Wednesday One-Liners

• Remember how Starling gave a rough number of 1 in 60 when guessing how many men commit rape? And Dude Nation went ballistic about how it wasn’t a robust figure? They’re right. At least in some populations (in this case, college students of all ages) it should have been four times higher.

• The calorie recommendations have been telling you to eat too little, but this is NOT a license to eat more!

• Breaking: Some obese people don’t want to lose weight! They actually had the delusion they were healthy, even though they had incidences of high blood pressure and high cholesterol that were similar to or lower than the population as a whole!

134 thoughts on “Wednesday One-Liners

  1. The calorie recommendations have been telling you to eat too little, but this is NOT a license to eat more.\

    That article might have the highest ratio of don’t-eat-more-you-fatty disclaimers to actual content of any such article I have ever seen. Bravo, BBC News! Also, depressing that even the old recommendations had 2,000 calories for women while most of the women I know would say that’s a shockingly high number for them to aim at.*

    * Though not necessarily to actually eat on a given day, because we all know how the goal-deprivation-binge cycle goes.

  2. A disturbing amt of women I know try to keep calories down to 1200 or so, and they don’t even consider themselves dieting! Then again, I know a few who eat well above 2000, my supremely nonathletic friend lives on chocolate cake and nutella practically every single meal :)

    Not sure how useful federal guidelines are tbh – most people seem to either ignore them if they’re not counting calories, or if they do happen to be dieting they’ll pick some bizarrely low goal regardless of recommendations since most diet ads advocate 1200-1500 for women, and I very much doubt if those diets are going to be revising their spam anytime soon.

    And there seems to be a really wide range of calorie needs anyways – I eat much more than my mother, but much less than many of my friends, but I’m about the same size as my mother and much fatter than most of those friends. Same thing in high school, though there was a bigger variance in physical activity. So I wonder about the standard deviation for those calorie recommendations – it may be a normal-shaped distribution but if it’s really flat, that’s kind of meaningless. (I’m very poor anecdata though – PCOS and bad dieting history have pretty much killed my metabolism.)

  3. From the Eurekalert referring to fat people who don’t care they are TEh OBEEESE: “This is an important population that we aren’t seeing or targeting,” Powell said.

    On what fucking planet?

  4. The sense of entitlement some men have, particularly those from so-called elite backgrounds, is disturbing. This was reported in Australia earlier this month.

    Elite college students proud of ‘pro-rape’ Facebook page

    A group of past and present University of Sydney students set up a ”pro-rape” page in the sports and recreation section on Facebook, describing themselves as ”anti-consent”.

    http://www.theage.com.au/technology/elite-college-students-proud-of-prorape-facebook-page-20091108-i3js.html

  5. Yeah, that was an amazing press release. Those 8% don’t visit the doctor as often, and their doctors don’t tell them their weight is unhealthy when they do. But the study assumes that they must be unhealthy–based on absolutely no information, and despite the inaccuracy of the BMI** as an individual measurement–and that therefore their doctors are failing to communicate with them.

    This is crapola science.

    **The study methodology involves extensive interviews, bloodwork, and cardiac imaging, and so I assume the obesity measure used is the BMI rather than a body fat percentage or other test.

  6. I hope potential employers do use Facebook to screen applicants. I also think Facebook ought to do us all a favor and permanently archive the identification of these pro-rape peeps, so they can be blackballed in all their career and social networks from now until the end of time.

    Aaah, the Internet! How I love it!

  7. Actually, that article isn’t just saying that fat people shouldn’t eat more.

    But the panel stresses that people should only eat more if they exercise more, given rising levels of obesity.

    In other words, no matter what you weigh, you shouldn’t eat more because people in general are getting fatter.

  8. From the Eurekalert referring to fat people who don’t care they are TEh OBEEESE: “This is an important population that we aren’t seeing or targeting,” Powell said.

    Maybe they don’t recognize us with our heads attached.

  9. And here my surgeon was telling me 1000 calories a day is enough for most people.

    Most people.

    I don’t know who most people are, but they probably don’t live on this planet.

  10. Just so everyone knows, I am now issuing Silly Eating Licenses. To apply, just submit photographic documentation of silly eating.

    Silly Eating

    As everyone knows, perpetrating silly eating without a license is an actionable offense. Protect yourself and your family, stay on the right side of the law.

  11. Just 4% of the men surveyed committed over 400 attempted or completed rapes.

    But that’s no reason not to trust men absolutely, am I right, ladies?

    Maybe I need to get the good doctor Millar to start administering that test to all potential boyfriends, colleagues, friends, and relatives. I am flabbergasted that people will admit to this – that they haven’t rationalized it away. That says to me that men don’t see rape as something to be ashamed of (as long as we don’t call it rape, of course).

    Those who misperceived their body size were less likely to go to a physician. In fact, 44 percent didn’t visit a physician during the past year, compared to 26 percent of obese participants who correctly perceived they needed to lose weight.

    Ah, yes, those “correct perceptions.” That’s not incredibly judgmental or inappropriate at all! And I can’t *imagine* why a fat person who didn’t want to hear the “lose weight or die” speech again might dodge going to a doctor.

    . . . fucking hell.

  12. Well, that was just confusing. I mean, I didn’t visit my doctor last year because I didn’t feel sick. and yet, I am obese, so I, um, should have gone to my doctor, just to… confirm my fatness? Because my doctor doesn’t nag me about my weight, so we’d both be sitting there talking about how I’m fat but not unhealthy, and somehow that’s… wrong? Somehow I’m … misguided and should be trying very hard to lose weight, or at least feeling very bad about myself, which is… good?

    Huh.

  13. I forget that the world’s insane, and then I follow a link and am reminded again.
    Sigh.
    Man, I’m glad that these people aren’t running my headspace anymore. Or I’d be on another diet.

  14. I like how Dr. Powell goes from

    “Almost one in 10 obese individuals are satisfied with their body size and didn’t perceive that they need to lose weight.”

    to

    “That is a sizeable percentage who don’t understand they are overweight…”

    and then on to

    “…and believe they are healthy.”

    without passing Go or collecting $200! Because Ceiling Cat knows, you can’t be obese and satisfied with your weight, and if you are satisfied it’s because you just. don’t. get. it. AND, just because you are healthy by reasonable measures doesn’t mean you should believe you’re healthy, stupid fatty!

  15. I love how there is this comment in that BBC article:

    But the panel stresses that people should only eat more if they exercise more, given rising levels of obesity.

    …but there is no connection to “uh well maybe it’s not really a straight up calories in calories out equation then, huh?”

  16. Perhaps I’m being petty, but if I were in a discipline that required the use of the “Stunkard” scale, I’d change disciplines.

    Unless my discipline involved studying the stinking drunk. Then it would be ok.

  17. Oh, yes, and on the rapist link. Just saw Pirate Radio, which was a dude-movie (although given the era, I think also relatively representative, and there were some charming moments.)

    Howevah, amongst the tokenism and issues of the era, there was one scene with a “we’ll switch out and she’ll never know it’s you having sex with her not me”. A similar scene in Sixteen Candles recently shocked me – I hadn’t remembered it – but I thought there was no way anyone would do that for the big screen now. I categorized it as rape and figured that’d be obvious.

    A friend mentioned this is likely coming out of a Benny Hill, door-slammer, mistaken identity tradition of Brit-coms. Is this “she’ll never know it’s not the person to whom she gave consent” a trope?

    Also, what is wrong with people?

  18. That’s ridiculous. All of it. Especially the calorie one. I remember going to one of those online calorie calculators and it told me I burn 3,500 calories a day simply by existing (this doesn’t count the eight hours I’m on my feet at work, or the three flights of steps I climb to get to my apartment every day). Since you’re supposed to eat roughly as much as you burn to be healthy, that means I’d be half-starving on the standard women’s calorie amount. Because, y’know, it’s not like we’re all different people with different caloric needs or anything! And ye gods, my brothers would probably DIE on 2,500 a day (they’re both 6’8” and built big, like me, although not deathfatz, not that it would matter if they were). Not immediately, but if they kept it up long enough… ARGH WHY ARE SCIENTISTS FAILING SO HARD RIGHT NOW.

  19. I don’t get the BBC piece–we are supposed to eat 400 more calories, but shouldn’t because of the obesity epidemic? Which is it? Are we or aren’t we? It isn’t even internally consistent.

    No wonder I gave up trying to make any sense out of “diet rules”–as my Harvard and University of Chicago educated husband put it, “great minds don’t go into dietary science.”

    Wake me up when you figure it all out once and for all, folks. Until then, leave me alone.

  20. HiddenTohru: I think they’re not concerned with letting you maintain your weight (so, eating your BMR’s worth) or, y’know, staying alive or whatever. They probably think: well, whatever, they’ll just lose weight eating 2000 cal if they need that much to maintain themselves in the first place. Which totally ignores, as you said, that there’s a whooole range of people with different bodies.
    Also it seems weird that you could maintain much on 2000 cal anyway, considering I just did the calculatory thing and apparently I use almost 2000 a day just existing… and I’m on the lower side of ‘average’ (in terms of BMI). Although who can trust crazy internet calculators.

  21. I guess the diet industry is worth something about 60 billion. Is that an ‘expense,’ or a ‘boost to the economy’?

    Oh, shit. Now I’ve got a vision of George W Bush telling me to go out and diet or the terrorists win.

  22. Arwen, since you asked if it was a trope — I can say that the “bed-trick” goes back as least as far as Renaissance drama. (Much further, actually, but the bed-trick in Shakespeare is what I’m looking at now, so that’s all I can speak to.) In class we discussed how, while there are some exceptions in Ren drama, it’s nearly always a woman who’s substituting, and a man who’s presumably so lust-driven that he doesn’t notice the difference. It’s in Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure, and right now I’m looking at All’s Well that Ends Well, where the man’s wife substitutes herself in her husband’s bed — for the woman he’s trying to cheat on her with (who is chaste and is particularly uninterested in committing adultery, but is happy to assist the wife whose husband won’t sleep with her, and simultaneously putting one over on the boorish married man who wouldn’t leave her alone despite her repeated insistence that she’s not interested. It’s been a while since I read MfM, but it’s a similar situation, IIRC). Interesting, huh? Still rape, though.

  23. At my last check up I asked my doctor about HAES and BMI and he stated that former was a wonderful approach to living and the latter was confusing and generally not as helpful. When I asked him why his colleagues were telling us all to jettison teh fatz he gave me a smile and changed the subject.

    Methinks he’d be chased out of the medical community with tongue depressors and beaten over the head Phen-Fen swag if he went there.

    Then again, I was riding the stirrups at the time, that probably needs to be factored in as well.

  24. Re: Bed switching trope.

    Also in Chaucer, so it goes back to the 14th century at least. Oh and Boccaccio, an Italian satirist around the same time period.

    I’m rusty on my Roman comedies, but I’ll bet it’s in Petronius somewhere.

    Classics nerd FTW!

    And yes, that’s rape. At least I think so. But I don’t have a PhD yet, so I could be wrong. ;)

  25. as my Harvard and University of Chicago educated husband put it, “great minds don’t go into dietary science.”

    Except, of course, for the ones who do. And there are few people on earth I find more wrongheaded than Walter Willett, but it’s not because he lacks intelligence or a top-notch education.

    There are loads of amusingly snarky things to say about studies like these without getting snobby.

  26. Kathryn, I do take exception to the bit about great minds not going into dietary science. One of the people I love most in the world is a nutritionist. True, it’s the “how does this vitamin affect the body” type of nutrition and not the “this is what you must eat” kind, but there are a lot of good (and smart!) nutritionists out there.

  27. “Obese people who were satisfied with their body size didn’t exercise, while obese individuals who recognized they had a weight problem exercised regularly, on average.”
    WTF? Do they just not know US, or what? I’m fat, and I go to Jazzercise 3 days a week and Curves 2-3 times a week, cause it’s healthy and kicks my stress load. Which is nothing compared to the rock climbing, marathon running, weight lifting rest of you out there.
    Sheesh!

  28. Eucritta, I saw that mummy thing this morning and totally meant to include it, but I forgot! Thanks!

    Certain causes of death are complete modern inventions, like getting in a car accident while texting or being bludgeoned to death with a 2009 calendar. But organs giving out in various ways? That as old as mortality.

  29. FJ, also, as I looked up the link for Hatshepsut, it also occurred to me: whoa, one of the most famous rulers in ancient history was a fat woman.

  30. How can I “misperceive” that my body is normal? My body IS normal. When it’s abnormal, I know that something is wrong with it.

  31. whoa, one of the most famous rulers in ancient history was a fat woman.

    That’s impossible! Everyone knows 1. Women are to Emo to rule anything and 2. No one was fat until now. (That’s why there are no fat hieroglyphics.)

  32. Because many of these individuals believe they are healthier than they really are, they do not go to the doctor and thus community interventions will be needed.

    Yes. This is self-evidently the best possible, most logical solution to the ‘problem’. No one expects the Fat Inquisition! Our chief weapon is surprise!

  33. Wow, you know, I was aware of *women* switching in the bed-trick trope, but hadn’t considered it equivalent to men-switching in terms of rape. And now, I’m going to have to go give myself a stern thinking at… because it was based on a blind acceptance of certain untrue male patriarchal stereotypes. Consent: I believes in it.

  34. @ Ultrapeach: Of course they don’t want me to maintain my weight. I’m really more enraged on behalf of my brothers than myself, although since I’m 6′ and 370ish lbs it’s just as ridiculous to expect me to live on 2,000 calories a day. I wrote a journal entry on my FA blog about it, one of the first ones, because it was a huge revelation to me in my FA journey. I’ve always had shame issues concerning the portion sizes I eat, not the least of which because my mother would give me The Look when I ate large portions, totally ignoring my two 6’8” brothers gorging themselves. But I also have mostly friends who are much smaller (width and height wise) and I constantly felt shame about eating three pieces of pizza to their one, or what have you. So I get really angry when people start talking about how many calories a person needs. My best friend needs less than 2,000 calories a day, while I need significantly more. And yet scientists can’t apply the fact that they KNOW different people need different diets to the whole “obesity epidemic booga booga”? Rage-inducing, at least for me.

  35. Arwen:
    Now that you mention it, the example that just springs to mind is the Leah-for-Rachel switch on Jacob in the Old Testament. Not a happy story. I’d never thought of it as rape, but it does fit, doesn’t it? Even to a culture of sexual honor that meant the victim had to marry the rapist, resulting in the grandpappy of all Jerry Springer Show family dynamics–the wives making their servants into concubines so they could compete for male children, Leah purchasing Jacob’s sexual favors from Rachel, the half-brothers of the two wives trying to kill each other . . . .

  36. Sorry, that made no sense–the sons of the two wives in such competition that they attempt to kill each other. Or the half-brothers. Not the wives’ half-brothers.

  37. Did you notice how in the Mummies Had Atherosclerosis article a doctor concludes that it can’t be that hardening of the arteries is a result of ageing for everybody, since the older mummies showed calcification but the younger mummies didn’t. No! It must be that only fat and lazy people were mummified back in the day! AHAHahahaha!

    I wonder how many calories those mental gymnastics burn.

  38. “And yet scientists can’t apply the fact that they KNOW different people need different diets to the whole “obesity epidemic booga booga”?”

    From the majority of things I’ve read that’s exactly a lot of (most?) scientists in this area do when you hear it directly from them rather than filtered through a news or advocacy organization, and it’s not hard to find websites run by presumably reputable groups that take a more nuanced approach (such as the USDA – http://www.mypyramid.gov/mypyramid/index.aspx – which informs me that the average daily caloric needs for someone of my age, sex, weight, and physical activity is ~3,000 calories). I think the problem maybe is that 1) it makes for a rather dull story about calories and obesity at BBC, etc.; 2) people see the nutritional info “based on a 2000 calorie diet” on all their food, where it’s obviously not practical to give a more complete picture; 3) scientists often tend to be fairly shitty at explaining their work or conclusions to the public; and 4) scientists are as susceptible as anyone else to fads and prejudices, and some of us just think/say stupid things.

  39. Ike–

    Just a caveat, I went to that link and rather tell me how many calories I need to maintain my weight, it just told me to lose some weight fatty! (And “click here” to see what you’re going to die of in the next 15 minutes!)

    So, it won’t calculate for you above a certain poundage is all I’m sayin’.

  40. I wonder how many calories those mental gymnastics burn.

    Over the years I’ve learned that everybody knows everything about ancient peoples. I really have no idea why archaeologists even bother anymore.

    Erm … [/sarcasm]

  41. That study that found that a whole 8% of participating obese subjects somehow had neglected to hate their bodies and SOMETHING MUST BE DONE TO STOP THEM really pissed me off. Great, all we need is doctors like this lead investigator developing ways harass fat people even more pervasively in an attempt to slip the memo to that lucky 8%.

  42. I tried the USDA site Ike gave a few posts back. According to the hateful ridiculous BMI, I’m all of eleven pounds overweight. I’m one of those people who went to bed one night “normal” and woke up the next morning “overweight.” Well, not really. At the time the guidelines were revised I was fat by anyone’s definition. And a lot healthier than I am now. I’d take those 50 pounds back gladly if I could also go back to working daily, sleeping a normal amount, taking my much-younger cousin ice skating, and going out with friends.

    But I digress. My point was that before I could find out that I’m supposed to eat 1800 calories a day, I had to get a screen telling me that my weight was unhealthy and have to click on whether I wanted to find out about losing weight or whether I wanted the calorie calculation. And someone is worried that women don’t know how fat we are? I’m not allowed to have a fucking disabling medical condition and weigh less than a dozen pounds over the stupid guidelines without being told that I’m a fat fatty fatso who needs to lose weight.

  43. There are so many things wrong with those obesity reports:

    Obese people who were satisfied with their body size didn’t exercise, while obese individuals who recognized they had a weight problem exercised regularly, on average.

    Wrong, wrong, wrong. I’m obese. I’m fine with my size. AND I EXERCISE REGULARLY.

    Compared to subjects who perceived their ideal body size as normal, those who perceived ideal body size to be above normal were more likely to be women, African American and had higher body mass index, blood pressure and higher insulin resistance.

    Ah yes, black women think that their bigness is normal….those poor misguided black women….*rolls eyes* As a woman of color, I found a lot of eurocentric bias going on in that study. Yes we think we are normal. Why? Because your shitty BMI scale isn’t geared toward us since, you know, we have a different build and all…Reminds me of that shrew Deborah Coddington woman who berated black men for liking women that didn’t fit the Thin Fantasy…..

    “Almost one in 10 obese individuals are satisfied with their body size and didn’t perceive that they need to lose weight. That is a sizeable percentage who don’t understand they are overweight and believe they are healthy.”

    Wait wait wait wait….so people accepting their bodies….after being told on a constant basis that their bodies are fundamentally wrong….after being the subject of ridicule and malcontent and malevolence…is a bad thing? I’m surprised that that percentage is there, with all the fat hatred out there. Also, how about you guys stop messing with the scale for what is “overweight” and then we won’t have a problem.

    Those who misperceived their body size were less likely to go to a physician. In fact, 44 percent didn’t visit a physician during the past year, compared to 26 percent of obese participants who correctly perceived they needed to lose weight.”

    You THINK? Maybe because they don’t want to be misdiagnosed by a doctor who only thinks “OMGWTFBBQ ITZ TEH DETHFATZ! LOZE WEIGHT OR DIE!!!”

    It’s enough to drive you up the wall! I don’t know how I do it, especially when I have a class that does nothing but talk about the “terrors” of obesity. I can’t wait to be out of that class….

  44. Quick question that’s a little off road.
    Does anyone else, overweight or not have a mother who is their unwanted weight monitor? I’m not overweight as it happens, yet still I notice the prying eyes quietly weighing and measuring…yet strangely no-one else in my life does it to me. Am I alone on this one, or does anyone else have it too? iIt’s a pain in the arse, I know that for sure.

  45. Yeah, I also checked out the USDA link, and I found it fucking infuriating that it simply won’t calculate my caloric needs because I am at an “unhealthy weight”. It can only provide me with the caloric needs of someone of my age, sex, height and activity level but with a much lower weight. In other words, they acknowledge that different bodies have different needs, but if you have the wrong kind of different body, they’re not going to give you any information. Also, they only want to know about the amount of vigorous activity you get *outside of your daily routine*. But walking and biking everywhere is my daily routine, except that exercise doesn’t count?! I know we’ve discussed that misperception before, but I just find it galling that the USDA advances it so blatantly.

    The entire thing kind of reminds me of the Dutch Center for Nutrition that will let you calculate how many calories you’ve consumed on a given day, and when it’s a relatively low number (a much too low number for me – say, 1200 calories), they’ll tell you “You’ve eaten less than someone of your sex needs on a given day. Does this happen often? For you, it’s not a bad thing, however, because you can stand to lose some weight, fatty”.

  46. Just breaking up my comments so I don’t end up posting an entire novel in one go – the language in the article on obese people not knowing they are fat/unhealthy/abnormal is so fucking elitist. Those fatties are simply too stupid to know there is something wrong with their bodies! We need to “educate” them (a.k.a. shove even more fat hatred down their throats)! Morally uplift them!

    On a similarly elitist note, the ladymag that I picked up in my dentist’s waiting room this morning opened with a short interview with one of its readers, who talked about how she loved cooking and had started a cooking web site, and how important she thought it was to educate people on what was healthy and how to cook healthy, yet delicious food, and how she would sometimes run into people from high school who had gained 30 pounds in fifteen years and how that shocked her, because they simply didn’t know how to eat healthy and they weren’t making an effort and if only they did, they wouldn’t be fat… GRRRARGH.

  47. You know, I’m amused by the BBC article because the last time I counted calores (just to prove I wasn’t overeating! Really! (until two days in when the obsessive restriction kicked in again…) –this was before I discovered FA and HAES…) I was eating 2400 calories a day naturally. Go figure.

    Don’t get me started on how the women-the-same-size-needing-less-food-than-men is totally arbitrary…..

    According to the calorie-counting-and-weight-tracking-spreadsheet my exercise-bulimic aunt oh-so-helpfully gave me back then, at my non-injured activity levels I supposedly burn about 4500 calories. When injured and forcibly sedentary, it’s only 3000 or so….

  48. No wonder I gave up trying to make any sense out of “diet rules”–as my Harvard and University of Chicago educated husband put it, “great minds don’t go into dietary science.”

    I agree that great minds don’t tend to go into dietary or obesity science, citing exceptions that prove the rule, is not convincing. I am not a snob of any kind- yes the Harvard (who’ve produced enough obesity crap themselves, remember the you can catch fat from your friends thing?) yadda yah, is snobbish, but that doesn’t detract from the underlying truth of this point.

    I think understanding how and why we eat and how our metabolism functions should attract the best minds, as it is fascinating and the stuff of life itself and yet surprisingly, it hasn’t.

  49. I’d like to draw attention to a page I’ve just read on today’s http://www.dailymail.co.uk it’s called quite simply “Anyone who says they’re fat and happy is lying.”

    Now, this paper is usually the most fat hating daily anyway, and the people who comment must literally be foaming at the mouth and baying at the moon because their comments are so enraged, especially when talking about celebrity weight gain. The venom that pours from these people is amazing. Everytime I read their crap I want to go to their offices and give some seriously brutal paper cuts.

  50. @paintmonkey – Unless I missed it, there seemed to be no health issues providing a catalyst for the weight loss. I noticed there was a bit about doctors being “worried” during her pregnancy, but otherwise it seems her relationship with a younger guy motivated her weight loss.

    Then there’s this:

    From the age of 18, I was never short of boyfriends, although I can now see that I tailored my dreams, deliberately avoiding gorgeous-looking guys I knew were out of my league.

    Translation: I was fat therefore lesser and selected partners who supported my faulty world view and was grateful for the opportunity to do so. In the meantime, I actively reinforced my own body shame by believing partners I truly desired were out of reach and if I did happen upon a relationship I was merely settling.

    That’s the hardest working blockquote in the business! Body shame, look snarking, reinforce the dominant society narrative on desirability.

  51. So it is probably unkosher to edit a post after it’s been up a while, but I felt that I was insufficiently calling out the “don’t know they’re overweight AND BELIEVE THEY ARE HEALTHY” and its implicit assumption that they could not possibly be healthy. Even though, of course, their rates of high blood pressure and cholesterol are presented and the non-fat participants’ aren’t, but if you do a little work you’ll find that those are not elevated rates by any means. So I edited to lean on that a little harder.

  52. I agree that great minds don’t tend to go into dietary or obesity science, citing exceptions that prove the rule, is not convincing.

    Well, I’m terribly sorry you’re not convinced, but since my point was: “Hey, please don’t snobbily generalize about entire groups of people on my blog,” I don’t really think I needed to provide more than a couple examples.

    And it’s really not just the “Harvard” bit that’s driving me up a wall, but the “Great minds don’t…” I don’t particularly care if you finish that sentence with “wrestle alligators while drunk” — as soon as you start talking about what “great minds” do or do not do, you’ve pretty much crossed my snobbery threshold for the blog.

  53. (That’s why there are no fat hieroglyphics.)

    Shinobi – you made me laugh out loud in a crowded office when I should have been working. If I get fired, it’s on you.

  54. SnarkysM:
    That idea drives me up the wall. I once dated a guy I didn’t find all that attractive because I felt the really good-looking men were “out of my league.” (I was in my teens, which is some excuse, but I’m still ashamed when I think of it.) What a really horrific thing to do to another human being, you know? He deserved someone who thought he was the most wonderful sexy human being on the planet. These days, I think he is dating that girl (we’re still in touch by e-mail) and I’m really happy for him. I wish I hadn’t been such a self-conscious, obnoxious kid. These days I date only the men I find completely delicious, not because I always feel confident that I ‘deserve’ delicious guys, but because no guy deserves to be dating some woman who thinks he’s not great, but he’s still the best she can do.

    As it turns out, this is a total win-win for me. Yay for maturity, decency and compassion! Virtue is sometimes its own reward!

  55. I don’t particularly care if you finish that sentence with “wrestle alligators while drunk”

    Actually . . . um . . . one of my acquaintances, who is insanely brilliant, is a science intern with wildlife (being more specific would narrow it down uncomfortably – it’s a small professional world he’s a part of).

    He was paged on a Friday night after many, many drinks, and told there was a dying alligator and he’d need to be on hand to do autopsy work, but he’d have time to sober up. Unfortunately, the message had gotten confused along the way, so the alligator was not so much dying as enraged and in the middle of the sitatunga section. Sitatunga are very rare, very endangered swamp antelope, and needless to say, it’s not a good idea to leave them in close proximity with a large aquatic predator.

    So my friend ended up leaping into the exhibit to wrestle an alligator. While drunk. My understanding was that it was very very scary, so afterwards he took everyone out for more drinking.

  56. The calorie calculator I used was one I found in the SP archives, but for the life of me I can’t find the actual post I got it from. BMI and Calorie Calculator There isn’t really anything about being ZOMG DEATHFATZ when you put your info in, either. I rounded down, apparently I actually burn 3,600 calories a day. Imagine that.

  57. “No wonder I gave up trying to make any sense out of ‘diet rules’–as my Harvard and University of Chicago educated husband put it, ‘great minds don’t go into dietary science.’”

    Wow. Just … wow. All this “proves” is that your husband uttered an elitist, jerky thing, and you’re agreed enough with the elitist, jerky thing he said to repeat it.

    And I have multiple degrees from Fancy Pants Universities too, so name-dropping your husband’s schools really doesn’t impress me much. I’m smart, sure, or at least I like to think myself so–but I’m not really any smarter than people who didn’t attend Fancy Pants U. (I have more EXPERIENCE in my grad school field, simply because I studied the dang stuff for multiple years, but that’s another matter.)

    I’m guessing that’s true of most of us Fancy Pants U alums.

    “Quick question that’s a little off road.
    Does anyone else, overweight or not have a mother who is their unwanted weight monitor? I’m not overweight as it happens, yet still I notice the prying eyes quietly weighing and measuring…yet strangely no-one else in my life does it to me. Am I alone on this one, or does anyone else have it too? iIt’s a pain in the arse, I know that for sure.”

    Sure is! You’re definitely not alone. My mom even poked me gently in the belly once, as we were walking, and noted that I’d gained some weight. *sigh* Mothers …

  58. Regarding the USDA site I mentioned last night, I’m sorry. That’s surprising and really disappointing that they won’t calculate above a certain weight. I’m not a small person (I thought I was well into the “overweight” range according to the BMI crap, but I don’t have any particular interest in verifying that), but I guess I’m below the magic threshold that triggers the lectures at that site. I’ve looked at it a number of times and sent it to friends as well, but maybe it’s time to find another resource.

  59. These articles reflect such a break with reality for most people. My BMI at present is 31. I’ve had a 20 pound range in my weight since I was 14, and I’m 24 now. 10 years, my weight has stayed about the same, regardless of food quality or exercise frequency. It took me until a year ago to realize this and finally accept my weight and body for what it is.

    As a scientist, I am disgusted at the behavior of most of the obesity researchers – many of the PIs on the press releases (not even peer reviewed articles most of the time….) fail to disclose associations with Roche or GlaxoSmithKline or Jenny Craig or whatever. When the data show that HAES supports improvements in total cholesterol or LDL:HDL cholesterol ratios, or a drop in systolic blood pressure (like that recent USDA article) then why not just adopt that method? The fact that we (as a country or culture) are so unwilling to let go of the diet culture is telling – it means those who are so concerned about the obese (who are dumb/unhealthy/uninformed/not white) are really mostly pissed that all the fat people don’t fit their unattainable aesthetic.

    I think I’d actually hate a lot of this diet culture bullshit less if the people perpetuating it were honest that they are grossed out by an extra molecule of lipid in the body. Just be honest: you hate fat people, and hate those more who don’t attempt to comply with your bullshit, even when you know your bullshit doesn’t work, but you can bully people to use it (thus making them even less healthy) and get rich off of it.

    That was an acerbic little novel there, but the perversion of science (you know, evidence based, with good data acquisition methods and analysis) especially to perpetuate falsehoods really pisses me off.

  60. Maybe they don’t recognize us with our heads attached.

    Love it!

    Because many of these individuals believe they are healthier than they really are, they do not go to the doctor and thus community interventions will be needed.

    Actually, I tend to assume that I’m less healthy because my cholesterol is borderline (though every other number is good) – but in talking to my nutritionist, she said that I shouldn’t even consider it high because my good cholesterol is 78, which is really good and makes the overall number higher. As a perfectionist, I’m actually much harder on myself about my health than my doctor and nutritionist are.

    I am still struggling with the fact that my weight isn’t stable, though. Between high school and the end of college it stayed within a certain (overweight) range, but in the past couple years I’ve gained 30 lbs above that, and I’m not especially thrilled with it. I know I generally take good care of myself, but it’s still hard to accept my body as it keeps changing. It feels as though the minute I get used to myself at a certain weight, I go and gain more…

  61. Ike, I’m 5’4″ and the USDA site won’t give you any information if you’re at all into the overweight range. I put my weight as 150 (literally 5 lbs. above the top of the range based on BMI) and it told me I was at a weight above the healthy range. That site can go fuck itself.

  62. When I did the USDA stuff (5′ 3″, 175) it gave me the “you’re fat” message, but there was a link on the right that would give me an eating plan based on whether I wanted to stay the same or lose weight.

  63. Anita, I think that’s possibly the greatest story I’ve heard all week. (Definitely topping any of the faculty stories I’ve heard around the office…)

    I find the USDA infuriating, as it will only tell me how many calories I need to lose weight… As it is, I lucked out, and got a GREAT doctor here where I live who is totally on board with my intuitive eating and HAES and thinks that BMI is a waste of my time. He pointed out that quitting smoking had done more for my body in a month than losing weight would do in five years…and that was kind of a wake up call for me about just how ridiculous the diet industry is making.

    Also, sadly, the BBC article? Had in its related links section when I went there an article about Kate Moss and her “unfortunate promotion” of a pro-ana slogan. I’m finding it strangely ironic that was linked to the “don’t eat more” article.

  64. The one thing that I would expect someone who attended universities like Harvard and the University of Chicago to know is just how much they don’t actually know. If you don’t learn that from your experience at a top tier university you did it wrong. (Shorter me, this person who went to Harvard is an idiot.)

  65. I just read about Lincoln University this morning, and their new requirement that forces students with a BMI over 30 to take a p.e. class before graduation. Besides blatant discrimination, this seems like a very manipulative way to force many students to fork over more money to the university. Also, I wonder about professors with BMI over 30: will they be required to take a p.e. class in order to continue teaching?

    “Lincoln University students will now have to endure a physical exam determining each student’s BMI (body mass index) before they are permitted to graduate. An individual’s BMI measures the amount of body fat. Amid fierce criticisms, Lincoln University has recently installed a new requirement for its undergraduate students. If your BMI is over 30, you are required to take a physical education class.”

    http://media.www.thelincolnianonline.com/media/storage/paper1282/news/2009/11/18/News/Bmi-Requirement.Causes.Uproar-3834360.shtml

  66. As bad as it is, at least that USDA site seems to do almost (I didn’t get such a horrific insult as Stacey Stardust) the same for underweight people; I got the warning message, my weight was unhealthily low, and got to choose between the link for my caloric needs and my caloric needs to reach a healthy weight. As I am at a healthy weight for me, I chose the first, where I got berated again. Which means, yay, we’re all wrong? Or something.

  67. I’m wondering what went wrong with the upbrining of 6% of the guys in that study that made them think it was okay to force someone to have sex. I swear 70% of my waking thoughts from age 15 to 25 was on sex, but the thought of forced sex never crossed my mind.

  68. But great minds don’t wrestle alligators while drunk. That’s because most great minds are safely ensconced in skulls, and lacking the ability to wrestle with anything tangible. People with great minds may, in fact, wrestle alligators while drunk, if they really want to.

  69. @ paintmonkey: Oh, yeah, mom is the food police. Since I was about 9, when we first went on the Grapefruit Diet, and every summer vacation thereafter. She liked me much better when I lost 60 pounds on Weight Watchers about 1 baby and 15 years abo. Now, not so much. She was thrilled when I found I have thyroid issues, now bummed that the meds haven’t magically made me thin. And I exercise about 5 times per week. So imagine how much I am eagerly anticipating the upcoming holidays with the family!

  70. Anita, the whole of your storytelling was great, but this line:

    the message had gotten confused along the way, so the alligator was not so much dying as enraged

    took the cake. LOL.

  71. Re: weight police relatives

    For me, it was my grandmother. She always assumed that, if I gained weight, it was because I wasn’t getting any exercise and was stuffing my face, and, if I lost weight, I was dieting like crazy and exercising ditto. After the time I, as a teenager, burst into tears, she let up on the weight criticism, but if I appeared to be losing weight, she’d talk about it constantly. Lulls in conversation at family Christmas celebrations would be filled in with “I just can’t get over how good Becky looks!” And my departure would elicit the admonition “Don’t start eating again!” (Seriously, wtf?!)

    But I’d gladly listen to it all again if I could have her back.

  72. My mom was the weight police person until I announced that we would be visiting and if anyone mentioned my weight we would leave. And when she mentioned my weight we left.

    That was about 15 years ago, and it mostly worked. Not perfect, but not bad.

  73. Because many of these individuals believe they are healthier than they really are, they do not go to the doctor and thus community interventions will be needed.

    I’m surprised that nobody’s brought up the question : What, exactly, do they mean, by community intervention? Because I imagine walking around the supermarket with my cart, and people following me, with one person assigned to hiss at me if I look at anything that’s not condoned by the diet police, one person assigned to slap my hand if I reach for forbidden food, and one person assigned to remove everything that’s not leafy greens/lean meat from my basket and replace them with the mandated healthy foods.

    Community intervention will also include:
    -The neighbours being coached to shout “Wide Load!” when I walk down the street.
    -The removal of all plus-sized clothes from the shops, and the tailoring of my present clothes to be too tight and/or baggy and frumpish.
    -The appointment of my own personal food inquisitor, who will say at the beginning of every meal/snack, “Are you going to eat that? Do you know how many calories are in that?”, and will then proceed to make pig grunts at me through the course of the meal.

    I mean, when you think about it, these scientists are really missing something – community intervention could be the answer to both the obesity problem and rising unemployment rates – use the starving unemployed to shame the obese into starvation!

  74. Community intervention will also include:
    -The neighbours being coached to shout “Wide Load!” when I walk down the street.
    -The removal of all plus-sized clothes from the shops, and the tailoring of my present clothes to be too tight and/or baggy and frumpish.
    -The appointment of my own personal food inquisitor, who will say at the beginning of every meal/snack, “Are you going to eat that? Do you know how many calories are in that?”, and will then proceed to make pig grunts at me through the course of the meal.

    This is probably MeMe Roth’s dream right there.

  75. Does anyone else, overweight or not have a mother who is their unwanted weight monitor?

    My wife does. In the most crazy way — her mother is anorexic, constantly spewing fat-hatred, and insists that W is ‘too thin.’ It is horrifying.

  76. I giggle myself silly at calorie recommendations now. I try to imagine an earnest science reporter, reporting on earnest scientists issuing earnest scientific recommendations on precisely what volume of air you should inhale per day (YOU DON’T WANT TO HYPERVENTILATE, DO YOU? PEOPLE WHO HYPERVENTILATE ARE SICK!) or precisely how fast your hair should grow (BECAUSE WHAT IF IT GETS TOO LONG AND YOU TRIP ON IT? YOU COULD BREAK YOUR LEG!) or the ideal number of minutes to sit in place before getting up to move around (BECAUSE YOU COULD GET VARICOSE VEINS! AND THOSE CAN BE BAD FOR YOU!) And then I marvel at how people can ostensibly study the human body yet have so little perspective or self-awareness about actual human embodied life.

  77. I went and did the USDA survey popup after getting the little “your weight is DANGEROUS!!!!” message. I definitely spoke my mind, but I’m sure whoever reads the surveys is just going to shake their head while thinking something derogatory about poor, fat me…

  78. But great minds don’t wrestle alligators while drunk. That’s because most great minds are safely ensconced in skulls, and lacking the ability to wrestle with anything tangible.

    That’s too bad, because the idea of mutant autonomous gator-wrestling brains is the best thing ever.

    (Anyone else here watch Coupling? “The Girl With Two Brains!” “Three brains, Patrick.”)

  79. I mean, when you think about it, these scientists are really missing something – community intervention could be the answer to both the obesity problem and rising unemployment rates – use the starving unemployed to shame the obese into starvation!

    This sounds scary, yet totally possible. And your above list sounds like the manifesto of a public health nurse I used to work with.

  80. Eucritta – I’m wondering how anyone can gauge whether a mummy was fat, thin or whatever in life, given the changes in the soft tissues. (Although, I’m sure Egyptians came in all shapes and sizes, as humans do – barring a few anomalies like the Akhnaton family and the Queen of Punt, those slender figures in the tomb paintings are no doubt every bit as idealised as our modern magazine images.)

    Ike – I tried the USDA link and had some interesting results. If I don’t enter my weight at all, it gives a universal 1800 calorie intake for a 40 year old woman of 5’5″. If I put in my guesstimated weight of 180, I get the YOU ARE TOO FAT warning, but when I do the ‘oh, heck, show me anyway’, it gives me a figure of 1600. Hmm… I also tried putting in weights of 140 (what I weighed in my early teens, already at this height) and it still gave 1800. 120, and it gave 1800. (128 was my lowest weight ever, and I felt like absolute crap and was probably eating a lot less than that to end up that way.) But when I put in 100, it gave me a YOU ARE TOO THIN warning. Seems anyone within the ‘normal’ range is assumed to need the same number of calories.

    HiddenTohru’s link gives me 2067 if I put that I’m sedentary, 2344 for ‘somewhat active’ I fall somewhere between the two, possibly, but how do you gauge what they think of as active? FWIW, I don’t actually have a clue how many calories I consume, either.

    Also: The USDA page has an Active At Any Size link…the advice looks well in line with HAES, but all across the top is plastered ‘Weight Control Info Net’ in big letters! Grr…

    paintmonkey: yes. My late mother was like that, too. The only other people in my entire life who were as nasty about my weight were a couple of girls at my ballet class, and I left to escape them, but it’s not so easy when it’s in your own family. And emgee, she once came up with the bright idea that I had a (totally imaginary) thyroid issue. Deal with it, she said, and not only would I be thin but I’d also have the energy to spend my every waking moment housecleaning rather than reading books. Go figure.

    And, that Daily Fail article? One, nowhere in the article does the woman say what’s in the headline, as I think a couple of the commenters have pointed out. She only ever says that she wasn’t happy being fat. It’s arrogant enough when someone does say ‘This applies to me, so it must be Universal Law’ – more so of anyone who puts those words into someone else’s mouth. Also, for all she says about the weight loss having made her happier, she looks much happier on her wedding day – she’s beaming – and I love that dress, the floatiness of it and the fact it’s my absolute favorite color.

    Anita…

    So my friend ended up leaping into the exhibit to wrestle an alligator. While drunk. My understanding was that it was very very scary, so afterwards he took everyone out for more drinking.

    …wins the ‘WTF!?!’ award for making me do a double-take while waiting for the link in the post below to work. I do hope the sitatunga wasn’t too fazed by the experience, poor thing.

  81. Man, that USDA site is crap. 3 cups of milk a day and only 6 ounces of legumes, my casein-allergic non-Northern-European ass!

    Also, what on earth does the underlined “in addition to your normal daily routine” mean? ‘Cause these days my daily life includes a lot of furniture-moving now that I’m a stagehand, plus the usual good half-hour of walking to and from the bus stop in the GODDAMN COLD excuse me. Does that count, or is that my “normal daily routine”, and what the hell is that supposed to mean anyhow? If your regular job includes, say, hiking and climbing, digging holes, and schlepping rocks (aka “fieldwork”) , does it not count as exercise? ‘Cause that shit burns calories like crazy, let me tell you. I eat easily twice, maybe three times as much.

    Is the idea supposed to be that your body builds up muscle for those things that you do all the time, and therefore you don’t need to burn as many calories to do them once you’re better adapted to them? I don’t know if it’s true, and personal experience suggests not, but it makes more sense than anything else I can come up with…any ideas?

  82. My mom has bugged me about my weight most of my life. Starting at age 11, when she wanted someone to do Weight Watchers with. I look at pictures of myself and there was no way I was fat. At 13 maybe I was a little heavier, like someone about to have a growth spurt. Instead I was horrified when I tipped the scale at 117 pounds and starved myself down to 98. I never had much of a growth spurt either. Hmm, wonder if the anorexia had anything to do with it. I’m shorter than my mother or sister. Only by two inches and one inch, but according to the predictions from when I was a kid, I should be 5’4″, not 5’0″. My sister ended up 5’1″ and they predicted her at 5’2″ like our mother. According to the formula, which I’ve forgotten, of calculating a daughter’s height, I should also be 5’4″. But then again so should my sister, so who knows.

    When I lost so much weight two years ago, my mother started bugging me about being too thin. The USDA pyramid would have liked me then, snort. I’m less than 15 pounds above that now, still 50 pounds below my highest weight, and my mother still makes comments about how I’ll have to “work on” my weight when I recover from my illness. I can’t win. I was too thin when I wore a size 6-8, and now at a 12 I’m too fat. So I think size 10 is the single acceptable size in my mother’s eyes? Want to guess what size my sister wears?

  83. @Emerald, it’s a good question – from what I’ve gathered, Hatshepsut’s fatness was primarily identified by the dimensions of the skin of her breasts. I’ve not read any of the actual reports, but this is consistent in all of the articles available on-line, including Hawass’s popular accounts.

    And yeah, it’s deeply problematic … among other things, there’s so much variation in breast v. body size in living women, that I think any reconstruction of body size based on breast skin size would be inherently inaccurate, particularly in older women (Hatshepsut is thought to have been about 50 when she died) whose breasts are apt to be softer, wider, and more pendulous. Then, too, in some cases fibre or textile packing was inserted under the skin during mummification, a practice which from what I recall began in the 18th Dynasty, although it was more common and more radical much later (c. 21st). None of the articles on Hatshepsut have mentioned packing, but then again, their focus has been elsewhere (like OMG SHE WAS OLD AND SICK AND FAT!! EWWWZ).

    Many of the articles mention her as having been diagnosed with diabetes, but I know this isn’t certain. All that is, I believe, is that she had a bad tooth abcess – bad enough to be a possible immediate cause of death, via infection – and bony changes consistent with metastasized bone cancer of the pelvis.

    There are other depictions of fat people in ancient Egyptian art, but I can’t remember enough identifiers to find them on-line. I’ll have to rummage around …..

  84. @One Jewish Dyke, height estimates for girls are notoriously iffy. I was estimated at 5’8″ and ended up at 5’4″ even with good nutrition and no EDs or other growth inhibiting problems.

  85. “Those who misperceived their body size were less likely to go to a physician. In fact, 44 percent didn’t visit a physician during the past year, compared to 26 percent of obese participants who correctly perceived they needed to lose weight. ”

    and

    “Obese people who were satisfied with their body size didn’t exercise, while obese individuals who recognized they had a weight problem exercised regularly, on average.”

    hhhmm, i wonder why. why would a happy fat person avoid going to the doctor to get told about just how awful their fat body is???

    and the whole study is based on people who ” are satisfied with their body size and didn’t perceive that they need to lose weight” NOT people who claim not be fat or “technically obese.” big difference. because why would a fat person be satisfied with their body unless they were horribly delusional?

  86. Anorexia can certainly inhibit growth – I lost a full inch of height from several years of anorexia (as in my height measurably decreased, plus I probably lost a few potential inches since I was anorexic in my growing period and am now six inches shorter than both my parents). Of course my wonderfully understanding parents love to use that fact to blame me some more (why did you get anorexia? now you’re not just fat thanks to screwing up your metabolism, but SHORT!111!!!).

  87. Octopod, the question about exercise and normal daily routine on the USDA site confused me too. If I go to the gym every day, does that not count as exercise, since it’s part of my “normal daily routine”?

    I think it’s all part of the wider problem of people seeing exercise and body motion as two completely different things. When the news release above says “Obese people who were satisfied with their body size didn’t exercise, while obese individuals who recognized they had a weight problem exercised regularly, on average,” you have to wonder if that’s because many people’s definition of exercise is something like “pointless and repetitive motion carried out as penance for being fat.” I can imagine the satisfied fat people in the survey thinking “If I exercised regularly, I wouldn’t have time to chase my dog around the park every evening.”

  88. Most people usually don’t get anorexia in a vacuum. Often it’s a family issue.

    My mom once remarked, “We’re all bonkers in this family, but we’ve elected you to attend therapy.” Of course she was being tongue-in-cheek, but it was definitely her way of stating any issues I had did not exist in a vacuum.

  89. My mother claims that she had a period where she barely ate too but it wasn’t “anorexia” since everyone was doing it, and I apparently forgot to quit the trend when everyone else did. *headdesk*

    She also regards it as completely normal that she only has coffee for breakfast and doesn’t eat lunch most of the time. *breaks desk* (Though she does have very low metabolism and just doesn’t feel hungry much, so it could be a metabolic issue. Which she should know about, since she’s a freaking doctor! And actually a pretty pro-HAES one too – she doesn’t tell any of her patients to diet since she’s very skeptical of them and the most you’ll ever drag out of her is “try to eat lots of vegetables”, and never asks anyone to lose weight unless they have a specific health condition that might be mitigated by weight loss.)

  90. Hmm…I used the Google calorie counter to calculate the number of calories I’ve eaten today, which came out to 1,565. Then I found another site that calculated the number of calories I must be eating, and even if I chose “sedentary” as the exercise option it told me I needed 2,300 calories to maintain my current weight. Apparently I have broken the laws of physics. Oops.

  91. I think the most disgusting excerpt from the article I read was this one:

    “Those who misperceived their body size were less likely to go to a physician. In fact, 44 percent didn’t visit a physician during the past year, compared to 26 percent of obese participants who correctly perceived they needed to lose weight.”

    You hear that? “CORRECTLY perceived they needed to lose weight”, as if teh horrible fattiez that aren’t starving themselves and sweating their asses off to look like Kate Moss need a shock to bring them to reality. I can’t believe that scientists, SCIENTISTS, would publish this fat-hating garbage. Aren’t there ethical boundaries about bias when publishing articles as a scientist? Aren’t the rules that the data speaks for itself, without the scientists interjecting their views? I mean, honestly. When did that disappear? Because I sure as hell never got the memo. I’m just completely shocked and appalled at this article. Holy living hell. :-(

  92. The calorie recommendations have been telling you to eat too little, but this is NOT a license to eat more!

    But… I… not enough… too much? *head explodes*

    Great, now I need a new head, too.

    Back during one of my dieting phases I actually used some calorie counting website that said, judging by my height, current weight, and goal weight, that I only needed to consume something like 1000-1100 calories a day. I remember being horrified, not with the obvious inaccuracy of the calculator, but with the realization of how much I was OVEReating! How could I have had a bagel and cream cheese and cranberry juice that morning for breakfast??? That was like 90% of my calories for the day, right there! And I angsted the rest of the day over every piece of food I put in my mouth, since I knew I was over my limit. Luckily a friend’s mother verbally smacked some sense into me a few days later. Something about how 1000 calories wouldn’t keep a bird alive.

  93. @SNM –

    “My mom once remarked, “We’re all bonkers in this family, but we’ve elected you to attend therapy.””

    Look at it this way — at least you were designated with family approval.

    When I said I was going, I was roundly greeted, on both sides and multigenerationally, with “How could you?” (An abrogated, so as to be more easily relentlessly repeated, version of the “no ‘family business’ in the street” canon.)

    So I had to muster up something along the lines of “Basically? This entire family has multiple issues plus a bucketload of stress (denial? you think??) -related illnesses, and I’m going, and I don’t give a [several expletives deleted] what you think.”

    Thank you for the links, FJ. I’m usually all for “know thine enemy” but those pontificators’ horror shows felt pretty much like a frontal assault.

    I need to go to the gym for stress relief. Sh. Don’t tell the scientists.

  94. If your regular job includes, say, hiking and climbing, digging holes, and schlepping rocks (aka “fieldwork”) , does it not count as exercise?

    Ohhhh man, I remember going to the doctor for something, can’t remember what, when my son was a toddler. The doc asked me if I was getting exercise daily and I pointed out that I was, you know, chasing a toddler around all day, to be informed that it “didn’t count”. My ass it doesn’t, ya chucklehead.

  95. Much as I hate to say it, those figures sound about in line with the guys I knew or knew of in college.

    Yeah, the majority were nice guys who would take no for an answer. But there were a few… well, it made me glad I didn’t drink as an undergrad, especially as I know via a friend that one of them went on and on about how he’d like to take me down a notch. And we all know how often THAT is just about that kind of power thing.

    Not that it saved me from being sexually assaulted in college, in the end. But at least that one particular potential locus for assault, I avoided.

    ~Kali
    http://www.brilliantmindbrokenbody.wordpress.com

  96. Wait, the USDA recommends only 6oz of legumes? WTF else am I supposed to eat now that I’m poor(er)? And milk, dream the fuck on! Who can afford milk anymore? I’m lucky if I can get “processed cheese food” once a month, which I’m pretty sure is something you feed to cheese. I suppose it never occurs to these government ass nuggets that people’s diets might not fit their recommendations because of socioeconomic factors, and not rank stupidity on our parts. Thank you very much, United States Department of Condescending Paternalism.*

    I wish I could get 1800 calories per day. We’re struggling to get 1200 now and surprise surprise, I’m still fucking fat. According to that calculator I use over 2000 calories a day just by living, so apparently “calories in calories out” is a load of bullshit. It’s almost as if biological processes didn’t work like combustion engines, who knew?

    *A free internet to first person who knows where that’s from.

  97. @Snarkysmachine
    “My mom once remarked, “We’re all bonkers in this family, but we’ve elected you to attend therapy.” Of course she was being tongue-in-cheek, but it was definitely her way of stating any issues I had did not exist in a vacuum.”

    That’s a bit like in my family. We all know we’re a bit bonkers, as you said, and my dad’s gone to therapy for his PTSD from the military, and I’m trying to start mine for residual rape trauma and how that stresses me out at my job now (I work on oil rigs, so very male environment). She went through something like I did when she was my age, but said that she never told anyone until I told her.

    We are all a bit bonkers. There are tragedies behind every front door; on our road in PA, there’s a couple who lost a child, two widows, one of whom had her life burn up in a fire a couple months before, a widower who retired and his wife got bone cancer.

    It’s so sad that more people don’t recognize this, and are more empathetic.

    We’re all nuts and if we all could sympathize a bit more, there would be a little less tragedy in the world.

  98. @one jewish dyke – I’m sure that it had a lot to do with the anorexia. I was thinking about your comment last night and how I related to it, and one thing occurred to me. When you are a younger person you look to your mother for unconditional love, and then when you realise that her love is conditional when it comes to your weight, you convince yourself that you are therefore only lovable when thin.
    It’s a bitch of a mountain to climb to really believe otherwise, but for me that’s it in a nutshell. That’s why this site is so great – you can hear the voices and thoughts of other people who just “get it”.

  99. I’m in therapy at the local university’s counseling center, and every few months I have to fill out forms about my general mental and physical well-being. There’s a section on medication, and a section on physical issues or illnesses I might have, and they have bubbles for those that are to the effect of “Currently affects health,” “Visited doctor about it,” “On medication,” and something else I can’t remember. And I fill out the bubbles for headaches, and for anemia, but… not for obesity. Because yeah, I’m fat, but I don’t feel that it affects my health more than my bad ankle (from a childhood accident) or my allergies (seasonal, solved with an over-the-counter med). Luckily my therapist is on board with the FA thing, but I wonder who files the forms and what they think of this clearly DEATHFATZ chick who doesn’t care what she weighs.

  100. My doctor asked how much exercise I was getting once, and I said that I walked about six miles a day (to and from work, then two and from my boyfriend’s house) and was currently setting up a chemistry lab, which meant that I was on my feet and lugging heavy objects around for 8-10 hours/day. And went dancing once a week. And frequently took 10 mile hikes or long canoe rides on weekends. She suggested I look into increasing my amount of activity. I just sort of sat there sputtering for a while. I honestly didn’t know what to say. I think she was concerned that I didn’t have a daily gym regimen…but seriously? Unfortunately, I haven’t had time to find a new doctor.

  101. Teej, I think the link you listed has already been discussed. But yeah, what a joke. What about the sedentary people that happen to be thin? By some metrics they have far greater health risks than fat but active people. Is Lincoln requiring them to take courses on exercise too?

  102. I don’t normally comment, but I had to point this bit out that’s only tangentially related to the OP. The article that describes the possible change in calorie recommendations says this:

    Intake levels are currently 2,000 calories for women and 2,500 for men.

    A 16% increase would mean that adults could safely consume an extra 400 calories a day, equivalent to an average sized cheeseburger.

    I’d just like to note that 16% of 2500 calories is in fact 400 calories. However, 16% of 2000 calories is 320 calories. So that second paragraph says “adults” when they really mean “men”. Apparently when calorie guidelines change upward, only men are allowed to follow them.

    The really sad thing is that they could have easily fixed it by saying “an extra 300-400 calories a day”.

  103. The article says, ” 35 percent of them had high blood pressure, 15 percent had high cholesterol, 14 percent had diabetes and 27 percent were current smokers.”

    Whoever wrote this is so Debbie Downer it is ridiculous!

    I am looking at this article between the lines and this is what I found…

    “65 percent had good blood pressure, 85 percent had cholesterol to be jealous of, 86 percent of these people had terrific sugar levels and 73 percent do not smoke!”

    Sounds pretty good to me!!!! :)

    People will focus on the negative any chance they get…because they are fear mongers. Maybe they are afraid of what it would feel like if they actually accepted themselves and others for who they really are.

  104. @PaintMonkey–My Mom who honestly is the most wonderful and sweet person but totally brainwashed about weight has done the same thing since I was 9 years old. She found solace for a little while when we discovered I have a medical condition. When the weight didn’t magically melt off…she was confused and started in again…trying to diagnose me with some other disorder I didn’t have. (Seems this is common because someone else wrote this too!) I always stayed quiet until last year after I found this AMAZING site. I called her on the phone and told her I did not want her to make any comments about my weight anymore.

    You know what? She stopped and said she was sorry. She hasn’t made a comment since.

    If you feel comfortable…you should tell your Mom how these verbal or nonverbal cues make you feel and maybe print her a copy of one of Kate’s articles to read…you never know what could come of it. :)

  105. “Obese people who were satisfied with their body size didn’t exercise, while obese individuals who recognized they had a weight problem exercised regularly, on average.”

    You know, it’s almost as if, by emphasizing that exercise is for weight loss and putting so much focus on The Obesity Crisis/Moral Panic and not on HAES, they’re discouraging exercising for any purpose other than weight loss. Funny how that works.

  106. My parents (what’s with all the mom-blaming? no crap from dads?) don’t do a great deal of *active* fat-shaming, but they and my sisters are all naturally thin and tall and are proud of it. To give you an idea, I weigh more than my 5’8″ mother (I’m 5’3″) and almost as much as my dad does, and he is a man who is half a foot taller than me. Of course, he’s borderline skinny but it was still kind of harsh as a teenager to weigh as much as or more than everyone in your family when they’re all a fair bit taller.

    It’s not like my height and weight are totally unexplained either — my dad’s 3 sisters are all medium-fat-to-death-fatz and generally short too, and my mom’s brothers have been at least chubby for much of their lives. But nonetheless the people I’m *around* most are tall and thin and I have a sort of pressure to be likewise tall and thin (as if!) just because the contrast is so noticeable.

    They all love working out, too, while I work out mostly ’cause it’s good for me (and even at my most in-shape I wasn’t ever “thin” by any stretch!) so it *looks* very much like I’m the fat-and-lazy one of the family with no genetic “excuse” when I of course know that that is bull. Makes it hard to remember though. I’m an FA newb so I’m still working on telling myself that I don’t *have* to be skinny like the rest of my family, but it’s tough to get over a bit of that girlish idea that I was going to “grow into it” and someday be tall and thin like my parents. (Not to say I didn’t “grow into it” a bit — there was a distinct shift in my body fat during adolescence, which I appreciate greatly, but I was never *not* a bit fat, be it baby weight or adult weight, as opposed to my little sisters, who were skinny the whole time and overtook me in height quite early on.)

    Sorry if that was a little incoherent. To summarize, I’m fatter and shorter than everyone else in my family, and they didn’t have to say a word about it for me to feel bad as a kid. (They were fairly supportive, even, in a slightly backhanded way: “hey, if there’s ever a famine you’ll outlive your sisters!” my dad told me as a kid. It kind of made me feel better, too. :p)

  107. Ok, Bagelsan, how about this: my dad once told me I looked like a fattening hog. But it was mom who put me on the diet at about age 9. I can’t believe that it did my metabolism any good. And the pictures of me then do not show anything close to a fat or obese child (even though I always was one in my head).

  108. Bagelsan: OK, to be fair, my dad, from my mid into late teens, did briefly join in with the fat-shaming. But the word ‘fat’, where he used it, was always coupled with the words ‘lazy’ and ‘workshy’ for him; he somehow tied it in with the fact that I’d reached the grand old age of sixteen and not gotten a full-time job. In his era, you started work at 14, so me staying at school till 18 then going into higher education, rather than contributing to the household income ASAP, was a big deal for him. (Let’s not even start on the higher ed being, horror of horrors, art college. And actually, I did have several part-time jobs while I was still at school, but they didn’t count.) Both my folks had big trouble accepting that things were different for me than they were back in their youth in the 1940s.

    I don’t believe my weight per se was such an issue for my dad because he was the one I got my fat genes from; I strongly resemble his only sister in my general build. Whereas my mother was tiny, and worse, assumed that I must take after her and that there was something terribly wrong with me for not doing so.

  109. @Emerald – “Whereas my mother was tiny, and worse, assumed that I must take after her and that there was something terribly wrong with me for not doing so.” AAAAAAHHHHHH, this makes me annoyed just to read it. How frustrating. My mother is the same , only bizarrely was never small, she just had the fantasy self in her brain and thought I should match it. She would admire small and thin people with such desperation it was embarassing. As a child a few of my friends were unsually tiny and I would see my mother staring at them and then me (perfectly average in every way) and would see her seething at me. It was difficult to know what I had done until I realised that it was grow tall that I had done. Mmmmnnn, not a lot I can do about that one.

  110. @Shoshie – She suggested I look into increasing my amount of activity. I just sort of sat there sputtering for a while. I honestly didn’t know what to say. I think she was concerned that I didn’t have a daily gym regimen…but seriously? Unfortunately, I haven’t had time to find a new doctor.

    You mean your doctor actually asked you if you exercised? Mine just measured my BMI and told me to start eating less and exercising more. He didn’t ask what my eating or activity habits were already. I mean, just looking at me you can apprently tell I’m a baby-donut eating couch potato with bed sores on my fat ass.

  111. A Sarah:
    I giggle myself silly at calorie recommendations now. I try to imagine an earnest science reporter, reporting on earnest scientists issuing earnest scientific recommendations on precisely what volume of air you should inhale per day (YOU DON’T WANT TO HYPERVENTILATE, DO YOU? PEOPLE WHO HYPERVENTILATE ARE SICK!) or precisely how fast your hair should grow (BECAUSE WHAT IF IT GETS TOO LONG AND YOU TRIP ON IT? YOU COULD BREAK YOUR LEG!) or the ideal number of minutes to sit in place before getting up to move around (BECAUSE YOU COULD GET VARICOSE VEINS! AND THOSE CAN BE BAD FOR YOU!) And then I marvel at how people can ostensibly study the human body yet have so little perspective or self-awareness about actual human embodied life.</blockquote

    This made tea come out of my nose! Also, yay! — Your portrait-icon is back!

    … Also, at a gym induction I went to once, about 8 years ago I think, one of the pre-gym 'tests' in my 'fitness assessment' was having my vO2 max measured, heart rate during exercise, etc etc. Anyway, so I forget which numbers were which, but the one which had bearing on how 'efficiently' I was using oxygen was good, but I got told off because my lung capacity was too small. In response I pointed out I'm 5'2", and having the lungs of a 6 footer would be an interesting challenge with fitting them inside my ribs. Grrrr.

  112. ISWEARICLOSEDMYBLOCKQUOTES AAAAAGGGHGHHHHH!!!

    Sorry! :-(

    Also, I just looked up HiddenTohru’s BMI/calories link (this was a big deal for me to do as an experiment — happy to report I am so far not obsessing too much over what was consumed today, etc). Anyway, so for my height/weight/age and lightly active, it thinks I need 2009 calories a day, which is interesting. I used to use these calculators all the time when I was ED-y (and pre- and post-EDness) but I don’t remember ever seeing one which recommended me to eat above about 1800… in fact one in particular would recommend me something closer to 1300, so part of my ED was related to the panic I’d had about having ‘scoffed too much every day for years’ etc. The ads on the site don’t look great, and I know BMI is made of poo, but I sort of wish I’d found that one and maybe missed years of trying to keep my intake under 1000 cals a day in order to skinnify… Mind you I probably would have decided it was lying to me and gone with one of the others at the time, with the space my head was in. Sigh.

  113. Also, how loopy is this — at the bottom of the page after the calculation, it says:

    RECOMMENDED MACRONUTRIENT DISTRIBUTION

    Your Recommended Ranges
    Carbohydrate: 45 to 65% of total Calories
    Fat: 20 to 35% of total Calories
    Protein: 10 to 35% of total Calories

    Note: These recommended ranges for macronutrients are based on your age and come from the IOM.

    A range of 15-20% is given for each macronutrient. That’s a big gap — almost like they recognise people have different bodies!! Except they don’t say that, and the other chart above it gives me a specific target for how many grams of carbohydrates I ‘need’ per day.

    Meh.

  114. In response I pointed out I’m 5’2″, and having the lungs of a 6 footer would be an interesting challenge with fitting them inside my ribs.

    Zenoodle, you remind me of something. I’m a clerk in a pathology lab, and a colleague who left gave me a textbook from 1948 that belonged to one of our previous doctors. It has beautiful old pre-computer-graphics anatomical drawings, and there are many pages just filled with the variations between the shape and size of the normal kidneys or liver or stomach, between different autopsies. It’s fascinating to see just how much difference there can be.

    Doctors and surgeons must come across this on a practical level during their training. Yet it seems to be hard for some medical people to understand that just as bodies vary on a structural level, they also vary hugely in the ways they work. (And A Sarah, I think of how doctors, fifty to a hundred years ago, used to pontificate solemnly about the dangers of the ‘wrong’ number of daily bowel movements. A lot seems to depend on what the fashionable health obsessions of the day are.)

  115. @ Zenoodle – Yeah, I really liked that link because regardless of my eating habits, it actually gave me a place to start from in terms of accepting how large my portions were (which is quite large, because I’m tall AND wide). But hell, for all I know I could actually be burning 3900 calories a day, and eating 3800, and still maintaining my weight. Bodies work differently. My understanding of calorie intake is that when you start eating quite a bit less than you burn, your metabolism slows down because it thinks you’re starving. On the other hand, if you start eating quite a bit more (more than the upper end of your set weight limit), then your metabolism speeds up to deal with that, although sometimes your metabolism can be screwed up because of yo-yo dieting or medical reasons, so it isn’t as effective as it could be. That’s just my understanding of how it all works, and may not actually be totally correct.

  116. I found this calorie needs calculator: http://www.bcm.edu/cnrc/caloriesneed.htm which tells me I need rather fewer calories than the average bear. Not surprising, since I’m short and light and not very active. BUT, this interesting text below:

    “It’s easier to get up the will-power to turn down a 900 calorie double-burger with cheese and sauce and opt for a 400 calorie chicken sandwich or salad when you know your entire daily needs are about 1600 calories,” says Joan Carter, a CNRC registered dietitian and instructor of pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.

    The calorie needs calculator on the same page tells me I need 1728 a day. I’m 157cm and 48kg. To need only 1600kcal a day according to this calculator, I would have to weigh between 34 and 35 kg and have a BMI of 14.1. Just, like, saying, you know.

  117. In the big box of family photos is one of grandmother when she was in her 70′s and she had written on the back “ugh-I’m ___ pounds [my present weight], fat like Nell [her sister-in-law]“. Wow- doesn’t it ever end? I think back on my younger years with a lover who was concerned about my weight; I weighed 50 (!) lbs less than I do now but was rounder than his previous girlfriend. What a waste of time and oxygen that dude was…

  118. There are loads of amusingly snarky things to say about studies like these without getting snobby.

    You judge the work, it’s structure, the way it’s framed it’s conclusions and ideas.

    From this you can tell whether great minds are at work or greatness of mind is present or not. An examination of these two fields, even by a mind that is not itself great, shows there isn’t. From the particular to the general.

  119. Yeah, I wouldn’t be surprised that moms have a lot more of their own weight-related baggage to bring to their children than dads do. I’m sure they got the same crap from their moms — and I’m sure the dads all along have enjoyed reaping the benefits of skinny/tiny/cowed daughters without having to put in all the effort and time shaming the living crap out of them that the moms put in.

    Weirdly, I seem to take the little things about my weight that my dad says more seriously, both the good and bad things. I remember the “you’ll outsurvive your sisters” thing but nothing of what my mom told me along similar lines, and when he once told me, trying again to be nice, that “you know, lots of men prefer your body type to your sisters’ types” I was pretty happy even though I firmly told myself not to be. :p And even though my mom telling me similar things hadn’t made much of an impression.

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