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03:33 AM on 04/03/2011
Good article and very necessary.
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Those who you let anger you conquer you
09:20 PM on 04/02/2011
Not everyone is a size zero, simple as that. I recently tried a diet of a large fruit smoothie for lunch and all I wound up with from the excess liquid was getting very bloated. It's additionally frustrating for me as a gay man nearly in my 40's that I have had plenty of straight women flirt with me and wanting dates over the years as I am just a little overweight but not obesely so, but most other gay men treat me like my pounds are a fatally contagious disease since gay culture is so profoundly strict in men needing to be lean.
Nicole Dixson
01:56 AM on 04/03/2011
That's not a sustainable diet for anyone, but you are right, not everyone can be a size zero. As far as gay men needing to be lean, I know several "bears". They are not lean by any means and the ones I know are in serious relationships. Find ways to feel better about yourself. I am sending good thoughts your way and my hopes that you will find love!
02:01 PM on 04/04/2011
There's probably a good psychology / sociology PhD dissertation or ten in the relationship of internalized physical ideals of homosexual men and the social pressure to conform to a straight life in our society.
Golden Rule: whoever got the gold, rule.
09:17 PM on 04/02/2011
It's very unhealthy to be obese or so we're told. Otherwise there would be nothing wrong with it, just another body type. Oh the kids may snicker some, but mature adults know that humans come in all kinds of body types and colors and attitudes.
12:26 AM on 04/07/2011
It's very unhealthy to smoke or so we're told. Otherwise there would be nothing wrong with it, just another habit.

Yeah, if only something wasn't wrong with it there'd be nothing wrong with it!
Steven Barnes
Author, life coach, martial artist
08:50 PM on 04/02/2011
The obese should not feel, or be encouraged to feel, guilt blame or shame about their condition. They should, on the other hand, if they are adults, feel responsibility. As unfair as that sounds, there is no one else to take it. Our lives, as adults, are ultimately ours to shape. Either we assume that responsibility, or we risk our health, happiness, and sanity. The point about emotional reward is huge, underrealized, and critical to understand. Society's changes have indeed made it far easier to become overweight. But that does not, and cannot, absolve us of our individual responsibility to ourselves.
08:49 PM on 04/02/2011
I have a question. I was a fat child raised by very thin parents who remain thin to this day. My Dad smoked and did physical labor. My Mom never dieted or excercised a day in her life. We ate lots of fresh food from the garden and they processed their own grass fed beef. We also ate fish, freshwater not seafood. I ate smaller portions than they did and I was still fat. Fast forward to my young adulthood. I was in the US Army, excercising daily and was still one of the fattest people in my platoon. I was on the "fat squad" and got extra excercise each day. Still fat...a size 14. I spent 12 years doing physical labor every day (construction work, lifting, bending and literally crawling on my hands and knees) and I got bigger and bigger. I have never eaten fast food, and I eat what would be considered half a portion twice a day at most. I use organics when possible and I NEVER eat an entire meal out. I usually split a meal, no appetizer, no dessert, with my husband. We mostly eat at home, no processed foods and I drink a lot of water. Now I'm 46, a size 18, bi-polar, have hypothyroidism, and fibromyalgia. Why am I fat and suffering from these other maladies (sp?)? I also raised thin, healthy 26 year old twins who niether diet nor excercise. WTH?
old hermit who lives in the woods
08:56 PM on 04/02/2011
have you or your doc ever considered that your hypothyroism is the *cause* of your weight gain? are you being treated for it?
09:04 PM on 04/02/2011
I have only been diagnosed as hypothyroid within the last few weeks. I have been tested every year for a decade. It was never the problem before. I am being treated for it currently. No weight loss yet.
09:09 PM on 04/02/2011
It's not fair at all, but you probably have some genetic predisposition. Have you always had the hypothyroidism. or is that a recent diagnosis, as that can cause weight gain or difficulty losing. In addition, if you are on meds for your bi-polar and/or fibromyalgia, many of those can cause weight gain or make it hard to lose, and combinations of meds that otherwise might not be an issue can cause problems. Is there any way you can see a bariatric specialist?
09:23 PM on 04/02/2011
Like I said, I have been fat since I was a young child. I didn't have all of these conditions then. I have been on depression meds since I was 25. Fat before 25 and after. Exercise seems to have no impact. Fibromyalgia has only been a problem for the last year or so. Bariatric surgery seems so drastic. Several of my friends have had the surgery, lost over 150 lbs. each and have gained a lot of it back. I don't know what to think.
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08:46 PM on 04/02/2011
I work 9 hours a day and my commute is 40 minutes each way on top of that. I have two kids who need help with homework, fed a healthy dinner and breakfast (not to mention lunch box fixing) and driven to various evening extra-curricular activities 4 out of 5 days! I'm not even going to get into the all the extra stuff like cleaning that has to be done.... When do I find the time to exercise?

It is a 4:30 wake up and at the gym by 5:00am for me! It is my only option.
09:28 PM on 04/02/2011
oh, sister, i HEAR YOU! i just became exhausted reading all of that. fanned because you are an incredible mom - please take care of you! i'm so grateful for such committed, hard-working moms. thank you.
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10:02 PM on 04/02/2011
Just want to say thanks! Not so much for the back pat (which I appreciate more than you know) but because I read all your responses. Thank you for your generosity of spirit. Your positivity shines through.
"Women 4 the GOP" is like "Chickens 4 the KFC"
03:35 AM on 04/03/2011
How fortunate you are to be healthy enough to do all that.
08:35 PM on 04/02/2011
Some people are motivated by money. If you loose weight you will reduce the doctor and prescription bills for the high blood pressure and cholesterol medicine.

We all need to take personal responsibility for our health.

Eat less salt, sugar and fat and exercise a little each day.

You will feel better and have a little more money in your pocket.
08:47 PM on 04/02/2011
Some people are overweight, don't eat much salt, very little fat or sugar, exercise, and take no medications.
05:47 AM on 04/04/2011
Indeed! Some medical insurance companies in Germany offered money if you bring daily your step counter and you can prove you made 8000 steps tha day. So what the people did was to stand up and march in front of the tv till they reached the requirement. I'm sure it's perfectly doable for anyone and we can exercise without a gym membership
08:35 PM on 04/02/2011
Obesity has increased so much in the last few decades, it makes me think there is something more going on than just "fat people eat too much."

An interesting theory Michael Pollan mentioned, in which book I can't remember, looks at the lower nutritional values of our food these days. His example was an apple grown in the 50s, which had 3 times the nutrients of an apple grown now. The theory is that maybe, after eating, your body still doesn't have what it was needing, so it directs you to eat more.

Of course, there are also the radical ways our food has changed in the last few decades. Maybe our bodies really do metabolize differently: high fructose corn syrup, textured vegetable protein (added to many packaged foods for protein content), refined white flours, foods from genetically modified seeds, hydrogenated oils, dyes, and so forth.

I have known too many overweight people who really don't lose weight just by exercising or eating less (most do, but many still don't). And, there weren't nearly this many morbidly obese people even just 50 years ago. It's not the people that have changed. We didn't just, over the course of a few decades, start growing fat, lazy people. Something else is happening.
09:31 PM on 04/02/2011
ding! ding! ding!!!!
that is it exactly. we are eating foods that our DNA was never meant to eat, and we are breathing polluted air and drinking processed water that was never intended for our bodies.

have you ever noticed that so many overweight children are starting to look like cattle - from all of the growth hormone in cheese, milk, and meats?

it is absolutely the food we are eating. so many diseases and chronic problems are cleared up by people going on radical raw food diets. i can't do 100% raw, but the minute i start cutting back on raw body is cranky, sluggish, and wrinkly i swear.
So you've decided to go psycho. Godspeed.
01:57 AM on 04/03/2011
You're 400% right.

I wish I could eat more raw foods but I'm allergic to a lot of them. Raw carrot, apple, and potato close my throat right up.
12:29 AM on 04/07/2011
Humans have evolved to eat cooked food as we have been for over 100,000 years. A raw diet is not what we're meant to eat.

But why let facts get in the way of your bizarre beliefs about diet?
Tom Hendricks
see wikipedia
11:24 PM on 04/02/2011
There is obviously an inner drive that is not being resolved. I would suggest this clue as breast feeding is reduced world wide - breast milk is the best diet drink in the world. Now for some specific new ideas that may be part of the solution
There is a new hypothesis that suggests that each infant sets up a 3 part digestion system that may play a key part in every aspect of his life (including both overweight and underweight problems).
He develops, over the first years of his life a pattern of a) breaking down food into usable nutrients - from mouth to stomach, b) absorbing those nutrients - in small intestine, and c) excreting out waste - from large intestine.
Therefore each child sets a 3 part pattern in infancy of how he will digest food. This seems to subconsciously program almost all behavior from then on.
This pattern is in the ENS, or Enteric Nervous System or digestion brain. It is unconscious motivation, and it is very difficult to change.
These three patterns are set up through breast feeding and weaning.
Generally problems with breast feeding will lead to overweight problems, and problems with weaning will lead to underweight problems..
Back for more
08:28 PM on 04/02/2011
I just can't take these over-analytic, emotionally-charged dissertations on obesity. They are everywhere in this country. Obsessing over something rarely helps, and this is not a problem that demands clever inspirations to get a handle on.

Obesity's not good, but it's not devastating either.

The solutions aren't easy but they are simple. Don't diet; eat right and exercise. Humans managed it for the last 100,000 odd years--there's clearly no secret involved.
Virginia Beringer
07:58 PM on 04/02/2011
Education is the key. When people learn how to eat right and take care of themselves, they find they can do it. It's all in knowing how. How to make food choices, how to release stress without eating, how to find time in even the busiest schedule for exercise. Everyone can be healthy, whether or not we fit into some stupid cookie cutter model of what is "beautiful". It might be cliche, but beauty is inside, in your heart and soul.
bespectacled cartoon character
02:55 AM on 04/03/2011
It might, in fact, be an entire paragraph of cliché.
Kristin Talbott
One should always be a little improbable.
07:45 PM on 04/02/2011
"6. Let us not forget the toxic work and commuting schedules of many Americans leaving little or no time for exercise. Do they have to wait until they are in a retirement home to get to a gym?"

The moment "work" became an activity that required sitting instead of physical labor, our society was on the fast track to getting fat. There was a study that came out a few years ago that showed that even two hours of exercise a day couldn't compensate for the harm done to our bodies by sitting at a desk for eight. And this page has some additional info on the ways in which sitting is harmful to our health:

But it's not just the nature of the work we do; it's how much time we have to spend doing it and how little time that leaves for EVERYTHING ELSE in life. When you have to stuff your life in around the edges of a job, everything suffers. The quality of the food we eat (why do you think takeout has become so popular?). The quantity of the food we eat (nothing like a mid-morning and mid-afternoon sugary snack to give you the boost you need to keep pushing the papers). The amount of sleep we get (not enough inhibits weight loss). And haven't you ever noticed that after a day of doing essentially nothing, you're exhausted?
The Cause Endures
07:29 PM on 04/02/2011
You know, I have the Food Network and sugar aisles in my supermarkets too, and I'm pretty healthy. Emotional pain might be an understandable reason to binge on anything from food to alcohol, but uh, that doesn't make a person any less of an irresponsible alcoholic or overeater.

Education, or lack thereof, is probably the principle reason most people are overweight. But here's the thing: we all know the cure to obesity.
10:03 PM on 04/02/2011
Education is not what I lack, but the time to put it to use. I know, I am responsible for the choices I have made and my decision to provide the best life possible for my child means I often eat fake food for breakfast so she doesn't have to. The gym? Most are closed by the time I get home, and my husband leaves earlier in the AM than I do. I'm sure there is a solution, but after a 12-hour day, I'm too tired to find it.
The Cause Endures
01:55 AM on 04/03/2011
I hear ya. Believe me, I do.

Perhaps fruit for breakfast and a short run/walk on any free day that might exist? Take the stairs instead of the elevator? Park far away from the door?

You'll be surprised how much energy you actually get once you start exercising regularly. I know I was.
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06:57 PM on 04/02/2011
Dr. Wurtman, I take my hat off to you!!!!!! I am not obese or overweight myself, but some of my dearest friends are. The meanness and judgment they have to face sometimes is flabbergasting. Your points are right on the target! What a great, well thought out, particular and accurate article! Thank you.