The Obesity Debate

I know from painful experience how poisonous the debate around obesity is
Layla Moran
Yes, we must tackle obesity: but let’s do it without the kind of heartless reporting and hurtful language that held me back

Obesity is killing us all. We must radically change society to rid ourselves of this evil.

But we must say anything about fatties.

Not really going to work out well is it? Given that social approbation and dis- is the most powerful force in changing human behaviour…..

36 thoughts on “The Obesity Debate”

  1. One point in favour of her complaint is that fatty-hating is presumably part of the cause of neurotic women driving themselves into anorexia.

    But the notion that obesity, as defined by medics, is killing us all is probably bollocks. The layman’s use of “obese” might be nearer the mark though: being preposterously fat is presumably life-shortening.

  2. People can despair and get into a cycle of depression inaction and ever worsening health. No doubt your life has been one long succession of cake and giggles but I`ve been in dark enough holes to get the idea.
    Sticking the shame boot in feels good and there is a place for it , but fcs attempt a little empathy. “Go to the gym you fat disgusting hideous source of hilarity ” ..does not work.

  3. OR..personal responsibility. Which even with the strongest of nanny states and social control still has primacy of place when it comes to what happens to each of us.

  4. These ‘Obesity’ ads that look like cigarette ads bemuse me. They remind me of an ad that used to run for a brand called Regal which featured a fat bloke, apparently called Reg, who looked as thick as pigshit saying “I buy ’em ‘cos me name’s on ’em”. Perhaps that really did work with their target market, unlike these ‘Obesity’ ads.

  5. @Newmania:

    ” “Go to the gym you fat disgusting hideous source of hilarity ” ..does not work.”

    It depends. It can work with some men but almost never with women.
    Like giving up smoking or booze, losing weight requires a combination of desire, willpower and both internal and external motivation, which could come from friends or something you saw on the telly/ internet.

  6. The Guardian and their allies let the cat out of the bag with their demonisation of smokers. They set a precedent that a ‘ooge crisis’, ‘NHS collapse’ etc justified whatever was required.

    The precedent is set, too late to row back now love. Your weapons, once again, used against you.

  7. These ‘Obesity’ ads that look like cigarette ads bemuse me.

    Aren’t they breaking the Law? They should be plain packs.

  8. It can work with some men but almost never with women.

    I think you may be right there.
    I decided to get in shape about 2 years ago ( I`m in my 50s so and the weight had crept on.. )
    I had just incrementally adjusted my self image and trousers to accommodate each new stage.
    I turned around whilst at a swimming pool one day and saw this podgy grey haired old idiot in the window …. and ” You fat arsehole ! ” was exactly what motivated me .
    The thing is though, I played rugby at about 12 stone of muscle and had got up to 14 stone with more fat . I`m back to 12 stone now .It takes some work but I had always played sport and taken exercise

    I see women who must be carrying around 5 or 6 stone who have never played sport or taken exercise in their lives .
    How do you get started ?

  9. “Newmania

    I played rugby at about 12 stone of muscle”

    A stone or two of bone would have probably made you a better player.

  10. Why do WE need to fix obesity? Obesity is a net saver for public spending. The fatties die a lot sooner. Yes they might cost more for a bit but then they’re gone. And it’s the oldies that really cost so much in a welfare state. (Ditto for smoking).

    I say let them eat cake!

  11. Obesity doesn’t need fixing anyway. There are people who are obese but they are a small minority. The “crisis” is the result of labelling anyone who is even slightly overweight as obese.

  12. The Body Mass Index which is used so widely used to ‘prove’ the existence of obesity is being used to do something it was never intended to. It was originally devised by a sociologist to look at what was considered an attractive height/weight relationship. Nothing to do with health. It uses height squared/weight, which is funny because humans are 3-dimensional beings, not flat sheets of paper, so the power there is wrong. It shouldn’t be as high as 3 but it should certainly be more than 2. As a result, the BMI number is too high for people >~5’6″ and too low for people under. The further from 5’6″ you are, the bigger the disparity gets.

    What’s happened over the last few decades? The adult population has got taller, therefore the BMI is more aggressively over-estimating the population’s fatness.

  13. ‘let’s do it without the kind of heartless reporting and hurtful language that held me back’

    Held you back? So it was someone else’s fault.

  14. FOREST and others did warn that once the smoking ban came in the killjoys would move on to another “Sin”

    Killjoys insited “no, it’s a one off”

    Killjoys now going after smoking, alcohol, fat, sugar, calories, meat… pleasure

    Anyone seen BBC’s latest whine?

    25% off bookies to close over next two years depriving poorest areas of thousands of jobs, community, recreation with high streets of empty decaying shops – due to evil Tories slashing fixed odds betting stakes by 98% to only £2

    As Littlejohn would say – you couldn’t make it up

  15. Getting in shape for the war Facepainter?

    The reason you inhabit “dark holes” is the guilt you carry by being unable to 100% hide from yourself what a scummy traitor you are to the cause of freedom and good.

    You know your own evil and those thoughts eat into your brain like drops of acid. Throw aside your treachery and denounce the EU for the scum they are. Break with your vile FBPE buddies and let them know what scum they are. Be received into the light.

    Do this and I feel sure the commenters on this blog will take up a collection and buy you the arsehole whitening you crave.

  16. I must admit that 2 years ago when I was coming up to 50 the weight that had crept up on me was really beginning to take its toll with sleep apnoea, high blood pressure and pre-type 2 diabetes all causing issues.

    I used fasting to drop 100 lbs and 1/2 my original body weight over about a year. It’s been a struggle, admittedly, but it resolved the various health issues stone dead.

    The problem though, is that it is not just a one off and requires constant attention to what I eat and my activity levels to prevent the weight coming back.

    I’ve found that sticking to a pretty ketogenic 5:2 diet works well, plus cycling and swimming for aerobic exercise. Pretty nice in decent weather as well.

    I’ve noticed that it tends to be the men who do simple changes to their diet and exercise and then stick to it that lose the most weight and keep it off.

    It does require continuous monitoring (weight, blood pressure, periodic testing with the GP) to keep it going though. Very much a permanent lifestyle change. Those who suffer from emotional “comfort or stress eating” seem to really struggle to stick with it.

  17. Start doing the parkrun John and you will have the makings of a triathlete. Great fun and really brilliant for all round fitness.

  18. Start doing the parkrun John and you will have the makings of a triathlete.

    Nah. My knees would never stand for it. I’ve already got arthritis in the fingers. Fucking up my knees would be the last straw.

    Cycling is just about ideal for me without the continuous impact jarring of running.

    I literally missed a step a few months back and was messed up and in pain for weeks. Age does take its toll, especially as a lifelong IT nerd and office drone.

  19. Cheers Matt, I didn’t know about the origin of BMI as a simple tool for a sociologist.
    As well as not accounting for humans being 3-dimensional, I don’t think BMI deals with the increased protein consumption and weight training of the population as we become slightly richer and can afford to work fewer hours and spend more time at the gym on the machines,
    You just have to look at changes in say rowing club membership, the numbers of indoor comps for this sport, and all the competitors seem to have BMI above 25 and be quite fit.
    I don’t have the data but I would guess that the proportion of the BMI 30+ population with body fat less than say 25% is a lot less than what it was when St Margaret took over 40 years ago.
    Well done Newmania – I assume no government programme was required.

  20. A dozen or so years ago I got a medical condition which made me lose weight, 15 stone down to 11. Painlessly and without much discomfort. I maintain at 11 still. The point of this note is to point out just how virtuous I felt, and how superior to fat people, even though I had made no effort or sacrifice. This is how thinnies feel about fatties. Superior. And that of course justifies all kinds of contemptuous behaviour.

  21. Matt: BMI also works against people like me who get shorter over their lifetime, as without putting any weight on my BMI goes up as I shrink.
    I’ve gone from 6′ to 5’8″ and gone from BMI 28 to BMI 32 “obese” with a recommended target of 10.5st. I’ve not been under 11st since before puberty, and I think that weight would kill me!

  22. JohnG: I kneeled badly last week, which painfully shot a managable old ache into a cracked kneecap and a walking stick. Annoyingly, it’s my driving knee, which means I urgently have to find some way to afford to not work.

    I’m already turning into Dr House. I’m planning on cultivating a grumpy gerrofmylawn old coot personality.

  23. So the overweight have to lose weight, but we’re not allowed to suggest they lose weight?

    That circle is never going to be squared.

    In my life I have never seen anyone directly insult a person for their weight. They do it behind their backs. The fatties just “know” when people roll their eyes because they can’t pass them in the supermarket aisle etc. Almost all “fat shaming” is implicit — the assumption summer is for bikinis, not explicit. And that will never change. Cannot be changed.

    It’s a hopeless crusade. A veritable bunch on Don Quixotes tilting at windmills.

  24. @Matt
    There’s an New BMI defined as:
    1.3 x mass / (height ^ 2.5)
    If you’re 1.69 m tall (5′ 6½”, roughly average height) it’s the same as BMI – taller your BMI reduces, shorter it increases. But you’ve got to be fairly freakish for it to change the value by more than 1 or 2.

    It requires raising values to non-integral powers, so may be beyond the compass of some GPs 🙂

  25. The Guardian printing the ramblings of the mentally ill. She says ‘I’ 40 times.

    ‘I joined a gym when I was 11’

    Her theory being that someone cares.

    I can’t figure out what the Guardian’s business model is, printing stuff like this. Are they trying to blow through someone’s fortune?

  26. @ matt and Chris Miller
    The original BMI used height^2.5
    Some lazy person later decided that it was too difficult and changed it to ^2 – which is a No 8 on a diet is labelled obese

  27. @Chris Miller
    That reduces me from 23.1 (overweight) to 21.6 (ok) and means that I now need to lose 2 stone to reach my “you should be” weight instead of 3 stone.

    Hardly insignificant differences!

  28. Tractor Gent said:
    “These ‘Obesity’ ads that look like cigarette ads bemuse me.”

    I saw one of those yesterday. My first thought was that they were (once again) marketing cigarettes as a weight loss method.

  29. Cycling is just about ideal for me without the continuous impact jarring of running.

    It is still possible to mess up your knees cycling, but if you get the seat height and the alignment of cleated shoes you shouldn’t have any problems.

  30. @ rhoda klapp
    That is how SOME thinnies feel about fatties. Those of us who have been naturally skinny from early childhood tended to accept that some people are fat and that is just the way they are.
    Whenever this debate comes up i think of one of my friends at school who was fat because he was built that way (and looked a lot fatter than he was because he had a lot of muscle with a layer of fat on top and you couldn’t see the muscle). Really nice lad: when I was leaving my housemaster asked me my opinion of him and I replied that I should trust Mick with my last £ better than I should trust myself (not a prepared comment as I hadn’t expected the question). Thinnies are not per se better than fatties.
    We *did* differentiate between the naturally fat and lazy people who ended up being fat as a consequence.
    May I ask how much of your attitude was due to Guardianistas lecturing you on being overweight?

  31. John 77, I see the guardianistas lecturing as a recent thing. Back in the day fat people were fat. Not so many as now but society as a whole tolerated them, with an overtone of disapproval. It never bothered me in a ‘what do people think of me’ sort of way because there was always someone fatter than me. It did bother me in a ‘I should do something about this, tomorrow’ sort of way.

  32. @John Galt July 11, 2019 at 8:25 pm

    “drop 100 lbs” – that’s a lot, impressive well done

    It’s a bit over 5/8ths of what I weigh

  33. @ Rhoda: I noticed the overtone of disapproval on those who were fat because they were lazy or greedy or both but not those who were just built that way.
    Given that people still regard me and my spare tyre as thin, I may not have any experience of how it looked to fat people so I may only be representing my narrow viewpoint.

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