Showing posts tagged diet

(via These are the Fat FAQs | LoveLiveGrow)

You aren’t serious about this “diets don’t work” thing, are you?

Completely serious. Diets don’t work. By diet, I mean anything you are doing to fuck with your eating habits in order to lose weight. Even if you’re fucking with your food to lose weight “for your health”, that’s still a diet. If you’re calling your attempt to lose weight a “lifestyle change” or “eating better and exercising”, it’s still a diet. Whenever attempted weight-loss is studied, the results are a resounding failure. The researchers say things like, “It is only the rate of weight regain, not the fact of weight regain, that appears open to debate.”

What is dieting anyway?

The diet companies love to say that their programs aren’t diets. Maybe they’re “lifestyle changes” or “eating plans.”

Some people say that the word diet has been highjacked - “all it refers to is the way you eat!” But, reinforcing this older, more neutral meaning doesn’t magically make diets into normal eating patterns. It doesn’t change the fact that they’re basically disordered eating, that they almost never work long-term or that they make most people fatter. Saying that the word is being misused doesn’t make what it’s come to refer to disappear.

Click through to read the rest at Big Fat Blog.

1. “Fat” is a neutral descriptive term. It describes the way that a person’s body carries adipose tissue, and says precisely nothing about their moral character, their health, their lifestyle, or their attractiveness. It is not offensive to call me fat - but it is offensive to assume that using the term to describe me is in some way insulting. And as for “but you’re not fat - you’re gorgeous!” - care to elaborate on what your problem is with my being both of these things?

Now - of course - as with any self-identification, there are going to be people who disagree with me here. Fat is a descriptive term with a nasty history - like “queer” or “dyke” - and there are going to be people who won’t want to apply it to themselves under any circumstances; we have to respect that.

But I have very little time for the cultural narrative that casts me as “curvy” and “voluptuous”, and even less for the one that uses “obese” or “overweight”. The former tries to play “good fatty/bad fatty” - it implies that my fat is the good, sensuous kind, carries class implications, and distances me from fat people who are not shaped like some hourglass ideal. The latter medicalises, a modern-day “homosexual”, pathologising natural diversity. These terms also make absolutely no sense - check out Kate Harding’s Illustrated BMI Project.

2. “Obesity” is not a medical condition. I know, I know - medical professionals are saying this all the time, so surely I must be deluded to question their Scientific Facts with my silly-girl politics? But in fact, it is my grasp of the scientific method which forces me to draw this conclusion.

Weight is easy to measure in an experimental context - just stand somebody on a scale; neat, empirical, unfalsifiable. It is much harder to measure lifestyle factors like diet or activity levels - a researcher must either rely on self-report (which is prone to all kinds of biasing factors) or carry out a much more invasive programme of observation. There’s also a large class element as well; people on lower incomes are more likely to work long hours, have little scope for recreational gym-going, and need to consume food with the greatest calorie-per-penny content.

So we end up in a situation where weight (or, worse, the useless BMI scale) is used as a proxy for these harder-to-measure factors. Where mere correlations between weight and disease rates (many of which are not even validated in repeated studies) are reified as omens of an “obesity epidemic”, rather than interrogated until any mechanisms of causation can be demonstrated. And once such weak studies are reported in the media as Hard Fact, which the public are all-too-willing to accept due to general prejudices against fat people, critical thinking has left the building - healthcare policy is based on public opinion, rather than evidence.

And then confirmation bias leads to the media reporting everything anti-fat - up to and including press releases from diet-pill companies - and completely ignoring evidence like the fact that fat people live longer than thin people. The actual evidence here is conflicted at best, people - meta-analyses do not yield strong results for or against any particular body type.

And even if the data pointed strongly towards thin people being healthier than fat people (which it doesn’t), what would you propose we do about it? Because there’s something that a lot of fat people know, that a lot of thin people assume the opposite of (because they’ve never had to try)..

(Reblogged from fatshionkingdom)