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Is it okay to be fat?

http://www.hulu.com/embed/gpabQ23QRCHrDSAA80er1g

I just came across this Nightline Face-off episode on the concept of "fatness" as it relates to health, government policy, and cultural ideals of beauty. It was really interesting and especially relevant to conversations that have arisen in several different threads on the forums recently. Above you can watch a sort of 20 minute summary with a whole bunch of excerpts from the debate. You can watch the full debate on ABC's website, but it's quite a bit longer and I wanted to post something brief enough that people will have time to watch it and share their thoughts.

So, vegwebbers, what do you think? Is it true, as one panelist claims, that the notion of a person being fat and healthy is an oxymoron? Who (if anyone) should decide where we draw the line that distinguishes "healthy" bodies from "fat" bodies? What do you think about this idea of reclaiming the word fat so it's no longer a dirty word? What's your reaction to the panelists arguments about biological determinism (i.e. you're fat because your genes make you so) versus behavioral control (i.e. your eating habits determine how your body looks)?

One thing that struck me was that it was a debate amongst women. The moderator was female, as well as all four panelists. Uh huh. That's all I'm going to say about that.

Moreover, how do you decide what constitutes a medical reason for being overweight?

They could wear different colored arm bands for different medical reasons.  When there is more than one reason, they could wear an armband with the different color band widths representing the proportion of that reason, so the the overriding reason has a thicker color band.  That way, if someone decides that they don't approve of a particular reason, the overweight person is still open to partial public shaming.

Being overweight can be as much an eating disorder as being underweight.  If we shame overweight people, we will also necessarily need to shame underweight people.  Therefore, underweight people will have to wear armbands, too.

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Moreover, how do you decide what constitutes a medical reason for being overweight?

They could wear different colored arm bands for different medical reasons.  When there is more than one reason, they could wear an armband with the different color band widths representing the proportion of that reason, so the the overriding reason has a thicker color band.  That way, if someone decides that they don't approve of a particular reason, the overweight person is still open to partial public shaming.

Being overweight can be as much an eating disorder as being underweight.  If we shame overweight people, we will also necessarily need to shame underweight people.  Therefore, underweight people will have to wear armbands, too.

sold.

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irreverent, know going into this discussion that people on vw are more obsessed and disturbed by weight than by the clubbing of baby seals.

AlicePleasance, your name is ironic.

;)  No worries, I know what I look like, and that's part of the reason I agreed wholeheartedly when my doc suggested I go veg.   ;)b
I've never been skinny, but 180 is the goal my doctor and I have set.  I was at 367 just 2.5 years ago.  I'm 5'6".  :o  It's amazing what your body will do when it is being pumped full of chemicals, no matter whether those chemicals come from a doctor or the foods you choose.
Still, my fault or not, it was awful, I couldn't move, couldn't do my yoga, couldn't do so many simple things that other people take for granted.  Like go to the movies.  Nope! Rear gear too big to fit in theatre seats!   I love hiking, but a 2 mile nature walk on a paved path nearly killed me.  Even car rides longer than 30 minutes were excruciating.  I'm back down to 232 216!! at present, and the difference in the way I feel and move is incredible.  I still can't sit in Lotus (yet) but I can actually do floor exercises again.  
There is a joke between me and my BFF that my hysterectomy was the "easiest 20 lb I ever lost."  It was!!  Once you've packed on the pounds for whatever reason they get comfortable in their new home and they're hard to evict.
Really really hard.  But not impossible.

All this just to illustrate that NO, super-fatness doesn't feel good.  I also don't think every woman was born to be a size 8.  
I honestly wasn't offended by the statements I quoted, and I'm sorry if I came off that way.  I was just answering the question and letting folks know that as far as airlines go, weight/fatness is something you have to pay extra for.

Edit: just climbed on the scale for S&G, and have lost 16 lb in the last 2 months.

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Moreover, how do you decide what constitutes a medical reason for being overweight?

They could wear different colored arm bands for different medical reasons.  When there is more than one reason, they could wear an armband with the different color band widths representing the proportion of that reason, so the the overriding reason has a thicker color band.  That way, if someone decides that they don't approve of a particular reason, the overweight person is still open to partial public shaming.

Being overweight can be as much an eating disorder as being underweight.  If we shame overweight people, we will also necessarily need to shame underweight people.  Therefore, underweight people will have to wear armbands, too.

lol. Let's get these policies in place, NOW. Screw healthcare. I nominate HH for President.  :agree?:

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I dunno I'm a little scared to comment but I think you can be pleasantly plump and healthy (you just like to indulge a little, maybe don't exercise that much) but not obese and healthy... I agree that the BMI may be screwed up if your really athletic but in general I think it's pretty accurate...

I was overweight as a teenager and it was just plain uncomfortable... Being obese, as some have said, does put a lot of pressure on your body and can cause health problems... Obese =  not healthy IMO

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I nominate HH for President.

It's because I find common ground.  8)

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aml - I think we're all in agreement that morbidly obese isn't healthy, but people can make healthy choices at any size.  If that makes sense.  A person who is a size 12 or 14 can be healthy.  The public shaming stuff is nonsense, though.

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Well, I use to weigh 292 lbs, and I can tell you I was not fat and happy, I had a whole lot of health issues..I was borderline diabetic, had high blood pressure, and couldn't even walk out to the mail box without getting out of breath...I wore a womans size 28...having been there, I can't really believe that there are people out there that are 100lbs or more overweight, and ok with it. its not healthy to be that fat, you are cutting your life short.
I now weigh between 125 and130 lbs, if my weight creeps over 130, I cut back until I lose the 5 lbs...I followed Dr. John McDougalls plan(which is almost vegan)He saved my life...He is the reason I am totally vegan now...to each his own, but this is one former "fat Chick" that is happy to be thin  ;)b

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aml - I think we're all in agreement that morbidly obese isn't healthy, but people can make healthy choices at any size.  If that makes sense.  A person who is a size 12 or 14 can be healthy.  The public shaming stuff is nonsense, though.

yes okay i agree... and the public shaming is a really bad idea... i think part of why i developed an ED... my dad, mom, and boys at school would constantly make fun of me so i just stopped eating and well the rest is history and I was a size 12 and 5 '7

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I used "morbidly obese" without knowing what it actually measured. 

Persons who are 50-100% or 100 pounds above their ideal body weight.

So, if someone's "ideal" body weight was 125 pounds, 50% more would be 187.5 pounds.  I'm not sure I agree that a person can't be healthy at 187.5 pounds.  I know someone at about that amount who is healthy in all the touted ways.  She could be the exception to the rule, but I guess I can't make a blanket statement.  I think it depends on the person.

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In his prime, Arnold Schwarzenegger was morbidly obese according to the BMI scale.  ;D

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aml - I think we're all in agreement that morbidly obese isn't healthy, but people can make healthy choices at any size.  If that makes sense.  A person who is a size 12 or 14 can be healthy.  The public shaming stuff is nonsense, though.

Am I the only one who doesn't thinka  size 12 or 14 is fat?!

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I don't think a person that wears a size 12 or 14 is fat, all of our bodies are different, and the way sizes run I can wear from a size 4 to a 7 it depends on the maker. My older sister has always warn a 14 or 16 when she is in her weight range, she has a bigger statue than me... she is also taller she is 5'7" and I'm 5'1", her normal weight goes from 155lbs to 165lbs, and thats healthy for her, she has lost alot of weight too, but she looks and feels best when her weight falls in that range

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I was basing that on the video.  In the clip, I believe the woman on the right was telling the size 12 model on the left that she was unhealthily fat.

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I... have a lot of feelings about this subject and am SO hesitant to post, because I know people are going to jump all over me, but whatever.

I 100% believe that you can be UNHEALTHY at every size, let me just say that first. Skinny does NOT equal healthy.
I am also going to preface this by saying that my definition of health is probably a lot different than a lot of yours, so.. well, yeah.

I used to be a big "health at sizes" person (obviously not including obese-sorry!), but I was pretty overweight for a while (like from the end of my junior year of college up until a few months after I graduated.. and that included while I was BIKING ACROSS THE COUNTRY) and I thought "Hey, I'm vegan, I can still do endurance athletics, I don't have any overt health problems.. I'm super healthy!"... but in truth I wasn't, both physically and mentally. I had knee issues a lot both while riding my bike and (especially) running, I am sure I had (and still do, but hopefully they are decreasing and going away) countless unseen problems that were sure to show up as time passed. I was depressed for a good deal of that time and that led to issues with food (overeating, numbing myself emotionally by eating foods that we're not designed to eat=hard to digest and takes up the nerve energy that would be spent dealing with your emotions) I do not believe that what most of the world views as normal health is normal at all. I don't believe that one should be getting sick with colds or the flu, I don't believe that one should have medical issues that make them overweight if they are in perfect health (Right? I mean, medical issue automatically means non-healthy). Also, I don't know how much I really believe in a genetic predisposition to being fat anymore, either. As you can probably infer from my post, even while doing crazy athletic feats, I was still overweight. Now I'm not.. All I had to do was change my freaking diet and lifestyle. And I was previously on a "healthy" vegan diet, anyway. I don't feel like I had to battle something in order to do it, either. I do not think that we should ridicule those who are fat, I do not believe they are to blame for everything, I do not necessarily even believe that they are necessarily unhealthy (in the conventional sense, not in my sense), but I do believe that in 99.99% of cases they could probably stand changing their habits AND that they would probably end up losing weight (I have yet to see a person that follows what I view to be a healthy remain fat, but I do not discount the possibility). but 99.99% of skinny people also could use habit changing.

basically, i am for a focus on health and not caring about your weight. if you are healthy your weight will be where it is supposed to.
i have to go now, so this may be ill explained, but it's what i beleive more or less.

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This sure sounds like the "is the glass half full or half empty thing".

A person can be healthy at any size, and a person can be unhealthy at any size.  I like to think the glass is half full  >:D since I am "fat", well "overweight" technically but I am healthy.  So you can be healthy at any weight. 

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hesp - A lot of what you're saying is what everyone is saying.  What do you think people are going to jump all over you about?

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Perhaps hespy was hesitant to post for the same reason I was. On another thread like this--the focus on fitness vs. overnight thread, I tried to say the same thing, and somehow I still came out looking like a bad guy. I never understood what happened, so I left. All I was saying is that it's not the right idea to think that weight has nothing to do with being unhealthy, and somehow that made me judgmental. I said that people can be unhealthy at any size, but this seemed to have gotten lost in the shuffle, and I did not feel like I was being understood for what I was truly trying to say, so I stopped posting.

I know it's not the popular thing to say that overweight can be unhealthy, but I think it's silly to say there's no correlation at all. Like I said before, and I will say again, I think I have a very different view of what "overweight" is. I work at a private, liberal arts college with extremely privileged individuals, and the vast majority of the students here are so skinny and rich and beautiful. Then I go home to my hometown where I see humongous people that look absolutely miserable, people who are my age (early 20s) and are so large they cannot walk to get their groceries inside of the store and have to use the scooters. I don't know what anything in between looks like. When I said I had never seen a 500 pound person at a marathon, I meant it. When I go to races, I see runners. This is what seems normal to me, because we are participating in the same activity. I said it in the last thread and I will say it now: I am more than willing to admit that I have a skewed sense of what is "normal" (whatever that means).

I used to be a lot bigger than I am now, and I told myself I was healthy. I played basketball, volleyball, track and field,and cross country in high school. I was a vegetarian, didn't really eat much processed foods, but I by the time I got to college I could only run 2 or so miles before I was absolutely pooped for the rest of the day. How healthy could I have been when I couldn't run 20 minutes without falling over? I got colds all the time and I felt tired constantly. This is how I went through the majority of my undergrad career. Then I got tired of making excuses and feeling like crap and started running a lot. And you know what? I lost weight. I didn't plan on losing weight, I planned on getting healthy. And I did, and apparently my body thought I had too much excess fat, because it went away when I started running more--I lost 30 pounds just from actually moving my ass. So, I don't know how to argue with the fact that when you get healthier you lose weight (if you have excess to lose). I want to state the disclaimer that I am a perfectly healthy individual, aside from my IBS, and I didn't have any medical reason to be overweight. Just excuses.

I do not want to be made into a judgmental jerk. I know what it took to get healthy and I know it isn't easy. I understand the excuses we make for ourselves--I did it for years! But I am so tired of seeing people in their 20s already on high blood pressure meds and cholesterol lowering meds and I know of people that have died of heart attacks in their 30s, after their doctors told them to lose weight. This is scary, and this is real. I've watched members of my family grow bigger and bigger every year and go to the hospital for increasing medical problems. My own brother is 26 and since high school has gained well over 100 pounds. He's so large he cannot walk without waddling anymore. And all of a sudden he's getting all of these medical problems that people in our family don't typically start getting until their 40s. This is scary, but for some reason it's taboo for people to talk about weight. If he were a smoker and getting sick, I would feel like I could say something about quitting smoking.

I'm with hespy--we need to be focusing on health, and (I think) the weight will adjust to where your body wants to be. So, I agree that overweight does not = unhealthy, and I said that previously. BUT overweight CAN POSSIBLY = unhealthy, and should be used as a means to begin evaluating healthy. Like Newshoes posted in the other forum, athletes, such as Arnold Schwarten...the governor--can be labeled as "obese" with their BMI. That's why it is a guide, not a rule. A flawed guide, indeed, but there was a reason my old BMI told me I was overweight, because I apparently had 30 pounds that were ready to fall off as soon as I became healthy.

Okay, rant over, but I wanted to post all the disclaimers that go with it, because I don't want to be seen as a judgmental bad guy. Thoughts? Anyone still think I'm a complete asshole?

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Anyone still think I'm a complete asshole?

::raises hand::

i kid. i kid.

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I'm with hespy--we need to be focusing on health, and (I think) the weight will adjust to where your body wants to be. So, I agree that overweight does not = unhealthy, and I said that previously. BUT overweight CAN POSSIBLY = unhealthy, and should be used as a means to begin evaluating healthy.

I don't think anyone would debate you on that.

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eta:  I think I figured out where some of the fitness disagreement comes from.  I thnik some people, like miyself, are talking about the wider range of fitness, and some people are talking about a narrow range of ultimate fitness.  For example, most people would say that if you can bike across the country, then you are fit.  Hesp disagrees that it's a fitness indicator.  I think it's like Level 5 vegan.  Is a Level 3 or 4 vegan still vegan?  Is a Level 3 or 4 fit person actually fit?  Some people would say no and others would say yes.  Even if we thought a Level 4 fit person was fit, it doesn't mean we don't recognize that Level 5 is even more fit.

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