T Nation

Fat Acceptance

The public-health crusade of the moment is a no-holds-barred war on obesity. Those waging it don�??t have time for subtlety. When Senator Christopher Dodd introduced the Obesity Prevention Act of 2008 this summer, he called obesity �??a medical emergency of hurricanelike proportions�?? that is wreaking havoc �??on our families, on our society and on our health care system.�??

But some activists and academics, part of a growing social movement known as fat acceptance, suggest that we rethink this war �?? as well as our definition of health itself. Fat-acceptance activists insist you can�??t assume someone is unhealthy just because he�??s fat, any more than you can assume someone is healthy just because he�??s slim. (They deliberately use the word �??fat�?? as a way to reclaim it, much the way some gay rights activists use the word �??queer.�??) Rather, they say, we should focus on health measurements that are more meaningful than numbers on a scale. This viewpoint received a boost in August when The Archives of Internal Medicine reported that fully half of overweight adults and one-third of the obese had normal blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides and blood sugar �?? indicating a normal risk for heart disease and diabetes, conditions supposedly caused by being fat.
This is a core argument of fat acceptance: that it�??s possible to be healthy no matter how fat you are and that weight loss as a goal is futile, unnecessary and counterproductive �?? and that fatness is nobody�??s business but your own.

Many fat-acceptance activists prefer a new approach to dieting that focuses on nutrition, exercise and body image. A new book out this fall, �??Health at Every Size,�?? by Linda Bacon, a nutritionist and physiologist at the University of California at Davis, outlines this approach, which is less about dieting than a lifestyle change that emphasizes �??intuitive eating�??: listening to hunger signals, eating when you�??re hungry, choosing nutritious food over junk. It encourages exercise, but for its emotional and physical benefits, not as a way to lose weight. It advocates tossing out the bathroom scale and loving your body no matter what it weighs.

The philosophy is migrating slowly into mainstream programs, like a spa in Vermont that focuses on �??acceptance of ourselves and our wonderful sizes.�?? But the spas and other programs have trouble with the bottom line of fat acceptance �?? rejection of weight loss as a goal. Weight Watchers, for instance, uses some of the same slogans, and while it promotes its program as �??not a diet,�?? it still tracks weight loss down to the decimal point.

Several studies suggest that if the aim is getting healthier rather than slimmer, then in the long run the �??Health at Every Size�?? approach works better than dieting. In 2005, Bacon led the only randomized control trial to date that tested this hypothesis physiologically. She randomly assigned half of the 78 subjects, all women, to a �??Health at Every Size�?? group; while they lost no weight, their healthier behavior led to lower blood-pressure and cholesterol levels, which stayed low even two years later. In the weight-loss group, more than 40 percent dropped out before the six-month low-calorie diet ended, and at the two-year follow-up, the average dieter had regained all her lost weight, and the only measurement that dropped was one for self-esteem.

Scientists who study obesity at the cellular level say genetics determines people�??s natural weight range, right down to the type and amount of food they crave, how much they move and where they accumulate fat. Asking how someone got to be so fat is as meaningless as asking how he got to be so tall. �??The severely obese have some underlying genetic or metabolic difference we�??re not smart enough to identify yet,�?? says Dr. Rudolph Leibel of Columbia University Medical Center. �??It�??s the same way that a 7-foot-tall basketball player is genetically different from me, at 5-foot-8.�??

Fat has been blamed for cardiac trouble, diabetes and some forms of cancer. But fat-acceptance activists argue that the epidemiological studies that link fatness to disease often fail to adjust for non-weight-related risk factors found more often in fat populations. Poverty, minority-group status, too much fast food, a sedentary lifestyle, lack of access to health insurance or to nonjudgmental medical care, the stress of self-loathing and being part of a stigmatized group �?? all are more common among fat people, and all are linked to poorer health outcomes at any weight. This makes it harder to say to what extent an association between obesity and disease is due to the fatness itself or to the risk factors that tend to go along with being fat.

It remains an open question, one deserving of further scientific scrutiny, whether the health risks seen in fat populations are caused by the fat itself or by something else. Only then can we really know how to effectively wage the war on obesity �?? or if such a war even needs to be waged.

Both sides are taking the wrong approach to this. The government should stay out of this and they are wrong for “waging a war on obesity”, it’s negative and an idiotic approach that will only create more defiance, government needs to drop that “war on…” crap, it’s old.

The Fat-Acceptence activists aren’t accomplishing anything but giving people more of an excuse not to exercise. And the result is an overweight woman wearing a tube top with a mini skirt, and an overweight man walking around with no shirt (or with just a speedo on at the beach, yikes!)

Both these extremes affect that middle group, it leaves them confused. I think fitness propaganda is the biggest problem. You got all these fad diets, fad training methods, fad gadjects, books, magazines, fitness clubs,magic pills, etc that make false and unrealistic promises.

Overweight people would at first believe that it’s simple, one training session is all it would take to make miracles happen but then they would quit cause they didn’t realize it was a committment or they’d run into a so called trainer and they’d complicate the hell out of it.

When i was still working out a commerical gym, i remember the “trainers” making these poor people balance themselves on those blue balls, and doing all these weird movements. Then they’d put them on some routine and diet plan that didn’t even make sense to the person who wrote it.

Plus, i hated the way those so called trainers would talk to their clients, they would talk to them as if they had some mental handicap.

There’s just to much crap out there for anyone who would like to get into a healthy lifestyle that they’d settle for a fat acceptence movement telling them what they want to hear.

Then you have the government extending their ruling hand to take care of the problem, and turn it into something negative rather than something they could possibly encourage.

The whole, “i’m fat cause of my genetics” is complete bullshit for the most part and used as just another excuse. I do understand and have met people where their genetics prevent them from having a chiseled up physique, and i respect those who really try hard and it shows from their efforts.

I’m refering to the ones who weigh over 400lbs that’ll tell you it’s cause of their genetics that they can’t lose weight no matter how hard they’ve tried, as they’ve chugged down their 9th bottle of pepsi, and are munching on a whole 20 piece chicken dinner from KFC with a whole box of donuts waiting for them for dessert.

This article is so retarded and completely wrong that I really don’t know what to say. The shear stupidity drained my brain off all ability to think.

you know what that article and fat people have in common?

theyre both big, ugly and too hard to look at. fuck reading that shit.

yess

What do you expect? If you cant beat em then join em. People love to cop out and say its their genetics.

That’s fine by me, I’m still not fucking them.

the “war on obesity” will be as worthless as “the war on terror” and “the war on drugs”

if the PERSON does not want to change then the government won’t change their mind either unless they starve them (which is the wrong way to go anyways)

i can probably speak for most FFB people that eventually we just got angry enough and snapped and at that point tried to turn our life and habits around, the ones who obese now are clearly not angry enough with themselves yet

i tried to read but with no sleep that avatar tripped me out.

Your avatar is fucking trippy!