As a blogger about weight loss and nutrition I get sent a lot of very interesting news from around the English-speaking world. Yesterday I was shown this article, under this headline:
Fat people don’t need ’empowerment’, they just need to lose weight
This headline appears in the British newspaper “The Telegraph” and it stirs up a great deal of conflicting sentiment within me. I have written articles about the idea that there are a lot of stories, movies, TV programs that are trying to make being heavy, obese even, something that is not to be considered something to be ashamed of. “Fat Shaming” is actually something that begins in the schoolyard and never really ends.
Shaming the heavy is obviously not a way to convince people that they need to lose weight. Every heavy grade schooler has the will to lose the weight, to become normal. Their parents are on them to do it, their peers, themselves. Nobody goes into puberty wishing that they could stay fat. Nobody.
Wanting to lose weight is not the answer to losing weight. If that were the case, then two of three people in the US would not be currently overweight. If it were a matter of willpower, then we wouldn’t have an epidemic of weight gain, diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. Nobody wants these things. One reaction to the explosion of overweight in the US and Britain is this one:
Big Dude Clothing MD Darrell Freeman says, “We’ve seen a huge rise in the popularity of empowering plus-size women in recent years and I really hope that we can replicate this kind of awareness for overweight men also struggling to deal with the pressures that the media puts on us all.
“Overweight men should be allowed to embrace their bodies in exactly the same way that ‘curvy’ and ‘voluptuous’ women do.”
Yes, one reaction to adults getting fatter and fatter is to embrace our new curvy bodies. That doesn’t help kids that tease and bully the fat kid on the playground, but if we are talking about adults, one thing we can do is throw in the towel. We can buy bigger clothes, buy stronger furniture, widen the seats in the airplanes and cars. We can accept our new larger life. Don’t worry, be happy.
Accepting the new situation as the new normal, changing the way we see it will not just lead to a friendlier society, where we are all included. The ramifications of expanding waistlines are dire:
In May, the NHS chief executive Simon Steven said obesity is “the new smoking”. Obesity now accounts for 8 per cent of all UK deaths and if we don’t get tough on it, it will bankrupt the NHS.
So while Freeman claims the media “puts pressure on” overweight men, we’ve never been more obese. It is becoming the norm. Indeed the World Health Organisation predicts that three quarters of British men and almost all adults will be overweight by 2030.
We are not far here in the US from 3/4of us being overweight right now. Willpower is not the problem. We are trying to lose weight, but we are getting really shitty advice on how to do it.
Eat less is the number one thing we are told. They say “You are gaining weight because you overeat.” If that is the case then why do grade schoolers get fat? The weight explosion is not just occurring among people that feed themselves, but also in little kids that eat only what we give them. The problem isn’t how much we eat, it is what we eat.
People think that chocolate milk is healthy–its milk. But a serving of chocolate milk has as much sugar in it as a Snickers bar. People think that yogurt is healthy and give their kids GoGurt because they like it. It’s not healthy. Plain yogurt is healthy, Gogurt is just as bad as giving the kids cake for breakfast. The problem with the US diet is not that there is too much, but that there is too much sugar. Just about every processed food (8 out of ten items) contains added sugars. Any item that claims to be low-fat is going to be enhanced with sugar.
The second thing they tell you is that you don’t exercise enough. The thing they don’t tell you is that you would have to run for half an hour to burn off the calories in one cookie. Exercise will not make you lose weight. Some of the heaviest people in the country have the hardest, most physical jobs. You get heavy because you eat carbohydrate, not because you set at your computer too much. If you want the details on how your body gains and loses weight, get the book “Good Calories, Bad Calories” by Gary Taubes.
Do you want to lose weight? Don’t be ashamed. It’s not your fault. The advice you have been given on diet has been wrong for your whole life. Here is how to lose weight. Don’t buy any food in boxes, bags, or bottles. If it has more than one ingredient it is not real food, but processed food. Get your calories eating meat that has some fat on it. Cook your food in real fat…butter, lard, coconut oil. Nothing artificial is good for you to use if you are wanting to lose weight. At the grocery store stay out of the middle aisles. A health claim on a label means that the food is full of artificial things, many of which have untested effects on the population.
Shaming the fat in the US is just adding insult to injury. I do not blame any of the little kids that are overweight–and I don’t blame their parents. They are trying, but they are not trying the right things. Slowly the word is getting out. I found it, I am passing it on. I follow my own advice and I lost over ten percent of my body weight. I am now at my normal, natural weight. I don’t diet at all. I eat as much as I can stand to eat, and I eat the occasional dessert. I drink the occasional Coke. Most of the food and drink that I consume though are 100% real food and water. That is the ticket. Don’t be ashamed, don’t accept your situation as beyond your control, be real. Eat real.