Weight Loss So-Called Success

New and ImprovedSo we’ve all heard that weight loss succeeds for only a tiny fraction of people long term, but today I want to talk about what we even mean by success.  As dieting interventions have failed over and over again, the people researching them have continued to change the definition of success – from specific weights, to 20% of body weight, then to 10% of body weight, then to 5% of body weight (all of which were, at one time, accompanied by the phrase “an amount that is known to have a strong impact on health” thought it is actually completely arbitrary and without medical rationale.)

Often weight loss studies simply move the goal post and declare victory.  Weight Watchers own research showed that participants were able to maintain a 5 pound loss after 2 years (which means that participants paid about $254 per pound in meeting fees alone – not counting WW branded food, cookbooks, diet scales etc.).  Commenting on this in the media, Weight Watchers’ chief scientist said “It’s nice to see this validation of what we’ve been doing.” This word, validation?  I do not think it means what she thinks it means.

So is weight loss “success” achieving a specific weight?  Is it a loss of 20% of body weight?  10%? 5%?  Five pounds of weight loss over 2 years (a thing I could likely accomplish through regular exfoliation and without even a single spoonful of Weight Watchers 0 Points soup)?

It seems to me that if medical science truly believes in the idea of a “healthy weight” then success would be moving participants to whatever that weight is – so if they are talking Body Mass Index then success would be moving participants into the “normal” BMI category and keeping them there long term.   And if we’re miles away from finding a weight loss intervention that works for more than a tiny fraction of people, we are LIGHT YEARS away from a study where an intervention moved those considered “overweight” and “obese” into the “normal” category over the long term.

When someone, whether it’s a doctor or random person on Facebook, feels the need to suggest weight loss to me, this is were I start.  I ask if they feel that weight loss constitutes evidence based medicine. When they say yes, I ask them to produce evidence that would lead them to believe that I could reach and maintain the amount of weight loss that they are recommending.

Disturbingly often, medical professionals answer this question by suggesting that I try to lose less weight than they originally suggested, with absolutely no mention of the evidence I asked for.  So I ask them to produce evidence that would lead them to believe that I could reach the new amount of weight loss they are suggesting and maintain it, and I also ask why my question about evidence caused them to immediately change the measure of success, rather than provide me with, you know, research.

Typically this is met with something like “any weight loss is better than no weight loss” which typically isn’t remotely in integrity with their original recommendation.  So I asked them to produce evidence backing that claim.   Recently my partner was at the doctor and when she challenged his suggestion that she should lose weight by saying that only a tiny fraction of people succeed he agreed that it was between 2% and 5%, and then reiterated his recommendation for weight loss.  This does not smack of stringent science.

So let’s recap:

The amount of weight loss that medical science claims is necessary to create “significant health benefits” has been changed repeatedly and arbitrarily based on the utter failure of weight loss interventions over the last half century, and not based on science regarding weight and health.

Success by the definition of the people running the studies about weight loss is not the measure of success that they use in their marketing, and both goals are all but impossible based on their own research.

We have the right to health interventions that are evidence based and that have measures of success based one some kind of actual medical rationale.

NEW FAT ANTHOLOGY!

Praeger Publishing (an imprint of ABC/CLIO) has asked me to edit a multi-volume anthology “The Politics of Size: Perspectives from the Fat-Acceptance Movement”

My goal is to create a work with diverse perspectives including people of many races, ethnicities, dis/abilities, ages, sizes, genders, sexual orientations, those from an academic background, and those who do not normally write from an academic perspective. I am especially interested in those who write about intersectionalities and those who don’t feel that they are represented in my personal work and/or in the Size Acceptance work that typically gets attention.  If you are interested in submitting a chapter please e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org.

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Published in: on March 15, 2013 at 1:12 pm  Comments (36)  

36 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I think I’m going to print out a copy of your responses/questions for doctors, put them on bookmarks, note cards and business cards and keep them all over me for when I visit the doctor…etc. I love the simple and direct way that you challenge them to give you health advice that is proven, ethical and appropriate for the situation. I also liked the “Help me understand….” super secret phrase and I will be adding that. Don’t worry, Ragen, I’ll cite you and your blog for those little goodies, as I imagine I’m going to be handing them to a few of my fat friends who are struggling with what to say in those situations and have not yet discovered you online.

    I find all my good plans for defending myself fly out the window when I am in the doctor’s office… I need reminders in hand.

  2. I really had to facepalm when I lost around 25 pounds after my thyroid medication levels were increased and I started exercising again for the first time in a number of years. My doctor’s response was “that’s great, do it again!”
    My doctor isn’t horrible about the weight thing. He generally doesn’t bring it up. But he has been indoctrinated, and every now and then I’ll get something like this from him.
    In other words, until you get down to a socially acceptable size, keep losing weight. “A little weight loss is better than nothing?” Bullshit. Not in the eyes of most, including most medical professionals.

    • Boy do I ever get this! When I was first diagnosed with diabetes, I was put on metformin. At the time I didn’t know I had a wheat allergy and the combination of the two (meds and allergy response) caused me to have crazy weight loss. I kept getting praised by people… but I was frightened. At one point, near the end of my rope, I smarted-off at the doctor when she praised my wieght loss (of 60 pounds in 4 months) that I wan’t trying and that maybe she should check me for cancer. The only other person I knew who had lost weight that fast had a tumor. It worked so well at getting her to stop praising me that I adapted it to a comeback for other people. When they’d see me and praise my loss, I’d say thanks, I’m dying… all cheerful like.

      Yeah, sometimes I’m a beotch

      • I’m not normally in favor of guerilla tactics, but I am smirking at your story.😀

      • I’ve always figured that if I lost a significant amount of weight for whatever reason and people started complimenting me, I’d do the same. I find the weight loss based compliments very triggering.

    • This concerns me, too. I haven’t mentioned it because it hasn’t been on topic, but I’ve lost about 30 pounds in the past year without changing any of my habits. That’s about 15% of my body weight. I’d like to go get myself checked out just to make sure that everything’s copacetic, but the doctor I used to go to was such a bitch about HAES that I haven’t gone back in about two years. Does anyone know of a way to find a fat-friendly doctor in a particular area? None of my plus-sized friends live in the area, so I can’t get a recommendation from them.

      • Kris, check out the fat-friendly health practitioners page at:

        http://www.cat-and-dragon.com/stef/fat/ffp.html

        It doesn’t have listings for everywhere, but do check and see if your area is there. Best wishes!

        • There is one GP listed in Orlando; I’ll call Monday and see if she’s taking new patients. Thank you!

  3. I find it curious that they’re able to move the goalpost while keeping the same “goal” of “an amount that is known to have a strong impact on health”.

    So, let’s just assume they have been able to measure one’s health (assuming: blood pressure improvement, better resting rate pulse, better cholesterol). And they haven’t come to the conclusion that “hey, maybe weight isn’t the thing that’s doing it. Maybe it’s just the other common denominators of eating balanced meals and getting up and moving!”

    I know. Radical thinking here. The church of Weight Watchers will soon be knocking on my door to recant.

    • I love the church of WW comment! I had the church of my local health clinic come to my door with this “New” and “improved” and “safe”, “permanent” weight loss bs. I asked the chick to state the researchthey had done to prove it is safe, effective and permanent. I was met with “Um… Well, uh..” Or AKA “Damn I got caught in a lie and have no idea what to say now..”

      It was as comical as the fill in doctor for mine telling me my anxiousness and anxiety/panic attacks were because I am suffering from “Obesity”.. I didn’t at all know fat could be a cause! (sarcasm ahead) I truly thought something was wrong and that is why! Oh thank you for telling me it is because I am fat! (end of sarcasm) Really though, no it isn’t because I am fat, so here I am debating on going to the ER and waiting 8+ hours thanks to budget cuts and have them figure it out or suffer through three more weeks and how many more attacks until my doctor gets back.

  4. Speaking of intersectionality; I am fat, trans* (mtf), and otherkin. Not only do I have a hard time finding docs that will accept my crappy insurance (govt provided, since THERE ARE NO JOBS), but most docs just tell me my biggest problems are mental. They won’t even recognize the fact that I have good blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol!

    • It’s not often that someone gives me a word like “otherkin.” Thank you for sharing it. I will, of course, play with it all day, to the point of deliberately creating conversations weird enough to use it in context. After that, it’ll take its place among the rest of my word-gems.

      The rest of your post brought to mind (for some reason) an old Fiona Apple song, “Paper Bag.” One line in particular stood out: “He said, ‘it’s all in your head,’ I said, ‘so’s everything,’ but he didn’t get it.” In any event, I’m sorry to hear that you’re accused of having mental problems – even most psychologist refuse to believe that being a Crazy Person is not the same thing as being mentally ill.

  5. It’s funny, isn’t it? The ‘obesity epidemic’ is supposed to be the worst problem of our time, and yet so few of the people who feel free to discuss it and hand out advice actually KNOW anything about fat and weight. Doctors are the worst.

  6. Wait, wait, wait! Your partner’s doctor just handed me an epiphany. And, I say this somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but stay with me.

    I don’t keep research in my pocket, but I do think we have come to a consensus that certain behaviors such as eating real, whole foods and participating in physical activity up to our capabilities has some benefit to health. (Correct me if I’m wrong.)

    So, the doctor says try to lose weight–admitting there is almost no chance of any success in that endeavor. But try… And what do people do when they try to lose weight? Sometimes, they make an effort to eat real food and participate in physical activity! Ta-da! Health benefits!

    Am I the only one amused by this?

    Note: I realize the doc probably has no idea what kind of food/physical activity your partner is involved in. And the idea that s/he advised weight-loss is an unconditional fail. It was the ignorance of logic that caught my attention.

    • Yes, there are health benefits to eating a variety of foods and exercising, but when you are told it will make you lose weight and it doesn’t, you then give up and sit in front of the TV eating cookies.

      Okay, maybe not exactly, but until I found HAES and FA that I would put in all this effort, lose maybe 20 pounds, then get absolutely nowhere. Then I would drop the whole thing, regain weight and eventually try it all again. Now I am trying to rediscover the fun in physical activity and discovering how to eat in ways I enjoy and that don’t trigger my darn food sensitivites.

      • I keep trying to explain the concept of HAES to my rheumatologist. He doesn’t harass me about my weight. When I first started seeing him, I was still desperately trying to lose weight, but have since adopted stopped trying to lose weight. But every time I see him, he asks me if I’m dieting and I say no, then he asks me if I’m exercising, and I say yes (though I’ve always exercised), so he says, “so you are trying to lose weight” and I say “no, I just like to exercise”. He just can’t grasp why anyone would eat well and exercise without weight loss as a goal.

        • LOL! What about people who are already at what is considered normal weight? Why are they exercising? Oh right, to maintain their thinness. I’m sure that’s what the Olympic athletes go for. No love of their sport or desire to excel at it or anything.

  7. So are there ANY good studies about weight and health? Not losing weight. Not yo-yo dieting. Just being at X weight and what outcomes there are.

  8. Funny, I got the same stammering reaction when I replied to my endocrinologist’s advice to lose weight with “How much?” He’d recommended I lose weight because it would help the reproductive tract issues I have. When I asked “how much”, he just kind of looked at me blankly. Then I explained that I’d had the exact same symptoms and issues at a weight 75 pounds lower than my current one. So how much would I have to lose? His reply wasn’t a number, just “well losing weight will help and by the way if you ever want to get pregnant you’ll need help.” Thanks buddy! PS – no I won’t!

    • I was told the same thing. I looked at the RE and asked, “How is that going to help?” She had no answer, just talked in circles. I won’t be going back there again.

  9. The last time I went in for a physical, the doctor took out a Xenical(tm)-branded widget to calculate my BMI. She failed to mention oily stools, however.

  10. I’d love to have a reference to point to in order to cite the WW “success” stats when I discuss these issues elsewhere.

    I’ve seen others write about it, but I’d especially love to have the original source reference if you have it.

    • WW used to have the study on their website, but I can’t find it again. I’ll look for it again, if I find it I’ll let you know. I was going to do the math for the cost per pound because it’s pretty ridiculous.

  11. you know, this sort of reminds me of something that happened a couple of days ago.
    2 years back I decided to give Jenny Craig a try NOT to lose weight (yes this was an interesting concept to explain to these people, but as long as I was shelling out money on their food, they didn’t care too much) Anyway, I did it to OVERCOME an eating disorder where I was afraid of food and my kitchen. AKA I was heavier then I would have liked to be because I wasn’t eating ENOUGH. I basically didn’t eat at all and I still struggle with this. It is NOT a “I don;t want to eat cause it will make me fat” issue, it is a “If I eat I will get physically harmed” because at one point in my life, for a 2 year span, I was in an environment where I had to cook for a family, but was not allowed to eat, and if I was caught eating I was physically punished. I was allowed scraps, and whatever I could sneak at night, that would Mess anyone up.
    I Digress.
    So I went in to have these nice little pre-prepared meals, and to get help learning that I wouldn’t be physically hurt if I ate. The counselor I got was actually on board in that her son had some mental illness, and some of the OTHER things i was going through, she dealt with on a personal basis, so she was great. I did it for a while, weight loss happened, but that wasn’t the point. I didn’t even get a “before and after” picture taken. Long story short, I found out I had to have back to back brain surgeries, and decided F**K it! if I could die or lose my vision or forever be messed up form these surgeries, then I am damn well going to eat whatever the hell I want. I mean wouldn’t you?
    Now on to my point.
    After the surgery I tried to go BACK since having brain surgery scrambles your head a bit at least for the first year, and I did ok for about a week. (yes this was re-paying ALL the fees and nonsense, and food costs etc etc)
    At the end of that week I knew I couldn’t do it in this way, I was obsessing over what I could eat when and it was harmful to me. So I spoke with the Director and told her I would not and COULD not do the weight loss type program, but the meals were quick and easy, and rather tasty, so I would like to continue to purchase them, just until I got more stable. She agreed, and I went on. Then I got called into her office like a week later, and she was “concerned” because not only was I NOT losing weight at all, I was gaining wait, and she was VERY concerned about this.
    I am like WTF? I TOLD you I could NOT have this be a weight program, it’s just to keep me eating anything at ALL! She said she knew that and understood that (of course this was after the period of time where I could have gotten a re-fund -_-) Anyway, she claimed to understand that, but said that I needed to at least work a little bit on losing some weight…..
    So I left, and told her to shove her program where the sun doesn’t shine, gave my counselor a hug, because she was beside herself with what the DIRECTOR of the place was doing, and I left.
    Fast forward about a year, and I get a call just “letting me know” that they were thinking about me blah blah. I told them what happened, and also that I was happy with my body and loved it the way it is, as well as being part of HAES and the Size acceptance movement etc. She was nice and let it go.
    I got a call this past Tuesday, about another year later, and the woman was ARGUING with me over the phone! She said yes that director was fired, blah blah, and I told them I loved my body, she told me about her 80-90 pound weight loss whatever, And she was speaking to me as if I had lost weight in order to love my body. I straight up told her “Um, I’m still fat…I weight 250-260ish, and I love my body, THE WAY IT IS!
    She seemed to be def to this and kept pitching her sales whatever.

    The Doctors know by now not to talk to me about my weight (thank heavens, and it;s a miracle, I know right?) But they know better. They know I will lay the smack down on them so quickly it will make their heads spin. They also know I have an eating disorder, and their “help” would send me into a downward spiral. They know I dance, they know I eat healthy, and they are cool with it.

    But that call the other day really got to me. I don’t know why. I felt like I had to explain myself, or defend myself or whatever.

    Anyway, the next day I got this.

    It is on my stomach, yes I got a giant tattoo on my lovely fat stomach and I LOVE it.
    This woman who tried to get me back on Jenny Craig, she may be down 80-90lbs, but I doubt she loves herself or her body. I doubt that even the fact that she has to CONSTANTLY keep the weight off, which we know from the RESEARCH is a losing battle, causes her harm that she doesn’t even know. And yet she was pushing ME who is healthy, athletic, confident, to join her in the endless cycle of “the weight loss goal”
    Thanks, but I’ll pass….

    • Holy LORD, when will people’s arrogance END??? I can’t believe the BS you’ve been through, Lyssa. Your strength is staggering. I am sososososososo proud of you for all the choices you’ve made to get yourself out of a bad situation and take care of yourself in the best way possible.

      It’s so difficult to fathom slavery in this day and age, but you are living proof that it can and does happen all around us all the time. Your courage is inspiring.

      • aww! Thank you!
        I can say that no, it hasn’t been easy, and being fat and trying to explain someone you are borderline anorexic, or worse, that you have been literally starving for months is HARD.
        People only think of malnourishment and emaciation when they think of starving, but they forget the step right BEFORE that, the one where your body is trying like hell to stay alive, so it grabs any and all food and turns it into fat. That’s the stage I was rescued from. I still have the same issues as someone trying to learn to eat again, but with the added fun of stigma.
        Luckily, the second I mention ANYTHING about what happens, I can cut out any “food shaming”
        My Fiance and soon to be husband, and my family have to make sure I even eat. I will go whole DAYS without eating and not even notice. Once you have started to starve past a certain point, you learn to ignore your body’s cries for food, which is BAD.
        I know this, and I am trying my best🙂
        The tattoo was because I actually started getting better and was shrinking a bit to a more natural weight for me my most natural weight is like 170-180, but really 200 would be fine with me)
        I won’t be a small woman even if I DO get to the “magic weight goal”
        I knew if I stayed with Jenny Craig that my “long term weight loss goal” would keep changing. Hell they HAVE a short term and long term goal you HAVE to fill out. So that once you lose say, 20-50lbs, they aren’t like “Yay you did it!”
        They can be like “See that wasn’t so hard! now let’s try for the REAL Weight loss goal of 50-100lbs!”
        Ugh, what-the F-ever
        I Belly dance and show off my beautiful stomach, and as you can see here in my most recent performance where YES my stomach is showing, and you know what?
        NO ONE SAID ANYTHING NEGATIVE!
        No one ran screaming, no one booed, NOTHING.
        Why? BECAUSE THEY CARE MORE ABOUT MY DANCING THEM MY WEIGHT!
        And that is what I do. I dance, I share my struggles and the fact that no matter who or what is hurting you or in your way, you CAN overcome it, and STILL love the body you have❤

        • if it is of any value to you [& i hope it is], i can at least commiserate w/ yr, fabulously now departed, co-misery. i am also not thin & i have also had malnutrition. in fact, the number of very serious illnesses i have had that can be directly related to decades of off/on, mostly on, anorexia have far more than decimated my life. in many ways they destroyed it–
          –oh for heavens sake, i was overjoyed in the saddest of ways [if that makes sense] to hear someone else say that s/he had all these weird complications of starvation even while people were picking at her to make herself as thin as a slice of paper envelope.

          &, btw, i am thrilled for you that you have a supportive spouse. & i mean that. most of my illnesses came directly from my directly opposite, not to mention oppositional, second husband. never again. never again, i hope, for anybody.

          • ps. i also gained weight on jenny craig, i told them i had an eating disorder &, as per, could not be weighed. they ignored it & instead weighed me w/ my back facing the scale. one of their ‘counselors’ was very nice; in fact, it’s been years & i still remember her. the others were always on edge & always very very crazy. in the short run, yes, at first it did make me lose weight. & it was less hard on my physical self, i imagine, than was often constant starvation. but in the long run, oh heavens, it was not worth it. even w/ the best of its counselors–people who are trying to override, say, its most detrimental effects–still, i would say the number one thing it does is demoralize. why do people deserve that? why, even more, do people need it?

            [apologies, i am very very sick right now. if i am not making perfect sense, please know that is why.]

            • -hugs- You just deserve a Hug. As you said, it’s something when you find someone who has went through the same things as you and I have. The “Fat Starvation” People like I said only think of starvation and nourishment as the emaciated “starving children in X country” but the fail to realize it;s a process that the body goes through.
              The man I was engaged to was the one keeping me as a slave for his family, and they were the ones using food as a method of control. As well as but not limited to; cutting me up, verbal abuse, psychological abuse, forcing me to take prescription medication, sexual assault and rape.
              Basically his Mom ruled the roost, and if I didn’t obey her “commands” Her son and at the time my Fiance would punish me.
              I was always cooking these GIGANTIC meals for them, and only allowed the scraps that were Left after others ate, which at times would be nothing at all. I would have to hide any evidence of eating that I did at night (which also started some sleep deprecation torture when they figured out I was sneaking food)
              Hell they were about to “loan” me to another family to play Nurse for a woman who was having a hysterectomy like I did for my ex’s mom. That is when I realized I was a thing to them and not a person (mind you this all fucks up a person mentally, so it was hard to see it for what it was at the time, and they screened my calls and made it IMPOSSIBLE to get help, I am lucky to be alive)

              My Mom rescued me, I came to live with her and my step father, and I am better now, stronger. I get tattoos to cover the worst of the scars he gave me and the man I am going to marry is the most wonderful and supportive man just..ever! He loves me SO very much, and he loves ME, not what I look like, not how much money I have, or anything. He is a standard sized guy, meaning he is neither fat nor this, just somewhere in there, though he is of Norwegian decent and that makes him a little denser of body so he is a LOT heavier then he looks. According to the Lovely BMI chart, he would be considered obese, but by looking at him, well let’s just say he would be the PERFECT example. He has signed the HAES pledge with me, and supports my dancing. Hell he was the one that bought me the tattoo on my stomach! He thinks I am beautiful, and after all I have been through in my short 28 years, he is a gift. I feel this is my reward for enduring all that BS. TO be free, to love myself, to be strong, to dance, to have a wonderful partner, and to be able to come to places like this and share my story so that maybe someone else who went through something similar can know they are not alone -much much hugs-
              You are wonderful❤

              • thank you. i am having a really hard time–a really hard time–& i am grateful. i am so sorry yr life was so hard. it was harder even than mine [all i had was a mother who was decent but dying, a father who ran off w/ her maid while she died & who then stole an enormous amount of money, earned by my doctor mother, from me–not to mention a terrible, terrible second husband. who thought one of the characters in the movie, the mighty ducks was secretly named after him & who, years ago, made me spend about ten hours trying to research this.

                yrs was worse. mine was worse than i’m saying–but yrs was worse than mine. i am SO happy it is no longer yr life.

                • If you want we can talk more, I see the responses here are getting smaller and smaller LOL
                  My e-mail is LovelyLadyLysette@yahoo.com
                  and I don’t quantify who’s was worse no matter WHAT the topic, everyone’s experiences are unique, and their own, pain, happiness, whatever it is, in my world there is no better or worse.🙂
                  If you survived it, then you are strong and survived a horrible situation. Your pain is valid, and is made no less by what I went through. Send me an e-mail, I would love to talk to you more.

    • That is the freakin’ coolest tattoo!! I’m thinking fat tattoo photo montage at this point! And I’m going to have to go get one so I can be in it!!! 🙂

      • Is there for serious a Fat Tattoo project? Cause that would be wicked cool!
        I am actually featured in a book currently with the tattoo I have on my arm. It is the symbol of a certain Belly dance troupe in Sacramento Cali, and it’s a waxing and waning moon together (I will link a pic below) and basically it is the troupe’s symbol, but they are world renowned, and people have chosen we,, dancers mostly have chosen to get this as a tattoo. Basically what they asked for the book was what does the space in between the waxing and waning moon mean to you? For me it means no excuses.🙂
        I actually got my tattoo with the troupe leader and one of the members of the troupe last June. It was SUCH an honor. Then I did a 2 hour workshop with them. I ADORE all of them, and not only being in the book, but getting a signed first addition and being on the second page, that brought me to tears. I NEVER thought I would be so lucky as to be a part of this group, this family these women (and men) had created, more ever have the tattoo, or ANYTHING.
        Now I can text with the members of the troupe, and we can talk as friends, and I feel so blessed.

        But yeah, we should start a photo board like they have for the fatties in motion, or, whatever it;s called I forget (sorry!) And have one for larger people with tattoos. All bodies GET tattoos, but we only SEE the cutsie pretty thin ones, let’s see if we can change that😀

        These Crazy Chicks, that I Love UNMATA

        you can see when ALL their students come on stage that yes they are ALL shapes and sizes, and there are even Men that are part of the troupe. I freaking love them so much❤

        Right After I got my UmSigil or Unmata Tattoo with Amy Sigil and Kari (also after a 2 hour INTENSE ITS workshop)

        The Piece in the Book, Sigil Ink (I had the Symbol dressed up a bit by my tattoo artist, since I was out of town when I got the UmSigil, I ADORE the finished tattoo, same guy who did my Simorgh, and a few other tatts I have)

        This is a video ABOUT the project they did. It explains more about the tattoos and the meanings for them

  12. The popular misconceptions and hyperbolic distortions related to so-called “weight-loss success” have been shown to legitimate (and socially empower) fat stigma as a force of social domination and control. Moreover, according to a recent study (Oct. 2012), “Exposure to portrayals of the malleability of body weight, such as those promoted in the popular media, may significantly worsen obesity stigma.” Link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22395810

    In addition, another research report about “residual stigma” found that FORMERLY “overweight” persons are “significantly more likely to attempt suicide” compared to weight-stable persons (consistently “overweight” and consistently “normal” weight.) Link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22560867

    When “successful weight loss” changes people’s body size from “overweight” to “normal” weight yet results in increased risk for suicide, and when distorted “portrayals of weight loss success” worsen the harm from fat stigma, then perhaps doctors and other “care providers” should (on purely ethical grounds) reexamine more closely the wider implications of what they are actually advocating.

  13. i’ll try & say it better this time [i’m better that i was the last time i tried to say it, but still at least a quarter dead from massive dental surgery, apologies], here you go:

    we all know that people in the states are getting fatter. & we’ve all been told this is a huge, no pun intended, problem.

    lets say, though, that, instead, they were getting taller. wouldnt we then just change what we thought of as average height?

    why do we not do that about average weight? how can we not recognize that when we make this judgment–cos thats what it is–about what people should weigh it is entirely based on bigotry, same as all visual bigotry of the past.

    so help me–& i know this is slightly o/t–but cos i understand this it broke my heart to see michele obama declare war on another group of people, this one children, based entirely on how they looked. i was ridiculously prepared to like her before that. now i just– oh, i just shake my head.

    & this is not even my personal battle. i can fit in a bus seat, for example, if not precisely perfectly. but it is a terrible terrible bunch of discrimination, one that every decently thinking person must fight. it is heartbreaking & infuriating that we, as a culture, are still doing this to any group of human beings. i am uncertain whether people do or do not know this but very similar medical excuses have been made throughout at least modern history in order for people to justify their unjustifiable prejudices against who they disliked that season. similar stuff has been used in the past against black people, against women, against all manner & type of the indigenous–against anyone about whom it would be actually illegal to discriminate now. the present medical establishment can holler all it likes but this is no different.

    worst of all is that they almost undoubtedly know it.

    good morning, good night, hope it helps.

  14. I went to the doctor last week to discuss a serious neck injury from a car accident 9 months ago. After I finished explaining that I can no longer run, or use the elliptical, or even walk more than a mile because of severe pain in my neck, and that I’ve had two miscarriages in the past 8 months, the doctor nodded and then said “How’s your diet? You’ve gained about 10 pounds since you were here last.” I was so shocked – considering I can no longer exercise and have insane hormones it’s pretty amazing that I’ve only gained 10 pounds. And why don’t you fix one of the issues I just mentioned before you tell me I need to lose weight?


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