The Uncomfortable Truth About Being Overweight


Screen Shot 2013-06-01 at 8.53.45 PMThe litany of my life includes the following:
Lose five pounds and you can get those cute shoes you want.
Drop a dress size and you can have the outfit you want, other wise we buy it from the fat section.
If you lose a dress size you would be so pretty.
The reason you can’t get a date is because you are so fat.
People don’t want you around them because of you size.
You make people uncomfortable because you are so fat.
If you lost weight you could sell more books.
You do realize your weight is holding you back.
No one is going to read your books because you are fat.
You can’t get that job because you are fat
People just don’t like being around women your size.

Yada Yada Yada…. and I believed it all to the point where I had no self-assurance at all.  In our crazy mixed-up world, we must all be the same.  Popular culture is so strong that, if you do not conform to society, you are looked down upon to the point where women are literally dying to be thin. American women have a problem with eating disorders:

“…Thus, in all, 75% of women–that’s three out of every four women in the United States between the ages of 25 and 45 years—have an eating disorder or have symptoms related to an eating disorder.

The Bulik survey, performed by SELF Magazine along with the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill), exposes the high percentage of women in the United States that have negative thoughts, feelings, or behaviors related to eating food and/or the state of their figures (bodies).

Bulik and Reba-Harrelson found that these unhealthy eating habits are found in all racial and ethnic groups of women.

In fact, Bulik stated, “Our survey found that these behaviors cut across racial and ethnic lines and are not limited to any one group. Women who identified their ethnic backgrounds as Hispanic or Latina, white, black or African American and Asian were all represented among the women who reported unhealthy eating behaviors.” [UNC School of Public Health: “Survey finds disordered eating behaviors among three out of four American women”]

Bulik also reported what she considered an “unexpectedly high number” of women with such problems.

She stated, “What we found most surprising was the unexpectedly high number of women who engage in unhealthy purging activities. More than 31 percent of women in the survey reported that in an attempt to lose weight they had induced vomiting or had taken laxatives, diuretics or diet pills at some point in their life. Among these women, more than 50 percent engaged in purging activities at least a few times a week and many did so every day.”…”

If Barbie were a real woman she would be seriously anorexic. Never mind the worst thing you can do to an overweight child is harp on their size. I know. I spent my entire life from the time I was in the 2nd grade being judged by my size. My first high protein diet began when I was eight years old. I gained ten pounds. When I started the 9th grade, I walked into the high school wearing a size nine dress. It was not good enough for those around me.

It is called yo-yo dieting.  It is a destroyer.  I ought to know.  It destroyed me, that, along with the fact that in my family, you’re lucky if you are thin.  My mother, who has been thin to the point of almost being anorexic all her life (she swears she is not) is suffering form agonizing osteoporosis.  It killed her mother.  In my family it is a death sentence if you are thin.  Thing is, it is extremely rare for anyone who has been overweight their entire life to ever even develop osteoporosis.  In my family, the odds tell me I’m better off being overweight.  Believe it or not.

“…”A BMI of under 17 is considered underweight or anorexic,” she tells CBS News. “That puts you at high risk for negative side effects like osteoporosis, amenorrhea (not being able to menstruate) and low heart rate.”

As many as 10 million Americans are now struggling with eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia, according to the National Eating Disorder Association. A recent study found that teens are hit hard – as many as 500,000 have had an eating disorder. People with eating disorders are at high risk for depression, suicide and substance abuse. The condition can lead to sudden death.

“There are so many misconceptions,” says Slayen. “Eating disorders are are not a choice. They are not a thing of vanity. They are disease and they are really serious.”…”

Emrah Mevsimler is one of the youngest people in the UK to receive the lap band surgery.  He was 13 at the time.  Five years later he is begging to have it removed.  Unfortunately, he can’t afford to have the reversal surgery to correct the problem that is literally ruining his life. The big lie is about surgery.

“…With glowing media reports of its health benefits and a roster of celebrity success stories, weight loss surgery is beginning to feel like the miracle cure of the moment. Last year, doctors performed 205,000 bariatric surgeries, marking an 800 percent increase from a decade ago. As of 2004, 82 percent of patients are women, according to the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) in Rockville, Maryland. Weight loss surgeries are poised to become even more popular in the wake of findings that gastric bypass and banding can send type 2 diabetes into remission in many people. A 2007 report from the University of Utah School of Medicine in Salt Lake City found that obese patients who had bypass surgery had a 40 percent reduced risk of dying in the seven years after the procedure, compared with obese people who didn’t have the surgery. Bariatric surgeons are using results like those to make the case for surgery as a preventive measure against cancer, heart disease and diabetes in patients who are severely obese.

But despite the growing popularity of obesity surgery — and the general perception that it’s a shortcut to thinness and good health — it’s no easy path. The American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) in Gainesville, Florida, puts gastric-bypass surgery’s death rate at between 1 in 1,000 and 1 in 200. In one AHRQ study, 4 in 10 patients developed complications within the first six months, including vomiting, diarrhea, infections, hernias and respiratory failure. Up to 40 percent of gastric-bypass patients can suffer nutritional deficiency, potentially resulting in anemia and osteoporosis; seizures and paralysis have been reported in extreme cases. Some of these malnourished patients experience bizarre neurological problems….”

Guess what – we live longer than thin people! You may not like the way we look, but deal with it, you’re a bigot. You fear ‘fat’.   Sure, you’re a bigot and won’t like the way I look, BUT…. Women in my family who were my size live well into their mid 90s, and are basically healthy, save for arthritis, primarily in their fingers and hands.  (That’s one reason I type for hours, every day).  The women who are thin are the one who end up dying of cancer, heart failure, and rarely survive past their early 70s.  We’re talking a 20 year difference here!  That’s twenty years of additional living, just due to weight – on both sides of my family.

And that body mass thingie…

“…There is no medical evidence that fat by itself causes any disease; instead there are putative links to mortality based solely on statistical models and flawed data. School based anti-fat campaigns conducted in various states in the 1990’s involving thousands of elementary school children failed to reduce the children’s weight. The much quoted BMI (Body Mass Index) was not invented by a medical doctor but by the Belgian astronomer Adolphe Quetelet who attempted to mathematically characterize human physiognomy in 1830. The definitions of overweight and obesity nevertheless are based on arbitrary BMI values. The belief that an obesity epidemic which began in 1980 is threatening our health is unfounded. Similar warnings were issued in the early 1950’s. While much is said about our increasing fatness it is fact that Americans today are taller on average than their grandparents, yet this is not seen as a health problem…”


I’ve been saying this for years,


I’m loving this.  Evidently being thin is a health risk!

“…Andres’s ideas were roundly rejected by the mainstream medical community. In an often-cited JAMA paper4 published in 1987, for example, Willett and JoAnn Manson, an epidemiologist at the Harvard School of Public Health, analysed 25 studies of weight–death relationships and claimed that most were tainted by two confounders: smoking and sickness. Smokers tend to be leaner and die earlier than non-smokers, and many people who are chronically ill also lose weight. These effects could make thinness itself seem to be a risk.

Manson and Willett backed up that idea in a 1995 report that analysed body-mass index (BMI) — the ‘gold-standard’ measure of weight, defined as weight in kilograms divided by height in metres squared — in more than 115,000 female nurses enrolled in a long-term health study5. When the researchers excluded women who had ever smoked and those who died during the first four years of the study (reasoning that these women may have had disease-related weight loss), they found a direct linear relationship between BMI and death, with the lowest mortality at BMIs below 19. (That is about 50 kilograms for a woman who is 1.63 metres tall.)

“It didn’t seem to be biologically plausible that overweight and obesity could both increase the risk of life-threatening diseases and yet lower mortality rates,” Manson says. The study proved, she says, that this idea “was more artefact than fact”.

Around the same time, the world was waking up to obesity. Since 1980, rates of overweight and obesity had begun to rocket6, 7, 8, and in 1997, the World Health Organization (WHO) held its first meeting on the subject, in Geneva, Switzerland. That meeting resulted in the introduction of new criteria for ‘normal weight’ (BMI of 18.5–24.9), ‘overweight’ (BMI of 25–29.9) and ‘obese’ (BMI of 30 or higher). In 1998, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lowered its BMI cut-offs to match the WHO’s classifications. “We used to call [obesity] the Cinderella of risk factors, because nobody was paying attention to it,” says Francisco Lopez-Jimenez, a cardiac physician at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. They were now….”

“…6. Fat helps you survive some diseases. The JAMA editorial points out that among people suffering “a wasting disease, heart disease, diabetes, renal dialysis, or older age,” higher BMI correlates with a lower mortality rate. “Even in the absence of chronic disease, small excess amounts of adipose tissue may provide needed energy reserves during acute catabolic illnesses.” That doesn’t mean fat makes you healthy. It means that once you’re unhealthy, fat might keep you alive, at least for a while…”

If you are overweight, jurors look at you differently.

“...Objective:To investigate the influence of a defendant’s weight on simulated jurors’ perceptions of guilt.Design and methods:Participants were 471 lean and overweight adults (mean body mass index: 25.34±5.91) who read a vignette describing a case of check fraud while viewing one of four images of the alleged defendant (a lean male, a lean female, an obese male or an obese female). Participants rated the defendant’s culpability on a 5-point Likert scale and completed measures of anti-fat attitudes.Results:Male respondents endorsed greater overall weight bias than females (F (1470)=23.815, P<0.01, η(2)=0.048).

A three-way interaction was detected between participant sex, defendant sex and defendant weight on perceptions of guilt such that when the defendant was female, male participants were significantly more likely to find her guilty if she was obese than if she was lean (guilt ratings=4.05±0.83; 3.31±1.03, respectively; F(1467)=5.935, P=0.015, R(2)=0.060). In addition, lean male participants were significantly more likely to believe that the obese female defendant met criteria for check fraud, and indicated greater belief she would be a repeat offender, compared with the lean female defendant (t(90)=2.081, P=0.040; t(90)=2.395 P=0.019, respectively).

There were no differences in perceptions of guilt or responsibility between the obese male and the lean male defendants.Conclusion:The results of this novel study indicate that both weight and gender of a defendant may affect juror perceptions of guilt and responsibility.International Journal of Obesity advance online publication, 8 January 2013; doi:10.1038/ijo.2012.211….”

If you are overweight, you are treated differently.  The hatred is always there, simmering under the surface.

“…You big fat pig” is all Marsha Coupe heard before she was kicked in the stomach and punched in the face. The 53-year-old businesswoman says she was sitting in an almost empty train carriage in the early evening when she was kicked, punched and shouted at for taking up two seats. Her attacker was pulled off by another passenger and restrained, but got off at the next stop before the police arrived….Fat people are fair game for everyone,” says Ms Coupe, who weighs 22 stone (139kg). “Yes, I’ve had beer cans thrown at me by youngsters, but the abuse doesn’t just come from the obvious places. “The normal rules about behaviour, respect and common courtesy don’t apply to us.”

The rise of what could be called “fattism” is being met with a backlash from those who are affected, triggering a nascent rights movement. The unprovoked attack was not an isolated incident, say weight equality campaigners. And when it comes to verbal attacks, they are part of daily life for some of the overweight. From people commenting on the contents of their shopping trolleys to shouting abuse at them in the street….”We’re simply not all built to be slim, our genetic make-ups are all different.”

Another reason for people’s intolerance is the “mass-moral outrage” whipped up by the media and the government over the issue of weight, say campaigners. They question much of the information and “scare stories” surrounding increasing obesity, but they don’t doubt the everyday consequences of them for larger people….One study in America found attitudes towards overweight people are more negative than other types of stigma often seized on by children, such as wearing glasses or having a physical disability. That doesn’t mean they can’t control their actions toward overweight people. But the more fat people are portrayed as social pariahs, the more justified people feel in attacking them.

“Society’s increasing hatred of fat and obsession with thin is creating appalling prejudice,” says Ms Orbach. “It is allowing people to feel justified about abusing fat people….

What if what we are told to do to protect our health is really killing us?  The Pink Flamingo’s mother has a serious non diabetic blood sugar problem. She must almost live on sweets, carbs, and protein in order to survive.  Contrary to what is the norm, for her sort of problem, she can easily slip into a fatal coma because she’s not eating enough sugar.  She’s been told that is the way she will probably die, not from her serious heart condition, but because she is eating too healthy!

“…But Dr Campbell-McBride believes these ‘bad’ fats and cholesterol are used by the body to repair artery walls damaged by infection and off fight ‘alien’ bodies in the blood. People who have low-fat diets can’t make these repairs, which leads to significant scarring, narrowing of the arteries and increases the risk of dangerous blockages. This in turn increases the chances of heart conditions and can also lead to degenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

Low fat diets can actually increase the risk of heart disease – and balance is crucial, scientists claim. Dr Campbell-McBride’s research is supported by American scientists who found that strict vegetarians are at a ‘substantial risk’ of heart disease. She believes people can ‘greatly reduce’ risks by following a balanced diet, which incorporates fat and LDL cholesterol.

She added: ‘Heart disease is now the number one killer in the UK despite a concerted effort by doctors and the NHS to improve the public’s cardiovascular health. ‘It’s now time to re-examine things and at the centre of that must be the foods we eat. ‘By doing this we can better protect our bodies and help the horrific situation we are faced with today. ‘This mistaken view has only been around for 50 or so years while humans have prized fat as the most valuable and nutritious food for millennia.’

Dr Mike Knapton, a Cambridge GP who also works for the British Heart Foundation, also said that red meat can help prevent heart disease….”

Because The Pink Flamingo has been on every diet there is, at one time or another, since I was in the 4th grade, I know a thing or two about eating.  Fads don’t work.  I remember, years ago, when eggs were the root of all evil.  Now they are a miracle food.  Red meat was good, evil, good, perfect, not so good, and now is looked upon as neither good nor evil.  When diet sodas first came out, they were just everything wonderful.

When I was a kid, my grandmother Froehlich decided to go on the Metrocal Milk Shake diet.  The chocolate packets contained everything you  needed for a ‘healthy’ meal.  You put them in cold skim milk, would shake them, and voila, a magical lo cal milk shake.  The problem is, they just didn’t taste like a milk shake to my normal size maternal grandmother who loved her fudge flavored ice cream.

Nana decided it would be better to add some chocolate ice cream in with the mix, and make a better tasting milk shake.  She put some chocolate syrup in it.  And, every day for two weeks, twice a day, she religiously enjoyed her milk shake diet.

She gained ten pounds!

(She also never heard the end of it!)


One thought on “The Uncomfortable Truth About Being Overweight

  1. It’s a shame people treat overweight people differently, especially women. I’m being treated through the VA hospital system and they tell me I’m overweight. I’m six feet tall and right now weigh 213#. A year ago, I weighed about 240. (My weight loss is because of medication I was taking for something else that I wrote about on my blog.)

    My wife is dieting right now, but that is because she is morbidly obese, caused by an infection she got about ten years ago that was misdiagnosed by her doctor, which in turn, caused her other problems including her inability to walk any distance without a cane or the help of a wheelchair if we go to a store. So far, she has lost about 40 lbs.

    You just have to be comfortable with who you are and screw everyone else.

    Personally, I like women who are “Rubenesque.”

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