re: obesity

September 8, 2009

I had some new thoughts on this issue. I had someone explain to me that it was unfortunate that a store did not carry sizes larger than XXL. And all I could think was that XXL is really large, and why in the world do we have to apologize for the fact that we don’t accommodate a size that would often indicate an unhealthy lifestyle. You’d never hear someone apologize for no smoking areas.

First, obesity is a very gradual problem. Other self-inflicted problems are often black and white – you start smoking, you quit smoking, you don’t smoke anymore. But gaining weight is always a relatively slow process, and losing weight is usually slower. It makes it much harder to comment on the unhealthy aspects of weight until it’s actually a problem and even then, it’s hard to know if the problem is being addressed. And no one on a diet wants to be reminded that they’re overweight.

Second, pretty much all self-inflicted issues except drug addictions are left to grow until they already cause major problems. Anorexics and bulimics often end up in the hospital. Depression and suicide also go untreated until they severely impact a person’s life. So really, obesity is treated similarly – or rather not treated until it causes heart problems, diabetes, or severely limits physical or social activities.

And yes, obesity is similar to ugliness. However, at least for the ladies, not being pretty is something that should be fixed as much as possible with make-up, surgery, flattering clothes, etc. And these quick fixes could easily be applied to help overweight people, without actually solving anything. Someone who has the habits that lead to obesity gets liposuction or stomach staples and the symptoms are eliminated, but the problems still remain.



  1. I want to deal with the end first. Prettiness is not universal. The media does what the media does because they’re obsessed with money. They don’t care if 99% of people don’t look like that. Shit, even the people on the magazine covers don’t look like that. Even the most anorexic supermodel is still photoshopped to create this surreal caricature of humanity. So they can’t take a chance of running a “fat” person on the cover because maybe people won’t buy it. It’s all psychological BS.

    But, at any rate, prettiness isn’t universal. I know I don’t find models attractive at all. If I can count all your ribs, that’s pretty gross, not hot. I like the pinup girls from the 40s. Girls need to have thighs and some “tummy”. Otherwise where’s the femininity? If the girl doesn’t have any fat, she doesn’t have curves. And if she doesn’t have curves, she’s just a guy with breasts and female sex organs. But, some other guys disagree.

    So, I don’t know if it’s something subconscious that you girls can’t turn off, but screw trying to be skinny. You need to know your body and know your healthy fat amount. Some girls are just naturally a little fatter than others. So what?

    But back to the meat of your blog post. I think the reason weight problems are harder than drug problems is the heap problem. Quick refresher – if I have one less hair on my head, am I bald? No. If I have one less than that am I bald? No. So I can never be bald by subtracting one hair at a time. After all, everyone knows what bald is, but if you took a bald person, how much hair would it take for them to not be bald. And if you said, X number of hairs is not bald and then removed one, would you find someone who would now call him bald? It’s the same with weight gain/loss. At what point is your weight gain too much? After all, you have to allow for variations in diet, exercise levels, age, etc So it’s hard to tell someone – no, no you have gained one too many pounds you are now on your way to obesity.

    And, let me stop here and say that it’s not even about weight. And it’s not about BMI either, because that only works for lazy people. My sister-in-law’s boyfriend has an unhealthy BMI, but he’s solid muscle. It’s just that, as far as I know, there’s no cheap and easy way for someone to measure their fat content. But that’s what you need to worry about. Who care’s how much you weigh? For an equal volume, muscle is more dense than fat and therefore weighs more. So if you just monitor weight, at some point your weight loss will plateau and then, as you really begin to bulk up, it will rise. What you need to look at is muscle tone. Are your arms flabby or muscular? (Allowing, of course, for variations between the sexes)

    And, finally, obesity is just a symptom. The goal is not to be unfat. The point is to be healthy. And that’s what brings me back to my first set of points. For some people, they are healthy and have a gut or a big butt or large thighs. I’ve seen guys at the gym who run for an hour and then lift weights that put me to shame. But they have a huge gut. Are they necessarily unhealthy? After all, the process of exercise helps to fortify bones, clear out arteries of cholesterol, increase oxygen capacity, etc. So the point is that you need to be doing some kind of exercise to build up your body for when it starts breaking up once you’re old. Don’t worry about whether you’ve got some fat here or there. Worry about whether you’re exercising. And you’ll be as healthy as you can be.

  2. […] need a blog. « habit. blame. January 19, 2010 I think I’ve posted enough about obesity. But this post touched on a slightly different aspect – the culpability of the individual […]

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