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Thu Jul 17, 2014, 12:07 AM

Even though I've been obese, I'm not sure what counts as "fat shaming"...

...when other people talk about that.

I'm no stranger to shaming and humiliation in general. I was nerdy, non-athletic, and socially awkward as a boy. My peers made my life hell for that. I was taunted and bullied. I was picked last, often dead last, for teams in gym. My friends were few, and I never dated until after high school. My childhood and teen years are not fond memories to say the least.

But weight at least wasn't an issue in my youth. I was called "faggot" a lot, but never "fatso".

Weight crept up on me in my twenties, until I hit around 245 lbs on my 6' frame. I started eating better and exercising, kept fit and trim for a bit over seven years during my thirties, then fell off the wagon, slowly building up to a new high of 263 about two and a half years ago, when I once again attacked the problem. Now I've been under 200 for over a year and a half, and at or near 178 for over a year.

Suffice to say I've spent a fair number of my adult years being overweight or obese even though I'm currently slim.

Of course, I'm sure adult males get the least flack for excess weight of any group. I was harder on myself for letting myself go than anyone else ever was. Probably the most shaming thing I recall experiencing about my weight wasn't from anyone being personally insulting to me: I'd gotten a ticket for indoor skydiving for my birthday. When I went to try it out, it turned out there was a weight limit of 250 lbs, and they made me get on a scale which, to my surprise and embarrassment, showed that at the time I'd gone just a bit over their limit. Since I was only a couple of pounds over they let me continue anyway, but the reason for the limit became clear when I found it was hard for the vertical wind tunnel to get me more than a few feet above the ground.

On the more personally directed side of things, the only thing that stands out in my mind were a few unsolicited comments from my father, which he made from the perspective of someone who'd battled weight himself, in the manner of offering friendly advice. On other issues my father could be incredibly nagging, but on this he was pretty low key.

So for other people, what is it that hits your as shaming? Except for those few on DU who still might be young enough to be in high school, I don't imagine many of you who are overweight deal with flat-out open bullying and taunting -- although perhaps you'll surprise me in that regard, having a very different adult experience than mine.

Perhaps you experience "fat shaming" in the form of comments from friends and family, people offering unsolicited advice or criticism? Either thinking they're genuinely being helpful, but failing, or perhaps only putting on a mask of helpfulness while just being insulting or condescending?

Maybe it's comments and/or reactions from strangers, perhaps not made directly to you, but you notice them anyway?

Is some of what's being called "shaming" general cultural attitudes toward excess weight, how being fat is depicted in movies and TV, how it's talked about on talk shows, etc? Attitudes of people in clothing stores maybe, or just the attitude indirectly expressed by the available sizes of preferred clothing?

Perhaps part of it is the way that weight issues are discussed right here on DU? If so, what particular types of comments?

Would you count my own being hard on myself for being fat as "fat shaming", considering that an internalization of societal prejudices that I should have rejected?

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Reply Even though I've been obese, I'm not sure what counts as "fat shaming"... (Original post)
Silent3 Jul 2014 OP
Warpy Jul 2014 #1
Silent3 Jul 2014 #4
eridani Jul 2014 #23
PasadenaTrudy Jul 2014 #8
Bonobo Jul 2014 #22
laundry_queen Jul 2014 #29
raccoon Jul 2014 #30
laundry_queen Jul 2014 #2
Silent3 Jul 2014 #3
LWolf Jul 2014 #5
Silent3 Jul 2014 #7
nomorenomore08 Jul 2014 #13
nolabear Jul 2014 #6
laundry_queen Jul 2014 #9
nolabear Jul 2014 #16
Silent3 Jul 2014 #12
nomorenomore08 Jul 2014 #14
Silent3 Jul 2014 #19
nomorenomore08 Jul 2014 #20
nolabear Jul 2014 #17
Silent3 Jul 2014 #18
nolabear Jul 2014 #21
Silent3 Jul 2014 #25
eridani Jul 2014 #24
laundry_queen Jul 2014 #27
Silent3 Jul 2014 #32
Mopar151 Jul 2014 #26
laundry_queen Jul 2014 #28
Mopar151 Jul 2014 #33
riderinthestorm Jul 2014 #34
Mopar151 Jul 2014 #35
Mopar151 Jul 2014 #36
raccoon Jul 2014 #31
AndreaCG Jul 2014 #10
newcriminal Jul 2014 #11
Lunacee_2013 Jul 2014 #15
Silent3 Jul 2014 #37
Post removed Feb 2015 #38
Silent3 Feb 2015 #39
icymist Feb 2015 #40

Response to Silent3 (Original post)

Thu Jul 17, 2014, 01:50 AM

1. While men can be fat shamed, it's never to the extent that women are

Strangers feel entitled to tell any overweight woman what she needs to do to make her body socially acceptable, entitled to comment on her body, her clothing, her food choices, and everything about her in a negative manner.

This is fat shaming. If you had ever experienced it, you'd know it.

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Response to Warpy (Reply #1)

Thu Jul 17, 2014, 01:32 PM

4. I figured that sort of thing happened, and mostly to women, even if I didn't as a male...

...personally experience much of anything like that.

But here on DU I've seen the phrase "fat shaming" bandied about referring to much less personally directed discussion of exercise and diet and weight too.

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Response to Silent3 (Reply #4)

Fri Jul 18, 2014, 08:58 PM

23. Being 6 feet tall helps also

If you were 6 or 7 inches shorter, you might have been hassled a lot more.

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Response to Warpy (Reply #1)

Thu Jul 17, 2014, 03:08 PM

8. Truth!

Women are not allowed to be fat in public. Men do have it easier tho....

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Response to Warpy (Reply #1)

Fri Jul 18, 2014, 08:52 PM

22. Men don't know what it's like to be a woman!

But women? Yup, they know EXACTLY what it is like to be a man! Yup!

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Response to Bonobo (Reply #22)

Sat Jul 19, 2014, 05:37 AM

29. Really? JFC. nt

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Response to Bonobo (Reply #22)

Sat Jul 19, 2014, 06:55 AM

30. Great contribution to this thread. Not. nt

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Response to Silent3 (Original post)

Thu Jul 17, 2014, 02:37 AM

2. My experience

I think of fat shaming as many of the things you mentioned. I also think that it's a bigger issue for women instead of men. I think women deal with it from a very early age as compared with men.

Growing up, my mom started commenting on my 'big belly' when I was 4. My dad was overweight at the time (but not obese) and my mom hounded him constantly about his beer belly. My mom told me with my dad's genes, I was going to end up fat with a big belly (she later took him to a medical diet center where he got slim on 600 cals/day and then she monitored his food - still does - although he has gained some back). Growing up, the shameful comments were constant. When I ate too much I was shamed. When I was hungry I was ridiculed (conversely and confusingly, if I was full but didn't finish everything on my plate, I was forced to sit there and finish it).

I think it's important to note that at this point, I was a normal weight for my age...maybe a bit above average but I was never, ever fat. I was a normal kid that wore normal kid sizes. I was solid and not at all petite, but I was muscular and athletic.

As a pre-teen and teen, my mom was constantly monitoring my food intake. My mom was super petite and thin - she had problems finding sizes small enough to fit her upper body - and would tease me when I started to wear clothing larger than her size (I was about 12-13 at the time). She told me I had 'football shoulders' and whenever I went to wear a tank top, she would say that I "shouldn't be wearing those with your shoulders".

Interestingly enough, even though up to that point, I had never been overweight, my brother had been. By age 10 he had really put on a lot of weight. My parents bragged, "He's such a big boy! So solid!" so you can see the difference in how a boy vs girl was treated with regards to weight. Eventually, when he hit his growth spurt, he slimmed out but has had weight problems off and on as an adult (he is severely hypothyroid).

My parents fat shamed in many indirect ways. They would criticize runway models on tv (they would watch fashion tv just to do this). "She's got a gut. That one has a flabby ass. Look at the one in yellow - I've never seen a model with cankles!" And on and on. Obese neighbours were ripe for ridicule behind their back, "How could anyone let themselves get like that! He's just GROSS! Ugh, I can't stand to look at him! How could you even get in bed with THAT." or even slightly overweight moms were subject to the same treatment, "Ugh, how can her husband even love her! Look at her, how ugly and chubby she is! Her body has no shape, it's like straight up and down with boobs and bulges! What the heck does her husband SEE in her? He's a good looking guy, he could do so much better!"

No one was immune from these comments that my parents freely let rip around my brother and I. It becomes something you internalize. Heck, I even believed it at the time and probably had the same thoughts, "Ew, that person is fat!" Some of my friends were the same way as my parents were. "Ooo, did you notice Lori has gained weight? We went swimming last week and I could see her cellulite, ew!"

Then around 14-15 I started to have problems keeping my weight down. I had symptoms of polycystic ovarian syndrome even then, but no doctors caught it. I started to skip meals and exercise compulsively. I was on quite a few sports teams, even took phys ed as an elective when it was no longer required, exercised morning and night, walked everywhere, lifted weights...I ended up with quite a few overuse injuries from all the sports. Anyhow, my mother noticed my weight gain and started taking me to different weight loss places. It didn't really work out because I had no support at home. My mom refused to help me out other than to pay for the weekly meetings, so I cooked/made and ate my own special meals in seclusion. I was 16 at the time.

I basically stayed steady by continuing to exercise compulsively (easily 2+hours/day, plus I had a very physical p/t job) and skipping meals, then binging off and on. I was never fat or even overweight by more than a few pounds this whole time. My clothing size was a 10 for the top and 8 for the bottoms.

At 19 I met my now-ex husband. We moved in together. One of the first things he said to me was that he didn't want to hear about how much calories or fat grams my food had, or how many minutes I had done aerobics or how many reps of weights I had done that day. He said he wanted me to enjoy my food and stop obsessing about my weight.

So I did and over the course of our first year I gained 30 lbs. Then I got pregnant and gained more. And with every pregnancy I gained more. Until after baby #4 I was obese. During this time, I wasn't concerned with what my parents thought because I thought my ex was fine with it (he insisted till the day we split up that my weight was totally fine with him). I did diet during this time and I'd lose a few pounds here and there. But nothing that stuck. At one point I was exercising 2+ hours a day, like when I was a teen and making an effort to eat healthy and over 6 months I barely lost 10 lbs. My ex said, "holy shit, I feel sorry for you! When I want to lose 10 lbs I go to hockey once a week and 2 weeks later, bam, 10 lbs gone"

Anyhow, I'm kind of babbling here, but here are some ways I notice the shaming now that I'm an adult.

I notice now that when I go into restaurants, especially fast food ones (which is rare anyway) I get 'looks' if I don't get a salad. I even saw one thin woman shaking her head at me when I ordered a burger and fries once.

Many doctors that I go to blame everything on my weight. It would take me all night to type every single instance out (I actually started and 10 min in I had to stop, LOL). Basically, every illness, every ache and pain, even any issue in my 4 pregnancies (my first C-section was CAUSED because of a fat phobic doctor), weight was mentioned as the cause. Thankfully I currently have a doctor that never mentions it when I come in.

When you go for walks with people - now I'm not currently in the greatest of shape and I realize that, but I do have complicating factors that, even when I AM thin and in shape, leave me far behind other people (I have asthma and knee and foot issues). Even when these people are friends and family and I am walking with them, if I can't keep up, they never wait. They keep going. They leave me in the dust. I've had so many people do this to me, I can't help but think it's not just that I have crappy friends and family, lol. I had one cousin once that was nice and felt bad and stayed back with me, and I thanked her specifically for doing that because it's so rare. These aren't 'exercise' walks either, they are casual strolls!

People often let some rude comment about fat people slip out, then they realize you are there with them, and so they pretend they didn't say it and they change the subject. One of the ones I hear most is, "They're so fat and lazy!" A stereotype that persists. Or another one for women, "She shouldn't be wearing that." If she's fat and isn't wearing a suit or a tent-like dress people think it's gross and will say so. Last time I called out someone for saying that, they told me not to get insulted because I wouldn't wear something like that. So what? You shouldn't shame a fat girl for wearing something you would be okay with a thinner girl wearing.

And then, as you said, about TV. All the weight loss reality shows where they starve people, push them to exercise until they break down in tears or exhaustion and humiliate them. It's ok to humiliate fat people on tv. Other people, not as much.

All fat women in movies are either abusive, a comedian, nerdy or batshit crazy. No glamorous fat women anywhere (that I've seen and I don't watch movies all that much so I could be wrong). Sometimes it's the same with fat men too. They are funny or dopey. But there are a few movies, like mob movies, where it's okay to be fat and a sex symbol for guys.

This one isn't really fat shaming - it's someone who grew up in a fat shaming world and didn't know any different. She's a friend of mine but is much younger (I went back to school at age 34) and she would sit with me at lunch. She always remarked incredulously. "You eat so healthy. You always pack nothing but veggies for lunch. I don't think I've ever seen anyone have as healthy lunches as you do." People think if you are fat, you must eat crap all day long. If you don't, they are shocked. If you do eat a bag of chips or something, then they give you the fast-food 'look' aforementioned. lose-lose here.

Recently, the mom of my daughter's friend and I were talking about weight - she's a nurse and very thin. We were talking about protecting our daughters from body issues and it morphed into a discussion of how awful my parents were. Then I explained to her my story about how I 'got fat' and how I viewed my body as a teen and the different ways I've tried to get healthy. She said, "So see, you HAVE tried, at least." Like, if I hadn't tried, it would be a moral failing or something. It was a weird statement.

These are all pretty subtle but my parents are not subtle at all. They shamed and insulted me constantly until I told them it wasn't up for discussion. I walk away now. And I have obese friends who have had some not-so-subtle comments IRL when they grocery shop or eat at a restaurant. I think the issue is that it's constant. It's not like it happens once in awhile - it's everywhere if you are obese. I live in a rich town full of slim, judgmental soccer moms and I definitely feel it here in a way I didn't feel it in my previous town (a more rural town with a larger variety of incomes and body sizes).

I'm sorry this is so long. I could probably write a book on my experiences both as an obese woman and a thin(ish) teen.



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Response to laundry_queen (Reply #2)

Thu Jul 17, 2014, 11:35 AM

3. I was actually surprised that my own doctors didn't mention my weight...

...very often. I figure that maybe they'd just gotten tired of giving diet and exercise advise that was seldom followed by many of their patients. Then again, except for occasional slightly elevated blood pressure and running a bit high on triglycerides on one blood test once, I was still reasonably healthy, so maybe they didn't feel as motivated to bring up my weight as they might with other patients.

One time when I weighed around 235, but my blood pressure was OK and nothing was amiss in my blood work, a doctor actually said to me, "Aside from maybe losing a few pounds, you're in good shape. Whatever you're doing, keep it up!" I had to wonder what the hell his standards for "in good shape" were. Even putting weight aside, I couldn't have run a quarter mile at that time in my life without collapsing into a gasping heap.

My own experiences have made me more sympathetic in some ways with other people's weight issues, but (although I keep it to myself) more judgmental in others. I attribute my own being overweight to... yep, being lazy and making bad food choices. While I'm sure there are people out there with metabolic issues that make weight loss difficult, I've witnessed my own rationalizing behaviors, and become more aware of those same behaviors in others, which leads me to believe there are far more people claiming metabolic problems than actually have them, with far more overweight people suffering from fooling themselves about how much they're eating and how much exercise they're doing -- or, and of course this is their own business, simply not giving a damn.

As a visual aesthetic, as a matter of what I find attractive, I must say I prefer slimness. As long as I'm not making mean and catty remarks about what I don't find appealing, I see this as a matter of personal taste, not something I'm obligated to try to reprogram myself about out of some kind of obligation to deeply internalize political correctness.

I can simultaneously believe it's totally someone else's business what they wear on the one hand, while on the other hand thinking that a person has made a poor choice, whether it's due to poor taste, poor understanding of how they look to others, or a degree of don't-give-a-shit that's difficult for me to fathom.

Where my sympathies are strongest is in understanding how hard it can be to make the time for exercise -- I have time advantages with a very short commute, a gym at work, and no kids demanding my time that I realize many people don't enjoy. It only took a new long commute for me to fall off the fitness wagon once before, and I didn't get back on again until long after I'd gone back to a short commute again.

If you can't exercise much because the time is hard to find, I sympathize a lot with not being able to tolerate the meager portions of food needed to stay within a low-activity calorie budget.

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Response to Silent3 (Reply #3)

Thu Jul 17, 2014, 01:48 PM

5. That degree of "don't give a shit..."

You don't understand. Let me try to explain. As a middle-ages woman with constant weight issues, in a world that values female youth and slenderness, it's not going to matter what I wear. I'm going to be judged. I know it going in. I know how I look to others.

Fat shaming is why, no matter where my weight is, I NEVER dress up. I NEVER want to attract attention. I dress to avoid attention.

I do not wear anything tight or revealing. Ever. To be honest, I don't know if I would if I were still young and thin. I'm not really a fan of the modern must-be-clingy-and-skin-tight "fashion" anyway. But in a world where I'm judged on what I look like, I generally do my best to slide under the radar.

I'm not obese. I'm not thin. I fluctuate between healthy and overweight. I have a metabolic disorder; thyroid deficiency and type II diabetes. To maintain a healthy weight, I have to limit myself to about 800 calories a day, with NEVER any sugar or complex carbs. Break that rule, and the weight piles on.

Well, it's hard to maintain that forever, so my weight fluctuates. And once the rule is broken, it's really hard facing getting back to the always-hungry life. It would help if I got more exercise, but knee, ankle, and allergy-caused wheezing limits that. So while I do exercise, it's not enough to make a weight difference.

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Response to LWolf (Reply #5)

Thu Jul 17, 2014, 02:32 PM

7. Oh, that's a degree of "don't give a shit" that I do get...

I was talking more about people wearing, for instance, what you describe as "must-be-clingy-and-skin-tight" clothing on a body not well suited for such clothing, and not giving a shit about that. This is what my wife and I have sometimes referred to as "spandex on a spandex-incompatible body". It's a lot easier to understand wanting to slip under the radar than wearing things which emphasize excess weight in an unflattering way.

I think there's a faction on DU that sounds as if they expect others to somehow magically form no opinion whatsoever (at least if it's a negative opinion) on what other people wear, and how it looks given a person's weight, because it's "none of their business" -- as if somehow simply knowing something is "none of your business" could or should deactivate the portions of your brain that make aesthetic judgments.

As for the "always-hungry life": I'm glad I'm not often very hungry now, but during my first long run of keeping weight off, I went through that for many years. My diet wasn't anywhere nearly so calorie restrictive as what you're talking about, but at that time I was following a low fat diet (all the rage back then), and that made it hard to keep hunger at bay. This time around I've done a lot better at finding foods that are both healthy and more filling while not putting much focus on fat content. I've also built up to doing a good bit more exercise than I used to, yet somehow not resenting it nearly so much.

Frankly it's almost impossible for me to imagine an adult, even a small adult, even staying alive on 800 calories/day. For me, that's a typical lunch now that I'm maintaining my weight (and I hardly ever went under 500-600 for lunch while actively trying to lose weight). The typical minimum intake for an adult woman, even a sedentary woman, is 1200/calories per day, with diets as low as 800/day being the kind of thing that should only be followed short term and under medical supervision.

I can very, very easily understand saying "fuck it!" to 800 calories/day. Not only "fuck it", but I'd start to wonder if there weren't health trade-offs that would make being heavier healthier for me, body image be damned.

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Response to Silent3 (Reply #7)

Fri Jul 18, 2014, 06:52 AM

13. It's not really about opinions. More about people making unsolicited (and often insulting) comments.

And then, of course, one person's rudeness will be defended by others: "But being fat isn't heal-thy!"

Though I'm technically mildly obese - about 205 at 5-foot-9 - I also have a big frame and a good amount of muscle mass. I'm sure being a guy has something to do with it, but I haven't experienced anything I'd call "fat-shaming" in many years.

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Response to laundry_queen (Reply #2)

Thu Jul 17, 2014, 02:02 PM

6. In working with a weight loss professional, I've learned a lot most people don't know.

First, each individual's weight is affected by their hormonal system (male and female but...you know...women naturally get it in spades), people metabolize not only faster or slower but differently, and the whole low fat high carb thing that so many of us adhered to for years most likely made us gain rather than lose. Carbs make us store fat because we never get around to burning it.

It's not as simple as calories in/calories out. Seems logical but it's not.

And then there's lipedema, or in the UK, lipoedema. Cankles. Big-leg women. "Anorexics in fat suits."

Look it up. And look up a Canadian Dr. Sharma, an obesity specialist at the cutting edge of the field. We have a lot to learn about how to help ourselves, and how to deal.

Don't be ashamed. Those who shame people assume, wrongly, that they have the answers. They don't.

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Response to nolabear (Reply #6)

Thu Jul 17, 2014, 06:14 PM

9. Oh yes.

and of course, I grew up on a lowfat high carb diet - my mom was obsessed with the latest diet fads. Still is. She has serious issues, probably some kind of eating disorder.

Anyway, yes, lowfat high carb diet as a child - for a child that would have issues with insulin resistance and PCOS starting as a teen it was exactly the wrong thing for me. Also, being insulin resistant means I have more insulin circulating and so am more like to be hungry AND store fat. Isn't that lovely?

Also, look into 'obesogens'. There was a documentary on it last year here in Canada. Interesting stuff. That and antibiotic use.

I always laugh at the calories in/calories out people. Of course if you eat less calories than you need, you will lose weight, duh. The issue is how many calories each person NEEDS. There was a diet book I read a few years ago where a doctor isolated patients and grouped them according to sex, body type and starting weight. He said if everything was equal, then everyone should lose similar amounts of weight. Their diet and activity was strictly controlled. It turned out some people lost 5 lbs and some lost 25. If it was so simple, then everyone who weighs the same should lose a similar amount on the exact same diet and activity plan. But that's not what happened.

I can see it with my daughters. I've posted this before. Babies #1 and #2. Both born at around 7lbs. One skinny from the start, so skinny the pediatrician wanted to label her failure to thrive at 6 months (she was absorbing everything though and was otherwise healthy, so he dropped it). She was around 5th to 10th percentile for weight (50th percentile for height). She's now a size 2, couch potato, junk food eater (she's 17 and has a job so she spends her money on what she wants and that's often junk food). Baby #2 was totally opposite. By 6 months she was in the 100th percentile for weight (80th for height). Both babies were exclusively breastfed till 6 months. At age 3 she was wearing size 6X. She's now 13 and a size 10-12 (and 3 inches taller than her sister, lol). She's the active one - she loves sports, will spend tons of time outdoors playing soccer, riding her bike, going for walks. She's a picky eater and eats very little. She's always trying to eat healthy (not because I've ever told her to - she has baby fine hair that doesn't grow fast and she wants long hair and read something that said a healthy diet helps hair grow, so she's been doing that for awhile now, lol). She was just made bigger. It's always been like that with her, and always will be. It would be cruel to compare her to her size 2 sister. She couldn't starve herself into that size, she's just built differently. She's more muscular, more solid (as a baby she was so strong compared with my first, who was floppy and low muscle tone - not abnormally so, just in comparison to my second) and even her bone structure is different. She has wider shoulders, thicker wrist bones...

Anyway, the genetic difference is freaking crazy between the 2 girls. One of these days I will have to scan their baby photos for comparison. My ex was a freakishly skinny kid, and I was very stocky, so we can tell which child takes after which parent (my younger 2 girls are somewhere in the middle of my older 2, body build-wise). So I do think genetics count for more than many want to admit. I get quite incensed when people roll their eyes at the genetic comment.

Interesting, I just looked up Dr. Sharma and he's where I live. LOL that never happens. Cool. Thanks for the name - I'll have to read through the site.

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Response to laundry_queen (Reply #9)

Fri Jul 18, 2014, 12:57 PM

16. You're welcome. Let me know if you find good stuff.

Obviously I'm a weight struggler, and my own reality testing has been messed with for years. It's true I don't exercise, but that problem really lies in the area of fitness and not so much weight. I'm trying to get better about it. But I knew I wasn't eating more than the people around me and yet I swear I began to wonder if I was delusional. I'm not. I do best on several "snacks" a day rather than three meals and protein is a must, so I steal from Mediterranean and Paleo. The fact that we have so much social structure around those three meals makes things a challenge, of course, so I find myself eating off the appetizer menu a lot and carrying protein bars and often getting too restrictive. I eat broiled brussels sprouts and asparagus for snacks, for Chrissake! If I touch a chip or have a sweet, it's rare. And I'm technically obese. I'd bitch about lief not being fair but I've actually gotten impressed about how addictive carbs are and how they wreak havoc with your system, so it's not as hard as I imagined to only eat a tiny bit (DAMN does "sweet" get impress when you're not accustomed to it!) now and then.

Yes, Dr. Sharma is in your neck of the woods! I don't follow anyone wholly but he seems to have good ideas and not a bunch of endorsements or quackery.

Keep the faith, baby. Sticking together and respecting one another lifts us all!!

nb

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Response to nolabear (Reply #6)

Fri Jul 18, 2014, 12:53 AM

12. I'll never, of course, make any excuses for people being assholes...

...to other people about their weight, or thinking they have easy answers for anyone struggling with weight.

On the other hand, I think only so much obesity can be explained away by differing metabolic rates and metabolic disorders. Are such problems out there? Sure. But plenty of people are going to be just like I am too -- people who can, with some effort and discipline and better food choices, lose weight and keep it off, at least for as long as the effort lasts.

Knowing the rationalizations for overeating and not exercising that I've pulled on myself, and seeing those same rationalizations acted out by others when I'm more aware of how I've used them myself, makes me a bit cynical about believing every story I hear where a person claims to eat like a bird and exercise like an Olympian athlete while still gaining weight. Chances are pretty high that many of these people, perhaps most, are underestimating the calories they eat, overestimating the calories burned by the exercise they do, and giving into too many "oh, just a little of this" without counting its impact.

And then there are the laws of physics. Even if our medical knowledge of human metabolism is limited, even if there's a lot left for us to learn, the principle of conservation of energy puts some outside limits on just how much these things can vary from person to person. As much as it annoys many people, ultimately "calories in, calories out" has to be true. Maybe putting "it's as easy as..." in front of the previous phrase is a reasonable thing to be annoyed at, because the effort needed to track and control calories certainly isn't easy, and, yes, differences in metabolic rates can make the "calories out" part hard to figure out.

But just how low can a person's metabolism go before they either lapse into a coma or die?

Take for example the standard computed value for basal metabolic rate (BMR) for a small, short woman who is 70 years old -- something that's going to be on the low side compared to practically any other adult. For that age, 5', and 100 pounds, I get 895 calories/day. That's BMR -- calories burned if you do nothing but lie in bed motionless all day. Even minimal activity is going to raise the minimum needed intake to at least 1000 calories/day.

How much lower can personal variations take that number down? 25%? 50%? I don't care if you've got diabetes, you've triggered some sort of "starvation mode" in your body, you've eaten too many carbs, or whatever. The human body has to obey some reasonable physical limits.

If someone who's most likely younger and taller than the above example tells me they're eating only 1000 calories per day while exercising two hours per day, six days per week, and still can't lose weight, that badly strains credibility. Energy doesn't appear out of a vacuum. At some point either you metabolize some of your body fat, you metabolize other body tissue, you eat more, or you collapse.

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Response to Silent3 (Reply #12)

Fri Jul 18, 2014, 06:59 AM

14. It doesn't matter. Unless the person is a close friend or family member, their weight is none of

your or my business. Not something total strangers should be blabbing about in public.

*Edit: I know you personally don't condone that sort of rude behavior. But the point is people do it all the time.

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Response to nomorenomore08 (Reply #14)

Fri Jul 18, 2014, 02:28 PM

19. From what other people have written, it's often friends and especially family...

...who can be some of the worst offenders.

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Response to Silent3 (Reply #19)

Fri Jul 18, 2014, 06:01 PM

20. That too. Mentioning someone's weight problem in private, out of genuine concern, is one thing.

Criticizing them in front of others over a few extra pounds, is quite another.

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Response to Silent3 (Reply #12)

Fri Jul 18, 2014, 01:46 PM

17. Read this. It's layperson-speak but you can find the science to back it up if you care to.

http://authoritynutrition.com/debunking-the-calorie-myth/

Dr. Gary Taubes has some very interesting work on the subject. I am not making any kind of "excuse." Your experience and your body and others' differ considerably in how they work.

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Response to nolabear (Reply #17)

Fri Jul 18, 2014, 02:24 PM

18. That article doesn't contradict anything I said...

...it only re-emphasizes what I said about the problem of putting "as simple as" in front of "calories in, calories out".

The article acknowledges the physical laws that apply. If you listen carefully to what some people say about how little they eat and how much they exercise while still gaining weight or maintaining a high weight, the physics simply doesn't work out.

That fact that people say these things that don't make physical sense ties into what the article says about human nature... many people probably believe they're doing just what they say, but those strong, irrational human drives lead many people to cheat on what they think they're doing without even knowing it.

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Response to Silent3 (Reply #18)

Fri Jul 18, 2014, 08:50 PM

21. Either you and I are talking about different people

Or are talking across one another. I'm usually bright enough not to do that. Still seems to me you believe that two people taking the same actions would have the same results.

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Response to nolabear (Reply #21)

Sat Jul 19, 2014, 12:34 AM

25. No, what I'm saying doesn't mean two people taking the same actions...

...would have the same results. I acknowledge, for example, that (within reasonable limits) there are metabolic differences between people, such that, given two people of the same height and gender eating the same number of calories and doing the same amount of exercise, one person might indeed gain more weight than the other.

That does not contradict "calories in, calories out". Metabolism is part of your "out". If you're thinking of "out" as only exercise and other physical activity, that would be a source of confusion.

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Response to Silent3 (Reply #12)

Fri Jul 18, 2014, 09:13 PM

24. Genetics isn't the only think you can't do jackshit about

You can't do anything about living in a society where most work is sedentary and there is usually enough to eat, other than move to Somalia or something. That wouldn't help your life expectancy much.

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Response to Silent3 (Reply #12)

Sat Jul 19, 2014, 05:32 AM

27. I'm not sure how to say this, exactly...

but your whole 'on the other hand' is exactly the problem being discussed. It assumes that if only we can get fat people to be honest with themselves, and admit they eat too much, the problem would be lessened. It assumes most fat people are simply in denial. I find that a bit patronizing.

And even if people are in denial, it's none of your business. It seems to really bother you. Why do you care if people claim metabolism or genetics as a reason why they are heavy? You say that you don't say anything to them, but if you are thinking these things, at some point your treatment of fat people who don't act how you think they should act must come out. And you project your own experience onto everyone else. You made rationalizations, so everyone else MUST. You were able to lose weight and thought, "gee, I was fooling myself when I was fat" and you think that must be how it is for everyone and if only they would recognize their thought patterns, they could get thin too. It just seems you are having problems empathizing with people who don't have your particular experience.

Recently, I'm not sure if it was a link from here or what, I read an article about fat shaming. One thing that stood out for me was how people often classify fat people into "good" or "bad" fat people. "Good" fat people were those who were seen as doing EVERYTHING POSSIBLE to lose weight. They exercise and eat right as much as they can. "Good" fat people are more acceptable in society because they are seen as "at least they are trying". "Bad" fat people are contemptible in society. "Bad" fat people don't exercise as much as you think they should, and they eat more junk food than you think they should. "Bad" fat people somehow 'deserve' your contempt because THEY aren't trying. They don't want to help themselves so they deserve scorn. "Bad" fat people must be denigrated because society should never allow them to be happy with themselves because then people might start thinking being fat is okay, and we CANNOT have that.

I've heard my parents slot fat people into both categories. "Oh, bless sweet Mary, she's been really trying to lose weight. It's too bad all fat people don't try as hard as she does." "Oh, that Diane, she can't keep up in our aerobics class but at least she's trying!" But then if they see a fat person's cart in the grocery store, "Oh my god, did you see what he had in his cart? No wonder he's fat! That's just disgusting. How can someone not even bother trying? Sick."

So, the justifications you think other people are making for themselves could just be an attempt (possibly even subconsciously) to slot themselves into the 'good' fat person category so they can lessen the prejudice they feel from judgmental people. It's quite possible they aren't fooling themselves at all, they are just attempting to protect themselves from unwanted comments.

Also, many people fail to take other reasons for excess pounds into consideration. Psychological reasons. Extra pounds are often a shield against some kind of trauma or abuse. Essentially, shaming those people or trying to 'educate' them isn't going to work. They need intense therapy. Shaming likely makes many people worse because of these issues. It's also why making judgments is never a good idea- because they are often not right.

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Response to laundry_queen (Reply #27)

Sat Jul 19, 2014, 11:40 AM

32. The point of my OP is that I think different people have different ideas about...

Last edited Tue Jul 22, 2014, 12:00 AM - Edit history (1)

...what is "exactly the problem being discussed" when the term "fat shaming" is used. For some people, shaming is a matter of overt and intrusive behavior. For you, perhaps, it sounds like you could be ready to say that "shaming" exists even where abstract discussion of weight problems takes place, or further, even in privately held opinions that seem too offensive or judgmental to you.

It assumes that if only we can get fat people to be honest with themselves, and admit they eat too much, the problem would be lessened.

I think it's perfectly fair to say that some people who themselves say they want to lose weight would do a better job of it if they didn't underestimate calories consumed and/or overestimate calories burned by exercise and other physical activity. Do I have statistics that could break down by percentage how many people that applies to? No. But I feel comfortable with my own casual assessment that the phenomenon is common, and probably much more common than extreme and intractable metabolic disorders.

If a particular case boils down to taking at face value claims that violate the laws of physics, or deciding that there's some rationalizing and self deception going on, I'm going to have to go with the latter. I can be sympathetic without abandoning science.

That, of course, says nothing at all about how easy or hard it would be for some people to lose weight merely by having accurate calorie assessments. Nor have I said anything about whether, given a less distorted view of food and exercise, a person would or should decide that the personal effort needed to lose weight is worthwhile. People have a right to set their own priorities.

And even if people are in denial, it's none of your business.

I could write a lengthy essay, maybe even develop enough material for a book, on the basis of rhetorical abuse of phrases like "it's none of your business" and the related "why should you care?"

Suffice to say that I think it's rarely a meaningful issue, or a consistently applied standard. If I see a ball rolling along a roof toward the edge of a house, I'll immediately form an opinion that the ball is likely to fall. I don't first ask myself "Is it my ball? Is it my house? What business is it of mine if the ball falls? Don't I have better things to worry about?", etc., etc., as if somehow this burning question of "is it my business?" is the necessary gatekeeper for all thought and opinion.

You made rationalizations, so everyone else MUST.

I used myself as an example not at all to claim that everyone must be like me, but to counter the way that many people talk about weight loss issues as if no one like me exists. Again, while I have no statistics on exactly how many people do what, my own personal experiences and observations leave me quite comfortable with the assessment that many (whatever percentage "many" might be) engage in rationalizing behaviors, or are just working from incorrect information, when they evaluate the caloric content of food and the caloric value of their physical activity.

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Response to laundry_queen (Reply #2)

Sat Jul 19, 2014, 03:50 AM

26. "I live in a rich town full of slim, judgmental soccer moms"

They pretty much hate me on sight, and my weight is only a small part of it. My wife gets the "weight hate" - though it's her arthritc knees that have her in a wheelchair when we are "out".
Want some hate? Tell 'em to butt out about what you're eating - and why. An Egg McMuffin is a far better breakfast for a type 2 diabetic than a triple mocha frozen latte (the jug they dump into the machine at Dunkie's is marked "liquid cane sugar" - no foolin')
More hate? Step out of my old truck, and ask them an informed question about the latest yupster-mobile they're drivin' "How do you like the traction control?" is a good starter, "How does it do on real snow tires?" may get you skin blisters from the glare.... Apparently, a guy who looks like me ain't supposed to know this stuff.

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Response to Mopar151 (Reply #26)

Sat Jul 19, 2014, 05:37 AM

28. I have to ask

Since I *DO* have a car with traction control and I do use actual snow tires in the winter...what gives? What am I missing? LOL.

I'm sorry your wife has to deal with that. I just mostly get LOOKS and then behind the back gossip (I grew up here, so everyone whispers behind my back about 'can you believe how FAT she's got'. More than once people have told others I must be pregnant. Ugh.)

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Response to laundry_queen (Reply #28)

Sat Jul 19, 2014, 03:07 PM

33. Means you're immune to the question, for one thing

Mrs. Mopar mostly gets looks, too. Some could leave scorch marks. But i'm 6'6", and I'm told I can look pretty intimidating - and I'll glare back.

The car thing- I know 'em, inside & out. Raced since legal, tech comittee in my race series, former Mr. Goodwrench, championship trophies as driver and builder.
Traction control is a "bait" question - I know how the different kinds work, but I'm looking to see if the superannuated owner knows anything, or thinks it's "magic", or a substitute for good tires(which it is definitely NOT). Snow tires? You use em' - means your'e smarter than most, therefore unlikely to be a jerk. Fools beleive that AWD and electronic driving aids cancel any need for any sort of decent tire - and it's impertinent of you to ask.

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Response to Mopar151 (Reply #33)

Sat Jul 19, 2014, 04:53 PM

34. Honestly, I'd love to get some car input.

 

I wonder if the Admins would mind if you started a "car talk" thread in GD. I know it would be fine in the Lounge but I'm not sure how many people would see it. GD is so much more popular.

Can I pm you my car question? Its about a hitch on a Volvo and tow weight. That may not be your area of expertise but I'm curious if you have any insight.

Thanks!



Okay, back to the thread topic... sorry for the interruption Silent!

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Response to riderinthestorm (Reply #34)

Sat Jul 19, 2014, 07:08 PM

35. There's an auto enthusiast group here

And several car nuts post in the lounge. I was prominent in the Toyota Flamewar, and regularly defend snowtires - but a lot of folks DO NOT like what I have to say, and my tolerance for teh stupid is at a low ebb just now.

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Response to laundry_queen (Reply #28)

Sat Jul 19, 2014, 09:13 PM

36. More gremaine to the thread..... Beautiful shoulders, lovely muscles

My neice by marrige to be is "da bomb", IMHO - 'cuz she has great shoulders! She's a striking girl, to be sure - tall and buxom - but her latissimus dorsi and wide shoulders give her torso a pleasing shape in proportion with the rest of her figure. She has a little trouble with bras, as the band on many ride too high on her "lats".

And take this from a lifelong "girl watcher" - once a woman reaches her early 20's, a nice figure comes down to pleasing muscle shapes - Elle McPherson is an example, Stacy Kiebler, Danica Patrick, all the "pro" ladies at Dancing with the Stars....

That whole "skin and bones" ideal, from what I see, is driven by women and clothing designers, with a rather nasty competitive undertone - but you've seen that closer than I have. IMHO, the skinnier they are, the meaner they are.

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Response to laundry_queen (Reply #2)

Sat Jul 19, 2014, 07:00 AM

31. Great post. You should consider starting a thread with this. nt

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Response to Silent3 (Original post)

Thu Jul 17, 2014, 07:01 PM

10. Ok to me fat shaming

Is when you degrade a person for being fat. Fat jokes, nasty comments etc. It can be more subtle too. Right now I weigh pretty much the most I ever have, and plan to lose some for health and convenience sake, but barring some horrendous disease I'll never be not heavy to some degree. Nevertheless my self esteem is pretty good and I try very hard not to put up with shit that people dish out for being fat. I've changed doctors when one or two made gratuitous comments and anyone foolish enough to make a comment on the street gets an earful. It helps that I've done stand up comedy for 20+ years. I take no crap on stage and I try not to in life. One's self worth should not be defined by externals.

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Response to Silent3 (Original post)

Thu Jul 17, 2014, 08:31 PM

11. Comments like this:

 

I think of fatness like greed or laziness.

Qualities common among those who lack maturity and self-discipline.

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Response to Silent3 (Original post)

Fri Jul 18, 2014, 09:41 AM

15. I dated a guy a few years ago who was only 2 inches taller than you but also weighed about 245 lbs.

and I never really saw him as obese. Maybe it's just me, but that doesn't really sound all that big, especially when you consider the fact that there are people out there who weigh over 500 lbs. Maybe that's why you didn't get a lot of flack for your weight.

I do think women get more shit for being over weight, or even for being at the higher end of the normal bmi scale. I've never been anymore than 3-4 lbs. over my limit, but my closest female friend has been plus-sized for most of her life and I've seen others treat her differently (or badly) a lot. We've had waiters and store clerks come up to us to offer their help and only speak to me while completely ignoring her. I've also seen some men do the same thing. That comes across as a form of fat-shaming to me. It was like she was invisible to them, which seems like it could be every bit as hurtful as a rude comment.

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Response to Lunacee_2013 (Reply #15)

Sun Jul 20, 2014, 12:22 AM

37. I never took an official "before" picture...

...but a friend found one of me from less that a year before I started to lose. I was at least near my peak weight at that time, if not all the way there. I'm well into "obese" in that picture by the BMI-based medical definition. I was just edging into Obese Class II (severely obese) when I decided to lose weight

While perhaps I'm being too easy on myself, I see that picture of myself and I definitely look fat, but I have a hard time seeing "obese". Fat, overweight, chunky, chubby, husky, yes, but not what I had thought of as "obese".

The next picture I took after losing 27 lbs. The final two are more recent, at my current weight.

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Response to Silent3 (Original post)


Response to Silent3 (Original post)

Fri Feb 27, 2015, 07:50 AM

39. Now I'm going to be wondering...

...what someone might have said in response to my OP that got was so bad it got hidden before I could see it.

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Response to Silent3 (Reply #39)

Fri Feb 27, 2015, 04:08 PM

40. There are many reasons that MIRT bans people.

I can assure you that nothing derogatory was directed at you or anyone else.

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