Fat Shaming

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Fat Shaming

'Fat-Shaming' Strategy Pushed By Bioethicist Daniel Callahan To Help Curb Obesity

A prominent bioethicist is offering a controversial fix for America's obesity epidemic: "fat-shaming."
Daniel Callahan, senior research scholar and president emeritus of the Hastings Center, makes the suggestion in a new article, "Obesity: Chasing an Elusive Epidemic."
Callahan likens what he calls his "edgier strategy" to anti-smoking campaigns of recent decades.
"As a smoker, I was at first criticized for my nasty habit and eventually, along with all the others, sent outside to smoke, and my cigarette taxes were constantly raised," he writes in the article, published on Dec. 18. "The force of being shamed and beat upon socially was as persuasive for me to stop smoking as the threats to my health... Why is obesity said to be different from smoking?"
Callahan continues, "Only a carefully calibrated effort of public social pressure is likely to awaken them to the reality of their condition. They have been lulled into oblivious-ness about their problem because they look no different from many others around them."
Many have spoken out against Callahan's proposed fat-shaming.
?No amount of teasing, probing questions about what they wish they could do, or medications seem to help,? Dr. Tom Inge, a childhood obesity expert at the Cincinnati Children?s Hospital Medical Center, told NBC News. ?So if one is proposing to help them by more stigmatization, that would seem at once both antithetical and unethical.?
?For him to argue that we need more stigma, I don?t know what world he?s living in,? Deb Burgard, a California psychologist specializing in eating disorders, told NBC. ?He must not have any contact with actual free-range fat people."
Obesity is certainly a prevalent problem in the U.S., with 35.7 percent of U.S. adultsand nearly 17 percent of U.S. children considered obese, according to recent data provided by the Centers for Disease Control. Obesity can lead to long-term health effects, such as diabetes, heart disease and several types of cancer. In 2008, medical costs associated with obesity-related health problems tipped the scale at $147 billion in the U.S.
Although Callahan might consider his idea new and edgy, fat-shaming has been used before -- and has failed.
In February 2012, Disney and the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association teamed up to help children ?fight bad habits" and launched a fat-shaming initiative, featuring a theme park exhibit, a website and an app. The project included overweight, animated characters named "Snacker," "Lead Bottom" and "The Glutton," according to Salon.
The exhibit prompted an uproar online and was closed after three weeks.
AboutFace, an organization aimed at combating harmful media messages, criticizedGeorgia's Strong4Life campaign, a fat-shaming effort in February 2012 that had used advertisements featuring photos of "sullen overweight children" and captions like ?Fat prevention begins at home. And the buffet line" in an attempt to fight childhood obesity.
?We know from communication research that when we highlight a health risk but fail to provide actionable steps people can take to prevent it, the response is often either denial or some other dysfunctional behavior,? Marsha Davis, a childhood obesity prevention researcher at the University of Georgia?s College of Public Health, told AboutFace. ?We need to fight obesity, not obese people.?

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What do you think? great idea? Horrible? Do you think that drastic action like this needs to happen to open American's eyes to the (insane) proportion of overweight people we are as a nation? It is a costly costly problem, is it okay to use shaming techniques to stimulate change?

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If something like this was going to work it would have worked a LONG time ago. Everyone I have known that is overweight is ashamed of their weight already, they don't need someone else to tell them. They already know. I don't think piling it on will help anything.

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"GloriaInTX" wrote:

If something like this was going to work it would have worked a LONG time ago. Everyone I have known that is overweight is ashamed of their weight already, they don't need someone else to tell them. They already know. I don't think piling it on will help anything.

I could not agree more. Do they really think that people with weight issues don't know it's bad for them and are happy about it? We already have HUGE problems in this country with women and girls being so terrified of being fat that they are starving themselves or filling their bodies up with so-called foods full of freaky chemicals. We also have obese people who think they have no value because of their weight, who feel terrible about themselves.

It's nutrition education we need, not shame for those who are already there and feel like it's impossible to get to a healthy weight. We need positive programs like Weight Watchers, not shame and humiliation. Yeesh.

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Horrible idea. Just yesterday I was reading a post on FB from a daughter of a friend of mine. She is 13 years old. She is also overweight. I can remember running into her mother several years ago at the store. She had curbed her whole families diet to fit the needs of her child. At the time I thought it was so odd to put a child on a diet. She has been under a very strict doctor led diet since she was about 5 years old. Now at 13 she is still on a very strict diet and training for a 5K race. She is still very over weight and has been diagnosed as a type 2 diabetic. There is something wrong with her body that makes her very overweight even though she is kept on a strict diet and exercise program. It was heartbreaking for me to listen to this girl talk about the bulling and awful things people say about her weight. 13 is such a fragile age to deal with something like that. Her mother also has been horribly judged for her daughter being overweight. It has altered their whole family. Shaming someone is not the answer.

I challenge you to find someone that is overweight and does not know or care. Being skinny also does not mean you are ultra healthy. As I have used in examples in the past, my sister eats twice what I eat and weighs a whopping 110 pounds. I tend to eat when I am upset as do a lot of people I know. Trying to make someone upset will have the opposite effect that they are trying to have. Coupled with the fact that so many young ladies and woman struggle with eating disorders. Positive education and encouragement is a much better motivator than shame.

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not only wrong evil.. how cruel

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Does anyone remember the little boy that sang the cupcake song? He had the chubbiest cheeks and is clearly obese. Well guess what, he has a disease that causes him to look like that. It has nothing to do with over eating or choosing unhealthy choices. So many people on youtube made fun of that kiddo, but he has done positive with his life being only 14 years old (I think) now. Telling people they are obese or underweight is the easy way out. Offering guidance and advice is what needs to be done and also being sensitive to medical conditions.

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i think that some social stigmatization of some of the non-medical causes of obesity would be good, much like smoking. we didn't come down hard on those who have cancer...we came down hard on the smoking itself.

stigmatize soda drinking, super-sizing. stigmatize processed food. That's why i get so annoyed about the uproar that nyc's large soda ban caused. we need more policies that shout 'hey we don't care what benefits corporate America...drinking that much soda inone sitting is BAD. i think banning cigarettes from bars and restaurants did a ton to stigmatize smoking without directly berating and shaming people.

i think we could use more of that

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I can only speak to my own experience with this, but I will say that I think that body image goes a lot deeper into a person's sense of self worth than smoking. I smoked for about 5 years, and during that time, yes I knew it was bad for me, and saw all of the anti-smoking stuff and everything, but it didn't make me feel bad about myself, and ultimately that's not why I quit.

Body image is a lot more insidious than that. I've struggled to maintain a healthy weight for most of my adult life. I'm usually somewhere right above or right below the cut off between a healthy and overweight BMI, and when I'm not pregnant, fighting the good fight to get below the line or stay there. When I weigh more than I want to, I don't just worry about my health, I literally feel bad about myself, like being 10 lbs heavier makes me a bad person. It's not really rational; I know that. But I think it's common, this sense of putting waaaaay to much of your self worth into how much you weigh. I can't imagine that "fat shaming" would actually help most people; I think it would just make them feel worse about themselves, which isn't actually a great recipe for getting them to make positive changes. I know that when I get "down in the dumps" it's a lot harder to motivate myself to work out and cook healthy meals and what not. There is almost this sense of "why bother?" When I'm in a better and more confident place, I can get myself pumped about doing the healthy things that I need to do, like working out and eating better. I think if anything is going to work, it would be putting a lot more emphasis and positivity around healthy habits, really highlighting those things as great things to do, and also putting a lot of emphasis on people loving themselves no matter what size they are. I find I take much better care of the things I love than the things I hate.

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This is upsetting. How horrifying.
Speaking from the chubby side, it's not as if we don't realize we are overweight. We have plenty of people nasty to us over it. AND IT NEVER HELPS US GET THINNER. EVER!!!!
Being cruel to someone is just that. Being cruel. I don't care why. It's just shameful itself.

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"Alissa_Sal" wrote:

I can only speak to my own experience with this, but I will say that I think that body image goes a lot deeper into a person's sense of self worth than smoking. I smoked for about 5 years, and during that time, yes I knew it was bad for me, and saw all of the anti-smoking stuff and everything, but it didn't make me feel bad about myself, and ultimately that's not why I quit.

Body image is a lot more insidious than that. I've struggled to maintain a healthy weight for most of my adult life. I'm usually somewhere right above or right below the cut off between a healthy and overweight BMI, and when I'm not pregnant, fighting the good fight to get below the line or stay there. When I weigh more than I want to, I don't just worry about my health, I literally feel bad about myself, like being 10 lbs heavier makes me a bad person. It's not really rational; I know that. But I think it's common, this sense of putting waaaaay to much of your self worth into how much you weigh. I can't imagine that "fat shaming" would actually help most people; I think it would just make them feel worse about themselves, which isn't actually a great recipe for getting them to make positive changes. I know that when I get "down in the dumps" it's a lot harder to motivate myself to work out and cook healthy meals and what not. There is almost this sense of "why bother?" When I'm in a better and more confident place, I can get myself pumped about doing the healthy things that I need to do, like working out and eating better. I think if anything is going to work, it would be putting a lot more emphasis and positivity around healthy habits, really highlighting those things as great things to do, and also putting a lot of emphasis on people loving themselves no matter what size they are. I find I take much better care of the things I love than the things I hate.

I think we do try to emphasize the healthy good habits and positive thinking already, but it doesn't seem to be working. I do think some stigmatization of bad habits has to happen. The two have to go hand in hand. If you are going to say "eating healthy is important!" Then you have to also saying not eating healthy is bad. Maybe we need to change what we offer at movie theatres, which is 99.9% or 100% junk just as an example. I think making it less commonplace stigmatizes it without making individuals feel bad about it. Thats why I compare it to smoking bans. Less commonplace = more stigmatized.

I know thats not really what the original article was about. But I think it would be an effective alternative. I don't think "overeating is bad" or "unhealthy eating is bad" should be taboo.

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But it is a hard road. As pointed out there are legitimate reasons to be overweight~medications, medical issues etc. It still stinks but it's not because that person is eating 1500 calories a meal plus snacks.

What we need is an overhaul of our farming system to get affordable, not modified in any way, with added sugars, dyes etc. foods into our stores and into our homes without having to take out a second mortgage. Subsidizing these types of food instead of corn in order to make high fructose corn syrup is better. Getting people access to health care (we are pretty much there!) so they have routine physicals and have coverage to visit nutritionists to help them learn to eat properly. Bringing home ec back into schools for all students so they can learn how to prepare healthy meals and not rely on packaged crap. It's a whole system.

What is different with food is that we HAVE to eat. We don't HAVE to smoke.

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"Alissa_Sal" wrote:

I find I take much better care of the things I love than the things I hate.

There's something profoundly true about that last statement. I struggle with weight and health as well, I lost 40 pounds and incorporated exercise into my life, and since then (when the stress set in when my Mom got sick) I have gained almost half of it back and struggled, struggled, struggled. And the times when I win my battle with overeating is when I have compassion and love for my struggle and myself and not shame. The shame leads me back to dark corners and secret eating.

But I'd like to see the junk food stigmatized, not the people. I go in Pinterest and there are dozens of recipes for cakes with (packaged) cookies stuffed into them. It just doesn't make sense that we're creating things like this. I also see recipes for "low fat" things that are filled with preservatives, Cool Whip, etc. So we really have to change the way we view "healthy" and not just see it as "low fat" which often means preservatives and chemicals and non-food products being put into food.

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I keep having a hard time replying to this one, because I both agree and disagree with him and its hard to wrap my mind around my own feelings on this issue Smile

I agree with what Kim is saying, but also agree with the notion of overweight people knowing they are overweight and have or are probably trying to lose the weight, usually unsuccessfully. There is a reason that the diet industry is a bagillion dollar industry, and it isn't because it works. I get so frustrated at the amount of weird things people do to lose weight (shakes, eliminating entire food groups etc) in ways that are not sustainable and just set them up for failure. I think that some of the shaming should be directed at the bullcrap industry that sets people up for failure.

And LAurie, OMG those cakes and whatnot on pinterest ~ they blow my MIND!!!! Cake with candybars and whatnot, its gross!!!!! I then see some friends pinning "thinspiration" pictures and its equally gross, but in an entirely different way.

I don't know. I know that studies have shown that if you have overweight friends you are more likely to be overweight. I do think that there is a component of "I'm not as big as XYZ person so I'm fine". I see it in the conversations around Lena Dunham all the time ~

All in all I don't know. I guess that stigmitazation already exists ~ and this idea of fat shaming could go horribly horribly wrong. At the same time, the figures are truly staggering ~ something has to change.

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I think Laurie's right in that part of it has to come in the form of a real education about what truly is healthy and what truly is not. I can tell you that I grew up eating mostly crap, and it has taken me years to educate myself about healthier options. I'm sure that there is still stuff that I eat that I don't realize quite how bad it is for me. Cool Whip is a good example; I don't eat it, but I'm of the impression that it is relatively low cal and low fat, so I'm sure that a lot of people think it's not too bad for you, while ignoring the fact that...well....I'm not even sure what that stuff is....it's not dairy, so what the heck is it?

I honest to god can't remember EVER eating any fresh veggies or fruits in my parents house growing up, except bagged salad. A normal breakfast was sugary cereal (until I got old enough that my mom apparently stopped caring whether I ate breakfast), normal lunch was a lunch meat sandwich and potato chips, or like a frozen burrito or pizza rolls or something like that, and dinner was some piece of meat, a prepackaged carb like mac and cheese or instant potatoes, and a can of either peas, corn, or green beans. And I hated green beans and my brother hated peas, so we usually didn't have those, usually it was corn. And that's it. Soda and chips and packaged cookies were always around, fresh fruits and veggies were not. I remember being at a friend's house one time and seeing her mom steaming a vegetable in a steam basket and thinking it was weird and terrible. When that's the way you're used to eating, you grow up calling corn and potatoes "vegetables." (Which, thy may be vegetables from a botany perspective, IDK, but I no longer really think of them as vegetables from a nutrition standpoint.) Remember the "is ketchup a vegetable?" debate on here? Some people think they are "eating plenty of vegetables" while eating nothing but corn and potatoes and ketchup. Smile

My point is that I totally agree that people may not even realize how unhealthy some of this stuff is, or what healthy eating really looks like, and THAT is what I would like to see more focus on too.

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Cool Whip -- A delicious blend of sugar, wax, and condom lube.
Wired Magazine: Cool Whip

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LOL That's pretty disgusting. LOL

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"Potter75" wrote:

At the same time, the figures are truly staggering ~ something has to change.

Maybe the fat shaming has to stop? I think that's the first step.

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I agree with the junk food having a stigma and not the overweight person. And definitely with the fact that more education is needed to help people get passed all the conflicting messages we are shown everyday.
My MIL is a great example, she is an educated woman, almost 70 and is in really good shape. But she knows nothing about nutrition. She eats and feeds my kids so much stuff with chemicals. She eats everything in the "Low fat" version, even though I have said numerous times that low fat should just be substituted with chemical **** storm. I think that because she is thin she thinks the way she eats is acceptable.

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"blather" wrote:

Maybe the fat shaming has to stop? I think that's the first step.

A "fat is awesome" campaign? I think that the shame aspect is something that individuals choose to participate in or not, really. Maybe I'm wrong- could you explain more?

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I don't think there is any choosing about it. I'm certainly not talking about a "fat is awesome" campaign either. But their needs to be much more emphasis on health than on body size. I don't think there needs to be a war on obesity. Fat shaming, doctors who buy into societal messages rather than looking at medical facts and studies, almost everything that is printed about the show Girls, and a million other societal messages that makes even small children think about their weight rather than their health are not okay. They make everyone have lower self-esteem, and more susceptible to dieting. Dieting has been proved to hurt metabolism, proved to increase weight, increase rates of osteoporosis, and so many other diseases. I believe that most diseases associated with obesity are actually related to crash dieting, and I am not alone.

There are so many better strategies- like getting kids to walk to school, putting money into public transportation, putting money into education budgets so that gym teachers have time with their kids. Why does making people feel worse about themselves or their friends have to come into it?

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I also don't think anyone chooses the shame. I have been working for decades on liking myself when society tells me what I look like is not okay. I have been ashamed to go into exercise classes knowing other people will look at me. I have never been small even when playing collegiate sports or in the reserves. I will never be small. I work hard every day to know that I cannot compare myself to others so I need to work on being healthy myself. I don't choose to make other people say bad things about me. It took a long time for me to put up pictures of myself from my recent vacation because I know there are people on my friends list who will look at some of them and think "what a whale". That makes me want to stop eating, but I know that is the worst thing I can do for my health.

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So many thoughts. Our food supply is so messed up. Between GMO and highly processed Soy and Corn based ingredients, so much of our "food" isn't really food anymore. Most people can digest it, kind of. But I think that is a really essential key. Even if a family eats, real meats and veggies and dairy, the filler foods that people graze on throughout the day are all made of crap and the only way to really examine what you are eating is to food journal - in detail and in the process learning about what all of the unpronouncables on the labels of our foods are.

That is a huge undertaking. And shaming a person is a really crappy place to begin teaching anything.

I do feel that culture is a powerful motivator. It would help if franken foods were banned. If healthier foods were subsidized. I love the idea of a sin tax on crappy food. No one says that you can't have it, you are free to make that choice. It just becomes less convenient.

I don't have a problem with, "a carefully calibrated effort of public social pressure is likely to awaken them to the reality of their condition." But I disagree that shaming a person based on how they look is useful.

I would love to see a load of shame heaped onto a vast part of our food supply.

U.S. Foods Full of Banned Ingredients

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"bunnyfufu" wrote:

So many thoughts. Our food supply is so messed up. Between GMO and highly processed Soy and Corn based ingredients, so much of our "food" isn't really food anymore. Most people can digest it, kind of. But I think that is a really essential key. Even if a family eats, real meats and veggies and dairy, the filler foods that people graze on throughout the day are all made of crap and the only way to really examine what you are eating is to food journal - in detail and in the process learning about what all of the unpronouncables on the labels of our foods are.

That is a huge undertaking. And shaming a person is a really crappy place to begin teaching anything.

I do feel that culture is a powerful motivator. It would help if franken foods were banned. If healthier foods were subsidized. I love the idea of a sin tax on crappy food. No one says that you can't have it, you are free to make that choice. It just becomes less convenient.

I don't have a problem with, "a carefully calibrated effort of public social pressure is likely to awaken them to the reality of their condition." But I disagree that shaming a person based on how they look is useful.

I would love to see a load of shame heaped onto a vast part of our food supply.

U.S. Foods Full of Banned Ingredients

I would love for people to realize how much our food has changed over the last decade. I just read a book about the changes in foods, like 50 years ago you could get all your vitamin C from 1 orange, now it would take 32. This book argued that a large majority of americans are actually malnourished in spite of being obese. Pretty intriguing stuff

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I'd love to read it. Let me know the title.

And you know that it is all about profit margins too. Soy derivatives are particularly vexing for me. When Soy is taken apart to make Soy Lecithin, Hydrogenated soybean oil, or Brominated vegetable oil. the process itself is all chemical and gross. Chemical processes to isolate parts to the soy bean protein, to cheaply add shelf life. Yuck. These things are used as emulsifyers (think butter) or for purely cosmetic purposes. Gatorade recently took BVO out of their drinks. The only reason it was in there because it makes it look cloudy - like there may be actual juice in there. MT Dew has it, Fanta.

eta: I am kind of on a rant here, but another interesting tidbit. People who have been diagnosed with a soy allergy can eat soy lecithin with no problem as the protein has been so drastically modified. Vice versa is also true. People who cannot eat soy lecithin, BVO, Hydrogenates, can eat tofu, soy sauce, edamame, sprouts. Tell me that's not weird.

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"blather" wrote:

I also don't think anyone chooses the shame. I have been working for decades on liking myself when society tells me what I look like is not okay. I have been ashamed to go into exercise classes knowing other people will look at me. I have never been small even when playing collegiate sports or in the reserves. I will never be small. I work hard every day to know that I cannot compare myself to others so I need to work on being healthy myself. I don't choose to make other people say bad things about me. It took a long time for me to put up pictures of myself from my recent vacation because I know there are people on my friends list who will look at some of them and think "what a whale". That makes me want to stop eating, but I know that is the worst thing I can do for my health.

I don't know. I really struggle with this. I think that we are responsible for how we feel about our bodies (or our gender, or our parenting or whatever). I can't buy into the notion that it is so uncomfortable to be a size that MOST of the world now is, you know?I think that so many people are concerned with people judging them when in reality most people are caught up in worrying about themselves, not bothering to worry about other peoples bodies. I think that we have to own up to our own feelings about our bodies and the role that we play in either accepting or denying shame ~ society can't make us feel anything that we don't allow ourselves to feel, I guess is what I'm trying to say.

And honestly if you have friends who would think that of you they aren't friends :/. That is crappy and I'm sorry.

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"Potter75" wrote:

I can't buy into the notion that it is so uncomfortable to be a size that MOST of the world now is, you know?

Seriously? I am going to go out on a limb and guess that you have never been overweight? There is plenty of shaming out there already.

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"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

Seriously? I am going to go out on a limb and guess that you have never been overweight? There is plenty of shaming out there already.

I've also never been president and I have lots of political opinions. I had three children in three years ~ with my last one I gained 40 lbs, I've had weight to lose just like most mothers. There is also lots of gender based inequality or shaming out there. I don't accept it just like I don't accept the notion that I should look like a supermodel just because they are in magazines. I take an active role in not reading things that would make me feel badly about myself and take responsibility for my own self image.

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"Potter75" wrote:

I've also never been president and I have lots of political opinions. I had three children in three years ~ with my last one I gained 40 lbs, I've had weight to lose just like most mothers. There is also lots of gender based inequality or shaming out there. I don't accept it just like I don't accept the notion that I should look like a supermodel just because they are in magazines. I take an active role in not reading things that would make me feel badly about myself and take responsibility for my own self image.

In theory, that's great and I agree with you. In practice, I think it's more complicated than that for many people, myself included. When you've spent a lifetime being innundated with messages about how you *should* look including at home, from childhood, it's not always as easy to separate yourself from those messages even when you know that you absolutely should. Humans are, by nature, social creatures, and most of us do care what others think, even if that's just "what I think that others think."

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"Alissa_Sal" wrote:

In theory, that's great and I agree with you. In practice, I think it's more complicated than that for many people, myself included. When you've spent a lifetime being innundated with messages about how you *should* look including at home, from childhood, it's not always as easy to separate yourself from those messages even when you know that you absolutely should. Humans are, by nature, social creatures, and most of us do care what others think, even if that's just "what I think that others think."

I guess. But when 2/3's of Americans are overweight its just a little hard for me to accept that people who are in the overwhelming majority feel that judged about their bodies. They look like *most* Americans! Do people really still compare themselves to a microfraction of the population (models etc)? There is also judgement on people who love to workout (narcissist! Shallow!) or on people who have tattoos, or who get cosmetic surgery, or who have strange piercings, or whatever. We can choose to accept or not accept that judgment, to let it bother us or not.

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"Potter75" wrote:

But when 2/3's of Americans are overweight its just a little hard for me to accept that people who are in the overwhelming majority feel that judged about their bodies.

I have never met an overweight person that does not feel judged about their weight.

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"AlyssaEimers" wrote:

I have never met an overweight person that does not feel judged about their weight.

I agree completely.

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I agree with Alissa too, and Melis, I think you don't really get the depth of this one. This isn't a handful of people with opinions. Kids pick on the fat kid, not the kid who exercises too much. The judgment is always there on overweight people, and the messages come not JUST through whispers or comments but through the clothing that's even available in stores. We live in a culture that actually has a real clothing size called ZERO. How could anyone be a size zero? But there it is.

The pressure is tremendous and it's everywhere. Ideally people wouldn't be affected but it but in a practical day-to-day sense, most people are. Ask anyone who has lost or gained a large amount of weight and they will tell you that they have been treated differently.

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Yeah, I don't think that its me not getting the depth, just not agreeing with you. And why is it okay to mock a size zero or act like that isn't a real size? Back to this "real women" stuff? That would drives me crazy, if I let it.

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"Potter75" wrote:

Yeah, I don't think that its me not getting the depth, just not agreeing with you. And why is it okay to mock a size zero or act like that isn't a real size? Back to this "real women" stuff? That would drives me crazy, if I let it.

I'm not mocking people who are that size. I'm mocking clothing manufacturers for having a SIZE ZERO. Zero is empty, it's nothing. It means that we are working to keep those numbers low for our egos instead of having realistic measurements like men's clothing has. I have no issues with women who are a size zero but I have issues with an industry that doesn't create nice clothing in the size that is supposedly average across the country.

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"freddieflounder101" wrote:

I'm not mocking people who are that size. I'm mocking clothing manufacturers for having a SIZE ZERO. Zero is empty, it's nothing. It means that we are working to keep those numbers low for our egos instead of having realistic measurements like men's clothing has. I have no issues with women who are a size zero but I have issues with an industry that doesn't create nice clothing in the size that is supposedly average across the country.

I don't know if I understand what you mean. What does ones ego have to do with having a small frame?

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"Potter75" wrote:

I don't know if I understand what you mean. What does ones ego have to do with having a small frame?

It's not about being that small, it's about what that size is CALLED. It's also about the fact that a size 8 in one store is completely different in another, based on the type (size) of customer that clothing manufacturer wants to have wearing their clothes.

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"freddieflounder101" wrote:

It's not about being that small, it's about what that size is CALLED. It's also about the fact that a size 8 in one store is completely different in another, based on the type (size) of customer that clothing manufacturer wants to have wearing their clothes.

*blushing* All things being equal, if two pairs of pants both fit me, but one is a smaller size (meaning, the brand name decided to call those measurements a size 8 for example, and the other brand decided to call it a size 10) then I totally buy the smaller size, even knowing rationally that *I* am the same size in both pairs of pants. *blushing* That stuff works, sadly. LOL

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I don't know. Fat shaming feels uncomfy to me, it doesn't sit right with me. I can get behind shaming the behavior or the actions, but not the weight, if that makes any sense. In some ways, I would say that this is the culture that I live in. In my peer group, it is not acceptable or normal to eat McD's, serve junk to kids, or not be active. Our entire city embraces a different lifestyle. I don't know that we openly shame people for other choices, but they are certainly "not socially approved" like they are in other parts of the country IME.

And I won't get into the who has it worse, the super thin vs. the heavy, except to say that again, IME, it seems socially acceptable to comment on the weight of those who are very thin, while it is not acceptable to comment or discuss the weight of others. As if thin people just accidentally are that way. I liken it to the FF v BF moms who both argue that they are stigmatized heavily for their choices, even though the vast majority of moms FF.

I think it is all tangled up in a lifestyle choices, nutrition, food supply, funding, policy decisions that have affected behavior patterns and education. There won't be one single strategy that is effective at fixing this one.

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"Potter75" wrote:

I guess. But when 2/3's of Americans are overweight its just a little hard for me to accept that people who are in the overwhelming majority feel that judged about their bodies. They look like *most* Americans! Do people really still compare themselves to a microfraction of the population (models etc)? There is also judgement on people who love to workout (narcissist! Shallow!) or on people who have tattoos, or who get cosmetic surgery, or who have strange piercings, or whatever. We can choose to accept or not accept that judgment, to let it bother us or not.

Just a question. I think it's more like 1/3. Too high still but are you under the assumption that it is 2/3?

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"bunnyfufu" wrote:

Just a question. I think it's more like 1/3. Too high still but are you under the assumption that it is 2/3?

From what I see 1/3 are technically qualified as OBESE, 2/3's overweight. And I know people are going to complain that BMI is a bad tool, and it is, for bodybuilders and the extremely muscular. For most average people, it is a fairly accurate predictor of too much weight on their body for their height. The people who ARE muscle bound (as I was when I was marathon training, a year ago, its amazing what muscle weighs!) aren't generally the ones complaining about BMI as they know that their body fat is very low even if they weigh more.

[QUOTE]Adult Overweight and Obesity in the U.S.

Two-thirds of U.S. adults are overweight or obese (Flegal et al., 2012). In general, rates of overweight and obesity are higher for African-American and Hispanic women than Caucasian women, higher for Hispanic men than Caucasian and African-American men, higher in the South and Midwest, and tend to increase with age (Flegal et al., 2012; Gregg et al., 2009; Sherry et al., 2010). Research also shows that the heaviest Americans have become even heavier the past decade (Beydoun & Wang, 2009).

(from here )

From the predictions that are being made, this is what the scenario could be in 2030

About 32 million more Americans will become obese by 2030, upping obesity rates to 42 percent of the U.S. population, according to a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The report also predicts that the proportion of Americans who are severely obese, meaning more than 100 pounds overweight, will reach 11 percent, about double the current rate.
The report’s authors give a sobering price tag for these predictions: such an increase would create $550 billion of obesity-related health care costs.

This is just an opinion piece, but I do agree with it.

I’m not sure I know the answer, but I live in a county with the lowest obesity rate in California: 16%. And seeing healthy looking people out and about helps. It certainly helped trigger me into thinking that I wasn’t as healthy as I had previous thought. When I lived in areas where decidedly more people were obese, well, it just seemed more normal.It’s a hard conversation for many to hear. So much body image and self-worth bound and wound together with each pound. But when we talk about healthy weight, about striving for a BMI of 19-25, we are not ascribing blame or wrong doing. We are not saying bad or good. We are talking about health. About reducing diabetes risk. About reducing the risk for cancer. About preventing a knee replacement.Normalization of what is common happens to all of us. It doesn’t mean we are bad people it’s just human nature. But it’s also one more reason why we need to keep talking about healthy weight. No matter how difficult the conversation.

What the people who are around you look like is HUGE in shaping what you see as "normal" IMO. I don't think that its fair to call someone who is a zero a "nothing" or "empty" or tell them that that isn't a real size or that their size is ego related, any more than it is to call someone names for being a large size. The shaming and recrimination is on both sides of the aisle, IMO.

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Melis you are totally missing my point about size zero. It has NOTHING to do with the people who are that size. Nothing. They're not empty, they're not too small. There is nothing wrong with them. There is something wrong with an industry that keeps us insecure all the time, changing the numbers of sizes from one place to another, making us feel like we don't deserve nice clothes if we don't have flat stomachs, and creating sizes to the point that people can be a size zero. I just think it should have been called something else. I think the numbers system for women's clothing is bad and I think the industry itself is set up to make us feel constantly insecure and unsteady.

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"Potter75" wrote:

What the people who are around you look like is HUGE in shaping what you see as "normal" IMO. I don't think that its fair to call someone who is a zero a "nothing" or "empty" or tell them that that isn't a real size or that their size is ego related, any more than it is to call someone names for being a large size. The shaming and recrimination is on both sides of the aisle, IMO.

I understand what you are getting at. Just wasn't sure where the 2/3 was coming in.

Weight debates are always fraught with anxiety for me. I hear what you are saying. I agree that shaming goes on both ways. Which kinda makes me think that we should all be aware that shaming is mean.

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Just to add, that I also get what Laurie is saying about size 0. I don't think that is shaming to a small person.

Although, it is hurtful when someone discounts your person with a, "What, you're probably a size 2." or "That's the risk of having an adolescent boy's body." Assumptions are hard. I've heard people called a ***** because they can wear a bikini as an adult. I think some people take IQ points off if you are fit. That I've just somehow been lucky. I had 65 lbs to lose after I had my son. I get that it's hard. Because it is a daily discipline.

With all of that baggage, weight is just hard to talk about in useful, non-confrontational terms.

Which ultimately is why I don't think shaming is useful. There are things people can do to improve their health but we never get to talking about it because everyone is so defensive. KWIM?

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After my second was born I had a really hard time losing the weight. I didn't look pregnant, I just looked overweight. But I never felt an ounce of shame from other people. Nobody looked at me with judgment in their eyes. I wasn't treated any differently by strangers (who had no idea I'd just had a baby). The shame I felt came from within. It was my issue with my own body image. I didn't want to be unhealthy or overweight and nobody else had to make me feel crappy about myself. I did that all on my own. I had no resentment about it and didn't blame other people for me being unhappy with my body.

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I think it goes both ways too and I don't think it's any better to make fun of/comment on people who are skinny. I assume that the fit people I see work hard at it. It's like yoga. . .when I see someone do some amazing thing that I can't do, I don't think "you *****!" or "I suck!". I think "Wow, that is amazing."

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"freddieflounder101" wrote:

Melis you are totally missing my point about size zero. It has NOTHING to do with the people who are that size. Nothing. They're not empty, they're not too small. There is nothing wrong with them. There is something wrong with an industry that keeps us insecure all the time, changing the numbers of sizes from one place to another, making us feel like we don't deserve nice clothes if we don't have flat stomachs, and creating sizes to the point that people can be a size zero. I just think it should have been called something else. I think the numbers system for women's clothing is bad and I think the industry itself is set up to make us feel constantly insecure and unsteady.

I've been thinking about this afternoon, trying to understand what you mean, but I just still don't get the anger at the #0. If we started at 10 and went up to 26 someone would be feel that 10 was "nothing" or "empty". Its just a number name. I can't understand anger at a number name any more that I can understand anger or ownership of a word like "marriage". How does the fact that a size zero exists in women's fashion have absolutely anything to do with anyone other than the person who wears a size 0? Most jeans are waistband sized just like mens clothing. But you can't do that with, say, a dress, because there are so many measurements other than just a waist size. So they have sizes. And just like in counting, that number starts at 0 (or 00 at many stores). Do stores vanity size? ABSOLUTELY. J Crew is the worst in that department, if you ask me. Then again, if the average waistline is continually getting larger, shouldn't the size of, a 8 or a 10 be getting larger as well, if that is supposed to be an "average" size? If someone chooses to define themselves by their clothing size ~ well ~ I think that that is a problem that is a lot more pressing than different lines of closing having, say, a 26 be a 0 and a 52 be a 16 at one place and a 24 a zero and 50 a 16 somewhere else (or whatever those #'s would be, I'm making up #'s).

Lisa, I agree with what you posted. I've felt more judgment or heard more negative comments related to losing weight than gaining it. I also don't give a crap about that judgment.

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"Potter75" wrote:

I've been thinking about this afternoon, trying to understand what you mean, but I just still don't get the anger at the #0. If we started at 10 and went up to 26 someone would be feel that 10 was "nothing" or "empty". Its just a number name. I can't understand anger at a number name any more that I can understand anger or ownership of a word like "marriage". How does the fact that a size zero exists in women's fashion have absolutely anything to do with anyone other than the person who wears a size 0? Most jeans are waistband sized just like mens clothing. But you can't do that with, say, a dress, because there are so many measurements other than just a waist size. So they have sizes. And just like in counting, that number starts at 0 (or 00 at many stores). Do stores vanity size? ABSOLUTELY. J Crew is the worst in that department, if you ask me. Then again, if the average waistline is continually getting larger, shouldn't the size of, a 8 or a 10 be getting larger as well, if that is supposed to be an "average" size? If someone chooses to define themselves by their clothing size ~ well ~ I think that that is a problem that is a lot more pressing than different lines of closing having, say, a 26 be a 0 and a 52 be a 16 at one place and a 24 a zero and 50 a 16 somewhere else (or whatever those #'s would be, I'm making up #'s).

Lisa, I agree with what you posted. I've felt more judgment or heard more negative comments related to losing weight than gaining it. I also don't give a crap about that judgment.

Whenever I might've been a little underweight or even the few times I've been painfully thin - those were the times I felt the most judged, and it seems as though everyone felt it was perfectly fine to tell me what they thought. "You're so thin", "You need to gain some weight" "You don't look healthy" blah blah blah. Yep, definitely the most judged I've ever been about my body. I don't get why that's okay with some people. The same people probably wouldn't walk up to an overweight friend, co-worker or relative and just say, totally unsolicited, "You're too heavy", "You need to lose a few pounds" or "Your weight isn't healthy". I've been the most 'shamed' by others as a thin person. It's like ooh, don't mention anything to the overweight person, they're so sensitive about their weight and it's just downright mean toshame them and all that. But it's perfectly acceptable to give your (general) two cents about someone who is on the thin side. The irony is so thick.

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"Potter75" wrote:

I've been thinking about this afternoon, trying to understand what you mean, but I just still don't get the anger at the #0. If we started at 10 and went up to 26 someone would be feel that 10 was "nothing" or "empty". Its just a number name.

I keep having this hilarious memory from my Catholic HS days. There was a nun, Sister Mary Katherine, aka the White Witch. She was ablaze with crazy, electric white-woman afro, talked to plants. . . no, I mean she sincerely apologized to the ficus when she whirled in and knocked the podium into it at the beginning of algebra class one day. Tall and thin and twitchy and strange woman. Ironically, she was very likely a size 0 as well.

That day, we were having a deep discovery of the number zero and it's larger role in the mathematics cosmology. Like you, she insisted that it held an important place. As a freshman in a plaid skirt, I sassed her that it was nothing. Or at least it signified nothing. Our argument became legendary in a lunchroom way.

Now, I think we are both right.

And although the White Witch has long gone onto the eternal algebra classroom in the sky, if we ever meet again, I will give her a big old hug and think that we will laugh our skinny butts off.

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When I was obese, the only shaming/judgement came from me. No one ever made me feel like I was worthless. The funny thing is that since I've lost weight I've had more negative comments from people around me. Like my MIL telling me I'm so skinny, with *that* tone...and my mom going on and on about how I won't look healthy if I lose any more weight (which I'm not planning on, but still...should be my decision).

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"bunnyfufu" wrote:

Like you, she insisted that it held an important place. .

Just to clarify, i have no feelings on the number 0. That is my point. Any feelings that an individual may project ONTO the number zero would be replaced with another loathed or resented number if clothing manufacturers removed the dread pirate 0 from shelves in lieu of another starting place.

We had a teacher like that as well, her name was Mrs. Bell. She was God Awful. She used to take prayer requests then be praying 2 minutes later and have LOST her prayer request book. So she would be walking around in the middle in her prayer in a panic trying to find her book while interjecting all of these ahhh, annnnnnnd, oh Father.....ummmmm.......shuffling around papers while we all tried to stifle giggles, which of course makes one have to laugh harder. Then she would get angry at the entire class for laughing at her. It wouldn't be that funny if it only happened once or twice...but it happened once or twice a week with her. Scary.

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I'll try one more time about size zero.

We live in a culture where the smaller the size, the better. So to have women aspiring to be a size ZERO, when a zero represents nothing, absence, a void. . .that is what bothers me. I don't think it's going to change the world but I think it is part of a culture that makes women feel like they just have to get smaller and smaller, which is why so many of them are eating chemical-filled "low fat" products and fake foods.

I do agree that people feel freer to comment on skinny women than on fat women -- in front of them. What I hear behind the scenes (when the person isn't there) is a different story.

I also think there is a real obesity problem here that gets clouded by all the weight issues and people who are NOT obese feeling like they are because they don't have flat stomachs and "perfect" bodies. So there's that as well.

As for the real obesity issue, I don't think "fat shaming" will do anything but drive those people to more secret eating and self-image problems. We need to change the way we look at food and exercise.

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