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  #1   ^
Old Fri, May-20-22, 13:02
Demi's Avatar
Demi Demi is offline
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Default We shouldn’t be pretending it’s fine to be fat

Quote:
We shouldn’t be pretending it’s fine to be fat

Shying away from any hint of body shaming feeds the obesity crisis far more than bogof deals

Emma Duncan


I was a fat child. I didn’t much enjoy being porky, but I disliked it less than I liked sweets and toast slathered with butter between meals, so I grew into an overweight adolescent. By the time I got to university I was embarrassed enough about being two sizes larger than my friends and keen enough to wear a bikini without shame to cut down on the snacks.

The government has got a lot of flak for delaying its plan to ban the buy-one-get-one-free supermarket promotions that food companies use to encourage people to chow down ever more unhealthy grub. It has done so because it is worried about increasing the cost of living, but the plan was a big part of its anti-obesity strategy. William Hague weighed in on the matter in these pages this week [1], accusing the government of being shallow, weak and morally reprehensible.

He’s right that obesity is an appropriate area for policy intervention. It’s a killer: overweight people who caught Covid-19, for instance, were much likelier to get critically ill or die than were people of a healthy weight. In a country in which everybody pays for everybody else’s healthcare, sickness is not just a private matter. The burden which each individual places on the health service is a collective concern.

The problem is getting worse [2]. As this newspaper reported yesterday, there are soon going to be more obese adults than those of a healthy weight. Since poor women tend to be fatter than rich ones (there’s no correlation for men), rising obesity is exacerbating health inequality. And since the children of fat people tend themselves to be fat, the problem is cascading from generation to generation.

I suspect, however, that intervening at supermarket tills is unlikely to make much of a difference. Certainly, bogof offers encourage people to buy promoted items; but, as the government’s research shows, that’s mostly at the expense of other products. I can’t find any evidence of this type of intervention reducing obesity anywhere in the world (and if anyone knows of any, I’d be grateful for a link in the comments section online).

That’s not to say government is powerless to reduce consumption of unhealthy products. It has succeeded in discouraging people from buying other stuff that’s bad for them: a brutal public information campaign has boosted the decline in smoking.

But the government is not going to plaster the streets with gruesome photographs showing what being fat does to your health. To do so would risk alienating the two-thirds of the electorate that is overweight or obese.
Slimmer voters might also perceive it as uncaring. That, I suspect, is where the problem lies: not so much with government inaction as with social attitudes. Weight is more integral to people’s sense of self than is cigarette smoking, and these days we tiptoe delicately around people’s identities for fear of causing offence. In a world in which violent people are “challenging”, lazy people are “unmotivated” and fat people are “curvy” or “plus size”, to suggest that anyone’s weight is less than ideal is to be guilty of “body shaming”.

The “body positivity” movement encourages people to feel good about their bodies, whatever shape they may be. In its name, huge people display acres of flesh on Instagram. According to a survey by Reebok, Britain is the most “body positive” country in the world. Promoted by the fashion industry, which knows on which side its bread is larded, this trend is helping to normalise fat. Advertising celebrates weighty women, and clothes-size inflation lies to people about their spreading waistlines: I’ve dropped two sizes over the past 20 years while my measurements have stayed the same.

Some of this is progress. It’s a good thing the fashion industry no longer encourages everybody to look like a rake, and in most ways it’s a good thing that society has become kinder. When I was growing up, disabled people were spastic, dyslexic people were stupid and dyspraxic people were clumsy. I don’t want to go back to that world.

There is a downside to this progress, though. As we have become more understanding, so we have become less willing to hold people responsible for their choices. We view people increasingly as the victims of social forces rather than as agents with the power to shape their own fates. You can see that in our language. Health services describe people as “living with” obesity, as though it were a creature that had crept in through the back door when nobody was watching, not the consequence of years of caramel frappuccinos with whipped cream and marshmallows.

This tendency to regard obesity as society’s fault, not the result of individual choice, seems to be exacerbating the problem. Studies show that the fatter people are, the more inclined they are to blame their weight on outside forces and the less control over it and responsibility for it they feel they have. If people believe they are powerless to lose weight, they are less likely to change their behaviour.

Nor do I think we should forswear the idea of shame. Shame is a useful emotion. It punishes people for doing wrong and prods them to behave differently. Eating to the point of obesity is wrong, for it harms both oneself and others; feelings that spur change should be welcomed, not dismissed.

Had I been surrounded by today’s culture of body positivity when I was a teenager, I’m not sure I would have cut back on the snacks. I suspect that, comforted by the encouragement to “love my curves”, I wouldn’t have made the effort to lose weight and would therefore be fatter and more unhealthy now. And that, for me, would have been a real shame.

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/...e-fat-q70rwlr9d

Quote:
[1]

Obesity U-turn is weak, shallow and immoral

The threat of letters of no confidence has seen off a policy that might have turned around Britain’s relentlessly bad diet

William Hague


he spectacle of ministers preparing unilateral steps to depart from an international agreement they themselves negotiated and which their approach to Brexit necessitated is hardly edifying. There is, nevertheless, fault on both sides, for the EU has been unwilling to agree changes to the Northern Ireland protocol that might assuage Unionist anger and make trade across the Irish Sea run more smoothly. It is at least possible to sympathise with the motive of the government changing its policy, if that is to obtain fresh compromises from all sides.

No such generous view should be awarded, however, to a quite different change in government policy that has become apparent in recent days: the delay or abandonment of several of the measures designed to tackle the unrelenting rise of obesity in the UK. Under pressure from some Conservative MPs, some of whom have been threatening to write letters of no confidence in Boris Johnson unless they get their way, ministers have retreated from banning “Buy One Get One Free” deals and from imposing a watershed of 9pm on junk food advertising. While some measures, such as rules on the positioning of unhealthy foods by retailers, will still go ahead in October, this U-turn adds to the long history of failed obesity strategies. It means the current government’s anti-obesity drive will probably join the 14 strategies and 689 different policies over the past 30 years, according to a Cambridge University study, that have failed to deliver.

The national food strategy, led by Henry Dimbleby and published last year, offered an excellent plan to help people escape “the junk food cycle” while also reducing inequality and making better use of land. It explained that poor diet is leading to tens of thousands of premature deaths each year, that obesity is still increasing and that by the mid-2030s the NHS will spend far more treating type 2 diabetes than every form of cancer. Britain is now the fattest country in Europe, with over a quarter of people classed as obese and most of the rest overweight. Tragically, one in five children are obese by the age of 11, their chances of living a long and healthy life already impaired. It is a national disgrace.

The excuse for abandoning the ban on “multi-buy” promotions is the cost-of-living crisis. Yet when the government launched its obesity strategy in 2020 it quoted with approval research showing that such promotions “actually increase the amount we spend by 20 per cent by encouraging people to buy more than they need or intended to buy in the first place. These are not ‘good deals’ for our wallet or our health.” The whole point of them is to get people used to buying more. Delaying this plan, according to Cancer Research UK, “would be delaying progress in helping people maintain a healthy weight and risks exacerbating health inequalities”.

While the cost-of-living argument is baseless, many Tories object to the “nanny state” image of anti-obesity policies and think it is “un-Conservative” to pursue them. As a former Tory leader, I emphatically disagree with this interpretation of conservatism. Conservatives support freedom of choice but have always seen that it is sometimes necessary to prevent consumers being abused or misled. That is why we have laws on labelling, standards and monopolies. People have not made a voluntary choice to become obese. They are trapped in what Dimbleby rightly calls the “junk food cycle”.

Humans evolved, when food was scarce, to indulge in calorie-dense foods if the opportunity arose. Now, the abundance of food and its particularly highly processed nature, which means we go on eating for a long time before feeling full, leads us to eat a lot of the wrong things. Food companies have an overwhelming incentive to design products that lead us ever further down this chemically induced addiction to foods that make us overweight, more prone to disease, and less able to work and enjoy life to the full. This is not freedom. People do not sit down and say, “I know I should eat better but on the whole I think it would be fun to be grossly overweight”. They are stuck in the cycle and so are the producers feeding them.

If we believe in freedom, we have to face up to this. Freedom is, most crucially, being free from oppression, violence or discrimination. But it is also the freedom of a child to skip and somersault; of an adult to enjoy running down a country lane or in a city park; of an old person to keep their quality of life until their final days. Freedom is being well enough to work in your chosen career, to be strong enough to protect and care for your loved ones, to be fit enough to take part in sports and games. Freedom is climbing a mountain without physical distress and looking down from the top with exhilaration and wonder. These are the freedoms being denied to vast numbers of people who are the victims, not the free agents, in a system that wants to fill them up with salt, sugar and saturated fat.

Conservatives also believe in self-reliance, personal independence, resilience and responsibility. A country that cherishes these virtues can have lower taxes and a smaller state. We should be able to focus resources on those who are unavoidably ill and disabled. Yet already, £18 billion a year is spent on conditions related to high body mass index. Covid hit us harder because of widespread obesity. If we fail to control diet-related diseases, on top of paying for an ageing population, there will be no possibility of lower taxes in the future. None whatsoever. The entire idea of a limited state is going to depend on developing a healthier society.

It is therefore a terrible error to associate conservatism with a reluctance to protect people from their natural appetites being abused, in an industrial age for which they were not designed. If we could liberate more people from that fate, they could enjoy greater personal freedom and have some chance of a lighter tax burden. That sounds pretty Conservative to me. We know that tough interventions on this issue do work: the soft drinks industry levy on sugar has led to the reformulation of drinks, with far fewer calories. Manufacturers and consumers have been helped to escape a cycle that was creating poor health. It is possible, as well as essential, to turn round the alarming trends and costs we see all around us.

MPs who have pressed, seemingly successfully, for the dilution of the obesity strategy are profoundly mistaken. They are acquiescing in a future of higher dependence, greater costs, reduced lifestyle choice and endless pain. For the government to give in to them is intellectually shallow, politically weak and morally reprehensible.
https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/...sters-pvdfbkp5k
Quote:
[2]

The Times view on putting off junk food measures: Overcoming Obesity

It is a bad mistake to delay steps to regulate their promotion and sale


In the Boer War of 1899-1902, about half of all volunteers to Britain’s armed forces were rejected on medical grounds, such was the prevalence of undernutrition. Anyone looking at photographs of Britons on beaches between the First and Second World Wars will have noticed the absence of almost any fat people. Britain today, however, is facing an epidemic of obesity that has huge and costly medical consequences. The country is already the fattest in Europe. A new study from Cancer Research UK suggests that by 2040 some 21 million people will be obese, compared with 15 million today. At these levels, the number of fat people is likely to exceed those who are of healthy weight. Including projections for those who are simply overweight takes the figure to 42 million, or more than seven people out of ten.

Obesity is not an issue of personal liberty. It is not a choice that many people would voluntarily make, and its costs are huge. Yet the government has perversely watered down its obesity strategy, due to take effect in October. Its plan had been to ban supermarket promotions such as “buy one get one free” offers and to impose a 9pm watershed on broadcast advertising for foods that are high in fat, salt and sugar. It has now announced the ban will take effect in January 2024. The delay is a bad decision based on spurious logic.

The reasoning is that it will give the government a chance to assess the impact of these measures at a time of extreme pressure on household incomes. A surge in food and energy prices has sent the rate of consumer price inflation to 9 per cent. Yet the notion that the cost-of-living crisis would be eased by tempering the pace of anti-obesity measures does not withstand scrutiny. Its implicit message is that an anti-obesity drive must be subordinated to the political pressures the government is undergoing at a time of economic turmoil.

This is terribly shortsighted. As Lord Hague of Richmond, the former Conservative leader, noted on our Comment pages this week, when the government launched its obesity strategy in 2020 it noted with approval academic research showing that discounted-pricing offers on food actually encouraged people to buy more than they had intended. Allowing these offers to persist will not give consumers more money but will rather deplete their wallets while expanding their waistlines. As the National Health Service emerges from the pandemic it will increasingly have to deal with illnesses born of obesity. The national food strategy, headed by the restaurateur Henry Dimbleby, has stressed that poor national diet, dominated by highly processed foods, causes tens of thousands of premature deaths each year. By the mid-2030s, the NHS will be devoting more resources to treating type 2 diabetes than to all forms of cancer. Obesity, moreover, is shown to increase the risk of at least 13 types of cancer.

There is no single policy that can reverse the trend, but that is no reason to delay introducing measures that can help. The key is how an obesity strategy is implemented, and how far it can change a culture in which the risks of obesity are not well signalled. Better food labelling, including calorie counts on restaurant menus, restrictions on sale and advertising, and better dietary education all have a role to play. For the government to tarry is to imply that obesity is not that important. The costs of any such message will be profound and enduring.
https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/...esity-vmvxlp5j5
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  #2   ^
Old Fri, May-20-22, 14:34
Nancy LC's Avatar
Nancy LC Nancy LC is offline
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Disgusting. Shaming someone for something they may have limited control over is no better than shaming someone for their eye color.
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  #3   ^
Old Fri, May-20-22, 15:36
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Ms Arielle Ms Arielle is online now
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Let's point the finger at the food industry companies that promote refined processed foods like they are real food, and healthy, too.
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  #4   ^
Old Fri, May-20-22, 16:08
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WereBear WereBear is offline
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Studies show people were told to eat the pyramid and they did.
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  #5   ^
Old Sun, May-22-22, 05:17
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Benay Benay is offline
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TV commercials are a good place to look if you want to see what belief systems are being advanced

It's subtle, but there

Many commercials now have fat actors whereas before, there were none unless they were the object of jokes
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  #6   ^
Old Tue, May-24-22, 06:51
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BawdyWench BawdyWench is offline
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This makes my blood boil. If obesity were a linear equation, the authors may have a point. But it is most definitely not. Different people have totally different outcomes to the same input (food). My skinny friend can eat a mega plate of Chinese food (for example) and stay skinny, but if I add a measly half cup of white rice to my lean baked chicken breast I gain weight. And fast.

How is it that all these skinny people (whom we know are not necessarily healthy) can effortlessly balance calories in and calories out without a second thought ... but we can't, despite our using smart phone apps and computer software to track every bite?

It's a struggle to lose. If it weren't, we wouldn't see the same faces on this and other forums year after year. And it's not because we've spent years eating "caramel frappuccinos with whipped cream and marshmallows." I find that attitude and assumption utterly rude, mean-spirited, and disgusting.

Before you judge, walk a mile in my shoes in my body with my unique body chemistry.
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  #7   ^
Old Tue, May-24-22, 10:58
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WereBear WereBear is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BawdyWench
Before you judge, walk a mile in my shoes in my body with my unique body chemistry.


It's like Rule by the Mean (and that in all senses of the word.) Everyone is supposed to be the same, and it's our fault if we "don't fit."
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  #8   ^
Old Tue, May-24-22, 12:23
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JLx JLx is offline
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Shying away from any hint of body shaming feeds the obesity crisis

Sez her - the one who only had to cut out a few snacks to solve her "problem". Actual research has proven just the opposite.

https://www.healthline.com/nutritio...es-things-worse The Harmful Effects of Fat Shaming

Fat shaming is making people sicker and heavier https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6565398/

https://www.cnn.com/2021/06/01/heal...ness/index.htmlFat-shaming by doctors, family, classmates is a global health problem, studies find

People who indulge in it need to stop kidding themselves that their aim is productive. They simply do it out of meanness and some twisted idea of thin-self glorification.

If we're going to collectively shame anyone it should be the food manufacturers who pump out their addictive, unhealthy products that are designed to short circuit people's natural stop-eating instincts. I watched a video recently by that neurologist from Stanford who explained how modern processed food with its hidden sugars and salt prevents the homeostasis mechanisms in our brain that would ordinarily stop us from eating "too sweet" or "too salty" and therefore, eating more of that product that includes both in excess. They do it on purpose to make a buck and it's no less shameful than that parade of tobacco execs who stood in that congressional committee and said their product was not addictive. Ha!
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  #9   ^
Old Fri, May-27-22, 17:17
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Calianna Calianna is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BawdyWench
This makes my blood boil. If obesity were a linear equation, the authors may have a point. But it is most definitely not. Different people have totally different outcomes to the same input (food). My skinny friend can eat a mega plate of Chinese food (for example) and stay skinny, but if I add a measly half cup of white rice to my lean baked chicken breast I gain weight. And fast.

How is it that all these skinny people (whom we know are not necessarily healthy) can effortlessly balance calories in and calories out without a second thought ... but we can't, despite our using smart phone apps and computer software to track every bite?

It's a struggle to lose. If it weren't, we wouldn't see the same faces on this and other forums year after year. And it's not because we've spent years eating "caramel frappuccinos with whipped cream and marshmallows." I find that attitude and assumption utterly rude, mean-spirited, and disgusting.

Before you judge, walk a mile in my shoes in my body with my unique body chemistry.



So many of us could say exactly what you've said.



The people I've known who were naturally thin - they don't even think about what they'e eating, just eat whatever happens to sound good to them at the time. They stayed skinny in spite of eating donuts for snacks, ice cream for dinner, a BIG chocolate bar every single day, and as much cake as they felt like, whenever they took the notion. If they have a craving, they feed it as much and as often as they want.





I was told by one skinny person to ignore what "they" say to eat (whether the food pyramid or any weight loss "diet" out there, no matter what kind it was) and just eat whatever I wanted to eat, and push away from the table when I was full.



HA!



If that worked, I would have never gained weight to begin with, and would be every bit as thin as they are!
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  #10   ^
Old Sat, May-28-22, 07:19
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bkloots bkloots is offline
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I join with those responders above who say, "It's not that simple." Cut down on snacks--lose fifty pounds? Not likely.

In a recent blog post (see link in my signature--click on title A Frontier of Justice), I expressed remorse that my prejudice against FATNESS has been unjust and unkind. Edit: I see that I have already posted the text of my blog on this thread. So you don't have to visit the blog--but you are welcome to view this and other brilliant essays there whenever you like.

Worse than my personal attitude, however, is the assumption in medical practice that FATNESS is the first and main reason for every health issue an overweight or obese person may bring to the examining room. This can be deadly.

Quote:
It’s a good thing the fashion industry no longer encourages everybody to look like a rake, and in most ways it’s a good thing that society has become kinder. When I was growing up, disabled people were spastic, dyslexic people were stupid and dyspraxic people were clumsy. I don’t want to go back to that world.


If you happen to be disposed from birth to become fat, it's good to know that there are resources to help. It's no less a challenge than any other "disability" requiring understanding, treatment, and unprejudiced support for those who need empowerment, not hate and discrimination.

Last edited by bkloots : Sat, May-28-22 at 07:29.
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  #11   ^
Old Sat, May-28-22, 07:32
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cotonpal cotonpal is offline
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What we shouldn't be doing is judging people. Such judgment is generally fueled by arrogance. If we truly want to help someone we need to start from a place of kindness and compassion.
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  #12   ^
Old Sat, May-28-22, 17:08
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Calianna Calianna is offline
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Plan: Atkins-ish (hypoglycemia)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cotonpal
What we shouldn't be doing is judging people. Such judgment is generally fueled by arrogance. If we truly want to help someone we need to start from a place of kindness and compassion.



The naturally thin people I know think they are being kind when they tell you that all that anyone who is fat needs to do is to cut out 2nd helpings/stop eating so much/push away from the table/stop eating when you're full/ stop snacking/etc.


They believe this because they claim that they could also gain a lot of weight if they aren't careful. But their idea of gaining a lot of weight is 2 or 3 lbs over the course of a year or two.



When they gain that 2-3 lbs, they will then go on what is supposed to be a 2-week crash diet (which they don't even follow correctly because it requires eating food they hate, so they substitute foods they don't hate), lose those 3 lbs in 2 days, and then go right back to their usual eating pattern without regaining any weight, except very slowly creep back up a couple of pounds in another year or two.


Their logic is that if they could lose 3 lbs in 2 days, and you need to lose 60 lbs, then all you need to do is follow their crash diet for 3 weeks and you'll be down to a normal weight. Simple math - no reason why it shouldn't work, because that's how it works for them every time they want to lose 3 lbs.


They won't even listen to the possibility that the first few pounds you lose on any diet - the first couple of weeks - it's primarily water weight, because for them it's NOT water weight. It's the little bit they gained, and found so easy to lose.
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