you can still see this.

I also get a bit agitated when clear leads are given by human anatomy. If you scroll down to the third square, you'll see a simplified illustration of how the spinal nerves are connected to organs and to the brain. Is that unconvincing?

If you take the blinkers off and recognise fatness cannot be understood in terms of pathology, any more than slimness could, you'll attain a better grasp of the situation. As I've been trying to point out since I got to the fatsphere, one of the reasons people fatten is to buoy up your mood and stop it from sinking (and you with it). I think of this effect as like a lifejacket stopping you from sinking.

It can use appetite, hunger and/or weight itself to achieve this effect, whatever's necessary. If a change of eating isn't, then your eating will hardly change, if at all. This is an adaptation to keep you afloat whilst you resolve whatever is pressuring you. Often that is a matter of circumstance, environment, upbringing and so many other factors. Your body often stabilizes at a certain point. What folks think of as their setpoint. It's intriguing.

Don't think of this as either/or. Some people are just genetically predisposed to fatness full stop. In some, they're predisposed to this particular kind of physical adaptation. Sometimes it's really anticipatory or hair-trigger as I used to call it. Before you even feel remotely stressed, it has anticipated potential trouble. For others it's more when you are under palpable strain. There are also some who have more than one of these factors, sometimes to the upper most degree. Those are probably amongst those who reach the highest weights.

For others, it doesn't seem to come into effect, they remain slim or even go the other way and lose weight. If their situation isn't resolved, or doesn't spontaneously resolve itself-which let's face it we all count on hugely-then their system may go on another stage which could be anything from an acute neurosis, to some kind of substance abuse.

If you deflate the "lifejacket" then some people's system will continue on the above course. Genetic links between fatness and alcoholism have already been noted. Alcohol is digested, it is partly a food so it can play a role similar to having fat stores because its so readily converted into energy, it removes the need for energy backup!

It's not unheard of for some families to have fatter members alongside slimmer alcoholics. It's interesting that fat people seem more likely to be teetotal. Though I've had a few go's, I've never taken to booze. I've had the feeling that I would have been a prime candidate for heavy drinking if I hadn't been fat. But who knows?

Anyhow, fatness can be a dam or barrier mechanism, in some people. If dieting wasn't so ineffective, this would probably be more clearly the reason why some are dietproof. Finding it even harder than most to lower their (food) intake at all. Regardless of how much/little that is.

And this is part of what gets crudely posited by a fat phobic mindset as 'addiction'. As I used to say, if you're in battle and someone's trying to take your shield, you're bound to instinctively tighten your grip. Because people don't recognise fat people's humanity hidden under their fatuous disease assignation. This kind of nuance doesn't appear to matter. The impulse is to crowbar it into what's gone before, even if that's mythical too.

It is fascinating. But it is not 'addiction transfer'. It's more getting rid of a barrier to going to to possibly develop some kind of substance dependence. The difference is fatness is spontaneous. The body does it itself, a bit like a magnetic field drawing iron filings. The magnetic field is the conditions your body finds conducive to altering weight.

It's interesting that when you're able to see beyond obesity dogma, even a bit, you begin to grasp this;
We don't, for instance, label drowning a disease. It is, clearly, a legitimate medical condition—worthy of treatment and insurance coverage. But the fault lies with the situation, not with ourselves—in the sense that human bodies are simply not adapted to spend too much time under water. Obesity is the same.
 Now, whilst I wouldn't make that comparison, you can see David L. Katz has reached for a similar metaphor. For me, fatness of this kind happens to keep you buoyant and when it's deflated, that's when you start to drown, or at least, require other means.

In a way you could replace "human bodies are simply not adapted to spend too much time under water." With "spend too much time under certain levels of pressure." Or with overall mood under a certain level.

This could have been looked out for, if people weren't busy insisting fatness is all bad and has no positive use. That it is merely the outcome of excess eating, that the body could not have its own plan to alter it's own function to use fatness for a purpose.

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