The Dilemma of Body Positivity

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Comments

  • DoublethinkDoublethink Shipmate
    edited June 15
    I agree support from primary care varies from useless to none existent. It’s like they think it’s never occurred to you before. I know what healthy living advice is - kinda obviously here I am with 30 years history of it not working for me.

    There is almost no real understanding of the role of mental health at primary care level either, I have cyclothymic mood and that hugely effects what I am able to do at different times. When you are holding things together by the skin of your teeth, you have to prioritise what you can do and tolerate.
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    Being at that age where the aesthetics of the body matter less than its functionality/durability, I am definitely into prioritising mental health. Not any vibrant well-being, just fucking coping.

    Is what Mr F and I eat - and more particularly drink - good for us? Not very, especially for him. But you have incurable cancer and a sporting chance of a fatal stroke - you're going to deny yourself any pleasure you can?
  • orfeoorfeo Ship-mate
    edited June 15
    @NOprophet_NØprofit - but according to everything I've read for years, diets and dieting does not work, never has - see this HuffPost long article. Changing lifestyles might, but that's a lifestyle change and it's costly.

    The whole notion that a "diet" is anything other than what you eat day in day out, as part of your lifestyle, is a tragic perversion of the word and something that really needs to be stopped.

    People should not to be told to "go on" a diet, or to diet. They just shouldn't. Nor should anyone be talking about going on a diet or being on a diet. It's a bad idea that doesn't work and creates entirely the wrong mindset, and fundamentally it isn't healthy.

    But that "lifestyle change" you're talking about? That might very possibly include changing your diet.

  • RuthRuth Shipmate
    Most so-called lifestyle change programs involve restrictive diets.
  • CaissaCaissa Shipmate
    Does anyone have experience with Noom?
  • Ruth wrote: »
    I have no idea what point you're trying to make, @Leorning Cniht, with your anecdote about someone ordering fast food.

    That people lie to themselves, and to each other, about food. In this case, the customer is lying to someone. It might be her friend. It might be herself.
    Ruth wrote: »
    How dare a person who should be losing weight order fast food!

    More like "If you want to lose weight, stay away from fast food restaurants." Nowhere in my post did I pass an opinion on whether a person "should" lose weight - but if you do want to lose weight, then large burger and fries probably isn't helping. In fact, if you do want to lose weight, then nothing that is sold at that establishment will help you.

    If you want to lose weight, fine. If you want to eat burgers and fries, fine. If you want to lose weight whilst eating burgers and fries - well, it's possible, in theory, but it's difficult, because there's a lot of calories in those fast food meals.

    I find that if I want to do something that I don't really want to do, then the way to get myself to do it is to set up the conditions so that it's easy to do what I think I should do. So, for example, I thought I was drinking too much and wanted to drink less. If there's beer in my house, I'll drink it. If there isn't beer in my house, I probably won't bother to get up and go to the store to get some beer. If I go shopping in the late afternoon, I'm quite likely to buy beer. If I shop in the morning, I can prevent myself from buying beer. So my solution for "I think I'm drinking more than I want to" is to shop in the morning.

  • BullfrogBullfrog Shipmate
    edited June 15
    There's a story I heard about in college. There was a population of native americans in the American SW who had survived in a desert since time immemorial. They were also very late to the "get colonized" game because the land they lived on was generally of little use to anyone else.

    But they did eventually get colonized and more-or-less forcibly introduced to the "western" lifestyle.

    Obesity and heart disease skyrocketed, for the obvious reason that when your population has adapted over many generations to surviving on near-nothing, a diet heavy in meat is going to be hard on your system.

    Now, would you - in classical racist fashion - say these natives were immoral people? Failures in self discipline? Or just, to an extent, victims of a cultural shift none of them asked for?

    I think there's a similar story with weight. We all have different metabolic engines. Personally, I'm near 40 and I weigh about what I did as a teenager, more or less 150 lbs and 5'9". I don't go out of my way for exercise, though I probably walk and bike more than the average American. I eat about what I've always ate, reasonably healthy. I don't work for this body. I just happen to possess it. I remember, in my 20s, hearing a somewhat older guy warn me "oh, you'll start putting on weight when you're 30, watch out." Never happened. I might eat a little less than I used to, but not substantially. I figure I'm just lucky, in my society, to have a body that's well adapted to its metabolic intake. I expect if there were a real famine, I might not fare as well as other people whose bodies store their calories more intensively.

    I suspect some people, through the genetic roulette, may have bodies adapted to starvation, which I've heard was often the norm through human history. Bodies store up fat for the same reason an animal that is routinely starved will tend to overeat. My household includes some dogs, and they are constantly looking for food scraps even when their loving mistress feeds them on the regular. It seems to be a thing biological organisms do.

    I think everyone has their own body with its own troubles, and it's up to them to do the best they can do with it. But since I don't know the genetic heritage of every person, I don't really think it's my business to "judge" anyone else for their living habits vis a vis their physique. Seems rude.
  • "Physicians" is what is usually meant by "health care professional". They're trained to deal very well with short term medical health problems. And are good at this. For chronic health conditions, less good. And for behavioural health conditions not very good at all. Telling patients to lose weight isn't health care, it's like advice from your neighbour. Adherence to a behavioural health plan takes a lot more.
  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
    edited June 15
    Skin problems are rarely spoken about on the subject of body positivity.

    Sometimes nice, smooth blemishes are featured. But horrible, scaly psoriasis? Nope.

    I had a huge patch on my neck and one down my cheek as a teenager - of all my psoriasis patches, that’s the one I remember most - and I can still feel the ‘shame’ it caused me. I put the word shame in inverted commas because it wasn’t so much shame as a defiant self consciousness. But when a whole dining hall of people turn and look at you when you walk in the room, the feeling it engenders is hard to describe.

    But one thing being different does do - it teaches resilience. I soon learned not to care about what other people think of my looks. Far younger than my peers learned such resilience. My parents were really good at helping me deal with it too.
  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
    Back on the subject of weight. I’ve stopped dieting - I agree that it causes far more problem than it solves. But I work hard at eating a healthy diet and only drinking alcohol at weekends, and then in moderation.

    Keeping my bones healthy has become a major consideration for me, so running is out of the question (too jarring for a weak unstable spine) but I’m trying to walk further each day.
  • RuthRuth Shipmate
    edited June 15
    Ruth wrote: »
    I have no idea what point you're trying to make, @Leorning Cniht, with your anecdote about someone ordering fast food.

    That people lie to themselves, and to each other, about food. In this case, the customer is lying to someone. It might be her friend. It might be herself.

    You don't even know if she ate that food.
    Ruth wrote: »
    How dare a person who should be losing weight order fast food!

    More like "If you want to lose weight, stay away from fast food restaurants." Nowhere in my post did I pass an opinion on whether a person "should" lose weight - but if you do want to lose weight, then large burger and fries probably isn't helping. In fact, if you do want to lose weight, then nothing that is sold at that establishment will help you.

    You don't know what else that person ate that week or that month. You don't even know if that person really wanted to lose weight. She might very well have been entirely lying about dieting.
    If you want to lose weight, fine. If you want to eat burgers and fries, fine. If you want to lose weight whilst eating burgers and fries - well, it's possible, in theory, but it's difficult, because there's a lot of calories in those fast food meals.

    Very helpful. No one here would ever have possibly figured that out if you hadn't told us.
    I find that if I want to do something that I don't really want to do, then the way to get myself to do it is to set up the conditions so that it's easy to do what I think I should do. So, for example, I thought I was drinking too much and wanted to drink less. If there's beer in my house, I'll drink it. If there isn't beer in my house, I probably won't bother to get up and go to the store to get some beer. If I go shopping in the late afternoon, I'm quite likely to buy beer. If I shop in the morning, I can prevent myself from buying beer. So my solution for "I think I'm drinking more than I want to" is to shop in the morning.

    Well, good for you. But the thread is about body positivity. That kind of anecdote -- Fat person says they're dieting but eats burger and fries! -- is an example of the reason fat people are talking about body positivity. It's fat shaming. Don't.
  • Amanda B ReckondwythAmanda B Reckondwyth Mystery Worship Editor
    Whenever anyone asks me if I exercise, I reply that I get all the exercise I need attending funerals of people who exercised.

    I believe in moving the muscles and limbs as part of everyday living rather than as part of a prescribed regimen.

    As for weight, I have been 15-30 pounds overweight most of my adult life and am currently about 15 pounds heavier than I probably should be. I could lose it if I disciplined myself, but it would come back sooner or later.

    I think I eat sensible, balanced meals, not too heavy on the portions, but I don't avoid foods that I really like, even though they might not be on some doctor's "diet".

    At 76 years old, my body has served me well this long, and I have no doubt that it will continue to do so for whatever time I might have left. As for that, I am determined not to live past the point where I can no longer take care of myself.
  • orfeoorfeo Ship-mate
    Diet shaming is not, in my view, fat shaming.

    It’s no different to any other situation where someone’s claims and someone’s behaviour don’t match. It’s not someone’s weight that is the problem there, it’s the mismatch between claiming to be aiming for weight loss and then eating in a way that is inconsistent with that.

    But I’ll say it again: the solution is to stop “dieting”. For one thing, the dieting mindset actually encourages people to go and “reward” themselves with what they still consider a “normal” meal, as a reward for all the times they were restricting themselves.

    You want to talk about body positivity? Going “on a diet” is not body positivity. Going “on a diet” is a SELF assessment that you’re not happy with your body - no alleged shaming from anyone else required. But the mindset created is liable to then lead to sabotaging the goal you’ve set for yourself.
  • orfeoorfeo Ship-mate
    Ruth wrote: »
    Most so-called lifestyle change programs involve restrictive diets.

    If you can’t sustain it, it’s not a lifestyle change.
  • orfeoorfeo Ship-mate
    To return to original post and the dilemma, it seems to me the basic problem is that, as with so many things, we seem as a society to move from one absolute to another and be unable to actually sit with the subtlety in the middle.

    Body positivity is, in one sense, an entirely appropriate reaction to the nonsense (especially for women) of telling everyone they have to have the same body shape, and a very slim one that is simply unhealthy for the majority of women. The demands placed on actresses and models and dances are perverse.

    The problem is that we seem liable to swing from acknowledging it’s wrong to expect everyone to be the same shape to concluding “therefore EVERY shape is fine”. Well, no. That is just as much a lie as the first lie. Some body shapes are unhealthy. That was in fact the point of correcting the first lie, because the one “approved” body shape was unhealthy for a lot of people. But that still means that for any given person, there ARE unhealthy body shapes. And pretending that there aren’t, that your body is axiomatically fine just how it is no matter what, is just as dangerous as pretending that everyone must have the same shape.

    Somehow we can’t find the middle ground between “one shape” and “all shapes” to say “a range of shapes”. We seem intent on either comparing each other so directly, or on rejecting any kind of assessment at all.

    The question ought to be what’s healthy for your own body. There will be a range for that, and it can easily look different to someone else’s appearance, and to my mind proper body positivity will involve accepting that different healthy bodies will look different to each other. It does not, though, mean accepting unhealthy bodies as being just as good as healthy ones.
  • GwaiGwai Epiphanies Host
    Everyone: Let's remember that fatshaming is right out around here. Certain posts are getting too close.

    @Leorning Cniht Your anecdote is not helpful and reinforces harmful stereotypes. You don't know that woman's situation, but you are judging her and using her as proof that people cheat their diets. Even if you are right about her, which you do not know, you have no evidence that she is normative.

    Gwai,
    Epiphanies Host
  • DoublethinkDoublethink Shipmate
    I suppose part of it is the apparent desire to put a moral value on being healthy. It may be desirable, but it is not a character trait - you can be a kind, caring, responsible person and still have poor health.
  • orfeoorfeo Ship-mate
    edited June 15
    I suppose part of it is the apparent desire to put a moral value on being healthy. It may be desirable, but it is not a character trait - you can be a kind, caring, responsible person and still have poor health.

    Yes... because we believe that body shape/weight is an element of your health you can control.

    Perhaps that needs some unpacking. Because some things that affect your health are entirely beyond personal control, but it’s also undoubtedly true that it’s possible to affect your health through your lifestyle and behaviour. So I think that’s why health is ascribed that kind of value.

    But we’re not necessarily good at correctly identifying what you can and can’t control. I have an acquaintance who’s had lung cancer. It’s undoubtedly true that smoking increases your risk of lung cancer, but he’s never smoked a cigarette in his life, and he and many other lung cancer patients have to battle the constant assumption that they are smokers and are to blame for their cancer.

    Similarly, there is some capacity for an individual to regulate what their body looks like, but it’s not unlimited capacity.
  • Body shape, size and weight is a partially controllable thing I think, and for some people more so than for others. And it does, in some/many cases relate to health status. But the shaming aspect is because perhaps it's far less expensive for a society to blame individuals than the things within the society for things that affect them.

    In my province (said to be the most overweight in Canada), systemic issues I know about are:
    1. very limited active transportation options- everything is built for car driving and everything else is denigrated, neighbourhoods built around the car, you can't walk to stores etc
    2. fast food, junk food marketting to children. They stopped this for smoking....
    3. sugar and salt added to most prepared foods, thus forming a palette for unhealthy foods very young
    4. levels of stress in modern society, and all the psychological-physical problems that are part of this
    5. children exposed to do less regular physical activity as a required part of school.
    6. People take themselves out of sport participation because of hyper-competitiveness over the taking part
    7. disconnection from nature and the natural world. The influence of technology - a community in northern Sask, 400 km (240 miles) from the next nearest community got internet and a cell phone tower. The effects were immediate: almost no kids are outside: they're all technology.

    Probably there's lots more about it.
  • orfeoorfeo Ship-mate
    All accurate.
  • BullfrogBullfrog Shipmate
    edited June 16
    ...I believe in moving the muscles and limbs as part of everyday living rather than as part of a prescribed regimen...
    This is very much my sense of it, but at least in America, I feel privileged to live in a space where that's a practical thing to do.

    I expect if I lived in the area I grew up in, I'd have to drive everywhere, which would eliminate most regular use for physical exertion. Bicycling makes a lot more sense for regular transport when your necessities all exist within a couple miles of your home. And living in the flatlands doesn't hurt. If I had to travel 10 or more miles to get to work...this wouldn't work.

  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    Bullfrog wrote: »
    ...I believe in moving the muscles and limbs as part of everyday living rather than as part of a prescribed regimen...
    This is very much my sense of it, but at least in America, I feel privileged to live in a space where that's a practical thing to do.

    I expect if I lived in the area I grew up in, I'd have to drive everywhere, which would eliminate most regular use for physical exertion. Bicycling makes a lot more sense for regular transport when your necessities all exist within a couple miles of your home. And living in the flatlands doesn't hurt. If I had to travel 10 or more miles to get to work...this wouldn't work.

    Why not? My place of work is a hilly 14 miles from home and can be cycled.
  • Leorning CnihtLeorning Cniht Shipmate
    edited June 16
    KarlLB wrote: »
    Why not? My place of work is a hilly 14 miles from home and can be cycled.

    "Can be cycled" is not binary.

    As it happens, I live a little under 14 miles from my place of work, and could cycle there. I even have cycled there once or twice.

    But I don't.

    Why not?

    1. It takes too long. It's about an hour on the bike vs 20-30 minutes in the car. So I'd have to get up at least half an hour earlier in the morning.
    2. The weather. Summers are too hot, winters are too snowy and icy. That doesn't leave long enough in the year for me to adopt cycling as a habit, even if I discounted 1.
    3. I not infrequently run errands on the way there or back. Some of these errands involve transporting a kid somewhere. Some are shopping.

    None of these are showstoppers - I could cycle to work if I wanted to enough. But they are, together, enough of a disincentive that they outweigh any desire I have to cycle to work. (For reference, when I lived in London, I cycled 6 miles or so each way to work, so I'm probably closer to the "disposed to cycle" end of the spectrum than the average person.)

    ETA: By contrast, my cycle to work in London was usually a few minutes faster than taking the tube, and quite a lot faster than taking the bus. And let's not even bother to mention the idea of trying to park a private car near my central London workplace. London weather is mild year-round: it's not infrequently wet, but rarely actually tries to kill me. And we had no kids in London, so I only had to worry about me, and not about extra people.

    And although I've got some excess weight around my middle, I'm not in too bad shape, considering, and don't have any significant health issues that would make it hard to perform physical activity.
  • KarlLB wrote: »
    Why not? My place of work is a hilly 14 miles from home and can be cycled.

    "Can be cycled" is not binary.

    As it happens, I live a little under 14 miles from my place of work, and could cycle there. I even have cycled there once or twice.

    But I don't.

    Why not?

    1. It takes too long. It's about an hour on the bike vs 20-30 minutes in the car. So I'd have to get up at least half an hour earlier in the morning.
    2. The weather. Summers are too hot, winters are too snowy and icy. That doesn't leave long enough in the year for me to adopt cycling as a habit, even if I discounted 1.
    3. I not infrequently run errands on the way there or back. Some of these errands involve transporting a kid somewhere. Some are shopping.

    None of these are showstoppers - I could cycle to work if I wanted to enough. But they are, together, enough of a disincentive that they outweigh any desire I have to cycle to work. (For reference, when I lived in London, I cycled 6 miles or so each way to work, so I'm probably closer to the "disposed to cycle" end of the spectrum than the average person.)

    ETA: By contrast, my cycle to work in London was usually a few minutes faster than taking the tube, and quite a lot faster than taking the bus. And let's not even bother to mention the idea of trying to park a private car near my central London workplace. London weather is mild year-round: it's not infrequently wet, but rarely actually tries to kill me. And we had no kids in London, so I only had to worry about me, and not about extra people.

    And although I've got some excess weight around my middle, I'm not in too bad shape, considering, and don't have any significant health issues that would make it hard to perform physical activity.

    ebikes are the thing which is extending commuting distance by bicycle. People happily use an ebike to go 25 km (16 miles) to work in ordinary work clothing where I live. They are usable in winter to about -20°C. Studded winter tires. The sales of regular bicycles was flat until the pandemic, and ebikes taking off. I expect to pick a few non-ebikes in a few months at good prices.

    There are conversion kits which put a electric assist on the bottom bracket (where the pedal cranks attach to the frame, and also front or rear hub motors which have the weakness that they strain the forks.

    An ebike costs between 8 and 10 tanks of gasoline, depending.
  • BullfrogBullfrog Shipmate
    KarlLB wrote: »
    Bullfrog wrote: »
    ...I believe in moving the muscles and limbs as part of everyday living rather than as part of a prescribed regimen...
    This is very much my sense of it, but at least in America, I feel privileged to live in a space where that's a practical thing to do.

    I expect if I lived in the area I grew up in, I'd have to drive everywhere, which would eliminate most regular use for physical exertion. Bicycling makes a lot more sense for regular transport when your necessities all exist within a couple miles of your home. And living in the flatlands doesn't hurt. If I had to travel 10 or more miles to get to work...this wouldn't work.

    Why not? My place of work is a hilly 14 miles from home and can be cycled.

    I guess it depends. A lot of my errands also involve hauling children or groceries, and it gets heavy. I think where I grew up, you'd be looking at about 1000 ft elevatino change over about 16 miles to get from the town I was born in to the town I grew up in, and this would be a pretty regular commute. "Mountainous" might be the accurate word, though some may question whether the Appalachians are proper mountains.

    Mind, I know folks who talked about the ride like it was a regular thing, so maybe I don't have the same stamina as most. I also know locals who would see that kind of life as impossible.

    And yeah, I'm also fortunate to be a reasonably fit adult. I know people who have more health problems who would find even my urban Chicago bicycling to be a major burden.
  • Leorning CnihtLeorning Cniht Shipmate
    edited June 16
    ebikes are the thing which is extending commuting distance by bicycle. People happily use an ebike to go 25 km (16 miles) to work in ordinary work clothing where I live.

    How do these people avoid being spattered with mud etc.? In my cycle commuting days, what I wore was either jeans or shorts, and nobody cared if I turned up to work with mud-spattered legs. If I had worked at the sort of place where a suit, or at least a nice pair of pants, was the expected attire, I'd have had to change when I got there.
    An ebike costs between 8 and 10 tanks of gasoline, depending.

    Google got me a 2021 review for "best value ebike" that sent me to a $1200 model with a power-assist speed limited to 20 mph, and a range of 35 miles. So either we're looking at different kinds of bike, or you commute in something with very large gas tanks.

    Gas is currently $3.15 a gallon around here. I get a typical 35 mpg on my commute, so for our 14-miles-each-way trip, which just about falls in to the range of the ebike I found, I'm using 0.8 gal of gas per day at a cost of $2.52. Multiply by 250 workdays in a year, and we have $630 in gas for my annual commute. So if I were to commute year-round for two years, I'd recover the capital cost of the bike.
  • They are usable in winter to about -20°C. Studded winter tires.

    OK - I have another question about these e-bikes. What do people who commute in them do with them during the workday in the winter? Are they leaving them locked to bike stands in the car park to be snowed on and ice up during the day, and then trying to break the ice away before they leave, or are they bringing them indoors and leaving them in the corner of an office? 'cause they're pretty heavy to lug up the stairs.
  • They are usable in winter to about -20°C. Studded winter tires.

    OK - I have another question about these e-bikes. What do people who commute in them do with them during the workday in the winter? Are they leaving them locked to bike stands in the car park to be snowed on and ice up during the day, and then trying to break the ice away before they leave, or are they bringing them indoors and leaving them in the corner of an office? 'cause they're pretty heavy to lug up the stairs.

    I either lock up outside or at one location in a bike locker. Snow, not ice. I don't have an ebike anymore, just pedal. When I did I took battery inside to charge. This was really fun: https://wintercycling.org/Congress2021 . I'm in my 7th decade of life. If I can be active in all seasons so can younger folks.

    If you have significant precipitation, you'll want covered bike parking. This may involve shaming a city or employer re active transportation. If there's car parking there must be bike parking. There's many experiences people and organizations have to give ideas to push this. Right now in my city, there's a bylaw under study to require bike parking for retail stores and for multiple unit homes (flats, condos, townhomes etc). With the current Healthy Communities Initiatives in Canada, there's federal money for projects. There's also companies which want to donate. The circumstances will vary country to country, with international AT (active transportation) friends mostly doing better outside of North America re such things.

  • LouiseLouise Epiphanies Host
    edited June 17
    Hosting
    Please take the nuts and bolts of cycling (whether with e-bikes or not) to another board - either Heaven or maybe a cyclists support thread in All Saints. Or if you want a serious discussion about what would make cycling more popular or practicable then Purgatory would be the correct board.

    This thread is for discussing the 'balance between seeking health and not being ashamed of one’s body, and the balance of risk between metabolic health and exercise injuries.'

    Thanks
    Louise
    Epiphanies Host

    Hosting off



  • Louise wrote: »
    This thread is for discussing the 'balance between seeking health and not being ashamed of one’s body, and the balance of risk between metabolic health and exercise injuries.'

    I think we have widespread agreement that being significantly overweight tends to come with a set of poor health consequences, and that, other things being equal, it would be good for that person to weigh less.

    I think we also have widespread agreement that, for example, smoking, comes with a set of poor health consequences, and that, other things being equal, it would be good for a smoker to stop smoking.

    And yet being fat seems to carry a social stigma that smoking doesn't. It has become more socially unacceptable to smoke in public areas, but that's because other people don't want your smoke - not because of some moral condemnation of smoking. There is, perhaps, a certain amount of condemnation of smokers who smoke around their children (and I've heard broadly similar condemnation of parents who feed their overweight kids a diet of high-sugar processed food), but not of smoking itself.

    Is the only difference the aesthetic one - that people feel entitled to pass judgement over whether other people meet their aesthetic standards?
  • DoublethinkDoublethink Shipmate
    I think this BBC article is a surprisingly good summary of many people’s experience https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-57419041
  • I heard the lady featured in that story interviewed yesterday, and had come here to post something that came out of that story, loud and clear - obesity is genetic. People who find it easy to keep thin do not get how tough it is if you are genetically wired to put on weight to lose weight and to keep it off when lost. My mother and my grandmother before her spent all their lives dieting and I inherited their body shapes and tendency to gain weight.

    There's a fair bit of research around that diets recommended everywhere don't work: each time someone embarks on a starvation diet they reduce the number of calories their body needs to stay alive, so say the first few diets are 1000 calories a day, the next ones have to be on 800 calories a day, and then down to 600 calories a day to have an effect. The only way to lose weight is to change your life entirely - which is not necessarily possible if tied into a series of jobs that don't give time to spend two hours plus cooking and exercising a day, or even time to sit down and eat meals as a separate activity, rather than grabbing a sandwich at a desk.

    Building exercise into your day is usually suggested, but sedentary jobs and long commutes do not always allow for that. And metabolisms slow as we age, so we need fewer calories and have to convince our bodies that may not be good at regulating our appetites to recognise that lower need.

    Those who have a body that has a working appetite that tells their body how much food they need, will stop eating when they are full. But appetites are confused by fat and sugar, stress, from eating too much in the past, by not eating at meals but grazing - and that can be a function of the working environment, by the chemicals and additives in our foods, by the poisons in our environments. Snaccident hasn't been coined by accident - it's a portmanteau word describing the snack accident when the distracted person has eaten the family packet of biscuits or crisps mindlessly because it's sitting in front of them and they didn't feel full eating it.

    And we have complicated relationships with food - food is love, cooking for your loved ones is showing that, sweets, cakes and biscuits are rewards, food is comfort for those feeling unloved. Food is guilt - we've seen it on this thread, the fat-shaming of someone eating fast food when seen as fat, the disdainful glances at shopping baskets full of crisps and sweets, the guilt of bulimia when people eat the sweet and fatty foods that we all love and then vomit them up. Food choices are a minefield and full of judgemental commentary - chocolate is bad, carrots are good.

    It is possible to train taste buds to dislike sugar, but working with others it's not possible to sustain - it's snotty and snooty to disdain all the snacks on offer to team build, the cakes and biscuits, the doughnuts brought in to the training exercises or late night work sessions. And healthier snacks like fruit are not always appreciated.

    Exercise can help a bit in increasing metabolic rates, but then that assumes no injuries, time and facilities to exercise. And yes, walking and jogging are free, but that assumes suitable shoes or boots, somewhere safe to walk or jog - and that the fat person jogging or walking (or cycling) is not going to get abuse and worse hurled at them.
  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
    edited June 17
    It’s not genetic for me. I have a slim family going back generations on both sides. My brothers are slim and so are my sons. I’m very much the odd one out. (Including my husband, he’s 65Kg wet through).

    I switched off my ‘full signs’ after having my first child. (Comfort eating and stress, I’m a very poor home-maker). And even ‘tho I went back to work when he was six months old (a great relief all round!) I have never shaken the propensity to put weight on very easily.

    But I do work at it - health reasons, absolutely nothing to do with how I look.
  • it's snotty and snooty to disdain all the snacks on offer to team build, the cakes and biscuits, the doughnuts brought in to the training exercises or late night work sessions. And healthier snacks like fruit are not always appreciated.

    There's an interesting piece of local culture here. I've been in any number of meetings, team exercises, and other group situations where people are passing around doughnuts, cakes, and nobody has ever cared whether an individual person ate the doughnuts or not. (Beyond checking that they weren't avoiding the pizza or whatever because of allergies / religious scruples / etc., and just shy about speaking up.)

    The only time I've actually felt a bit of an obligation to eat something is when some colleague has prepared food themselves.
  • RuthRuth Shipmate
    I think we have widespread agreement that being significantly overweight tends to come with a set of poor health consequences, and that, other things being equal, it would be good for that person to weigh less.

    Depends on what you mean by significantly. There is evidence that for some people being moderately overweight is medically beneficial.
    https://time.com/3848497/obesity-paradox-healthy-weight/

    Also, there is so much stigma attached to being fat, including in medicine, that the negative health outcomes experienced by fat people in so many situations are in part caused by poor treatment. Fat people are regularly shamed in doctors' offices.
    https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2017/08/fat-shaming
    Fat people learn to blow off medical check-ups when all the doctor wants to talk about is their weight and gives bullshit advice about weight loss, or they do persist because they know something is wrong, and it takes years before a doctor takes them seriously and diagnoses them with the real problem instead of advising them to lose weight.
    https://friskyfairy.com/wp/blog/2015/06/24/my-cancer-pt-ii-medical-fat-shaming-could-have-killed-me/?utm_content=buffer0faa5&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

    We don't actually know how damaging being overweight is because fat people don't get the same healthcare other people do. I once went in with a list of varied symptoms and my doctor dismissed each one with an admonishment to lose weight. I got better care from the women's magazines that helped me self-diagnose perimenopause.
  • Soror MagnaSoror Magna Shipmate
    I often wonder if mind-body duality leads us to treat our bodies as if they are a separate entity that have to be managed, or controlled, or something like that. And I'm curious how certain aspects of Christianity - the incarnation, the traditions of asceticism and fasting, the attitudes about sex, the final bodily resurrection of all the dead - interact with that.

    I hated PE in school; as I got older I went through the same trials others do: worrying about weight, running although my knees were screaming, eating ridiculously tiny amounts of food. The feeling of being happy with my body is something I didn't experience until I completed a proper medical heart health rehab program: cardiologist, psychiatrist, medication reviews, dietitian, supervised exercise, social worker, yoga classes, meditation, etc. Many of my fellow participants had survived heart attacks or strokes, and let me tell you: the gym has an awesome vibe when everyone is motivated by one very basic desire: staying alive. (All for $100/month, thanks to socialized medicine and generous donors.) At first, I followed a very specific diet and exercise plan, but now I simply paying attention to how I feel and take good care of myself. No judgement on anyone, to me it does not feel like work, it just feels like doing what makes me happy. The only thing I measure regularly is my blood pressure.

    Do you (general) love your body? Love being in it and enjoying the things it can do? I think that's what body positivity is supposed to feel like - not so much a positive judgment, but more like surrender* and acceptance. After I've had a good physio session, my therapist will say something like "You're back in your body" or "All the parts are talking to each other."

    How did Jesus get that awesome six-pack? CrossFit. :smiley:

    ____
    *not the right word, but I can't think of one that means being enfolded and absorbed and forming part of a new thing.
  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
    edited June 17
    I don’t love it, but do I appreciate it like never before. I took it for granted before it stopped working. Now I have severe cervical stenosis and I’ve lost all my dexterity - I can’t write or even sharpen a pencil - and my arms are so weak I can’t lift a kettle.

    I’m down for an op (Anterior Cervical Discectomy and Fusion) but the waiting list is long and there are no guarantees it will be successful.

    If I do get my hands and arms back I will appreciate them far more and use them for all the things I now wish I could do!
  • LeafLeaf Shipmate
    I recommend adoption of the term "food life" instead of "diet." (Although the latter is technically correct, people hear the word "diet" and think of terribly restricted calories, unpleasant substitute foods, nasty quackish solutions, and a grim lifestyle.)

    My food life, my sex life, and my shit life are nobody's business but my own! If I'm having a problem with any of them, I will seek out advice from qualified professionals, thankyouverymuch.

    My family doctor was as unhelpful as any ("you should lose weight" - yeah, thanks doc) but set me up a meeting with a dietician. She was great! Non-judgmental, interested in my food thinking and practices, not at all condescending, and provided excellent practical help. I am fortunate and grateful to have had that help. I've put it into practice, and I and my family have all benefitted from it.

    I really believe a person's food life needs that kind of individual attention and support, because it is so multifactorial and complicated. Let's see, what have we covered so far on this thread, plus anything more I can think of:
    • the food culture in your family of origin
    • the food culture in your surrounding society, which may be different from that of your family of origin
    • budget
    • time for planning and preparation, and the mental load of undertaking the planning and preparation of food
    • job stresses and requirements
    • genetic factors
    • family demands and requirements
    • the influence of the Holy Spirit
    • individual preferences about taste and texture
    • cooking ability
    • access to fresh produce
    • specialized nutritional demands based on geography (yes, really!)
    • your social circle's culture around food

    ... and those are just the things I can think of! So anyone who thinks "this is simple, fewer calories, hurr durr" is ignoring - willfully or otherwise - the complexities that need to be addressed for the individual.
  • LeafLeaf Shipmate
    ISTM that body positivity includes that kind of awareness of the complexity of a person's food life.
  • LeafLeaf Shipmate
    Forgot to add (!): ISTM that some people really, really do not understand the intense pressure on women to look a certain way and perform a certain way around food.
  • finelinefineline Kerygmania Host, 8th Day Host
    As a different perspective, I was very thin growing up, partly from genetics and fast metabolism, but partly because my mother would regularly punish me by not letting me have a meal. I was, I assume, underweight, because we had a social worker come round, and I would sometimes get questioned in depth at school by health people, but I didn't really understand what was going on at the time. They would ask me what foods I didn't like/eat, I guess from thinking I was being picky, and I would be a bit bewildered.

    Anyway, nothing came of the investigations, as we moved house a lot, and the upshot of all this was that I was a very skinny teenager, and people would often assume I was anorexic. They would tell me I looked unhealthy, and that they could see my bones through my skin, and even that it looked disgusting. I clearly wasn't anorexic, as I gobbled up my school dinners hungrily (and fortunately school dinners, when I had them, meant I had a good meal every weekday). I've never liked cake, for the texture, and people would see this as a bad thing, that I was depriving myself of something good, and people would often tell me I needed to eat cake.

    When I left home, I made sure I gave myself good meals, and I enjoyed the feeling of being full, and not blacking out so frequently or feeling irritable all the time. I was no longer underweight, by BMI charts - I was on the low end of healthy, but I still looked very thin, and remained this way in my 20s and 30s. And people often felt free to comment on it, in a way that they wouldn't with fat people. It is at least seen as rude to comment about a fat person's size (as I discovered in secondary school when it was seen as fine for everyone to tell me I was too skinny, but it was a very different story when I commented that one girl was fat - just as a factual thing, as a reason for something. I can't even remember what, but my words were a factual 'Oh, that's because you're fat,' which I didn't even see as negative, but she and her friends stopped talking to me for a week as a result!). But no one considered it rude or inappropriate to tell me I needed fattening up, that I was too thin, that I needed to eat cake.

    I'm now in my late 40s and slightly overweight on the BMI chart, and while I logically think it would be good, healthwise, if I lost a bit of weight, I find it hard to care very much about it, because it is nice to not be constantly told how skinny I am and how I need to eat cake. (Bloody cake! Why are people so obsessed with it?!)

    I do observe that women are judged whatever they look like, that whichever way you go, there will be people judging. Thin women are often assumed to be nasty and judgmental - 'skinny bitches.' I've had people comment suggesting I wasn't eating enough, or that I was eating too much, in various situation. I also observe that women's appearances are often criticised in detail as they age - signs of ageing are pointed out and mocked. But equally if women get plastic surgery, they are then mocked for not letting themselves grow old naturally. I think we need to go further than simply not body shaming, and turn our attention away from people's bodies in general. It's none of our damn business what people look like and any opinions we may have on a person's body are irrelevant and certainly none of their business. Unless we are their doctor and giving them medical advice.
  • fineline wrote: »
    I do observe that women are judged whatever they look like, that whichever way you go, there will be people judging.

    I can't count the number of reports of G7 meetings and similar high-level political conferences I've read where the reporter has felt the need to tell me about what Angela Merkel was wearing. I'm rather more interested in what she was saying.


  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    Leaf wrote: »
    My family doctor was as unhelpful as any ("you should lose weight" - yeah, thanks doc) but set me up a meeting with a dietician. She was great! Non-judgmental, interested in my food thinking and practices, not at all condescending, and provided excellent practical help. I am fortunate and grateful to have had that help. I've put it into practice, and I and my family have all benefitted from it.

    Apart from anything else, was not the setting up a meeting with a dietician helpful? The GP recognised that you would benefit from specialist attention and took the necessary steps. Much the same as the GP seeing you had a broken bone in your wrist and referring you for very specialist treatment.
  • GwaiGwai Epiphanies Host
    Gee D wrote: »
    Leaf wrote: »
    My family doctor was as unhelpful as any ("you should lose weight" - yeah, thanks doc) but set me up a meeting with a dietician. She was great! Non-judgmental, interested in my food thinking and practices, not at all condescending, and provided excellent practical help. I am fortunate and grateful to have had that help. I've put it into practice, and I and my family have all benefitted from it.

    Apart from anything else, was not the setting up a meeting with a dietician helpful? The GP recognised that you would benefit from specialist attention and took the necessary steps. Much the same as the GP seeing you had a broken bone in your wrist and referring you for very specialist treatment.

    Why are you trying to defend the doctor? It seems like you want to deligitimize leaf's experiences. She just said she did not find the doctor helpful.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    Because it seemed to me that what the doctor did was helpful and that Leaf recognised it to be so; that recognition sat ill with the comment that the doctor was unhelpful.
  • LeafLeaf Shipmate
    Gee D : It's interesting that on a thread about body positivity - with which one of the main issues is "What is actually helpful?" - you chose to challenge my assessment of the physician as being unhelpful.

    Hint: That is not helpful.

    For fifteen years, the family doctor chose to do nothing more than throw out a casual comment about weight, once a year, without offering any more resource than that. Fifteen years of probably impact on my joints, organs, immune system, resilience, and everything else affected by problems with one's food life. It is true, I do define that as "unhelpful" when compared with the single hour of real, focused, sensitive, appropriate, and practical help provided by the dietician.

    It is possible that you have an exceptionally charitable idea of what "helpful" means or that my perception is somehow problematic. However, given that this is Epiphanies, I hope you would be able to appreciate that this is my perception of my experience, and I do not think it unreasonable.

  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    What I picked up on was the contrast between your assessment of the GP as unhelpful with your appreciation of the referral to a dietician you described as being great. By the sound of that, the referral was very helpful. Or have I missed something?
  • RuthRuth Shipmate
    15 years of substandard care. 15. Years. And you want to high five the doc for one referral.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    We now know the 15 yers, but did not when I posted my question. And it was a question, not praise for the GP.
  • Do we have any smokers (or ex-smokers) in the house? Did you get help from your GP to quit? How did your experience with smoking cessation advice from your doctor differ from @Leaf's experience with her doctor on the subject of weight loss?
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