Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Move To Fat Acceptance

For several decades there has been a movement, and even an association--The National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance--to influence our society to stop being prejudiced against fat people. Yes, they call themselves fat, and there's a carefully thought out reason for this: labeling a person as "overweight" or "obese" lends more credence to the condition because of the clinical and scientific sound of the title.

Now with over a full third of the American population obese (previously clinically defined as 20% above their ideal weight, and now as have a body mass index [BMI] of 30 or above) more and more are joining the movement. Many women claim that being fat--even weighing as much as 300 pounds--is not what makes them unhappy; dieting is what makes them unhappy. They want to stop obsessing about their weight and their eating and stop experiencing the prejudice and public gawking they suffer because of their size. The National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance (NAAFA) works to have laws passed to prohibit discrimination in the work place and act to intervene when children who are overweight are bullied at school. Indeed, these fat women assert that the number on the scale or the size of their clothing or the way that they look should not be what determines their acceptance in society, their happiness, or their self-worth. They point out that mental well-being is important just as physical health is, and that they suffer greatly from being singled out, stared at, and experiencing self-loathing because they don't meet society's ideal standard of weight.

For those who believe this is just an excuse for these fat people to eat what they please, most of the member of the fat acceptance movement say they are concerned about their health and do keep up regular exercise and sensible eating. They go to their doctors for physicals and evaluations and many can honestly say that their blood pressure, cholesterol, and sugar levels are normal. They also point out the dangers of yo yo dieting, which are well documented.
While the people who are part of the fat acceptance movement say they are happier accepting their weight as it is, feeling great in every aspect of their life--including dressing well and finding worth in their family, relationships, and career insteadof their size--health professionals still acknowledge there is no denying that extra weight will more than likely contribute to chronic illnesses as these people age. No one can say being one hundred pounds overweight is good for you.

Another stand I take issue with is the NAAFA's statement that "society believes fat people are at fault for their size". I believe people are at fault for their size. As long as an overweight person attributes their weight to an outside factor--whether it's their metabolism or genetics, the fast food industry, or their destiny--taking the responsibility away from themselves is being in denial. This greatly reduces the chance they they will ever assume responsibility and do something to take control of their situation

Lose Just 10% for Better Health

For people who are very overweight, the journey to get the extra pounds off seems never-ending. The good news is, you don’t have to worry about getting all the way down to your ideal weight in order to experience many of the benefits of weight loss. Evidence is now clear that losing just 10% of your body weight can reap huge benefits to your health! This means if you weigh 230 pounds you don’t have to shoot for an all-or-nothing 50, 60, or even an 80 pound weight loss (depending on your height and gender). Just 23 pounds off your frame can ease the pressure on your joints and your back, help your blood glucose response, bring your blood lipid levels down, and reduce your blood pressure. Of course, the more you lose, the better the results, but it’s a huge relief for most people to hear that a little bit of weight loss will do a whole lot of good.

Think about what 10% weight loss is for you. If it doesn’t sound very significant to drop 20-something pounds, check out this perspective to see how it would feel if you could instantly feel the difference. Imagine yourself carrying a 25 pound bag of dog food or cat litter: what a relief it is to get it out of the car and into the house and finally put it down. If you had to carry it up a flight of stairs it feels even more heavy!
So how differently would you feel, how much easier would you move, how much less out-of-breath would you be if you weighed 25 pounds less?
Think about carrying a gallon of milk in each hand: they weigh a total of 16 pounds. It doesn’t sound like a lot to lose from your body, but it feels like quite a struggle if you have to carry this 16 pounds around for a while. What would it be like to drop 16 pounds and go about your day without this extra weight?

The struggle to lose weight can feel like a long, uphill battle. You can make it easier by acknowledging all of your successes along the way. Pat yourself on the back for every five pounds you lose and set a new, smaller goal today. Work your way to losing just 10% of your body weight over the next six months. You’ll find it much easier and less stressful to reach a goal you’ve set, and reap the benefits that resonate throughout your mind and body!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

You Should Know About This

The Center for Science in the Public Interest is a watchdog organization who blows the whistle when they find out about hugely unreasonable amounts of fat, salt, and sugar hidden in common foods and restaurant menus. They are a highly reputable group of physicians who work to let the public know what's really in movie popcorn, fast foods, and other sickening surprises. There are "extreme" cases they report here ( of many restaurant entrees providing nearly 1500 calories per order. The group pushes for healthier dining to be available for consumers by doing things like doing away with trans fats, and mandating labels on restaurant menus just like packaged foods must have by law.

Here is a video telling you more about them and how you can subscribe to their newsletter.

Watch for them in the news and listen up for the best information from these pros who are looking out for your best interest!