Thin May Be In, But Fat’s Where It’s At

In recent days, two different news stories have hit the papers. The first and more popular article indicates that people who are obese to morbidly obese could lose 3 – 10 years off their life because of their weight. The second article, which I’ve only seen appear in the National Post, indicates that the measurement for body mass index (BMI) is not the only indicator of risk (in reality, BMI is complete and utter bullshit and was never designed to be used as the indicator of health or fitness that it currently is), that fat and obese people can be completely healthy with no health risks whatsoever, and that being “overweight” is probably healthier than being normal to underweight, especially if you become ill.

At points, the two articles directly contradict each other.

However, it’s important to note that the “fatties are gonna die” article comes from a UK medical journal called The Lancet. The British government is currently in the midst of a very high-profile fight against obesity, one that looks increasingly paranoid and that could potentially jeopardize the health of its citizens. Especially frightening is the witchhunt against childhood obesity which targets normal weight children as young as toddlers.

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To Hell With It – Pass the Cheese

I’m a terrible girlfriend. That is, I am never really comfortable hanging out exclusively with a group of women. I like to cook and I like fashion, but mostly I don’t get women things. I hate when my female friends talk about their partners behind their backs, and I’m never exactly sure what I’m supposed to say when other women start talking about their weight.

Sure, I have a critical Virgoan eye, and I notice physical changes, but – and I don’t want this to sound heartless – I don’t really care. A loss or addition of 5 pounds or 50 pounds isn’t going to make me change my opinion of someone. As someone who has been fat since puberty, I know better than to judge another person by some arbitrary number on a scale. Which is why I so dearly wish other people would stop judging themselves that way.

These thoughts are prevalent in my head at the moment for a couple of reasons. First, because I’ve just finished reading Rethinking Thin: The New Science of Weight Loss – and the Myths and Realities of Dieting by Gina Kolata. When I put that book down the next thing I read was a series of three essays in the most recent Utne Reader, all on the topic of fat politics and fat acceptance. Combine that with the recent discussion with a friend about her need to lose 35 pounds, despite a plethora of other health and life concerns that make that task very difficult, and I’ve got fat on the brain.

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