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Archive for the ‘QOTD’ Category

Quote of the day

On her blog Hunt. Gather. Love, Melissa McEwen writes that fat people in public are apparently an excuse for everyone to play expert … including her:

Here were people who ate diets like mine, diets I thought were the solution to being fat, that would help people lose weight and certainly not allow them to gain weight in the first place. And people eating this way, they were fat.

It threatened my whole worldview, which basically went along the lines of “If only people stopped eating X and ate Y instead, they would not be fat.”

What she believes now:

In retrospect it was an enormously arrogant worldview. And one not particularly well-grounded in science, which shows that there is not a single diet that consistently helps people lose weight. …

Some people are able to lose weight with different diets, most people are not. Those who are able to lose weight will struggle to various degrees with keeping the weight off for the rest of their lives. Hostility towards those who are fat is not going to change that.

Amen to that!

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Dr. David Katz thinks the movie Fed Up missed a couple of things, including that “being hungry is like being horny, but with no rules” and that we need to distinguish “responsibility from blame.” So far, so good!

As far as the CICO vs sugar debate:

The movie made what I consider the misguided decision to argue with Sir Isaac Newton, giving air time to those who contend that calories don’t really count, and energy balance isn’t meaningful. …

Of course calories and energy balance matter, but just as obviously- so do the sources of that energy. Everyone who has ever eaten knows that some foods fill us up more than others, yet we routinely trot out experts to present this as if it refutes laws of thermodynamics. Everyone who has ever filled up a car or lawnmower knows that there is a certain kind of fuel on which the engine is intended to run. A gallon is always a gallon just the same, but of course a gallon ‘of what’ matters.

The fact that we don’t achieve healthy energy balance does not preclude its relevance.

Read the post (see And So What?) for Katz’s take on what we “can and should do.” It’s a longish list that’s pretty much summed up by “eat wholesome foods in sensible combinations.”

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Yoni Freedhoff doesn’t believe in the idea of an “ideal” weight and suggests instead your “best” weight:

Let me say it quite plainly (and forgive me for my language) – as a means to set personal goals BMI is bullshit. Sure it may be useful when considering a population and risks associated with weight overall, but it’s simply not useful to you as an individual as there are all sorts of weight-affecting realities that you simply won’t be able (or willing sometimes) to change.

Like every other area of your life, your goal with weight management or healthy living is to do your best, and whatever weight you reach living the healthiest life you honestly and actually enjoy – well that’s your “best weight.”

Here’s more:

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Blogger and activist Candice Russell writes frankly about life, major weight loss, excess skin in the Truth About ‘Before and After’ Weight Loss Photos:

Life as an “after” is not perfect. You won’t suddenly get the guy, the promotion, or the popularity you’ve always wanted just because you are thin. If you are looking for a fairytale ending, you won’t find it no matter how much weight you lose. And if you focus only on the aesthetics, your journey won’t ever really be complete. …

You are the same person you were, just with slightly different packaging. And unless you learn to love the person that you see in the “before,” nobody will ever accept you as an “after”. Not even you.

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Michael Prager beat me to a blog post on a Twitter exchange from yesterday about skipping the movie Fed Up because “it’s built on the premise that fat bodies are wrong.” Michael’s response:

Some of that is partly true: The movie does come from the perspective that being fat isn’t a desirable, healthful condition. I also come from that perspective, and remain flummoxed that there is a very strong, very spirited movement that maintains otherwise. …

I support the HAES-ish perspective that says that fat-shaming is wrong, that no one deserves mockery or exclusion or worse based on body size. IMO, those tendencies are deeply ingrained in our society, and we’ll all be better off when they’re dialed down, then discarded. I still need a bunch of that excised from me, and I’ve been working on it for 20-30 years!

But also: A significant portion of obesity in the world exists because consumer-food corporations make more money when we eat too much. Also, when we eat the wrong types of food — usually more processed food.

Who could possibly defend that, or boycott those who point it out?

I’m not quite in the same place as Michael (I believe health issues are more directly attributable to things other than body fat). That said, I am definitely in the camp that says that one of those major health factors is diet, and the industrial food system is something that needs to be addressed.

Will Fed Up get it 100% right? Hardly … and especially if this is really going to be about demonizing sugar. Bleh. And I think that Dayna is right to be concerned that, however well-meaning, this movie will perpetuate stigma.

I support folks’ decisions to vote with their dollars. But I plan to see it for myself. Call me a cross-eyed optimist, but in order to get to a better place, I think we need to have these conversations. And if Fed Up can be part of that, then maybe that’s worthwhile.

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Gloria Steinem and Dorothy Pitman Hughes (Gabourey Sidibe’s aunt)

Gloria Steinem and Dorothy Pitman Hughes (Gabourey Sidibe’s aunt)

Last week the Ms. Foundation for Women held an 80th birthday bash for Gloria Steinem at its annual gala, the Gloria Awards. One of the guest speakers was actress Gabourey Sidibe, who gave a very inspirational speech about her weight, confidence, and being an asshole:

One of the first things people usually ask me is, “Gabourey, how are you so confident?” I hate that. I always wonder if that’s the first thing they ask Rihanna when they meet her. “RiRi! How are you so confident?” Nope. No. No. But me? They ask me with that same incredulous disbelief every single time. “You seem so confident! How is that?” …

What I would say, is my mom moved my brother and I to my aunt’s house. Her name is Dorothy Pitman Hughes, she is a feminist, an activist, and a lifelong friend of Gloria Steinem. Every day, I had to get up and go to school where everyone made fun of me, and I had to go home to where everyone made fun of me. Every day was hard to get going, no matter which direction I went. And on my way out of the house, I found strength. In the morning on the way out to the world, I passed by a portrait of my aunt and Gloria together. Side by side they stood, one with long beautiful hair and one with the most beautiful, round, Afro hair I had ever seen, both with their fists held high in the air. Powerful. Confident. And every day as I would leave the house… I would give that photo a fist right back. And I’d march off into battle. …

“How are you so confident?” “I’m an asshole!” Okay? It’s my good time, and my good life, despite what you think of me. I live my life, because I dare. I dare to show up when everyone else might hide their faces and hide their bodies in shame. I show up because I’m an asshole, and I want to have a good time. And my mother and my father love me. … So when you ask me how I’m so confident, I know what you’re really asking me: how could someone like me be confident? Go ask Rihanna, asshole!

Please go read the whole speech. Please.

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David Despain has a must-read post on food addiction over at his blog. He’s reporting a session at the recent meeting of the American Society for Nutrition, where the discussion seemed pretty much standard (“yes food addiction exists, look at the lights!” “no, food addiction doesn’t exist … we can’t make cheesecake illegal”).

Too bad researcher and Whole Health Source blogger Stephan Guyenet wasn’t part of the discussion. IMO, his comment on David’s post was spot on (emphasis mine):

At its heart, addiction is an excessive motivation to engage in a reward-seeking behavior, e.g. a drug, gambling, etc. Where do we draw the line between normal reward-motivated behavior and excessive reward-motivated behavior? That’s the tough part. There is no clear line for food, but there is also no clear line for drugs or gambling.

Currently, we say someone is addicted when the pull to engage in the behavior is having a serious negative impact on that person’s life. It’s a very subjective definition but it’s still the best one we have. There will probably never be a useful neurobiological definition of addiction, because fundamentally addiction is defined by behavior. …

In my opinion, arguing about whether or not fMRI data supports addiction is missing the point. If someone is stealing TVs to buy crack, who cares what the fMRI says? If someone is leading a normal constructive life with occasional controlled gambling, but his reward centers light up like a Christmas tree when he sees images of a slot machine, is that person an addict? Of course not. …

Some would say “how can you be addicted to a substance you need to consume, like food?” The key is that we aren’t talking about food in general. We’re talking about specific foods that are highly rewarding, and there is no dietary requirement for those foods just as there is no physical requirement for drugs of abuse. I’ve never heard of an oatmeal or lentil addiction. It’s cake, cookies, chips, candy, and that sort of thing that triggers addiction-like behavior.

In the end, I think food addiction is real, but it doesn’t fully explain obesity.

Yeah, well I hope Mark Hyman gets the memo!

Researcher Carl Hart recently pointed out that “80 to 90 percent of the people who actually use drugs like crack cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, marijuana—80 to 90 percent of those people were not addicted.”

I suspect that if we’re going to make progress on our understanding of food addiction, we’re going to first have to make progress on our understanding of addiction in general. If discussions on food addiction help in this regard, then to paraphrase Martha, that’s a good thing!

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