I believe that fat people are more than just the fat they carry. They are more than the stereotyped image of the fat person who is lazy and eats all day. They have lives and families. Yet they seem to be open targets for public shame and humiliation. It seems that so many people are all too willing to poke fun at someone who is fat because of some preconceived notion that all fat people choose to be that way. Just because fat is so obvious. It cannot be hidden. It can't be tucked away within ourselves or stuffed in a box and stored under the bed. It can never be a secret.
I'm pro-fat acceptance because I am pro-human rights. Fat people have a right to feel comfortable in their own skin. They have a right to leave their houses without shame or fear of being mocked. Other people do not have to like it, but they certainly do not have a right to make someone feel less than human because of it.
"The implications were clear. There is a reason that fat people cannot stay thin after they diet and that thin people cannot stay fat when they force themselves to gain weight. The body’s metabolism speeds up or slows down to keep weight within a narrow range. Gain weight and the metabolism can as much as double; lose weight and it can slow to half its original speed." - Studies conducted by Jules Hirsch and his colleagues, including Rudolph Leibel.
"The scientists summarized it in their paper: "The two major findings of this study were that there was a clear relation between the body-mass index of biologic parents and the weight class of adoptees, suggesting that genetic influences are important determinants of body fatness; and that there was no relation between the body-mass index of adoptive parents and the weight class of adoptees, suggesting that childhood family environment alone has little or no effect."
In other words, being fat was an inherited condition.” Study led by Albert Stunkard of the University of Pennsylvania
In another study later published by Albert Stunkard in The New England Journal of Medicine:
"The researchers concluded that 70 percent of the variation in peoples’ weights might be accounted for by inheritance, a figure that means that weight is more strongly inherited than nearly any other condition, including mental illness, breast cancer or heart disease."
"Jeffrey Friedman, an obesity researcher at the Rockefeller University, tried to come up with an analogy that would convey what science has found about the powerful biological controls over body weight.
He published it in the journal Science in 2000 and still cites it:
"Those who doubt the power of basic drives, however, might note that although one can hold one’s breath, this conscious act is soon overcome by the compulsion to breathe," Friedman wrote. "The feeling of hunger is intense and, if not as potent as the drive to breathe, is probably no less powerful than the drive to drink when one is thirsty.
This is the feeling the obese must resist after they have lost a significant amount of weight.”
This information was taken from the NY Times Healthscience Section http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/08/health/08iht-snfat.5614611.html?pagewanted=1
Our findings challenge the idea that all obese individuals need to lose weight,” study author Dr. Jennifer L. Kuk, assistant professor at York University School of Kinesiology & Health Science, said in a written statement. “Moreover, it’s possible that trying - and failing - to lose weight may be more detrimental than simply staying at an elevated body weight and engaging in a healthy lifestyle that includes physical activity and a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables.”
Dr. Kuk told CBS News that she hoped the study would help dispel some common misconceptions about the link between body weight and health.
"I think this is a common notion, that if you are overweight you are unhealthy and that if you are skinny you are healthy," she told CBS News. "What people need to realize is that normal-weight people can have diabetes, high blood pressure, and other cardiovascular problems."
The actual study: Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism
"There’s something researchers call the “obesity paradox”—that people who are heavier tend to survive longer than thinner people with the same disease."
"When researchers at the German Institute of Human Nutrition in Potsdam-Rehbrücke looked at more than 12,000 middle-aged men and women for a study published in 2005, they found that obese men and women whose weight fluctuated over a two-year period were four times as likely to develop hypertension as the obese people whose weight remained stable. An earlier Italian study reported that women who had lost weight at least five times in five years were more likely to have high blood pressure than those whose weight remained stable."
"In general, the scientific and popular literature estimates that only about 5 percent of dieters maintain their weight loss,"
"A 2008 study, done by Harvard researchers, looked into the effects of physical activity and body mass index on coronary heart disease and found that overweight women who walked more than four hours a week had a significantly lower risk of heart disease than those who didn’t exercise. This says to me that the most important risk factor isn’t being fat; it’s being sedentary."
"There are millions of people who are defined as obese but are very healthy. One important study, an analysis of more than 5,000 participants in a national government sample, showed that 35 percent of obese women don’t have the constellation of health problems typically linked to higher weight. Specifically, they showed no more than one sign of these issues: high blood pressure, high triglycerides, low HDL [“good”] cholesterol, elevated glucose levels, insulin resistance and systemic inflammation. And there are some health concerns, such as osteoporosis, that are much less common in people categorized as overweight or obese."
All quotes by Dr. Linda Bacon from this source: http://www.more.com/weight-loss-diet-myth which was an interview that was found in the Health section of More magazine.
“Fat people, it is commonly held, should be punished because they offend our aesthetic sensibilities. They take up too much space on subways, buses, airplanes, and elevators. They consume more than they contribute to society. They become ill and need to be taken care of, or they die early and their families are left unsupported. The only way fat people can gain some acceptance and forgiveness for their crime of overeating is to at least try, or look like they are trying, to lose weight. They must never eat an ice cream cone in public, never be seen eating a normal sized portion of non-diet food!”
Albert Ellis, Michael Abrams, Lidia Dengelegi, The Art & Science of Rational Eating (via euphoricelixir)
It is laughable that this quote is actually being used the way I found it being used. The book being quoted actually argues things like:
“We will show that the actual evidence robustly points in another direction. It shows that there are many different types of people, all shapes, sizes, and styles, and obesity, rather than being symptom of neurosis, may say no more about a person than her height, hair color, or skin texture.”
“In this book we shall argue against these notions by showing that obesity stems more from genetic and biological than from neurotic roots, and that most personality traits “causing” obesity actually originate from people lambasting themselves for being fat. “
I was particularly fond of the following quote (even though I do not advocate dieting), because of its emphasis on the individual’s need for self love:
“Changing one’s weight or eating style has been shown to be a most difficult long-term behavioral goal. The obese individual has a far lesser chance of permanently becoming thin than the heroin addict has of becoming clean, the crack user becoming drug free, or the alcoholic staying dry. With such an imposing obstacle to clear, the dieter had better learn to accept himself as he is, prior to making a grand effort to become thin. A person prone to self-downing actually discourages himself from changing traits that he loathes. If one hates oneself, one tends to be particularly unmotivated to work at self-improvement. “If I am no good, how can ‘rotten me’ improve my rotten traits?” Rational-emotive therapy encourages self-acceptance, not merely self-efficacy, and not self-esteem. As noted above, both of those forms of self-rating work badly. To achieve self-esteem you have to perform well. To achieve self-efficacy you have to constantly do better than others. By definition then, self-esteem and self-efficacy require relative ratings. But self-acceptance means that you view yourself as a “worthy person” whether or not you have great accomplishments. You do not rate you, your personhood, and do not blame yourself for not being better than you are. Of course, you work to improve your acts and traits in order to enjoy yourself and increase your standing in life. But it is unreasonable to disparage yourself simply because you are not the way that you presumably should or must be. “
And those quotes are just what I read from Amazon’s book preview. I am now going to have to buy this book and read it. I have found a new appreciation for Dr. Albert Ellis. I think I shall give REBT a more serious look after today.
An amazing article from National Geographic.