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Comments on Weight

A guy gets married to his sweetheart, and immediately she starts packing on the pounds. Pretty soon this athletic, svelte young adult has turned into a 240lb couch potato.

Is the man a monster if he has a problem with this? Is he a monster if he encourages her to lose weight, or if he shows disapproval as she shovels back a bowl of ice cream or asks for a double serving?

(No, this isn't a personal story. My wife has actually lost weight since we go married, for her own reasons, however I'm curious about some answers given some other threads. This thread could equally apply to a wife watching her husband let it go)
Permalink Chubby Chaser 
August 10th, 2005
think of it this way:

how should your wife feel if you decided to become unemployed and live off of welfare?

marriage is an ongoing committment on several levels.
Permalink Kenny 
August 10th, 2005
--"Is the man a monster if he has a problem with this?"--

What problem?
Look, I don't think if a man asks his wife to reduce weight by showing concern towards her health, would find anything bad in it? Why should she feel bad?

But if you start comparing her with other women. Or you make her feel lowly or inferior of herself to other women then ofcourse she would feel bad and you in my views would be considered a monster.

Intentions are all that is seen.
Permalink Another poster... 
August 10th, 2005
"marriage is an ongoing committment on several levels"

Marriage is bogus for precisely that reason. It's all well and good making promises to stick around for ever, but people change, circumstances change, etc., and if you find that due to one of these changes you no longer love or respect your partner then sitting in silence just because you said you would seems to be a bizarre course of action. Still, I hate fat people so who am I to say anything?

(Note to self: shut up about the fat people. :)
Permalink Mat Hall 
August 10th, 2005
Could it be that the comparison with other women/making feel lowly ruse is a standard defensive technique to avoid any opportunity of a partner to bring up these issues? Inevitably any comment could be spun as a "you make me feel so ugly, so how dare you comment on it!"
Permalink Chubby Chaser 
August 10th, 2005
On the other hand, maybe she is hoping you'll say something out of concern for her, and perhaps her self esteem is dwindling in inverse proportion to her weight gain, and maybe your silence will be taken as indication of not loving her?

Or maybe she doesn't know you find it bothersome?

Or maybe she even thinks you like it?

Silence frequently indicates acceptance.
Permalink Aaron F Stanton 
August 10th, 2005
--"Still, I hate fat people so who am I to say anything?"--
Now, Mat, it seems you are going too far.
I mean you hate a person just because of his/her physical appearance?
Permalink Another poster... 
August 10th, 2005
Well, look, honey, I'm saying you're ugly *because you are*. If you don't like it, do something about it.
Permalink Flasher T 
August 10th, 2005
Personally, I don't find abusive statements ("You are ugly") terribly motivating to do positive actions. Instead they motivate me toward more negative actions. Returning the abuse being the most obvious one. Feeling bad about the situation is another one. Avoiding the person making such statements in the future.

But I don't find feeling bad about myself to be conducive toward positive change, either.

Now, "If you lost 5 pounds, we'll have more sex. And if you lost 10 pounds, we'll have even more sex." -- THOSE statements would be very motivating.

Also, it's the timing of the motivation. If I look at that haagen-das, and think -- hmm, eat this, no sex -- well, I'll probably make the right decision. If instead I look at the haagen-das and think -- "I'm depressed. I feel bad I'm so fat. That ice-cream will sure cheer me up." -- then I'm likely to get fatter.

But the abuse comes at a time when I'm probably not looking at the haagen-das.
Permalink AllanL5 
August 10th, 2005
Flasher,
Say your wife then says, I am what I am. I am not going to change. What next? Would you divorce her just because she looks ugly now.
Permalink Another poster... 
August 10th, 2005
"I mean you hate a person just because of his/her physical appearance?"

So I've been told, yes. I wasn't aware that I did, but apparently JHC managed to somehow read my subconscious thoughts and has told me that despite what I think I know about myself it turns out that I'm some sort of body fascist who finds fat people repellant. It's like a huge weight (no pun intended) has been lifted off my mind, and I shall now embark on my crusade to stamp out the blubbery scourge that blights the planet with their disgusting and offensive presence...

(And for the hard of thinking that's sarcasm and has been extended to the point of absurdity for the purposes of mocking (yes, *actual* mocking) JHC.)
Permalink Mat Hall 
August 10th, 2005
Like giving mouth-to-mouth to a rattle snake, I would be very careful in how I went about bringing this up.
Permalink son of parnas 
August 10th, 2005
My wife has put on a few pounds since we were married nine years ago, particularly after her pregnancy. Under no circumstances would I consider leaving her simply because she became heavier. I encourage her to lose weight for the sake of her health but I always tell her I would love her no matter what. While Mat is correct that circumstances and people change over time, most often that change is as a result of a dual decision. In my case my wife put on weight primarily because of pregnancy, something we both wanted. I'd be a bit of a hypocrite to bail on her now.

Anyways, call me old school but I still subscribe to the "for better or worse" with respect to marriage.
Permalink Gerald 
August 10th, 2005
And if someone thinks gaining weight is "for worse," they have some surprises comming. It can get a lot worse.
Permalink son of parnas 
August 10th, 2005
Is that a threat?

;)
Permalink qwe 
August 10th, 2005
As close to the original as memory serves:

Women marry men hoping to change them. Men marry women hoping they will not change. The two are inevitably dissapointed.

--Einstein

I have all but made the last breath of a life of being a bachelor.

I do not want kids, I do not want to come home to a fatty or an overbearing hag one day, and I pretty much do not want to be accountable to anyone but myself. I want someone probably in the top 20% as far as looks go, and she has to be shorter than me, and petite. I want her to be interesting and wild, but loyal. I have a wandering eye and I am really not all that interesting... I want to come home and be comforted after a hard day, but I do not want heavy demands on my attention and time.

Yes, I think my future wife is better off without me, assuming such unicorns do exist....

"You know what I really want in a girl? Me." -Bloodhound Gang
Permalink I am Jack's infinite id 
August 10th, 2005
The problem is people have very high expectation from one another. They look in for prefect individual with no flaws whatsoever. Lower your expectations and there will be no problem.
Permalink Another poster... 
August 10th, 2005
"is that a threat?" -- Oh, no, I'm sure it's merely an observation.

Marriage is an unusual joining of people. Unlike family, you don't have a blood-line relationship. Unlike friends, your futures are joined together. And each person has some image and expectation of how their lives together will proceed -- which usually conflict in some way with what the other person expected.

Pre-marital counseling can help to some extent, but I think we are hard-wired to see our potential spouse with very rose-colored glasses while courting. Once married the sometimes harsh realities of being a man and a woman in close proximity destroys the rose-colored glasses. And trying to adjust the new reality, or even come to terms with it, can be very difficult and painful.

Thus, while a good marriage can be one of the most empowering, growth enducing, and rewarding relationships people can have, a bad marriage has more ways to cause pain and suffering than any other relationship.

I'm not even saying this is a good or bad thing. Just something to be aware of.
Permalink AllanL5 
August 10th, 2005
I knew a guy who drank the nastiest beer because he knew nobody else would steal it. He smoked the foulest cigarettes because he knew nobody else would steal them.

And as to the women he dated...
Permalink Aaron F Stanton 
August 10th, 2005
They had a thing for tin foil hats? :)

Allan I think I understand that all too well and tend to fear the worst because it is what I have seen the most of.
Permalink I am Jack's infinite id 
August 10th, 2005
Would you divorce your wife if she changes her religion?
Permalink Rick Tang 
August 10th, 2005
"Linda, I have to leave you. Sorry, I cannot stand seeing you becoming a drug addict."

"Rick, you are selfish. You could choose to accept me just as I am. It's a choice"
Permalink Rick Tang 
August 10th, 2005
That depends what she converted to, and what, if any, implications it had to our relationship.

My best friend's wife has been brainwashed by Jehovah's Witnesses. He will go with her to services, which I think is pretty supportive. The problem is when she gets pissed off because he does not share their views and does not want any such views imposed on their future children.

When it comes to kids you might correlate this with weight problems associated with eating habits. I sure wouldn't want my kids to masticate like michelin men just because mom has some kind of issue with food.
Permalink I am Jack's infinite id 
August 10th, 2005
If I were married, I'd rather have my husband deal with the subject directly, as opposed to cheating on me. So I wouldn't mind a discussion.

The problem is, most husbands won't like the retort: "Honey, if you made more money and I didn't have to work, take care of the kids, the house/chores, on top of all the health issues, maybe I could focus on my weight. Until then, too damn bad."

That's just me. Because I am not in a traditional relationship, I can focus on myself. I don't have kids. I can let my house become a mess or skip laundry so I can do what I want when I want. That's why my weight hasn't gone willy nilly. If I got married and did the traditional thing, I'd have to make sure he had a lot of money so we could afford a nanny and housecleaner, otherwise, fat ass is inevitable.
Permalink sharkfish 
August 10th, 2005
Or is it a 'shame' if I gain weight?
Permalink Rick Tang 
August 10th, 2005
"...I'd have to make sure he had a lot of money so we could afford a nanny and housecleaner, otherwise, fat ass is inevitable."

Hence the term "trophy wife". The wife a man has once he gets rich - the one that has the time to spend on doing nothing but looking hot.
Permalink Aaron F Stanton 
August 10th, 2005
"If I got married and did the traditional thing, I'd have to make sure he had a lot of money"

Or you could get rich yuorself...

Just an idea :)
Permalink Paulo Caetano 
August 10th, 2005
sharkfish,

Since when is it an effort to not overindulge, and the control one's diet? I know there is a PC effort to imagine that large people are miraculously sucking calories from thin air, but they aren't. Diet, far more than _anything_ (including exercise), controls your weight, so if you have a slow metabolism then lay off the god damn donuts. Accept the metabolism you've been given and quit using it as a god damn crutch. Amazing how our metabolisms seem to be getting slower and slower given the epidemic of chunkers out there.
Permalink Chubby Chaser 
August 10th, 2005
> I'd rather have my husband deal with the subject directly,

So you are the poor fool who answered yes to "do I look fat in this?" You are in the book of world records as the stupidest man alive.
Permalink son of parnas 
August 10th, 2005
But it *does* take time to exercise, which is essential to maintaining shape. Even if one doesn't gain weight, the weight will shift without taking the time to exercise.
Permalink Aaron F Stanton 
August 10th, 2005
Exercise can help, but without it one is still 80-90% there if they simply eat well. Outside of that, sharkfish humorously mentioned a lot of chores, which themselves are exercise (taking care of kids certainly is if you're doing it right). Even in day to day life there are countless exercise-like alternatives, at no extra cost, that people could select, but most people take the easiest, laziest, fattest route possible.
Permalink Chubby Chaser 
August 10th, 2005
Yeah, it's pretty funny when I see shamu get on the elevator to go up or down a single floor. Funny, until I consider that my tax money will probably go to supporting their fat lazy ass at some point. Then I feel like making earthquake sounds as they walk.
Permalink I am Jack's infinite id 
August 10th, 2005
So true. That sort of extreme laziness is pretty much universal, though of course the hefty should probably be more vigilant about fighting it. I used to climb 8 flights of stairs each morning, and when people saw me emerge from the stairwell you'd have thought I just jogged across the continent by their gasping. I regularly try to walk places, and it amazes me when I'm doing a gig at a place and they have NO IDEA about what stores are within a minute or two walk, though they can tell you about the Big Fatty Burger that's a 5 minute drive. People are becoming disgustingly lazy.
Permalink Chubby Chaser 
August 10th, 2005
You're all a bunch of evil fascists!
Permalink JHC by proxy 
August 10th, 2005
"Diet, far more than _anything_ (including exercise),"

I beg to differ.

Last year, I spent 1 week in Vienna with a few friends, one of which is a bit of a diet freak. In Vienna, he ate normally, just like any of us. He kept complaining about gaining weight, and how he'd be fatter when we returned to Portugal. And the meals in Vienna were, at least, 50% larger than what you'd find in a similar restaurant in Lisbon.

Of course, we spent every day walking, trying to see as much of Vienna as we could. When we returned to Portugal, he had actually lost weight, despite having eaten much more than he usually did.

My conclusion, for now, is that nothing beats exercise, as far as losing weight is concerned.
Permalink Paulo Caetano 
August 10th, 2005
It's neither diet nor exercise that is more important. The simple fact is that if you consume more calories than you burn you will gain weight. You can avoid this by either exercising or reducing your calorie intake, or maybe both...
Permalink Mat Hall 
August 10th, 2005
Your response to exercise is genetic. Not everyone, even a lot of people, don't respond to exercise by losing weight. There metabolism adjusts and the weight stays on. The is an obvious beneficial adaptation in our past. Sucks now.
Permalink son of parnas 
August 10th, 2005
"Yes, I think my future wife is better off without me, assuming such unicorns do exist...."

This raise questions for anyone else? (Watch the metaphors, please, my mental movie maker is out of my control.)
Permalink Jeff Barton 
August 10th, 2005
" Your response to exercise is genetic. Not everyone, even a lot of people, don't respond to exercise by losing weight."

Then they need to push it harder, lower calorie intake further, and work on different forms of exercise that induce a high burn rate, without leading to muscle exhaustion or aerobic difficulty. Cross country skiing, etc. is particularly good for this.

There are some people out there that have real illnesses, glandular disorders, etc. that genuinely can't lose weight without medical help. But they're amazingly rare, statistically.

I used to coach rowing crews at uni. I never met one person that couldn't lose weight/gain muscle/improve their fitness if they worked at it. If you're lazy though, and drive everywhere, eat junk, etc. you'll end up round, or dead. Simple as that.

Someone remarked in the earlier thread that it was incredibly unfair to brand fat people as failures. I would disagree. In a very technical sense, it is a failure to remain healthy, and maintain your body in it's proper condition. Some people have very good reasons for failing at this. Some people are just failures.

Telling them so may be hurtful, unconstructive, and upset someone quite severely, but it doesn't make it less true.
Permalink Andrew Cherry 
August 10th, 2005
> Then they need to push it harder,

That's like asking someone who doesn't produce insulin to just try harder.

> lower calorie intake further,

Perhaps you are familiar with the starvation response? Your body starts doing things like lowering your body temperature and slowing down your mind when it thinks it is starving.

> But they're amazingly rare,

Not rare at all. I believe 5% have point mutations of they type you are talking about, I believe. Most of the rest have various levels of hormone insensiiitivy, dopamine receptor issues, ghrelen production problems, PYY problems, and bunch of other shit.

> If you're lazy though, and drive everywhere, eat junk, etc. you'll end up round, or dead.

True.

> Simple as that.

Not true.

> Telling them so may be hurtful, unconstructive, and upset someone quite severely, but it doesn't make it less true.

Actually, you are a biologic clueless wonder. You've bought completely into the hard charging take no prisoners weight loss plan. Consider your body has evolved over millions of years to handle famine, do you think it is just that easy for people who have survived to lose and keep off weight?
Permalink son of parnas 
August 10th, 2005
Son,

That all sounds well and good, but don't you find it at all strange that we humans are apparently biologically changing at a staggering rate, with the obesity rate hitting absolutely massive levels compared to a couple of decades ago? Isn't it strange how many Texan women are hit with these nasty biological conditions? Isn't is strange how the US is awash with poor victims of these maladies, while many other nations (with largely the same geneological roots) aren't?

In other words its a load of shit, and while your excuse explains some differences of metabolism, it is a very lame distraction to pretend that human behaviour isn't overwhelmingly the cause of it.
Permalink Chubby Chaser 
August 10th, 2005
I think you should blame the parents.
Permalink Rick Tang 
August 10th, 2005
son of parnas - I certainly haven't bought into the "hard charging take no prisoners" regime as you call it. And I would call 5% rare. Certainly that's a pretty small percentage of people who are overweight, and it's a lot less than the percentage who may claim they are unable to lose weight for reasons other than idleness.

I also believe it's less than 5%, but don't have figures to hand. With regard to the starvation response - yes, absolutely, hence my point about finding forms of physical activity and calorie reduction which won't make the body panic, such as cross country skiing. This is not a "no pain no gain" philosophy, but one of finding the right balance of physical exertion, calorific adjustment, and general lifestyle change, such that an individual can lose weight and become fitter.

You say it's not simple - I would say that for the majority of cases, it is. Bilogical, metabolistic, and other changes to the human condition have not changed rapidly in the last 50 years. The rise in obesity, unhealthiness, etc. does correlate quite well however with a decrease in exercise in the average persons life, increased use of cars, reduction in the quality of food ingested, and increase in the amount ingested.

I feel very sorry for anyone with a medical reason that losing weight is more than just an issue of willpower, I would advocate medical help for those people where both desired and possible. For the rest of the people I see taking up two seats on the train in the morning, I feel nothing but annoyance.
Permalink Andrew Cherry 
August 10th, 2005
Oh and...

"Consider your body has evolved over millions of years to handle famine, do you think it is just that easy for people who have survived to lose and keep off weight?"

If you can point me towards any evidence based on skeletal analysis, etc. that being overweight was as common in any other era of human existence, I would be very surprised. If you're saying that the body evolved to make the most of what it got on the other hand, I would agree. That just makes the effects of poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle worse, and is even *more* reason to be careful what you eat, and make an effort to get adequate exercise.
Permalink Andrew Cherry 
August 10th, 2005
> If you can point me towards any evidence based on
>skeletal analysis, etc. that being overweight was
>as common in any other era of human existence,

The niche humans evolved in was one of food scarcity, not an abundance of fat and sugar. Our hedonic system is overwhelmed in the modern world while our homeostatic system is often broken. Black women, for example, naturally produce more ghrelin.

> That all sounds well and good, but don't you find
>it at all strange that we humans are apparently
> biologically changing at a staggering rate,
> with the obesity rate hitting absolutely massive
> levels compared to a couple of decades ago?

While it's not true genetics can't change fast, that's why we have selection within a population, what hasn't changed is our genetics, it's our environment. Food consumption used to be yoked to exercise so the chance of becomming obese was almost nil. We now do not need to exercise at all to survive. In addition, we have exactly the foods we crave in the physical sense of our dopamine system, fat and sugar, in infinite and constant supply.

Our bodies are meant for a different world. One in which we must eat when food is available, eat all we can when it is available, and eat as much fat and sugar as you can get your hands on. In our world this is ass backwards, yet that's still how your body is built.

Your chance of being thin in our environment is quite small if your are predisposed to being obesed, which most races outside the fertile crescent or so disposed. A good example are the pima indians.
Permalink son of parnas 
August 10th, 2005
i've given it a little more thought...

at its best, marriage is swapping great sex and good friendships with average sex and a great friend.

if i truly marry someone because of who they are to me as an emotional companion, her gaining weight will have no affect on that foundation.

and no matter how hot your wife stays (or doesn't for that matter), sex with the same person is still sex with the same person...
Permalink Kenny 
August 10th, 2005
Yeah Kenny, you got that right.

I dunno. I am happier with myself when I exercise, not when I eat less. I don't eat that much as it is, although I tend to "graze" so as to keep my metabolism going.

Your body does change with age, and what works for you one year may not work the next. Variety is what keeps your body from adapting.

Everyone wants to break this issue down into something simple, when it really isn't. Everyone is different. What I would recommend a very obese person do and what I would recommend someone within 30 pounds of their goal weight are VERY different.

Exercise alone, reducing calories alone, is not enough. ALL CALORIES ARE NOT CREATED EQUAL, particularly for some ethnic groups/gene pools.

Our bread/wheat/corn society has obviously adapted, and it is time now to deal with the glycemic index and exercise more.

Anyone who stays looking good past 40 most likely has to work hard at it, with a few exceptions. As a 37 year old, I have my challenges, but I'm happy and secure with my body because I know exactly what to do to gain/lose weight. It is just a matter of listening to my body and taking the proper, appropriate actions.

Those of us who are not willing to put in the effort; well, it shows.

And people, let us just admit it; when the wife or husband gets fat, it reflects the person, the relationship; everything. So if the relationship is important, you should take a moment and reflect on the causes and work to fix them. It comes from within. Women can't pay attention to everything.

For this reason, I refuse to marry. Nobody is worth the bitching that comes along with the sacrifices of marriage, kids, family, and career. I can't do it. I chose. So I'm healthy. I figured out early in life that I am less happy and less healthy when I have to do all the sacrifices necessary to hold together a family. So I don't have one, period.

I feel bad for women who got suckered into the stupidity of it all.

It takes a minimum of 1.5 hours a minimum of 4 days/week to get to the gym, do a decent workout, and see results. Anything less and I get flabby. I skip laundry, I may not clean house, I might have to sleep a few extra hours to make up for all those early morning work-outs during the week.

If you really want your wives to slim down, you have to give them that time, and take up the slack by helping out. If not, fat wife.
Permalink sharkfish 
August 10th, 2005
"Your chance of being thin in our environment is quite small if your are predisposed to being obesed"

It's quite small if you are not careful what and how you eat, and our environment does everything to distract, discourage, and confuse you away from that.

However, it can still be done. Eating actual food, not Fat-O-Sugar Breakfast-In-A-Bag, not Lo-Cal Sugar-Free Fat-Free No-Carb Nutri-Substitute, but *food*. Food that comes from the planet itself via a kitchen, not a laboratory, will obviate the fat-and-sugar binges that fool your dopamine but not your arteries and fat cells, and satisfy you far more.

Plus you designate mealtimes where you eat that food slowly and mindfully, not in the car while driving to work, and not while waiting on line at the ATM and talking on the phone. This is also not easy, but it can be done by most people if they make it an absolute priority.

If you go with the flow of Anglo-Saxon culture, you're letting the environment push you around. Other cultures, the French having been previously mentioned, love their food too much to substitute it with chemicals or scarf it down mindlessly, and that's why relatively few French people are overweight.
Permalink Fernanda Stickpot 
August 10th, 2005
> It's quite small if you are not careful what and how you eat

Be careful all you want. Your hedonic system ramps up the hunger signals so you will eat. Hunger is your number one survival instinct. The fact that so few people can resist it isn't an indication of how weak people are, it's an indication of how strong is the survival instincs in humans.
Permalink son of parnas 
August 10th, 2005
Are the French subject to the many subliminal food images we Americans endure?

TV, billboards, radio, social situations---easily get us to eat more than we should, or think about eating when it wasn't even on our minds. Personally, I don't have a food issue; I have a laziness issue, so this doesn't bother me to much, but I wonder about the impact of food commercialism and the fact that every social occasion is mostly about the food being served.
Permalink sharkfish 
August 10th, 2005
so the solution to eating too much food and thereby gaining weight is to make food and weightloss the centre of your life? to focus on exercise and eating no matter the cost in time and effort?

is that really the definition of a healthy relationship with food?
Permalink Jesus H Christ 
August 10th, 2005
No.

Paying attention to something doesn't mean making it the centre of your life.
Permalink Fernanda Stickpot 
August 10th, 2005
"Hunger is your number one survival instinct. The fact that so few people can resist it isn't an indication of how weak people are, it's an indication of how strong is the survival instincs in humans."

Of course. That is why trying to fool your hunger with nonfood items will not work. Hunger has to be satisfied with food.
Permalink Fernanda Stickpot 
August 10th, 2005
"is that really the definition of a healthy relationship with food?"

Given the male and corporate obsession, most regular women are banished to middle-dom, at best, if they become overweight.

It ain't right, but judging from this thread and others, it is a realistic assessment that success may required a little bit of obsession with maintaining one's weight.

Or else deal with boardroom idiots laughing at your jiggly ass.
Permalink sharkfish 
August 10th, 2005
"It ain't right, but judging from this thread and others, it is a realistic assessment that success may required a little bit of obsession with maintaining one's weight."

You think the same rules don't apply to men as well? _VERY_ few overweight men make it to the upper ranks, and most are viewed with some measure of disrespect (most out of a belief that they have poor time management skills or discipline). The seldom time a fatty is in charge is because he started the company, but if the same guy tried to go through the ranks he'd be passed over.
Permalink Chubby Chaser 
August 10th, 2005
"The fact that so few people can resist it isn't an indication of how weak people are, it's an indication of how strong is the survival instincs in humans."

No, in Americans. You'll notice that the vast majority of the planet Earth, despite copious amounts of food (even sweets and nasty carbohydrates), doesn't have this problem. The incredibly myopic, self-centered "it's all in human biology" B.S. implies a complete blindness to the rest of the world.
Permalink Chubby Chaser 
August 10th, 2005
Hate to disabuse you CC, but it's not just Americans, (though they are justly pilloried for being lardarses) any culture with sufficient easy food can gross up.

There are international indices for obesity. Tongans are right up there with most AngloSaxons (Australia is #2 behind the US here).

Kids are overfed. This trains expectations.
Permalink trollop 
August 10th, 2005
"_VERY_ few overweight men make it to the upper ranks, and most are viewed with some measure of disrespect (most out of a belief that they have poor time management skills or discipline)."

I tend to agree with you.

However, I've seen more fat or big-bellied men in management than women with big butts, but there is no reason to believe there is a specific causation because there are more men in management in general.

It goes like this--if you have a choice, the priority for promotion is as follows:

1. Corporate hair white male
2. balding white male
3. fat white male
4. fat and balding white male
5. fat, balding, older white male
6. blonde white woman
7. white woman
8. fat white woman
8. fat, older white woman
9. other female
10. other male

heh-heh. I'm only half kidding.
Permalink sharkfish 
August 10th, 2005
No doubt there are chunky people throughout the globe, however if it were truly simply a human-instinct thing, one would expect similar levels among equally wealthy countries. This isn't true whatsoever, and Japan, for instance, has a 3.2% obesity rating versus the US' 30%. That's a pretty staggering difference. Germany is known for copious amounts of food and beer, yet it has an obesity ranking of 12.9%. Of course worldwide obesity is increasing, but that is a cultural thing (primarily the exporting of US culture and values), as the availability of endless calories has been around for decades.

http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/35/12/35027730.xls
Permalink Chubby Chaser 
August 10th, 2005
Here's an off-the-wall, totally unsupported guess:

Slave diet is why Americans are fat.

Slaves were selected by slave-owners for their size, muscle mass, and ability to work hard all day. They fed slaves cheap, high-energy, fat-laden, carb-laden foods. Slaves then became genetically predisposed toward what I like to call "efficient" metabolisms, that conserved fuel.

Remove slavery, remove farming labor necessity, more distributed economy---you get people who have efficient metabolisms mixed with a high-glycemic diet.

Add to that the tendency for slave-owners to bear children with slaves--you get mixed race children who eventually blend into the population. My own family is a great example of large people, dense bodies, efficient metabolism---and mulatto heritage from New Orleans where there were many many blacks who passed for white.

I have to wonder if a lot of whites don't have some of this same genetic stock.

Don't laugh--I sometimes believe what I write...
Permalink sharkfish 
August 10th, 2005
> Are the French subject to the many subliminal
> food images we Americans endure?

Obesity is on the rise in france too.

> Paying attention to something doesn't mean making
> it the centre of your life.

Depending on your dopamine system, food when present, is what you pay attent to and is largely the center of your life.
Permalink son of parnas 
August 10th, 2005
> Obesity is on the rise in france too.

So what's changing in French society?

>> Paying attention to something doesn't mean making
>> it the centre of your life.

> Depending on your dopamine system, food when present, is > what you pay attent to and is largely the center of your

When people are obsessed with food, it's usually because they are deprived of it now or have been in the past. You may define 'the center of your life' as you wish, but when food is abundant, most people have the capacity to strike a balance between ignoring it and being obsessed by it.

I'm not obsessed with traffic lights, but I am able to pay enough attention to them to avoid getting mangled at intersections.
Permalink Fernanda Stickpot 
August 11th, 2005
"but when food is abundant, most people have the capacity to strike a balance between ignoring it and being obsessed by it."

<shrug> 'most' people in the US are overweight. 67% was the last figure I heard. (no idea what measurement was used to decide)

Weightloss and maintenance is so entirely complex and difficult that 'most' people cannot do it.

'most' people also regain the weight even after successful dieting.

fat is *not* a moral issue guys, its just a physiological and psychological one.

its a striking fact that in this thread those most outspoken about the moral wrong that is fat, are also those least interested and least educated about its facets.
Permalink Jesus H Christ 
August 11th, 2005
> Weightloss and maintenance is so entirely complex and
> difficult that 'most' people cannot do it.

Weightloss and maintenance is made to appear so entirely complex and difficult by the diet industry, the food industry, and aspects of Anglo-Saxon lifestyle and culture, that most people in Anglo-Saxon cultures cannot do it by following the norms of their culture.

That doesn't mean it is impossible or even particularly difficult, provided one learns to imitate the norms of cultures where food is abundant but obesity rates are low.

> fat is *not* a moral issue guys, its just a
> physiological and psychological one.

Indeed. Confusing it with a moral issue is IMHO one of the aspects of Anglo-Saxon culture that encourages weight gain, obsession, and all that sort of rot.
Permalink Fernanda Stickpot 
August 11th, 2005
"Weightloss and maintenance is made to appear so entirely complex and difficult by the diet industry,"

actually Id claim exactly the opposite. the diet industry goes out of its way to make losing weight look simple...results in just 90 days, lose weight quickly, just eat this magical soup and dont eat that and all your problems will magically disappear forever.

In real life, no matter how successful the diet, maintaining the weight loss is far, far too hard for the vast majority of people.

this is *not* because they are all lazy, stupid people...this is because things are a lot more complex than the diet industry, and the moralistic idiots, care to understand.

"Confusing it with a moral issue is IMHO one of the aspects of Anglo-Saxon culture that encourages weight gain, obsession, and all that sort of rot."

on this point I totally agree.
Permalink Jesus H Christ 
August 11th, 2005
"its a striking fact that in this thread those most outspoken about the moral wrong that is fat, are also those least interested and least educated about its facets."

That's write, Jesus, you just need to wave your hands and imagine that you have everyone beat. In reality most of your posts have come over as unsupported defensive ravings. I'm fairly sure you're a fatty, and you're sure that it isn't you fault at all but is instead the evil complex conspiring against you. Whatever, dude.
Permalink Chubby Chaser 
August 11th, 2005
"Weightloss and maintenance is made to appear so entirely complex and difficult by the diet industry,"

> actually Id claim exactly the opposite. the diet
> industry goes out of its way to make losing weight look > simple...results in just 90 days, lose weight quickly,
> just eat this magical soup and dont eat that and all
> your problems will magically disappear forever.

Right. And it's common knowledge in our society that that's not true, that it's monumentally difficult, and that your diet will fail. Then the diet industry will be on hand to sell you another diet, and you can either give up or play the latest game they've devised to make eating difficult.

This rollercoaster game is hardly a secret, it's well known to everyone throughout society. That's how the diet industry makes weight loss appear difficult. Lying about how easy and magical their process is, is only part of the story.
Permalink Fernanda Stickpot 
August 11th, 2005
> So what's changing in French society?

Same thing that's changing everywhere else. The french are thinner because they have a strong culture of moderate eating of quality food. That's breaking down as fast food culture spreads.

> When people are obsessed with food, it's usually
> because they are deprived of it now or have been
> in the past.

No. People are set up for food to be the center of their lives. fMri studies show this. You don't need any trauma for a cause. That's what survival takes. Your big brain needs a constant supply of energy.

> I'm not obsessed with traffic lights, but I am
> able to pay enough attention to them to avoid
>getting mangled at intersections.

That fact that people are obsessed with food and not traffic lights should be a clue that food is different, for obvious reasons.
Permalink son of parnas 
August 11th, 2005
"That fact that people are obsessed with food and not traffic lights should be a clue that food is different, for obvious reasons."

Some people are obsessed with food. By far not all.

Of course food is a basic need and if you're not assured of continuing abundance of it, you're going to be preoccupied with it.

However, once they are assured of continuing abundance of food, most people fixate on some other need that isn't yet satisfied.

It's not surprising if some people remain obsessed with food even when assured of continuing abundance of it. However, if you are contending that MOST people are inevitably going to be literally OBSESSED with food (to the point where they think about very little else), I find that hard to believe. Is that what you are contending, or have I misunderstood you?
Permalink Fernanda Stickpot 
August 11th, 2005
> Some people are obsessed with food. By far not all.

They are called thin people. Lucky devils.

> Of course food is a basic need and if you're not assured of continuing abundance of it, you're going to be preoccupied with it.


That's not how your biology is set up. There's not higher level cognitive switch that says "we have plenty of food, don't worry about food anymore." Because of that people prone to obesity are still busy trying to survive famines that will never come.
Permalink son of parnas 
August 11th, 2005
Son, you are talking about the supply of food and not the intake of it I assume. There's certainly switches (sometimes broken ones) that tell you when you've had enough to eat.
Permalink I am Jack's infinite id 
August 11th, 2005
So, are you saying that thin people are thin because they're lucky enough not to have been biologically predisposed to be obsessed with food?

And that heavier people are heavier because they're biologically predisposed to be obsessed with food?

Why is it that the majority of people in France or Japan, for example, are lucky enough not to be obsessed with food? Because their gene-pool is loaded against being obsessed with food and therefore, against surviving famine?
Permalink Fernanda Stickpot 
August 11th, 2005
> There's certainly switches (sometimes broken ones) that tell you when you've had enough to eat.

They can be very broken in a very many people.

And even if they aren't the hedonic system is in place to override the homeostatic system. Otherwise you would never eat when food became available, which would be a death sentence.

>So, are you saying that thin people are thin
>because they're lucky enough not to have been
> biologically predisposed to be obsessed with food?

Several reasons:
1. They are biologically predisposed. You see few if these people because they wouldn't have survived famines in the past.
2. Their environment doesn't supply sufficient quantities of food. You don't get fat when there's no food.
3. Their environment requires a lot of work. Hunger gathers walk on average between 5 and 6 miles a day. That makes it hard to get fat.
4. You have figured out a way to overcome all the obsticles and exercise enough or eat little enough that you don't gain weight. That's extremely difficult in modern first world society, as we see all around us. But that's the way humans are built, ans sensibly so.

> Why is it that the majority of people in France or Japan, for example, are lucky enough not to be obsessed with food?

Check recent obesity rates.
Permalink son of parnas 
August 11th, 2005
http://europa.eu.int/comm/health/ph_determinants/life_style/nutrition/documents/iotf_en.pdf

I await your comments.
Permalink Fernanda Stickpot 
August 11th, 2005
Yes, the rising trend in childhood obesity is one we are seeing everwhere in first world nations.

In japan, for example:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_uids=14981212&dopt=Citation
and http://www.iotf.org/media/iotfaug25.htm

Asia - Various Asian populations may be particularly susceptible to the health risks of central obesity, regardless of BMI.(13) Consequently there is an increasing focus on measuring waist circumferences, which can predict individual risk more accurately than body mass index. However in Japan experts have agreed independently to redefine the obesity cut-off at BMI>25 and have suggested this apply in the Asian Region. Using this standard, adult obesity in Japan would average 20%, rising to 30% in men over 30 years old, and in women over 40 years old, representing a three to four fold increase over the last 40 years.(14)

In france http://www.washtimes.com/world/20040823-093432-7922r.htm :

PARIS &#8212; France is fighting back against an alarming rise in childhood obesity, and candy distributors in public schools are among the first to come under attack.
Permalink son of parnas 
August 11th, 2005
So, do you think that, short of creating an artificial famine, there's anything that could be done to reverse these trends?
Permalink Fernanda Stickpot 
August 11th, 2005
> So, do you think that, short of creating an artificial famine, there's anything that could be done to reverse these trends?

They are working hard on creating pills. It turns out people are leptin insensitive, so that didn't work out. There other approaches, but the body has so many overlapping mechanisms for ensuring survival, it will be difficult.

I don't think willpower works for most people most of the time.

So I am not the hopeful.
Permalink son of parnas 
August 11th, 2005
I think at the minimum we could try to reduce diabetes and high cholesterol.

Tax fast food, chocholates and stuff like that.

Set up self-help group.

Set up weekly food schedule.

(Eventually we'll need parenting license ... )
Permalink Rick Tang 
August 11th, 2005
It is unbelievable that people could really convince themselves that biology is to blame for fatties, when all of the evidence (including several links in this discussion) show clearly that it isn't the case. Wouldn't it be nice and comforting if we could just imagine that, damnit, it isn't our fault?

Fatness is because of excessive eating, which is itself a cultural thing (cultural being an availability and desire for terrible food, and a lack of regard of concern for the long-term negative implications that such consumption entails. This could be that it is acceptable to disclaim one's own personal responsibility for one's weight, and simply imagine some vast collusion of nature against you).

Entering my late 20s I saw that I started gaining some weight (I was a very big fan of nachos, pizza, joe lois', not to mention several dozen soft drinks a day. I consumed terrible amounts of food during my teens and 20s, but clearly my metabolism had changed). I started drinking water with dinners, made a conscious effort to avoid terrible food (or vast quantities of any food), and switched to diet coke. Voila, the beginning of the middle age chunk disappeared with just a few lifestyle changes. Of course if I waited until I was 100lbs overweight it might have been a significantly more difficult, long term descent.
Permalink Chubby Chaser 
August 11th, 2005
I think flavored styrofoam peanuts could work. Some of them don't digest a bit and they still take up room and make you feel full. You could probably engineer some with some scrubbing hairs so you got your insides cleaned out good too.
Permalink I am Jack's infinite id 
August 11th, 2005
> It is unbelievable that people could really convince themselves that biology is to blame for fatties

It's unbelievable that you think acquiring food isn't something your body has devoted many overlapping systems to. Your body is a survival machine, that's why you can store nearly unlimmitted amounts of fat. Do you think a fat storage mechanism would be necessary unless you were supposed to overeat? And how would you ever overeat if your homeostatic mechanism works?

> when all of the evidence (including several links
>in this discussion) show clearly that it isn't the case.

Which evidence is that? I haven't seen any.

> Wouldn't it be nice and comforting if we could
> just imagine that, damnit, it isn't our fault?

You confuse fault and responsibility. I have a genetic predispostion to cancer. That is not my fault. Yet it is still my responsibility to deal with it, even if it is hard and it sucks.


> which is itself a cultural thing

Pure shite. First world nations are all getting fatter because of food availability and because we no longer need to exercise to survive.

> Entering my late 20s I saw that I started gaining some weight

You are certainly the measure of the world. I can gurantee someone with a different physical makeup will have a different experience. But who cares, your favorite color is purple so I guess everyone's favorite color is purple too.
Permalink son of parnas 
August 11th, 2005
++I have a genetic predispostion to cancer. That is not my fault. Yet it is still my responsibility to deal with it, even if it is hard and it sucks.

Well, it IS your fault if you neglect that responsibility, no?
Permalink I am Jack's infinite id 
August 11th, 2005
But if it is all nature's "fault" and humans are genetically predisposed to overeat in times of abundance, why isn't *everyone* fat, and how come it's got noticeably worse over the past 20 or 30 years? Although some people may gain weight more easily than others, and although your metabolism slows down the less you eat, most overweight people need to accept at least *some* of the responsibility, surely?
Permalink Mat Hall 
August 11th, 2005
"Your body is a survival machine, that's why you can store nearly unlimmitted amounts of fat."

I'd love to know how the fatties are the ones most in tune with their survival instinct (which is, I should say, a highly original explanation for obesity)- their own body is killing them, coupled with the fact that in real survival situations they're the first to die. Fat people aren't camels that can live in the wildnerness for months, emerging a slim and fit ultrasurvivor. Saying that overindulging is a survival instinct is absurd.
Permalink Chubby Chaser 
August 11th, 2005
> Well, it IS your fault if you neglect that responsibility, no?

It depends. My range of options is very limitted, but I do what I can.

For diet it is also much more limitted than people think given our biology and its interaction with the environment. It's not impossible to remain slender, but it is so difficult only 5% of those prone to obesity actually manage it. These are people who are successful in most other areas of their lives. Food is different.
Permalink son of parnas 
August 11th, 2005
A comparison would be the genetic factors of alcoholism.

I don't think you would say it is not an alcoholic's fault if they drink to excess regularly.
Permalink I am Jack's infinite id 
August 11th, 2005
The thing is that the majority of it has a lot more to do with willpower and self control than it has to do with overcoming medical issues.
Permalink I am Jack's infinite id 
August 11th, 2005
> why isn't *everyone* fat,

Most people are getting fat. It's definitely the vast majority. Why isn't everyone? Why doesn't everyone get cancer, or why isn't every one 6 feet tall, or why isn't everyone a doctor?

> how come it's got noticeably worse over the past 20 or 30 years?

The US was the vanguard and everyone is now catching up as their cultures are undergoing simular transformations.

> Although some people may gain weight more easily than others

Generally not. Weight is generally controlled through mechanisms of hunger. Almost every genetic issue related to obesity uses hunger as the mechanism.

> and although your metabolism slows down the less you eat

Once you are in starvation mode.

> most overweight people need to accept at least *some* of the responsibility, surely?

Obesity is as heritable as height as shown by separated at birth identical twin studies. How much control do you have over your height? Unlike height you can influence weight after maturity. It's just exceedinly difficult. Hunger is a drive. Like the drive to drink when thirsty. In fact, the hunger you feel after losing weight is at the same level of drive as you feel to drink when thirsty. How long can you resist drinking when you are thirsty?
Permalink son of parnas 
August 11th, 2005
> I don't think you would say it is not an alcoholic's fault if they drink to excess regularly.

You must eat. You don't need to drink alcohol. It's completely different, isn't it?
Permalink son of parnas 
August 11th, 2005
I've heard people that knew more about the stuff than me say that:

1) People don't drink enough water and this is a big reason why their appetites are whacked out.

2) Changing the 'big meal' of the day from dinner to lunch alone accounted for a 30 pd drop in weight for many people.
Permalink I am Jack's infinite id 
August 11th, 2005
You may not die without it, but many former alcoholics can sure tell you that you think you will.
Permalink I am Jack's infinite id 
August 11th, 2005
...and it isn't the consumption of alcohol that is harmful to the alcoholic. It is the drive to do it to excess. I think the comparison is pretty relevant...
Permalink I am Jack's infinite id 
August 11th, 2005
<joke>
I guess my pastor's advice that you could stop masturbation is true.
</joke>

The first step of AA self-help program is to admit that you could not do it by yourself and your will power alone.

I guess it's similar if one want to reduce his/her weight to a relatively healthy level.

(Again, not to a level so that Chubby Chaser won't mock that person.)
Permalink Rick Tang 
August 11th, 2005
> You may not die without it, but many former alcoholics can sure tell you that you think you will.


Imagine how they would feel if they had to drink alcohol 3 times a day to survive and alcohol was literally for sale everywhere they went?

> 1) People don't drink enough water and this is a big reason why their appetites are whacked out.

There's something about thirst and hunger being in the same part of the brain, but drinking water for most people is not sufficient to lose weight. It certainly may work for some
Permalink son of parnas 
August 11th, 2005
"Again, not to a level so that Chubby Chaser won't mock that person"

Rick, you're such a douche.
Permalink Chubby Chaser 
August 11th, 2005
I am not saying the world is without anyone who is genetically and biologically screwed in this regard.

And I feel for those people. Less for their particular ailment than for the fact that they are so easily grouped with those without it and discounted.

If I were overweight and I knew it were beyond my control I would be prejudiced against fat people to a far greater degree for making my problem even worse. And right as I typed that I had an image of several dozen very large women in string bikinis wrestling in a large pool of meatballs and tomato sauce.
Permalink I am Jack's infinite id 
August 11th, 2005
Only on this topic.
Permalink Rick Tang 
August 11th, 2005
> I am not saying the world is without anyone who is genetically and biologically screwed in this regard.

Some are more screwed than others. Most of us are screwed to some extent.

> If I were overweight and I knew it were beyond my control

Beyond control is a 1 or 0. Let's use a fuzzy measure and say the amount of control is a combined function of your biology and environment.

> I had an image

It is your id talking.
Permalink son of parnas 
August 11th, 2005
> how come it's got noticeably worse over the past 20 or
> 30 years?

"The US was the vanguard and everyone is now catching up as their cultures are undergoing simular transformations."

If it's a US cultural export it's not a biological inevitability, then, is it? It's a biological inevitability that most people will get fat *if* they follow US cultural eating norms. However, there are entire populations with eating norms that don't cause most of them to be obese and don't require willpower from the vast majority.

What I Am Jack's said about the unfortunate few who, for biological reasons, can't have a normal relationship with food. I also feel very sorry for people who, for psychological reasons, can't have a normal relationship with food.

None of this makes it true that the majority are biologically destined to be overweight unless they exercise constant vigilance and life-denying self-control. Those people are very, very unlucky, but they are not in the majority.
Permalink Fernanda Stickpot 
August 11th, 2005
> If it's a US cultural export

It's a welcome to the industrialized world export, not US specific. If you were rich in previous generation you had the same options. No many more people are "rich."'

> it's not a biological inevitability

It's a function of environment and biology. Unless you are willing to change your environment then your biology predisposes you to one extent or another.

> What I Am Jack's said about the unfortunate few
> who, for biological reasons, can't have a
> normal relationship with food.

The normal relationship a human has with food is to eat as much as you can when food is available. Why? That's what it took to survive when food was always available. You normal relationship with food is a figment.

> None of this makes it true that the majority are biologically destined to be overweight

You have a simplistic model of human obesity, one that if were true would have doomed us to diet out on the first famine.
Permalink son of parnas 
August 11th, 2005
"to diet out"

Lovely typo there.
Permalink Aaron F Stanton 
August 11th, 2005
> Lovely typo there.

I wish I could say it wasn't a typo, but I have too many for anyone to believe that :-)
Permalink son of parnas 
August 11th, 2005
Many people don't pick their environment conciously.

And what's the purpose of becoming not-obese? So that we won't die early? That's not a movtivational long term goal for most people, since we used to die early.

It takes a village to raise a child, and it takes the whole society to have a healthy (eating) culture.
Permalink Rick Tang 
August 11th, 2005
"It's a welcome to the industrialized world export, not US specific. "

My brother is quite a slacker, and whenever he is out of work (which is pretty much always), he will weave long and intricate tales detailing how it's not that _he's_ out of work - it's that the global economy is collapsing. Peak oil, depression, the onslaught of China, whatever. Whatever excuse he can use to make himself feel more comfortable with his position. If you really believe that it's just human nature to balloon up, contrary to all of the obvious indications otherwise, then I'm going to presume that you're not exactly thin.

In any case, your claim that industrialization turns us into fatties, purportedly by wealth, isn't it interesting that within the North America weight is, to a very highly degree, inversely correlated with wealth? That the people who are most capable of satiating the nonsensically manufactured survival-instinct to over-indulge are the least likely to do it? Isn't that a bit odd?
Permalink Chubby Chaser 
August 11th, 2005
"The normal relationship a human has with food is to eat as much as you can when food is available."

My dad starved when he was a kid, and sometimes as an adult.

He would stock up on food before Christmas and arrange it in a display on the sideboard weeks in advance. It was not to be eaten, only to be admired. He ate enormously and hated to see food thrown away. Frequently, when faced with a serving large enough for two or three normal meals, he would force himself to eat every scrap even though he was not hungry for it and wasn't enjoying it. He would comment that it was "hard work" and that he felt sick, but he would keep going until there wasn't even a crumb left on his plate.

That was clearly a case of somebody forcing himself to eat against his natural inclinations. Finally, in his sixties, after many years of unsuccessful attempts to diet, he began to feel safe enough to stop eating when he was no longer hungry.

Eating as much as you can when food is available is a starveling's relationship with food. It is not 'normal'.
Permalink Fernanda Stickpot 
August 11th, 2005
> America weight is, to a very highly degree, inversely correlated with wealth?

And that is changing as well. The very wealthy traditionally have stayed away from junk and fast foods and have a greater cultural norm emphasising thinness. But we see that breaking down now as mass culture has spread.

Plus the poorest here are still quite wealthy by historical standards and the best tasting most affordable food, fast food, is also the most caloric.
Permalink son of parnas 
August 11th, 2005
Your message is very mixed, Parnas Jr.: Is it cultural (e.g. a culture of over-indulgence and lack of concern for the repercussions), or is it human nature?
Permalink Chubby Chaser 
August 11th, 2005
"If you really believe that it's just human nature to balloon up, contrary to all of the obvious indications otherwise, then I'm going to presume that you're not exactly thin."

Here you go again.

It seems to me that you are not reflective enough. So you never in your life want to do or not to something because it's not good to you but you couldn't help yourself?
Permalink Rick Tang 
August 11th, 2005
> Your message is very mixed,

Life is like that. The very rich have essentially lived in a different environment and a different culture. That is breaking down so that they are more average now.

Sorry if I can't make it all black and white for you.
Permalink son of parnas 
August 11th, 2005
Chubby Chaser,

You know what? You could have great will power, either by luck or by your own effort and character. In that case, I admire you.

If you are so concerned about the health of women (and men) I think you could get rich by becoming a weight reduction consultant :)
Permalink Rick Tang 
August 11th, 2005
" I'm fairly sure you're a fatty, and you're sure that it isn't you fault at all but is instead the evil complex conspiring against you."

heh. nice debating technique :)

colm? is that you?
Permalink Jesus H Christ 
August 11th, 2005
++It seems to me that you are not reflective enough. So you never in your life want to do or not to something because it's not good to you but you couldn't help yourself?

If you pick your nose in public people will notice.
Permalink I am Jack's infinite id 
August 11th, 2005
"Eating as much as you can when food is available is a starveling's relationship with food. It is not 'normal'."

For most of human history, being a starveling WAS normal.
Permalink Jim Rankin 
August 11th, 2005
""Honey, if you made more money and I didn't have to work, take care of the kids, the house/chores, on top of all the health issues, maybe I could focus on my weight. Until then, too damn bad.""

I've been making breakfast for our kids in the morning, so my wife can have time to exercise.
Permalink Jim Rankin 
August 12th, 2005
As a side note, serious alcoholics actually can die if they suddenly stop drinking.

Whilst we may be biologically set up to need to eat there is nothing in our biology that insists we have to eat crap. The fact that junk food contains very little of nutritional value compared to proper food probably has some relationship to overeating.
Permalink qwe 
August 12th, 2005
"I've been making breakfast for our kids in the morning, so my wife can have time to exercise. "

And yet if you believe what some people seem to be saying in this thread, you're making a futile gesture.

We all seem to agree that the increasing prevalence of junk food is what's been bulking up the population over the last 30-odd years. The reason people are gaining weight isn't because, when faced with unlimited quantities of food, we're forced by biology to eat and eat and eat until we die, or at least become overweight. If that were the case, the increasing prevalence of junk foods wouldn't be making any difference to obesity rates.

The reason is that there's no good nutrition in those fake foods (that includes fake versions of originally-nutritious foods, not just 'junk foods'), so you're compelled to eat and eat and eat those fake foods in a futile effort to get some nutrients into your paradoxically-malnourished body. Just like they used to say about Chinese meals: very satisfying at the time, but half an hour later you're hungry again. Now that applies to most of the foods that most people are eating these days.

If all natural foodstuffs had been completely removed from all retail outlets in all English-speaking countries, so that you could ONLY buy donuts fried in hydrogenated oil and sprinkled with Splenda, and could NEVER buy an apple no matter how hard you tried; or if there were NOWHERE to buy peanut butter made out of peanuts and you could ONLY buy peanut butter made out of whatever fake stuff those companies use instead, I'd agree that we were all helpless, including me, since eating that fake crap was how I started to gain weight in the first place.

But natural foodstuffs haven't been banned. There are still a few real foods left on the market. Providing you know you need to look for them, you CAN find them if you make a slight effort. And notice I said 'providing you know you need to look for them'. A lot of people have been led to believe that they should be looking for industrial substitutes for real foods because eating food that's had the food content removed is better for them - part of the never-ending campaign of misinformation from the food and diet industry.

I will contend until I am shot that MOST people who do not have psychological issues with food, will be able to eat nutritious foods to the point of satiety, and get and stay slim. Just as MOST people, whether or not they have psychological issues with food, will NOT be able to eat NON-nutritious foods to the point of satiety, full stop.

There are a minority of people who have biological issues which mean a change of habit is not going to solve their problem. There are people who have psychological issues with food which mean that a change of habit is not going to solve their problem. Whether this latter group is the minority or the majority, I cannot say, but they are unlikely to be helped by insisting that their very real problems are a matter of biological quasi-inevitability.

There are also people who do not have psychological issues with food, who have simply picked up the bad habits that you inexorably pick up if you go with the flow of Anglo-Saxon society. Some of those are living in such deprived conditions that it is difficult for them just to get through each day, which leaves them with few or no meaningful choices about what and how they eat, or else little energy to exercise those choices. I'm guessing that that's not going to be the situation that most of us JOSers are in, though I apologize if by saying so I have belittled the suffering of someone who's reading this. Most of us have lifestyles that make a change of habit at least somewhat challenging for us, but not impossible and usually not nearly as difficult as we might think.

That leaves a number of people whose weight problems are caused simply by bad habits and a lack of good information. These people, given the right information, can change those habits much more easily than we're led to believe. Continually portraying weight loss as overwhelmingly difficult, and the normal human appetite as a torture device, is only adding to the misinformation and keeping people overweight who don't need to be.
Permalink Fernanda Stickpot 
August 12th, 2005
> And yet if you believe what some people seem to be
> saying in this thread, you're making a futile gesture.

When george bush things that people only view the world in black and white, he is exactly right.


> Whilst we may be biologically set up to need to eat
> there is nothing in our biology that insists we
> have to eat crap.

Well, not so. Fat and sugar have the hightest energy density so are the most desired. This is why you want crap when stressed because it makes you physically feel better. This is why fast food meals are low level drugs because they pack so many calories. Nobody has a compulsion to eat fibre.

> There are still a few real foods left on the market.

I eat almost no processed foods, so there are plenty of real foods left.

> I will contend until I am shot that MOST people who do not have psychological issues with food,

Personally think few to nonone has a psychological problem with food. There's no need for this conjecture and there's no proof that it exists. Physical problems with the homestatic system and the power of the hedonic system is enough to account for why people eat.

> That leaves a number of people whose weight problems are caused simply by bad habits and a lack of good information.

People know what they should eat. Nobody has the habit of eating too much fibre. There's an excellent reason for why people behave as they do.
Permalink son of parnas 
August 12th, 2005
> There are a minority of people who have biological issues which mean a change of habit is not going to solve their problem.

There are drugs associated with weight-gain. Do I remember *you* saying, Fernanda, that you gained weight as a result of taking cortisone? Perhaps more commonly, many of the psychotropic prescriptions have associated weight gain --http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&q=psychotropic+weight -- I'm don't know what the causes for this are.

Given that some drugs cause weight gain, are there good, safe substances that help to induce weight loss? Not polystyrene tablets or bariatric surgery ... and not amphetamines ... I'm thinking, something more like pyruvate?

[Yes, I know that "you are not a doctor".]
Permalink Christopher Wells 
August 12th, 2005
"There's an excellent reason for why people behave as they do. "

Indeed there is. In many or most cases there are few good reasons why they should not choose to behave otherwise.
Permalink Fernanda Stickpot 
August 12th, 2005
"There are drugs associated with weight-gain. Do I remember *you* saying, Fernanda, that you gained weight as a result of taking cortisone?"

No, I think you must have me confused with someone else. I do know quite a few people who have gained weight as a result of taking steroids, or having other medical treatment. From what they tell me, they're finding the process of losing weight very slow and painful.

I don't know if there are any good or safe pills for weight loss. Fortunately I've never been desperate enough to feel I had to go there, though again, I've known one or two people who did.
Permalink Fernanda Stickpot 
August 12th, 2005
Hmm... thinks, though... I don't know about a substance that, in and of itself, helps to induce weight loss. But I do have a little ritual end to each lunch: I finish it with a little hunk of cheese, a square of high-end chocolate (the kind with 70% cocoa or more), and a small espresso. The strong flavours are really satisfying, the espresso staves off the afternoon slump, and the whole sequence signifies 'end of meal' so, provided I've eaten sufficiently, I feel no particular temptation to eat again until afternoon teatime.

Whatever, it's a really nice way to round off lunch; I'd recommend it to anyone.
Permalink Fernanda Stickpot 
August 12th, 2005
> No, I think you must have me confused with someone else.

Yes, sorry, it was Katie who had been given steroids: http://discuss.joelonsoftware.com/default.asp?off.9.179523.45#discussTopic179922
Permalink Christopher Wells 
August 12th, 2005
> Indeed there is. In many or most cases there are few good reasons why they should not choose to behave otherwise.

You unfortunately have no facts whereas I can point to human biology and human evolution. It's amazing how people think hunger and food are just after thoughts of no great importance that anyone could just take or leave if they only wanted to bad enough.
Permalink son of parnas 
August 12th, 2005
We've both been discussing much the same facts. You, however, seem to conclude from them that most people are more or less helpless to maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle as a result. I conclude the opposite.
Permalink Fernanda Stickpot 
August 12th, 2005
++I don't know about a substance that, in and of itself, helps to induce weight loss.

I've heard it takes more calories to digest celery than celery has in it.
Permalink I am Jack's infinite id 
August 12th, 2005
"I've heard it takes more calories to digest celery than celery has in it."

Snopes to the rescue:

http://www.snopes.com/food/ingredient/celery.asp
Permalink Mat Hall 
August 12th, 2005
Huh. Among other things, I eat celery after bike riding. Just because it's available pre-cut from the store I stop at mid way before I turn back. Along with corn chips (the "healthy" kind), some fruit, a power bar, and carrot sticks (that come with the celery).
Permalink MarkTAW 
August 12th, 2005
> We've both been discussing much the same facts.

Not that I have seen. You've given your opinion about what people can or can't do. I've based my arguments on actual biology.

> more or less helpless to maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle as a result.

I have stopped beating my wife.

> I conclude the opposite.

You have no evidence or basis for your conclusion.
Permalink son of parnas 
August 12th, 2005
"I've based my arguments on actual biology."

It's a bit of a reach to call your "human beings want to be fat" hypothesis actual biology anymore than one could say "human beings want to be problem gamblers" or "human beings want to be drug addicts".
Permalink Chubby Chaser 
August 12th, 2005
> It's a bit of a reach to call your "human beings want to be fat"

Your incredible drive to simply things out of existence must indicate you are from a red state.

> "human beings want to be drug addicts".

Your dopamine system control your attention. A drug hijacks the attention mechanism. So people prone to drug addiction because of the construction of their dopamine system definetely do "want" to be drug addicts, if they get the chance.

The whole we all different gentically thing may be complicated for you, but it makes all the difference.
Permalink son of parnas 
August 12th, 2005
son,

Read the highly contradictory drivel you've posted on here. If you really, truly think that you've enlightened us with some credible advanced biological information, you're more of a dumbass than I imagined. The best single word description I can use to describe your ramblings is "reaching".
Permalink Chubby Chaser 
August 12th, 2005
> Read the highly contradictory drivel you've posted on her

It's not contradictory. Humans are built to saticfice over a wide problem space. That doesn't leave much room for the all or nothing answers would prefer.

> If you really, truly think that you've enlightened us

That's never my goal. I just make comments.

> you're more of a dumbass than I imagined

That hardly seems possible.

> The best single word description I can use to describe your ramblings is "reaching".

Given your faith based approach to the whole issue, at least that's something.
Permalink son of parnas 
August 12th, 2005
Hmm... time to google nutritional values on pimento cheese and/or other spreads. It probably blows the healthiness, but I can't enjoy eating celery by itself. Dipping it in ranch dressing, or smearing it with pimento or bleu cheese is great though.

I've always liked cheese but my taste buds lately say that bleu cheese is awesome. A thought I ponder though... I started eating it like mad for about a month. I notice that it makes my mouth numb. A little after that I had an odd spell where my whole body went numb and they never figured out why. It didn't occur to me until much later that maybe I molded my bloodstream?
Permalink I am Jack's infinite id 
August 12th, 2005
AFAIK the vitamins in green salady things are fat soluble, which is why you should always eat your greens with dressing or you won't get the benefit. Stuffing the celery with cream cheese, which you could maybe enhance by stirring in herbs or cayenne or chopped olives or goodness knows what, sounds like a good idea.

Isn't it funny, I have the same reaction to bleu cheese. I noticed that it was making the inside of my mouth swell up and itch. I decided to stop eating it before it made my whole body swell up and itch... sounds like I had the right idea.
Permalink Fernanda Stickpot 
August 12th, 2005
"Your incredible drive to simply things out of existence must indicate you are from a red state."

Is that an intentionally ironic statement?
Permalink Mat Hall 
August 12th, 2005
> Is that an intentionally ironic statement?

What do you find intentionally ironic?
Permalink son of parnas 
August 12th, 2005
Son, it's true that I'm not a scientist and would not be well placed to discuss the scientific evidence, had you cited any (apart from the WHO link, which contradicts nothing that I have said).

I'm also giving up hope that this one's going to be settled by logic.

It's a shame, and I could've danced with you all night. But it's time I headed off to the gym.

Toodle pipski.
Permalink Fernanda Stickpot 
August 12th, 2005
I guess it wasn't intentionally ironic then, so it's just mild hypocrisy... My bad. :)
Permalink Mat Hall 
August 12th, 2005
Nitpick:

"Well, not so. Fat and sugar have the hightest energy density so are the most desired."

Fat is. But sugar?
Permalink Rick Tang 
August 12th, 2005
> Fat is. But sugar?

Sugar is a source of quick energy. It also indicates a source of vital nutrition.

The taste buds focus on bitter (poison), sugar (energy and nutrition), salt (survival), fat through mouth feel (energy), savory (perhaps protein?).

Fibre was never a problem so we don't sense it.
Permalink son of parnas 
August 12th, 2005
Interesting link:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,940287,00.html


"The sugar industry in the US is threatening to bring the World Health Organisation to its knees by demanding that Congress end its funding unless the WHO scraps guidelines on healthy eating, due to be published on Wednesday."

Who's right? Should we trust WHO?
Permalink Rick Tang 
August 12th, 2005
> Should we trust WHO?

Don't they live in whoville?
Permalink son of parnas 
August 12th, 2005
"Should we trust WHO?"

Shouldn't that be WHOm? :D
Permalink Mat Hall 
August 12th, 2005
Ironically, I don't think the sugar industry carries that much "weight" in congress. :)
Permalink I am Jack's infinite id 
August 12th, 2005
Well, there are the "professional lobbying consultants".
Permalink Rick Tang 
August 12th, 2005

This topic was orginally posted to the off-topic forum of the
Joel on Software discussion board.

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