sarahmichigan: (Default)
I haven't seen the first three parts, but I watched the trailer for the series and all of part 4. I tortured myself by sitting through the whole thing just so I could report back to you guys! And also leave HAES-friendly literature behind for participants and organizers.

Here's a slightly modified version of what I just posted to Facebook:

Went to a showing of Part 4 of the "Weight of the Nation" (Obesity Epidemic Panic Oh My) documentary, followed by discussion, last night. It wasn't as bad as I expected, but I did write down at least 6 pieces of misleading to downright factually incorrect information, plus more subtle un-truths through graphics. And our tax money paid for this crap. I did like the discussion of food politics (farm subsidies, food marketing & advertisment, etc.) and the focus on shaping cities to be more friendly toward exercise.

Factually incorrect: The next generation of children will have shorter lives than us because of obesity. UNTRUE. We've been living longer and longer as we get fatter, and the next generation of children is projected to have a longer lifespan.

Factually incorrect: The people shown in the opening credits are typical of the average overweight or obese American. FALSE. The people pictured and quoted at the opening of each episode are well in excess of 35 BMI, some well over 50 BMI. Those people comprise 8 percent or less of all overweight or obese Americans. Most "overweight" Americans would have been in the normal range before the government changed the definition of "overweight" in 1998 from a cut-off of 27 to a cut-off of 25.

Factually incorrect: The number of calories consumed per person has skyrocked by hundreds from the 1960s to the present. FALSE. The numbers often cited by the anti-obesity crusaders refers NOT to calories consumed but calories PRODUCED and they rarely make it clear that many of the food calories produced are a) fed to livestock or b) diverted to industrial use (i.e. soybeans) and not consumed.

Factually incorrect: Most overweight and fat people are that way because they're out of control with food. FALSE. Many studies have shown that we have a set range of weight, and it's hard to eat ourselves much fatter or starve oursevles much thinner because our body clings to that set point/set range. Google "Ancel Keys" and do some reading.

Factually incorrect: Commentator points to all the fast food joints on a block and says "You could eat your way to obesity just on this block." FALSE. You cannot eat your way to obesity. Even the NIH's own info suggests that our genes account for anywere from 60 to 80 percent of the variation in body sizes and shapes.


Also, folks from the Association for Size Diversity and Health contacted the documentary makers, asking to include some information about "Health at Every Size" and were rebuffed. That's too bad, because an HAES approach has been showed to be effective in dealing with metabolic disorders regardless of how much weight is loss (even if it's none).

sarahmichigan: (fitness)
1. I've mentioned we did some house renovations/fix-ups in previous posts. J. did a nice post in words and photos, with bonus pictures of the Cutest Cat in Our House here.

2. I enjoyed the inauguration party some friends hosted last night. They had hamburgers, hotdogs and apple pie for an all-American meal. We brought veggie burgers and potato salad and many other yummy side dishes were contributed by others. And champagne while we watched the re-play of the ceremony.

I can understand why my conservative or libertarian friends and acquaintances might not be thrilled with Obama, but I have a harder time understanding the bitter criticisms from some of my progressive friends. I don't think Obama shoots rainbows out of his butt or anything, but he's a big improvement. I'm not crazy about some of his picks for cabinet, not crazy about Rick Warren to lead a prayer at the inauguration and I have other nitpicks. But I don't want to hear any bullshit about the political parties all being the same, because they aren't. "Not different enough as I'd hope for" is not the same as "No difference." I listened to a bit of Obama's "The Audacity of Hope" as a book on CD, and it made me optimistic about having a Constitutional scholar in the White House. I imagine I'll disagree with him from time to time in the next 4 years, but overall, I'm pretty freaking thrilled.

3. Freelancing just picked up in a big way this month, and now, my office job may want to offer me some additional hours. Someone who had been working the web content part-time quit for a full-time job, and I may be able to pick up additional hours and additional pay while being able to do it from home. That'd be sweet. I'll take what I can get while things are flush, because you never know when those kind of opportunities will dry up...

4. A friend asked on her journal, "What does your weight mean to you?' It's something I've been thinking about a fair amount, largely because it's New Year's Resolution time, and there's stuff about getting rid of your belly and finally finding that right diet for you in the media, plus some friends and acquaintances (real life and LJ) are starting new diets of various kinds. This is what I said in response to her question:

"Rationally, my weight is neutral info. It indicates if I'm stressy or if I'm working out a lot. Unexplained weight loss/weight gain *may* indicate an underlying medical condition.

Non-rationally, my weight is an indication of whether I'm doing it "right." If I'm on the low end of my usual weight range, I'm being righteous. If I'm at the top or go over the top of the usual range, I must be doing something "wrong." Years of conditioning are hard to overcome, even when you're a dedicated fat-pozzer."

I've been about in the same weight range since I stopped dieting about 7 years ago. Since leveling off, I would swing up about 3 pounds, then down 5, but I was always somewhere between 201 and 208. Occasionally, like when I was having a rough time with hypo, I'd go above the range, and other times when I was super active, I dropped down to 199 or 200. But I was fairly rock steady 99 percent of the time in that range. Then, last year, I had 7 or 8 pounds creep up on me, above the top of the range. My weight started fluctuating in a higher range, between 212 and 217.

It's been hard to not see that as a "failure" on my part. I wanted to blame it on some underlying health condition, but all my labs are fine and I'm actually feeling pretty good in general. Then, I blamed it on being less active after the cold weather set in, but the initial gain happened in mid 2008 when I was the most active I've ever been in my life.

Instead of deciding I need another weight-loss diet to "fix" the problem, I've finally decided to get back to fat-acceptance/body-positive basics though. No scales for the last 2 months or so. I even turned backward on the scale at the doctor's office and asked not to be told what I weighed. A few of my pants are a little tight, and I plan to pick up one or two new pair on clearance or from a second-hand store. I want to get back into a regular exercise routine, not in hopes of losing weight, but in hopes of managing stress and anxiety and improving my health overall.

I'm pretty clear that losing weight and keeping it off long-term is not the right focus for me (or 98 percent of other humans). So, it's back to the basics of HAES. I want to focus on eating in ways that makes me feel good (from scratch, lots of fruits and veggies) and putting some fun back in my workouts. Not really a resolution, here, just a re-focusing.

sarahmichigan: (Default)
I'm finding I'm less inclined to try to disabuse people of [what I see as] their deluded beliefs. A lot of it has to do with size acceptance and body image stuff, but this is also true in other areas. For one, I almost never get a good reaction, even if I try to be diplomatic, and it's just not worth it to try most of the time. Either people will figure these things out themselves in the long run, or maybe they'll prove me wrong on some point. It's been known to happen.

I do worry that some people WON'T ever learn these things for themselves, and they'll be like my mother who is 70 and still thinks she's too fat and eats "too much." Christ woman! You have one of the best diets in terms of fruits and veggies and fiber and you're a cancer survivor, and you've lived into your 70s, and you're still worried about the size of your ass?

But, you know, it's not my job to change everyone's mind and make sure they're thinking the "right" way on these topics. I can't even convince myself on some points some days. I've been rather annoyed that I've been exercising my butt off and eating fresh fruit and veggies and I've GAINED weight. I obviously haven't gotten to the point of seeing body weight as value-neutral data yet, even though it's an ideal and something I urge on other people when I discuss body positivity.

So, anyway. I need to mind my own business and take care of my own issues first, I do think...
sarahmichigan: (Default)
I think it's interesting that this idea has popped up in LJ or in real life several times in just the past couple of days. It's mentioned on the "Fat Hate Bingo Cards" that are going around on my size-acceptance communities, I mentioned it to J. while we were out walking, and then it popped up in the context of a weight-loss post by an LJ friend.

(Note: I'm not picking on the person who made the weight-loss post; if you're happy, I'm happy for you. You just reminded me that I'd been meaning to post about this issue).

The friend who has lost weight compared her former higher weight to lugging around a grade-schooler every day. The Fat Hate Bingo Card compares "extra" weight to lugging around a backpack (and the author of "The Rotund" blog has snappy comebacks to several items on the bingo card).


I have a problem with these comparisons and was mentioning this to J. while we were out walking on Saturday. We'd walked to Dairy Mart to get a half gallon of skim milk, and I was carrying it in a backpack. I told him that people talk about carrying X amount of pounds as if it were like carrying a backpack or a weight around. But, it's really not like that at all. The approxmiately four-pounds of milk weighed me down in a completely different way than, say, four pounds I might gain around my menstrual period in water-weight gain. That weight would be distributed equally around my body, and I'd barely notice it, except maybe in a slightly pinched waistline. The four pounds of milk hanging in the small of my back felt completely different.

If anything, carrying around "extra" weight is just helping you get a better workout. What do athletes do when they want a more challenging program than just lugging around their own body weight? They add wrist bands or ankle weights. Nobody tells them they're destroying their health or harming their heart by doing this (although doing it poorly can certainly strain the joints).

The medical evidence for extra body weight being any kind of burden on your heart health is extremely weak (the biggest risk factor for cardiovascular diseases is family history, not body fat percentage), and having some extra body fat actually confers some health benefits, such as lower incidences of broken hips and osteoporosis as you grow older.

Just another one of those piece of conventional "wisdom" about weight and health that doesn't stand up to scrutiny very well.

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