My sister was a fat child and struggled to lose weight, but once into early adulthood, she became and stayed slender (even returning to her optimal weight after giving birth). I am not minimizing the considerable difficulties for most people of losing weight and keeping it off, but only noting that having once been fat may not doom someone to inevetably regaining the weight.
Her childhood struggles with weight led her to study nutrition in college, and she at one time considered having a career in nutrition. I think it is possible she had a better grip than most people on the calorie counts in foods, and a constant awareness of it, so while she didn’t constantly “diet”, she limited her intake of very fattening foods and drinks, and when she had them, she immediately skipped meals or ate less of other things to compensate for the “splurge”.
I read the entire article and also watched an interview with a bariatrician on a local PBS show. She explained that for some people, the metabolic reset doesn’t happen, and they can maintain their weights without the caloric restriction that wouldn’t be needed for a person of the same weight who never had to diet significantly to get there. However, why these people are different from the majority is unknown at this point.
I started getting fat as a kid around the age of 8 and continued to be quite overweight until I was 22, despite trying a number of different diets in my teens and early 20s. I was able to lose some weight in my teens with a low-fat, Weight Watchers style approach, but I didn’t keep much of it off.
I was maybe 20-30 lbs below my all-time high weight when I started low carbing at age 22, and I managed to lose an additional 65 lbs or so, and have kept most of that off for the last 15+ years. It has required a permanent lifestyle change, and constant attention to my diet. Keeping it off certainly gets harder as I age, and cutting carbs to the bone (as one does with Atkins induction) no longer results in fast and easy weight loss. When I was in my 20s, I didn’t have to worry about calories/quantity at all - now I do. Still, I don’t have to worry too much about gaining weight unless I really overindulge in carbs.
However, these changes are manageable for me, in a way that an 800-calorie starvation diet plus 6+ hours of exercise never could be (for me or anyone else). The regimen these people subject themselves to is a huge shock to the system - it is completely unsurprising that the body revolts in this fashion. It seems crazy to me that these people are surprised that they can’t maintain this drastic loss with a “normal” amount of exercise and calories - if you had to go to those lengths to lose it, why would you think maintaining it would be easier?
Or, the lesson is that this stigma around fat is a problem. Presuming fat provides visible evidence for glutton and sloth is misguided at best. Similarly, as many other studies address, fat isn’t even a clear visible indicator for health issues.
So yeah, the lesson isn’t don’t get fat but get off people’s jocks.
I was very thin until I was about 30. Then I went to work at a place that had a canteen - its overall supervision was part of my facilities management responsibilities. Three course lunches were no way to stay thin. Since then, thirty five years have passed - and weight has more than doubled. Yes, I’m fat. Gluttony and sloth are definitely the causes.
I share this story with you. Thursday night, I stopped at the Chinese takeaway. While I was waiting for the food, the owner’s son - a lovely lad of about four or five - started chatting. In fact, he offered me some noodles from his bowl (declined - even I have standards). Then he came out from behind the service counter to take a photo of me with his mum’s phone. When he’d finished, he patted me on my stomach and announced “You’re having a baby!”.
You better name it Jr, that’s all I’m saying!
I couldn’t disagree with you more. Full disclosure I am fat, “obese” my entire life and even after a recent 50± weight loss I’m still technically obese. (Can’t get down to just overweight on the BMI chart)
Obesity is a problem it is not a natural part of our evolution and is causing an epidemic in diseases like diabetes (myself included). While I do believe it’s a serious problem I also don’t blame Mc Donald’s or fast food etc. I blame my adult lifestyle of an over abundance of food and alcohol combined with an under abundance of activity.
While I do not believe in “fat-shaming” or fat-bashing people, I personally think this “acceptance” of people’s sizes is the WRONG message to send. Making larger “rounder” Barbie dolls etc is not the right direction or message to send. While we might not all be Barbie or Ken dolls, there is NOTHING wrong with trying to aspire to be. You should not just accept yourself and not strive to improve, physically, mentally or emotionally. Life is a journey and it should be one of constant evolution and the attempt at self improvement, NOT complacency.
I’ll be the first to admit that after 9 mos. now of diet and 5mos. of returning to the gym 3-5 days a week (I’m off there shortly) I will probably NEVER be not medically obese. I’m ok with that, I accept myself for who and what I am, but that doesn’t mean I’m just going to be complacent about it. Will I ever reach my goal? Maybe not, but every night I lay my head to sleep, I do so with the peace in knowing I did all I could that day to try and reach my goal. That is good enough for me, that is what we should teach our youth.
The only failure in life is the failure to try.
You disagree and think fat and fat people should continue to be stigmatised? You disagree that fat can readily be interpreted as visible evidence of a host of negatives (ill health, etc.)? And you think that your anecdotal experience should be read onto bodies around the world? Ok then. You keep doing you.
“While I do not believe in “fat-shaming” or fat-bashing people,”
I guess you just skipped over that. No they should NOT be stigmatized, I think that’s pretty clear. I just don’t think our general direction of embracing ourselves regardless of our size should be embraced.
It seems to me that the current direction towards acceptance of our (speaking for Americans don’t know if you are or aren’t) ever growing size is the wrong attitude to have. No there shouldn’t be a stigma, but the fight for healthy weight, lifestyle, activity and overall health should not be abandoned in the name of “self acceptance”.
Yes I do speak from experience, and yes these are my personal held views I share with my young adult children. Neither have any weight issues, however with me as their father they certainly have the genetics to become “larger”. I caution them all the time of this, to be diligent, and not to make the same poor life choices I did that led me on the path I currently am.
NJ, I really agree with everything you’ve written here. Except the Barbie doll thing. Here’s just one article about “her.”
I’ve only half jokingly said to our daughters that if any of their children (boys and girls) get Barbie dolls we’re giving their college funds to others. Bad message to send.
Again, I praise all you’ve written and done. Best, Cath
The lesson is to enjoy life!
The inspiration for the Barbie doll was the Lilli doll, which was supposed to be a golddigger.
I’m old enough to have had the first Barbie design, with that same Lilli face, which was rather sly and offputting. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bild_Lilli_doll
How cool to see that! I’m older than you but don’t remember that at all. Thanks for sharing.
Well she was a woman right?
I confirmed that canteen doesn’t help. These days, my work place has a canteen, the lady always serves way too much even I kindly asked her not to. Sometimes, I eat everything even though I don’t even feel hungry (not too say food is bland without much salt but strangely, everything is sweetened.) I gained some weigh in just a few months. Since 2 weeks, I bring my own food, I see some myself trimming down a bit.
My partner used to work for Shell and would periodically visit offices across Europe. She always enjoyed eating in the canteen in the Paris office - it was the only one across the whole company where wine was permitted to be served.
In the canteen, there’s an elder employee of over 80 years old, he is the only one that has the right to drink small bottle of wine each day. I guess with that age, you always have the right to keep your old habits.
" from the NYT article: “Unfortunately, many contestants are unable to find or afford adequate ongoing support with exercise doctors, psychologists, sleep specialists, and trainers — and that’s something we all need to work hard to change,” he said in an email."
Oh for god’s sake. Plenty of people can’t pay their basic medical bills, or more to the point their mortgage payments or their rent. And yet what “we all need to work hard to change” is providing employment to Weight Loss Industry professionals? Because if we have learned ONE thing from The Biggest Loser it’s how “effective” their techniques are in the long run.
While I’m not for “life-threatening obesity” acceptance I’m certainly in favor of “zaftig/plump” acceptance.
Can’t just “like” this. Some people have their priorities all messed up. Once no one is homeless or hungry…no, we still don’t need to do this. The list of needs is endless. IMneverHO of course.