Open for Discussion: “Namby-Pamby” Anti-Obesity Ads

Reader Attrice tipped us off to this AP article about how “critics” don’t think the government’s new series of anti-obesity ads go far enough. They say:

[D]rama is lacking in the obesity spots — for example, none have offered a surgeon’s view of fat, or dramatized a death from Type 2 diabetes, or shown a person complaining about how a fat neighbor’s medical bills are costing taxpayers.

Hmm, good point, critics. I certainly agree that letting the public see a surgeon’s view of fat might be interesting. I’m pretty sure it looks like this:

 

I’m really not sure what a “death from Type 2 diabetes” would look like, though — and I watched my Type 2 diabetic mother die, so I probably have more direct experience with that than most laypeople. Thing is, she died of a heart attack, which could be because she was diabetic but could also be because she had heart disease in her family to begin with, smoked like chimney for 50 years, and/or was about as sedentary as it’s possible to be while still basically functioning. Oh, and the other thing is, she wasn’t really fat. She had been really fat, but once she was diagnosed with diabetes, she started essentially starving herself and kept that up for 20 years, which landed her in the tiny percentage of people who do manage to sustain a major weight loss. And since everyone, up to and including her doctor, makes diabetes all about teh fat, she just didn’t see a good reason to exercise — her weight was under control! What with the barely ever eating food! And the smoking more to compensate for barely ever eating food! She was PERFECTLY HEALTHY, people! I mean, anyone could tell that by looking — she wasn’t fat anymore!

Okay, sure, she could barely walk by the end, and had exactly the pallor you’d expect in a late-middle-aged woman who smoked constantly, didn’t eat, didn’t exercise, and had had several undiagnosed small heart attacks before the big one that killed her. Oh, and I pretty much knew by the time I was in high school that my mother would not live to see me get married. BUT SHE WASN’T FAT ANYMORE! And she was controlling her diabetes with a very small amount of medication, after years of controlling it solely with (practically no) food! She was a DIABETES SUCCESS STORY, y’all!

So, uh, that’s what one death from Type 2 diabetes looked like. (Another would be my grandmother, who didn’t “control” her diet or illness nearly as well as my mom, yet died relatively peacefully in her mid-eighties.) I kinda suspect the “critics” were thinking more along the lines of a fat, blind amputee with open sores all over her body, who succumbs to a coma after eating 19 dozen Krispy Kremes. But if they’d ever like to use the example of my mother, who starved herself thin(nish) as a response to being diagnosed with diabetes and died a pretty fucking horrible death after years of suffering anyway, I’d be happy to share it on camera.

As for people complaining about how much money teh fatties are costing the taxpayers (as if fatties and taxpayers are not one and the same, for Christ’s sake), I’d invite anyone who just hasn’t heard enough of that shit to read a blog or two. Or a newspaper.

By the way, who are these critics who’d like to see, as Fillyjonk brilliantly put it, “fatty snuff films” funded by the government?

  • The dude from the Center for Science in the Public Interest, known for their loose definitions of both “science” and “public interest.”
  • A vegan advocacy group that’s produced competing ads.
  • Kelly Brownell. Sort of. (There’s one quote from him, and I would really, really love to know what the context for it was. Not that I expect much out of him, frankly, but I don’t think he deserves to be in the same category as the other “critics” here. Not quite.)

Well, gosh! If two people with very specific political agendas say the ads are crap, and one obesity researcher can be quoted out of context to sorta-kinda support them, IT’S OBVIOUSLY NEWS, PEOPLE!

*headdesk*

The thing that really chaps my ass about this, though, is that it sounds like the ads in question (which I have not sought out to watch), in taking this “Small Steps” approach, are within spitting distance of promoting Health at Every Size.

Creators of the “Small Steps” campaign, funded by the government at more than $1.5 million a year, cite survey data for 467 adults which showed those who saw the ads did more walking and adopted some other healthy habits than those who did not see the ads.

Yay! I mean, it’s a tiny, useless study, but if what they’re trying to do is get people to walk more and “adopt some other healthy habits,” I’m all for it. Problem is, that’s not what they’re trying to do. They’re trying to get people to fucking lose weight.

The new anti-obesity TV spots show trim or slightly pudgy people noticing blobs of fat on a hotel room floor or in a theater. They comment that someone must have lost it by eating healthy snacks.

Okay, A) Ewwwwwwww, and B) WTF? If “eating healthy snacks” is gonna make me ooze fat drippings like a goddamned pork roast, frankly, I’m not all that keen on the idea. This is supposed to make people want to lose weight? For, uh, scientific reasons? Mmkay.

(Good news: I eat healthy snacks frequently and, so far, have never dripped fat in public. So carry on with the healthy snack eating, everyone. But I guess you might want to keep a towel around, just in case. The government knows more about fat than I do, after all.)

Aaaanyway. I marked this “Open for Discussion,” because I thought I didn’t have much to say about it, and I was going to just let you guys bat it around for a while. Guess I was wrong. But before I let the commentariat take over, I just want to draw your attention to one more thing, my very favorite quote from the article:

“So many people, when they think about losing weight, see it as a Sisyphean task — ‘I have to lose weight but I can’t fit it into my busy schedule,'” said Peggy Conlon, president of the Ad Council.

I looooove that it’s seen as a Sisyphean task because people are too busy, not because there is no proven method for permanent weight loss. Not because DIETS DON’T WORK in the long-term. Not because virtually everyone who loses weight gains it all back. Not because commercial weight loss programs that do billions in business every year are legally obligated to include disclaimers saying “BTW, losing a substantial amount of weight with our product is not typical.” Not because there’s plenty of evidence that body weight is largely genetically determined. Not because fat people have already desperately tried every crackpot weight loss program out there, and found that dieting only makes them fatter.

It’s because we’re too busy to lose weight. And I guess Sisyphus was just too busy to really give that rock-pushing his full attention, huh? Jesus Christ.

Okay, I’m done now. Your turn.

154 thoughts on “Open for Discussion: “Namby-Pamby” Anti-Obesity Ads

  1. I think the blobs of fat being oozed all over the floor would have been a better commercial for Alli.

  2. I think the blobs of fat being oozed all over the floor would have been a better commercial for Alli.

    Heh. Watery, brown blobs of fat.

    (Okay, I just totally grossed myself.)

  3. I think the saddest thing about this is that the government COULD actually be doing some good if they weren’t so damned focused on people’s weights instead of their overall health. Like, maybe show what happens to both a THIN person and a fat person who eats like crap and doesn’t exercise. Eating like crap and no activity = bad. Doesn’t matter if you’re a size 2 or a size 24. You can’t tell who’s doing this, so the ads need to target EVERYONE. But I guess it’s just more acceptable to target fat people.

    Gah.

  4. Well you know, Sisyphus was smokin’ hot thanks to that rock pushing. Why not set up some Rock Islands where those of us who’ve caught Teh Fat could go and push rocks until we are acceptably skinny? Bitchin’ reality show premise, people!

  5. 1) So basically these people think that enough scaring and shaming will make people not fat? Er, where have they been for the past..my whole life?

    2) It doesn’t surprise me really, but it still breaks my heart to see so many vegan advocacy groups go after fat people constantly. You want people to go vegan? Try using logical/ethical arguments. Because even if you manage to get people to give up animal products in the hopes that it’ll make them thin, what do you think is going to happen when they don’t magically become a size 6? That’s right! They’re going to stop being vegan! If veganism is some magic pill for weight loss, then it must work very slowly, cuz it’s been about 2 years for me and I’m holdling steady at 251lbs.

  6. I think the blobs of fat being oozed all over the floor would have been a better commercial for Alli.

    *lol* Very true.

    I personally have always been fascinated by the idea of being “too busy” to diet. When was I ever too busy not to eat breakfast or to eat only a granola bar for lunch? I suppose, to these folks, that “too busy” means that I can’t cook or grocery shop and therefore must eat a double quater-pounder with cheese and bacon and a side of fries for every meal.

    I live in New York, the state of the aforementioned disgusting anti-smoking ads featuring smokers corpses, and at the end of the day I doubt these ads have inspired very many people to quit. I know that my father can watch them, comment on them, and then go out for a smoke. My dad works in the medical field…he’s spent years working with cancer patients. He’s seen many a person dying from lung and throat cancer; it horrifies him. But he just can’t quit right now; it might not ever be able to do it. The ads don’t make him quit, they just make everyone else think that he’s an idiot for continuing.

    It is the same thing with these anti-fat ads. Seeing a blob of fat on the floor with the suggestion that someone lost it by eating carrots is only going to serve to make the disordered parts try to convince my logical self that I should try and exist on a diet of carrot sticks and mustard because certainly just eating carrots alone isn’t enough to change anything, or else I’d be thin right now.

    These ads only serve to make fat people feel guilty (as if we don’t get enough of that) and imply that it’s easy to lose weight if we just try and that if we don’t, well then surely we deserve a lifetime of stigmatization by our friends and neighbors which will certainly be followed by a painful, early, death.

  7. What I really loved was the graphic for that article.

    Because I know I personally sit down to a big plate of fried chicken, doughnuts and french fries three or four times a day!

  8. Feministing.com had a link for a commercial they’re running about teaching kids abstinence. It runs a lot like an anti-drug commercial. In effect stating that kids who have sex before marriage may become FAILURES! Fear is the best medicine.

    Basically, stating that these ads aren’t scary enough really makes sense. They use fear to sell ANYTHING (even a war). Why should the obesity crisis be any different?

    Redicule didn’t work. Carmen Electra touting speed didn’t work. “My husband LOVES my new body” didn’t work. Why not scare those fatties into losing weight!!?!?!?! Impending death is always a motivator.

  9. Why don’t people complain about the amount of money anorectics are costing, what with all their pesky heart conditions and therapy? Or bulimics, whose habits cause the pipes to rot (which then need to be replaced)? Oh, not to mention their own teeth and esophagus (esophagi?). Or all those kids who go around cutting themselves. Lest just ostracize all of ‘em, ’cause they’re costing us money, dammit!
    I know, we can charge extra to women who give birth prematurely, or give birth to babies over 8 pounds. After all, it’s costing taxpayers money, right?

    Sorry, I got a little worked up (ya think?). But it just kills me! So many celebrities and models are SO UNHEALTHY, not just physically, but mentally, when it comes to food and exercise, but are they are REWARDED! But if your healthy and fat, look out! The villagers are storming the gates, ready to pitch you over th wall.

  10. Now wait a second, is it that we’re too busy to lose weight, or is it that we’re too goddamn dumb to understand that fat will kill us unless we’re shown images of a person being LITERALLY STRANGLED BY FAT? Preferably with little labels and arrows: “Person –>” “Fat –>”

    Because we’re not very bright, you know.

    Anyway, I always think it’s funny when people go for the “Are We Shaming Fat Kids Enough?” angle, because there’s inevitably a frisson when life imitates Onion. But this is truly misguided. And the hilarious thing is, it’s a misguided notion that they’ve already applied in other PSA arenas and seen that it’s ineffective. Hysterical spit-frothing commercials about how you’ll totally kill yourself and everyone around you if you smoke pot? Laughable. Realistic, sober commercials about how being stoned all the time keeps you from doing anything interesting? That’ll give people pause.

  11. “No one is advocating public service announcements that ridicule fat people…”

    But thank god for the society that kicks the shit out of them on a daily basis! Give me a motherfucking break. It blows my mind that these morons have this picture painted that fat people tra-la-la through life without one ounce of self-awareness and if ads would just stop being “namby-pamby” and really sock it to us with shots of exploding hearts and sugar pouring out of eye sockets and limbs falling off, we’d get the concept and…what? Start behaving? Because that’s what it is, isn’t it. Our refusal to “behave” and stay onboard the Self-Hatred train is so galling and irritating to people that they’ll do whatever it takes to try and shove us back into those behaviors.

  12. I looooove that it’s seen as a Sisyphean task because people are too busy, not because there is no proven method for permanent weight loss. Not because DIETS DON’T WORK in the long-term. Not because virtually everyone who loses weight gains it all back. Not because commercial weight loss programs that do billions in business every year are legally obligated to include disclaimers saying “BTW, losing a substantial amount of weight with our product is not typical.” Not because there’s plenty of evidence that body weight is largely genetically determined. Not because fat people have already desperately tried every crackpot weight loss program out there, and found that dieting only makes them fatter.

    Kate that is *exactly* how I feel at the moment, and at the same time I still want to lose weight. I won’t talk about that here though, I need to winnow my thoughts a bit more and then stick them on my own LJ.

  13. if ads would just stop being “namby-pamby” and really sock it to us with shots of exploding hearts and sugar pouring out of eye sockets and limbs falling off, we’d get the concept and…what?

    Ooh, Jane, that reminds me of another point I forgot to talk about!

    critics complain that the three new spots premiering this month are a wimpy attack on the costly and deadly explosion of obesity in America.

    That’s the ostensibly objective journalist’s description of the facts of the matter. Costly. Deadly. Explosion. Have they started teaching “Advanced Hyperbole” classes in J-schools? ‘Cause there sure are a lot of journalists these days who seem like they passed that course with flying fucking colors.

  14. Eleanor, in my experience, believing all that stuff about dieting and giving up the desire to lose weight yourself are actually, sadly, two entirely different battles. You’re halfway there, though. Good luck.

  15. But the government’s new batch of obesity spots declines even to show a fat person, let alone wag a finger for gluttony or sloth.

    No one is advocating public service announcements that ridicule fat people; experts say such spots would do more harm than good.

    Shaming fat people does more harm than good but the solution to the “obesity crisis” is to put out ads that are more shaming to fat people? I thought we were supposed to be the stupid ones.

  16. if ads would just stop being “namby-pamby” and really sock it to us with shots of exploding hearts and sugar pouring out of eye sockets and limbs falling off, we’d get the concept and…what?

    I thought they already did that. In “Total Recall”.

    With Governor Terminator’s BMI … and all.

    Being what it is. (me can haz fragmntz.)

    Oh, wait …

  17. Shaming fat people does more harm than good but the solution to the “obesity crisis” is to put out ads that are more shaming to fat people?

    I think they’re drawing a distinction between “shaming” and “threatening.” Psychological warfare will totally cure fat — we just have to figure out the best method!

  18. “Kelly Brownell. Sort of. (There’s one quote from him, and I would really, really love to know what the context for it was …”

    Actually, I’d kind of like to understand the context for this whole article, because I went to the websites of the different advocacy groups whose representatives are quoted, and none of them have issued a recent news release blasting the Ad Councils “anti-obesity” campaign … or any such release that I can find.

    Talk about the media driving the issues! If AP reporters have nothing better to do than sit around all day MAKING UP THE NEWS, please tell me where I can get that job — ’cause I’ve got a whole lot of stories that are just dying for an outlet!

    As for the whole nonsense about how much “more” people’s health insurance costs because I’m fat, I’ll pay more for health insurance the day I get to pay less for Social Security and Medicare, since I’ll be dead of fat long before I can collect one penny from either of those systems!

  19. Realistic, sober commercials about how being stoned all the time keeps you from doing anything interesting? That’ll give people pause.”

    I always found those commercials funny. Obviously whoever wrote them never got to the “Lets get stoned and then go DO stuff” phase of potheaddom. Even a trip to the ice cream shop is more fun when you’re “On Weed.” Mmmmmmm Ice Cream………..

    At the end of the day, all commercials suck. They are trying to sell you on an idea and it rarely works because by now you’ve seen so many cursed commercials that you know that the hot girl, and the sporty car are all just a ruse. Thank god for TiVo, now I just have to remember to hit play exactly after the stupid commercial for Phenomenon and before Heroes comes back on.

  20. I dunno, I love them. But it’s true, a lot of people like to get high and Do Stuff. Personally I never remember the Stuff so don’t see the point. (Not that I really see the point of sitting on the couch watching people play Gauntlet either. I am not a pot fan.)

    I like the ones where the cartoon dog is disappointed, too, but I doubt anyone who really smoked up a lot would find them anything but hilarious.

    My dad told me a pretty good story recently about ice cream… he prefaced it by saying “to understand this story, you have to know that in college, OCCASIONALLY I smoked dope.” Yes, he said “smoked dope.” Anyway, he and his friend Pete went to the ice cream store, and they stood in line for what of course felt like hours. Finally Pete got up to the counter, and he stood there… looking at the list of ice cream flavors… and stood there… and finally said “Okay, I’ll have pistachio.”

    The guy behind the counter said “we don’t have pistachio.”

    Pete said “oh” and went back to looking… at the list… of flavors… for what seemed like a couple more hours.

    Then he said “okay… well, I’ll have pistachio.”

  21. Oh, man. Do they really want to go down the medical-costs route? Because I think my college roommate’s insurance company paid a whole lot more for her inpatient and outpatient anorexia treatments than it did for my NOTHING. Also, I guess there ought to be a surgeon’s-eye-view of things like cancer, too, to make people STOP GETTING IT.

  22. Seriously, goddamn cancer patients ruining my insurance bills.

    Funny how it’s like pulling teeth to get people to accept things like oh I don’t know THE CERVICAL CANCER VACCINE. Preventive medicine = fatties jumping rope, right?

  23. Here’s another question, because I apparently feel like making eight million comments on this post: If they REALLY believe that eating too much and not exercising enough is what causes obesity, in other words that obesity is a condition brought on by bad habits, how come they keep framing these as “anti-obesity ads”? Anti-smoking ads aren’t called “anti-emphysema ads” or “anti-lung-cancer ads.” And they’re directed towards people with the bad habits, not people with the resultant disease — you’re still considered the target of an anti-smoking ad even if you have not yet developed cancer.

    I mean, I don’t think the premise is true, but they could at least be consistent.

  24. I think one angle of the ads is useful. People imagine that in order to exercise you need to don brightly colored spandex and jump around for a couple of hours at the gym. There are oppurtunites to exercise in a variety of situations. That information is important.

    It is not a good policy to promote exercise as a means to weight loss instead of a good thing in and of itself. I do not enjoy the symbolism of fat = lazy. I do not enjoy being a symbol but how do you proclaim exercise as good and useful and easy in a 30 second commercial?

  25. Perhaps the HAES community needs to make their own videos, showing two fat people walking, and say “Exercise! Its not just for weight loss-anymore!” and then scroll all the benefits of exercise over the two people and then say something like:

    Exercise is for everyone!

  26. OT:

    What do you guys know about Opti-Fast? A friend of mine is in advertising, and he just got this company as a client. They told him that more than half of the people on Opti-Fast sustain weight loss for more than five years, but I don’t buy it, and I’m a little worried that his shilling may cost him his soul. Or whatever’s left of his soul. He works in advertising, afterall. :)

    Anyone know about Opti-Fast?

  27. Anti-Eating ads…. I’m sure the American public can’t wait.

    Yeah, maybe consistency is overrated. :) (And not very capitalism-friendly.)

    But as ellenbrenna says, I’d be all about pro-exercise ads, if they would just drop the spurious exercise/skinniness connection.

  28. SingOut, Google it; it’s just another “meal replacement” plan designed to starve your body and your wallet. Your friend is overenthusiastic; they actually claim that “the majority” of people in one study kept off enough weight “to improve their health.” That could mean practically anything, and it certainly means that they didn’t keep off all the weight they lost while fasting (an extremely far-fetched prospect, which they would have stated unambiguously in the unlikely event that it was true).

    And that’s all the Hot New Diet Plan talk we’ll be having on the blog today! As usual, if it sounds too good to be true, it’s probably an expensive fatphobic scam that profits off your body hate. But yeah, your friend is in advertising; degrees of soullessness are barely worth discussing at that point.

  29. First and foremost let me say, commentariat is nothing less than revolutionary. Kudos Kate, I predict <cmmentariart will become a part of the toobz lexicon. Brilliant.

    This is a wonderful thread with such insight. I saw the blobs on the floor and just like the very first comment – I thought of the anal leakage drug.

    It is important to remember in our Orwellian world that the reality is this: We who are fat, sedentary, guilty and primarily female are ADORED by the Corporatists.

    We are a captive audience to 24/7 selling shit on television, radio, magazines, internet and all other print. Sitting and absorbing the trillion ways we disappoint but can find a way to feel better by buying . . .

    If we can earn, beg, borrow or steal enough to buy our answers from these Corporatists, it is a victory for them. Whatever can be done to keep this chaos of intimidation, activism, guilt, broohaha going is just good business.

    Please understand, I am writing that as though I am not deeply embroiled in the battle. I am. It is just important for me to step way back every once in awhile and look at the agenda for the tiny fraction who benefit above all humanity.

    (It is the same with War, Global Warming, etc., etc.)

  30. SingOut, now if you can convince him not to take them on as a client, I’ll be really impressed. :) (I don’t expect much, though. I’ve worked in marketing.)

  31. I was just reading on CNN where Bush wants $150 billion dollars on Iraq and fat people are costing taxpayers too much money? So, when the number of people without healthcare rises to 50 million (it’s at 44 right now), what will we say? That if it weren’t for fat people, we could have affordable healthcare?

    I’m convinced that the American media wants us to focus on
    the fat hysteria and spend more time worrying about Botox injections and less time dealing with the issues.

    This is disturbing to me on so many levels . . .

  32. The firm he works for took on OptiFast as a client; for my pal to decline would mean resigning, and that’s so not happening. Until he finishes his novel, of course.

    Oh, I wish I believed in God — then I could totally pray for his salvation!

  33. Also, I get read an article from the BBC saying that England’s population will double to more than 70 million within the next 20 years (it’s at 60 or 65 right now?) but that their life expectancy was 40 years old! England! America, for all the fat people here, have a life expectancy of 75 years old.

  34. Hmmmm. A friend of mind just cost the system millions of dollars by having a premature baby – who is really skinny but doing fine all things considered. I guess she should have known not to sprog, although she is in excellent health and her first pregnancy was perfect . The second seemed fine until a routine check-up turned into OMG 2-pound baby!

    Still!! Should have known better! Maybe she looked at an oreo once! Maybe she ate a wine gum!

    But hey, at least neither the mother or the baby are fat.

  35. it’s horrible the way we make “unhealthy fatties” into our society’s “other” … i used to be one of those people who bitched about my health insurance premiums being driven up by OTHER people’s “bad habits,” but then my dad got really sick with alcoholism. his treatment over the past five years has racked up tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills that were almost 100% covered by health insurance. the point is, it’s much easier to assign blame to a selected group than it is to fix our woefully inadequate health care system. shame on those critics. but cool andy warhol $$$ sign. it’s all about the benjamins baby.

  36. First and foremost let me say, commentariat is nothing less than revolutionary

    Lauredhel gets all the credit for that one! I just immediately stole it.

    their life expectancy was 40 years old! England!

    Mari, where’d you see that? I have a lot of trouble believing it.

  37. Hey Mari, I may be confused but I didn’t see anything about a life expectancy of 40 in the article I think you’re referring to. Anyway, it appears that expectancies in England are about the same as ours here in the US: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/6168466.stm

    As for the “opposition” to the ads, I think you guys have pretty much said it all. Every 2 days someone seems to turn around and think they have a brilliant “new” idea that just shaming people more will help them to not be fat. And we all go “Um, if that worked, I wouldn’t be fat NOW” and the people who think that refuse to listen to reason and continue to go around shrieking and flapping their hands and panicking about the “obesity epidemic” and how we just have to do something, anything. It just makes me so tired to hear the anti-obesity side freaking out constantly like this.

  38. The firm he works for took on OptiFast as a client; for my pal to decline would mean resigning, and that’s so not happening.

    Just fodder for the novel, I guess. He can write about the Five People You Meet in Hell.

  39. But weight loss is a Sisyphean task! You push the damn rock up the hill and it just rolls back down again.

    And attrice, you have a long time to wait. Vegan five years, haven’t eaten meat in sixteen years, still fat.

    More seriously, sorry about your mom, Kate. I have an aunt who was diagnosed with Type2 and decided to lose weight (she was never big) and now is being treated for anorexia. At the age of 78.

  40. More seriously, sorry about your mom, Kate. I have an aunt who was diagnosed with Type2 and decided to lose weight (she was never big) and now is being treated for anorexia. At the age of 78.

    Thanks, Pennylane — and holy shit.

  41. It’s godawful, but so very close to being useful, though.

    If only the ads ever talked about the sheer enjoyment and elation of taking care of yourself and using your body’s abilities to the fullest.

    I could have used that, all the years I spent hiding behind my TV and computer, convinced that “excercise” is something unpleasant, a hateful act of trying to change your body, just like starving yourself.

    My poor, fat aunt could use that, who’s 35 years old and has just bought an expensive treadmill to walk on, because she doesn’t dare to go outside for a walk, for fear of being made fun of.

  42. Erm, yup, actually we just had a story yesterday about life expectancy being up again – you can see it here, buried in a story about the obesity crisis. Can anyone spot the irony?

    RE: the original quote at the top of the piece, I saw an episode of “House” the other day (the only one I’ve ever seen, as it happens) where there were two parallel “obesity” stories; one where a little girl had a heart attack – the doctors did a lot of fighting about what was wrong with her – the one who used to be in Neighbours kept saying it was because she was fat – but luckily it turned out that her fatness, along with her heart attack and the necrotising fasciitis that she also happened to develop (not her day, poor lamb) were all down to a rare disease. She started taking the pills and at the end of the episode she came back all thin and everyone was impressed.

    The other storyline involved a woman with a massive but benign ovarian tumour that made her look pregnant. Docs wanted to remove it. Woman was all, “don’t give me your body-fascist bull, you just think women shouldn’t look like this, but my husband loves it, so I’m staying this way.” Only, it turned out she was actually worried that her many extra-marital lovers would be put off by the scar, and so eventually House persuaded her to have the surgery.

    So there ARE obesity drama storylines, just as long as it all works out that they’re not really obese in the end.

  43. Oh, and rewinding a bit…

    but how do you proclaim exercise as good and useful and easy in a 30 second commercial?

    There was a series of bus shelter ads in Toronto a few years ago (maybe still, for all I know) featuring Lynn Johnston characters going out for walks on their lunch breaks or after dinner, whatev. All they were promoting (iirc) was walking for improved health — not walking for weight loss, and not running or knocking yourself out with exercise. Just building a little walking into your life, so you could feel better — which made perfect sense in a city, where walking is an option. (Much more difficult in the suburbs, let alone rural areas, in the U.S. and Canada.)

    I’m not a huge Lynn Johnston fan, but I thought those ads were great — not pushy, not fearmongering, not asking too much, and not acting as if thinness and obsessive exercise are required for good health. If they can do that in one panel, I’m thinking they could do even more in a 30-second TV ad.

  44. On another note, how often have I read that “two thirds” of adult Americans are overweight or obese? WE are the majority of the much-cited “tax payers”! Why are we paying for the ailments of thin people? Like… all the bones they break, not being padded enough. Thin people should pay more for insurance!

    Also… what about children? All those childhood infections children get are costing us billions! Why do I have to pay for others to be treated for an illness I’m not going to get?

  45. Let me just say this to the asshats who defend their fatophobia by saying that my being fat in their general direction will send their insurance premiums/taxes/wev skyward: You so don’t want to go down that road.

    To begin with, the nature of insurance is supposed to be a spreading of risk. If you’re not willing to take on every other premium-payer’s risk as part of the deal, don’t buy insurance. Can’t afford to self-insure, you say? Well, then you’d better suck it up and deal with that sharing-of-risk concept. And to the extent that the insurance companies aren’t living up to their end of the bargain, your beef is with them, not fat old me.

    Second, if you’re going to be breathing down my neck every time I eat a sandwich, I’m going to be all over your shit next time you ride a motorcycle. Or get into a car, for that matter. And before you decide to have a kid, I’m going to want test results that rule out the possibility of any expensive congenital conditions that my precious insurance premiums or taxes might have to pay for. For that matter, how about we run some tests on you to see whether you’ve got any time bombs ticking away in your genes?

    See where that goes?

    Bottom line is that most of the “fatties cost meh money” protests are simply an attempt to cover up fat-hatred with a reasonable-sounding veneer. And to nudge this rant back in the general direction of the topic at hand, much of this “OMG we’re so concerned about your health” crap is just another suit of sheep’s clothing. We look different. That makes us nonconformists, and the brainwashed corporatized conformist masses hate us for it.

    And by the way, y’all totally rock. That is all.

  46. My sister did Optifast back in the early 90s and no, it didn’t last five years or even one. She also had a staple installed in her ear and was on the seizure drug that curbs appetite for a while.

    In the epilogue of Good Calories, Bad Calories Gary Taubes said “When I began my research, I had no idea that I would come to believe that obesity is not caused by eating too much, or that exercise is not a means of prevention.” Too bad we can’t write in a candidate for president.

  47. Sniper, you rock! “Wine gum!” LMAO!

    ALL of these posts are great! We need to mobilize and go after the ad companies that make these PSAs.

  48. I think that if we want to target the true abusers of health insurance, the ones who drive up the costs the most, then we need to be looking at the old people. Why do they need health insurance? They are closer to dying than anyone?

    Oh, wait, we already are making access to health insurance much more difficult and costly for them. Damn!

  49. Men have a shorter life expectancy than women. Even “normal” weight men die sooner than the fattest and thinnest women.

    Obviously, something must be done to stop this epidemic of maleness. It’s costing taxpayer dollars! Men are upping your insurance premiums! Men are just too lazy to get up off the couch and have gender reassignment surgery! Half of all children are male! We have to dooooooooo something!

  50. I only just discovered your blog through the Visual BMI article, and in general I feel you shouldn’t be treated differently because of how much you weight, or the color of your skin.

    Fighting intolerance like this is very very difficult – one example I could point out is thinking of how long it’s taken for African-Americans to just get their basic rights since the Civil War.

    Discriminating against overweight people is accepted in this day in age when beauty is considered a person who’s so skinny you can see their bones clearly.

    Maybe I’m naive, but I feel that just because you choose to lose weight you shouldn’t be demonized – and there is definitely very very bad food to be eaten out there – look at any fast food chain, and it’s vertible heart attack waiting to leap on you.

    Now, the other thing I’m going to say might offend, but it was an observation I made to my sister when we were looking through our year books and at middle school-jr. high pictures – from what I recall, and the school I went to over the years due to being a Navy brat, I don’t recall there being so many overweight kids. There might’ve one or two, and the same with adults – I had friends whose parents were large, and this was mostly in the period I was living in the South.

    It was just part of every day life, and wasn’t as common place as it is now – but then neither were the girls who had eating disorders. Maybe one or two that didn’t eat much of anything (which I never understood – how can you not eat?) and I can only recall seeing one woman in my college years that was a virtual walking skeleton.

    It’s very strange to be in the middle of these two extremes right now, with television/news declaring American’s are a bunch of over fed cows, while on the other hand you’re slapped with these images constantly of frighteningly thin women as “normal”.

    As a woman working in the fashion industry, it’s just amazing how it starts to affect your self esteem as much as you fight it.

  51. God, I’m sorry to hear about you Mom, Kate. I’m right now working in a diabetes clinic and it disturbs me how much that old weight-loss paradigm is pushed — but only for Type 2 diabetes (you know, the fat ones.) In one of my nutrition lectures, I found it odd how the professor insisted that, for Type 1, you always design the medication to fit the person’s already-established eating/exercise habits. But in Type 2, the philosophy suddenly changes, and somehow the person is supposed to completely negate the need for medication by overhauling their lifestyle.

    I understand the theory, since most people with Type 2 do still have *some* insulin production, but I can’t shake the feeling that a lot of the difference in treatment philosophies comes from the general lean/fat differential between the two groups.

  52. Kate, any day when you say “chaps my ass” is a good day.

    You missed the connection between the last line (the “too busy” thing) and your earlier point about your mother. No one is too busy to diet, but you can be too busy to go to the gym. And Dinglehoofer Quotelady is conflating the two. Which, hello, is the problem.

    And also, I would seriously like to shout out for those of us who are too fucking lazy to go to the gym. Because I wrote and published five books sitting on my fat ass while y’all where doing the gym thing. I don’t LIKE the gym.

    Anyway. Some of my best friends exercise.

    I was a vegetarian for five years and people would ask me why I needed to diet if I was a vegetarian (those were my dieting days) and I’d say “Hello? Candy HAS NO MEAT.” Duh.

  53. What we really need are some rich-assed mother-effers, who will pay for and distribute ads with the TRUTH.

    Exercise IS good for you. It CAN be fun. It WILL make you healthy(ier).

    You note I didn’t say anything at ALL about weight there?

    But of course, we’d need more than one type of ad. “Fat people aren’t all lazy” comes to mind.

    Speaking of the fat=lazy misconception, these people need to talk to my 7 year old daughter. She announced one day, through her own observation of the dynamics of our family, that “Skinny people are lazy and fat people do all the work.” She and her father are sticks with heads. My oldest 2 are normal-sized and overweight, respectively. My youngest is normal-sized. Who does all the work? Me. Which is the ONLY kid willing to help me around here? My 10-year old, who has recently gained a noticeable amount of weight.

    But my 7-year old daughter – who just TURNED 7 a few weeks ago – can see for herself that fat people AREN’T automatically lazy just because they happen to BE fat. And yet she sees and hears things that tell her that that simply couldn’t be the case, otherwise she wouldn’t have a fat mommy.

    What I see are people trying to make us believe in a fantasy. What’s next? “Grass isn’t really green… it’s BLUE!!! The whole world has been hallucinating since the dawn of time!!!” ???

  54. Heh@ fillyjonk

    And I had another thought….if I take Penelope’s advice…and believe that fat is contagious and is making me dumber…I’m gonna be both broke AND friendless.

    But, if I figure out my Anti-Food, I’ll be saved!

  55. No one is too busy to diet, but you can be too busy to go to the gym.

    Actually, given how much mental energy dieting consumes (both in terms of depriving your brain of nutrients and just having to think about it all the goddamned time), I think you can be too busy to diet. But point taken.

  56. Hi everyone,

    I’m new here. And it feels like a great forum.

    I just wanted to give a nice “how’s it going” to all of you here.

    :)

    -Taylor

  57. I very, very, very much agree. I’ve done a lot of work with young adults in recent years, and it pains me no end to see the number of beautiful, healthy girls who become obsessed with how “fat” they are. Could they lose a few pounds healthily? Sure. Do they have to in order to be responsible or beautiful or worthy of respect? Not by a long shot.

    I wish someone would consider how much shame overweight people experience on a normal day — from “obesiphobes” around them as well as from their own inner struggle. Piling more shame on them through humiliating commercials will not solve anything. So many people who are overweight due to eating disorders have that eating disorder precisely because they already hate themselves they way they are. If anything, a vicious anti-fatty campaign will only dive them further into their problem.

    I think it is true that America is not eating or living well at the moment, more so than in past years. I’m fine with ads promoting better health through food choice and exercise. I’m fine with teams of researchers coming up with ways to make healthy food more affordable and more accessible. I think it would be great for a couple of entrepeneurial types to start fast-food chains that won’t shorten your lifespan if you eat there. But attacking people who simply have different bodies is absolutely not the solution.

    Has anyone noticed that in Renaissance period artwork, none of the ladies are skeletons? If those women were alive today, they would probably be told to lower their BMI. Those were the hot chicks back in the day.

  58. So weird how I all day I was thinking about the cries of “fat people are causing my rising health insurance costs” and the best treatment for that statement and you all were talking about it. It must be the “Shapely Prose” transmitter I had installed in my brain on Monday.

  59. “Actually, given how much mental energy dieting consumes (both in terms of depriving your brain of nutrients and just having to think about it all the goddamned time), I think you can be too busy to diet.”

    Amen to that – god knows what we could have achieved with all those brain hours that have been wasted over the years. I seriously think this is one of the reasons why some people DO diet though – possibly on a subconscious level – because they have all that mental energy and just don’t know what the heck to do with it, and it gives you a focus. Giving that up (and the hope that comes right alongside it) is actually pretty hard – you have to think of something to DO with your life/time/energy.

  60. So… anybody remember that anti-pot ad that came out, where the underaged teenage girl got stoned, and the boy managed to have sex with her because her judgement was skewed?

    Yeah, well… If that had been a fat chick, or a fat guy, for that matter, they would have totally been shown pigging out on the bowl of snacks that were sitting on the table in front of them.

    And that is how pot could be linked to making people fat.

    Sorry, I know that was a tangent.

    But anyways, what the heck are these people thinking?

    You know, I really want to find a way to get legal on their asses. I want to call my lawyers up this very second and ask them if I can charge the government, or maybe just these experts at “obesity and eating disorders” clinics, with harrassment, discrimination, and maybe sue them for mental suffering.

    What d’ya think?

    I could even make a documentary out of it, or something. Can you imagine if it actually WORKED?

  61. So many people who are overweight due to eating disorders have that eating disorder precisely because they already hate themselves they way they are. If anything, a vicious anti-fatty campaign will only dive them further into their problem.

    I pretty much said this over on The Rotund yesterday. These blinkered cretins claiming this ad campaign is not hard-hitting enough seem incapable of understanding they’re part of the problem they’re so desperately keen to control/erradicate. The widespread fear and demonisation of fat is what drives that problem in the first place. Increasing stigmatisation will only result in more neurosis, more “failed” dieters giving themselves health problems where none previously existed, and more eating disorders. (To say nothing of more eating disorders developing in prepubertal children). In fact I’d go further and suggest that when exercise and “healthy” eating are stressed in an actively fatphobic context, (for which read the kind of advertising campaign these critics believe would be more effective), the more likely they are to be viewed as a punishment by the targets of that stigmatisation.

    Oh…and the reason I put “healthy” eating in parentheses like that is because I don’t believe whipping out a crucifix and a clove of garlic every time someone offers you a cookie is in the slightest bit healthy. Similarly, in a culture where health is linked to weight and weight loss by any means and in any circumstances is automatically viewed as healthy, the more likely healthy eating is to be re-interpreted according to whatever fad diet is in vogue at the time.

  62. It must be the “Shapely Prose” transmitter I had installed in my brain on Monday.

    Official Shapely Prose Transmitters will be installed “voluntarily” in all the commentariat as soon as possible.

  63. Obviously, something must be done to stop this epidemic of maleness.

    OMG!!! Do you realize that recent statistics show that approximately 50% of the American population is male? If this turns out to be a trend, eventually we’ll all be guys!

  64. I must have had my transmitter installed all ready. I interrupted my very respected research teacher yesterday when he was explaining AB method single study qualitative research method. Why? His example was helping a client lose weight and I told him that he was starting with a flawed goal.

    I ended up dropping the point after a bit, since he isn’t the most flexible guy in the world, and I need this grade. But I ended up sitting there seething as he trotted out every flawed method of doing it, including calorie restriction (To his credit he said it was incredibly difficult, but cited willpower as the reason).

    The good news? I gave a classmate the URL to this blog, and she told me it was making her think about things a bit different.

    OMFG! I am promoting FA in real life, not just online? I must have been assimilated into the commentariat…

  65. Oh…and the reason I put “healthy” eating in parentheses like that is because I don’t believe whipping out a crucifix and a clove of garlic every time someone offers you a cookie is in the slightest bit healthy.

    AMEN. People who have to count every calorie they consume in order to stay skinny are just as much in bondage as those who compulsively eat junk food. Either way, you’re being governed by your weight, and I agree: it’s just not healthy.

    We need to be happy with eating smart (which does not equal obsessively fat-free), and letting our bodies be whatever shape they are when that happens.

  66. Kate said:
    Actually, given how much mental energy dieting consumes (both in terms of depriving your brain of nutrients and just having to think about it all the goddamned time), I think you can be too busy to diet. But point taken.

    Yes, exactly. Anytime I’ve succeeded, even briefly, in a diet, it’s been at a point in my life when I had very little to do. Whenever I’ve been busy, had a full life, with friends and relationships and job(s) and writing projects and the whole nine yards, I just don’t have the mental “disk space” for dieting. Plus all that activity makes my body want fuel.

    And the most vehement diet crusader among my acquaintances? Lives a life of leisure. (No, she’s not wealthy, but she does not work and the other people who live with her do all the chores.) She can’t comprehend that the reason the rest of us aren’t dieting isn’t that we’re less virtuous than she, but that we have different priorities, and that obsessing about what we are and aren’t eating doesn’t make the list.

  67. I work in public health. Most people working in public health are not of the “Center for Science in the Public Interest” ilk, nor are they reflexive fat hating jerks, and the code of ethics that we attempt to abide by does include the concept of “first do no harm.” Which is why the ads from the Ad Council on the Small Steps Campaign are much close to HAES than to fat people keeling over from their own fatness.
    While the ads show fat body parts (love handles, butts, double chins) they aren’t really gross — they are like firm pieces of rubber, I think there is something endearing and gentle about the ads that is kind of cool. In general, what I hear “from the field” is that the ads are cute and funny, and people wish they could be broadcast more often. More like gentle reminders that they don’t mind having. IMHO, these ads don’t increase contempt for fat people, even if they are misguided about what the effects of the changes they are recommending are. Those changes they are promoting are generally good/harmless (taking the stairs, eating fruits/veg, general awareness of how much to eat) — although for someone with an eating disorder, no matter how gentle the ads are, they might be contributing to the disorder.
    Really, these ads are probably way better than we might have expected, and I’m sure the Ad Council had plenty of people crying for dead fat bodies or hospital gurneys, and, thankfully, resisted these cries in favor of something they thought (as advertising experts) might actually work to encourage people to eat better and move more. The tagline on the ad is actually “take small steps to be healthy” and doesn’t mention weight.
    One of the spots I like best shows a (hetero) couple moving into their seats in a movie theater, and on the seat next to them is a benign looking rubbery thing.
    “What’s that?” asks the woman
    The guy holds it up, jiggles it a little (neither are grossed out), and says “back fat. Someone must have lost it by snacking on a smaller size of popcorn.” (okay, so we might take issue with the calories in-calories out assumption here)
    “Huh.” The woman says.
    Next a tall man comes in and sits in front of them, blocking their view.
    “Give me that” the woman says, and the guy hands her the back fat. She grabs it and sits on it, now tall enough to see around the guy in front of her, satisfied.

    So, commentariat and KH, SM, FJ — is that promoting a bigger ass, or what?

  68. Well-rounded Type 2, I think I addressed most of your points in the post, actually. I’m certainly glad the Ad Council resisted any impulses to go with a fat-shaming, fear-mongering approach, but it still makes me really angry that instead of promoting HAES, they’re saying, “Make healthy changes — and LOSE WEIGHT!” It is flat out fucking lying to say that for most people, making actually healthy (i.e., not extreme) diet and exercise changes will lead to weight loss. Not to mention, weight loss is beside the point.

    And I still think the random pools of fat are an incredibly gross concept. Bleh.

  69. Kate,
    As always, you are right.
    Ideally, they would have promoted HAES.
    But that’s not what they were being paid to do — they were being paid to “address obesity” or even “reduce obesity.” We know that they won’t be successful at “reducing obesity” with this approach — which then leaves the door open for the head-screaming, arm-waiving types to come in and say, “show the inside of a fat person’s body on the operating table” or “have a young kid talk about how fat killed his mommy.”
    I think the arena for action is in changing the indicator — saying, we aren’t interested in seeing fewer fat people, or lower BMIs, or any of those (because they aren’t safely possible), but we would like to see better health care for fat people, more safe and fun opportunities to engage in physical activity, fresh, local food that is affordable, heck, even flat out money (or higher wages) so people can afford food. That might translate into better health for the population of people who are larger.
    There are health-related objectives that are set by the gov’t and the public comments on these before they are set. These are called “Healthy People” objectives and some of them are way, way, way off the mark. But it’s an opportunity to voice criticisms of how we are currently measuring things.
    Then, when it comes time to do public awareness campaigns, they don’t have giant fat blobs destroying cities all Godzilla-like, they encourage HAES.

  70. And I’m sorry I didn’t respond to the part of the post about your mom. I’m so sorry.
    You are so right about the misguided weight-loss thrust upon type 2s, I think it might be starting to change a bit.
    Those of us who think you don’t have to lose weight to control diabetes are in the minority, but I do try to talk about it whenever I’m giving a presentation about diabetes – that it’s not necessary to lose weight to control diabetes. That a HAES approach is more sound and sustainable. I’m also sure to say that smoking is the worst thing you can do if you have diabetes and let people know that they can call our state’s quitline.
    I’m sorry, also, if I missed/didn’t reference the points in your post. I need a course in blogging etiquette, I’m afraid.

  71. I have to say, I do like that the first one of those commercials I ever saw showed a man trying to turn in lost love handles to the Lost & Found.

    Don’t worry, dude, I’m sure their owner will come back and pick them up within five years!

  72. OMG, KH, what you wrote about your mom, I wish every frigging “health” reporter in America could see. And take in. Of course, their take-away message would probably be, “Yeah, but she shouldn’t have smoked, and then she’d have been fine.” Thereby completely missing the point, of course. Again.

  73. Wow, talk about tl;dr. Luckily I don’t have to apply the “weight loss talk will be deleted” rule, since I doubt anyone could get through that whole comment. [Note: I DID choose to apply it, but I’m leaving FJ’s comment up anyway. — Kate]

    For the 5% of people who couldn’t lose weight, I truly felt terrible for them. One man had Graves Disease and there was no way he was going to ever be thin. But the exercise and change in his diet did make him FEEL better.

    Then why’d you feel terrible for him?

    You’re not telling people here anything they don’t know, Mr. T. In fact, you should probably hang around before you start showering us with your altruistic expertise. You could have saved a lot of time — although I don’t know, maybe typing is a major part of your workout routine. Right now you remind me of a doctor I had, who started telling me about how I should eat and exercise before asking me about how I ate and exercised already. I fired him.

    The difference between us and you is that we know exercise makes you feel better AND WE DON’T GIVE ONE FLYING FUCK IF IT MAKES YOU LOSE WEIGHT. We don’t feel “terrible” for people who have the leisure and physical ability to get plenty of exercise and feel awesome. We don’t pity them and we don’t want pity from you. We don’t torture ourselves with unreachable goals that shouldn’t even be the point. I use exercise to feel good; I meet my goal every day. If I were fixated on burning 23088082 calories per pound of muscle or losing 23089580 pounds per calorie expended or whatever the hell you said, do you think I’d be able to say that?

  74. I do not know where to start. OK I am an MD so I have my evidence based bias. In this field we can have opinions based only on strong statistical evidence. What happened to your mother or my father is not information adequate to create a public policy. Your own mother suffered from smoking but my grandfather smoked from thirteen to eighty six and died from unrelated causes. What exactly does it prove? Exceptions are exceptions. Right now we have an epidemic of adolescents with type 2 diabetes. Never happened before. It used to be called adult onset diabetes. The medical community does not think that is a coincidence that childhood obesity is on the rise. Find some photographs from the fifties and see how much thinner people were. We have the same genetic material but we eat more. It is not a question of discrimination versus acceptance. Facts are facts. Noone says that everyone should be size 2.

  75. Gosh, thanks for enlightening us, contrarian. As Fillyjonk said to the deleted dumbass above, we’ve certainly never heard or considered any of these things before.

    Just as my anecdote shouldn’t “create a public policy” — and you’ll note I never suggested it should — correlation should not be confused for causation. I’d think an MD would know that.

    And trust me, I have a HUGE “evidence-based bias” myself.

  76. I’d think an MD would know that.

    I’d think an MD would also know that the “epidemic” of adolescents with type 2 diabetes is partly due to, oh I don’t know, the fact that adolescents are now being furiously tested for type 2 diabetes. (And in the case of children, overdiagnosed for it.)

    I’d also think that a good MD wouldn’t be so eager to speak for “the medical community.” Or to diagnose an epidemic based on “photographs from the fifties.”

    I also think it’s real fucking easy to claim you’re an MD.

  77. I figured there would be a considerable amount of denial and censorship. That’s the hallmark of all good writers isn’t it? Kate you write books and you are all for censorship right? How kind of you to allow a poster to use a snippet of my commentary to try to beat me over the head with. How balanced and fair of you!

    At no point in any of my comments did I make fun of fat people or call for them to be treated poorly. Quite the opposite.

    Insofar as the comment by FillyJonk… the use of explicatives in your writing really makes your points much more valid. If you curse enough and shout enough it will make you right.

    Just because you can’t understand the dynamics relating to why diets and exercise programs fail, doesn’t alter the truth. It’s not my concern that you can’t understand or comprehend math and science.

    Incidentally, your suggested amount of calories 23088082 would render a total loss of 6596lbs of fat per pound of muscle. Don’t be ignorant. It’s just as distasteful as the unrealistic comments the anti-fat people use about the obese. You’re better than that right?

    Further, my statement was that the tactics used in the advertisment are inappropriate. Ostracising and alientation are NOT useful tools. But even that can’t be taken to heart. Because it undermines what I suspect are excuses many people hide behind.

    I don’t write romance novels or magazine articles for a living. I work in medical science. I work along side thought leaders, scientist and physicians who specialize in metabolic disorders… people with extensive formal training in medical sciences. They read all the studies and don’t cherry pick those best suited to proving their personal agenda.

    Insofar as why I felt bad for my clients who couldn’t do anything… it was because they were treated like second class citizens regardless of their dedication to their personal health. Something I feel is very wrong with today’s society.

    I agree with the good doctor “contrarian”… facts are facts. You can ignore the underlying issues all you want. But it won’t change the implicit reality of your situation. And in most cases, the stories you hear about one or two people are what are known as statistical outlyers.

    Go ahead and censor me Kate. I understand that anything, not matter it’s intent, that doesn’t agree with your point of view will be removed from your blog.

    However, you have my email address. Feel free to write me and explain why you feel censorship is a valid option. If you think my response was too long, then add a character limit to posts.

  78. By the way, do you think Dr. Imadoctor is a sock puppet for Tommy the Tweaker? Or vice versa? Or do you think they just came from the same place? Or is there a rash of people today who don’t know how to click the tabs at the top of the blog?

  79. By the way, do you think Dr. Imadoctor is a sock puppet for Tommy the Tweaker? Or vice versa? Or do you think they just came from the same place? Or is there a rash of people today who don’t know how to click the tabs at the top of the blog?

    It does seem odd that there are not one, but two medical professionals here to tell us that us silly girls (who of course only work on romance novels and magazines ;) ) are here to tell us how wrong-wrong-wrong we are about teh scienez!

  80. Oh my god, this is HILARIOUS. Kate, please tell me we can keep this one up!

    Only because you asked so nicely, without using any “explicatives.”

    And it’s a different IP from Dr. Imadoctor, so apparently, we really do have two new readers who can’t fucking read.

    Oops! Just undercut my own point!

    Off to work on my romance novel.

  81. I do not know where to start. OK I am an MD so I have my evidence based bias.

    Well, I’m relieved to hear you’re not an English major.

    Also, “evidence-based bias,” har har. Because here at Shapely Prose, we just like looking into crystal balls.

    What happened to your mother or my father is not information adequate to create a public policy.

    Okay, but this:
    Find some photographs from the fifties and see how much thinner people were.

    … this is empirical evidence?

    Facts are facts.

    Science != facts, Doc. It’s a system of testing hypotheses, observing the results, and then using statistics to make shit up for journals interpreting them. But you know that, of course.

    Blah, this person’s either a troll or never going to check back in. Why do I bother?

  82. Only because you asked so nicely, without using any “explicatives.”

    Yeah, people really don’t respect you when you explicate.

    (Or, at least, they don’t bother to pay attention.)

    Jae, not only are they here to show us poor deluded fat girlz the light, but they’re going to do it in UTTERLY OVEREXTENDED AND REPETITIVE DETAIL. But if it’s unreadable, that’s our fault for not limiting comments!

  83. It’s not my concern that you can’t understand or comprehend math and science.

    I don’t write romance novels or magazine articles for a living.

    Well, Tommy the Trainer may claim all he wants that he’s not dismissive of fatties, but he sure the hell is dismissive of women.

  84. And tomorrow, I’m gonna be a cowgirl.

    Hey, I’m a cowgirl. It says so right in my username. That means I’m even more a cowgirl than contrarian is a doctor, and as we all know he is totally a doctor. Case closed!

    If I liked having sex with Martians, would that be a sexual “alientation” rather than orientation? I like that made-up word too. “Explicative” also sounds more like a bad word than “expletive” does, to the point that I kind of wish the correct word really were “explicative.” Oh well.

    Tommy, in theory I have the same issues you have with cherry-picking studies to arrive at one’s desired result. The problem is that if you really, truly, honestly think that mainstream obesity researchers (that is, the ones who believe that obesity is an epidemic and is killing us) do not ignore research that doesn’t support their own views, then you are incredibly gullible. ESPECIALLY when there is not exactly a lot of private funding available for research that will tell people “you don’t need x commercial diet plan or y medication or z special food, just eat the best you can and exercise regularly and you will do OK.” Not to mention that these researchers have been steeped in the same society the rest of us have, and are preconditioned to believe that fat is bad and skinny is good. Especially for women.

    I mean, I agree with you wholeheartedly that people should be as well-informed as they can be, and whenever possible evaluate all of the available evidence (or as much of it as they can) to arrive at a conclusion. But your belief that mainstream obesity researchers are any more open-minded than the contributors here is pretty optimistic.

  85. spaceddoctor, you put a lot more time and effort into reading Tommy’s comment than I did, and you deserve plaudits. Or is it “plauditives”?

    And of course you’re absolutely right. I mean, yes experimentation, yes informed public, yes the dignity of pure scientific research, to paraphrase something that’s slipping my mind — but if you can look past your biases and actually pay attention to what’s going on out there, we’re not the ones sinning against empiricism. Far from it.

  86. spaceddoctor, you put a lot more time and effort into reading Tommy’s comment than I did, and you deserve plaudits. Or is it “plauditives”?

    I was just gonna commendate her, myself.

    if you can look past your biases and actually pay attention to what’s going on out there, we’re not the ones sinning against empiricism. Far from it.

    DON’T YOU CONFUSE HIM WITH THE FACTS, YOUNG LADY.

  87. It really is kinda dead. The only reaction I could really have initially to this post was “god, it makes me tired to live in this society.” The fight for sanity and for it to be considered OK for fat people to eat, move, and live in some semblance of the way they would like, and without undue influence from huge scary corporations, just seems too hard to win. :-/

    Then again I was stupid enough to post in the thread-that-shall-not-be-named at Shakesville, so maybe my spirit was killed long ago and is now simply undead.

  88. scg, did you really? I haven’t even looked at that thread. I’m shaking in my romance-novel-writing boots just thinking about it.

    And squirting milk out my nose just thinking about GRAAAAAAINS… which is disturbing because I don’t drink milk.

  89. if you can look past your biases and actually pay attention to what’s going on out there, we’re not the ones sinning against empiricism.

    Yes, absolutely. I was way too… well, namby-pamby with that imprecise statement that put SP writers on par with the MSM and mainstream obesity research, in terms of evaluating study results fairly and accurately. In no uncertain terms, I think you guys do a MUCH better and more ethical job of that. I am floored at how willfully most people force themselves to believe that overweight kills and obesity kills tomorrow.

  90. I always knew I couldn’t understand math or science, but to say I can’t comprehend it, either?

    He uses big words so we dumb girls can’t comprehend understand him.

    And, I dunno about anyone else who reads this blog, but damn. My undergraduate degree is in cognitive science. After graduating, I worked for two years on an NIH-funded study on cognitive aging, in the process studying statistics, including multiple regression, factor analysis, and structural equation modeling. I currently work as a data analyst, running statistics every day, while I pursue a graduate degree in computer science. Oh, and I do all this while being dyscalculic.

    So yeah, Mr. T, I do comprehend math and science.

    Oh, and, hi Kate. Long time reader, part-time member of the commentariat, here. I think I may have sent you a link once, but I may also just have been in a caffeinated stupor. Your last post, on “fattie snuff films,” actually inspired to write down all that had been on my mind about fat acceptance for a while on my LJ (http://captainecchi.livejournal.com/343292.html, if you’re interested). In short, I’m still finding it easier to accept fat in other people than in me, i.e. I’m not convinced I wouldn’t be 10lbs lighter if I worked at a place that didn’t have hot- and cold-running cupcakes. It’s also tied up in some health issues for me; I have chronically high cholesterol which pretty much has just gotten higher and higher every year no matter how I eat (the percentage of HDL to LDL to triglycerides changes, sure… but otherwise the total number just goes up and up). It’s still a very personal struggle, but I appreciate all that you’ve done to raise my awareness of FA.

  91. Continuing in the ME ME ME vein, yeah I did. And I wish I hadn’t, of course. Those MRA people are certifiable. It took me a couple of days not to feel totally bruised and upset by the whole experience, and they didn’t even attack me viciously, it was more the stuff I read that they said to others. They were hitting the quadrifecta of misogyny, racism, homophobia, and fat hate and doing most of it in a way that would be over the top for people who specialize in just ONE of those types of hatred. Anyway, you guys feel free to delete this if you don’t want to get into it here.

    I love GRAAAAAAAINS.

  92. Hi, Lise! Thanks!

    My undergraduate degree is in cognitive science. After graduating, I worked for two years on an NIH-funded study on cognitive aging, in the process studying statistics, including multiple regression, factor analysis, and structural equation modeling. I currently work as a data analyst, running statistics every day, while I pursue a graduate degree in computer science.

    So wait… you’re a man? ;)

  93. Lise, me too. Fat acceptance and this blog have gotten me to the point where I can look at other fat women walking down the street and think: “Hey she’s pretty cute” instead of something derogatory, but not to the point where I can look at myself in the mirror and think the same. (Well, sometimes I can. But not as regularly as I’d like to be). We’re always hardest on ourselves… women especially are I think. But I think you’ll get there… I think we both will =)

  94. Lise, if you don’t have a family history of high cholesterol, you should maybe get checked out for PCOS. I have genetically high HDL (yay!), but there was no explanation for my high triglycerides until I was diagnosed (they certainly weren’t food-related). Metformin dropped all my lipids to normal range almost instantly (well, my total cholesterol is still borderline high because of the high HDL, but LDL and triglycerides are all good). It’s not the kind of thing most doctors will test for unless you ask them.

    And can I mention how jealous I am of your cognitive science undergrad degree? Mine is in history and philosophy of science, and until I discovered neurophilosophy my senior year, I never wished I’d majored in straight-up science. Now I’ve got mad cognitive science envy.

  95. FJ, I’m pretty sure it’s familial, as my father (and presumably my grandfather, who died of a massive heart attack when he was 40) both had high total cholesterol. PCOS is not something I’m dismissive of, but the case for my cholesterol issue being familial is certainly strong.

    (Also, can I say how ANGERED I am when I hear about doctors telling PCOS sufferers that they’d be fine if they just lost weight? PCOS CAUSES weight gain, dumbass).

    Alsoalso, when Tommy thar scolded us for using “explicatives,” was anyone else reminded of Amanda at Pandagon being taken to task for swearing?

  96. And BTW, just one little thing on contrarian’s ‘look at photos from the 50s, people were thinner then’…

    I make collages, and one of the things I make them with is old photos. I do a lot of digging around antique barns and boot fairs and anywhere you can get old photos. I’ve got everything from turn-of-the-century cabinet photos to snapshots from the 40s and 50s and, sorry to disappoint you, but people back then – of all classes, to judge by what they were wearing – seem to have come in a very wide range of sizes. Much as they do today. (And that’s allowing for corsetry, which no doubt made some of them look a little smaller for the camera.)

    If you look at old ‘naughty’ photographs (which alas, I don’t have any of in my collection as they are real collectors’ items and too darned expensive!), many of the girls are way bigger than today’s modeling standards demand. I gather that because no decent young lady would ever pose nude back then, a lot of these would have been – ahem! – working girls, so these weren’t exactly the ‘overfed’ upper echelons of society.

    As for eating more, in the UK we actually take in far fewer calories now than in the past, when fry-ups and suet puddings were staples of the British diet. And even during the rationing of WWII, there were anti-fat slogans suggesting that not everyone was as thin as HM Government wanted them to be. (Hmm…not a lot of change there then!)

  97. (Also, can I say how ANGERED I am when I hear about doctors telling PCOS sufferers that they’d be fine if they just lost weight? PCOS CAUSES weight gain, dumbass).

    I know!!! Luckily I’ve gotten good at just firing doctors left and right. My endocrinologist is great, fortunately, and I finally found a GYN who was like “oh, you’re on Metformin? Isn’t it awesome for PCOS?” Yes, yes it is.

    Yeah, if there’s a familial history it doesn’t require any further explanation… the genetic basis of cholesterol is strong as hell. And in that case it’s probably not surprising that you can’t control it with diet alone.

  98. sorry to disappoint you, but people back then – of all classes, to judge by what they were wearing – seem to have come in a very wide range of sizes. Much as they do today.

    No kidding. I don’t have one from the fifties handy, but here’s my mom in the ’60s looking — SHOCKER — very much like me. With better clothes and worse hair.

    Wait… I just had a thought. Do you suppose fat is genetic?

  99. I’ve got a photo of my grandmother’s nearly-middle-class family back in the Old Country (in eastern Europe) and the men are slim-ish but all the women are fat to varying degrees. I dunno. You could be onto something, Kate, but you might want to keep that under your fatty belt lest us other fatties think it a license to eat doughnuts 24/7.

    And people who think food was healthier and more wholesome back inna day obviously have never seen the Gallery of Regrettable Food nor any cookbook published before 1980.

  100. Final words for the wise cowgirls: You are right, in fact I am a farmhand practising medicine until the lettuce is ready to pick. You are free to ignore reality but reality is not going to ignore you. US used to be No 14 in longevity it is now No 42 and is projected to fall more due to guess what. Good luck.

  101. US used to be No 14 in longevity it is now No 42 and is projected to fall more due to guess what

    Your atrociously bad health care system?

  102. Your atrociously bad health care system?

    Ding ding ding!

    Also, can I just say how much I love that this douche calls himself “contrarian”? ‘Cause boy, he’s got some really edgy, unique views about fat there. My mind, she is BLOWN.

  103. So I’m all on the hate on the troll(s) band wagon but I would like to point out that contrarian/todd or whoever could actually be an MD and I have an amusing/sad anecdote to go with it.

    I have a friend in L.A. – a beautiful thin (size 2) slightly younger than middle aged woman – who started seeing a new doctor. A real doctor with like degrees and everything. She told this Dr. that she was concerned about having gained some weight. The Dr proceed to pinch her belly and say “yeah, this should probably be less than an inch” (as in pinch an inch, right)

    He then went on to tell that she should try his five bite diet. You could eat whatever you want for breakfast/lunch as long as you only take five bites and 10 bites at dinner.

    I wish I was kidding, but I’m not. He gave her a card with this on it. You are also allowed water, black coffee and diet sodas.

    That was a real doctor.

  104. “‘look at photos from the 50s, people were thinner then’…”

    I can go downstairs into the living room and look at pictures of my grandmother, my great-grandmother, and my great-great grandmother, all three of them built like friggin’ linebackers. And the photos date back to the early 1900’s. How on earth can that be?? Obviously, I need some super-smart internet doctor to tell me that Marie, Johanna, and Bridget were just kicking back on the couch, listening to the wireless all day, and shoving endless amounts of chow in their faces while the 9 trillion children they had (Irish-Catholic FTW) raised themselves.

  105. That was a real doctor.

    Guh. Good point, though, Lexy. In fact, I think it’s time once more to tell the story of my friend Mindy, whose rheumatologist told her to try losing 10 lbs. to help with her knee pain.

    Mindy is 5’8″ and 125 lbs., BMI 19, size 2.

    Also? She has arthritis.

    But it’s totally her weight putting too much strain on her joints.

  106. I was just gonna commendate her, myself.

    Ahem. I’m pretty sure you mean commendicate. Or maybe, commendarize.

    (Also, can I say how ANGERED I am when I hear about doctors telling PCOS sufferers that they’d be fine if they just lost weight? PCOS CAUSES weight gain, dumbass).

    Took me five fucking years to get a diagnosis. The first, oh, six doctors I went to wouldn’t even do a simple blood test. Lalalala, lose some weight, fatass. Of course, I was taking in 1500 calores and exercising for an hour every day… but who am I to get my reality in the way of prejudice?

  107. He then went on to tell that she should try his five bite diet. You could eat whatever you want for breakfast/lunch as long as you only take five bites and 10 bites at dinner

    Hey, but I can easily shove most of a muffin/cupcake/bagel/donut in my gob in one bite! Not that I would, you understand; we’re just talking theoretically here. But chances are, if I was dumb enough to attempt the 5 Bites A Day Plan To Personal Triggering Damnation, I’d probably start wanting to scarf five cakes in one sitting just to spite the git.

    Secondly, if the bites can technically be of anything, they skies the limit

  108. Awwww, I think you guys hurt “contrarian’s” fee-wings!

    I mean, look at how victimized he gets! “I’ll just pick lettuce”… Yeah, you DO that, buddy.

    And has anybody actually gone and found out where the US is in (I’m assumin contrarian meant to add “global”) longevity? I think I’ll go google it right now…

  109. Aw dang, looks like we are 42nd…

    But get this.

    Brazil is 89th, and their average life-span is 70.4 years!

    And Japan is 1st, at 81.3 years.

    So if we’re in the middle of that 11-year range, is that really a bad thing?

  110. As it is, US longevity has been going up steadily for quite a while now. We are number 42 not because we are “unhealthy! unhealthy!” but because much of the rest of the world is catching up in good nutrition and in provision of medical care.

    (Should I mention that that good nutrition is one of the causes of Americans becoming bigger in both dimensions over time? Or will Doctor Sockpuppet’s head explode if I do that? [And would that be a bad thing?])

  111. I like America an awful lot, but I’m not sure why I’m supposed to get het up about us dropping (DROPPING!!!!) from 14th to 42nd in terms of longevity. Sure, this means I’ll have to put my big foam “14” finger back in storage, but I’m still fairly sure it doesn’t mean we’re all going to die tomorrow. (Though if we do, that means the other 41 countries ahead of us totally win.)

    Like jaed points out, that little ranking says more about other countries than it does about the US. Really, contrarian has done nothing more than prove what we all pretty much knew anyway: degrees don’t make you smart.

  112. Took me five fucking years to get a diagnosis. The first, oh, six doctors I went to wouldn’t even do a simple blood test. Lalalala, lose some weight, fatass.

    Then there’s me, who was talking with a doctor about my depression, and I mentioned that one of the factors of that depression was situational involving my continued infertility, and that I was seeing a reproductive endocrinologist at the University for the infertility. And the doctor that I was there to talk about depression and managing my antidepressants with started telling me that it was obvious that I have PCOS and that I should really look into getting on metformin. And when I told him that my REPRODUCTIVE ENDOCRINOLOGIST has already had me tested for PCOS and has ruled it out as a factor in my infertility, he just looked at me for a moment and then said that he’d thought I’d had a full blood panel run at their clinic (it’s the clinic where my PCP works, though this guys is NOT my pcp) and he pulled up my lab results and looked at them and in a tone of complete shock said: “well, I can’t see anything indicating PCOS in your bloodwork, but you really should push harder on getting that checked out.”

    What he meant to say was that I’m FAT and infertile and so therefore I MUST have PCOS. Because all infertile fat women have PCOS. Of course.

    Silly me, I should inform my RE that he’s obviously not looked at me hard enough, because if he had then he’d realize that I’m fat and thus have PCOS despite all the tests indicating otherwise.

  113. Um, Lise, maybe you can help me out as a fellow fat stats person. Don’t we look at “outliers”? Tommy says that the anecdotes are “statistical outlyers”, I see that working in the medical profession with, OMG, REAL scientists (reminds me of the Meaning of Life childbirth scene) comes with automated knowledge of statistics.

    I love the covariance matrix.

  114. Dear World.

    The reason why people get chronic diseases is because we’re outliving the acute ones.

    We all die eventually.

    And no amount of lifestyle changing accounts for some peoples type 2 diabetes, or heart attacks, or strokes, or whathaveyou.

    The darkness is closing in, whether your aware of it or not.

    love and kisses
    Yellow Hammer

  115. Chicory, that’s a hell of a story. I wonder if he’d just discovered PCOS and was seeing it in the clouds if he squinted just right? I mean, I understand seeing a fat woman being treated for infertility and thinking “I should test her for this underdiagnosed syndrome.” But ignoring the results from your endocrinologist is pushy and self-centered.

    And should get you fired. I recently went to a doctor who questioned everything the doctors I trust had said and done — not by saying “hmm, I’m not sure about this” or anything, but by (like your doctor) ignoring the fact that I sometimes went to other doctors, and treating me like I was an idiot for dosing myself up with Metformin or diagnosing myself via the internet. Didn’t go back to him, needless to say.

  116. ““So many people, when they think about losing weight, see it as a Sisyphean task — ‘I have to lose weight but I can’t fit it into my busy schedule,’” said Peggy Conlon, president of the Ad Council.”

    The punishment of Sisyphus was to push a huge rock up a steep hill, watch it roll back down, and then repeat the process–over and over again, for eternity. Lack of free time: not an issue. Sounds a lot like dieting to me.

  117. Um, Lise, maybe you can help me out as a fellow fat stats person. Don’t we look at “outliers”? Tommy says that the anecdotes are “statistical outlyers”,

    Outliers, yes. I hadn’t noticed that before! Clearly you read way more carefully than I did.

    I see that working in the medical profession with, OMG, REAL scientists (reminds me of the Meaning of Life childbirth scene) comes with automated knowledge of statistics.

    Nah, Tommy’s clearly a genius at stats because he has a penis.

  118. A couple of things:
    1) The 50’s. I have a dress of my mother’s fromthe 60’s. It is a size 10. From the 60’s. I could fit into it up until a few years ago.

    2) PCOS. So I have a pituitary adenoma, and it got diagnosed when I had tremendous weight gain and was riding a bike 12-17 miles a day (in SEATTLE, so that involved pushing up hills) and also stopped having periods. If I take my medication (dostinex) I am fine. It is expensive, but I am fine. I can manage my weight.

    I went off the meds when I lost insurance a few years ago and as soon as I got insurance again, went in to get the prescription again and the endocrinologist immediately went to put me on metformin, “as a preventative”. And it made me so nauseous I had to stop, and then we changed insurance again. But I was never tested for PCOS. Or to see if I needed to take dostinex.

    Now that I have read up on PCOS, I totally feel like it was, MIDDLE AGED FAT WOMAN, OMG, PCOS, TREAT FIRST CHECK LATER.

    I have new insurance and am going to Columbia Presbyterian in two weeks to see a new endocrinologist. And this time I will ask more questions.

  119. Well, as you might already know, coyote, Metformin isn’t actually a PCOS med — originally it was a diabetes med, but it’s also used to treat insulin resistance. So I actually think you’re being too easy on your doctors. I suspect the thought process went FAT WOMAN OMG SHE’S GOING TO GET DIABETES TREAT FIRST CHECK LATER. If they never tested your blood sugar, you shouldn’t have been on Metformin, no matter WHAT they thought you had… but if they put you on it as a “preventative,” I’m guessing it was because they were convinced from looking at you that you must be prediabetic.

  120. Coyote, I actually have a pituitary adenoma as well, which affects my prolactin levels (originally diagnosed because my periods were wacky). To be honest? I’ve been kind of ignoring it for a couple of years, because when I went to an endocrinologist to talk about it, she was all, “DO YOU WANT BABIES? BECAUSE IF YOU WANT BABIES, HERE COME SOME MEDS! Otherwise, yanno, fuck you very much.”

    Now I have to wonder if that has something to do with my weight gain over the same period of time…

  121. I’ve been kind of ignoring it for a couple of years, because when I went to an endocrinologist to talk about it, she was all, “DO YOU WANT BABIES? BECAUSE IF YOU WANT BABIES, HERE COME SOME MEDS! Otherwise, yanno, fuck you very much.”

    It sounds like you need to shop around for a better endocrinologist, if that’s at all possible. The first few I went to were all, “Don’t want kids? Then we won’t bother treating the symptoms that make you feel like crap”. My current doctor is very much into getting patients to feel better, even if there’s no goal (kids, weight loss…) in sight. Took me years to find her, though.

  122. Just found this site (a link over from adage.com) and I found it insightful and witty (for the most part).

    To an interesting point raised by one of the “trolls” about an increase in childhood obesity. Although i def. agree w/ the reply about the healthcare system, there is a lot to be said for the current social and environmental climate affecting kids and the obesity rate.

    When I was a kid, we ran around outdoors, played on skateboards, and rode our bikes everywhere. Now, parents are afraid to let kids out of their sight in neighborhoods where they don’t know who lurks around the corner. If you get caught riding a skateboard at the local minimall, the RentACops tell you to get lost. And God forbid if anyone tries to ride a bike on an actual street anymore – people are busy! they have places to go! get off the road!

    Childhood obesity is just as likely caused by kids’ slogging around on the Internet all day or playing video games. Maybe they can have an “Anti The Google” commercial……

  123. Kalesy, it’s interesting that you leapt from “parents refusing to let kids out of their sight” to “kids slogging around on the internet.” Are the parents overprotective, or are the kids just OMG lazy? If it’s the first one, what’s an anti-Google ad going to do? How will crusading against Google make parents more willing to let kids go out and play, or security people less likely to chase off skateboarders?

    I’m not asking because I disagree with you — I do think kids don’t get to run around and play enough, though unlike anti-obesity crusaders, I actually think that active healthy children having fun is a good in and of itself, no matter what size said children are. I’m asking because I see you getting really close to thinking outside of the popular “fat comes from overeating and being a slug” misconception, and then getting dragged right back in. It’s worth noticing when that happens.

  124. coyote – ouch! The cycling, I mean. I adore Seattle (want to go live there someday, actually) but oh, those hills!!!

  125. OK, I know I’m late to the party, and so probably no one will read this, but…just how many people here have pituitary tumors? Specifically prolactinomas? ‘Cause that last time I heard this many people talk about Dostinex and prolactin it was on the Pituitary Network boards.

    Just how many of us are there? (BTW, from what I’ve read, I’ve been lucky; it only took me eight years to be properly diagnosed.)

  126. Shade, I don’t have a pituitary tumor, but I may have hypopituitarism – I’m low in LH, FSH, and periodically TSH. My prolactin levels seem fine, though.

    I still don’t have a definitive diagnosis, btw; the above is the current best hypothesis. I’m on my fifteenth year without The Diagnosis(TM), though in the past couple years I have managed to get treated for some of the secondary crap the pituitary is causing (finally!).

    Today, my entire body hurts and I am walking with a cane. (Compare my BMI project photo. Life in my body is never boring, at least. :P )

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