For decades, the medical community has ignored mountains of evidence to wage a cruel and futile war on fat people, poisoning public perception and ruining millions of lives. It’s time for a new paradigm. (highline.huffingtonpost.com)
Axelrod on former Miss Universe dustup: Trump took the bait – Louis Nelson, Politico
When you’re going up against someone who never backs down from a fight, you get to pick the time and place of the conflict. That’s a big advantage for Clinton.
Trump is going after Alicia Machado now. That’s helps Clinton for all kinds of reasons, one of them being that Machado isn’t Trump’s opponent — Clinton is.
Trump is sending a message to women, and it’s the wrong one. Trump is sending the message that Machado is a bad girl, and bad girls deserve to be called fat pigs. And Trump gets to decide who’s a good girl and a bad girl.
Trump’s campaign has decided the most important thing it can be doing a month before the Presidential election is go after a model because she said mean things about him. That’s the kind of priority-setting he will use as President.
Fat-shaming is a really bad idea for anybody looking to win friends in America. Consider the number of Americans who are overweight, worry they’re overweight even if they’re not, were once overweight, or love someone who’s overweight. That’s pretty much the entire country.
Confessions of a Former Fat Kid– Isaac Fitzgerald, BuzzFeed
Hell of a read.
Fitzgerald and I have led very different lives. Being former fat kids is nearly all we have in common.
Ironically, when I look at pictures of myself as a child and teen-ager, I don’t look fat. I didn’t get fat until I was an adult. I was terrible at sports, always picked last in gym class, and yet I and my friends rode our bikes everywhere, miles every day. It was the only way to get around.
A gene, also present in humans, makes those Labs insatiably hungry. No matter how much or how recently they’ve eaten, they always want more.
I used to think all dogs were that way until we got Minnie. We free-feed her. She eats just enough to maintain her weight, and leaves some uneaten food in her bowl. We put out food for her twice a day, and she almost always skips the morning meal.
This Is Why So Many Labrador Retrievers Are So Very Fat – Melissa Dahl, The New Yorker
But I finally read the article and came away with a different conclusion.
The article describes research showing only 5% of people who try to lose weight succeed. The article suggests — but does not actually say — that the researchers define success as keeping the weight off after 5-10 years.
Every fat and formerly fat person reading this is now shrugging and saying, “Yeah. Tell me something I don’t know.” Everybody already knows losing weight is hard.
The article (and possibly the researchers) make the mistake of conflating statistics with destiny. And it’s true that some statistical outcomes depend on luck. You can’t do anything about those. But other outcomes depend on individual choice.
The lotery is an example of an outcome dependent entirely on luck: Only a tiny sliver of the population ever wins the lottery. And there’s nothing you can do to improve your odds. The books and people who try to tell you which numbers to pick based on psychic powers are peddling lies. You can’t buy enough tickets to influence the outcome because the number of tickets sold is so vast. Buy one ticket, buy a thousand tickets, your chances of winning are pretty much the same. Indeed, statisticians say your chances of winning the lottery if you buy a ticket are about the same as your chances if you don’t buy a ticket.
On the other hand, the chances of a middle class or poor kid getting in to Harvard are also pretty slim. But it’s possible if the kid works hard and gets scholarships. So it’s worth a try.
Successful weight loss is more like getting into Harvard than winning the lottery.
The headline on that CBC story stinks. Because losing weight isn’t nearly impossible, Five percent success doesn’t say “nearly impossible.” It just says “very difficult.”
The article and the research do touch on a couple of interesting questions: Why do so many people fail at losing weight? It’s not will power. Fat people hold down jobs, raise families, and do all the things requiring will power that thin people do. Fat people have just as much will power as thin people have.
I think part of it is environmental, which explains the global obesity epidemic. My current pet theory: Farmers feeding antibiotics to livestock.
Another cause of obesity is how our brains are wired for food. When I hear recovering alcoholics talk about their relationship to alcohol, it’s like how I feel about food, particularly high-fat, high-salt, high-carb, high-sugar foods. Most people can have a handful of M&Ms and say, well, that was lovely, and move on. Not me. I can eat a one-pound bag of M&Ms and then start looking around for a one-pound bag of mini-Snickers to chase it down.
The other interesting question raised by the article is whether healthcare providers should be presenting alternatives to weight loss. Given that 95% of fat people are going to stay fat, should healthcare providers concentrate on getting them to eat well and be active, making them healthier fat people?
I wrote about this earlier: Research finds long-term weight loss is nearly impossible.
None of this should be taken as a criticism of Cory, the researchers, or the guy who wrote the CBC article, all of whom are doing great work — Cory, in particular, is someone I admire a great deal. Also, Cory lost about 70 pounds and has kept it off far longer than I’ve kept off my weight, so he certainly has every right to weigh in on this subject. So to speak.
Cory Doctorow blogs about research showing weight loss comes back in 5-10 year.
Sobering news for me — I’m only three years into my own weight loss success. I went from a peak weight of about 276 in 2003, to 266 in 2008, then down to 176 in January, 2011, and finally lost another 10 pounds this year. As of Monday I was in the high 160s.
I tend to put on weight when I travel, which is a problem because I’m traveling more this year. I eat a lot of crap when I travel: Candy from hotel minibars, pastries from the snacks they put out at conferences, fried food, desserts, the same stuff that made me fat to begin with.
Cory describes how he lost 80 pounds 2002-3, and kept it off. Our methods are similar in that we require constant vigilance. I log everything I eat, and weigh and measure it when possible. Corywent for a low-carb diet where I’m counting calories (and probably reducing carbs as a side-effect — I don’t keep track of that).
It’s not a huge deal, but it limits choices. For one thing, Julie and I almost never eat out anymore, which is a shame. I miss going out to eat with Julie. One recent weekend morning Julie suggested spontaneously that we go out for breakfast, and I had to say no. My meals are almost always planned in advance, and the prospect of changing those plans was overwhelming (particularly on an empty stomach, ironically enough).
I’m curious how Cory manages his weight when he travels, which he does a heck of a lot more than I do.