Monday, December 13, 2010

Some People are Fat

I just read an article about a study done in Australia.  They determined that overweight people prefer being called fat rather than obese.

If you say obese aloud, it kind of sounds like....a beast.  Maybe that's part of it.  Does it make people feel like they're some kind of monster?

Maybe fat has better connotations.   Fat's like Santa Claus, and the singing lady that puts an end to something. 

Obese is also seen as more of a medical term. And medical terms are associated with disease, disorders, illness, epidemics, etc.   

I think medical things can have a ton of stigma attached to it, despite what the mental health advocates proclaim.  Is it really better to call someone schizophrenic rather than crazy or wacko?    I don't really think so.  The former term is definitely more politically correct and polite.   But either can be a scary situation, and will bring about fear and judgment from others.

The obesity vs. fat article mentions something I remember from a few months back.  Some doctor folks decided we needed to take a tough love approach with fat people.  We needed to call them fat, so they could jump on the road towards good health.  Obesity was too polite a term. We need to be tough, people!

So now this new study is making people all bewildered. What can we label people so they'll get scared and want to lose weight?   How can we offend them more?

What I don't get is this.....

Do fat people not realize they're fat?

They say Anorexic causes people to not see their thinness when they look in the mirror. So is there a disorder that causes fat people to look in the mirror and see a thin person?  

Maybe it's true. I find it hard to believe.

I think fat people know they're fat. They don't need someone to enlighten them.

Now some may downplay their weight issue.  I don't think this is because they're ignorant.  It's probably because they're content with their lifestyle.  They don't want to make changes.  Or they've tried to make changes, nothing worked enough, and they felt it wasn't worth it. They give up.  

I'm not saying doctors shouldn't talk to patients about their weight problem.   It probably DOES need to be discussed in some manner.  But I think it has to be done with the assumption that the patient isn't stupid.

How about some questions.  Are you concerned with your weight?  If they say no, ask them why not.  If they say yes,  ask them about their attempts to lose weight.   What diets have they tried?   How much do they exercise?    Don't assume a fat person doesn't exercise, or watch what they eat.   Maybe they take good care of themselves, but their metabolism doesn't cooperate.  Maybe they need help finding more effective exercises.  

One of the things the article says is we might not recognize ourselves as being fat because the population keeps getting fatter. We might think we're normal because so many other people are fat.

I can't agree with that.  There might be a lot of overweight people in our world, but the media and fashion industry does not reflect this at all.  They often give us the message that fat is anything over size 6. 

I think there's a definite pressure to be underweight in this society.  There might be SOME people who are comfortable with their fatness.  I doubt that's usually the case though.  I think it's more the fact that it is REALLY hard to lose weight.

Food can be an addiction like anything else.  Think how hard it is to stop smoking, drink alcohol, or any other drug.  What do you do?  I think most people choose the cold turkey thing.  You give it all up.   It seems that's the only solution.  

But you can't do that with food.  You can't just give it up.  You have to learn how to eat it without eating too much of it.   It takes a LOT of self-control.     And if you have too much self control, you end up being the way I was.—weighing every piece of food you eat;  pacing around the house almost constantly so you can get at least 8 miles per day on your pedometer, checking the scale multiple times a day, etc.  

If you have no control over your eating and exercising, you're likely going to have a weight problem.  If you have too much control you're likely going to have an eating disorder. 

It's hard to have a healthy balance.    

So, yeah.  I think doctors should spend more time and energy helping people achieve that balance rather than trying to decide how to label people.