Tuesday's unofficial viral video of the day featured a Wisconsin newscaster responding on air to an emailer who chastised her for being fat (hence a "bad role model, especially for young girls.") You can see the entirety of the email and the response here, or watch the video below:

Really there isn't much to say about this and certainly not much I can add. The complaining viewer is an asshat, the response is accurate, and so on. You get it and you don't need it explained.

There was a specific part of her response, though, that really struck me. She noted that children are far more likely to pick up bad examples from Mom and Dad criticizing everyone on TV than from seeing a fat person. At one point she says, "If you are at home and talking about the fat news lady, guess what? Your children are probably going to go to school and call someone fat." While I don't know if that specific statement is true – it's qualified, and I'm fairly certain that there's more that goes into becoming a bully than this – it certainly is true that kids internalize these "lessons" pretty damn well. Even when we get older and (in some cases) mature to a point at which we know better, it's difficult to shake the kinds of biases that are pounded into us before we even realize it.

I heard Kyle Kinane tell a joke once (possibly to be included on his next special) about being in South Korea, wandering around Seoul during the summer and randomly noticing that very few people were wearing sunglasses. "And I'm thinking why in the hell don't Koreans wear sunglasses? Oh, right, it's probably because their eyes are….oh, son of a bitch, now I'm racist." He's probably dressing up this anecdote for the sake of comedy, but it's funny because we can all identify with it. We think this kind of shit all the time. We don't intend to. We're not all horrible people. We're just raised in a cloud of it and it becomes part of our thought process even if we actively reject it.

I don't consider myself a racist – which is precisely what a racist would say, I suppose – but like many people I was raised in and around a staggering amount of racist crap. When I was young, that stuff was everywhere: at school, at home, in the neighborhood, and so on. I sincerely doubt that I am alone here, even if we are reluctant to admit it, or that this is exclusive to white people. It's hard to overstate how difficult it is to unlearn this stuff once it sinks in…and a solid 15+ years of it allows plenty of time for it to do so.

I'm 33 years old, highly educated (on paper), and at a point in my life at which I am trying actively to be less of an asshole all the time. Yet I still find the things I was taught (intentionally or otherwise) when I was five running through my head on a regular basis. We aren't born thinking "Oh god, look at that fat person. How disgusting." We learn it over time in a society filled with people who teach is to judge everyone, all the time, according to whatever biases we find appropriate.

Now, a couple things here. First, I'm not claiming that this gives people carte blanche to be offensive; "Oh my parents were racist, so I say racist shit all the time. Not my fault." You can hide behind that until adolescence, at which point you are cognitively capable of understanding how other people feel, what prejudices are, and when you are entertaining thoughts better not thought and certainly best not said. It doesn't matter how often grandpappy said the n-word, you remain capable of removing it from your vocabulary and thought process. Second, I'm not proud of the fact that I catch myself thinking offensive crap sometimes – sexist, racist, homophobic, and otherwise biased things that I consciously reject as an adult – but I'm not ashamed to admit it. Unlearning what we were raised to believe is a continuous process, and besides, don't act like it never happens to you. If you really want to post that long, self-righteous comment about how you would never entertain such thoughts, briefly reflect on the odds against that before hitting Submit.

Strangers on TV aren't the reason people think overweight people are ugly or gross or lazy or bad people or anything else; we think that because it's taught to us. Even if we know better with age, this stuff is like a stain on a carpet – even after you remove it, it's still there. You never really eliminate all traces of it. All of those things we learned from the people around us – inerrant laws about other racial groups, reasons women are bitches, methods of detecting gays (and why it's so important to do so), kinds of people who are worth less than Us – are maddeningly persistent. It's unfortunate that so many of us lack sufficiently developed senses of self awareness to recognize that if the fat woman bothers you, she's not the one with a problem.

86 thoughts on “LINGERING”

  • Yup, this is why whenever I hear someone say, "I'm not X at all, I never judge people according to X just on their abilities" I know that they're either lying to themselves or me.

    Everyone has a huge number of biases bubbling up from the nastier corners of their brain. My internal monologue has racist (etc.) ideas in it all the time, I do my best to consciously filter it out but I'm sure that some get through. Everyone honest has to admit that it's a constant struggle to stay objective and that they can't do it perfectly.

    As far as I can tell, that means that people who loudly talk about how their not racist at all either have that filter in place but are embarrassed about it (fair enough) or just employ that kind of filter at all and think that everything coming through is perfectly OK since they're not going out of their way to be racist (or whatever) on the higher thinking levels of their brain.

    Reminds me of some good old posts on Coate's blog about how the logic goes:
    1. Racism is BAD.
    2. I just did something that some people are calling racist.
    3. I'm not BAD.
    4. What I did must not have been racist. Those bastards!

  • Middle Seaman says:

    Discrimination and the "we and them" reality is here to stay. Every society must have at least one identifiable group that everyone outside the group is expected (too strong?) to hate or discriminate against or treat badly or consider inferior. Even the best of us do it.

    European hate the Roma, Arabs and Israel. Just watch some of the old world TV. You cannot miss it. You are fed it with large spoons. Not everyone hates the whole list, but even those who consider themselves intelligent and sophisticated hate one of the groups. European progressives used to hate Jews; now it is passé; now they hate Israel.

    Whites in our society "must" be thin. That's an extremely important trait. Being fat sends you to the discrimination jail. African American don't regard body shape as the be all. They have their own targets.

    Will it ever change? I don't think it will.

  • She essentially agrees with him: she's not a good role model for young girls living joeCitizen's totally subjective 'healthy lifestyle'. Her non-sequitur follow up is disgusting though; Labelling joeCitizen a "bully" for an impugnment that she agrees with then proceeding to cry, "victimised," is by definition an incredibly irrational (emotional, primitive, puerile) response.

    I think she should apologise; I am not being disingenuous.

    Also, your statement, "Korean people don't wear glasses because of their squinty eyes," is not at all racist. I thought you were a college professor! Your statement is diminutive and probably offensive to some black people.

  • Ed, I can't tell you how much this post resonated with me. While I am still ashamed with the words and actions I used against, well, pretty much anyone that didn't look like me in my youth, I have seen the errors of my ways.

    Thank you for acknowledging the great many people in our generation for having been taught to think one way and deciding to pursue another course. I'm thankful to see most people under 40 with a modicum of education following suit… yes, even in Texas.

  • Tom, you are a gigantic douchenozzle. I can state this as fact based on your comments. I have little doubt that you are currently, or will soon be a sexual predator.

  • "European hate the Roma, Arabs and Israel. Just watch some of the old world TV. You cannot miss it. You are fed it with large spoons. Not everyone hates the whole list, but even those who consider themselves intelligent and sophisticated hate one of the groups. European progressives used to hate Jews; now it is passé; now they hate Israel."

    As a European (according to my passport), currently living in Europe, I'd like to point out that this is exactly the sort of ignorant, "them vs us" bullshit Ed, and the news lady, is calling out here:

    "It's unfortunate that so many of us lack sufficiently developed senses of self awareness to recognize that if the fat woman bothers you, she's not the one with a problem."

  • When I hear someone start a sentence with "I'm not a racist…." then I can be pretty certain that the next thing out of their mouth is going to sound racist.

  • @ Prudence – Respectfully, Middle Seaman is correct in his assertion on a historical scale. Every group needs a boogeyman or someone that they are better than, at least in their minds.

    One of the prevailing themes that I witness from educates and well to do liberals is their general disgust from anyone who does manual labor. I have heard more disrespectful comments from my yuppie bretheren than I can recall. The truth is, we all look down on some group. Despite your education, financial success or family ties, the overarching theme is that human beings choose a group to despise… for myself, that group is Republicans.

    I may believe that I am right an justified but I treat anyone who tells be they are a die-hard Republican with a certain amount of disdain. I have replaced any racial or sexual orientation bias with a bias against anyone who votes for the GOP. Does that make me shallow, probably. I hope to improve at some point, however.

  • "Tom, you are a gigantic douchenozzle. I can state this as fact based on your comments. I have little doubt that you are currently, or will soon be a sexual predator."

    Nunya gives a perfect example of the type of puerile and, fankly, quite stupid non-sequitur used by our Wisconsin newscaster.

    My tolerance factor is high enough to infuriate all of my friends, Nunya, so please read this comment minus the 'someone is talking to me on the internet and they said something that didn't end with an emoticon; they must be HATING me'-bias: Did you read what I wrote? If yes, can you confirm that you understood it.

  • "I sincerely doubt that I am alone here, even if we are reluctant to admit it, or that this is exclusive to white people."

    To answer the last part I'll draw your attention to Rwanda and how the Japanese treated the Chinese at Nanking, HK, Koreans, Malayans, Indonesians and Europeans etc. during WW-2. Find yourself a Pakistani, Bangladeshi or Nepalese and ask them about Indians. Chinese can be very racist. So no, racism isn't the sole bastion of Europeans.

    So we're all xenophobic, to some degree.

    However, what is unique to Anglo-Europeans is that "racist" is our emotional button word. It's the worst thing to call us, and the most effective way to devalue and dehumanise us. It has the same effect as any of the other words you've mentioned in an argument.

    It's how much we allow this to colour our judgement that's the question.

    Though I disagree with the assessment Kinane makes. As making an observation on race and culture that may not have occurred prior, and though a clumsy conclusion is arrived at does automatically lead to: cross burnings, slavery and gas chambers. That's as intellectually dishonest and harmful as if he'd started pronouncing his observation and conclusion as a scientific fact.

    Some debates about race and culture must be had. As the recent hullabaloo over that Islam film shows. Our culture believes we can have these debates, theirs says we cannot. Nor can they be onesided where all debate must be stifled because someone "might be offended".

  • c u n d gulag says:

    In the battle of the overweight woman v. the man with the fat head, I'll root for the woman – and that's not even a tough choice at all.

    She can probably lose some weight*, but it's a lot tougher to fix hateful, stupid, and/or ignorant.

    And we all have prejudices and issues with certain groups of people – and many, if not most or all, of those are learned. Just like learning takes some effort, so does un-learning. And it can be done, if someone wants to try.

    And before someone opens up their mouth, think about walking a mile in those peoples shoes.
    I'm not religious, but there's a lot to be learned from the following statement – "There but for the grace of god, go I."

    *Though there are some conditions that may prevent her from losing weight.

    PS: Also too – appreciate how difficult it must be for someone like her (male of female), and how good she had to be, and is, to get and keep a job in the TV news world of 'Lookists.'
    FOX is full of good looking women and men. And not one of those Barbie and Ken dolls is worth a damn as a newsperson – with the possible exception of Shep.
    And in 4 minutes, she just showed more empathy for the plight of other people, than that whole network has since it first tainted our public airwaves.

  • if the fat woman bothers you, she's not the one with a problem.

    Cue 40 people talking about how, yes, fat people really DO have problems, and completely missing the point of the post.

    And no, I'm not saying this because I'm ever on the receiving end of treatment similar to this woman, so calling me hamlard is not only stupid but also inaccurate.

  • I was fat as a kid and I heard it from the kids and their parents until I started taking the weight off at 16. That treatment did some damage psychologically.

    Back then, there were far fewer overweight people and we were easy targets. But it is true that the nastiness kids level on other kids starts with their parents.

    What's weird is, now, I'm like an ex-smoker who's hyper sensitive to smoke when I see overweight people. I'll never call them out on it, but I do discriminate.

  • When I hear someone start a sentence with "I'm not a racist…" then I can be pretty certain that the next thing out of their mouth is going to sound racist.

    That's true with any of these qualifying statements:

    "Not to be rude but"… I'm going to say something rude.
    "Not to be picky but" … I'm an anally retentive twat.
    "Not to be racist but" … I think Obama isn't a citizen.

    If anyone ever accused me of being racist, the first thing out of my mouth with not be "but I have black friends!", it would be "I'm really really sorry, I didn't know."

    And Tom I have to agree, "Korean people don't wear glasses because of their squinty eyes," is racist because you're making a judgment about someone based off of something totally superficial and irrelevant to current scientific knowledge. It's the same thing with the fat lady. By acknowledging she is fat doesn't make her a hypocrite. The bully is being rude by actually criticizing it as if it describes her character. Again judging someone based on something totally superficial. If you don't understand this then you really need to take a hard look at your life and wonder why so many people don't like you.

  • I watched the video, yesterday, and thought…"oh, man, there's something in my eye…" Bullying is the use of a perceived power differential to intimidate or belittle someone else. Mr. letter-writer believes that his credential (lawyer) or status (member of the viewing public) will enable him to write things to a complete stranger, to make her feel bad (or, possibly change her behavior).

    So there are two things kids learn at home, that are relevant here, Ed, and I think one is harder to outgrow than the other:
    – One learns to "judge" strangers. Shit, I find myself vocalizing complaints or assertions about other drivers, in front of my son, frequently enough that I try to sneak in the followups…the "orrrr, he didn't see me", "orrrrr…, maybe he has some circumstance we don't know about that is the real reason he did that…"
    – One adopts specific heuristics when judging others. "I don't like fat people." "Tall people of Polish ancestry tend to drink too much gin with Mexican fast food…"

    It's easy, as you say, to fight specific heuristics, once you put a name to them. Prior to learning the heuristic, kids ask innocent "why is that man fat?" or "how come he doesn't have any hair?" And the prudent parent doesn't apply a judging bias in the answer.

    But it's damn hard to fight the tendency to judge strangers. To be honest, one of the heuristics I've got in my history is judging fat people. (To make matters worse, I've softened in the middle quite a bit, myself.) I fight it. I fight it hard. And I'd never in a million years write a letter to an overweight stranger on the idiot-box, berating them for setting a bad example. Still, my empathy and admiration for the newscaster's strong response was so much greater. And what I appreciate is that that response will help me to squelch a little bit more of my own judgmental tendencies, today.

  • @ Deep

    Are you saying that a specious hypothesis based on physiology is irrelevant to current scientific knowledge? As far as the UN is concerned this is not racial discrimination (Who cares about the UN though, right? They're just a bunch of liberal sissies).

    And, ironically, the few times I've ever felt that someone genuinely didn't like me was due their opinion about my purportedly inferior race; lol.

  • grumpygradstudent says:

    Yes to all of this post.

    Notice how the language encodes the prejudice. "Overweight" Thus instantly normalizing a particular body type and judging another as aberrant. Language is great for hardwiring prejudice.

    I've been fat most of my life, and it's only recently that I started thinking, "hey, wait a second…wait just one second…maybe THEY'RE the assholes and maybe I'm NOT actually a worthless being!!" Powerful little cognitive flip, really.

    Also yes to the ongoing and probably never ending process of purging the prejudices.

  • This story confirms my rule of thumb about any argument that boils down to "but it's for the kids". I can't remember the last time it was actually about the damn kids and not about some major douche trying to sell an expired bag of shit.

  • When in China I noticed that despite the cold, few people wore hats(and those who did were not wearing particularly warm hates). I wonder what possible physiological feature that could be attributed to.

  • @Nunya: careful, your disgust with "educates and well to do liberals" and their supposed disdain for manual laborers looks very much like Fox-orchestrated, right-wing jealousy. The liberals I know are the folks out there fighting for the Wal-mart workers, the farm workers, and general blue-collar folks. IME, it's the Mitt Romneys, the Sarah Palins, the John McCains and other right-wing conservatards who look down on the "little people".

  • As to the "I'm not a racist but" crowd, it took me a while to realize that everyone I know of that ilk (and they're all family, so my grasp of this is certainly colored by that) simply doesn't believe, whether consciously or not, in anything subconscious. They dispute the very notion that what they consciously think is only part of their mental processes. Us commenters, except for Tom, have no real quarrel with that assumption, because it helpfully explains a great deal of conduct. But those Others (ha ha) put the shields up and refuse to imagine there is a less than wholly aware self saying things. "I am me, and I am not a racist, ergo those people calling me a racist just don't understand what I said or the spirit in which I said [insert unbelievably offensive and awful demeaning comment]"

  • I find that fighting my own prejudices is gruesomely hard work. If I say, "I just had [racist/misogynist/douchey thought X] run through my head, but I didn't say anything! Yay!," well, I can't expect a cookie for that. I can't just express the thought, glory in my imperfect liberalism, and "keep it real," because that went out in the '90s. And I can't convince myself that I don't have the thought because it ultimately makes the thought harder to ignore, and the cognitive dissonance makes me think I'm a Bad Person, which inevitably leads to an explosion of indignant assholery when I can't take the strain of self-judgment anymore.

    The best alternative, I've found, is to isolate the thought or the statement from the individual, whether it's mine or someone else's.

    That, and to actively not be an asshole and accept responsibility when I fuck up. Even if it's just in my head.

  • "Strangers on TV aren't the reason people think overweight people are ugly or gross or lazy or bad people or anything else; we think that because it's taught to us."

    You really think so? That the concept of beauty is completely plastic and socially constructed (and, if so, constructed on what – mean conspiracy?) Beauty standards are largely universal and genetic (7:10 hip-waist ratio the world over throughout history – tons of evidence this is so). If you can't "teach" someone to think the same or the opposite sex is attractive, you can't teach someone to think certain body types are attractive. Beauty is real and it is based on fertility cues.

  • @ Arslan: You're such a racist, dude, jeez: Insinuating that their brains are too big and hence have no fitting hats available.

    Seriously? Equating trivial statements of fact based on obvious empirical observations with, say, the plight of Rosa Parks is just dumb. Learn what racism is before you go crazy with your label guns.

  • grumpygradstudent says:

    It's really the lazy/bad people prejudice that we're concerned about, speaking of course for the entire population of world fat people. I don't care if people don't want to fuck me because I'm fat (and, honestly, you really only need one, so who gives a shit?), but I do care that somebody might not give me a job because they assume I'm lazy by the way I look.

    I actually think that newscaster is hot, by the way. I've learned to appreciate lots of different body types in my old age. I'm not saying I'm not shallow. I am. I still care about whether I find a person attractive or not; I'm just able to find more people attractive than I could when I was 18. It's like beer or coffee; taste is not immutable.

  • "Everyone's a little bit racist, sometimes…"

    I do think that weight is slightly different than race, because it's not a fixed characteristic with which someone is born. There is a difference, though, between pointing out that eating half as much fried food at the state fair would probably be healthier, and calling someone a pig.

    Also, Ed, if you're not careful you're going to stop making fat women kill themselves, and where would you be then?

  • I have a couple of points to make:
    1. Fat is gross. Evolution and nature tell us as much.
    2. Being fat isn't the same as being black or being gay. (Last I heard there was no Gay Watchers or Jenny Black to get rid of those things.)
    3. There is a reason we don't see a lot of fat , media/entertainment types. Bad for business. People don't like fat. (Except when they fall down stairs, rip tiny coats, and make huge juicy farts.)
    4. Bullying has gone on before the internet. And it was worse, because it often went unreported.
    5. Stop with all the fucking victimhood. Go on a diet. Take acne medication. Find new friends who aren't assholes, racists, etc.
    6. The dude's letter wasn't even that bad. No profanity, no names (fatty, tub of shit, Wisconsin Land Manatee) he just sounded bad and kinda like a dickhead. Because, who writes into a TV station to complain about a morning crew? A dimwitted fucktard with too much time on his hands.
    7. I feel bad for the husband (also a TV reporter) who has to hit that. If I was on TV, I wouldn't be banging a Chaz Bono look a like with 3 kids. Let alone be bragging about it on the internet.
    8. I am an asshole, and I don't care.

  • As a preface, an elder family member I adore referred throughout my formative years to Chinese food as "Chink food." It was not said hatefully (inasmuch as such things *can* be said unhatefully), yet years of adult interaction and friendship with Chinese friends have not erased the instinct to occasionally propose to my wife that "we order out for Chink food." I never say it, and if I did say it aloud, I would apologize to whomever I said it in the presence of–I *know* it is a vile idiom, expressive of a terrible period of American history. But it's lodged in there, and it ain't going away. Such is the nature of early programming–we can scrub the hard drive as much as we can, but the occasional glitch is gonna pop up from time to time.

    Now, having established by bona fides as a recovering bigot–(Nah, just kidding–I'm just adding to the list of prefaces that deep initiated–"I love all people of mixed ethnicity, but having said that RACISTLY RACIST RACISM.")

    There seems to be a disagreement between those who view overweightedness (not a word) as a *condition* or as a *behavior*. Being overweight (and I leave it to the reader to supply his/her own definition of the term, or if the term itself offends, to supply an inoffensive alternative) can be the result of many things, behavior only one among them (though it's probably the most common–an imbalance between caloric intake and caloric output, diet/exercise if you prefer.)

    People who hate overweight people blame the latter for what they perceive as behavior.

    People who defend overweight people often (though not always–get to that in a second) do so by describing overweightedness (still not a word) as a condition.

    People who are "anti-fat" reply to that defense that it is self-pitying victimhood disguised as a civil right.

    People who are "pro-body self-evaluation" argue that the "anti-fat" people are cheap bigots who allow trivial aesthetics to guide humane evaluation, as suck for so doing.

    People who are "anti-fat" remind the other group that obesity is a serious medical condition that costs the national health-care system more and more every year, and it's only getting worse.

    People who are "anti-anti-fat" counter that weight gain is often the consequence of the only kind of diet the poor can afford, and weight loss is both expensive and time-consuming and that there is no one certain method for doing so in a healthy manner.

    And so on. The "anti-fat" people are bigots with *just* enough medical/economic justification to hide behind. But I find it hard–scratch that, *impossible*–to believe that the "anti-fat" people actually give a shit about the health of the overweight, or about the economic cost of the obesity epidemic. They just want to feel good about hating somebody, and as every elementary schoolroom can attest to, it's always easy to pick on the fat kid, and that's why everybody else in that class (scared, stupid children) do so. It's basically why Piggy's presence in LORD OF THE FLIES is so essential–he's hated even *before* the island society breaks down–he's the canary in the coalmine that tells you that things are going to go south fast, because humanity loves its accepted hatreds.

    Am I physically uncomfortable when a heavy person takes over my seating area on a plane? Yes. But I blame the airlines for trying to pretend that we're a nation of Audrey Hepburns and Kate Mosses, and sizing their seats accordingly. Am I physically attracted to overweight people? I am not–but so the hell what? How in the hell is that due to any fault on *their* part–do they *owe* me, or anyone, an erotic thrill at the mere sight of them? They do not–and shame on me if I resent them for it.

    They are who they are, and their size simply doesn't affect me at all (airline seats aside–and really, that's the *only* instance I can think of, and that's not enough to build up a good solid steam of bigoted resentment.) There's no such thing as second-hand fat.*

    In short, dude, shut the fuck up. If your opinion mattered, somebody would have asked you for it. Don't like fat? Eat a salad and go for a jog. Don't like fat people? Go fuck yourself.

    *One could argue, I suppose, that obese parents who feed their children a diet based on their own consumption and do not encourage a compensating level of exercise and thus produce obese children are creating something similar to "second-hand fat." But that's a parenting issue, and that's a different subject entirely.

  • I must admit that overweight people do cause concern, but not because of esthetics. I was overweight and suffered with high blood pressure and and high cholesterol. Subsequently, I lost 50 pounds and now have normal blood pressure and cholesterol. My concern is about the high percentage of Americans that are suffering (or will suffer) from weight related illnesses. My hope is that people ignore commentary from others about weight and focus on heathy eating and regain a heathy physiology.
    I don't think there is any doubt that Americans are overweight and unhealthy, but deriding someone is not appropriate. In my opinion it would prove fruitful for each person to to critique themselves and pose the question of whether they need to to take action in regard to their own heath status and not be focused on someone else's status.

  • For anyone who hasn't figured it out, Tom is obviously a troll and not a very good one. Speaking like a wealthy Bond villain always gives you away.

    Don't Feed the Troll.

  • I'd just like to say that this is quite possibly the best/stupidest thing I've ever read on the internet:
    1. Fat is gross. Evolution and nature tell us as much.

    The rest of the post has some great comic idiocy but that's truly awesome. Thanks Tom.

    For further reading I'd highly recommend the 'Fatstronauts 101' series at Shakesville:

  • Here's a question: while a positive body image is one thing. Especially for the chromosomally matched and the focus on body. A pound or two here or there is one thing. For those who really are 20+ over, could this whole "take me as I am, or go F urself", be just an excuse to not change?*

    Especially in a country where obesity really is a problem. Two easy ways are to cut down on soft drinks and other sugars.

    Everyone has an addiction, it's just that some are easier to hide or are more socially accepted than others.

    *for non-medical causes.

  • grumpygradstudent says:

    Ha..I was wondering if that was the same person. Confusing. I like first Nick. Second Nick is a dumb asshole.

  • Former Fatty says:

    I recently lost close to 50 pounds. Yay me. I spent the better part of 15 years carrying that extra 50 pounds around. And mostly, I just kinda dealt with it with a sense of lazy resignation. SOMEDAY I'll lose it, I thought. And someday just get getting pushed off into the future.

    Then I got a blood test with some scary lipid numbers. So I says to myself "Self, living is good. You should continue to do that."

    And then I went on a radical two-step weight loss program called "eating less and exercising more." And ya know what? It worked! Like magic. If you burn more fuel than your body consumes, then your body will have to use some of that stored up fat for energy. Amazing! And yes, standard compassionate disclaimer that "some people have medical reasons" for not losing weight. I know. My heart truly and honestly goes out to them. But it's a tiny fraction of overweight people, and we need to stop waving them around as some kind of excuse for poor behavior by the majority of heavier people. The rest of us, MOST of us are LAZY AND GLUTTONOUS. It's that fucking simple. I know, because I was. The way I put on that weight was by eating too much and not exercising enough. I make NO damn excuses for my weight. I was a lazy, procrastinating glutton, who would rather have eaten that extra slice of pizza than going out for a walk. USA! USA! USA!

    But – when I was heavy, what I DIDN'T do was attach any kind of emotion to it at all. I didn't hate myself – if anything, I was just mild disappointed in my own laziness and procrastination. But I also didn't get into some self-delusional BS about how I was still one of god's beautiful children and if only the media stopped putting out images of super-amazing hunks, then all the girls would love me.

    Nobody chooses to be a woman, to be black, or to be gay. But we all choose to be or not be fat. And Americans choose to be fat. If we didn't, there wouldn't be an entire aisle in your grocery store dedicated to cookies. While bullying sucks, so does lying to people and telling them that they're healthy and attractive when they are not. In psychology, they call that enabling. You wouldn't tell a smoker that they're beautiful and wonderful every time they light up, why tell a heavy person the same thing every time they down a third cupcake?

    All of this being said, the guy who wrote the letter to the reporter was kind of a douche. As is just about anyone with the time and energy to write to a TV show.

  • grumpygradstudent: To be fair, I'm kind of a dumb asshole sometimes too, just less than Second Nick in this instance.

  • grumpygradstudent says:

    One more point. The Health at Every Size movement has done much to publicize the growing body (pun!) of research that indicates the connection between obesity and health is much murkier than previously thought. I'm not gonna summarize that now, but the upshot is that weight is probably a correlate, not a cause, of most of the poor health outcomes that previous research found associated with obesity. The spurious relationship (look this term up, statistically challenged readers) is hiding the real causes of poor health, which is lack of exercise. Is being fat completely innocuous? Probably not. But it's probably not nearly as unhealthy as many activities that people don't feel justified to mock people openly for.

    In short: 1. it's possible to be fat and healthy. 2. a fat person who exercises is probably healthier than a thin person who does not. 3. there are many dangerous activities (mountain climbing, riding motorcycles, and above all, smoking cigarettes) that are much more harmful to public health than being overweight, and people don't feel entitled to mock and shame people for those activities.

    If you actually cared about public health, you would focus on getting people to exercise more and quit smoking and not do stupid, dangerous shit.

  • grumpygradstudent says:

    And former fatty, thank you for that lesson in societally induced self-loathing. Black women can and should straighten that nappy, nappy hair of theirs, shouldn't they? This whole "it's ok to look different than society's beauty standards" is just a load of P.C. liberal bleeding heart bullshit!

  • @Nunya: Please! That sort of casual and poorly-thought-out hurtful denigration is what gives Liberals such a bad name. Tom is clearly a 'douchecanoe', not a 'douchenozzle'. Tom's only a beginner troll and hasn't mastered the arcane art yet, so don't go giving him any sort of swelled head. He needs to work on his fastball, and his curve bounces twice on the way to the plate.
    Anyway, I'm not a racist, but I like puppies. (Ha! In your face, Major! Booyah!)
    It seems to me that "us vs them" and "in-group vs out-group" and all that sort of stuff is simply too widespread to be a cultural construct. I'm inclined to think it's one of our many pre-programmed "nature" factors that we just hang some specific characteristic onto to fit the situation. Almost all of us are [something]-ist when we don't think about it. I have managed to completely control this part of me after years of intense effort, but most of the people I meet haven't even made a start. Heck, almost all of us tend to judge each other all the time, especially women (the poor dears). Anyway, so some of us are fat, and some are thin. So what? As Christopher Walken so memorably said in 'Balls of Fury', "get over it". I've got enough to worry about in my life without offering unsolicited advice to the folks I run into every day, and you all ought to be that way as well. Those who get all worked up about weight should take in Ed Wood, Jr.'s classic cross-dressing and fat-disguise comedy "Some Like It Fat". That's the movie where Tony Randall and Jackie Mason dress up as grossly fat women to hide out in a touring production of 'The Cocoanuts', and end up getting hitched – Mason's character to the generic ingenue (played by Ed Wood, Jr.), and Randall's to the three Marx Brothers (played by Moe, Larry and Curly). It will change your perspective on almost everything.

  • I agree with pretty much everything you said Ed, except the final point. I would encourage you to look into waist-to-hip ratio both as an indicator of health, and as a measure of attractiveness. While it will vary slightly cross culturally, extensive research shows that a certain range of WHRs (about 0.60-0.80) are ideal in women (about 0.90) in men. Disgust with fat people isn't something we just learn, nor is it simply a product of western culture as some would attempt to claim. Evolutionarily, the human body has a base set of proportions and we were not generally fat as food was more scarce. An individual who did not fit these proportions was generally "wrong" in some way and therefore not a healthy partner. Was/is this true all the time? No. But if you're a primitive human with an already short life-span, this isn't a gamble your genes were willing to take. We aren't taught to be disgusted by fat, evolution did that some time ago. What we are taught is how to ignore, accept, or refer to it in prettier terms (Curvy and big-boned being the first euphemisms that comes to mind). Now, all of this aside, it goes without saying, one has to be careful to avoid the naturalistic fallacy and assume that such responses are inherently "right" in scientific and civil society. Was the e-mailer an asshole? Maybe. But regardless of how she tried to dress her response as anything else (I don't care, you don't know me, I have thick skin, etc), that e-mail struck a nerve with her. Public shaming can go a long way to modifying behavior. If being called out makes this guy more selective about opening his mouth in the future, good on her. But conversely, if hearing a hard truth from a complete stranger spurs this woman to loose weight, and make healthier life decisions; improving her long-term health outlook, her (3) daughters will grow up exposed to and learning those values and hopefully reap the benefits as well. This is to say the least of (as Nick mentioned) her husband, who as a mid-20s guy, still uncowed by marriage, children, and social pressure, I really feel for. He appears photographically to have stayed fit and not let himself go, despite role-playing as Queequeg whenever maritals are in order.

  • Class warfare. Used to be, if you were fat you were rich and secure.

    Now the status body is the human X-ray [tnx, Tom Wolfe].

    Plus, self-medicators that we are, sugar is pretty much at the top of the list of ubiquitous addictive drugs since we figured out how to mass produce it in the 18th century, kicking even alcohol off the top of the chart.

  • Brian: You really think so? That the concept of beauty is completely plastic and socially constructed (and, if so, constructed on what — mean conspiracy?) Beauty standards are largely universal and genetic (7:10 hip-waist ratio the world over throughout history

  • Brian: You really think so? That the concept of beauty is completely plastic and socially constructed (and, if so, constructed on what — mean conspiracy?) Beauty standards are largely universal and genetic (7:10 hip-waist ratio the world over throughout history — tons of evidence this is so).

    Was anyone saying that attraction was entirely socially constructed? Isn't it enough to notice that beauty standards vary enough that one culture's ideal is another culture's meh, and things like the waist-hip ratio finding are notable precisely because they're surprisingly universal, when most of what we think is essential for beauty isn't.

    So, no, beauty standards aren't "largely universal" (as if such a thing could even be quantified), and to say that it's "genetic" is such a gross oversimplification that… ugh. I half expect to hear you talking about how the heritability of IQ is evidence that between-group differences are inherent.

    (Also, Ed, your comment processor chokes on the Unicode smartquotes and em-dashes it outputs.)

  • About that waist-to-hip ration thing…I fear the man of a single fact.

    It works both ways, dude, and does not answer the question as to why being thin is no longer viewed as the outward sign of being poor, low-class, underfed and generally skanky.

  • @Mo

    It isn't a single fact. It's an immense body of research that spans culture, class, and historical context. Even Henry VIII, well known for being monsterously obese was fit and athletic until a jousting accident injured his leg. The fact that within recent (relatively speaking) human history, a tiny fraction of a tiny ruling class was able to indulge in the sort of gluttonous, sedentary lifestyle, and high calorie foods that are readily available to the average westerner, and were idolized for it by the hand-to-mouth living, malnourished masses they lived off the backs of is an argument I scarcely know what point you intend by making. Finally, notice in your list you only list terms that deal with class (poor, low, underfed, skanky), not terms that deal with health.

  • grumpygradstudent says:

    Satrap, if you doubt that large women can be considered sexually attractive in modern society, I suggest you investigate what the internet has to say about the term "BBW." I'd politely suggest that millions of porn users across the world disagree with you very much.

  • Obese people are mocked because it makes assholes feel better about their own flaws. The person who is in "perfect" shape probably feels like they are chasing something that will never be caught. These people you always hear about sky-diving, mountain climbing, running 70 mile marathons: They are outrunning the deep abyss of depression.

  • Former Fatty says:

    grumpygradstudent — sure, there's lots of guys turned on by "BBW" porn. But really, considering some of the effed up stuff that dudes will wank to, do you really want to go down that tentacle-laden rabbit hole?

  • grumpygradstudent says:

    Yes, I do. The point being made was "fat people are objectively, scientifically unattractive." But that is incompatible with the clear, demonstrable fact that lots of people do find those people attractive. It may be slightly unusual, but certainly not tentacle porn unusual. Exhibit B: Sir Mix Alot.

  • @Grump

    They can be very attractive. I've enjoyed a fuller-figured lady from time to time. Granted, this was in the flesh rather than the vast reaches of the internet, where rule 34 reigns supreme, and she was still waist-to-hip proportional (take a look at Ruben's Venus in a Mirror if you're curious what that looks like).

  • People like to believe that fat people are fat due to overeating or lack of exercise because it lets people blame the individual for their own plight. Unfortunately the facts say something different. Journalist Gary Taubes showed how since about the 1980's to the present, the sales of low-fat "healthy" foods have been soaring. From about the same time, there has been a massive "fitness boom" as well. Are there fat, lazy, individuals out there? Sure. But there are also thousands if not millions of people who have been doing exactly what the doctors have been telling them and still failing to lose weight. What the evidence seems to point to(and believe me, I don't take claims like this lightly) is that the main factors of obesity are genetics, hormones, and insulin resistance. I highly recommend reading Taubes' work and checking his evidence. Yes, one's diet is still a factor, but you can't blame people who were doing exactly what they were told for years.

  • Arslan wrote:
    What the evidence seems to point to(and believe me, I don't take claims like this lightly) is that the main factors of obesity are genetics, hormones, and insulin resistance.

    But that doesn't fit in my simplistic happy little box universe where 'health' is solely based around one's physical appearance!

  • There is a difference, though, between pointing out that eating half as much fried food at the state fair would probably be healthier,

    Is it really necessary for you to point that out to ANYONE? I don't think there is anyone walking around out there who thinks eating a giant plate of fried food is healthy. Not up to you to control what goes in their mouths.

    This is to say the least of (as Nick mentioned) her husband, who as a mid-20s guy, still uncowed by marriage, children, and social pressure, I really feel for. He appears photographically to have stayed fit and not let himself go, despite role-playing as Queequeg whenever maritals are in order

    Wow. Just. Wow. I am guessing by "maritals," you mean sex. Maybe her husband thinks she's built for comfort, not for speed. Or maybe he just loves his wife, you asshat.

  • Also, this whole discussion about "is fat attractive/sexy" brings to mind a bit by Chris Rock wherein he says "a white woman knows she's getting fat when black men start hitting on her." Heh.

  • Former Fatty says:

    So let's get this straight…

    1) If you're fat, it's not your fault. It's genetics. Nothing you can do about it.

    2) If you don't find fat people attractive, it IS your fault, because you've been brainwashed by our culture and you should know better.

    Sure. Let's go with that.

  • grumpygradstudent says:

    "Pleeeeeeeease let me just hate one group! Let there be just oooone group of people i can shit on, pleeeeease! I neeed it! What is my life if I can't feel smugly superior to SOMEONE?!?! Dear Gawd, life would not be worth living!!!"

  • Former Fatty says:

    Who's talking hate? I just don't find fat people sexy or attractive. Why is that "hate?" Hell, there's some people that I actually do hate that I still find sexy. These aren't mutually exclusive things.

    What I don't appreciate is being told that there's something wrong with me for liking what I like. Or being told that I'm brainwashed by the media for it. And I really don't appreciate being told that by someone who eats like a sow and never gets off the couch.

  • I found the newscaster's self-defense cheering, but all the hollering about bullying is getting me down. The letter-writer's crime was one of manners, not morals. The wording was polite, and the logic was ludicrous, and the sentiment earnest; yet no matter how sincere and "not-trying-to-be-rude-BUT" it might have been, it was phenomenally rude to send.

    So many people dismiss manners, saying they are antiquated, dishonest, unneeded, whatever. But I am not referring to the old middle class obsession with formality that equates virtue with using the designated fork for the shrimp. I am talking about practical manners such as tact, discretion, civility, and the ability to keep one's goddamned mouth shut if it's at risk of spewing garbage.

    Individuals hold biases, and I do not care. Their thoughts are their own. But if they cough up racist speech, or heterosexist behavior, or exhibit anything but fair play in their dealings, we have a problem. So I definitely have a problem with this letter writer. But while all bullying is rude, not all rudeness is bullying. Consider the difference between sexual harassment and a guy who is just failing miserably at making a pass There is a difference.

  • for poor behavior by the majority of heavier people. The rest of us, MOST of us are LAZY AND GLUTTONOUS. It's that fucking simple. I know, because I was.

    Complete and utter bullshit.

    Beyond a certain BMI, your body actively works against your attempts to lose weight, and your digestive system begins to have difficulty properly breaking down the nutrients in the food that you eat, requiring you to eat more food to get the nutrients in which you are in need of.

    Beyond that, even if you can manage to lose a significant amount of weight, the 24 month recidivism rate for people who lose more than 50 pounds is in excess of 80%, unless one pursues a drastic solution such as some form of weight loss surgery. There's only, oh 60 years worth of research on this.

    The best course of maintaining a healthy weight is to never not have a healthy weight which for a multitude of reasons is difficult for a vast majority of Americans to keep from doing. And there is no attitude less helpful than assuming that everyone who is overweight can solve their problem by just assuming the default position that everyone who is over weight got that way due to sloth and gluttony.

    Which is a very long way of saying you can take your attitude and shove it up your stretch marked ass.

  • If I were Queen of the World, anyone wishing to post opinions on obesity would be required to demonstrate 40 hours of CE on obesity research. Annually. This is theleast ignorant obesity thread I've seen lately, and it's still appalling.

    To the person who thinks public shaming is helpful. Read Brownell & Puhl's research. Return & apologise.

  • Re: the learned prejudice part of the post, the first time I ran across that was when I was 15 and my brother came out to me. This was the early nineties, and 'fag' was a totally common put down among high school boys everywhere. It was very easy to use that as the ultimate pejorative when I didn't 'know' anyone who was gay; not so much once it hit so close to home. I stopped using gay (and variations thereof) as a put down real fast. And when I got to know more gay people, I found they're just people, some jerks, some pretty cool. Not surprising, but something I hadn't had to think about before then.

    As for racism, I don't think I am racist, but I notice undercurrents that I'd rather not admit to, but we're among friends, amiright? See, I live in a gentrifying, but not yet gentrified neighborhood, and I chalk a lot of differences between Lilly-white me and my neighbors to culture. The African Americans in my neighborhood are loud. The booming systems, the honking when they see someone on the street they know, the conversational tones that are orders of magnitude louder than my own. Again, I chalk that up to cultural differences and different upbringings.

    Then there's the gangsters. I hate to say it, but I certainly feel intimidated when I'm around anyone over the age of ten who's got cornrows. Especially when there are regular shootings and fights ending in stabbings in my neighborhood.

    Again, I don't think all African Americans are gangsters, but some I see in the streets and can 'tell' they're up to no good (even though, undoubtedly, some are not). Again, I don't think I'm racist, but my liberal guilt has me uncomfortable with some of my less-than-kind trains of thought.

    Regarding the fat debate, I have little to add. Some good points have been made upthread, as well as some profoundly clueless, dickish remarks. Fat's not inherently bad, nor is gay, nor is black, nor is poor… ignorance, well that's another story. I come from a skinny family, which is good because I found out last year that in my mid-30s, with a BMI of 26 or 27, I have pre-diabetic blood sugar levels. So the plan is to stay in a 'normal' to thin size. Diabetes scares the crap out of me. Unfortunately, since I already eat well and exercise regularly, if I start getting bigger again, the next thing I'll need to cut ou is beer; sweet nectar of the gods.

  • "1) If you're fat, it's not your fault. It's genetics. Nothing you can do about it."

    Not exactly. There is something you can do about it, but the problem is that the advice we have been getting for the past 30 years or so has been pretty much dead wrong. Being fat is not a matter of eating more calories than you use, but rather a question of what you eat. The problem is that based on the calories in/out model, people have been told to avoid foods with high fat content, when they really should be avoiding carbohydrates and sugar. Many low-fat products often use sugar to compensate for the fat, making them more unhealthy.

  • Former Fatty says:

    Again, I will believe that America is serious about weight loss when Nabisco and KFC go out of business. Until then, all of the stuff above about genetics and BMI is all just excuses for lazy gluttonous people. You have a god damned choice to put an Oreo cookie into your mouth or not. The act of actually raising the fried chicken from the plate into your gullet is a fucking choice. In fact, you have a choice not to buy these products when you're in the supermarket.

    And I know about recidivism. I did try to lose weight once before. And you know what happened? After I lost a certain amount I say "yayyy! I don't have to try anymore!" Why? Because it was EASIER TO BE LAZY AND EAT SHITTY FOOD.

    And if you've never made the commitment, TRULY made the commitment to completely change your lifestyle FOREVER and stop eating poison FOREVER and treating your body like a built-in Barca Lounger FOREVER, then you haven't tried hard enough. You get one body, one life. Go ahead and waste it in front of your TV eating Domino's if you want, but don't come bitching to me that you can't get a date because you're a size 72 and then blame your loneliness on society.

    I truly hope i've changed permanently now. But my ultimate point is that I don't have a lot of sympathy for what I used to be or what others still are. It's hard work. But so what? Do it, or stay fat.

  • grumpygradstudent says:

    You're missing the point entirely. The point is that you're operating under the faulty notion that being fat is a problem. You hated yourself before. Good for you! You wanna hate me too? Well go fuck yourself, you ignorant comformist dickwad.

  • Death Panel Truck says:

    "Which is a very long way of saying you can take your attitude and shove it up your stretch marked ass."

    You just made my morning. Thank you!

  • Wow, this really went on a long time. And, I'm sure, was worth every tedious, lingering second. Hey, to those who might sometime in the future, stumble across this artifact of a bygone age (last Wednesday), remember when stomach ulcers were due to stress? Well, how about that:

    Note that this _doesn't_ say "all fatties are prisoners of their gut flora/fauna". Some (me, for instance) are like Weird Al likes to sing about ("When I'm all done eating, I eat a little more; when I leave a room, first I've gotta grease the doo-oor!"). We all have some control over ourselves, but some of us have less control than others. I'm just lazy and love the taste of food. What's your excuse?

  • Ahhhh the Internet, where fat people can anonymously call you a dumb asshole. I usually only get called that by my wife and

  • grumpygradstudent says:

    Would you like my address, phone number, and resume? I'd be happy to give that to you and still call you a dumb asshole.

  • Paying a fleeting visit to G + T from the farflung land of mercurial wi-fi connectivity, and concurring that challenging one's own racist/heterosexist/ableist social conditioning is a lifetime of work.

    (Also tremendously glad to scroll down and discover that original!Nick is not a douchebag. Hurrah.)

  • Mothra: "Is it really necessary for you to point that out to ANYONE? I don't think there is anyone walking around out there who thinks eating a giant plate of fried food is healthy. Not up to you to control what goes in their mouths."

    If they're someone I care about, yes. The same way that I would point it out if I thought they were drinking an unhealthy amount, or engaging in unprotected sex with multiple partners. It's not about "control," it's about showing concern for someone's health, and being more worried about your friend or family member putting themselves at risk than you are about whether or not you're being a "fat bigot" or whatever the term is today.

    Elle: Cheers, I feel like the average girl standing next to the really unattractive one today.

  • FormerFatty – beware your assumptions dear. Some of us really do have medical conditions that make weightloss difficult. I was born with PCOS, with a pretty tenacious case of insulin resistance. I've spent years being careful what I eat, going to the gym…and not losing weight. The only thing is I at least kept from gaining it (laugh if you wish, Former Fatty, but PCOS women have a really hard time with weight gain, moreso than 'normal' folks because of a nasty form of insulin resistance). Now I take a diabetic drug – metformin – that is the only change that has allowed me to lose weight. Still careful with what I eat. Still going to the gym as often as I can (4-5 X/wk, I still have to keep up with work, grocery shopping, cooking from scratch, washing dishes, sheperding kid from school etc).

    Losing weight just isn't a simple matter of discipline for all of us. Never assume.

  • gees, the social disapproval of being fat is so huge here. there are so many unspoken and spoken "cues" to approval of who and what we are in our society.
    so many are just "accepted" and never questioned. that this woman had the nerve to go on public TV and say something is quite awesome. and she's right about the Parents being teh problem. as tehy say, "the apple doesn't fall far from the tree."

    and with the lunacy of the "be this way" or you are "bad, deformed, worth-less" a general loser, sounds so much like a Republican idea that " the rich pull themselves up by their own bootstraps, while the poor are just plain lazy losers" BS that has been fed into our culture, just like being fat, gay or black or whatever the "loser" type popular at this point in time.

    to think we have the ability or the awareness to know how we got to be who we are and whether we can alter the parts we don't "like" to fit into society so we will be "okay" and worth more in our society is such claptrap and wishfull thinking.

    being raised to not to talk to blacks cause i was white and they were black was a perenial mindfucker for me as a kid. i just couldn't understand what i didn't get that made "them" bad or me bad for talking/associating with "blacks". the line between what i know and can do and what is beyond my control/will is something i am still learning as i age. the whole nonsense of dividing and dismissing those "less" than is just one of the stupidities i rail against. what did i miss not interacting with so and so because i was told not to because someone was whatever.

    what i have learned is that this type of "getting over" or one upmanship is the worst form of self abuse there is. life is for learning what there is while i am here. to hear people cut down and/or diminish others means they are going to do it to me, as well.

    that's what that is all about.

  • Why are people so darned invested in the idea that what turns them on is objectively correct? Does it somehow make your affection for pale, skinny women more valid if it's buttressed by Science! Sounding! Things?

    It's kind of like people who go bugfuck when confronted with the idea that their sense of morality isn't objective, and there's no completely abstract argument that would convince a rock that eating babies is wrong.

    It is possible that you simply have a preference, and that is okay. Sheesh.

  • Former Fatty says:

    camas blues: I have absolutely nothing but sympathy for anyone who has a medical pre-disposition to being heavy. Honestly, it breaks my heart, and I truly hope there's a medical breakthrough that someday makes a difference – not just for weight loss, but for the myriad of health issues that PTOC burdens you with. It sucks.

    BUT – and the point I've made several times that everyone seems to ignore — your local supermarket's cookie aisle is still well stocked, and the Chips-a-hoy people are still making money hand over fist. Until that stops, I'm going to assume that the majority of Americans aren't serious about weight loss, or their health in general.

    Since I lost weight, a lot of my heavier friends have asked me how I did it. After my standard "eat less and exercise more"response, I respond with a question: "What did you do, TODAY that will help you lose weight?" Did you eat well? Did you ignore the birthday cake at the office? Did you get a regular coffee instead of a mocha-frappu-latte-chino? Oh – it was "just this once" that you ate really badly for most of your meals. Right. "Just this once" for the third time this week.

    How about exercise? God, starting exercise lifestyle sucks, I know. But did you take the stairs at the office today instead of the elevator? How about walking to the store that's only a mile away rather than taking the car? You don't have time? How was last night's episode of Grey's Anatomy? Ohhh… THAT you had time for. Okay.

    If you don't have a true medical reason, and you're unhappy with your weight, you have to do something about it TODAY and EVERY DAY. For the rest of your life. We've been dieting for decades and it doesn't work. Why? Because a "diet" is a temporary thing. A quick fix. Something we put up with for a little while then we go back to our crappy habits. Or we get discouraged because it takes a year to lose 50 pounds (less than a pound a week), and we're not looking like super-models after three weeks of some restricted calorie nonsense. So screw it, back to the cookie aisle we go!

    You can make excuses, or you can change your life and FEEL GREAT. And you can do it starting today. But be mentally and emotionally prepared that this isn't something you do for a little while, it's something you are for the rest of your life.

    As to grumpygradstudent and her accusations of my "conformity" all i can say is that I like what I like. In fact, since I've taken my health more seriously, what I REALLY find sexy is a woman who does the same. Was a time that a little bit of muscle definition on a woman might have turned me off (lots of guys feel that way, sadly). Not any more, because I'm turned on by the discipline and hard work. And that's my PREFERENCE. And just because a large number of people may share a preference, it doesn't mean they're "conforming." It just means there's a lot of people in the world and sometimes, some things are going to be more preferred than other things. Telling me I'm a "conformist" because I'm attracted to fit women (not thin, FIT) is sorta like a hipster telling me I'm a "conformist" because I prefer the OK Computer to Kid A. No skin off my back. I like what I like. And if you're one of those people who thinks physical attraction should mean nothing at all, then enjoy the unicorn rides on Non-reality island.

  • grumpygradstudent says:

    You're really misinterpreting me very badly. I don't know where you got that I said you're conformist for being attracted to anybody. I'm fine with people liking what they like in terms of sexual attraction. What I'm not fine with is people thinking that it's always bad for somebody to be overweight. All of your posts laud the goal of losing weight. It's a matter of willpower!!! Well, whether that's true or not, it assumes that people WANT to lose weight. Just because you hated how you used to look doesn't mean that anybody else should hate how they look.

    Lots of things in my life could change if I ONLY HAD THE WILL. I could learn to knit. I could learn Swahili. I could learn to tapdance. The reason I don't do any of those things is because I don't fucking want to, cause why the hell should I? Not being able to do those things has very little impact on my life. It's the same with losing weight. Being fat only makes my life hard because other people might do things like not hire me because they make erroneous assumptions about my character based on how I look. I couldn't give less of a shit if anybody wants to fuck me, and I certainly never said that you are a bad person for being attracted or unattracted to certain types of people. In fact, I don't think anybody in this entire thread said that. Reading interpretation fail on your part.

  • I've seen the figure that something like 95% of people who lose weight gain it all back within 5 years. The 5% who keep it off – doggedly work at weight loss EVERY DAY. Keep food diaries, weigh food portions, keep up a regular exercise regimen (mixing it up every so often, to keep up fitness). This kind of intense, daily, dogged planning and follow through is difficult. Really difficult. Seems to be more than most people can manage.

    So far I manage because between the PCOS & my Native American heritage I am at high risk for developing Type2 Diabetes. And that is one ugly disease, so it is a motivator to Keep Going. Plus, at one point, I was trying to get pregnant (success there, in fact too much,,,oops!). Nowadays I manage mostly because I like the taste of healthy food. Can't stand the flavor of that fast food crap. And I actually like exercise – I like the self challenge of it, thinking of what I can get my body to do, even tho' now I am getting a bit arthritic here and there. Ouch.

    I think what helps people to at least aspire to better health – not be a skinny model type or pro athlete, but a little healthier – is to form supportive groups. Back when I worked in an office, a group of us pregnant and other gals went walking around the office complex at lunch hour. Just little things like that – get some fresh air and a leg stretch. Physical activity whenever possible. Every little bit helps.

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