Worth Your Weight


Whenever I feel adrift in the fat acceptance community and tempted to go to war against my body, these are the points I return to and that keep me anchored:

  1. Fat people eat the same amount as thin people do. This is a fairly radical idea, but well documented in Gina Kolata’s Rethinking Thin. Junkfood Science talks about it, too. My mind often comes back to the woman who performed a size zero diet experiment and who pre-diet consumed around 2500 calories a day. The obesity experts would call that a good eating plan to get/stay fat. Yet, she is not fat.
  2. Fat people are not fat because they under-exercise. In Glen Gaesser’s Calorie Myths lecture in 2007, he mentioned the results of a study that showed the difference in weight between the least active subjects and the most active was five to seven pounds. Laura Fraser, author of Losing It, puts the figure at four to seven.
  3. Fat people are not fat because of psychological problems. From Rethinking Thin, pp. 93-94:

    The conclusion reached by Stunkard and others who were doing similar experiments was unmistakable: There is no psychiatric pathology that spells obesity. And there is no response to food that is not shared by people who are not fat. You can’t say you got fat because you, unlike thin people, are unable to resist temptation. Both fat and thin people are tempted by the sweet smell of brownies or the sight of a dish of creamy cold ice cream. You can’t say you got fat because there is a lot of stress in your life. Thin people are just as likely to eat under stress. You can’t say it was because you used food as a reward. If that is the reason, then why do thin people, who also use food as a reward, stay thin?


  4. Fat does not equal unfit. Covered extensively in the Fatosphere, plus see the last paragraph under “About this blog”
  5. Normal eating has zip to do with calories, carb count, and fat grams. See the Ellyn Satter quote here.
  6. Fat is not an aberration; it’s a variation. Again, from Rethinking Thin (forgive me; it’s sort of become my FA bible), p. 115:

    The Rockefeller researchers explained their observations in one of their papers: “Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of this study was that the removal of obesity by means of caloric deprivation led to behavioral alterations similar to those observed in the starvation of non-obese individuals. It is entirely possible that weight reduction, instead of resulting in a normal state for obese patients, results in an abnormal state resembling that of starved non-obese individuals.”

    Eventually, more than fifty people went through the months-long process of living at the hospital and losing weight, and every one of them had these physical and psychological signs of starvation, Hirsch reports.

  7. My most successful weight loss attempt killed my gall bladder. Even though for years doctors had recited the risk factors for gall bladder disease as “forty, fat, and female,” they never factored in the most important part of that equation. Fat females in their 40s are highly likely to have dieted repeatedly. Dieting is linked to gall bladder disease. I know we are expected to function without it, but I think the removal of my gall bladder has made digestion more difficult for me. If for nothing else, I vow not to harm my body and its organs again by dieting — a “prescription” that’s never been proven safe or effective yet ironically is looked at with inexplicable forgiveness when it comes to side effects and complications.
  8. Exercising for fun and eating normally — NOT for weight loss — makes me feel good.

Leave a Comment »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: