No, you shouldn’t be proud of your obesity

The Boy Scouts can’t catch a break. First they are attacked relentlessly over their policy on gays, and now, after throwing up the white flag on that issue, they find themselves in the cross hairs of a different advocacy group: the obese. They have decided to move their annual Jamboree to a new location in West Virginia this year. This will put them in a harsh wooded terrain, where the Scouts will face an event that is more physically demanding than years past. In consideration of this, a new requirement has been imposed. All participants must be less than severely obese. If they can’t register below a 40 on the BMI scale, they won’t be able to attend. This is, clearly, a matter of safety. Although I imagine it’s also got a lot to do with protecting the Boy Scouts organization against certain liabilities. In a sane universe, that would be the end of the story.

But we ain’t in that sort of universe.

Obese-acceptance groups immediately pounced. The woman who represents the Council of Size and Weight Discrimination, which is, sadly, a thing that apparently exists, complained that this policy will make very fat kids feel bad about themselves. She insisted that just because you’re obese doesn’t mean you aren’t “extremely fit.” Of course, that’s a bit like saying just because you’re blind doesn’t mean you wouldn’t make a “really excellent optometrist.” But that sort of inanity must go unchecked in the name of modern enlightenment. Other liberal busy bodies have protested the Jamboree — despite having no idea what a Jamboree is or what it entails — saying that this is akin to “fat shaming.” They contend that all people, even the severely overweight, ought to be proud of their bodies.

Ok. Allow me to take this opportunity to say two things. One, cut the crap. Stop pretending you’re so helplessly progressive and tolerant that you can’t even fathom why extremely overweight and out of shape people might be excluded from extraordinarily strenuous and demanding physical activities. Two, cut the crap again. Nobody should be “proud” of obesity. It’s not something to “accept” or “include.” It’s not an ethnicity or a gender. It’s not a disability. It’s objectively negative, and it is usually self imposed.

Before you implode in a fit of ungodly rage at my suggestion, please understand what it is that I’m actually suggesting. I’m not saying fat people should hate themselves. Nobody should hate themselves. I’m not advocating bullying or mockery. But I’m also not going to sit here and tell you it’s A-OK to eat your way into heart disease and diabetes just so that I can avoid hurting your feelings. Look, morbid obesity is a flaw. Yes, I said it. A flaw. A weakness. A result of personal failures. Yes. That’s true. Hate me for saying it, but there it is.

You know what else? I’ve got flaws. A lot of them. Probably more than you. I’ve got weaknesses and personal shortcomings galore. I’m flawed mentally, spiritually, emotionally, even hygienically (according to my wife, when I try to wear my favorite shirt four days out of the week). I am not superior to you. I have my sins, but what separates mine from the lethargy and overindulgence which leads to obesity, is that my sins don’t have a lobbying group. Nobody is lifting my imperfections up on a pedestal and telling me to be proud of them. My iniquities are not advocated nor are they championed by mainstream society. You can tell me I shouldn’t be proud of my own self destructive flaws, and I shouldn’t passively accept the strain they put on my life, and I’ll agree, and everyone will agree, and that will likely be the end of the conversation.

Same can be said for other folks who posses non-trendy weaknesses. Nobody tells a cigarette smoker to be proud of his yellow teeth and bronchitis, nobody puts “Love your alcoholism” on a banner. There is no Council of Pathological Liar Discrimination. It only becomes truly necessary to drag a certain sin out onto the mat and call it what it is once a nefarious force arrises in the culture and attempts to dress it up as something benign, and then acceptable, and then laudable.

So how should the obese guys who are excluded from the Boy Scouts Jamboree feel? Well, maybe their feelings are hurt, and that’s unfortunate, but hopefully they’ll take it as a challenge. Not a challenge to buy into the absurd defeatist lies being peddled by yet another Let’s Celebrate Self Destruction group. Rather a challenge to take charge of their lives and overcome their temptations. The word “proud” has a meaning. It means “feeling satisfaction over something regarded as highly honorable to oneself.” Only an absolute fool would call obesity “honorable.” Moreover, if you simply throw up your middle finger to the world and say “screw you, I’m proud of my morbidly obese body,” then what will you say about your truly creditable and distinguished accomplishments? What happens when you get that promotion at work or when you spend your Christmas volunteering at a soup kitchen? These are things to be genuinely proud of, but now you’ve reduced these achievements to something equatable to eating junk food and accumulating lard on your body.

It is a cheap and worthless brand of “positivity” that merely paints all unacceptable personal traits as acceptable. Let’s stop trying to pretend bad things are good. Instead, we ought to help each other overcome the bad and achieve the good. But we can’t do that until we’re willing to look at the situation honestly.

Finally, lay off the Boy Scouts, people.

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64 Responses to No, you shouldn’t be proud of your obesity

  1. Cheryl Connor says:

    After over 20 years as a caregiver for family members and putting myself last, I am now obese, out of shape, and unhealthy. For the past 6 months, I’ve been working hard to correct this. It’s very slow and at times so discouraging, but I blame no one but myself. It was my decision to comfort myself with food, no one else’s, and it’s my fault if I cannot currently participate in certain activities because of my weight or health. As always, you are speaking the truth. Was every word of this comfortable for me to read? No. Most of it was, though, because anyone who thinks being obese is okay, is in total denial. It’s not okay. It’s not okay for the person, and it’s not okay for the family who loves them. People like the woman who’s the head of the Council for there’s nothing wring with being fat needs to step back and face reality. I’m thankful that you speak the truth. Don’t stop.

  2. Cylar says:

    I’m sure someone will be along any minute to scold Matt for being too hard on people who are obese as a result of some involuntary medical condition. Pre-emptive response: I don’t think he’s talking about those people.

    He *is* talking about the ones who are getting butt-hurt over being excluded from participating in an activity they can’t physically perform. Moreover, I’m wondering – has anyone actually been excluded about this who’s among the complainers? Has any overweight Scout complained about being left out? Any parents of such Scouts among the groups? Or is this, as I suspect, nothing but yet another publicity stunt by yet another victimology activist group?

  3. lissakay says:

    Well, Matt … after all this time, I have found something with which I can disagree with you vehemently. I would be angry, but I recognize that you, like the vast majority of Americans – including doctors and nutritionists, and especially Michelle Obama – have little to no idea how wrong we have been about food, nutrition and obesity.

    “Look, morbid obesity is a flaw … A flaw. A weakness. A result of personal failures. Yes. That’s true.”

    No. Not true. Not true at all.

    I used to be very slender, and could eat just about anything I wanted without gaining weight. I even had three babies in less than 5 years, and still returned to my previous tiny size 2 body. I was about 100 pounds, soaking wet with a brick in each hand. I indulged freely in my favorite foods – pastas, ice cream, chocolate, french fries – and never gained a pound.

    Then as I got a bit older, a few pounds crept on and a few more and a few more. At first, cutting back on the amount I ate and being more active would work. Then it didn’t. So I stepped things up. I counted calories, cut fat and took up weight lifting and cardio classes. A few pounds came off, but as soon as I ate more than a starvation level of calories, they would come right back. I cut out fats, I counted Weight Watcher points, I went to the gym every night for two or three hours. Eventually, instead of losing, or even holding the line, I was gaining weight … while starving and killing myself at the gym, More diets. More exercises. More classes. More weight. I eventually crossed that line from overweight to obese. Me … the skinny chick that people offered cheeseburgers and pizza because I was so thin.

    Then came the depression … not just because I hated what I was seeing in the mirror, but because of all the people saying my being fat was “A flaw. A weakness. A result of personal failures.”

    Eventually, I had to give up exercising because I would be so exhausted afterwards, I could barely walk back to my car. I was afraid to eat anything at all, even a salad dressed only with lemon juice. I had no energy to do anything. And I didn’t care.

    I dove in to researching food and nutrition, and what I finally learned was startling. And enraging. Everything we are told to do to lose weight is completely backwards. We’re told to cut calories, eat smaller portions, avoid fats, eat only lean meats, eat healthy whole grains.

    And that is SO SO SO wrong!

    Long story short … or long story not so long, as it were … I gave up counting calories, I started eating healthy, natural fats and red meat again. Lots of eggs, cream and real butter. Tons of veggies, but no potatoes, no rice, no sugar and no wheat. I finally, for the first time in years, felt good and normal and had some energy. Some weight came off though slowly and eventually the loss stopped.

    All those years of calorie counting, fat restricting, Lean Cuisine every day and cardio-til-I-dropped did quite a bit of damage. First I found out that my thyroid was not what it should be. I went on thyroid medication. My adrenals are also messed up, as are other hormones, iron, and other vital chemistry. I have autoimmune disorders that present in various ways, which means absolutely no wheat in my diet else I am wracked with pain. I’m a train wreck. I am still treating these imbalances and disorders, and will have to do so for the rest of my life. I am still overweight … the thyroid treatment alone piled the pounds back on.

    Personal failure? I think not … you can ask my husband about just how obsessive I am in finding the key to healing and recovery, which will, God willing, lead to healthy and permanent weight loss. Weakness? No … three years and I still do not eat the things I should not, not even when everyone else is eating pizza, burgers, lasagna, ice cream. A flaw? Perhaps … in that I trusted that the information about food and nutrition we get is correct, healthy and will achieve results. But no more …

    There are millions of other obese Americans out there, and like me, they are desperate to lose the weight and are doing everything they possibly can. Are we proud of ourselves? No. We are reminded every day that our weight problem is “A flaw. A weakness. A result of personal failures.” And most of us weak, flawed failures are fat because we are being LIED TO about food and what we need to eat to lose weight.

    If you’ve made it this far, and want to know the truth, here: http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2012/05/06/why-the-campaign-to-stop-america-s-obesity-crisis-keeps-failing.html

    And here: http://www.hulu.com/watch/196879/fat-head

    • Jane says:

      Excuse me for being an armchair doctor here. But first of all, your experience is NOT typical. I think we can all agree that most obese people are that way because they eat too much junk food and crap and don’t exercise. Second, your behavior and habits prior to your “aha” moment were not only unhealthy, but sounds like they were bordering on obsessive. Going to the gym 2-3 hours a night? And yet not eating enough protein and food to make up for your workout calorie loss? And your goal was to be 100 pounds again, like you were in your 20s? It’s good that you are acknowledging that this did some damage, but I’m wondering if your aren’t still looking for perfection in some fashion.

      There’s this syndrome called “orthorexia” (if I’m not mistaken) which is an unhealthy obsession with “healthy” eating. It’s an eating disorder, which it sounds like you had/have (with the new obsession with healthy/gluten-free food). I’m not saying you don’t have some real issues. But I have to wonder if by focusing on it so much you aren’t making things worse with your mental stress. Simply *stressing* about all this stuff can cause hormonal imbalance and adrenal issues. Relax and stop scanning your body for every sense of discomfort after you eat!

      There’s also a difference between being morbidly “obese” and simply being a bit “curvy.” You are older now. You are never going to get back that stick thin body of your 20s unless you starve yourself. I used to eat whatever I wanted to and was actually underweight. Now I am older and have “thunder thighs” but frankly I’m much healthier. I don’t stress myself out over every calorie. It’s OK to be an older woman with a few extra pounds. Matt is not talking about these people.

      And even if every obese person had a medical issue, there’s a difference between having compassion and celebrating ill health. Obesity is a sign of disease – either a food addiction, poor lifestyle choices, or a physical health problem. We should never glorify it.

      • Maryam says:

        I dont think its fair to try to ‘ diagnose’ the original poster based on what she wrote on a blog. As she mentioned, she has issues with her thyroid which can cause weight gain, and it doesnt seem charitable to instead ‘diganose’ her as suffering from some condition that makes her eat only gluten free food.
        But i do agree that her situation is probably not the norm, and that much of obesity is a result of a lack of control.

      • lissakay says:

        You do realize that I was simply following the standard recommendations for losing weight, right? Eat less, exercise more. I went to my doctor for advice. Eat less, exercise more. I joined Weight Watchers. Eat less, exercise more. And on and on and on.
        And it didn’t work. So I did “more” of the recommendations … ate even less, exercised even more. I ate chicken, fish, steamed veggies with no butter, salads with fat-free dressing, pasta with meatless marinara. Sound healthy? It’s not.

        You know what the problem was? That is exactly the WRONG ADVICE, especially the part where I was told to cut fat and replace those calories with “healthy” whole grains, and that I could eat all the carbs I wanted as long as fat was kept to a minimum.

        And no, I was not seeking my old high school body, nor even the one I sported after three babies in my late 20s. I just wanted a healthy weight and size.

        This same advice that I followed that made me sick and fat is the same advice given to all Americans who are trying to lose weight. It doesn’t work … we should know that by now, but we keep being told the same thing. Low fat, cut calories, exercise more. It’s BS and it’s killing us.

      • anon says:

        Jane – fat people really can’t win in your mind, can they? If they are fat, it’s because they are bad at life in general and have no self control. If they work hard to try to lose the weight, they have an eating disorder and should relax.

      • Jane says:

        “You do realize that I was simply following the standard recommendations for losing weight, right?” I’m sorry, but the standard recommendation is *not* to exercise 2-3 hours a day while cutting so many calories, unless the advice is from a badly researched article in Cosmo or something. The standard exercise suggestion is perhaps 30-60 minutes per day or at least 2-3 sessions per WEEK of 30 minutes. Not daily 3 hour sessions. The Biggest Loser has been on for, what 10 years now? And they have constantly harped on the danger of not getting enough calories when doing a lot of exercise. The people who gain weight at the end of the week are often the ones who did not eat *enough.*

        You keep blaming the “advice” when you yourself acknowledged a tendency to obsess about your food. Most people find it challenging to fit in one hour per day to exercise, much less 2-3. While I do feel sorry for your predicament, I question your coming here and playing the victim role when you don’t seem willing to acknowledge your own behavior and patterns at play here. And going back to Matt’s original point, we don’t need to be making heroes or martyrs out of the obese simply because it might make them feel bad. That’s called “enabling” in my neck of the woods.

        I hope you can get off that thyroid medicine, which is clearly not helping, and find some balance in your life. But the key word here is *balance.* Find some peace within yourself. I’m going to bet that will go a long way towards improving your health (FWIW, I’m working on reducing stress in my life as well for other reasons).

      • lissakay says:

        Gee Jane … thanks ever so much for that heaping helping of condescension. How many calories was in that?

        Man … you see obsession where there is none. I was following the advice of the supposed experts (which, BTW, did not include the idiots on Biggest Loser) – eat less, exercise more – UNTIL I reached a point where I figured out FOR MYSELF that it was not working. I did my own research – is THAT obsessive? SO sorry, I will remain in ignorance just so you don’t think I have these problems.

        Just FYI … again, I figured out that even though I have low thyroid, the medications were not making it better, so I stopped taking it. I also figured out that low fat, calorie restricted diets are no good.

        So, Jane … since you seem to have ALL the answers for me, just what is it I should do now? Embrace my obesity? Get Fat Proud? Forget all I have learned about food and for heaven’s sake, don’t ever try to share that with others???

        Sorry, Jane, I do not have enough grace to deal with bitches like you. Just go away.

    • Ham-Bone says:

      Fat Head is on youtube now too…I highly recommend it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=evcNPfZlrZs

    • Teresa says:

      lissakay, I am sorry you have had a rough journey. Unfortunately, the mainstream health advice we receive is extremely wrong. I started doing my own research when my son developed food allergies and was shocked to see what I thought was a healthy diet was absolutely not. Things like “fat is bad, fruit is good” is absolutely wrong. Sure, fried fats are bad, that is because they have been damaged by high heats, but our body NEEDS fat to develop and maintain muscle. Carbohydrates (sugar) are what actually turn into fat in our bodies. Fruit isn’t a stellar choice either because it still turns to sugar in our systems, people should not be eating much more than a couple servings of fruit per day and it should be eaten with protein to keep your glucose levels balanced. These are just two examples.

      I was lucky enough not to have a serious struggle with weight, but I did have health issues. I was diagnosed with sleep apnea at 22! I broke out like crazy at 24 and couldn’t get rid of the acne. I had never had an acne problem before. I went to see a nutritionist a couple months ago and my health problems are completely GONE! I was able to fix my life through proper eating. My diet consisted of lots of vegetables and protein. By day two of the diet I found I hadn’t slept that well in at least five years. I, too, have adrenal fatigue, but am overcoming it through good eating habits and a natural supplement to get me back on track.

      I am not trying to discourage you, I hope this can encourage you. By the way, I eat hamburgers all the time, you just have to do it the right way: homemade, beef without hormones, raw cheese, pickles, onions, and no bun, raw sauerkraut really helps too. Sometimes I splurge with a little natural ketchup.

      If you want more information you can check out this book I found extremely helpful: The Schwartzbeing Principle http://www.schwarzbeinprinciple.com/pgs/home.html#. My nutritionist said almost exactly the same things as this book. When I was able to balance my diet properly the few pounds that I did need to shed just fell off. It is a long process to return to health (I am going on three months and have more to go) but it has been totally worth it! I am able to exercise again for the first time in a couple years and it feels great!

      We should be upset with the mainstream doctors and nutritionists who give us terribly misguided information about nutrition.

      Good luck, I sincerely hope you find success!

      • Teresa says:

        By the way, I should have read the rest of lissakay’s comments before writing, seems like you already know everything I just said. Good luck!

    • Sara says:

      I got my degree in physical education which included a lot of nutrition and exercise science classes. I’d always been very interested in putting good food in my body and exercising to keep my body strong and healthy, but it wasn’t until after graduating that I realized how little people actually know about healthy eating and exercise and how the human body works in general. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that the general public is being lied to (thought I will say that people will market their products in such a way that those who don’t know better will believe that what they are being told about this “healthy” supplement or whatever it may be is actually true). But I will say that there are too many websites and trainers and what not who claim to be fitness and weight loss experts who don’t have the education to back it up. I feel blessed to have been able to learn about nutrition, exercise, and the way the human body works so that I can put things together and see that some of these weight loss strategies, diets, and exercise programs are not really going to do what they claim to do.

      I was a physical therapy aid for several years while earning my degree and at this clinic people were able to buy gym memberships even without being a patient at the clinic. I had a woman come in with a workout program her doctor had designed for her and was very upset that she wasn’t seeing any improvement after such a long time sticking to it. I looked at her program and was appalled what kind of program he gave her. It was proof to me that her doctor had absolutely no idea what he was talking about (I’m sure he thought he knew, but he was dead wrong). I rewrote her program based on what I had learned and she was seeing results soon afterward. I don’t say mean to sound like I know more than a doctor because I sure as heck don’t. But I do know more about fitness and nutrition than he did and because of that I was able to help people in ways that he couldn’t.

      I guess my whole point is that people are looking for help in the wrong places. It seems like your doctor should know how to help you. But the fact is that’s not what he went to school for. Your trainer should know how to help you, but unfortunately not all of them have enough education to put all the pieces you need together. That lean, muscular woman on that blog you follow looks good so she must know you to make you look that good too. Really, she knows how to make her body type look that way and unless she’s had enough education to make it work for everyone, her blog isn’t going to work for you either. I followed Weight Watchers for a long time after having my first baby to get me back on track and you know what, I found I couldn’t follow it exactly because I knew better when they told me that some foods (avocados and such) were too high in points for me to be eating. I stuck to my points but if an avocado put me over in points, I was okay with that because I knew that Weight Watchers didn’t have that right. I’ve been able to help myself because I learned how.

      If you need help, go to the right people. If you need help with food, go to a nutritionist who has had the proper education. Go to people who are academically able to claim that they are fitness experts. Learn all you can from them because those are the people who understand how all those fundamentals of weight loss and maintenance work.

      All that being said, I don’t think Matt was talking about people who try and help themselves. I think he was referring to the people who make themselves that way and then don’t do anything about it. Maybe what society needs is more of the people who really and truly know how to help speaking out and less fitness amateurs trying to help people to get on track to being healthy. (PS if you want a fabulous nutrition book that is a good read and easy to follow, check out Steven Aldana’s book The Culprit and the Cure. SOOOO much good information in there about food and how it affects your body.)

    • Daniel Silas says:

      Hi Lissa,

      I have compassion for you and anyone else who struggles with their weight. I’ve struggled with my weight my whole life. Its a painful struggle that I can understand, as I’ve been in extraordinary shape or obese over the years. Going back and forth multiple times.

      Here are some observations that I have noticed from my lifetime of waging the battle.

      1) Our culture is very prejudice toward fat people. People treat you differenly if you are thin or fat. Fat people are even prejudice toward other fat people. People who have been thin all of their lives do not understand.

      2) Our body and hunger is regulated by a complex mix of chemicals. Chemicals have a huge impact on us, far more than people understand. I think my body doesn’t have the right balance of chemicals and I am left hungry all the time no matter how much I eat. Plus, I have a slow metabolism.

      My doctor and I have tried medication that has helped to suppress my apetite. I wish I could be on it all the time because when I am my thoughts about food are gone, and my body responds to food. I eat some and I’m not hungry anymore.

      People that say being obese is just a personal failure… I’d like to dump an overabudance of hunger chemical into your body and see how “strong” you are to resist the physical response. Let’s slow down your metabolism too.

      3) Food can be an addiction. Anyone who has ever struggled with an addiction can understand what a person goes through that has that problem. The difference with people addicted to food is they have to eat to survive. Drug users don’t have to take drugs to live. Alcoholics don’t have to drink to live etc. Food addicts have to eat to survive, so they are constantly having to face the addiction. Its like if the cocain addict had to snort cocain, or the heroine addict having to shoot up to live. They can all stop cold turkey, but the food addict can’t. The body doesn’t dump chemicals directly into your blood stream to force you to take drugs, drink alcohol, or smoke tobacco.

      4) From a Christian perspective, I’ve studied how God designed us. He originally designed us to eat fruits and vegetables. It is very interesting that fruits and vegetables have all of the vitamins, nutrients, protein, and carbs that we need to survive. We don’t need anything else. All we need to eat are fruits, vegetables, and water.

      It wasn’t until Noah’s time that God altered it to include meat. In Genesis 9:3 God says, “Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green herbs.”

      So what should we eat? Fruits, vegetables, and meat. God, who is our designer, told us exactly what we should eat. Look at the example of Daniel and the diet he asked for when they were taken to Babylon in Daniel 1:8-16. They were in better health and even looked better than the others who ate regular food after ten days. The diet? Vegetables and water.

      5) God also wants us to be physically active. He proclaimed that we are to work for 6 days and rest 1. Obviously that was physical work to survive like hunting, farming, and ranching. Not that we are only to do that. The proof is when we are physically active we get stronger. When we are not physically active our body deterioates.

      6) There are foods that have a negative impact on our body. Anything that causes our insulin levels to rise are not good for us. Wheat, potatoes, rice, pasta… processed foods etc (all “empty” calories) will cause our insulin levels to rise, which from what I’ve studied so far makes us extra hungry and packs on the pounds. If insulin levels rise I believe that has an impact on our hunger chemicals because the body knows we are not getting the nutrition and vitamins we need. So it makes us hungry as the body craves what it needs to be healthy.

      7) Our job is to feed to the body healthy food. From what I studied, that also causes a chemical reaction so we feel full and and the body will use its reserves (fat) because it knows that its currently getting what it needs.

      8) To lose weight we have to get proper sleep. My doctor put me on a CPAP machine so I don’t snore. Snoring, sleep apnea, and sleep apoxia causes bad medical problems and one is that the body has a hard time losing weight. Has something to do with chemicals again. My doctor said that I probably have had snoring problems my whole life and weight gain only makes it worse. I’ll be using my CPAP skinny or fat.

      9) There is a documentary called Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead. The fellow is all about eating healthy food. He juices vegetables and fruits to get all those nutrients and what not. He lost a ton of weight, and he helped a guy lose a tremendous amount of weight. Plus, the both had a medical condition that went away when they were eating right. They both got of the medication they were on. I don’t recommend only juicing, but it is good too.

      10) Calories do matter, and I work hard to stay away from “empty” calories.

      11) Diet is 90% of the battle. Exercise supplements.

      Of course, I always refer people to their doctors on health issues and doing things.

      All of these observations are things I do. I am healthy and losing weight everyday. My body craves vegetables, fruits, and super foods now. I drink water and fruit juices, and I am exercising at least 30 minutes a day. Light weight lifting is good too. I am doing my best to stay away from unhealthy foods, especially soft drinks that are nothing but chemicals and refined sugar.

      • You honestly have to be kidding me. So you’re reason for being overweight is an over-abundance of the hunger chemical? EVERYONE wants to eat yummy food all the time. EVERYONE wants to eat the good stuff vs. the good for you stuff. EVERYONE wants to be able to eat constantly and not gain weight. The only difference is some people do and some people don’t. Once you’ve trained yourself to constantly eat, yeah, you want to constantly eat. Give it a few days to get used to not eating all the time, and your body and mind will learn how to deal with it. You’re actually insulting thin/fit people by giving them no credit for their willpower and work/determination to be fit by just dismissing it as they just don’t have as much ‘hunger chemical’ as the overweight.

      • Daniel Silas says:

        @Faarooq

        I’m not insulting anyone. I do give people credit for healthy eating and exercising for fitness.

        Willpower does have an impact, but has very little to do with it if a person’s body has an imbalance of chemicals that causes constant hunger. You really should go do some research on the human body and the behavioral responses that occur due to the body’s production of chemicals.

        If you had a chemical problem, you wouldn’t be so zealous about your viewpoint.

  4. This is so good. I simply love your writing style, as it’s very similar to my thoughts at times.

    To other commenters: It’s obvious that he’s talking about people who are overweight because of personal failure, not to those for whom it is because of a health issue. Those people need their health issues to be dealt with, and those who are overweight because of personal failure need to step it up and confront the reality of being overweight. They simply can’t do everything a “normal” healthy person can, which is reality, not discrimination.

    • anon says:

      Please look at pictures from a few decades ago. Or look up the frequency of type 2 diabetes before 1900. People were much thinner on average if you look at photos from the past. Did *everyone* suddenly become horrible people with no self control, or is it possible that things like a screwed up food supply, hormones leaching from plastic, and other environmental factors have messed with people’s ability to maintain healthy weights?

  5. Lissakay hit the nail on the head. If you’re thin, congratulations! You have a functioning endocrine system. Treasure it, with all the GMO and excess grains in your diet, it probably won’t be functioning for very long.

    • Jane says:

      If this were the cause of obesity, just about everyone who wasn’t a raw food vegan would be fat, but they aren’t. I’m eating some ice cream now with high fructose corn syrup and gluten in it. I’m not fat. That’s because I don’t eat a ton of it and I workout regularly and eat modestly. I’m not stick thin like I used to be, but I’d rather eat and enjoy my ice cream than try to look like a waif in my 40s. To heck with that. Enjoy life!

      • Maryam says:

        Yes, people in the west can get so caught up in trendy diets, truly a first world problem.
        However, one thing id like to just point out is the issue of food sensitivities. These are much more commonly occurring due to our overprocessed diet with depleted minerals than they have been in the past. Speaking from experience, my stomach would be so bloated after i ate that people thought i was six months pregnant! When i got tested for food sensitivities and eliminated the offending foods, my bloating went down substantially. Just some food for thought, pardon the pun. 😉

      • lissakay says:

        Raw food vegans tend to be extremely unhealthy, by the way, and many of them are quite overweight. They don’t get enough fat, and definitely not the right kinds of fat, and not enough protein. There are many of these former vegan types in the discussion groups I participate in, many of them healing, losing weight and regaining health on a whole food, natural diet. And some, like me, just holding the line because the damage is too great.

      • weaselby says:

        You also apparently have relatively healthy and functioning systems. One simple thing like your thyroid starting to break down wreaks havoc on your weight gain, regardless of how well you eat or how much you exercise. So congrats on eating in moderation, and congrats, too, to your functioning body 🙂 And seriously, posters who have unexplained, unstoppable weight gain: see your doctor for blood tests. Weight gain could be an irritating and depressing symptom of a much bigger problem.

      • Cheryl says:

        Jane, you have such a strong opinion on gluten for someone who apparently knows nothing about it. Do yourself a favor and do some research instead of bashing people here. As a person with Celiac Disease, I personally find it offensive. This country is producing food that makes people sick…the numbers are growing every year…and guess what? Part of that sickness produces weight gain. You should google how many ingredients are allowed in food in the US, but banned in almost all other countries. You should read about all the countries who are now refusing to buy wheat and other grains from the US because they don’t want their citizens sick. And as a general rule in life, you should learn something before you try to preach to others.

  6. ... says:

    Lissakay hit the nail on the head. So you’re thin? Congratulations! You have a functioning endocrine system. Treasure it. With all the GMOs and excess grains in your diet, it probably won’t be functioning for very long.

    (sorry if this double post)

    • lissakay says:

      Thank you. I think, from some of the responses, I didn’t emphasize my main point well enough …

      I did not get fat because I was sick. I got sick because I gained some weight and tried to lose it by following the most common and popular diet recommendations …. cut fat, count calories, eat “healthy” whole grains.

      I got sick because I was not eating enough calories.
      I got sick because I was not eating enough natural fats and oils.
      I got sick because I was eating too much wheat and other grains.
      I got sick while following what is considered by most to be a healthy diet.

      While I was doing this damage to my body, I was ALSO gaining weight. Now, that same damage is preventing me from losing weight.

      Some here call it “obsessive” but when I tried one thing and it didn’t work, I did it more (exercise) or did something different (changed diet). The problem was that I had the wrong information. I eat a healthy, natural diet now and count nothing. I avoid all forms of sugar including grains and starches, focusing on meats and veggies primarily, and nothing processed. I’ve pretty much given up at this point … I’m just going to be obese, and there is nothing I can do about it.

      I am 5’1″ with a small frame. My ideal weight, even in my late 40s, is between 110 and 120. Right now, I am over 160 – that’s not curvy, that’s not fluffy. That is, by all counts and measures, obese.

      My point is that the food and diet recommendations given to us by the USDA, the ADA, most nutritionists, dietitians and doctors IS WRONG and is keeping us fat. Especially children. The school lunch programs that Michelle Obama implemented are simply horrifying … not enough calories for growing kids, not enough healthy fats and far too much sugar. That is a recipe for obesity if I ever saw one.

      Read this: http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2012/05/06/why-the-campaign-to-stop-america-s-obesity-crisis-keeps-failing.html

      We are fat not because we are flawed, weak failures. Many of us are doing everything we can – following our doctors/nutritionists/dieticians/USDA/ADA advice, but we remain fat because THAT ADVICE IS WRONG. And that wrong advice is killing us.

      • Curtis says:

        Using you’re own unique case as the standard for all people? My my my, aren’t we a little presumptuous? So something didn’t work for you specifically. That does not mean you are suddenly the standard by which to define everybody else.

      • lissakay says:

        Curtis … where in the HELL do you get that? I am hardly unique. I am but one of many, many people who have struggled to lose weight, and it was only when we learned the real facts about food and nutrition that we began to heal. I am among many who have been so damaged by the crappy diets that are pushed on us that weight loss is extremely slow or impossible. Many more have found that once they abandon the ridiculous diets and start eating a natural and healthy diet, the weight loss is easy.

        Did you bother to read the linked article? I’d say you didn’t … else you’d know why most weight loss diets and advice are only making things worse for many people.

      • First off, grow up, calling people names and belittling them just because they don’t agree with you is not very adult like, secondly, your case, your circumstances are not even parallel with what Matt was saying. He wasn’t talking about people like you, he was talking about people who eat cheetos and icecream while sitting in front of the TV all day. being fat, even in your case, can often be traced back to food. either you ate too much, the wrong kind of food, or you ate food that made your body sick. You may not have meant to, you may not have known better, but ultimately, you did, Is it your fault? To a degree, yes, you didn’t do research on what you ate, not many people do, I know I usually don’t. Now your endocrin system is out of whack, you are at the very least gluten intolerant, and you are overweight (or so you say, your standard of 100 lbs seems a little out of whack with what one would expect from a healthy, average height, middle age woman) My wife was diagnosed with ciliacs disease almost a year ago. She ate a LOT of Gluten as a child, had a VERY unhealthy diet, and a lot of stress. She also gave birth to our 4th child four weeks ago. After we started withe the gluten free diet, her health improved, she has actually lost weight (she lost 2 pounds while she was pregnant instead of gaining) and is now almost the same weight she was when we got married, only now, she even looks healthier. I have adapted all my recepies to gluten free, but do what I can to make them taste every bit as good as before because let’s face it, most gluten free food is bland and boring. I make an alfredo that could give you a heart attack it is so rich, but I make it from scratch using organic whipping cream, organic butter, and fresh parmesan cheese, we eat that, and other things like it often and she is still losing weight. She also has been diagnosed with thyroid problems and other health issues, but takes no medication for them and is living a healthy active life. Remember, we have four children all under the age of 5 and I am away all day working, she doesn’t have a choice. The fact is, our lifestyle choices DO inpact our health and our weight, no matter how much you try to pin that on disease and sickness, you put yourself there, knowingly or not.

      • If you want to believe a pound is not created by the intake of 3500 calories, whether that pound is muscle or fat, that’s your affair. But the fact still remains that obese people aren’t as healthy nor fit, and whatever cause you want to blame, there are going to be some things you can’t do, like partake in the above mentioned jamboree.

  7. allie says:

    My concern is that they are excluding children who desperately need to be physically active from something that will provide them with that activity and get them away from their over indulgent parents for at least a brief period of time. They are just going to end up stitting at home playing video games and watching tv. Exclude them from specific activities at the jamboree that actually aren’t safe for them to participate in but don’t bar them from the things they need most.

    • arcaneshield says:

      I agree. The issue isn’t that they’re excluding fat people from doing an activity they can’t possibly do, its that they set this jamboree up to do such a strenuous activity that the fat kids who could use the exercise can’t even attend.

      • Grace says:

        But what about the kids who need strenuous activity? The ones who will learn from this challenge and benefit from it? This is the first time the Jamboree has done something like this, and I doubt it will be done every year. Every activity cannot include every single person. That’s why they do different things to provide new experiences for everyone.

    • Kate says:

      Except for the fact that everyone was notified at least a year ago that there would be requirements for being able to attend the Jamboree. Both for the kids AND the adults. Anyone who wanted to attend had plenty of time to work on meeting those requirements. It’s not like they didn’t know. It’s not like this is something new either. The Boy Scouts have always had certain trips/activities that require the boys to meet certain physical bench marks in order to participate. 20 years ago when my husband was a scout he went on trips several years in a row that required him to be able to walk long distances, swim for certain periods of time, and carry a certain amount of weight for periods of time. If he couldn’t meet those goals, he couldn’t go. His father wanted to go with him so his dad dropped 40 pounds in order to be able to participate.
      In addition BMI was not the only thing that would possibly exclude people from attending the Jamboree. There were other medical conditions listed that would require a doctor’s clearance to attend or even just flat out exclude people. This really isn’t an issue of them “excluding” obese people. Its about them promoting health. But that of course doesn’t make headlines.

  8. cpakurt says:

    Yes, it’s easy to sit in judgment when your body processes whatever crap you decide to put in it. Some of us should be so lucky.

  9. Sarah says:

    I can’t help thinking that the Boy Scouts would have a good reason. Think about the types of camp activities you have done which very reasonably have weight requirements: zip lines, climbing walls, that trust-building activity where you fall backward onto your teammates’ outstretched arms. How much more embarrassing for the child would it be to get there and have to sit out of activities with everyone watching and knowing why?

  10. Jenn says:

    I agree very much with you. It’s not something to be proud of! It’s something that you should fight!

    This is also like anorexia, bulimia and whatever eating “disorders” that psychiatrists decided to give a name, thereby making it more serious. Many are so honest about having this, and seem to be even proud. I cannot fathom why!

    Eat the food and if your reflection shows you as fat and you are unhappy about it ( because of course everyone cares about how sexy or fat you are), stay away from mirrors!

  11. srbboo says:

    Jamboree can be a strenuous, difficult physical experience. There’s no air conditioned cabins, malls, theaters. It’s an outdoor experience with real, physically challenging events. Jamboree was permanently moved from fort AP Hill in VA, thanks to the incredible gift of Mr. Robert Bechtel who donated the land and $50k to build the camp. (Anti-BSA activists had protested that the gov let BSA use a federal facility while excluding actively gay members. So I guess in effect Mr. Bechtel said to the gov, I’ll build them a home of their own and they won’t need your support… which BSA then threw in his face with their pro-gay members policy. Different essay.) Anyway, Jamboree is difficult and strenuous and dangerous and if you’re fat you run a higher risk of injury or heart attack or whatever, which puts all the other scouts and scouters in danger. I’m fat, and I think they did the right thing.I was there in 2007. The heat/humidity was BRUTAL. (I wonder if the Army pretty much shuts it down for the month of August just because of the horrible weather.) If a boy really wants to go to Jambo, he can plan ahead, lose weight, get in shape, just like thousands of men and women and boys have for a hundred years of Scouting. I have plenty of friends who have trained for a year in advance to be fit enough to attend Jamboree or Philmont. It’s a worthy experience to work toward. Fat people with health issues are no different from fat people who are just fat. They are still a health risk for the camp and other campers. I support BSA one hundred percent on this policy.

    • srbboo says:

      Correction: Stephen Bechtel Foundation, and $50 MILLION. not $50k. Plus $ from others.

  12. Alisha says:

    If I were “obese” due to a medical condition I would be incensed. Not with what Matt has said here, but with people who are obese due to their own choices AND with the people who glorify general obesity. Having to put up with people glorifying their own poor choices takes away from the compassion we all should have for those few living in a situation where no choice could alleviate their obesity problem.

  13. Sarah says:

    I am overweight. There. I said it. I know why i am overweight too…. My diet is heavy on the processed foods and light on fruits and vegetables. I am also lazy and would rather watch TV then exercise. Knowing all this, i also know that the result of my being a) fat and b) lazy is that i simply can’t keep up when trying to go hiking or canoeing with a group of young people. The fact is, when you are talking about Boy Scouts (or Girl Guides) who have events in groups, the group moves only as quickly as the slowest person. When you have a large group of twenty or more, the leaders spend a lot of time pushing the slowest kids to keep up to the group. This presents safety issues in remote areas where the people at the back of the group run the risk of being left behind. I have listened to parents for years talk about fairness and inclusivity but there comes a point when we have to look at the consequences. Do i want to be included? Yes. Do i want to risk my safety, or the safety of others, for that privilege? No. The Jamboree is a safety risk for anyone who is out of shape – not just the obese. There are some people who are just not happy unless they have something to complain about and this obese-inclusivity strikes me as one more example of it.

  14. Joshua says:

    Matt,
    You are officially new my favorite online author. Thanks for the truth man!

    The big lie is that all these negative things in our lives just “happen” to us.

    While bad things can certainly happen, most of life that we experience is the result of our choices. It’s much easier to say that bad results happen because of other people, or because of discrimination, or because of some nefarious force(s) in the universe that harbor bad intentions for our lives.

    The the truth is that life – pretty much all of it – is a choice.

    You choose your lifestyle. You choose what you put in your mouth. You choose what you focus on. You choose your words and thoughts and your reactions to everything that happens to you. It’s a choice.

    Obesity is a choice. Not in the sense that someone selects “I would like to be obese”, but in the choices that create obesity. Like what we eat, what we do, how we act.

    Thyroids (and other glands) break down when they are given poor nutrition and poor lifestyle (MOST of the time). There are always exceptions to the rule, but generally speaking our bodies REACT to us, and what we do with them. I’ve seen a lot of people that had thryoid problems experience remarkable recoveries when they decided to change their lifestyles.

    There is always a choice to be made. For someone looking for a different result (a positive result, a solution), this truth is incredibly empowering.

    For someone looking for an alibi or a scapegoat, it is incredibly frustrating.

    Choose well my friends!

  15. rmc says:

    I grew up skinny, a competitive gymnast all my young life. As an extreme-partying adult, I gained a lot of weight and was not happy. I did something about it eventually, and got back to my original weight. I know it was all my fault, and nothing to get sympathy for. Several years later, I became a christian, and quickly learned how over indulging is a sinful behavior, and one I need to call on God for assistance with. I live in fear of ever getting big like I once was, so I haven’t gained it back, but I still over indulge to satisfy cravings. I am learning daily how to crave Jesus instead of food….calling on Jesus for help everyday would be so much easier than this roller coaster of indulge, workout like crazy, indulge, eat only protein the next day, etc. I agree with this post…right on.

  16. dietcokeontherawks says:

    I grew up skinny, a competitive gymnast all my young life. As an extreme-partying adult, I gained a lot of weight and was not happy. I did something about it eventually, and got back to my original weight. I know it was all my fault, and nothing to get sympathy for. Several years later, I became a christian, and quickly learned how over indulging is a sinful behavior, and one I need to call on God for assistance with. I live in fear of ever getting big like I once was, so I haven’t gained it back, but I still over indulge to satisfy cravings. I am learning daily how to crave Jesus instead of food….calling on Jesus for help everyday would be so much easier than this roller coaster of indulge, workout like crazy, indulge, eat only protein the next day, etc. I agree with this post…right on.

  17. anon says:

    “the lethargy and overindulgence which leads to obesity”

    Obesity used to be pretty rare, and onset was much later in life than it is now. The history of the rise of obesity is quite interesting and should be studied BEFORE making ignorant (and cruel) statements like this. Before you talk about obesity any more, I suggest you spend a few days looking at ancestral health blogs or even buying some books. The Human Food Project is also a good resource. Our bodies are very complex, hard working, and resilient organisms that are being overwhelmed by a variety of entirely new factors, only some of which are under our control.

    My comment is to ask you to have compassion and love enough for other people to not add to their pain. If you have never struggled fruitlessly with your weight, hated your body with a deep loathing, and seen every effort rewarded with worse results, then at least don’t try to pile more pain onto people who have finally decided to appreciate their body, since it is the only one they will ever have. It was only AFTER I began to appreciate my body in all it’s fatness and abilities that I found some changes that have actually helped me lose weight. Hating myself and my flaws never, ever did anything good for my health.

    • “I’m not saying fat people should hate themselves.” “I am not superior to you. I have my sins, but what separates mine from the lethargy and overindulgence which leads to obesity, is that my sins don’t have a lobbying group.” Did you even read the whole thing, or did you just knee jerk and fly off the handle at the phrase you quoted? Most people who are fat are fat because what they ate either got stored as fat due to taking in too much and taking in the wrong kinds of foods, or the food they took in made them unhealthy to the point where their bodies cannot process food properly which in turn makes them store fat.

      • anon says:

        Yes, I did read the article. You seem to agree with him equating fatness as being caused by SIN. He is saying, “Aw shucks, we all have our problems, let’s not hate ourselves for sinning/having personal failings, and just try to get better.” That may not be a problematic attitude EXCEPT THAT BEING FAT DOES NOT EQUAL BEING A GLUTTON. If you say that people are fat because they are BAD, you are denying reality. Sure, if we ate perfectly, from before birth, very few of us would be fat. My point is that in today’s world, it is extremely, extremely difficult to eat perfectly, since even the materials our food is stored in causes weight gain and metabolic problems. Things like your mother’s nutrition, whether you were a C-section birth or not, the amount and type of dirt you are exposed to as a child, sunlight exposure, chemicals in the air, amount of sleep, light pollution, are all things that have an impact on our bodies and their ability to function smoothly. You simply cannot look at someone and say, “You are fat because you are a sinner, but hey, I’m a sinner too so it’s OK.” That is not an OK thing to say. It is inaccurate and it is unkind.

        Sure, many modern humans are eating too much of certain kinds of nutrition, like sugars. The reasons for that are complex and there should be AMPLE evidence by now that shaming does not give people willpower to lose weight and keep it off. Education and self-care are what actually make a difference.

  18. Shaun says:

    First off, I am an Eagle Scout.

    The Scout oath says, “On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country, and to obey the Scout law, to help other people at all times, to keep myself PHYSICALLY STRONG, mentally awake, and morally straight.”

    All health reasons aside, Scouting is about learning to be a man, and a Scout who does not keep his oath to keep himself physically strong has no place whining that he’s excluded from a Scouting activity that requires physical strength. The enforcement of this principle is very important to teach Scouts the value of integrity. That’s my first point.

    My second point is this one: BMI was never intended to measure an individual’s health. It is a flawed, messed up system that was only ever intended to measure broad trends in a large population. It is NOT a tool for measuring individuals. Sadly, nobody seems to know this and the BMI is used by everyone as a be-all-end-all standard of health and fitness. I have a friend who is “obese” by BMI standards, but is amazingly fit and very muscular. Now I realize that’s probably not the case with most of the Scouts that were barred from attending Jamboree. The BMI scale probably did a halfway decent job of sorting the fit from the unfit in this case, but my point is that it is also wholly unfair to use the BMI for this purpose. It’s a joke.

    For more information on why we should stop paying attention to the BMI, see http://www.beautyredefined.net/redefining-health-part-1-measuring-the-obesity-crisis/

  19. weaselby says:

    This is a repeat from my response to a post above, but it’s really important, so I’m saying it again: Anyone who has unexplained weight gain (or loss) needs to get blood work done, ASAP. It could be a symptom of a much bigger problem, like thyroid disease, or any other number of diseases or conditions. This is a good, thought-provoking article, but the idea that obese people are lethargic because they’re too lazy to do anything to make themselves healthier nettles me a bit, as a person with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and Multiple Sclerosis, because lethargy and fatigue are part and parcel of both of those diseases. Hashi’s also destroys your metabolism and it’s sooo easy to balloon up simply because of hormone imbalances, but the weight gain is of minor concern compared to everything else than can happen with untreated thyroid disease (although once you are being adequately treated, the extra weight and other symptoms clear up, at least from my experience). So sometimes there can be a medical reason for being overweight, and it needs to be treated promptly.
    So, again, make sure you get your blood work done, everyone. 🙂

    • I believe he specifically mentioned SOMETIMES there are medical issues. He’s talking generally. And with the rate of obesity going on in this country, there’s not that many people with I diagnosed, life altering diseases. Sure, there are SOME, but definitely not the majority.

  20. Don says:

    Regardless of the cause, if the individual is in no shape to participate, then what is the point in them going? Or should we dumb down requirements and make everything sub-par like we seem to do to everything else? Some of you make things way to personal. This is about boys learning to become men. Not about you.

  21. Kay says:

    My sister, whom I love dearly, easily tips the scales at 400+ pounds. She has been this way for decades, and I am surprised she is still with us. Over the years, she has claimed metabolism abnormalities, thyroid issues, chemical imbalances, hormone problems – and the list goes on. Yes, some of us do have more a struggle with weight than others; but, as my father-in-law used to say, :”There were no fat people in Auschwitz.”

  22. Joe Babbitt says:

    Hi everybody, my name is Joe, and I’m fat. Not surprisingly, I take issue with this post for a number of reasons.

    As another commenter said earlier, thin people cannot relate to the sufferings of heavy people. You have a laundry list of medical complications caused by excessive weight, and if that weren’t enough, you are under constant scrutiny, from external sources and even more internally. As a heavy person who has spent a lot of time dealing with self-worth issues, I can assure you that for as cruel as society is to the overweight, our worst antagonists are ourselves. When you say something hurtful, the damage doesn’t come from your words. It comes from an external source giving validation to the extreme self-hatred we’re struggling with. So let’s make one thing clear right off tips; you can’t say you advocate for people not hating themselves and then offer harsh criticisms over something that is an extremely tender subject, one that you’ve never had to experience. Your words, no matter how many disclaimers you attach to them, indirectly stoke these fires. This self-hatred manifests in any number of horrifically self-destructive ways, overeating being a relatively innocent one, which should give you an idea of how bad it can get. Saying that “hey, I’m not perfect either” is a weak justification that quite frankly, you should know better than to try.

    We live in a culture that both idolizes gluttony and markets it as hedonism, a piece of “the good life” that anyone can afford, and fat-shames. That’s something that exists, whether or not you choose to believe it. Make fun of a minority or a homosexual and you will be crucified. Make fun of a fat person, and you can get movie deals from it. Obesity is still socially palatable to make fun of. We are constantly bombarded with information that paints us as undesirables. Seeing as we are social animals with primal imperatives this results in deep psychological damage. It’s hard to climb out of that hole.

    So, here’s an idea. Instead of “calling it like it is,” which is really just code for “giving myself free reign to be an asshole,” try on some compassion and maybe try to offer solutions.

    I understand not wanting to put heavy kids in danger, but excluding them from an opportunity to get some exercise is a patently stupid way to do this. There are ways around it, have parents sign waivers, have different grades of activity level, etc. There are ways around it that don’t involve a big public thing that makes kids struggling with this feel worse. This was handled really poorly at multiple levels, and a little forethought would’ve gone a long way.

    My own health improvement journey has been a difficult one. I’m a grossly overweight person who is extremely active and losing weight (down 100 lbs so far) in something I call The Captain Hammer Project (feel free to Google it), wherein I decided that I would not rest until I could cosplay as Nathan Fillion’s character from Dr. Horrible’s Sing Along Blog. So far, it’s been a lot “eat less, eat right, move more” but as other commenters have alluded, there are more pieces to the puzzle for me to look at.

    I digress, in the end, while awareness of a problem is a crucial step in correcting it, putting negative energy into something can only yield negative results. Calling obese people flawed, sinful and lazy does nothing to help them change, and banning fat kids from an opportunity for exercise among their friends and peers (which is half the point of BS, isn’t it? Relationship building?) serves no purpose but ostracizing people who already have social problems when there are other alternatives to be explored.

    • I’ve lost 65 pounds before. I was heavier because of exactly what he mentioned. I DO know what it’s like. And he was not fat shaming. He specifically said that. What he did say was unlike all other forms of self-destruction, there are no groups proudly declaring that it’s okay to be that way. It is UNDESIRABLE to be overweight, just like it is to be an alcoholic or drug addict. We don’t need to shame them, but it’s not something to aspire to, either. It can be overcome and that is absolutely something to be proud of. It’s not okay and should not be lauded to continue. Alcoholics can’t say, ‘hey, I’ve got a drinking problem and I’m not going to take any action about it. Because of that, I expect you to make concessions to me while I unsuccessfully continue to drive and work while intoxicated.’ That’s not okay, so why should concessions be made for the overweight?

  23. steverino says:

    Even if it’s not your fault that you’re fat. You still can’t come camping with the skinny athletic people. Fairness is not a consideration. Safety (particularly yours) is.

  24. Jussie says:

    You know, instead of bitching on a blog about change, maybe people should go and help make that change a reality. Volunteer at kids fitness camps, bother the hell out of your local government for better lunches for kids in schools (especially kids who are from lower income families), have a career change and become a nutritionist or a fitness instructor.Maybe become a therapist because some people who are obese have gone through trauma in their lives, which can help explain the overeating and try to help them overcome it. DO SOMETHING! Anything is better than sitting on your ass and writing about it. This is not doing a damn thing. I’m not saying that people who are obese shouldn’t try to be healthy or get help if their weight is out of control, but bashing certain people by outward appearances, especially when not having had the actual experience of being overweight in this shallow society we live in? That is a flaw of character and heart. And I rather be around a bunch of awesome “flawed” people than society accepted douche bags any day.

  25. Kristi says:

    First of all, the blog is about the absurdity of being proud of one’s obesity. Matt is right – it’s nothing to be proud of, just like you wouldn’t be proud of your drug addiction or (if obesity caused by disease) your arthritis. You may suffer from it, but it’s really nothing to be proud of.
    Second, fat people always think thin people are “naturally thin”. Sure, a few might be, but most are not. I’ve never met a thin person over 30 who eats what they want and don’t gain weight. We all work out, eat well (yes, that includes good fats and proteins), eat less, indulge once in a while. If we don’t, we get fat. We WORK for it. Understand?
    Third, did you guys who think all obese people are fat because they “can’t help it” ever look at what fat vs. thin people buy in the grocery store? Fat people buy junk, thin people buy healthy foods. There might be 1% who differs, but overall it’s true. Also, junk restaurants like Red Lobster, McDonalds, Applebees, etc. are filled with fat people. Just Salad? Thin people. Again, 1% may differ.
    Fourth, look at the children of fat people. If not fat yet, they’ll soon be fat because their parents teach them unhealthy eating habits.

    While I understand that some people are fat because they have some kind of physical abnormality/disease, 99.9% are fat because of their lifestyle.

    Lissakay brings up another POV which really has nothing to do with the blog – that the common US diet advice is wrong. I don’t know what kind of advice you were listening to, but luckily you started doing your own research instead of listening to crappy “experts.” Doesn’t everyone know that yo-yo dieting equals fat? I’ve known that since I was a kid. I’m 45 now. I looked at the link in your first post. It says this German woman was surprised American kids were fat in 1934. Sure, compared to German kids they were probably very fat – like 5 pounds overweight after eating only bread. The kids we called fat when I grew up in Sweden in the 70s were probably 5 pounds overweight – because everyone else was normal weight. Lissakay’s case, and her arguments don’t prove all obese people are misinformed victims, it just shows that she AND a few others followed the wrong advice. Just look around, you’ll see WHY obese people are fat.

    Both my parents were fat. they liked the good stuff in life. They drove everywhere. If I don’t exercise and eat well, I gain wait. But I don’t diet. I eat right. I move. When my pants are tight, I don’t buy bigger jeans, I watch what I eat, because I gain weight as soon as I get lazy or eat junk. It’s not in my genes to be skinny, I work for it. And I read a lot of health magazines. And I listen to my body.

    Of all the people I know, only one is fat because of a medical problem. All others because they love unhealthy foods or cocktails or are lazy. And diet once in a while.

    Oh, and I was also a scout.

  26. SS says:

    If you’re interested in doing some research instead of accepting the party line on obesity causes, here’s a place to start. It’s a really fascinating article http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/08/health/08fat.html

    The reality is that dieting is more likely to *increase* your body weight in the long run, and no this is not a result of poor self-control. Overweight people who diet to a normal weight do not end up with the bodies of normal weight people. They show all the signs of people who have been starved despite being at a so-called normal weight. Your body tries to stay at a weight set point range, and dieting tends to drive that number up because your body isn’t like Congress. It doesn’t say, oh I’m using more than is coming in, let’s just use up the principal in the bank account. It tries to cut its energy expenditure, which means lowering body metabolism, decreasing hormone levels, cutting back on repairs, etc. And it fights you to gain the weight back, plus some extra, because it doesn’t want you to starve to death. Repeated dieting actually tends to drive the weight up higher and higher. It is not as easy as just cut back on calories.

  27. Invisible says:

    Just wanted to point out that a BMI of 40 is incredibly high. Especially for a child.
    The rule wasn’t addressing overweight children. It was addressing extreme obesity.
    A scout camp hike cannot be a safe place to address that particular problem.

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