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Big fat liars

Today I read about a survey that found 75 percent of obese people say they eat healthy. They don’t mention how many of these people are big, obese liars.

Of course, they might not all be liars. If I had been included in this survey I would be an obese person who really does eat healthy and exercises regularly. They would have just caught me in transit from obesity to “normalness.” By the way, can we really continue to call being thin “normal” when approximately 2/3 of the country is overweight? Isn’t overweight the new normal? Also, people could be eating “healthy” foods, just way too many of them, thus causing them to maintain their obesity or gain weight. 1000 calories of carrots and 1000 calories of carrot cake are both still 1000 calories.

I think it just shows that denial and ignorance can be big factors in gaining weight. There was one study that observed how much people really ate and exercised and compared it to how much they said they did. Not too surprisingly they found the subjects “under-reported their actual energy intake by 47% and over-reported their actual physical activity by 51%.” Ouch! Let this be a lesson to never try lying to a scientist who’s weighing all your food.

While there are some diseases that can screw with your ability to lose weight, like thyroid disorders or polycystic ovary syndrome, it seems people would rather blame their obesity on a strange disease than on the fact that they just eat more than they burn. I know there were days when I was wishing I had some strange metabolic disorder to explain away my fatness. It’s so much better if you can just blame your genes and not something you’re doing.

I think this desire stems from the fact that society still pretty much blames fat people for being fat. We’re supposedly lazy, weak-willed, gross people who deserve to be fat because we sit on the couch eating Cheetos all day, our only exercise being when we pick that mushy Cheetos gunk out of our back molars. Personally, I’ve always thought will power was overrated. (Mind games are much more effective.) And even though the choices we make each day do lead us to become whatever we are, I haven’t ever met anyone who’s consciously said “I choose to be fat!”

However, common wisdom still states that fat people are fat solely because of personal character flaws, not silly little things like the current price of apples or only knowing how to use the oven as a storage shelf or that job where you sit all day secretly reading blogs (Is that your boss is coming around the corner? Alt + tab, quick!). It’s the same thinking that says addicts are just weak people and the clinically depressed simply need to cheer up already. So I can understand why people might want to believe something is wrong with their bodies or that they are eating healthy when they’re actually not. They don’t want to be seen as someone with a character flaw, as the world might have us believe. Thus, we lie to ourselves and to people in call centers doing market research for minimum wage.

Either that, or people just suck at math. The basic principle of Weight Loss 101 is always going to be “burn more calories than you consume.” I have a general sense of how many calories I’ve consumed in a day, but I don’t track it in detail because I think it’s too much of a pain to figure out how many calories are in every single thing I’ve consumed. I know there are lots of great resources online to help log all your calories, but I’m just not into it.

Which is why I think it would be handy if someone would develop an implant that would automatically monitor how many calories you’ve consumed in a day and how many calories you’ve burned. It could send the information to a digital watch, like some heart rate monitors do. If someone hasn’t already invented this, I’m sure they will one day. I should go patent it right now so I can sue them when they do! It can make up for all the domain name squatting I never got to do.

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29 Comments

Peter • August 2, 2006 at 1:52 pm

Hitting the nail right on the head!

It’s not that people make a cost-benefit analysis and choose to get bigger; nor is it that they have a demon within that takes the form of sloth, gluttony, and lust.

(Though I, at least, definitely can get so used to very high-fat, refined-flour food that it approaches an addiction.)

Anyway, for most people, *it’s just a mistake*.

After all, who would look at a panini sandwich from Panera and say to themselves, “All righty then, at my weight and metabolic rate, that single sandwich is 3/4 of everything I need to eat today”? Absolutely no one can figure this out, unless they have the basic information available to them.

So it’s a mistake that is usually carried out and compounded over a long period. The kind of mistake–inadvertently loading in more calories, of lower quality, than your body is really that interested in–that is increasingly hard *not* to make, given the way food preparation and purchasing are set up all around us right now. Which is to say, given our environment.

Amazingly low cost food, available within minutes from everywhere–and if you happen not to be near a store, a roving pizza delivery-man can literally come to you–at all hours, every day, in incredible variety, with capacious cars to load it all into. This is different from scrounging for nuts and running after reindeer with rocks.

There is nutritional information for many grocery-store items, but in other situations it’s nutritional information that you have to scrounge to make sense of, or even locate.

So anyway, right on.

By the way, the calories-in-and-out wristwatch you describe in the last paragraph is literally the *exact, precise* fantasy behind the entire Hacker’s Diet (John Walker calls it, unfelicitously, the Eat Watch).

I would be lost without the feedback system he lays out–the spreadsheet (to smooth the daily weights with a running average, making it possible to figure out average daily calorie deficits), and the calorie values for what I eat.

Walker compares needing that sort of feedback, to figure out what you’re doing in terms of food, to needing eyeglasses. It”s no big deal, and no character flaw. You just get the “glasses,” and wear them, and then you can see clearly what’s going on. The counting is easy after the first week or two, since basically you tend to eat the same things over and over anyway. I have one sheet of paper posted on the fridge with the calories per ounce (or tablespoon, or cup) of 95% of the things I actually eat. There are about 30 or 40 items on the list.

It does make it harder to eat out, though. I’ve actually resorted to getting two meals, one to go, at my favorite restaurants, taking one home, and figuring out its rough calorie count in the privacy of my own home! Then I can add it to the list.

You just want to know. And when you do, it turns out nothing is mysterious.

Great post.

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Rachel • August 2, 2006 at 1:57 pm

Oh my gosh, you are so right! My friend and I were just talking about this last night and I was like, “I’m tired of feeling ashamed or being embarrassed about my weight and I’m not going to do it anymore.” And really those feelings DID stem from people thinking there was something wrong with me because I didn’t like exercise but I did like food. How come loving food is seen as a flaw but loving sports is pratically a necessity? Our society blows.

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little miss ess • August 2, 2006 at 2:08 pm

You make excellent points.

I think so many people just have no idea how much calorie-wise they are taking in, no idea what a reasonable portion looks like.

I tell you, when I got my food scale and stopped “eye-balling” it, it was a rude shock.

And I always think that unless you are training for the olympics, you are excercising “moderately” and not “vigorously,” even if you happen to be sweating and gasping.

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Marly • August 2, 2006 at 2:25 pm

I know a rather big girl who goes to my college and is always lecturing us on her healthy ways… She eats a big bowl of granola and milk for breakfast, veggie chili for lunch and a salad for dinner and glares at the rest of us who are chewing our waffles or sandwiches who don’t have weight problems…

But granola is about 200 calories per half cup, the chili has a big block of cheese in it and the salad has a dressing full of olive oil.

All healthy foods aren’t low calorie, so while she’s getting nutrition, she’s definately eating too much.

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r • August 2, 2006 at 2:40 pm

One of the things that’s missing in your analysis is our perception of our body weight. If you think you’re not overweight, then you don’t say “I need to change my eating habit”. You don’t need to be good at math, you just have to be willing to look in a full-length mirror and you have to have a good model of what a healthy weight looks like. Looking a bit plumper than the goal? Lower your daily input. If I add it all up in my head and say I eat 1000 calories but really it’s 1500 – who cares? I just know that I have to eat less than whatever it is I’ve been doing.

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little miss ess • August 2, 2006 at 3:48 pm

Back again. R’s comment had me thinking about being overweight and a sort of reverse body dysmorphia. My weight crept up on me over the period of a couple of years. When I looked in the mirror, I thought I looked ok. I could still wear most of my clothes.

But then I saw a photo of myself. Looked a little different than what I was seeing in the mirror.

I also once went out with a guy who was quite overweight. He was pushing 300 lbs at 5 ft 7 and considered himself to be average.

I feel like this is treading the line into fat bashing, which is not my intention.

I’m just saying, I guess, that I know in the past, looking in the mirror hasn’t been the best measure for me of knowing that I was getting heavier than I wanted to be, and I suspect that may be the case for other people, too.

Anyone else have this experience?

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Kay • August 2, 2006 at 5:28 pm

Great post. I would say that it would more correct to say that overweight is the new average- not “normal”. But then, that opens up a whole pandora’s box on what is the definition of normal… oops… lol.

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Alex • August 2, 2006 at 6:49 pm

I’ve been reading this blog for quite some time. I love the eloquent posts. Although I never used to be severely obese, I did definitely wrestle with my weight and am currently bringing it down.

I just wanted to correct Marly on a minor point. The olive oil in the salad dressing isn’t the culprit. Olive oil is actually extremely good for you – it’s monounsaturated fat and contains all the vitamins of the olive.

No, the real culprit in that salad would probably be the sugars and sweeteners added into it… I’ve never really liked bottled salad dressings – I prefer to toss all my salad ingredients in olive oil on it’s own.

But you’re right – it’s funny how people think they’re eating ‘healthy’ and don’t think about the actual content of their meals. Like, who woulda thought a veggie chilli could be that bad? But then you mention the big block of cheese…

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Red • August 2, 2006 at 9:59 pm

I am one of those people who claimed to eat healthfully, but was still 50 lbs over a normal weight. The thing is, I *did* eat healthfully: I don’t drink soda, I shun most processed and all fast foods, I never eat anything with high fructose corn syrup or hydrogenated oils, I’m not prone to binging, I don’t even use the microwave to cook anything. But I was still fat. Just as you said, Pasta Queen, you can still get fat if you’re taking in more calories than you’re burning. I’ve lost just over 30lbs in the past 6+ months by learning to control portion sizes and getting to the gym 5-6 days a week. It has been less about restricting myself and more about retraining myself to understand the calories in : calories out ratio that works best for my body and metabolism.

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Heather • August 3, 2006 at 3:17 am

I hate how much people blame that stuff.

I’m diagnosed hypothyroid (granted, mild. I was only on 50 mcg synthroid before the side effects it caused in me prompted me to just quit taking it)

It doesn’t make you 300 lb in the absense of other problems.

I’ve noticed I have to eat less/exercise more than person B… but that doesn’t mean we can’t achieve the same results.

Gah.

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Lauren • August 3, 2006 at 3:22 am

I found your blog a while back, and I love reading it. I read through all the archives. This is the only entry that I have ever read that I haven’t enjoyed. Something about the tone made me feel quite uncomfortable. As one commenter put it, it seemed like bordering on fat blame/hate.

I guess the part I hate is the talk about fat people blaming their fat on medical conditions. The idea of fat people all blaming their weight on ‘glandular problems’is perpetuated by the media, and it fuels hatred of fat people. I honestly have never met a fat person who blames it on anything but themselves. That’s why so many fat people hate themselves. Also, it makes the fat haters feel better to think that fat people are nothing more than cowards that don’t take responsibility for their weight…much easier to make fun of them and to hate them. If we all blamed our fat on medical conditions, why is there so much self loathing?

Fat people are taught to hate themselves because they are perceived as sitting around all day eating twinkies and doing nothing. This is not true, you can be active, and eat healthy (as you said) but still be fat. It just makes ‘normal’ fat haters feel better to think that it’s all a matter of self control, and that fat people are lazy pigs in denial…therefore they will never be like ‘them’.

I don’t mean this to sound as angry as it probably does…I’m not calling you a fat hater at all, but this post just feels very anti fat acceptance. I have no problems with trying to lose weight…but don’t turn around on your path to normal and judge the people at the starting line.

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Mark • August 3, 2006 at 4:27 am

There’s yet another layer to this onion: most obese people don’t think they’re obese, especially the young. They’re “big guys,” or “curvy girls.” And the parents of fat kids don’t think the kids are fat. So if you’re talking about delusional people who admit they’re obese, but not that their diet is bad, you’re missing a big part of the obese population.

The states and the CDC risk behavior researchers collect data in various ways, including, in order of reliability, bringing a scale to a person’s house, interviewing them and then weighing them later, and just doing phone interviews. Even in the second case, when people are aware that they will be weighed later, they still lie about their weight — and height

Lauren mentioned “glandular problems.” Is that even a disease? It sounds like some centuries old pre-modern medical term, like “the vapors,” “consumption,” or “dropsy.” If someone has a “glandular problem,” I think they need to be more specific: what test was done, what were the exact results, and does the disease have an actual modern, recognized name? And if the disease affects metabolism, quantify it. Does it mean you can eat only one 10-calorie carrot a day and still gain a pound a week? Not likely. But perhaps it may be that your maintenance diet is 1,700 calories a day instead of a “normal” person’s 1,800 calories a day. So you may need to cut back half a Snickers a day, but you can still lose weight if you’ve a mind to.

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Lauren • August 3, 2006 at 5:45 am

That was exactly my point….very few fat people ‘in reality’ blame their weight on medical conditions, they know they are fat, and they know why. But sensationalist journalists and the people who hate fat people use it as a justification to criticize. It’s a straw man argument.

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Iportion • August 3, 2006 at 7:16 am

We need to measure weigh our food, journal and be aware.

I can overeat even healthy foods. I can over eat anything. Some things that seem healthy aren’t.

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PastaQueen • August 3, 2006 at 10:49 am

Lauren – The reason I mentioned the “blaming fat on diseases” angle was because the second study I linked to monitored two groups, a control group and a group of people who believed they couldn’t lose weight even though they were on a low-calorie plan. So that’s why my thoughts traveled into the “blame your body/disease” area.

As for what you said about about how fat people are depicted as lazy pigs though they’re not, I totally agree. That’s part of what I was trying to get at in the post, that there are a lot of factors that cause people to gain weight that have nothing to do with character flaws. I also think it’s sad that there is so much self-loathing among fat people and that a lot of fat people blame themselves for being weak-willed when I personally don’t think that has as much to do with it (if at all) as your environment and your level of education about proper nutrition and fitness.

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Mark • August 3, 2006 at 11:04 am

Lauren says, “I honestly have never met a fat person who blames it on anything but themselves.”

I see the glandular excuse all over the internet, along with the “dieting destroyed my metabolism so I’m doomed to obesity” excuse. But then again, people active on the internet may not represent the population as a whole.

If you go by blogs alone, 70% of Americans are libertarians, 10% far left Trotskyites, 10% far right neo-Nazis, and only 10% moderates. I rather think that 70% moderate probably is more accurate. Has anyone actually met a libertarian in the flesh?! Do they all live in Wyoming?

So perhaps the “glandulars” and “metabolytes” are really not as numerous in real life as they seem to be in cyberspace.

PastaQueen is right that calorie counting is a pain, but Iportion is right that it helps to just do it for a while, two weeks maybe, for educational purposes. Most obese people, I believe, just do not realize how much they are eating each day. Lacking PastaQueen’s “mouth-meter,” a brief foray into calorie counting can really be enlightening (“There’s hundreds of calories in the salad dressing? Do’h!”). People look at a plate in a chain restaurant or at a Chipotle burrito, and think, wrongly, that, gee, if a major corporation is selling this as a meal, it must be an appropriate amount to eat at one sitting. And, hey, the appetizers and tortilla chips are freebies and don’t count.

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v'ron • August 3, 2006 at 11:42 am

I’m always reluctant to discuss this subject, because invariably you get, as you did, the “I sense some hatred of fat here” and “blaming the fat person for their fat.” Well, uh, yes. Maybe the word to use is “taking responsibility” for the condition. And once you accept and assume full responsibility for one’s full-figuredness, it’s actually quite liberating. You take the responsibility, therefore you have control over the situation. (Well, sometimes you don’t feel like you have control, but you do). But back to the point, once you own the problem, you can also own the solution. I’m fat. I need to control better what I eat (lack of exercise isn’t a problem for me, I’m one of those freaks who actually loves it…). Period, end of story. Being raised a catholic actually comes in handy: Mea culpa — I am fat, through my OWN thoughts and actions, in what I have done, and what I have failed to do. Its not some outside chemical or situation I can’t control. When one can fully accept this, (like I finally did — my doctor said “I wish I could tell you its you’re thyroid, but its not, you need to eat less and speed up that metabolism organically”) that’s when I stared losing weight for the first time in 10+ years. It was like the day I saw that Weight Watchers flyer in my mailbox and wondered “How did I get on this mailing list?” Duh, because I’m FAT and somehow some marketing list realized this. I went to WW the next day, and behold, in 9 months I lost 50 pounds. (then I got pregnant). 10 years later, I have no more excuses. I’m not pregnant anymore and I’ve taken steps to ensure that I never will be again, I’m winding down nursing (I got me a little tit man at home who’s really holding on to this, but its not for nutrition anymore, so I’m not worried if my milk is thin). I have no excuses. I’m fat, its my own darn fault, but guess what? When I (and continue to) lose the weight because I own the fat, I also own the success. I get to say *I* lost 20, 30, 40 pounds. I get to take pride in the fact that *I* owned the problem and it was MY willpower, MY commitment, MY strategy that accounted for the solution, instead of being slave to some drug or some outside influence that I can’t control. But it all starts with accepting that I had the flaw to begin with, and that it isn’t an uncontrollable flaw, but a problem with a solution that was/is, while difficult, still within my means to enact. If that’s “anti fat acceptance”, so be it. I don’t WANT to accept my fat. I want it gone. And the only way to do it is to accept not the fat, but accept the fault, and go from there. As Carnie Wilson says — “Being fat — it sucks.” Indeed.

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chrissie • August 3, 2006 at 12:45 pm

There’s also a certain disconnect between what is actually healthy and was only appears to be healthy. There are salads that Mc Donald’s that are upwards of 400 calories before adding any dressing. People might think that they’re eating a healthy and good for you meal by picking the salad over the Big Mac, and the salad is probably better and more nutritious but it’s not all that great in terms of caloric or fat content.

P.S. when that watch/implant gets made I want one because it gets annoying trying to find a pen every time I want to eat.

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Michelle • August 3, 2006 at 2:54 pm

I love your calorie counter idea!! That would really make life easier.

~M

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Marly • August 3, 2006 at 3:05 pm

Pastaqueen, apologies, it’s not my intention to turn this into a Nutrition IQ smackdown of any sort or a fat bashing match, but I have to slip in a few more points.

Alex, you’re right, the added sugar to almost everything on the planet contributes humongous amounts of calories, but even a basic olive oil/balsamic vinegar dressing can pack a punch. Olive oil is 120 calories per tbsp and the normal dressing recipe is 3 parts oil to one part vinegar, aka 3 tbsp olive oil, 360 calories, to 1 part vinegar, about 11 calories. That’s almost 400 calories just in 4 tbsp of dressing, and while some people may stick to the serving size of 2 tbsp, I know a lot of others that just pour it on.

I haven’t sensed any fat bashing, just people arguing facts. I don’t have any issue with what people do to their bodies, they just need to stop playing the victim of some mysterious disease and realize that too much of anything is bad for you.

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mikey • August 3, 2006 at 10:00 pm

I must side with Lauren from earlier today; despite quick appearances by your usual sense of humor this one really made me feel sad. Not because you are into losing weight; that’s very cool. If it’s your thing. And it is. And you’re doing great. So, congratulations!

…truth be told it all boils down to the paragraph which starts with “Either that, or people just suck at math.”

Well, uh, hmmm… I’m sure a bunch of people reading this DO think they just suck at math; maybe they do and maybe they don’t, but you (as a professed computer-literate person) would seem superior to most of us as regards math. And trust me, I know some math; use trig every day at work… but I’ll be damned if I have a clue how you did those 360-degree photos of yourself… and I could be stupid but I think math was involved.

And then comes the basic principle of Weight Loss 101.

It sounds good, but frankly if it were that simple and you are as smart as you seem to be I would think you’d have acted in accordance with its wonderful law before you did.

But you have acted now and you seem happy, which is (if you are truly happy) wonderful.

I wanna say something profound here, but I guess I’ll leave with: don’t forget your friends.

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galnoir • August 3, 2006 at 11:22 pm

(Been lurking for a few months; first-time poster. Hi!)

This article irritated me for several reasons. First, the media outlets are treating it with the same weight they’d give a peer-reviewed study published in a journal, yet it’s really a simple marketing survey. Participants were not asked to define what “healthy” means to them or to submit detailed information about what they eat. My mother thinks that she and my father eat “healthy” because most of what she buys is low-fat—never mind that they eat too many refined grains, hardly any fruits and vegetables, and enormous portions.

Plus, the company that conducted the survey is shocked—shocked!—that the answers from obese participants were pretty similar to those of non-obese participants; the only striking difference is that obese participants are more likely to clean their plates at restaurants. That line of thinking buys into the belief that those of us who are fat are stuffing our faces all day long. Yet just 100 excess calories per day adds up to about 10 extra pounds per year.

Long story short, the media would rather wring their collective hands about us stupid, clueless, fat people in denial than publish information that cuts through the chatter and provides clear, useful information about nutrition, fitness, and weight.

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Michelle • August 4, 2006 at 8:01 am

Pastaqueen, you’re right, most people do suck at math when it comes to calories. I was taught a general concept of calories in school, but was never taught portion size. The calorie is a useless piece of information if you have no idea what a normal size portion is, and also what that portion looks like. I had no idea about portions until I joined Weight Watchers the first time, and it still took a few months for the “I’m smaller than my (now ex-)husband, so I don’t need to eat the same amount he does” concept to really take hold.

Another thing that’s never truly taught is how much exercise is needed to burn a calorie, and what the terms “light, moderate, and heavy” mean in regards to exercise. The thought I keep in mind, if I can sing along to that song I’m working out to, it’s not a heavy workout. If I can easily hold a conversation, it’s light.

I wish there had been some kind of demonstration in health class in high school… they make you work out for a length of time… then show you the piece of junk food that you would have just worked off. I think a thought of “You mean I have to work out HOW long to eat that cupcake and not gain weight?!?!” would have helped immensely.

I still don’t know much about calories (but that’s because I’ve chosen a way that doesn’t require that to lose weight), but portions and exercise I much more clear to me now.

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Paul • August 4, 2006 at 8:34 am

I think each of us chosses the reality we want. How much we weight, how much money we make, how happy we are, etc… Once I was able to accept that difficult message things got better for me. I’ve added you to my blogroll to help me stay inspired.

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Mary Garden • August 5, 2006 at 3:02 am

Hi Pastaqueen – thank you for a very thought-provoking post!

I so identify with what you said about being mid-way through the process, but still perceptibly fat, and I think this sort of goes to the heart of the whole problem. Unlike smoking, or drinking, or shooting up heroin, being fat is not an activity – it’s what you are. Just like no one can look at a wan person with dark circles under their eyes and assume they are a heroin addict, it’s impossible to look at a fat person and tell what his or her habits are.

I lost 120 lbs over the course of two years and was still, for most of that time, sort of fat. I was, however, exercising more vigorously for more hours than anyone I knew was willing to do. I was also eating horrendously, just not as much (like you said, 1000 cal of cake and 1000 cal of carrots are still 1000 cal).

The thing that is funny is that when I lost weight, people looked at my shrinking body and praised me for my excellent eating habits. Weird coincidental health things (the clear-up of a hereditary skin problem, alleviated depression, thicker hair, etc.), were laid to the account of my healthy diet, which in fact consisted of nothing but 2000 calories of birthday cake and crackers daily. I was actually eating LESS healthily while I was losing weight than when I was fatter, because when I was fatter, I ate the healthy food in addition to the junk.

So by that description, I guess I am the fat, out-of-control slob people love to hate right now, but hey: I had the willpower to starve myself for two years while exercising like an athlete. No one feels good when they are burning 1200-1700 calories a day exercising and their body is receiving only 2000 cal of starch for fuel. That doesn’t say lack of willpower to me. It says big, fat, powerful addiction, and if someone is lucky enough not to have to deal with that, they should take a deep breath, be thankful, and if they’re going to address the problem, address it respectfully and know when to butt out. And also to see their own bad habits and crutches as exactly the same thing – not more moral somehow than overeating.

In the past, I succumbed to the temptation not to empathize when things were heating up for smokers. I hate cigarette smoke, and I resent having to breathe it second-hand, but I’ve learned a lot since then and lord, I understand how easy it is to pick up a habit (especially if you are a kid) and how hard it is to break it when you’re old enough to know better. I also understand just what exactly you are giving up when you give up your crutch, and just what you have to ask of yourself when you do. A crutch can be the one thing that makes life endurable sometimes. Everyone has them, and anyone who ended up with one that society smiles on should count their lucky stars.

Anyway, thanks for making me think! And congratulations on your success. You seem to have found the winning combination for you, and it gives me hope I might someday do the same.

PS – overweight the new normal…sigh. If only. I was just watching that silly casino show on NBC tonight and they showed this metrosexual male character being seduced by a woman who was clearly (based on how they were playing it) supposed to be disgusting in some obvious way. It wasn’t until I noticed she was wearing a lot of “theater person” clothes that I realized she was supposed to be fat. That seems to be how Hollywood indicates fat these days. Sara Rue also had to wear theater person clothes on her show or we wouldn’t have known she was fat either.

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susan • August 5, 2006 at 4:25 pm

Well..I’d say most overweight people DO choose to be overweight. As you said…calories in/calories out. I choose to be 20 pounds overweight every single time I eat one bite more than my body needs, every time I eat a piece of cake after dinner even though I’m not physically hungry, and every time I choose to skip exercising. I’m not saying it’s easy, but I’m the only person who can put down my fork.

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Jana • November 8, 2006 at 8:09 am

…. and here I was sitting, secretly reading a blog when VOILA…the blog was telling me about people secretly reading a blog at work…it’s like on of thos pictures, where the person is holding a book or poster with the picture of the girl holding the book and poster etc etc etc … ;-) had me a good giggle – obviously giving away the fact that i’m not working but secretly reading a blog.

Cheers and thanks for your lovely, awesome writing!

Jana

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Dana • July 29, 2009 at 1:38 am

Nope, makes no sense. Sorry.

I eat roughly the same amount of food, give or take, as far as I can tell, that I did when I was slender. There are some differences. In recent years I’ve cut back my grain intake a bit and I favor rice over wheat strongly when I do eat it. I miss pasta, but what can you do. I still drink soda, but it’s 99.9 percent diet (I go out of my way to avoid that 0.1 percent), and I’m even cutting back on that. I eat sushi now, where I had not done so before 2002, though it’s too expensive to eat very often. I also don’t snack hugely on chips anymore. I would say in balance my eating’s healthier than it used to be.

Yet I’m a hundred pounds overweight.

And I still do the same feast-or-famine style of eating, too. Forget to eat breakfast, maybe eat lunch, eat one large meal in the day and then leave it at that. Sometimes I don’t even get the large meal.

I do sometimes track my calories, when I’m actively trying to lose weight. If I low-carb, I can get up to almost 3000 calories a day and lose weight if I do the right macronutrient proportions. (Mostly fat, moderate protein, low carb.) Currently I’m at about 243 and five foot six. I hardly ever exercise. I don’t exercise when I’m losing, either. Yet I still lose. This does not compute.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the fat people mentioned in the article ARE “eating healthy”–the way the government, dietary “experts,” and 75 percent of the weight-loss blogs out there tell them to eat. And they’re giving themselves raging cases of hyperinsulinism, so of course the fat isn’t going anywhere. But with all the science backing up the carbohydrate hypothesis of weight gain, nobody seriously looks at it for more than two seconds unless they’re selling a LC diet plan. That is *criminal.*

I will be blogging my weight loss too, and one thing I will NOT be doing is blaming fat people who honestly don’t know. How could they know? Seems like the entire world is arrayed against them ever getting the frigging weight off and keeping it off. I shouldn’t have to read scads of books and fifty zillion blogs before I finally figure out what the heck I’m doing. This stuff should be all over the news. But it isn’t.

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Annika Q • August 25, 2010 at 1:13 pm

Omigosh! I usually don’t comment on a blog until I’ve finished the archives, but I couldn’t resist adding to this one.

I may not have gotten BMI obese eating healthy, but I certainly got overweight, <30% bodyfat, and failed to maintain any losses that way. I'm with Iportion and Michelle in saying portion size is the main issue. I used to be really annoyed at my fat, despairing of any reasonable cause. My parents were borderline health nuts, rarely ate out, vegetarian, never drank soda, etc. so my diet was high quality. I rode my bike to school, 5 miles each way, so I figured my exercise was plenty. Genetics? No dice, really – mom and dad are both slim, one grandma is short and fat but other one is slightly less short and downright skinny. I never had binge eating or emotional eating issues either. I couldn't think of anything BUT the slow-metabolism excuse to explain it.

Counting calories was what really opened my eyes. Rice and beans is healthy, but taking seconds bumps the meal up to almost 1000 calories. I thought my junk food indulgences were moderate at only once or twice a week, but eating a whole bag of cheese popcorn (800 calories) or chocolate chips (who even knows?) on each occasion is enough to build up. And potlucks, I quickly learned, are lucky to stay under 800 calories no matter the menu, even when you're keeping track of things.

So I think even people who try to be aware, without really getting into the numbers, have a large margin of error in their assumptions. My sister is about 10 now, and I was struck when we were on a car trip recently and her dad (my stepdad) made a comment about her boredom eating (he didn't call it that, but it's what it was). Anyway, he pointed out that considering how little work her body was doing sitting in the car, and how many calories she'd consumed, she didn't really NEED more food.

I don't really believe she got it, and I doubt my stepdad realizes the whole of it either. She ate TWO Taco Bell burritos for lunch that day, plus most of a large cup of Pepsi, breakfast, and a Clif bar she brought in the car. An indulgent day, yes, but still – the burritos alone total 1020 calories. Now we all know that fast food and candy bars have a lot of calories, but at age 10 I would never have imagined HOW much impact they have – and I doubt even my stepdad would think she had something like her BMR just for lunch. It's really not as hard to get fat as some people think and small shades of ignorance can make that difference.

(Whew, under 500 words.)

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Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, weight-loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She does this at JenFul now, but you can still have fun perusing her past here.

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