Three to Four Hours a Day

Did y’all see this?

Maybe you CAN blame being fat on your genes. But there’s a way to overcome that family history — just get three to four hours of moderate activity a day.

Seriously. Just exercise moderately for three to four hours a day, and you won’t be fat! LIKE MAGIC. 

The best part is where they tell us that that’s really not as much as it seems, and offer the same old list of ideas that’s offered in every article exhorting us to just get twenty minutes of exercise a day, or half an hour, three times a week, or one hour, five days a week — whatever the hell the recommendation du jour is. 

Instead of watching TV for a few hours at night, take a brisk walk, he suggested. Or use stairs instead of elevators, walk instead of driving, or take up a structured exercise such as swimming.

Or, you know, just park your car farther away from the mall! Like, 15 miles away!

Seriously, we’re supposed to walk briskly or take the stairs for three to four hours? I have walked briskly for three to four hours on occasion, but only on occasion, because it’s a fucking huge time investment. People are supposed to work at least eight or ten hours a day, then go home and say, “Hi, family, lovely to see you, off for my brisk walk now! You’ll be in bed when I get back, so see you in the morning!” And that’s without getting into the fact that a whole hell of a lot of people in the U.S. don’t live somewhere where they could take that long a walk if they wanted to — unless they just did hundreds of laps around their backyards or living rooms. Today, theoretically, I could walk over to the lakeshore path and take it downtown, then turn around and come home, and that would be just about four hours of brisk walking. But when I was growing up in the suburbs, my only path from home to anywhere involved highways and no sidewalks. Also, fuck if I’m going to take that walk every night of my life, throughout the Chicago winter and the Chicago summer, instead of actually spending time with Al and friends, unwinding from writing all day. And I love walking!

Fortunately, though, the article also offers another way to get your three to four hours a day: become Amish. The study of this particular genetic variant — thought to affect 30 percent of people of European descent (so I’m not sure if people of color are off the hook or expected to exercise even more) — focused on an Amish community in Pennsylvania, where the lack of cars and modern technology means folks are pretty active in their daily lives. In that context, people with the genetic variant in question often were getting three to four hours of moderate exercise every day, and they were no more likely to get fat than people without it.

Which… bully for them. There’s a lot to be said for that lifestyle. But most of us aren’t fucking living it. 

Study co-author Dr. Soren Snitker of the University of Maryland acknowledged that it’s unrealistic to expect most people to shun modern conveniences and return to a 19th century lifestyle for the sake of staying trim.

Ya think? 

Look, I’m a fan of movement. I don’t own a car and live in a pedestrian-friendly city. I have a flexible schedule and am not working multiple jobs. But I’ll be damned if I’m going to devote three to four hours of my day to exercise unless somebody starts paying me for it. The idea that I should be doing that — that 30 percent of white people should be doing that — solely to avoid being fat pisses me off like nothing has pissed me off in… I don’t know, at least 45 minutes or so. I cannot fucking believe that instead of writing the obvious story — i.e., “people who have this genetic variant would have to do a tremendous, totally unrealistic amount of daily exercise to be thin” — they went with “people who have this genetic variant can be thin if they just work in three to four hours of daily exercise — easy peasy!” Seriously, you guys! It’s not as bad as it sounds! Just break it down to 48 five-minute sessions throughout the day! 

There was one thing that amused me about this article, right at the end:

Dr. Joel Hirschhorn, a genetics and obesity researcher at Children’s Hospital Boston, said people should not interpret the study to mean, “I don’t have this gene variant so I don’t need to be physically active.”

I love it. It’s the flipside of the inevitable, “People shouldn’t take this as a license to eat whatever they want!” that ends every fucking article suggesting that fatness is not a death sentence. What the hell is up with this assumption that everyone, fat or thin, reading articles about THE OBESITY CRISIS BOOGA BOOGA BOOGA is really just looking for permission to lie in bed all day or eat “forbidden” foods? Is that really the American dream? No movement at all and a steady diet of (baby-flavored) Krispy Kremes?

The thing that really pisses me off about this particular motif in TOCBBB articles is that it just reinforces the idea that exercise is onerous and eating veggies is gross, so the only reason any sane person would do either is to be thin. Which may have been how I felt when I was about 6 (not counting running around the backyard, tree-climbing, dance class, or swimming as exercise, of course, because those things were fun and even then I knew that Exercise Is Not Fun), but I eventually grew out of that mindset. I kinda think most people eventually do. And if they don’t, it’s probably because of the kabillion fucking articles propagating the notion that exercise and veggie-eating are miserable burdens one must undertake to avoid the dreaded sin of fatness. Way to promote “health” there, media.

235 thoughts on “Three to Four Hours a Day

  1. Wow. Not to mention how it might fuel some eating disorders. “But it’s ok to run for four hours a day! The article said so!” Arrrrrgh.

  2. And may I just say that even if you do have a job that required movement – that’s not necessarily going to make a difference.
    I work in archaeology and environmental assessments and that’s a pretty active job. There’s hiking, digging, lifting, screening and several times there’s a combination of these elements.

    As a result I have strength and endurance but slim? Lost weight? Hah! hahahaha….. oh no, my body is immune.

  3. People are supposed to work at least eight or ten hours a day, then go home and say, “Hi, family, lovely to see you, off for my brisk walk now! You’ll be in bed when I get back, so see you in the morning!”

    Of course Kate. How dare we work and then come wanting to spend time with out families, pets, etc. and then actually want to eat and *gasp* watch TV! We should be burning in hell right now. I guess that’s where the demonically obese kicks in.

    When fighting in the front lines on The War on Fat (where is that trademark symbol when you need it) our super-soldiers selectively forget that many people do have something called a life, and while physical activity is important (more for our muscles not getting atrophied than it is to look like David or Victoria Beckham), it shouldn’t encompass our whole lives. Also, our little obesity warriors forget that exercise should be fun, regardless of size. To them, exercise isn’t real exercise unless you’re cussing and crying and having a mental meltdown and about to collapse in a heap of exhaustion.

  4. Why do these people publish this kind of stupid nonsense? Yeah, almost anyone will be sorta average size if they moved at medium to hi intensity 3-4 hrs a da, every day.

    My grandparents lived like the Amish and they used to make their own flour in giant stone bowl with heavy giant pestles, all laundry by hand, make seasonal sauces and all kinds of food for winter storage. They did a lot of physical work to prepare food stuff for cooking and other work around their house. But my grandmother was just a tad plump, she was truly bigger boned as well, and grandpa was skinny as a needle. Even with the same active life style people don’t have the same body type. They were very happy when modern appliances came into their lives and they said they can’t believe they lived such physical lives. They still stayed pretty much the same size when they lessened their activity level. Size is relative and is determined a lot by genetics and you have to try xtra xtra hard to change this and who has the time to do this when they are healthy, happy, and fit but just not the media perfect size?

  5. The other issue that I face is, even though I live in a safer part of my city, an increase in robberies and other crimes makes it not so safe even here. And when it starts getting dark at 6 p.m., there will be no time to even take that “brisk evening walk.”

  6. I’ve worked out that I can just about fit in the four hours exercise after work as long as I skip dinner and go to bed straight afterwards. Yeah, that sounds really healthy and realistic.

  7. That’s freaking insane. If I work 8 hours, and sleep 8 hours, and exercise for 4, and commute for 1 hour a day, that leaves me 3 hours a day for eating, hygiene, errands, hobbies, relaxation, pet care, and little things like seeing my husband and remaining sane.

  8. This reminds me of story I ready about Kate Hudson a few years ago. It was one of those really annoying stories about how X startlet had gotten her “pre-baby body” back in like 5 minutes…and the underlying message of course being, “why are you still carrying the baby weight, fatty?” Well when I read the article it turns out that Kate excercised for SIX HOURS EVERY DAY for months to get that body back. And that is the standard that your average person is supposed to be held to?? Grrr….

  9. SANITY WATCHERS POINT WARNING:

    That political cartoon slideshow to the right has some SERIOUS “fat jokes” in it!

    It’s really effed up!

  10. I’m pretty new to FA/SA (reading several blogs, going on maybe a month?) but when I saw this on my local news this morning, even MY head practically exploded.

  11. I saw that yesterday and then my head exploded. And then I thought – oh no, Shapely Prose said it’s gonna be a slow week! I’m glad that you saw this and wrote about it. 3-4 hours is ludicrous! This article reminded me of some asshat comment I saw on an article that said that people who said that fat was in the genes were just looking for excuses. “Take a lesson from anorexics” the commenter said. Really? The most shocking thing was that he was serious. Anorexics can survive without eating (for a while) and if they can do it, so can you. And if you’re so insistent about eating, well that’s why you’ll never be thin (enough). It’s not your genes, it’s your lazy attitude.

    I recently followed the doctor’s advice and started walking 30 minutes/day 3-4 days per week IN ADDITION to the “long walk” I do on Saturdays (minimum 5 miles, maximum 20 miles). Proud to report my progress to the doc, he said – oh no, you need 5 days, and AT LEAST 45 minutes per day. I was so angry!

    As a single woman in Los Angeles, I commute to work, work a long day, go to the grocery store, mechanic, dry-cleaner, car wash, etc. All on my own. I also go to the butcher and the farmers’ market, cause you know, we have to make healthier choices than what can be found cheaply at the grocery store. And I cook because, you know, fast food will kill me. And I clean the house and maintain relationships and read books and take out the trash and volunteer for causes I believe in. I also try to get at least 6 hours of sleep every night.

    I guess I really am too lazy to be thin.

  12. Jinx!! did you see this in the red eye this morning too? The guy whose shoulder I was reading over was probably afraid for his life.

    Ha! No, I missed it in the RedEye, but that image is hilarious. And jinx, indeed. GMTA.

    The other issue that I face is, even though I live in a safer part of my city, an increase in robberies and other crimes makes it not so safe even here. And when it starts getting dark at 6 p.m., there will be no time to even take that “brisk evening walk.”

    Excellent point. I can’t believe I left that out, especially since I live in a less than completely safe neighborhood mysefl.

  13. I saw that yesterday and then my head exploded. And then I thought – oh no, Shapely Prose said it’s gonna be a slow week!

    Heh. It is, but this one made me so furious, I couldn’t resist. I write pretty quickly when my head’s exploding, oddly enough.

    Now I need to quit reading comments and get back to editing.

    “Take a lesson from anorexics” the commenter said.

    OMFG.

  14. And then there’s those of us who DO that level of activity (I did 6 months of field work last year which equated to hiking with 30 lbs of equipment on for 8 hours a day whilst marathon training in my spare time) and still manage to never dip below a size 12. So really, there’s no guarantee that working your ass off will actually result in loss of ass. True story.

  15. Golly,spinsterwitch, you just don’t have the right commitment. Dhange that brisk walk through your dangerous neighborhood to a daily fear-fueled 3-hour run, and mercy, you’ll be slim and acceptable in no time.

  16. Yeah, those days when I get home at 7 p.m. exhausted and hungry, what I need is not to cook something vaguely decent to eat and relax with a good book or movie, it is to get back out there and have a four-hour workout. Guh. How reasonable. Do I get to eat a carrot stick first?

  17. 3-4 hours per day? That’s a part time job. Hell, that’s MORE than a part-time job if you’re supposed to do that seven days a week. Sorry, I’m not taking on another job unless I have to to pay rent. What about those people who are already working a second job? Sorry fatties, no sleep for you. (Oh, but if you don’t get enough sleep, you’re going to gain weight. Bad fatty. Bad!)

    And even then… it’s not a guarantee. I did an archeological field school a couple summers ago for my undergrad. We were in the field by seven AM, walking through corn fields looking for artifacts, digging in hard clay and screening that hard clay. We left around 3 or 4 everyday. That’s 8 hours of hard physical labor in 85-100 degree heat. I got stronger, but my pants size didn’t change.

  18. Oh, Kate, how I love to read your righteous indignation. It’s like you’re saying everything I’m thinking — only better than I could ever, ever say it.

  19. Around here it gets dark in winter around 4pm. We are constantly (well, it feels like it) being told that being a woman out alone at night is ‘asking for it’, etc. etc. There isn’t anywhere safe and fun and interesting to walk and walking in the dark isn’t that much fun, anyway. So take your pick.

    I’ve recently seen a scare story about not sleeping enough (8 hours a night) OMG KILLS YOU SOONER. So if we factor in 8 hours at work + 2 hours commuting (many people do a lot more) + 4 hours walk + 8 hours sleep, that makes 24 hours of stuff, before you even get onto the other stuff you need to do (which women living with a partner still tend to do way more than half of): Cook, eat, shower, makeup (GOD FORBID YOU GO OUT WITHOUT MAKEUP ON!), wash your clothes, shop (for essentials, even before you factor in crucial shopping-for-the-latest-look-because-you-can’t-be-out-of-fashion) and watch that special watercooler-discussion-topic TV show. Yeah, I can do that in 2 hours a day.

  20. Grrr. I put in 10-15 hours of high intensity exercise a week, for several reasons having to do with an upcoming black belt test, and nice effects on my various blood tests for metabolic freakiness. I’m a SAHM with a flexible schedule, yet this level of exercise puts a serious dent in my free time and ability to get things done. And it’s not enough? Seriously? Because I haven’t lost any notable weight in the last year I’ve been working out this way. Still a size 16-18 too.

    My fat ass is longing to use all this hard-won muscle to kick somebody’s butt over this one. More exercise my foot!

  21. I read this stupid article this morning, and I had flashbacks of me, from age 14 to 20, when I had a scary exercise addiction wherein I exercised 4 to 6 hours EVERY DAY.

    That 4 to 6 hours a day of exercise left me little to no time for schoolwork, friends, socializing, family life, you know, normal things for teenagers. I would get up at 4:00 a.m. exercise for 2 hours. Go to school, get home around 3:00ish, exercise for 2 hours. Eat dinner, do a little homework, and exercise for 2 more hours until I pretty much collapsed until 4:00 a.m. the next day, got up, and did it all over again.

    4 hours. 4 hours per day just so you won’t be fat. Because, you know, it’s worse to be fat than anything else in the whole wide world. To the extent that you should have no life to make sure that you’re not one of those lazy fatties, and if you’re not willing to do 4 hours of exercise per day, you must be a lazy fattie because we all know that fat folks are super lazy and spend all day eating bon bons anyways. None of us eat healthy or exercise ever. Nope. Not a one of us!

    I wish there were a sarcasm font, I really do.

    This made my head explode, and I’m still cleaning up my computer monitor.

  22. You know, I was actually putting some thought into what I wanted to dress as for Halloween, because I love costumes, and scary stories, therefore it’s pretty much one of the best celebrations ever invented and generally what I’m going to disguise myself as requires some thought.

    But thanks to the media, I realize I had the ultimate terrifying visage right on my face in the mirror, every single day! I’ll attend any parties or trick-or-treating as the Scariest Thing Known To Man ™: a fat person.

  23. I find this horse shit infuriating. It just screams, “Hey, we don’t really care if your body is naturally designed to be this way or that way, you should really be doing Whatever It Takes To Make Your Body Thin And Socially Acceptable.” If I’m spending four fucking hours exercising every goddamned day, I have no time to enjoy all the supposed benefits of being thin. Fuck that noise.

  24. If those advocating that I exercise four or more hours a day are willing to pay me my going rate for the time, I’d be more than happy exercise for a living. Somehow, I can’t see that happening.

  25. The article is kind of shady science if you ask me. The Amish community doesn’t really go outside itself for marriage, so the genes are probably passed on and never diluted. The genetic make up of an Amish person is probably a LOT different than any American who doesn’t live in such a closed community. Seems like shoddy science to apply something from that community to Americans at large.

  26. … reinforces the idea that exercise is onerous and eating veggies is gross, so the only reason any sane person would do either is to be thin.

    Yes. I have another beef with it, too: we’re advised not just to exercise, but do so in unproductive ways. And this is exactly what I despise about what’s considered ‘exercise’ — it accomplishes nothing outside of itself. By implication, the ideal we are to aspire to is not just slim, but self-centered, even selfish; we’re being encouraged to look into the mirror — or into the mirror of men’s eyes — and never out into the world.

  27. OMG Eucritta WORD!!! The Amish people do a lot of hard work, that keeps them slim, but also CONTRIBUTES PRODUCTIVELY TO THEIR LIVES!

    And here they are telling us that we should be running like mice in a wheel just so we are socially acceptable. That we should set aside 4 hours of our day and spend them expending energy simply for the sake of expending energy.

    It’s just so wasteful!

    (If I could ride a bike for 4 hours and power my house for a day, I might think about it. )

  28. The guy whose shoulder I was reading over was probably afraid for his life.

    Ha! I do that, too. I have a snotty personal rule that I only get the Redeye if Kate Harding is on the cover.

    The sad thing about this article is that six years ago, when I was a size 8, eating 18 Winning Points (TM) a day (somewhere between 800-1000 calories, for reference), and going to the gym up to two hours a day, I would have read the three-four hour recommendation and thought anybody who claimed it was impossible was JUST NOT TRYING HARD ENOUGH. Four years ago, when I started to gain the weight back (because if daily living is hard enough on 800 calories and two hours of exercise a day, try maintaining that while going to law school) but before I came to Jesus, er, I mean, FA, I would have read that article and berated myself for JUST NOT TRYING HARD ENOUGH. Just not trying hard enough to exercise three to four hours a day while studying hard enough to be in the top 10% of my class.

    But I guess per the folks making this recommendation, all other achievements fail if are fat while we achieve them.

  29. Aside from professional athletes, who on earth has time to exercise 3-4 hours a day?

    I wonder if the editor decided the fatty cartoon illustrations were less offensive than the headless fatties. Or were they just out of headless fatty pictures this time?

  30. What I want to know is…are the Amish who are maintaining their thinness through all of this exercise healthier than they would be if they did not do all this physical activity?

    Please, study authors, please show me evidence that their thinness is actually helping them be anything other than just, well, thin.

  31. “But I guess per the folks making this recommendation, all other achievements fail if are fat while we achieve them.”

    I think it’s worse than that, OTM. Fat people are just LYING about those other achievements. It’s not that they fail, it’s that they don’t exist. After all, how could you achieve anything when you spend all day on the sofa stuffing donuts into your mouth?

  32. Also? I know somebody who does actually exercise three to four hours a day. She is a competitive body builder. She worked as an admin for a living, and her only hobby, activity, source of social interaction, and interest was… body building. Her life was so focused around this one endeavor because pursuing it, which required the amount of exercise that this article suggests, took ALL OF HER FREE TIME. Well, exercise and making tons of tiny little high protein low fat meals. It also took all of her extra money. She was a nice lady, and I watched her compete a couple times and she was definitely good at what she did, but that was all she did.

    It seems like such a boring life to me.

    (And also, for the record, I didn’t maintain my top 10% status – it was too much work! Sometimes I wonder if I had been eating a more personally appropriate amount of food I would have been able to keep up that level of studying, but I try not to think about it too much because it makes me sad.)

  33. Agreeing with everything everyone above has said. But I just had a more sinister realization about this crap.

    One of the problems with the diet ethos is that one is never slim enough. Got down from a size 32 to a size 26? You’re not small enough! Keep going! Lost that sacred health-granting 10% of your body weight? Not enough! Keep going! The ultimate goal being to make our bodies, especially our female bodies, disappear.

    This article aims us in the same direction. If you’re exercising for three or four hours a day, essentially using up all of your free time, what will you not be doing with that time? You won’t be going to movies, or the mall. You won’t be hanging out in parks, or listening to music in a club. You won’t, in essence, be taking up space in public. You might dash by the club during your four hour power walk, but you won’t be present, or visible, in a real way, living your life as part of a community.

    No, you will have, instead, disappeared.

    Doesn’t it always come around to this? That the only way we can please a fat phobic society is to eliminate ourselves?

  34. I just want to point out that at some office buildings taking the stairs is NOT AN OPTION, not even if I wanted to. My building has the stairwells sealed off, for fire escape use only. Even people going to the second floor have to take the elevator.

  35. And on a lighter note, I’m tickled that so many of us are or were archaeologists. What’s up with that? Probably that we’re just THAT cool. :-)

  36. Wow. You know, the one time I was even close to thin, I actually WAS exercising 3-4 hours a day.

    (I had been really cruelly dumped and was venting by running and running and running and mentally saying, “Fuck you, [ex-boyfriend’s two-syllable last name]” over and over and over and over again for 10K or more.)

  37. I just remembered posting on Fatty McBlog and being told when I said that staying slim took me starving and eight to twelve hours of exercise a day (based on my experience in college, the only time in my life I have ever been slim), I was told by numerous concern tolls that I was lying, delusional, or doing it wrong. I feel vindicated, but doubt any of them would change their minds.

  38. O.C.: WORD! We also won’t be running for public office, we won’t be volunteering for causes we believe in, we sure as hell won’t be raising children, we won’t be shaking up the status quo in ANY WAY. Disappeared, indeed.

  39. Wow. Just..wow.

    I’m not sure I have words to express my rage. RAGE.

    This makes me want to turn into a giant fat woman, rampaging Godzilla-like through a city full of asshats who believe all of the bad stereotypes about fat people. And even that’s not enough.

  40. Wordy McWord, y’all.

    Amish people do all that physical labor because they’re fucking Amish. It’s integrated into their days because it takes hours of work to produce a meal that we could make in a much shorter amount of time using things like electricity.

    I guess this answers the study that came out a few weeks ago that “proved” modest exercise wasn’t enough?

    I love the complete ignoring of things like working 8-10 hours (plus commuting), taking care of families, other hobbies, sleep and safety.

    And as someone said, this never ends. You want to lose all that weight, you can never stop that 4 hours a day. Because as soon as you stop (and probably earlier – this study doesn’t account for taking up this lifestyle as a habit and whether it would actually work for us non-Amish fatties to start exercising 4 hours a day, if the results would be the same) you’d start gaining. So you could never, ever stop working out that much, and would probably have to start doing even more just to maintain the weight loss, etc.

    Rar. *fist of rage*

    DRST

  41. It’s just so wasteful!

    Damn, yes. It also effectively devalues our lives, work and community, by the simple expedient of ignoring them.

    And O.C.? Another archaeologist here! My particular speciality was faunal analysis, though, so I mostly did lab work.

  42. I once saw Subway’s (yuck) Jared on a local morning show several years ago and they asked him how he managed to keep the weight off. He said he spent 4-5 hours in the gym every day. See, people who are paid to exercise can get 4-5 hours of exercise a day. Those of us, who, ya know, have to work a 9 to 5 or longer, don’t have 4-5 hours to exercise when 10 hours are taken up with making a living and commuting to make a living.

  43. @ zen:

    i’ve longed fantasized about being big as godzilla!

    and….W-O-R-D! 3-4 hours a day? that’s a big ass chunk of time!

    @ DRST: “I love the complete ignoring of things like working 8-10 hours (plus commuting), taking care of families, other hobbies, sleep and safety……”

    um….but isn’t being THIN supposed to make US happier than the rest of these things, ‘cos NOTHING compares to being THIN!

    *rolling eyes*

  44. Diosa: It would be really fun, I think, to rampage and smash stuff up. :D

    …You know, that would probably be a great idea for a stress-relief center. A room with foam/pillow/squishy buildings all arranged and stood up like a city, with things to throw and smash and knock over.

    Hmm!

  45. If I had the time to spend 3-4 hours a day hiking in the mountains (and lived where it was possible), I would sure as hell do it, and I’m sure it would reduce my waistline a little (though probably not “enough” for the Fat Police because I haven’t been below a size 12 in about 6 years no matter how much I exercised). But newsflash: that doesn’t fit into my daily schedule. I’m lucky if I have a free day on the weekend to pursue such luxurious activities.

    I’m with kate217: when someone’s willing to pay me to exercise, as so many actresses and actors are who serve as the standard we’re all expected to hold ourselves to, then sure, I’ll consider taking the job. But to do it just because society is sick of looking at my fat ass? To disregard all the negative impacts 3-4 hours of daily exercise would have on my life because other people want to look at a thin me? Um, no. I have better things to do.

  46. Three to four hours? Lemme tell you a story about a fat person who did get 4+ hours of exercise every day.

    After I graduated from high school, I commuted to college. Parking passes were ridiculously expensive, but if you were willing to walk 10-15 minutes, there was plenty of safe parking on the street, so that’s where I parked. There weren’t a whole lot of elevators at school, and the few there were were ancient and out of order a lot of the time anyway, so I hardly ever used them. The campus was pretty good sized, so getting from one class to the next required a lot of walking and stair climbing.

    Then after cardioschool, I went to weight trainingmy job at a cabinet shop. Building and installing cabinets is an incredibly physical job, y’all. There’s tons of lifting, carrying, pulling and pushing heavy stuff over and over and over, and you have to do it all standing up.

    I did this for almost a year. Yes, I did lose weight, but it was only about 15 pounds or one dress size– enough to take me from “fat” to “slightly less fat”.

  47. “… it just reinforces the idea that exercise is onerous and eating veggies is gross, so the only reason any sane person would do either is to be thin. Which may have been how I felt when I was about 6 (not counting running around the backyard, tree-climbing, dance class, or swimming as exercise, of course, because those things were fun and even then I knew that Exercise Is Not Fun), but I eventually grew out of that mindset.”

    So here’s what I want:
    I want an indoor/outdoor park with FUN physical activities for everyone, but especially grown ups. Rock climbing walls, gigantic adult sized bouncy castles, trampolines, indoor hang-gliding, no-booze, no- @$$hole dance areas, like Kate posted about, a whitewater “ride” like they have at amusement parks, but with kayaks; ziplines, the works.

    Anything and everything that is fun and gets you moving.

  48. You know, it’s a really awesome and wonderful thing that that article isn’t completely ignoring the folks who don’t have the option of walking everywhere for several hours a day. It would really be ignorant of them to assume that everyone is just as able-bodied as they are. Good thing they’re totally not doing that, right?

  49. I’ve seen chubby Amish people, and downright fat Amish people.

    So clearly “the Amish Solution” isn’t going to be enough.

    We need to move right to the !Kung Solution. Because nomadic peoples never get fat. So folks, quit your job and start doing that subsistence gathering. You’ll be slim and trim in no time!

    Sure, you’ll be eating grubs, and your life expectancy will be 50, but YOU’LL BE THIN!

  50. Yeah, Lindsay, I didn’t even get into the ableism, but that is important to point out, since fat people with invisible disabilities are still seen as Garden Variety Fatties who should be working out 3-4 hours a day — and fat people with visible disabilities are often seen as having become disabled because of the fat. Grrrr.

  51. I have a day off and so I was laying in bed listening to the alarm (radio). They reported as part of the news. I remember thinking it was absurd. Due to their comments, the morning hosts on XRT seemed to agree with me. But I was not completely awake so I may have imagined this part.

  52. It is true that when I was in college (which entailed walking around a medium-sized campus with textbooks in my backpack) and working 4 hrs/day in a day care center (playing soccer against 8 4-yr-olds and winning & carrying kids & toys, yes, but also *sitting* and reading to the kids) I was in much better shape. Or at least I could walk further & faster.

    I also weighed just a bit under 300lbs.

    So, does that mean that 3-4 hours of moderate activity wasn’t enough?

  53. Maybe I should buy stock in horses and buggies…because I can see people just *flocking* to trot everywhere and milk cows and shovel horse shit and…

    Wait? That’s not true?

    *snort*

    I have some distant Amish heritage (though considering no one in my family is small, it’s no wonder we got thrown out!). But that lifestyle isn’t practical for everyone who’s, you know, not Amish, nor should it be. Guess what- safety pins were invented and so were hair dryers and we’ll have to deal with that. But that doesn’t make other people less healthy because they have more fat cells.

  54. This is rather off-topic, but bear with me: THere was a comment on the thread about “maybe if I could power my house by using a stationary bike it would at least not be wasted energy” and it made me remember….I think it would REALLY be G*R*E*A*T (in terms of not using fossil fuel, not in terms of fat ness or unfatness) if I could power my computer using a stationary bike. Then the whole 2+ hours I generally spend reading blogs like this one heh, I would be powering my computer (or TV!) with my own caloric food energy and not coal or gas or nukes. Judging from how much arm-energy it takes to power my hurricane radio, I would only have to leasurely trotate my legs slowly to power the computer or TV…..why has this not been invented yet? It I invent it, would anyone be interested or is it just me? HAS it already BEEN invented? Has anyone ever seen anything like this (other than arm cranked hurricane radios)? If they made hand-cranked computer that wouldn’t be any good really because you need your hands to scroll and type.

  55. Sure, you’ll be eating grubs, and your life expectancy will be 50, but YOU’LL BE THIN!

    When you write this diet book you’ll be RICH! RICH beyond the dreams of avarice!!

    BWAHAHAHA!

  56. So, people with this gene variant are “no more likely” to be fat than those without it, if they exercise 3 to 4 hours per day…but that doesn’t tell us how likely they STILL are to be fat. There are fat Amish, for instance. And fat athletes.

    So we are to exercise 4 hours a day on the off chance that we DO have this variant AND there are no other factors (genetic or otherwise) involved? Where do I sign up?

    Oh, yeah, I forgot. I already did sign up. I was one of those people who went from a 26 to an 18 by virtue of AT LEAST four hours of exercise a day, but I was never able to get any smaller than that. And honestly, I would love to be able to be half as active now, but I can’t because of the INJURIES I sustained doing all that exercise.

    Have no life, risk damaging your body through over use, and maybe–just maybe–get a socially acceptable body? Wow, what a deal.

  57. KMTBERRY, over the years I’ve run into a number of websites with instructions on DIY pedal generators to power various appliances — I expect a Google search would turn up a few at least. I don’t know that you could reasonably power a desktop, though, they use a lot of power. A laptop might be do-able.

  58. Um… I am a part time student, work three(!) part time jobs, and do not live in what I consider a safe neighborhood.
    3-4 hours a DAY? Just thinking about trying to fit that in is such an overwhelming feeling… How about four hours per week? That’s about the best I can do.

    (but of course that’s going to sound lazy- how dare I work so much to pay my bills when I should be exercizing)

  59. I love the complete ignoring of things like working 8-10 hours (plus commuting), taking care of families, other hobbies, sleep and safety.

    DRST- Obviously fatties have plenty of time to exercise because they DON’T have families (no one would marry a fattie or get her pregnant! DUH) or any hobbies besides stuffing their faces full of baby donuts.

    Only thin people have the privilege of leisure time, silly.

    You silly.

  60. You know, the more I think about it, the more levels of bullshit there are to this. Seems to me, the mountain of priviledge on which the recommendations in this article are based is high enough for the air to be thin.

    Really good point up there about the ableism. The funny thing is, this kind of shit is such constant background radiation, I tend to tune it out even though I am disabled. And right now? It’s either that or cry, I think. I’m due for a media vacation.

  61. You know, it’s funny — I probably do get pretty close to 3-4 hours a day of exercise. I work at home, and most of my social life/fun stuff is on the computer, so… you know, I’m at my desk ten or twelve hours a day. I don’t do well with prolonged periods of inactivity — I have arthritis and fibromyalgia — so to break that up I do 45-60 minutes of Tae-Bo every day, take multiple jump-rope breaks of 10-15 minutes each, spend an hour or so in the garden, and go on walks to park trips with my kid.

    And? I’m not anywhere near thin, even though I do all that exercise and eat pretty well (i.e., mostly vegetables, some whole grains, occasional meat, and very infrequent junk food). So this whole 3-4 hours a day thing is bunk, at least for me — and I can’t even imagine how it would break down for someone who works a brick-and-mortar job, has a household to maintain, and, say, likes steak-and-potatoes more than carrots-and-tomatoes. (Gasp! Fat people are allowed to eat according to their preferences, and exercise as their needs and schedules permit! Shock!)

    In sum, I hate this article.

  62. I’ve been adding exercise to my life. I’ve cut back the last two weeks. I was too exhausted doing an hour a day and now I’m averaging 45 minutes a day. 3 to 4 hours. I’m a housewife. I could probably find the time, but I don’t have the energy. It would take time to work up to exercising that many hours a day. Talk about burn out.

    I had a job stocking shelves and unloading the trucks at Walmart – 8 to 10 hours a day on my feet working. I was thin when I worked there. I’m thin, now. However, there were heavy people working there, working as hard as I was.

  63. So, people with this gene variant are “no more likely” to be fat than those without it, if they exercise 3 to 4 hours per day…but that doesn’t tell us how likely they STILL are to be fat. There are fat Amish, for instance. And fat athletes.

    True!

    And they didn’t take sedentary people and get them jobs where they’re working on farms. They took people who already had active jobs.

    So I guess what we all need is TIME MACHINES so we can go back in time and be more active before now?

  64. Oh, I like zen’s idea about blocks to bash over.

    Everyone else has eloquently put all the ideas I had on the subject, so “me too!”

  65. Um, yeah. This is ridiculous. I’m an athlete competing at a pretty high level & I train about 4 hours a day. (Though, oh no, only SIX days a week! *gasp* Clearly not enough.) I can unequivocally say that calling it “not that much” is hi-freaking-larious. Balancing my training schedule w/ full-time college is exhausting–I do school & work out and Nothing. Else. At. All. And I’m not working a 40-50 hour a week job–I’m in class about 15 hours a week. (Plus studying & reading & papers, etc., but still.) On top of that, I don’t have kids or responsibilities along those lines, and my total commute is about an hour a day. It’s INSANE to suggest that someone with a LIFE can commit that much time to exercise, and frankly patronizing & obnoxious to suggest that they can or should just because they are (horror of horrors!) fat. Plus there are studies that have shown that fairly small amounts of fairly low-key exercise provide a lot of benefit–not in terms of WEIGHT, but in terms of HEALTH, which is, after all, what we’re going for, right? (*insert sarcastic face here*) ARG.

  66. You know, worst case scenario? Where fat is a death sentence, and hours of exercise will certainly make you slim and guarantee you a long life? I would not want a longer life of days filled with grinding exercise. That’s no life! Let me die young –hell, let me die tomorrow — if it means I’ve lived a life with leisure time, and time to volunteer, and to go to the beach, and to eat my fill of dim sum, and occasionally to do nothing at all. That sounds like a perfectly acceptable tradeoff to me.

  67. um, actually my main means of transportation (or getting from point a to point b if you prefer) is walking. I walk 3 to 4 hours a day, everyday. My apartment has no elevator, so I always take the stairs. When I do have a car, the spot for parking is a 10 minute walk away, so all groceries and other things must be carried that far and then up stairs. Two out of three of the places I work also have no elevators, I do a lot of walking up and down stairs there.

    And I try to get to they gym 3 times a week on top of all that.

    Oddly…. still fat.

    And Amish people? I think they are awesome… but based on photos and such I’ve seen, I’m not buying that there are no overweight amish people. Maybe very toned amish people who are bigger in muscle, not fat- but since when did the media abandon BMIs as a measurement of being overweight or not?

  68. The 3-4 hours per day is how the Biggest Loser contestants lose their weight rapidly and also how they gain it back when they leave the show — because no one, aside from athletes in training and the aforementioned Amish, exercises 3-4 hours per day. So I guess what the article is saying is that when people say eat less and exercise more, they mean eat less and exercise more than is normatively possible for most folks. But, hey, if you really, really want to be thin, you’ll do it, right?

  69. “artemisrage” is me btw, (comment in moderation)
    I’m considering moving my blog slowly over to wordpress and forgot I was logged in for wordpress. Sorry.

  70. Oh, Kate, I was hoping you’d rip this one to shreds. Damn shame. The study had the makings of a really nice brick in the FA movement wall. Before they barfed all over it and called it news, that is.

    I’m doing good to get in my hour a day/5x a week exercise, and I’m not willing to be Amish or some other such lifestyle that requires constant toil, so I’m just going to have work the Willendorf.

  71. Arrrggggghhhh.

    I actually managed to do the 3-4 hours of exercise thing several years ago. I had a job with odd hours; I’d often work, say, 5am – noon. My husband and friends would all be off at work/school when I got off work, so I’d walk. And walk. And walk. I had all the daylight I needed, and was lucky enough to live in a safe area with sidewalks.

    You know, I loved it. I still miss those days, sometimes. I’d be a happier, healthier person if I could still spend so much time out there walking. But thinner? Unlikely. The only thing that has ever made me thin is severe calorie restriction. And, of course, that level of activity is NOT feasible for a Regular Adult Life. What kooky drugs are these people on?!

  72. Honestly, I’d love to live like the Amish. I love the process of making what I need from scratch– grinding wheat, spinning wool, whatever.

    But in order to do that, you need the support of an entire community. The Amish are able to succeed because they have developed their community over decades. One family on their own? How the heck will you get the money to buy the farm, and the cattle, and the seeds and the equipment? Not to mention the knowledge of how to do all this in the first place.

    Seriously, fat police. Set this up for me, and I’ll do it, and we’ll see how it goes. Just keep in mind that I’ll have to eat real butter, lard, and whole milk, cause I can’t jump in the car and buy touch-of-buttermilk fake butter substitute or watery blue milk.

  73. I would not want a longer life of days filled with grinding exercise.

    Me neither. In fact, I’ve long been perplexed at the failure of the mainstream to recognize that, taken in aggregate, the health advice we’re given tends towards a miserable existence rather than a life worth living. I’m not at all inclined, myself, to devote myself to the maintenence of a set of individual physiological parameters, as though these numbers were gods. Even on my worst days, I have better occupations for my time and energy.

    I did once bring this up with my former PCP, and she didn’t get it at all. That it was recommended for my *health* was supposed to trump everything else — including, it would seem, time, space, and reason, let alone reason for living.

  74. Actually, if I were going to exercise 4 hours a day? I’d quit my job, sell the house, buy an RV, and follow Springsteen around. Walk around whatever town he was playing in for an hour or two, dance 2 or 3 hours at the show.

    But something tells me this is NOT the best way to use the money in my retirement account.

  75. I read a version of this article yesterday, where it discussed what gene they were talking about, and that people with this gene were likely to be about seven pounds heavier than people without it.

    So apparently, those 3-4 hours of exercise a day to compensate for your bad genes? Those 3-4 hours are just enough to keep seven pounds off you.

    Multiply as needed!

    (disclaimer, I don’t have the article open, it may have been seven kg instead)

  76. My girlfriend is a physician assistant, and works in a family clinic. We went to dinner the other night, and my girlfriend and her fat-phobic best friend started tearing into a patient of my girlfriend’s. The patient is a two-year-old child who is almost 50 pounds. Both parents are thin, and report that they feed the child whole grains, protein, veggies, fruit and sweets. The dinner conversation went like this:

    My GF: I mean, what’s up with that? How am I supposed to believe that they aren’t overfeeding the kid?

    Her BF: Oh my god. What the hell? (lots of laughter.) I think people really don’t know how fattening stuff is.

    Me: If they don’t, they must be living on some other planet.

    My GF: That poor kid.

    Her BF: What are you going to do?

    Me: What, you mean besides calling the parents liars?

    My GF & her BF: What?

    Me: You just called them liars.

    My GF: I did not.

    Me: Sounded to me like the diagnosis here is that the parents are over feeding the kid the grain, veggies, protein and sweets. Like, I dunno, maybe they are force-feeding him five blocks of Velveeta cheese every day.

    My GF: (sighs)

    Me: What? Are you telling me that there are no slim children who eat like horses?

    her BF: Of course there are.

    Me: But it’s not possible for a single human being to be fat, but eat abstemiously?

    Her BF: Of course it’s possible, but, you know

    ME: But in this case, the parents are lying.

    Her BF: I think you know what I’m talking about. There are a trillion kids like this.

    Me: Actually, there aren’t.

    Her BF: You know what I’m talking about.

    Me: Yes. Obesity is awful and we’ll solve it by calling fat people lying, lazy gluttons and fix them by making them lose weight. Even though 95 percent of people who diet gain back all of their weight and then some. That’s what your saying. That’s what medicine is saying.

    The situation just dissolved into silence. Angry silence. I felt like the feminist from hell who exists to suck the joy out of everyone’s lives.

    And I clocked myself this morning. My GF doesn’t help with any of the household chores. She irons and halfway does laundry, but I do everything else. It takes me four hours to run my dog, feed the animal, feed myself and bathe, make the bed, do dishes, finish halfway done laundry so some of our furniture is useful… Four hours. Then I go to work. After work, I go to meetings and serve nonprofits.

  77. After I get home from work I only have 4 hours before I go to bed If i want to get 8 hrs of sleep. Which I usually do not get (but I need) because I have stuff to do. So my already sleep deprived self is supposed to add 4 hours of additional activity as well? When am I supposed to eat again…. because last time i checked food intake was required for exercise.

  78. Serious WTF. I’m one of those people who do on average 2 hours of exercise per day – one hour before work, one hour after, or on odd occasion, I’ll bundle up 3 hours at once. That’s not because I’m trying to be thin – I do it because I love it and I’m fortunate to have a flexible workplace and can come in early/leave early to bypass traffic.

    If this is somehow miraculously supposed to make me thin, I must’ve missed the memo, since I sure as hell ain’t thin. And naturally, I can only manage this since I’m a 20-something bludging off her parents (who cook my meals despite my assurances that I will do it myself, bless them) and have no spouse/significant other/children/pets to speak of.

    “Take a lesson from anorexics”

    *facepalm*

  79. DUDE. My father’s side of the family comes from old-order Mennonite stock – painted bumper Mennonites who are still doing old-fashioned farming labour.

    I have a lot of stocky relatives: short and stocky, and very occasionally, very very fat.

    On health outcomes, you’d have to really control for wealth: one thing about the Amish and old order communities that I know of is that they have money. Yes; there’s a lot of physical labour – but there’s also ample food and medical and dental care. And maybe most importantly, there are community supports in place if you’re not, uh, shunned. My own grandfather was new-fangled Mennonite – very very liberal – but his church’s small group helped care for him. I know that, in his case, extended his life.

    So. Other variables in play. (Including a very dairy-fat and starch heavy diet! Not a lot of pasturized skim milk on the Amish farm.)

  80. Cindy:

    And if the parents just don’t know how fattening stuff is, why aren’t they fat too? Hmmm. What a conundrum, they magically know how fattening stuff is when they eat, but not when the toddler eats.

    Kudos for you though, it takes courage to confront people you have serious relationships with. I hope that your girlfriend listens with love.

  81. I saw this article earlier today and boggled. I have NO IDEA how I am supposed to fit 4 hours of additional exercise into my life…per DAY. I need to invent some sort of Harry Potter-esque time-turner-backer thing.

    Because otherwise? Yeah; I’m not going to be able to add even that minimum of “3” of that 3-4 hours into my already over-booked day.

    Two jobs, recently started classes (which also ask for 4-6 hours of my life…but only per WEEK…still though), cleaning and cooking, swimming and dancing (which, I ENJOY so those obviously don’t count towards exercise), trying to sleep for at least 5 hours a night…I won’t detail it all out but already my days add up to lots of hours spent doing necessary things in between those few short hours here and there of snatched enjoyment. I refuse to add in mindless hours of grunt-exercise level activity in the futile hope that it might rid me of 7 pounds or so. IF I even posses that correlated gene at all….

  82. Yes, it’s possible for some people to do 3 to 4 hours of exercise a day — I used to, back in my exercise-addicted, eating disordered days. Funny, it never got me below a size 24, even with barely eating. It also damaged my body permanently and severely in multiple ways. Also, I had no life, because I was exercising all the time. Yeah, I don’t recommend it. :-(

  83. No, no. You’re supposed to take your family WITH you. That way, there’s no chance of your kids catching TEH OBESITY.

    Unless, of course, you don’t set strict limits on that Halloween candy.

  84. If we do the fat collective farm thing, I can be the lady with the spinning wheel. I can’t plow fields and stuff but I can make yarn all the live long day.

    Cindy, I love that conversation. That must have been very hard for you, though. It put me in mind of the time I told my doctor that I DO eat healthy, I do eat chicken and salad and watch fat so WHY don’t I lose weight? And he said, Well, it all adds up. If you eat more salad with a lot of dressing and a lot of chicken on it, you’ll still be fat. Basically, calling me a liar and saying my body is a bunsen burner. no, he’s not my doctor any more.

    I have a photo of a dear friend of mine, a lovely older woman who might weigh 80 pounds soaking wet, sitting at a table eating her buffet breakfast of sausage, bacon, eggs, potatoes, danish, and fruit. She can’t seem to keep weight on. I guess she’s a liar too.

    Days like this, I want to hide under a rock.

  85. Tari: Hey, we’ll be clean fat hippies. I like being covered in dirt, but I like washing it off even better. :)

    Seriously, though, when did being entirely self-focused become a duty to your community? Why is the way we look community property?

  86. Cindy, what an awful, wonderful conversation. And medical professionals wonder why so many of us are bitter and untrustful!

  87. cindy *high fives you* Good for you for not being silent in that situation.

    stacy I was thinking that too. Back right after I got diagnosed with hypoglycemia I moved back in with my parents, who live in a nice suburban area. I was walking several miles a day (to get out of the house away from my parents for a while) and I did lose some weight, but more importantly I felt better. I’d love to be able to have that kind of time again, to take nice long walks in the afternoon and not worry about pain in my knees from arthritis or my torn ligament, or pain in my feet from my heelspurs, or having to come back to the office and not be all sweaty and gross when I go teach or go to a meeting, etc.

    I have been thinking of trying to walk to work a couple days a week, when the weather permits, at least to try it and see how my knee and feet hold up. It’s about half a mile at most, though all uphill going in. Not because I’m thinking it’ll make me thinner, but that I feel slightly embarrassed about driving in every day and wasting gas and carbon emissions when the walk is so short. But, well, see aforementioned “I don’t want to be the sweaty fat person standing up to lecture a class” issue. :\

    DRST

  88. What the hell is up with this assumption that everyone, fat or thin, reading articles about THE OBESITY CRISIS BOOGA BOOGA BOOGA is really just looking for permission to lie in bed all day or eat “forbidden” foods? Is that really the American dream? No movement at all and a steady diet of (baby-flavored) Krispy Kremes?

    It is for the kind of people who write articles like this. You know, the ones who “have” to give up all their favorite foods and spend two hours a day in the gym in order to be thin enough to keep getting hired for plum media jobs, and pray that by the time they’re 40 it won’t be three hours a day. They think it would be GREAT to be “able” to relax on the couch with a box of donuts, night after night after night, and never “have to” exercise again because they’re sick of it and their knees are starting to hurt but they keep grinding away anyway. They probably literally DREAM about donuts, in fact, because that’s what happens when you’re no-carbing it. They have no idea what life is like for most people because, not caring about much besides furthering their own careers, they are shockingly incurious about other people other than in the circus-freak sense.

    All this shit makes me miss the days when reporters drank and smoked and ate corned beef at their desks and never saw the inside of a gym. At least we were spared this kind of sanctimonious healthist garbage then.

    Oh, and per Lindsay above, said incuriosity leads to heaping lumps of ablism. You mean there are people who CAN’T work out hard? You mean, like, EVER? Come on! Everyone knows that if you MAKE people exercise, all their health problems go away!

  89. *All this shit makes me miss the days when reporters drank and smoked and ate corned beef at their desks and never saw the inside of a gym. At least we were spared this kind of sanctimonious healthist garbage then*

    I work in a newsroom. A huge flock of newsroom folk vacate the office hourly to smoke. Look on the desk and you’ll see diet and regular sodas, bugles from the vending machine and chewable antacids.

    We also have a Press Club. Which calls meetings to order at local bars. The president buys the first round.

    We aren’t the model of health, but we are a lot of fun.

  90. Good grief. “Three to four hours” of exercise a day? Who the hell do they think will buy that?

    I don’t GET three to four hours of “me time” in a given day (well, unless you count the six to seven hours I sleep, but I kind of need sleep. Is that going to be the next meme? BAD FAT PEOPLE SLEEP TOO MUCH! NEED TO GET OUT OF BED AND EXERCISE!) I’m damned if I’m going to spend all of it working out.

    I DO exercise for an hour most days – because it makes me feel better and seems to boost my immune system (I rarely get sick). But telling me I need to do MORE just sucks all the fun out of it. It sucks all the feeling of accomplishment I have out of it.

    Because for a long time I was like, “Go me! I can move for a whole hour at a time! I feel so great!” and now I’m supposed to be “I suck! I’m not getting enough exercise!”

    Screw that. I am effing sick and tired of a media that tells us nothing we do is ever ever good enough.

  91. Frankly I think the 3-4 hours a day I spend practicing music is a better way to spend my time. I get perfectly reasonable amounts of other exercise in, but practising a musical instrument for that long a day is mentally and physically demanding. People easily believe the mental aspects, but anyone who says it’s not physically demanding has probably never done anything more than play Guitar Hero. It’s not quite like cycling a 100km, more like yoga or Pilates, lots of concentrated (yet relaxed! Stay relaxed!!) muscle, posture and balance work.

    Oh, still fat.

    (The buttload of practice is why my blog’s been a bit dormant. I should post about that. Yikes.)

  92. Fuck losing weight. Unless the state is going to pay for a breast reduction or a public pool near me or a magical cure for asthma, I can’t exercise. Oh, I’m such a bad fatty!

    Fuck that noise. I ride my bike 30-45 minutes a day and spend my days walking around a campus that’s four square miles. It’s already a pain in the ass when I have to stop and puff on my inhaler, and it’s embarrassing to boot. People automatically assume that because I’m chubby I have asthma. I would like to introduce them to 12 year-old size 2 anoerxic me, eating 200-500 calories and exercising 4+ hours a day, who fainted from exhaustion after going up a flight of stairs and wound up in the hospital from malnutrition.

    But according to the media, skinny me was healthy, and chubby me is not. Also, my asthma doesn’t exist. In fact, nobody has asthma. Or bad knees, or a bad back, or an inability to walk.

  93. Is that going to be the next meme? BAD FAT PEOPLE SLEEP TOO MUCH! NEED TO GET OUT OF BED AND EXERCISE!

    Oh, it already is. The answer to: “I don’t have time to work out” is (if not: “You’re just making excuses”) “Get up an hour earlier”. Which really puts the lie to it being about health, because getting an adequate amount of sleep is also very important for health.

  94. I was thinking about this, and I wanted to expand on my prevous though still in moderation comment (I won’t retype it because I expect it will show up eventually)
    But, I know I am not the most active I could be. I could spend a lot more time in the gym potentially- while everything else in my life falls apart because of it- and walking here and there isn’t the most intense exercise, walking up stairs is not the most intense exercise. So yeah, if I did a lot more intense exercise, I maybe could be thinnER, I would still never be the ideal because my fucking BONES are not made that way. Exercise will not reshape my skeletal structure.

    But I get so pissed off when I hear “just go for a walk” or “just take the stairs instead”, cause that is just so unheard of for me! I clearly never do those simple little activities in my life!

  95. Wait, has anyone pointed out that the article says:
    …those who got about three or four hours of moderate physical activity a day weighed up to about 15 pounds less on average than the least active people

    *UP TO* 15 POUNDS LESS???

    Up to???

    15 lbs???

    Yes, folks, a mere 3 to 4 hours and you, too, can weigh UP TO 15 pounds less!!!

    I can lose that with a nice crap, thank you very much. Takes10 minutes, tops.

  96. But I get so pissed off when I hear “just go for a walk” or “just take the stairs instead”, cause that is just so unheard of for me! I clearly never do those simple little activities in my life!

    Just switch to diet soda! Try non-stick spray instead of butter! Eat a baked potato instead of fries!

    Grrrrrr. My favorite is, eat anything you want, just in moderation, and you’ll be thin. This one comes from my skinny father who eats mashed potato and gravy sandwiches and hasn’t put on a pound in 25 years.

    I exercise about 4 hours a week. Sometimes I really enjoy it, and sometimes I hate it becuase of the mysterious, agonizing leg cramps that no doctor seems to be able to explain or even treat with any degree of interest. Right now I’m sitting on the couch typing because I’m fucking exhausted from a very busy work day. Anyone who suggested a four-hour workout to me right now would lose an arm.

  97. You know what? I’m just waiting for the lovely person (troll) who says, “yeah, maybe 4 hours of moderate exercise a day is too much, but you can totally get in 2 hours of grueling, sweat-buckety type exercise.”

    As if I’m not sitting in front of my work compute right now typing this…

  98. I can lose that with a nice crap, thank you very much. Takes10 minutes, tops.

    KatesSisterJ, if you can crap that much in one go I think you’re entitled to send out birth announcements.

  99. I am really late to this party, and only made it about 15 or so comments down when I realized that I HAVE done that. Actually, way more than that. I led backpacking trips for at-risk youth, which involved carrying a pack around 75-80 pounds for 8 or so hours a day for 30 days at a time. I would then have three weeks off before I went out and did it again. In my off time, I hiked, climbed, and rode (ok, I drank, too). After one desert trip that was especially grueling, I was certain I must have lost weight. And I did – I was down to 207 from my normal 212-215 range. Perhaps I needed to add another 3-4 hours…

    Ridiculous.

  100. Consider this:

    People “back in the day”, got a lot more exercise. They were farmers and and they walked or rode a horse everywhere.

    And they, for the most part, did not live past the age of 60, and most died younger than that.

  101. Can somebody explain the math in the study to me? Here’s a link to the abstract:

    http://archinte.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstract/168/16/1791?lookupType=volpage&vol=168&fp=1791&view=short

    Does this in fact say that of the 704 people in the study, only 92 were found to have the gene variant? I honestly can’t tell.

    If so, how do they explain that a percentage that is supposed to be 30% is really only 13%? Doesn’t that do something wacky to their results?

    If anybody springs for the full text of the study, I’d love to have a copy.

  102. Yeah, sure, I can take a nice four-hour walk. And then the next day, I can maybe limp through it again, bones shifting at every step as my connective tissue gives way. And then the third day I won’t be able to stand up unless I haul myself there with my arms, because my gluteus muscles will be in agony from trying to hold my hip joints together on that nice walk.

    I’ll just get fat instead, if it’s all the same.

  103. No wait. Okay. See, what most of you were saying is that 3-4 hours each day would be undoable. BUT! Okay. Think about THIS: live as usual for 5 days a week. Then, on say, your weekend, do your 21-28 hours then! Yeah! Just all day long! What? Are you saying two days of your week is too much to ask for UP TO 15 pounds less? COME ON, people.

    What happened to free time? A life? … Geez. I can’t believe people publish things like this and it makes sense to them. Oo

  104. You know, I will take that advice right around the time they work out a way to slow down the earth’s rotation so as to provide 28-hour days. Mind you, the wear and tear factor with my malformed kneecaps will probably entail at least one knee replacement before I’m 50, and on past form I certainly won’t lose any weight. But I do think I’ll feel a bit better and happier, aside from the whole knee interlude. I’m lucky enough to be generally able and I have a lot of stamina and I quite like exercising.

    It’s a moot scenario, though. Because you know what? THEY’RE NOT ADDING ANY EXTRA FOUR HOURS TO THE DAMN DAY. (And if they did, they’d probably expand the workday too because God forbid anybody not be completely invested in and identified with and consumed by their job. But that’s a whole ‘nother bitterness. I swear I need my own rant blog.)

  105. When I was on vacation this March, we rented a beach house. and all i wanted most from life after a long cold, sun deprived winter was to walk in the sun on the beach. so that’s how I spent my vacation, and I literally walked for four hours a day along the beach in my bare feet. With the dog, who was in dog heaven, because he loves car rides, (and it was a long car ride to Florida) and he had a week alone with just his two humans, and loads of attention, and three to four hour-long walks a day. And since it was my vacation I ate whatever I wanted and slept as long as I wanted and yet I lost weight because of all the walking.

    So yeah, if someone who is “concerned for my health” wants to pay for me and my husband to quit our jobs and move to the beach so I can spend three hours a day walking on the beach … well i still won’t be as thin as they think I should be. But I would lose probably 10 pounds.

  106. Kate Harding, you are fucking brilliant! What a great take-down. I haven’t laughed that hard in like….oh, I don’t know, at least 45 minutes or so.

    Thanks for being so fabulous.

  107. This is rather off-topic, but bear with me: THere was a comment on the thread about “maybe if I could power my house by using a stationary bike it would at least not be wasted energy” and it made me remember….I think it would REALLY be G*R*E*A*T (in terms of not using fossil fuel, not in terms of fat ness or unfatness) if I could power my computer using a stationary bike. Then the whole 2+ hours I generally spend reading blogs like this one heh, I would be powering my computer (or TV!) with my own caloric food energy and not coal or gas or nukes. Judging from how much arm-energy it takes to power my hurricane radio, I would only have to leasurely trotate my legs slowly to power the computer or TV…..why has this not been invented yet? It I invent it, would anyone be interested or is it just me? HAS it already BEEN invented? Has anyone ever seen anything like this (other than arm cranked hurricane radios)? If they made hand-cranked computer that wouldn’t be any good really because you need your hands to scroll and type.

    This has been done, actually. :-) Bicycles were used to power the Olympic Track and Field trials this year. It’s pretty nifty and very environmentally sound; I’m surprised it hasn’t been done more often.

    What a classist, ableist, piece of crap article. It doesn’t even mention if this exercise makes you healthy, because that’s not really the goal, is it? No, the goal is to make people thin. Health seems like a very, very secondary, perhaps irrelevant point here. And what about quality of life? Exercise does seem to make most people feel better (though I realize this is not the case for everyone), but it should be enjoyable, and exercise at any level has its benefits.

    I do generally get 1-1.5 hours of exercise daily because it’s something from which I reap personal, non-weight related benefits. I have no idea how someone with a family and a job would get in 4 hours on a DAILY basis without outside help. I have the OCCASIONAL day where I exercise 3-4 hours, but that’s usually specific training and requires me to revolve my day around the training on a relatively rare basis. However, exercise at any level has never gotten me small on its own. The only way I’ve ever been able to get smaller is through severe caloric restriction, the kind where you have to revolve your life around eating as little as possible and need to deal with dizziness and hunger as a fact of life, every single day (and when I’m not obsessed with numbers, I have a BMI of 26, which really screws with my head, because I’m “so close”…but really, I’m not, because losing those few pounds that put me into the “overweight” range would require self-loathing that I can’t summon up anymore).

    This article reminded me of some asshat comment I saw on an article that said that people who said that fat was in the genes were just looking for excuses. “Take a lesson from anorexics” the commenter said.
    Really? Does this commenter know what it’s like to live with an eating disorder? Has he woken up at 4AM every morning cold and weak from hunger? Does he know what it’s like to hate yourself because you “binged” on lettuce in a “weak” moment because your body was begging you for some nutrition, ANY nutrition even though you weren’t “allowed” to eat? Does he know what it’s like when you can’t go to a party because you’re scared there might be food there that you’re tempted to eat? Does he know what it feels like to know that you’re doing something that might cause permanent damage to your body, but to not be able to stop because the fear of food and being fat overrides everything else and to feel totally trapped because of it? No? Then he can SHUT THE HELL UP.

  108. Wait, let me try and break this down.

    On any given day, I’m likely to be at work from 2 PM to midnight. My job can be pretty active, depending on what part of the lab I’m in, I probably get my 3 to 4 hours just by working if I’m in Chemistry, maybe half that in hematology/micro, but almost none of it if I end up in the blood bank. Let’s split the difference and say my job counts for about 2 of the four hours I must obviously need.

    Okay, when I get home at 12:30 AM, I’m taking a bath, and going to bed. That’s pretty much all there is to that. I’m freaking tired!

    I need to get about 8 hours of good sleep to be worth a damn, and we all know sleep deprivation makes you fat, too, right? So, I get up at about 9 or 9:30.

    Then, I have to do some laundry, have breakfast, straighten up the house. That gives me another hour or so of pretty moderate activity. I like to get my chores done fast, because it’s no fun.

    Then, I do watch a little TV, some morning talk shows, grab a bite of lunch, etc. For my sanity.

    Then, off to the gym for my real workout, about 45 min to an hour with a genuine personal trainer. (Hey, my awesome employee benefits pay for her, so I’m taking them for every penny.)

    Right, so there we go, if you count work, I’m actually getting that four hours. Obvs, people who don’t run their asses off to six different analyzers every night for 10 hours aren’t going to be able to get that four hours. Which makes this piece total bullshit, of course.

    What makes it even more BS? Ummm, guys? I’m still fat. My BMI is still over 30. So, I guess I need to do like 6 to 12 hours or something? That must be it. It’s not like my body could just be designed to weigh 210 pounds, right? Shit like this makes me just want to scream.

    Well, that and the fact that apparently, if you’re a size 18, you’re just too damned big for every single piece of clothing in the entirety of Target, except for the four ugly tops and two ugly pairs of capri pants shoved over in the corner under the “Plus Sizes” sign, and totally bled into by maternity wear. I need to stop shopping anywhere other than Catherine’s and LB. Makes me too angry and ranty.

  109. Ya know, I wish they’d stop publishing articles and wasting money researching obesity. Every freaking time they publish something like this it invokes a discussion about how lazy fat people are and how we’re all just trying to make excuses to stay fat.

  110. So let me get this straight, in order to be thin I need to:

    -Wake up at 5:30 and take an hour long swim-1 hr exercise

    -Park five minutes away from work- 5 minutes exercise

    -Take 2 15 minute breaks and walk briskly around the complex- 30 minutes

    -Take half of my 1hr lunch (which I shouldn’t be eating anyways because I am such a damn fatty) and walk around the complex- 30 minutes

    – Walk back to car after work at 5:00- 5 minutes

    -Come home and change into my exercise clothes and then cut logs/climb stairs/ chase cats for the remaining time- 1hr and 40 minutes

    -Finally get into the house at 7:00 and make dinner, clean the kitchen, take a shower and go to bed at 9:00.

    8 hours at work
    4 hours exercise
    1 hour cleaning cooking
    1hour with family
    NICE! I didn’t know it was just that easy! YESSSSSS!

    Oh wait what do the people that don’t have the genetic variation have to do? 30 minutes? How the FUCK is that fair. And these are the people telling you that all you have to do is cut out your beers and walk a little bit and you’ll loose weight . NO all you had to do was cut out beers and take the stairs. I had to take the stairs for FOUR HOURS.

  111. Actually, for most of your house you can power it with about 2 hours of biking according to this dude (so I guess we can cut our carbon footprints and still be fat, despite all the crazy “fatties ruin the planet” talk I hear all around me):

    http://www.los-gatos.ca.us/davidbu/pedgen/plans.html

    It looks really, really cool. Unfortunately, it won’t power a washing machine, which is what I wanted.

    I got my boyfriend the plans for his birthday (he asked!) but he hasn’t gotten it built yet. However, he has a laptop that pulls about 40 kw/h, so if he uses the Pedal Power Prime Mover just for the laptop he will have to pedal very, very slowly. If he doesn’t get it built this fall he’s getting parts for Christmas.

  112. Does this commenter know what it’s like to live with an eating disorder? Has he woken up at 4AM every morning cold and weak from hunger? Does he know what it’s like to hate yourself because you “binged” on lettuce in a “weak” moment because your body was begging you for some nutrition, ANY nutrition even though you weren’t “allowed” to eat?

    No, and he hasn’t given a single second’s thought to it because that commenter is an insensitive bigot and apparently feels virtous about being this kind of bigot. Sorry to go all Captain Obvious, but I’m feeling very, very frustrated with this kind of crap lately.

  113. kara True, dat.

    150 years ago it took multiple days to do laundry (getting that much water into a tub required either a serious number of buckets from the well or if you were rich, pumping water at a hand pump for hours). Then you had to wash all the clothes by hand and hang them to dry.

    When your entire day was taken up with heavy physical labor just to scratch out enough food to feed everyone for that day, yeah people were getting a lot more heavy physical activity.

    And there were still fat people.

    And they still died. Actually a hell of a lot younger than we will.

    Bah!

  114. When I read crap articles like this, I know that America will never give up its Puritan streak for a more realistic perspective. There’s too much profit and power to be had making people feel bad and guilty about themselves and then selling them “answers” for their “own good.”

    These articles are like the toxic New Age/Secret crap that gets published as well. Make yourself wealthy! Make yourself thin! It’s the great American myth. And if you aren’t thin and wealthy, you’re a failure.

    Screw that. I’d rather be myself, WITH cellulite, than constantly trying so damn hard to be something I’m not to please a control freak ideal.

  115. Funny. They used to call that an Exercise Disorder. And people who worked out that much? Treated for OCD and eating disorders. Now it’s EXPECTED?!?!?!
    What will the next study say? “Hey guess what! You too can be thin if you just VOMIT UP everything you eat! Or even better, just STOP eating altogether!”

  116. I’d just like to point out I’ve already deleted more than one comment saying, “Three to four hours is NOT THAT MUCH, you just need to get off your ass.”

    Sigh.

  117. BTW, this whole movement to accomplish daily tasks the “old fashioned way?” Yeah, guess who it’s aimed at! ‘Cause fo’ shizzle it ain’t gonna be the men handwashing laundry and dishes and making all the food from scratch!

  118. Wash on Monday
    Iron on Tuesday
    Clean on Wednesday
    xxxxx on Thursday
    yyyyy on Friday
    Bake on Saturday
    Rest on Sunday

    I can’t remember the other two. Presumably it’s one with many regional variations, too.

    Servants. THE ANSWER IS THE UNDERCLASS!!!

  119. KC said: Proud to report my progress to the doc, he said – oh no, you need 5 days, and AT LEAST 45 minutes per day. I was so angry!

    Word! And even if you do that, the “results” your doc is apparently seeking on your behalf may not materialize.

    Sheesh, I’m marathon training again, and running is like a part time job. Minimum hour and a half a 4 days a week and up to four hours for the long run (50-60 miles a week this month). On my days off from running I bike to work which gives me 70 minutes of exercise. And I’m carrying around 20 “extra” pounds.

    I knew I was lazy. Maybe my boss will let me work half days for full salary so I can get in my 3 to 4 hours every day.

  120. y’know, in a sane world, the results of this study would be seen as concrete evidence that some people are just naturally bigger than others. Because, in a sane world, average-sized people would read the study (assuming the study actually says what all the ‘news’ stories say it’s saying — that’s always a crap shoot with ‘news’ these days) and go ‘Oh my god, did you know that 30% of the population would have to exercise 3-4 hours a DAY to maintain a weight close to mine?!? Now I’m convinced! Some people really are destined to be bigger! How wrong was I, to assume they’re all just lazy gluttons!’

    It might also put a dent in the idea that we’re all the same, and that if naturally thin people can be thin, everybody can. I really think that’s what’s behind most fat prejudice — naturally thin people think ‘What’s so hard about being thin? You eat right, exercise a little, and viola!’ — they don’t understand that their bodies are fundamentally different from ours. In a sane world, this study would be evidence of that.

    But no.

  121. I’d just like to point out I’ve already deleted more than one comment saying, “Three to four hours is NOT THAT MUCH, you just need to get off your ass.”

    Why, yes. After all, we all know about the intensive physical training required of the Keyboard Brigade.

  122. last week i took the first vacation i had in years with my friend and his family to the beach. my goal was to relax. the whole week i heard half of his family complain how fat they were. the mom, who is tiny, but is getting older and a tummy, talked about how she wants to lose weight, how she’s considering WLS, because she just can’t lose the tummy. meanwhile she spent every spare second putting down anyone who “just shouldn’t be wearing that.” the dad, has a larger tummy, complained that he shouldn’t be eating everything he was eating. EVEN though we all agreed you’re at the beach and should enjoy the seafood. the daughter/sister complained how she would have to work out 4 times as much as her brother and bf to be as thin as they are and her mom always tells her “just eat less, NO CARBS.” but she chimed in with the mom about “they should not be wearing that.” and yes, my friend and i were walking on the beach and he said, oh that’s a horrible view. when i asked what view, he pointed to a girl with a gut in a bikini. and of course, he said, “she should not be wearing that.” i got pissed, said it was none of his business what she was wearing, she is not there for his viewing pleasure, and by saying that he was putting me down too. i calmly said some things are better left unsaid. and he asked, was i done preaching now???

    i have gained a significant amount of weight the last year and i felt EXTREMELY uncomfortable in my swimsuit, at first. i was the heaviest person there, and aside from the 2 guys, was the most relaxed about my appearance. BUT i was the only one not worried about what everyone else should NOT be wearing. SO maybe the secret is worrying. If you worry more about others’ fat, it burns off calories. and that’s why i’m fat. no worrying, no loss of calories! maybe?

  123. Servants. THE ANSWER IS THE UNDERCLASS!!!

    Let’s make it bigger and more desperate!

    Of course, the people who do heavy labor for a living aren’t actually exercising. I say this because I know several cleaners, landscapers, and construction workers, and a whole bunch of them are FAT!!!

  124. …those who got about three or four hours of moderate physical activity a day weighed up to about 15 pounds less on average than the least active people

    Wow. A whole 15 pounds. I could have my doctor tell me to lose 35 lbs instead of 50, all by aggrevating my knee injury for a few extra hours a day!

  125. If anyone thinks that grueling physical labor is a specific against fat for everyone, I invite them to a) look at photographs of 19th century railroad or mine workers, who put in 8-10 hour days of backbreaking work, on not enough food, and who still came in a variety of physical habituses, and/or b) go to Tahiti, where you will see lots of people who would be considered “supersized” in the US doing hard physical labor. Seeing a bunch of nimble and strong construction workers who seemed to weigh in at an average of 350 pounds was a real eye-opener–I’m sure we’d see more of that in the US if employers weren’t so prejudiced against hiring supersized folks for physical tasks.

  126. If I try doing that, can someone tell my mom to put “I tried to be skinny…” on my headstone. Thanks.

  127. I live in an area of the country with Amish people and I can tell you that there are plenty of Amish who are fat even though they live an Amish lifestyle.

    I think the point if this study is to say that even if being fat is genetic, it is still fat peoples fault that they are fat. They could be thin if they really wanted to.

  128. I’m a waitress. I work in a hotel, and our cafe bar covers about 40 tables over a good few square feet, about 5 large rooms not including outside. I carry heavy trays drinks for people, I carry room services to and from rooms in the hotel, which doesn’t have a lift, ever, and stairs and corridors galore. I don’t sit down at work. I don’t usually get much time to eat a proper meal, its snatched bites of whatever’s available.

    Oh I definately get my 4 hours in a day when I’m working (5-6 days a week) and its made me HEAVIER. My back mucles have increased in size and I weigh about 10lbs more than I did when I started full time back in july.

    they can throw their sanctimonious bullshit out of the window, but not before I crap all over it and smush it in their faces.

  129. Y’all, I must insist you read the study, if you have access to it. I am no scientist, but I believe that the researchers, when describing the demographic they’re studying, indicate that almost all of the Amish women are either overweight (64%) or obese (31%), so apparently that Amish lifestyle isn’t working for them either.

  130. b) go to Tahiti, where you will see lots of people who would be considered “supersized” in the US doing hard physical labor. Seeing a bunch of nimble and strong construction workers who seemed to weigh in at an average of 350 pounds was a real eye-opener–I’m sure we’d see more of that in the US if employers weren’t so prejudiced against hiring supersized folks for physical tasks.

    Or to many other places in the Pacific Islands, for that matter. I recently spent a month doing research on a small Pacific Island, and an extremely large percentage of the female population (definitely more than in the U.S.) were fat (there were many men who were heavy, too, just not as many). Most of them spend a good portion of their days on food, doing physical labor, cooking, cleaning, etc. But yet, still fat. I found it extremely refreshing to be in an environment where people were not totally obsessed with thinness (although admittedly I wasn’t exposed to the culture long enough to really understand their attitudes toward the concepts of “thin” and “fat,” so I could be off-base) . A *male* host who was gracious enough to serve my fellow female researcher and I a meal actually told us “make sure you eat enough so that you don’t get too thin.”

  131. Seriously? You were on Oprah? And you can’t talk about it? That sucks! I just tried to find something online, and I can’t. Ahhhh!

  132. “What the hell is up with this assumption that everyone, fat or thin, reading articles about THE OBESITY CRISIS BOOGA BOOGA BOOGA is really just looking for permission to lie in bed all day or eat “forbidden” foods? Is that really the American dream?”

    Heh. I’ve ranted about this here. It’s the Puritan guilt mess this country was founded upon.
    NO FUN FOR YOU unless you’re grunting and sweating and torturing yourself in the name of fun. (You know, like spitting and peeing blood in order to row? Or wrestle? Or have your own television show with the weight standards they tried to impose on Margaret Cho that eventually sent her to the hospital with kidney failure?)

    Or, you know, adopting that Amish lifestyle. (Srlsy, that’s when I quit reading.)

  133. “ou eat right, exercise a little, and viola!”

    And usually it IS “viola”, instead of “voila”. That’s the level of literacy we’re usually dealing with with these … these …

    I swear to all that is holy, it is stupidity and illiteracy that will be the death of this country. Now I’m glad I was a precocious little nerdy paranoid, reading Orwell and Huxley when the other kids were outside playing team sports — because at least I could read the signs and know what was coming.

    Going to go build my bunker now. Do you think I’ll be able to get it finished? I’m only going to be able to put in about 2 hours of labor on it a day. *rolleyes*

  134. “All this shit makes me miss the days when reporters drank and smoked and ate corned beef at their desks and never saw the inside of a gym. At least we were spared this kind of sanctimonious healthist garbage then.”

    I’m not old enough to know about any of that except in movies like “His Girl Friday” and “Hudsucker Proxy” – but
    a) I’m gonna bet they still smoke (’cause it keeps you thin!) and
    b) all this was before “telegenic” meant more than actual brains.

    I mean, didn’t you see “Broadcast News”? :D

  135. “I do generally get 1-1.5 hours of exercise daily because it’s something from which I reap personal, non-weight related benefits. I have no idea how someone with a family and a job would get in 4 hours on a DAILY basis without outside help.”

    Aaaand there is another principal issue. The article is really classist, in addition to being ableist. And ridiculous.

  136. Or, you know, adopting that Amish lifestyle. (Srlsy, that’s when I quit reading.)

    You know, I’d love to spend four or five hours a day cooking, gardening, and going for walks. In fact, that’s pretty much my entire plan for retirement … 15 years from now. In the meantime, I have that 9-hour a day (minimum) job and grad school to contend with.

    But if the commenter who suggested taking a cue from people with anorexia, or any of the trolls who claim that four hours isn’t that much are willing, they can donate to the Sniper Family Retirement Fund. Better make those donations big because I need lots of gardening supplies, er, exercise equipment.

  137. I heard this {x}crap{/x} news this morning. As has already been said… 3-4 hours, 15 pounds? Sure, I’ve got plenty of time. Not.

    Now about those Amish…were they ones where the women can’t eat until after the menfolk? Or one of those ordnungs where they have to wear 30 pounds of clothing so no one will have impure thoughts, but lose 10 pounds of sweat a day in the summer ’cause they’re so hot? (Wonder how many die of heat stroke?) I’ve seen Amish people, lots of them, and if most of the women don’t have BMIs well into the, ahem, “overweight” to “obese” range (BMI=more BS, of course), I’d be quite shocked (or were they only considering men in the study? Hmm.). I think the whole thing was worthless and is just one more way to say “Hey fatty, it’s all your fault!” Which it’s not.

  138. Oh thank you.

    I should have just come straight here when I first read this article (the one I saw was on CBC) instead of arguing with clown commenters who just saw this as PROOF that all you had to do was exercise a little. I pointed out that 3-4 hours of daily moderate exercise was the equivalent of a 50 km bike ride EVERY DAMN DAY and how many of those laughing clowns did that – and they had the temerity to tell me that I had misread the article and that it was only 3-4 hours per week.

    GAH! They’re not reading – they’re letting the message they expect reinforce their prejudices instead of seeing what the fracking article actually says!

    Okay, sorry, I know, I’m ranting to the choir here.

  139. Sheesh. My 1 1/2 hours of exercise, 4 times a week is difficult enough to deal with, especially with my commitment to save money by cooking my own meals. These obesity “experts” would be better off lobbying for a six-hour workday and mandatory vacation than browbeating all of us to give up any semblance of a life.

  140. @hera: Can somebody explain the math in the study to me? Here’s a link to the abstract:

    http://archinte.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstract/168/16/1791?lookupType=volpage&vol=168&fp=1791&view=short

    Does this in fact say that of the 704 people in the study, only 92 were found to have the gene variant? I honestly can’t tell.

    If so, how do they explain that a percentage that is supposed to be 30% is really only 13%? Doesn’t that do something wacky to their results?

    I don’t have access to the original paper but based on the abstract:

    – there were 704 people in the study (Old Amish are often used in such studies because they are a fairly “genetically closed” society and are willing to participate). They have data about the BMI and ” objective quantified physical activity measurements” for those people.

    – they looked at 92 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) These are short variable DNA sequences

    – 26 of the 92 SNP DNA sequences were associated with BMI

    – One particular DNA sequence, rs1861868, was associated with a high BMI only when the test subjects had low physical activity

    – The same sequence was not associated with high BMI when the test subjects had “above average physical activity”

    – The abstract doesn’t say what percentage of the white population carries this DNA variant, but presumably that 30% number that the MSM article cites is in the text

    – I don’t know where the 13% that you mention comes in, but what is unclear in the MSM article is what percentage of people carry a single copy, and what percentage carry two copies of that particular piece of DNA.

    While the MSNBC article is crap in the way it’s framed, the actual paper looks like a pretty routine piece of human genetics. I think it actually is pretty consistent with what’s been said here many times: genetics is a factor in determining weight, and it’s simply not possible for some individuals to lose weight without taking extreme measures. It’s ridiculous that some people are taking this study as evidence that “all you need to do is exercise” to lose weight.

  141. I think the point if this study is to say that even if being fat is genetic, it is still fat peoples fault that they are fat. They could be thin if they really wanted to.

    The sad thing is, that’s the attitude of a lot of people… “if you REALLY wanted to.”

    It’s not unlike, in my mind, the people who tell the cancer patients sh*t like, “If your attitude had been better you wouldn’t have got cancer.”

    The SAD thing is that the other conclusion you could draw from this article is that some people are just genetically predisposed to be fat, they have good lives anyway, so leave them the hell alone. But no one in the media seems to be drawing that conclusion.

    Honestly if a genetic test for that gene variant comes out, I’d like to have it done, just so I can force myself to accept once and for all that it is OK because it’s how I’m made and it can’t be changed. (Until someone starts promoting gene-therapy for it…)

    Because all the supposedly science-based news stories about “OMG BAD FATTIES” get me SO down and challenge my belief that I am an OK person. I need some outside evidence.

    And seriously, I would like to roundhouse kick the next person who spouts up the “just give up one soda a day” meme. Or whatever variant of it. (And it’s not just because I don’t drink soda, making their advice both offensive and moot.)

  142. Don’t forget this part:

    The Amish study involved 704 people; blood samples determined which of those had a variation in the FTO gene linked to obesity. Among those with the variant, those who got about three or four hours of moderate physical activity a day weighed up to about 15 pounds less on average than the least active people.

    So if you have that gene variant, and exercise 3-4 hours a day, on average you’ll weigh AT MOST a whole 15 lbs. less than someone who doesn’t have that gene variant and doesn’t exercise! So it’s not like you’re going to be THIN after those 3-4 hours, you’ll just be on even footing without that gene. You’ll just be “normal”! Awesome.

  143. “that leaves me 3 hours a day for eating, hygiene, errands, hobbies, relaxation, pet care, and little things like seeing my husband and remaining sane.

    Not long ago, a “specialist” (hired by the insurance company, surprise surprise) told me to my face, all straight-faced and intense, that it “doesn’t count” as exercise if I have my kid with me. Only if I’m alone.

  144. lauredhel, seriously?

    We don’t run a car anymore, so I get everywhere under my own steam. This means I have to walk the kids to and from school each day, and when I counted how much time this took, it turns out I spend 2-3 hours each day walking.

    But, now I find out that NONE of it counts because I have my kids with me??! *headdesk*

    I enjoy walking, actually. Even in the near-constant rain here in Jolly Olde England. But it takes a lot of time out of my day, and it’s pretty hard work pushing a buggy with 75 lbs of kids in it (my nearly 4 year old and 20 month old weigh a lot together). I’m lucky that my body can handle the work, but I guess it all doesn’t count because I actually enjoy it. Oh, and I don’t have any other choice in the matter, so it’s obviously not *real* exercise. Bah.

  145. Sorry, the 75lbs actually includes the weight of the buggy and the kitchen sink that I have to bring along with me wherever I go…

  146. Wasn’t there a study that had triathletes try to follow the movements of toddlers for 12 hours and fail miserably? Surely almost no-one does as much dashing around as a stay-at-home parent, assuming more than one post-walking child? Well, waitresses, but they don’t bend down as much.

  147. Wow. So it seems we have 2 choices here, from everything I’ve been reading in the comments: we can either work out 4-5 hours a day ON TOP OF our regular jobs, thereby giving up any time we may have to spend with our families, friends, loved ones, or selves (let alone do the laundry, bathe, etc.), OR, we can work out a little less, volunteer, spend time with people we love and have a life.
    Hmmm. I think I’ll choose door #2, thanks!

  148. Ailbhe, I have 3 kids under the age of 6 and I’ve trained them at a young age to bring me drinks, make baby flavored donuts, and change channels on the tv so I don’t have to move around at all.

    Why else would I have kids in the first place??

  149. Like others here, I have a jam-packed schedule. (Up at 5, work 6-3, volunteer from 3-6:30, web- and phone-based classes from 7-10.)

    I once posted elsewhere about my frustration at not being able to do my sport-specific training due to this schedule and received comments like, “we’ll you’re not looking hard enough if you can’t find half an hour to exercise. Turn off the television.”

    Um, that hour a day I can sometimes squeeze in (during distance course meetings)? That’s the same five hours a week I get to reconnect with my sweetie over dinner.

    Oh, wait. Fat girl. Cannot has significant other. How could I forget?

    This study makes me RAWR.

  150. OK, so say I spend 3-4 hours a day exercising. My pant size goes down one size. Maybe. And then what? Will I magically be thin by losing 15lbs? By wearing a size 10 instead of size 12? No? Yeah. Didn’t think so. =P

  151. JAMBOREE STOP PLEASE ARRANGE KID EXCHANGE SOONEST STOP SWEAR YOU WILL GET THINNER WITH MINE STOP DO YOURS ALSO DO HOUSEWORK QUERY

  152. Dear Dr. Snitker,

    I feel just terrible because I haven’t even started my new “moderate” exercise regimen, and yet I am already four hours behind. You see, I read your article *after* I spent three of my four “free” hours yesterday visiting a friend who had just come out of some pretty serious surgery. I hope you can forgive this transgression and provide some insight on how I can now make up the time and fit eight hours of exercise into my four “free” hours today.

    (please) Sincerely (go fuck yourself),
    SjC

  153. lauredhel – I hope you laughed in his/her face.

    SJC – send it! Send it! Send it!Along with a request for a HP-esque time-turner you can use over the international date line.

    And when they say it’s ridiculous and they can’t find one, feel free to rejoin:

    “Oh, come on. You could find one if you REALLY wanted to.”

  154. And seriously, how egotistical is it of them to think I need their “permission” to do what the fuck I want anyway?

    It’s kind of like how I had an ex-boyfriend who, during an argument, said to me, “FINE! Do whatever you want. You will anyway!”

    And I said, “You say that like it’s a bad thing.”

  155. I know this is too late, but the XO, I think it’s called — the laptop from the One Laptop Per Child program, which you can occasionally buy — can be run off of A/C power, or by a foot treadle. It originally had a hand-crank, but as someone else suggested, that didn’t work too well.

    (They’re doing another Give One, Get One in November! *WANT!!!*)

  156. Also, although a foot-treadle isn’t exactly exercise, my friend’s mom had AMAZING calves from twenty years as a medical transcriptionist in the pre-downloading-your-sound-files days.

  157. Not long ago, a “specialist” (hired by the insurance company, surprise surprise) told me to my face, all straight-faced and intense, that it “doesn’t count” as exercise if I have my kid with me. Only if I’m alone.

    *fantasizes about locking Lauredhel’s insurance specialist in a room with a Mommy & Me Stroller Fitness instructor*

    *now, for some unknown reason, fantasizes about a Stroller Fitness class where you strap, not babies, but insurance specialists in the jog strollers. contemplates tricep possibilities*

    *decides to make a stiff drink and watch an episode of Murder, She Wrote*

  158. It’s annoying that the results of the study are reported as if they pertain to everyone who is “overweight” or “obese”, and not just the 30% of the white population that carries the variant DNA sequence. It’s terrible science reporting and incredibly misleading, as evidenced by the commenters here who mostly seem to assume that this study pertains to them even though the odds are good it does not.

    My reasoning:
    If ~58% of the US white female population is overweight or obese (BMI 25+), then a DNA sequence variation carried by only 30% of the white population could only be associated with at most half of overweight or obese white American women. That higher number assumes that every woman carrying the variant is overweight or obese, which I don’t believe the study concludes, so if you are a white woman with a BMI of 25+, there is less than a 50% chance that you carry the DNA variant.

    If I’ve messed those numbers up, I hope someone will correct me.

  159. Totally late to the game but I may be one of the people who gets in those 3-4 hours per day. I am fortunate to have a really flexible work schedule and I work out for 2-2.5 hours per day because I love to run (and do other stuff), I walk my dogs, I commute on foot or bike to work, etc.

    Still–I am totes fat. The other woman I know who regularly got many hours of regular exercise is my grandma who worked on a farm (in addition to cooking, cleaning and taking care of 8 children–which I guess TOTALLY doesn’t count!). She was constantly doing physical work. Still—totes fat. And lived to be 100. So I’m not gonna sweat it. Um, no pun intended.

  160. You know, wouldn’t it be wonderful if we lived in a world where this was reported thusly?

    “Don’t worry if you exercise 3-4 hours a day and you’re naturally fat. You won’t lose THAT much weight. 15 pounds, maybe, but not so much that you can’t recognize your own body.”

    Someday… someday…

  161. “I cannot fucking believe that instead of writing the obvious story — i.e., “people who have this genetic variant would have to do a tremendous, totally unrealistic amount of daily exercise to be thin” — they went with “people who have this genetic variant can be thin if they just work in three to four hours of daily exercise — easy peasy!”

    hahaha that is sooooooooo true.

  162. Two things. When I read the headline that said a mere 3-4 hours of moderate daily exercise is all that’s needed for those with genetics that make them larger, my singular response was a loud “HA!” Enough to prompt my husband to ask “What?” When I read it to him, his response was “HA!” Methinks we’ve been together too long. ;-) Anyway, thanks for extrapolating on the ridiculousness of this incredibly stupid recommendation.

    Second, um, completely unrelated. I just saw you on Oprah, asking a question via Skype of John Ramsey. How’d THAT happen? ;-) A thoughtful question, BTW.

    Kelly

  163. A Sarah, saying you were off to watch “Murder, She Wrote” made me think of an idea for an excellent series of murder mysteries — what if there were a series of books where the people murdered were all various fat haters — the biased obesity researcher, the loud-mouthed anti-obesity spokesmodel, the inept health reporter. Of course, the investigator would be a woman of BMI 40 or higher (like me).
    A better writer than me will need to do it — but I will read this series, and most likely not while I’m on the treadmill.

  164. Ugh, Sniper, that link is awful! I particularly love the advice to always eat at the same times every day, because you know, it’s that simple.

    I’m sure the kid in the ER who needed a blood transfusion at dinnertime tonight would have totally waited while I ate dinner instead of crossmatching his red cell units. Yep. No problems there.

    Also, the “weight loss coach” has some really unfortunate eyewear in that photo.

  165. No problemo!

    Just imagine yourself in a huge disaster.

    In the clothes you are wearing, walk out the door, and head for the nearest mountain on foot.

    When you get there make a shelter and fire, find water.

    You will drop fat.

  166. I particularly love the advice to always eat at the same times every day, because you know, it’s that simple.

    What I loved is that she touts it as “simple” and “natural” but it involves religious timing and measuring – and the part that requires you to eat exactly half of what you ate the previous days on alternate Wednesdays or some such nonsense.

    Ugh. These people make me tired.

  167. I worked out with my trainer last night (I do this twice a week), and it was a new program. By the end of the hour, I was feeling like I’d throw up if I had to do one more thing. Now, I was working at medium to high intensity, and they want me to do that for 3-4 hours? Maybe the vomiting is contributes to the weight loss?

  168. Hey, I gave you the answer- forced land migration.

    If you don’t believe me go to Sudan and look in the refugee camps.

    They are slim and trim.

  169. Not to give the trolls too much attention, but are all of our webmistresses now unavailable for bannination? One got through.

    batguano, you might want to think about the implication of suggesting that starving, suffering people are a good example for how to lose weight, as though that’s a healthy way to achieve something positive. It’s disrespectful both to fat people and to starving people.

  170. wellroundedtype2,

    If you’re looking for books along those lines, you might want to check Sue Ann Jaffarian’s Odelia Grey mystery series. The protagonist (Odelia) is a plus size amateur detective. While she doesn’t kill fat haters, the writing is still good.

  171. lynne-

    You misinterpret a perfectly good observation.
    No I am not a troll- forced land migration is the same as a trek.

    I live close to the start of the Appalachian Trail that goes between Georgia and Maine.

    The concept is good- walking Biblical distances over land is absolute successful every single time for weight reduction and good health.

    Start at either end of the trail, hike the 2,000 miles, and viola, you are a lean mean walking machine.

    It is fun, healthy, effective, passes many great views, holds adventure, and who knows perhaps even romance.

    So my remark, while perhaps not fully developed is valid, and hardly aimed at demeaning, rather uplifting.

    Indeed, the poor folk in war torn Sudan do have problems beyond forced travel from their original homes, God bless them, but the end effect of the journey is undeniable and drives home the point- treks- which is a far better word than forced migration- are totally effective, and reliable in every way.

    To put it in US terms more palatable to the intended population- try the trail for just 6 months, you will be pleasantly surprised, and have more fun than you can imagine just talking about it.

  172. The concept is good- walking Biblical distances over land is absolute successful every single time for weight reduction and good health.

    Fuck off.

  173. Sniper-

    Your reference to sex is correct- that I have read is very good exercise and consumes a lot of energy.

    But if you stop and consider that it is not as practical on a continuous basis as a trek here is a reassuring observation that can change your mind about the trek as well.

    You cite biblical distances, and rightly so, but again I have not developed my proposition well.

    The trick is to trek, not the distance covered per day.

    If you move five feet and pitch camp for the start on the first day that is effective. The idea is not to cover miles per day, only to trek whatever is absolutely comfortable and pitch camp.

    It would be very reasonable to start out and walk say 100 yards, sit and listen to the birds, get into the trip, have some water, eat something, and relax. After that modest start, you would feel like strolling on, and would cover whatever you pleased, a few hundred yards the first day would be treking, then pitch camp for the night.

    The trip is the thing, the trek, not the distance covered in all or even a day, just being on the trek.

    The first day you might start and go a hundred yards, adjusting and getting use to your pack, stop and drink water and eat, getting accustomed to the birds and trees, just enjoy the adventure of it. When you are feeling like going a bit more do so, and so on, only covering exactly what is totally comfortable, and enjoyable until you call it a day and pitch camp when you like.

    Even through you cover no particular distance, each day you will feel better and better, and you will automatically move the distance a little more, but that is not important.

    The trip, the trek, the adventure, the nature, and the camping in beautiful surroundings is a great victory in itself.

    As you become skilled and polished at setting up camp, and walking along, the rhythm of the trip, the trek, will take over and you will completely enjoy each day, so it is not a burden or hardship.

    It is the time, rather than the distance covered, the trek itself that will be life changing.

    The end results will be good, and you will be very happy with them.

  174. ailbhe- not a hike, a trek over weeks to months

    The outdoors call to you, but it is up to you to answer the call.

  175. *snerk*

    Thanks, batguano, for making me choke on my coffee. Yeah, this Alaska girl doesn’t know the first thing about camping OR hiking (or canoeing or mountain biking or lake swimming.)

    Maybe it doesn’t count, though, since Alaska isn’t mention in the Bible.

  176. cinderly-

    apply the hiemlich move to stop choking

    Alaska sounds like great fun and great treking territory

    You will notice I have had an revelation about treaking for fun and health.

    You are a shoe in for applying it.

  177. @kateharding: Lauredhel, I wish that surprised me, but I’ve also heard of doctors saying that exercise on the job doesn’t count.

    I guess it depends on what it counts *for.* That is, saying exercise performed at work is totally useless is, well, dumb. Being active is supposed to be a good thing, right?

    If it’s for weight loss, and it “doesn’t count,” wait, I thought it was “Calories in, calories out, just that simple!!”?? I don’t know if the same doctor who said that is also big on the “just eat more calories than you burn” thing, but if he/she were, that’s a good excuse to laugh at them.

    If it’s for cardio fitness, well…. had a doc tell me that, no, my being on my feet all day and being up and down the stairs a bunch was no substitute for the intense sustained activity of a workout. That’s probably more valid. (She also wasn’t telling me to lose weight at the time, and I *do* feel better when I exercise.) But then, I was teaching at the time, not doing a job that *is* a real workout all by itself.

    The bit about exercise not counting if your kids are with you….WTF? I wonder if it’s the idea that you’ll be chatting with them rather than pushing yourself, but children have so much energy that I’d think trying to keep up with them ought to make a workout “count” double.

    All of this “this counts, that doesn’t” seems like a way to assume that you’re not really as active as you say you are. “Oh…you were working out with your kids….you must’ve been goofing off and not really burning any calories.”

    @batguano Um….refugees usually don’t look thin & healthy. More like emaciated. That’s so completely **NOT** something to emulate, that I was about to defend you when people called you a troll and say “Wait, I’m pretty sure batguano is being *sarcastic.*” Because I couldn’t fathom *anyone* possibly seeing that as something to emulate. Ooops, guess not.

    Yes, hiking the Appalachian Trail is a fabulous idea, one I’d love to do. (Maybe not the whole trail….more realistically just part of it.) Not sure how my screwed-up knee and two screwed-up ankles would handle it, though.

    Oh, and if I do get to hike the Appalachian Trail, the fact that it will be an awesome adventure–with nature and physical challenge and time spent with my husband–is *way* more important than thinking it’s going to magically make me skinny. If I can gain weight after a week of camping in 90-degree temperatures, I wouldn’t be surprised if I gained weight hiking the AT. But that wouldn’t diminish anything else about it.

  178. Perhaps I was too subtle – it seems as if you think you are the only one who has had this revelation and, if a person simply hikes/does outdoorsy things, they will no longer be fat.

    Since we’re playing the anecdote game, MY experience shows that the above is not true in all cases.

  179. Not to give the trolls too much attention, but are all of our webmistresses now unavailable for bannination? One got through.

    Just what I was thinking, Lynne. Must be all the running around involved with the wedding.

  180. slyhwolf-

    My great grandmother was Cherokee, but I assume she was born after the trail of tears, I’ll have to see if I can find out, maybe her parents came across in that event.

    Going on a trek is healthy in every way.
    I would not kid you about it. :)

  181. cinderly-

    Not doing out doorsy things.
    A trek is moving day by day in a direction.
    That is a 24/7 event over time, weeks to months.
    Try it for a couple of weeks, which should be long enough to get into the rhythm of the trail.
    Stay warm, stay happy, give it a try.

    Best regards

  182. Hey, batguano101 (a rather appropriate name, given what you’ve been spouting here),

    When you can find me a job that’ll pay me to take six months off and go trekking, let me know, okay?

    Way to be classist and ableist at the same time.

    … must stop feeding the troll, must stop feeding the troll…

  183. Oh THANK GOD we “ladies” have been given an example to emulate! We sure can’t handle a big man trail, not with the baby-havin’ and menstruatin’ we do. Silly me, thinking that going to school, and nursing my baby, and homeschooling my older child, and all the other things I have to do to make a living actually took up TIME and MONEY! I should just save up, or better yet, as my husband, who is also a student, for money to do this. My life has been made SO FUCKING SIMPLE NOW! Thank god BatShit(crazy) came in to fix my little girlie mind.

    And thanks for the amusement in the mean time. You do know that none of us takes you seriously and that you were most likely let through so we could play, right? Cause you are doing a bang-up job. Keep is coming!

  184. Wow, most self-righteous troll EVER, if that’s even possible to measure.

    Hey guys, have you ever tried diet and exercise?

    (And yeah, they’ve all left for the wedding and are probably offline for the weekend. The rest of us can’t ban, so all we can do is bait the trolls!)

  185. Diet and exercise?!?! Why I’ve never heard of such a concept! You must be the very first person ever to suggest such a thing! =P

  186. Your reference to sex is correct- that I have read is very good exercise and consumes a lot of energy.

    lol! That is too funny. First off because every expert on weight loss I’ve heard is quick to say that sex does not count as exercise and also because I know the sex I have is not that great of exercise. Other people may have sex with a wider range of movements and activity, but that’s not generally my goal in sex.

    But also the idea that the problem is that fat people never have sex! That’s the answer! You only need to do 3-4 hours of excercise a day for a little while until you get thin enough to have sex and then you just have sex! Whether you want to or not because it is required for staying thin!
    (and don’t tell me about your significant others, everyone knows those are just hallucinations caused by the fat.)

    I’m also very amused by the idea that all I need to do is take a few months to do nothing but walking, camping and getting in touch with nature. Why didn’t I ever think of that? I’ll just go ahead and do that right now. I’m sure my professors will excuse my absenses and pretend I did the work, along with my internship, and then all I need to do is quit my job and live on no income. I’m paid hourly with no paid vacation ever, so the only option there is to quit. But I’m sure there will be some wild berries or something on this trek, so it will be ok!

    I know, I know don’t feed the trolls, but this one was just too funny! Seriously loling right now!

  187. Yeah, batguano’s been banned. Sorry we weren’t on top of that.

    Well, you were kind of busy. I hope you were able to somehow ban batguano with extreme prejudice, the kind of bannination that leaves a mark.

  188. Hey gang, if you’re a stay-at-home mom and you don’t have a maid, you are probably ALREADY getting that 3-4 hours a day of MODERATE ACTIVITY. Remember, they’re not talking about “aerobic” exercise — they’re talking about moderate activity.

    I was fortunate enough to be part of a study like this when I was right out of grad school, and we were tracked for 15 days to see how many calories we burned during our daily activities. (We could see our results on a watch-like thing that told us approximate calories burned at that moment. It was really cool!)

    Although stuff like housecleaning, grocery shopping, cooking, washing dishes, doing laundry, folding clothes, rocking in a rocking chair, watering your vegetable garden, playing with and carrying a toddler, playing piano, and taking out the trash — all this stuff doesn’t contribute to CARDIOVASCULAR health the way aerobic exercise does, but it IS considered moderate activity, and contributes to the Surgeon General’s recommendations.

    I think before people start going batshit about having to walk for four hours a day, they need to look at the actual Surgeon General’s recommendations, and what constitutes moderate and vigorous activity.

  189. OKAY. So, I’m posting here because I needed somewhere to EXPLODE. I’d do it in my own journal, but I needed a soothing voice to tell me I’m not crazy so I can stop feeling like crawling in a hole and dying. So I hope someone sees this. More so I hope they don’t go blind from all the expletives I know are coming.

    I’M SO SICK OF IT. Today was EXHAUSTING. I just took a temp job where my mom works, and it’s at a nursing/ home care office. The job, filing, was boring but fine, and the ladies there all very wonderful and nice, but all in the health care industry and all hook, line, and sinker into the party line on Fat (including my mother who is a nurse). The self-bashing, the hateful fat talk, and the endless diet and “good foods/ bad foods” talk was really annoying and really wearying, really fast. And it never stops there, and I was there for eight hours, after another of my sleepless nights (thanks insomnia… I should be in bed now btw, but I’m up writing this because I’m too sick with rage and depression to sleep).

    Fast forward to tonight, after a long day and I’m tired, and I just want to take a nice hot shower and go the fuck to bed. I strip, I turn on the water, and it’s freezing freaking cold. Mom comes in to check the water (doesn’t believe me that the heater’s not working without checking herself I guess) and of course starts in on the comments about my fucking body, which makes me want to KILL THINGS. Mom, I don’t care how much you love me and believe that fat will kill me and earnestly don’t want me to die. I don’t even care that my sister’s death makes you extra paranoid about your remaining children. I don’t give a flying motherfucking fuck about the wholesome intentions behind your barbs. Don’t. Care. MY body. MINE, YOU BOSSY BROAD. MINE MINE MINE MINE MY MOTHERFUCKING BODY IS MIIIIIIIIIINE!!!!!!!!

    I don’t care what you say, mother. My body is MINE. I DO INDEED LOOK FINE, despite your bullshit to the contrary. I have plenty of “pride in myself,” so much so, in fact, that I don’t waste any of my life conforming to false ideals because I take PRIDE from WHO I AM, NOT WHAT I FUCKING LOOK LIKE, KTHNX AND FOR FUCK’S SAKE. And I’d like to add that, if it’s so disgusting that I “look pregnant,” then why the fuck do you always go around pointing out how “cute” pregnant women are? PICK ONE.

    FUCK EVERYTHING. And then I get on here thinking I’ll read wedding fluffy stuff for some cheer and BAM, it’s more politics and more fat hate and frankly, I think I’d like perfectly well to crawl in a hole and DIE there, right about now. I’m really feeling pretty bottom of the barrel at the moment. I don’t even have a friend I can call at this hour.

    I wonder how many of those evil calories it would burn to weep uncontrollably for three to four hours a day?

  190. Oh Sugar, that is yukky.
    Parents are really the very worst when it comes to this kind of stuff sometimes.
    The only solution (after years and years and years of therapy, mostly covered by health insurance, fortunately for me) that I can come up with is this:
    That person is your mom in many ways, but in others, you will just have to be your own mom.
    You need to say to you what you want to hear — that you look not only fine but beautiful, that if you attend to your health the best you can what you weigh is immaterial.
    Put up that internal barrier between you and you mom, and find your inner mom, the one who says what you need to hear.
    /end psychobabble.

  191. Thank you very much Well-Rounded. I really needed that encouragement. Now I think I can try to sleep, since I have to get up five hours earlier than I’m used to again and do the same thing all over, only this time at both of my part time jobs… and without having the luxury of a shower first, so I’ll feel grimy all day. Sigh. I’m sure you can already tell, but I’m really not looking forward to that.

    I don’t do well under lots of pressure, which, between the app for JET going online, the fact that I haven’t studied for my GRE in days, the need to do JET, GRE, and two grad school apps, and now the taking on of the (albeit very brief and monetarily VERY needed) temp job to supplement the part time job, and lately my friends are all wondering where I am and when they will see me… I feel like the next time someone says a word, my brains will be on the ceiling from the headsplodey.

    So… yeah. I will try hard to channel Inner Mom for enough peace to sleep. Thank you, very much.

  192. AmandaM: that still leaves most of us office workers in the cold. I get about an hour and a half of brisk walking, home fettling and other such moderate activity each day. I’m not going to spend another two and a half working out *every single night*. I have a use for that time.

    General comment: why does every idiot think that we would prioritise being thin over everything else in our lives? Hell, for me, maintaining mental health currently depends on having those hours every evening to unwind and forget. I’d rather be fat and functioning than thin and a nervous wreck.

  193. I know I’m coming into this way late, but I saw that story too, and what made me really laugh my ass off was this punchline:
    The three to four hours a day of moderate exercise meant that they were how much thinner than the fat-gene-havers who didn’t work out constantly?

    FIFTEEN POUNDS.

    Dude. My LEFT TIT ALONE is fifteen pounds. And the right one’s probably fourteen more.

  194. I got to my skinniest – 61kg (135lbs) – when I:

    – Rode 40km (24.85 miles) a day, every day, on my exercise bike
    – Did at least 1 1/2 hours of stretching and weight exercises every day
    – Was strictly vegetarian, ate no processed foods, cut out tea, coffee, soft drinks and nearly all dairy products and needless to say absolutely no sugar of any kind
    – I also walked everywhere I possibly could

    It was all lovely until I could no longer maintain my exercise routine because of work pressures and my longing for some variety in my diet could no longer be stemmed.

    That weight piled back on PDQ. Yet I wasn’t gorging on food. I was eating pretty much like everyone else around me. I still managed to exercise moderately on a regular basis but that weight came back any way.

    So now I’m supposed to go back to a life that revolved around exercise and (a lack of) food? I don’t bloody think so.

    I now walk to work every week day (45 minutes a day at a brisk pace) and I think that is a reasonable amount of daily exercise. I do it because I’m having health problems, not to lose weight. I’m making changes to my diet, not to lose weight, but because I want to improve my health. I refuse to starve myself. I’ll eat if I’m hungry and if I want to have a snack I’ll bloody well have one…guilt-free.

    I’m 1.68m tall (5’6″) and now weigh 91kg (200lbs). This is the heaviest I’ve ever been. I’m not a miserable ball of insecurity but neither am I at a place where I have no insecurities or body image issues.

    Sometimes I feel down. I miss being able to wear anything I want. I worry if my lovers find me unattractive (though neither of them has ever commented on my weight or ever hinted they find me less attractive because of my weight). But those are all issues I’m working on and will get through in my own time and in my own way.

    Finding sites like this one and hearing from wonderful women all over the world, who face the most appalling ignorance and cruelty and respond with wit, intelligence and feistiness, makes a difference in my life. Thank you, all of you.

  195. I am new to posting here, and what a worse way than on an old post… However I have been learning so much, but also nervous to ever post. On this I can factually say that my next door neighbour and family friend is Amish. She is also heavy. I wouldn’t guess exactly, but she is over “even” average. That woman works her but off. Her whole day is exercise consisting of walking all over, gardening, hand-washing, sweeping, chasing loose cattle… you get the idea. She also has mentioned that she does not eat half of what her family members do, and yet she just stays her weight or gains. Gee, I wonder if someone should tell her to exercise another four or so hours a day?
    Her hubby and kids are are so thin, and they eat more than her and work/exercise as much. Genes much?

    Not that anyone here *needs* that story, but.

    Btw, I am not kidding when I say I am learning a lot. It is good too, because weight worries have been in my mind since I can remember, thanks to family. A lot of people around me are really terrible about it, including myself before I saw how screwed up it was. I am rather disgusted at that and things I used to think, say, and parrot. *sigh*

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