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23 November 2010 @ 03:22 pm
"Women need to be aware of what 'normal' actually is."  
This article bugs me: 1 in 4 Overweight Women Think They're Normal Size.

Good job, study, for finding a bunch of ladies who somehow don't think they're overweight, but now let's all FREAK OUT about how women exist who aren't convinced they need to diet. I mean, I'm not a doctor, and I know fuck-all about the health risks of obesity beyond what I learned on Jenny Craig pop-up ads, so if I were in a charitable mood I might give this study the benefit of the doubt in terms of being possibly useful.

However, I'm apparently not, because all I'm taking from this is that people are completely horrified that there are (primarily low-income and uneducated) women who don't think they're fat. RED ALERT! As if that weren't bad enough, not thinking they're fat means they aren't subscribing to the weight loss industry - an industry which seems to be so incredibly lucrative primarily because it doesn't work very well. So what they're ultimately saying is that we all need to make sure these women know that their bodies are not conforming to the BMI norm, so that they can get on the dieting hamster wheel for THE REST OF TIME and spend lots of money, time and energy on... being aware that they're fat, basically. That was THE WHOLE PURPOSE OF THE STUDY.

Ugh. On that insulting note, I'm going to go eat a brownie.
fyca: CSM chocolatesfyca on November 24th, 2010 12:00 am (UTC)
Whatever it takes to get you to eat a brownie.
Little Red: peanuts - cut that outmylittleredgirl on November 24th, 2010 12:07 am (UTC)
Haha, is my rage misplaced?
(Deleted comment)
Little Red: trek - hoshi promises - speshulduckmylittleredgirl on November 24th, 2010 12:45 am (UTC)
Hmm, I disagree with you. It's so hard to change one's body shape - so if it makes someone miserable to try, it seems like they're making a really positive choice to decide to be less miserable and not worry about it. I know my attitude is influenced by the long obnoxious eating disorder recovery process, but it seems like feeling bad about yourself doesn't lead to anything positive (and the health risks of depriving your body of nutrition seem to outweigh the risks of being overweight on its own).

Although if you're just talking about people eating balanced meals and getting exercise, then yes, I think that improves the quality of life for all humans. :) But that's much less about looks or weight. I just wish for the mental and physical health of everybody that we could take the stigma out of body image, which is a huge giant lofty goal, but one that's not helped at all by studies like this.
(Deleted comment)
miera_cmiera_c on November 24th, 2010 03:42 am (UTC)
I would like to gently point out that not everyone is capable of meeting some standard of physical health due to disabilities, which are not always easily visible. People who get winded going up the stairs may not do so because they are too lazy to exercise but because they can't exercise for some reason that you can't know just by looking at them.

And family is a tangled mess, but the bottom line is another person's body is theirs and they get to do with it whatever they want, even if it fails someone else's definition of "healthy" - because imposing an external definition of what someone else needs is controlling, even when it's done for positive reasons.
fycafyca on November 24th, 2010 03:48 am (UTC)
Ok, ok. That is a good point, re: disability. I retract my statements. I'm gonna go delete them before I step on more toes with my ignorance on the subject.
entertaining in a disturbing way: hugs time now!lyssie on November 24th, 2010 01:22 am (UTC)
I has cookies. Nom.
Little Red: disney - sebastian peekingmylittleredgirl on November 24th, 2010 05:19 am (UTC)
Mmmm. What kind? I think I might have oreos stashed somewhere.
entertaining in a disturbing waylyssie on November 24th, 2010 05:47 am (UTC)
Big floppy sugar cookies. Tasty.
a universal sighnaushika on November 24th, 2010 01:32 am (UTC)
This is about as helpful as those assholes who yell "hey fatso!" at me in their cars as they drive by. OH MY GOD AM I FAT? I HADN'T NOTICED THANKS VERY MUCH.
Little Red: trek - chekov grr! - viresse_iconsmylittleredgirl on November 24th, 2010 01:42 am (UTC)

Don't you feel better now?
a universal sigh: Marina & the Diamonds - not a robotnaushika on November 24th, 2010 02:10 am (UTC)
A.j.: pleasedaj on November 24th, 2010 02:03 am (UTC)
*hugs you* $10 says this study was funded by the diet industry. And pretty much YES to everything you've said. *shakes head*
Little Red: glee - quinn wtfmylittleredgirl on November 24th, 2010 02:58 am (UTC)
I agree! I love that they quote the spokeswoman of the American Dietetic Association. *SIGH*
A.j.: girls ruleaj on November 24th, 2010 05:15 am (UTC)
I just. I don't know? I'm overweight and have been my whole life, but my doctor says I seem fine (my diabetes: GENETIC as my father and grandfather both have it?) and that as long as I am active (you see how I walk EVERYWHERE!) and eat well (broccoli will save us all!) I shouldn't worry so much?

I think that looking at your own body and trying to love who you are at ALL times is a good thing? And trying to single people out to go "Oh, you're DIFFERENT, OKAY? DIFFERENT!! FAAAAAAAAAAAAT! BAAAAAAAAAAD! ETC!" is just a shit thing to do. The BMI means jack-all medically, and as long as you're active and happy?

Also, does it matter? I mean, life-threatening conditions and eating disorders aside (they're different?), what business is it of anyone else's whether or not I'm unhealthy? And how can you tell by looking at me? Just. Sigh. Case by case basis, right?
Little Red: aw - cj/d *hugz* - natushkamylittleredgirl on November 24th, 2010 05:46 am (UTC)
Yes! And see, when I read things like this I think of my black-belt sister and my dear friends like you who are awesome and active and enjoy your life like a zillion times more than you would if you were acting like me circa 2005 and counting your calories and becoming a total head case. RIGHT? I just want to smack these people who act like going around living your life and feeling awesome about yourself is an affront to HOW THINGS SHOULD BE. GRRR.

I love your comment girl. You're so damn awesome. And it sucks that you have to suffer with all the genetic stuff but you do it with CLASS.
Julie, betrayer of the literary traditionsplash_the_cat on November 24th, 2010 02:29 am (UTC)
But if fat people don't know they're fat, they can't know their place as horrible, slothful, shameful useless drains on society and aesthetic sensibilities everywhere! They might even think they are worthwhile human beings due basic respect and compassion like everyone else! AND THAT WOULD BE THE END OF THE WORLD.

Edited at 2010-11-24 02:30 am (UTC)
Little Red: sga - suck enough - nomadicwritermylittleredgirl on November 24th, 2010 02:59 am (UTC)

We can rebuild the American economy on SHAME ALONE.
miera_c: thinmiera_c on November 24th, 2010 03:45 am (UTC)
What a shock that this article doesn't mention that the BMI scale is hopelessly out of touch with the reality of what people actually weigh and what actual statistics indicate is a "healthy" weight versus one with higher risk factors. Oh, right, because the BMI has JACKSHIT to do with health and everything to do with fostering weight loss industry growth.
One Whose Honesty is Stronger Than Her Fear: interpamilyn on November 24th, 2010 05:08 am (UTC)
Well...that and assessing the average body size for 1830s Belgians, as designed by Adolphe Quetelet, and to be sure that army recruits weren't too malnourished to serve...but without any statistical validity for individual diagnoses.
Little Red: trek - ani what - rightoniconsmylittleredgirl on November 24th, 2010 06:05 am (UTC)
I ranted about that in my post initially but decided that my disgust was best expressed succinctly. That really was one of my least favorite parts of the whole thing, especially since yesterday I had to talk down a coworker about her BMI. Dear weight loss industry: STOP MAKING US NUTS. Thanks!
One Whose Honesty is Stronger Than Her Fear: frownamilyn on November 24th, 2010 04:51 am (UTC)
Yeaaaah...this is faily in SO MANY ways. Just...well said, you.
Little Red: sga - lizzie facepalmmylittleredgirl on November 24th, 2010 06:12 am (UTC)
Fallon Ash: marlee failfallon_ash on November 24th, 2010 10:26 am (UTC)
I didn't actually read the article in detail because I'm almost late for class (and that wouldn't leave me time to rant), but I still have strong opinions on the subject of looks vs. health. GRRRRRR! I've been more or less underweight for most of my adult life (at least that's what the guy said when I tried to give blood, that I needed to keep it to myself). I'm genetically thin to begin with, rarely feel hungry, and anxiety and eating have never gone well together for me, so I often forget to eat and lose weight without realizing, and as a result I get to do fun things like faint (not awful or life-threatening, but certainly annoying). I lost about 10 pounds in the first weeks after my dad died, and virtual strangers (coworkers, students) kept complimenting me on how nicely I had slimmed down. WTF PEOPLE?!?

And on all the magazine covers it's diet this and diet that so you'll *look better* which will lead to you *fitting into your clothes better* which will lead to you *feeling better about yourself*. Oh, and improved health is a nice but really very insignificant side-effect. Pisses me off to no end. Why couldn't it be about finding good affordable accessible ways for everyone to reach their own best possible health with regard to their own genetic and environmental predispositions and disregard whether or not that meets some stupid artificial notion that the dieting industry has brainwashed society with???

*whew* End Rant.
fibonaccifibonacci on November 24th, 2010 03:39 pm (UTC)
yes! yes yes. that is the most terrible thing. the summer i was too sick and nauseated all the time to exercise at all or want to eat i lost like 20 pounds and had like no butt or leg muscles anymore at all , and when i got back to school in the fall everyone was like oh!you look so cute! you must've lost weight! and most of me was like ick, i am not *cute*, i am *atrophied*, and i like me so much better when i can run ten miles and go home and eat a big yummy dinner after, but there was this part of me that of course loved all the compliments and loved being Cuter and loved being noticed.

and people don't even make those comments consciously.. it's just so deeply ingrained in us culturally i guess...

especially in my profession a lot of the women (who are so much about Control and self-discipline or else we wouldn't've wound up here)have pounded/dieted their bodies into the media-sponsored ideal-body-shape and it's just weird. i miss working in the woods where all of us would just eat whatever we needed & hike all the time & have enormous arm muscles and healthy full bellies : )
Little Red: aw - cj/d *hugz* - natushkamylittleredgirl on November 26th, 2010 07:36 am (UTC)
I thought it was especially funny when I was putting on weight after being far too thin, and therefore looking healthier, and how people would always compliment me on losing weight. Because if I look good, I must be dieting, right?

On the flip side, if I *am* dieting and losing weight, people can compliment me all they want and I still feel awful about myself. Food = fuel for self-esteem! :)

I think they're silly, by the way. You personify cute no matter how you look on any given day. :)
Little Redmylittleredgirl on November 26th, 2010 07:42 am (UTC)
Well, "improved health" is sometimes a COST of weight loss, particularly on those crazy magazine crash-diet plans. No one in their right mind could say that drinking nothing but tomato juice for the rest of your life, or whatever, is going to actually make you healthier or feel better in a physical sense. But you will look so good in those dresses we're advertising also!

And. WOW. At least the people complimenting you WERE total strangers, because I can't even imagine how anyone who knew your father had just died could compliment you on your unintended weight loss. That's like saying, "Wow, sorry you're having the shittiest experience of your life, but at least you're losing weight, so there's an upside!" I would have LOST IT.

Why couldn't it be about finding good affordable accessible ways for everyone to reach their own best possible health with regard to their own genetic and environmental predispositions and disregard whether or not that meets some stupid artificial notion that the dieting industry has brainwashed society with???

YES THAT, CAN WE PLEASE HAVE THAT?? I mean, I have no medical evidence to back this up, but I would think that without a medical condition of some kind, no one would just gain weight indefinitely if they were living their lives normally. Putting aside how it won't be a size 2 for a lot of people, don't we all kind of have a baseline weight that we gravitate towards and can hold at without crazy dieting?
Havochavocthecat on November 24th, 2010 02:07 pm (UTC)
Mmmm, brownies.

Because, yeah, I love the implication that I'm too stupid to gauge my own body weight, body image, and health my own damn self with my ladybrains, right?
Little Red: trek - mirror!hoshi kill youmylittleredgirl on November 26th, 2010 07:34 am (UTC)
Hey, at least our ladybrains are really good for shopping, and this way they can convince us to BUY SHIT, which is really where we're most happiest. I'm so glad the dieting industry cares about us enough to play to our mental strengths.