There is a twitter storm about a rather abrasive comic / late show host who said something about fat shaming. I am not saying he is right, or frankly the other side is right. There is a serious epidemic of obesity in most of the first world. That is the rich countries, if you are not clear on first, second, and third word jargon.
Being overweight is not good for the human body. That is a fact.
Medical issues caused by fat are overtaking smoking as a leading
cause of death in those countries. Yes smoking is in a gradual decline
but when 70% of American adults are significantly overweight there is a
It is not OK.
I have never criticized a person or in any way shamed one who is “too heavy.” I keep quiet on that. One of my coworkers is about 100 pounds too heavy for his frame size. He knows it. He knows he can change it. He just is not motivated to do so. I do not blame him or in any way try to make him feel bad about it. He is intelligent, and very good at his work.
I think it is particularly hard for him as the other people in this office space are either very fit, or very very fit. One is a runner. Another is a Martial Arts instructor. I am a cyclist who rides up mountains. He tried and succeeded in losing 80 pounds several years ago. He then gave up on it. It is more complicated than just a BMI. I know that. He knows that.
My issue is the political insistence that this is a mystery. More studies, more research to find the cause are needed. Yes white coats need to earn a living. The truth is that is a smokescreen. Oh and do not talk about it in public!
If you take a step back there are a few things that are obvious:
It is not genetic! The parents and grandparents and great grandparents of the current generation of overweight people were not as heavy. Go back one hundred years and the average was skinny. If it were a genetic trait the rates of obesity would be steady.
Later generations are far less active than earlier ones. That is very important. Do not eat like a 19th century farmer unless you work as hard as one.
Large food servings are aggressively marketed as better value. Restaurants are rated by portion size. Those servings are always getting bigger. All you can eat is good! A half gallon Slurpee is a good deal. 30 years ago the idea would be laughed at.
Bad advice is rampant. Always feel full is the worst one. Our bodies are designed to survive starvation. You can feel hungry and not panic.
The really tricky part is that each and every person is responsible for themselves. It is not society or your community it is you. It is a decision process each person must make. Being honest about your body is the first step. The second step is not to go into an emotional spiral, but to do something about it. Then the decisions fall in order.
The biggest thing, the most critical, is to realize it is you who must do this. The idea that you can be healthy and very heavy is wrong. There must be back pressure of some kind to that. In the most extreme case that is fat shaming. So is gentle fat shaming an option? It should not be offensive to ask; “why did you order two Big Macs?”
Fifteen years ago as I approached middle age I was getting pretty heavy. I was comfortable as a couch potato. I liked fizzy drinks and there were always a gallon in the fridge. One day I looked at myself. For financial reasons I had commuted to work by bike for three years. I stopped for several years because I was hit by a car and was hurt. I had seen a stronger fitter person who was then fading into fatness. I had a big gut and a spare tire. I was not angry or disgusted with myself, but I was disappointed.
I made a decision. It was not to lose weight as a goal, but I hoped that was going to be a result. I started to ride my bike again. I got rid of the fizzy drinks. I actually made no other changes. I bought a new rather expensive (at the time) bike which made riding longer easier and also motivated me to ride even more. I became committed to the sport. I lost a lot of weight.
I made a decision and now my fitness numbers would be good for a person 40 years younger that I am. I am still a big person, but I am not fat. I eat much less than my co-worker does and am and order of magnitude more physically active. Is my very presence offensive to him? Some would say so. I have heard that. Maybe it was a joke. Maybe it was serious. Thin shaming seems to be OK in some circles. (I aint thin either)
I belong to a bike club. I am the heaviest person there. I am surrounded by lots of really skinny people. They are also typically younger. Should I feel shame because I am bigger than they? Should I feel shame because I am older? I do not because I am doing a good job of this thing called fitness.
I have seen a lot of tumblr sites for people on the weight loss journey who have lots of photos of food. Too much quinoa and avocado is still too much. I could not eat some of those salads at 196 lbs and 6 ft 1inch. Obsession is obsession. Be gentle with it.
It should not be shame nor should it be encouragement to be any given size. You should be honest about it. It is your body. You have one shot at this.
Please respect your own life.