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  #1  
Old 10-14-2009, 03:22 AM
Stan Shmenge Stan Shmenge is offline
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How do people get so fat?

Inspired by this thread. I mean, you are gaining weight, say, but at some point don't people realize that enough is enough? Maybe some don't care about their appearance, or even their health, but you see these people who can barely walk! I am specifically referring to those folks you see scooting around in the powerchairs, or using the electric shopping carts in the supermarket.

I can see someone saying "I don't care if I am unattractive and have to wash myself with a rag on a stick" or "yeah I'll have a heart attack someday but I don't worry about that eventuality" but how the hell can you keep on eating to the point where you can't even walk around a damn store?

I was up to about 220 (I am 5' 10") and at the age of 49 I realized I had to turn it around like NOW or it would be too late for me, so I bought a nice road bike and cut back on the beer and Big Macs and started cooking my own stuff. I was feeling tired all the time, my BP was scary, and I could just see where it was all going to end up. I like riding, and now when I go to Mickey D's, the food tastes far too salty. I feel loads better and have dropped 25 pounds already. It wasn't really even that hard.

So how do people end up like this? Life has so many pleasures, does eating have to be the be all and end all for some people?

Last edited by Stan Shmenge; 10-14-2009 at 03:23 AM..
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  #2  
Old 10-14-2009, 03:28 AM
Stan Shmenge Stan Shmenge is offline
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Just to elaborate, what was that lady in the linked picture thinking the day she went and got the powerchair? "To hell with walking, as long as I can keep on overeating"? I mean, how do you even make that choice? It is insanity.
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  #3  
Old 10-14-2009, 03:37 AM
dracoi dracoi is offline
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I think you're making a lot of unwarranted assumptions. A lady at my church has a power chair and is very overweight (though not quite as much as in the picture)... but she had polio when she was young and she'd be unable to walk unassisted at any weight. The weight gain is largely a result of an inability to do any real exercise.

Even if it is just an issue of overeating, I think you're oversimplifying. I mean what's wrong with all those damn heroine addicts? Why don't they just stop shooting up? And those people with depression? What a bunch of whiners! They should just cheer up and deal with it, right?

Attitudes about things like addiction and depression have come a long way in the last 100 years, but we haven't quite applied the same thinking to people who are overweight.
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Old 10-14-2009, 03:50 AM
BigT BigT is offline
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i can't cite it, but according to a doctor's advertisement I got recently, there are medicines that help with overeating. These medicines modify someone's brain chemistry.

If this is correct, it seems that being overweight may be on the same level as mental disorders like depression. And it makes using them as an acceptable target even more intolerant and insensitive.

As for myself, I'm a larger framed person, anyways, and obesity runs in my family back quite a few generations. So I've got the genetics, and then I've also been on quite a few medicines since I was dead for 45 minutes as a 15 month old, and some of them made me gain weight. I also have jaw problems, that keep me from chewing well. I was raised in the south, in a place where eating lots of food is just something you are supposed to do. I'm very uncoordinated physically, so most exercise is hard for me. And, finally, until recently, I never felt full.

I'm sure many overweight people have similar stories. I don't see why anyone should feel the right to judge people when they don't know all the facts.
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  #5  
Old 10-14-2009, 03:51 AM
Stan Shmenge Stan Shmenge is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dracoi View Post
I think you're making a lot of unwarranted assumptions. A lady at my church has a power chair and is very overweight (though not quite as much as in the picture)... but she had polio when she was young and she'd be unable to walk unassisted at any weight. The weight gain is largely a result of an inability to do any real exercise.

Even if it is just an issue of overeating, I think you're oversimplifying. I mean what's wrong with all those damn heroine addicts? Why don't they just stop shooting up? And those people with depression? What a bunch of whiners! They should just cheer up and deal with it, right?

Attitudes about things like addiction and depression have come a long way in the last 100 years, but we haven't quite applied the same thinking to people who are overweight.
Yes, well polio is pretty darn rare in this country anymore. Depression is a chemical imbalance in the brain that a person has no control over outside of (often debilitating) medications, and I have just as little sympathy for some dolt that wakes up one day and says "Hey! It would be a good idea to start injecting myself with an addictive drug, just for kicks!"

But you and I know that most of these powerchair fatties don't have frigging polio or any other debilitating condition, outside of cantaketheforkoutofmouthitis. As I said, I can see someone not worrying about appearance, heck, I don't care much how I look, or even the morbidity associated with obesity, after all, that heart attack is probably years away, but at some point they made the DECISION to STOP WALKING in favor of FOOD. That is what I can't get my mind around.
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  #6  
Old 10-14-2009, 04:21 AM
Stan Shmenge Stan Shmenge is offline
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Originally Posted by BigT View Post
i can't cite it, but according to a doctor's advertisement I got recently, there are medicines that help with overeating. These medicines modify someone's brain chemistry.

If this is correct, it seems that being overweight may be on the same level as mental disorders like depression.
This is interesting. I was not aware of this.

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As for myself, I'm a larger framed person, anyways, and obesity runs in my family back quite a few generations. So I've got the genetics,
And certainly genetics plays a part

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and then I've also been on quite a few medicines since I was dead for 45 minutes as a 15 month old,
And here is where you completely lose me. You were not "dead" for 45 minutes. You would still be dead. Something medical may have happened, but you most assuredly were not dead. At this point, you sound like just another rationalizing fat person.

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and some of them made me gain weight. I also have jaw problems, that keep me from chewing well.
This may be true, but it doesn't mean that you must overeat.

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I was raised in the south, in a place where eating lots of food is just something you are supposed to do.
Ahh, the bubba excuse. Bzzzt. Not a good reason.

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I'm very uncoordinated physically, so most exercise is hard for me.
Too uncoordinated to WALK a couple of miles a day? You don't have to be Walter Payton to get some excercise.

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And, finally, until recently, I never felt full.
Eating the right kinds of food can give you fullness without a huge calorie intake. Calling bs here too.

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I'm sure many overweight people have similar stories.
Yes, most of them do. One of my girlfriends is on the heavy side. She blames genetics. One night, she got out of bed and didn't come back for quite some time. The next day, I noticed that an entire 12 piece box of that godawful Banquet frozen fried chicken that had been in the freezer had been consumed. There must have been a few thousand calories in there. But even she is in relatively good shape compared to a lot of these folks. She takes long walks, and has normal BP, so at least she is doing something to ameliorate her eating habits and preserver her mobility.

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I don't see why anyone should feel the right to judge people when they don't know all the facts.
I am not making a moral judgment on these people, I am sure most are fine people with good character and may well lead interesting and satisfying lives. I just can't understand the thought process of saying "To heck with even trying, I am getting a powerchair". And when I see one of these people using the electric cart in the supermarket, I snoop in their baskets. Yes I do! These people almost invariably are loading up on cookies, candy, chips, fatty lunchmeat, wonder bread, soda, and the ever popular Banquet Fried Chicken, so I don't want to hear about glandular problems.

The real shame is that most of these people are getting fat eating CRAP FOOD. Food that I wouldn't touch. Christ, if you are going to gorge yourself, at least buy some food that tastes good! It's never Pepperidge Farm, it's always Chips Ahoy. Never Lindt, always Hershey's. It's as if they are intentionally debasing their bodies with the most garbage food they can obtain.

Last edited by Stan Shmenge; 10-14-2009 at 04:22 AM..
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  #7  
Old 10-14-2009, 04:21 AM
UDS UDS is offline
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Originally Posted by Stan Shmenge View Post
. . . .but at some point they made the DECISION to STOP WALKING in favor of FOOD. That is what I can't get my mind around.
No offense, Stan, but by your own account you too made that decision and did't unmake it until you were nearly fifty, had hit 220 lbs, which is a lot to carry on a 5' 10" frame, and had developed "scary" hypertension. All credit to you for starting the turnaround, but you should have a pretty good idea how people develop and sustain unhealthy lifestyles.
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Old 10-14-2009, 04:22 AM
Sage Rat Sage Rat is offline
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I think the issue is that they get hungry and once they're eating it's just "yum" and a little bit more "isn't going to hurt". If they want to lose weight, they'd have to sit feeling starved.

Overeating is a one-way stick and carrot deal. The immediate, for them, outweighs the long-term.
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  #9  
Old 10-14-2009, 04:32 AM
Stan Shmenge Stan Shmenge is offline
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Originally Posted by UDS View Post
No offense, Stan, but by your own account you too made that decision and did't unmake it until you were nearly fifty, had hit 220 lbs, which is a lot to carry on a 5' 10" frame, and had developed "scary" hypertension. All credit to you for starting the turnaround, but you should have a pretty good idea how people develop and sustain unhealthy lifestyles.
Yes, but I was a looong way from needing a damn powerchair. I guess that is the real issue with me. I turned it around way before not being able to walk. And the thing is, once you go the powerchair route, you are really screwed, because you will be getting even LESS exercise. It is really a point of no return, that I can't fathom someone crossing. And as much as I love food, I was more of a beer drinker. The weight crept up on me over the years. I don't regret a bit of it. I love my beer even today, but instead of drinking every day, I do it two or three times a month. And it takes fewer to get me drunk, although the hangovers are much worse for someone who is no longer habituated, so there is a price.
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Old 10-14-2009, 04:39 AM
Stan Shmenge Stan Shmenge is offline
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Originally Posted by Sage Rat View Post
I think the issue is that they get hungry and once they're eating it's just "yum" and a little bit more "isn't going to hurt". If they want to lose weight, they'd have to sit feeling starved.

Overeating is a one-way stick and carrot deal. The immediate, for them, outweighs the long-term.
And believe me, I've been there. On occasion I have polished off a whole thing of Haagen Das in one sitting, ordered the triple cheeseburger, etc. But not on a regular basis! I still do that sort of thing occasionally. When I go to Hometown Buffet, I really get my money's worth. But the next day, I'll limit myself to a sandwich and a glass of milk.

The other thing I have found is that overeating is a vicious cycle. The more you put away at a sitting, the more you need to achieve satiety at the next meal. Eating less is as much of a habit as eating more. I don't know if it is the old stretched out stomach theory or what, but in general the less you eat, the less you want.
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  #11  
Old 10-14-2009, 05:41 AM
Crafter_Man Crafter_Man is online now
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Originally Posted by BigT View Post
it seems that being overweight may be on the same level as mental disorders like depression.
I agree with this.

The physical reason why an obese person is obese is because they eat too much. This is true regardless of any disease they might have (or claim to have, which is usually the case).

On the surface, the solution is simple: eat less. Easting less works 100% of the time.

But it's not that simple, because what we're really dealing with is a mental problem. And becoming obese is a physical result of this mental problem. The challenge is to fix the mental problem that makes a person want to overeat. This is very difficult to do.
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Old 10-14-2009, 05:58 AM
Stan Shmenge Stan Shmenge is offline
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Originally Posted by Crafter_Man View Post
The challenge is to fix the mental problem that makes a person want to overeat. This is very difficult to do.
It doesn't help that modern food is so darn tasty. My ancestors (Irish) ate potatoes and boiled cabbage with a bit of meat now and then. Nowadays, the supermarket has temptations on every inch of every aisle. Food companies have whole divisions to research new snacks to tempt us. It is a tough thing to fight against.

But I don't think anything could be made tempting enough to make me give up my ability to walk.
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Old 10-14-2009, 05:58 AM
Colophon Colophon is offline
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In America (and where the US goes, the rest of the western world isn't far behind), one of the main reasons is portion size, IMHO.

I've been to the US a couple of times and have been staggered by the sheer size of everything. Order a sandwich for lunch and you get a foot of bread loaded down with meat, cheese, mayo and god knows what, plus fries on the side - more food than I would probably eat for lunch and dinner most days. My first night in New York, I ordered a caesar salad as a starter and it came piled so high on the plate I could rest my chin on top.

I hate the feeling of having an over-full stomach, and I spent most of my time in the US feeling like I'd swallowed a watermelon, simply because I felt obliged to at least attempt to clear more than half of my plate. By the time I felt full, often it would look like I'd barely touched the food, so I'd plough on and overeat. And I'm normal size - 5'10", 160lb.

If you live with that sort of food day in day out, I guess your stomach expands and you start eating more.

Last edited by Colophon; 10-14-2009 at 06:00 AM..
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Old 10-14-2009, 05:59 AM
aruvqan aruvqan is offline
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Well, I have been diabetic since 1980, and controlled it extremely well until 1990 and then I gained 150 lbs in 3 years. The Navy in it's infinite capacity to totally fuck up medically had determined that there was nothing wrong with me and decided I waa just sitting on my ass popping bonbons. Of course they refused to actually *test* using tests that would actually manage to diagnose me.

I have been on an 1800 cal diet for 29 years. I rarely cheat [typically 3 dinners per year, thanksgiving, the family gang birthday and 4th of July]

Oddly enough, my hair had been thinning, I had dry scaley patches on my skin, my nails shred and delaminate, and in the middle of July I can be sitting on the sofa and be wrapped in a comforter. But I guess the Navy figured that because I had one endocrinal system fucked up, I obviously couldnt have another gland go frisky.

Now it is a matter of degenerative joint issues preventing me from walking that sort of put a kink into any form of getting into shape, and obviously I would have to stop eating entirely to lose weight. My nutritionist had a cow when I asked if bariatric surgery would be an option, I really can't eat any less than I am now as people with health issues really dont do well on uber restrictive diets without actually being admitted to a hospital and tricare in its infinite wisdom wont pay for that fot me. I guess I need to weigh 800 lbs for that.
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Old 10-14-2009, 07:04 AM
Thudlow Boink Thudlow Boink is offline
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Originally Posted by Colophon View Post
In America (and where the US goes, the rest of the western world isn't far behind), one of the main reasons is portion size, IMHO.

I've been to the US a couple of times and have been staggered by the sheer size of everything. Order a sandwich for lunch and you get a foot of bread loaded down with meat, cheese, mayo and god knows what, plus fries on the side - more food than I would probably eat for lunch and dinner most days. My first night in New York, I ordered a caesar salad as a starter and it came piled so high on the plate I could rest my chin on top.
It's true that restaurant portion sizes in the US are large, and have gotten larger than they used to be. I remember when McDonalds' Quarter Pounder was considered a big burger—a whole quarter pound of beef! The reason for this is that food ingredients are relatively cheap compared to the other expenses of running a restaurant.

But in my experience, most restaurants nowadays are quite ready to offer you a "to go" box for your leftovers, so you certainly don't have to eat everything at one sitting.

It's also true that people eat out more than they used to. In decades past, eating home-cooked meals was more the norm, and eating out was, for many people, a special occasion, so restaurant portion sizes weren't so much of an issue.

But there are plenty of other plausible factors why people tend to be fatter nowadays: the prevalence of soft drinks, snack foods, and high fructose corn syrup; the amount of time we spend in our cars; the vast number of sedentary entertainments available to us; desk jobs that involve little physical exercise...
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Old 10-14-2009, 07:31 AM
Harmonious Discord Harmonious Discord is offline
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The more fat cells you have the more it expands fat cell production. Think of it as a hole in a dike. It progresses exponentially.

Last edited by Harmonious Discord; 10-14-2009 at 07:33 AM..
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Old 10-14-2009, 07:34 AM
Machine Elf Machine Elf is offline
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I will begin by noting The Onion's perspective on obesity.

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Originally Posted by crafter_man
The physical reason why an obese person is obese is because they eat too much. This is true regardless of any disease they might have (or claim to have, which is usually the case).

On the surface, the solution is simple: eat less. Easting less works 100% of the time.
My dad is fond of claiming that the Jews proved this during WW2. Thousands of refugees in Darfur and elsewhere continue to prove every day that you can lose weight if you eat less. The thermodynamics of it are inescapable.

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Originally Posted by colophon
In America (and where the US goes, the rest of the western world isn't far behind), one of the main reasons is portion size, IMHO.
This (portion control) is the big secret behind weight loss programs like Jenny Craig or Weight Watchers that have you buy their prepackaged foods. The commercials tempt you by telling you that you get to eat delicious foods like brownies and cheeseburgers; what they don't tell you is that the portions they sell you are about 1/2 of what you're used to seeing in restaurants.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Thudlow Boink
It's true that restaurant portion sizes in the US are large, and have gotten larger than they used to be.
Indeed. Go to McDonald's and order a "small" meal. The drink cup you receive is what used to be called large - 20 years ago. The "small" french fry serving they had back then doesn't seem to exist anymore. When I was a kid, the "large" french fry order was something you shared with another person; now I see people ordering the gargantuan size (whatever they're calling it these days) for themselves, along with a quart of soda.

Size Does Matter...
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Old 10-14-2009, 08:53 AM
Amazon Floozy Goddess Amazon Floozy Goddess is offline
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Originally Posted by dracoi View Post
Attitudes about things like addiction and depression have come a long way in the last 100 years, but we haven't quite applied the same thinking to people who are overweight.
This is true enough. I was watching some TLC special on morbid obesity awhile back, and one of the men on the show said, "Think about it, if a drug addict had to take just one hit of what they're addicted to every day, how successful would they be at quitting? That's the problem with food addiction...people have to eat." I had never thought about it that way before, but it's true. Food releases the same pleasure endorphins in the brain that addictive drugs and alcohol do.
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Old 10-14-2009, 08:54 AM
Telperien Telperien is offline
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What the OP really means, of course, is "How dare people not conform to my personal aesthetic preferences?"

I have PCOS. Before I was finally treated for it, I did not lose weight unless I ate less than a thousand calories per day. You are honestly saying that since it took me eating that little to lose weight, that was all I should have eaten? When I kept getting sick, had stringy dry hair, and flaky skin?
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Old 10-14-2009, 08:57 AM
John Carter of Mars John Carter of Mars is offline
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Originally Posted by Stan Shmenge View Post
Yes, but I was a looong way from needing a damn powerchair. I guess that is the real issue with me. I turned it around way before not being able to walk. And the thing is, once you go the powerchair route, you are really screwed, because you will be getting even LESS exercise. It is really a point of no return, that I can't fathom someone crossing. <snip>

Stan, has it ever occurred to you that the vast majority of people in wheelchairs became physically disabled at some point? They may have been in reasonable or even great shape until that. Then mental issues associated with being disabled and the inability to exercise easily brought on the obesity?

Just because you see a fat guy in a power chair doesn't mean he ate his way into it!
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Old 10-14-2009, 09:00 AM
Zsofia Zsofia is online now
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I'm sure that you get to be 500 pounds and using a scooter because you used to be 250 pounds and it's really, REALLY easy to go from 250 to 275. And it's absolutely trivial to get to 300. And you blink and you hit 350. And you don't even really see the point of trying, because you're 350 pounds, for chrissake, and you probably don't think you're even capable of losing the weight at this point. And then, boom, 400 and 500 is peeking around the corner. That's how people get so fat.

I was in physical therapy for a stress fracture, and I don't know about the rest of the day, but at 7 AM it's all fat women who have ruined their knees. Literally every single one of those people was a fat lady with knee problems. I was expecting some athletes, you know? No. Me and probably fifteen rotten knees. And you know what? They were supportive of each other but downright rude as hell to me. "Look at Little Miss Running!" Yeah, look at Little Miss Still Has Her Knees. I mean, I can hear you! I was nothing but nice to you! I'm not saying all overweight women are like that (I know they aren't), but the 7 AM club sure is. It was really kind of hurtful - everybody else gets "You can do it!" and I get "<snort> Well, look at that."

ETA - and you use the scooter not to continue eating but because it hurts like hell to walk and you breathe like a Clydesdale coming up a mountain and think you're going to die before you get to Sporting Goods. It isn't a conscious choice of "food or walking", I'm sure.

Last edited by Zsofia; 10-14-2009 at 09:01 AM..
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  #22  
Old 10-14-2009, 09:00 AM
Amazon Floozy Goddess Amazon Floozy Goddess is offline
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Originally Posted by Crafter_Man View Post
I agree with this.

The physical reason why an obese person is obese is because they eat too much. This is true regardless of any disease they might have (or claim to have, which is usually the case).
Not completely true. Some drugs can cause fluid retention or metabolism problems. An older lady I know had a liver transplant about a year ago and Prednisone is one of the cocktail of drugs she's on at the moment. It's caused a lot of fluid retention in her neck and face, even though she's always been thin (and is still thin everywhere else). But to look at her, the average schlub (you) would think she was eating too much and just had weird fat distribution.
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Old 10-14-2009, 09:11 AM
Haunted Haunted is offline
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Originally Posted by Amazon Floozy Goddess View Post
This is true enough. I was watching some TLC special on morbid obesity awhile back, and one of the men on the show said, "Think about it, if a drug addict had to take just one hit of what they're addicted to every day, how successful would they be at quitting? That's the problem with food addiction...people have to eat." I had never thought about it that way before, but it's true. Food releases the same pleasure endorphins in the brain that addictive drugs and alcohol do.
I agree with this to a certain extent but I think it's more complicated than this.

I think both my parents are addicted, not to food, but to certain types of food. Basically, the problem is that they're addicted to food that should only be eaten in moderation, if at all. Like stuff that's super-fatty, super-sweet, etc. Let's face it, it's not like food addicts have problems because they can't stop eating broccoli and rice cakes.

Likewise, an alcoholic cannot stop drinking liquids because everybody has to consume at least some water to survive but an alcoholic should stop drinking alcoholic liquids. And former drug addicts often take drugs, just (hopefully) not the ones they happen to be addicted to.

Saying that the problem is that people can't stop eating food because they need to eat to survive not only simplifies the issue but also makes it seem kind of hopeless to overcome.
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Old 10-14-2009, 09:34 AM
Gesturing Mildly Gesturing Mildly is offline
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Being fat is killer on your legs. But, you've still got to do things like get groceries, go to your kids' ballgames, etc. You can start your diet on Monday, and save up some money for a gym membership to lose some weight and make it easier to walk around, but in the meantime, why not get a powerchair? Then the minimal activity you were doing gets cut in half.

Even for those without powerchairs, the less physically fit you are, the harder it is to exercise. And like someone mentioned above, the more you eat, the more you feel like you need.

Personally, (I apologize to anyone who hates me for this) I've always been fit, but once or twice a year, I'll go through a lazy (and hungry) spell. I can't stand the feeling of my belly jiggling when I drive over a pothole, though. When it gets to that point, it's time to get back on track. However, if I could get over that initial hump (and I can imagine any number of life events that would cause something like that) and get up to the high 100s, it would be very, very easy for me to just keep getting fatter and fatter.
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Old 10-14-2009, 09:39 AM
Jerseyman Jerseyman is offline
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It's not just eating, a lot is what gets eaten, lack of exercise and lack of muscle tone. There is a heart care poster saying that only half an hour's walk a day is enough to keep the heart in shape. I don't know how anybody can manage [i]not[i] to walk for half an hour a day unless they spend it in bed. Often I see big people in much better condition than smaller ones who look 'fat' because they slouch, their belly hangs over their pants because there's no muscles there and their physical attitude shows their mental one. They will often say that they don't eat much but they aren't counting the three spoons of sugar they put in their tea, the sweet starchy cakes and the ubiquitous corn-potato 'snacks' like Pringles that they are always nibbling at. If it were only starch that made fat then most of the world would be because most of the world lives on rice or potatoes or bread or pasta and not a lot else. Then there's refinement, that unrefined, those starchy things include a certain amount of nutrition while refinement knocks most of it out so that they are less satisfying and need more of something else to go with them.

I don't believe that any food is really 'junk' except snack stuff, after all a burger has meat and pizza has tomato and cheese. It's the amount and the way of eating it and the laziness that are the real culprits. That and a very narrow-minded attitude to food that gets taught to children and passed on to their children. There's a belief that children won't like anything considered 'healthy', so if they are fed it, it's with reservations that teach them not to like it. In fact children often like much stronger flavours than adults but they get trained into wanting only the over-sweetened ones and because those at the same time don't really taste of anything much more, they don't satisfy but they do create sugar dependency.

One thing I've noticed about American food too (and applies particularly to additives like relishes) is how bland it is. Everything cancels out in a big mixup that becomes a vaguely sweet pulp. There's no 'bite' in the bite! The only spice they seem aware of is chilli and some of their chilli sauces give the impression that a korma curry would have them gasping for breath.
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Old 10-14-2009, 09:48 AM
panache45 panache45 is offline
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Originally Posted by Telperien View Post
What the OP really means, of course, is "How dare people not conform to my personal aesthetic preferences?"
IOW, "How dare people have an addiction that I don't have?"

I have met damn few people who didn't have any addiction whatsoever. And many people get judgmental about other people's addictions . . . but, of course, not their own.
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  #27  
Old 10-14-2009, 10:00 AM
tumbleddown tumbleddown is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stan Shmenge View Post
I am specifically referring to those folks you see scooting around in the powerchairs, or using the electric shopping carts in the supermarket.
I'm one of those people. I couldn't walk around a supermarket 10 years (and I'm only 36) or 100 pounds ago. I've got a series of injuries dating back to high school, arthritis and an autoimmune disorder. I've been through surgeries, multiple courses of steroids and other drugs which cause weight gain, reinjury and now battle with chronic pain.

I fight daily to have enough energy to work, maintain my house and have what little social life I can muster. Even on days when I'm not in pain, I have to practice active energy management so that the next day I'm not struggling. I consolidate trips, I use delivery services rather than carrying things when I can, I ask for assistance in airports (especially), and I use martcarts in the market and anywhere else that they're available to me. If you look at me and only see "woman who got so OMGfat she can't walk around the WalMart" you're making the most superficial judgment possible. Fortunately, I don't care much about the judgments of strangers about the condition of my body.
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  #28  
Old 10-14-2009, 10:07 AM
ianzin ianzin is offline
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It's a simple issue with complex causes. The simple part is the part everyone knows: if calories in exceed calories out, you gain weight, and if vice-versa you lose weight. So far, so trite.

But the underlying causes can be many and profound. Relevant factors would include genetics, upbringing, self-esteem, education (especially about nutrition), emotional balance, stress, role models, lifestyle, psychological and even psychiatric issues, the success and prevalence of non-foods (refined and processed too far, laden with sugar salt and fat plus flavourings) and the mass of conflicting and sometimes plain misleading information, especially all the rubbish spouted by the 'diet foods' industry. Jon Gabriel, in his excellent book The Gabriel Method, has a very interesting analysis of the problem, which he says basically comes down to misplaced fear. (You'd have to read the book, which I heartily recommend, to see why this makes sense.)

So, back to the OP. How do people get so fat? Because they do what we all do every day: respons to their perceived experience of life with optimal strategies for satisfying the fundamental needs... survival, safety, belonging, love and fulfilment. But they don't have a good repertoire of strategies (for whatever reason) and end up using unhelpful and self-destructive behaviours in lieu of better ones. Among them, eating many times more calories than they can expend.

If you know someone with this sort of problem, try to be sympathetic. It can be a really, really tough and frustrating problem to tackle. And buy them a copy of the Gabriel book.
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  #29  
Old 10-14-2009, 10:10 AM
Ají de Gallina Ají de Gallina is offline
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Originally Posted by Telperien View Post
What the OP really means, of course, is "How dare people not conform to my personal aesthetic preferences?"

I have PCOS. Before I was finally treated for it, I did not lose weight unless I ate less than a thousand calories per day. You are honestly saying that since it took me eating that little to lose weight, that was all I should have eaten? When I kept getting sick, had stringy dry hair, and flaky skin?
Even if the OP glosses over the various reasons people are overweight or need power chairs, his main point, as I saw it, is that while you can be overweight and still eat a lot, there comes a point where you get so heavy that a lot of other things happen to your body and you can't walk comfortably.
I think the idea is that, whatever the reason, it has to hit you that your eating habits have gotten so out of control that they have rendered you a handicapped person.

It's like smoking, even if you do it because you like or you are addicted, the moment you start coughing up bit of your lungs, that's the moment you got to change.It's not the time to buy more tissues for the blood on your mouth.

He never mentioned the esthetic problem.
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  #30  
Old 10-14-2009, 10:11 AM
gazpacho gazpacho is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by panache45 View Post
IOW, "How dare people have an addiction that I don't have?"

I have met damn few people who didn't have any addiction whatsoever. And many people get judgmental about other people's addictions . . . but, of course, not their own.
Being overweight causes all kinds of health problems. We are not doing anybody any good by being supportive of unhealthy lifestyle choices.
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  #31  
Old 10-14-2009, 10:12 AM
kayaker kayaker is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stan Shmenge View Post
Yes, but I was a looong way from needing a damn powerchair.
Really????

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stan Shmenge View Post
I was up to about 220 (I am 5' 10") and at the age of 49 I realized I had to turn it around like NOW or it would be too late for me
I knew a guy in your exact situation. Before he did anything about it, he had a frickin stroke. After rehab he was in a chair, and a cane for short walks. Then his wife committed suicide blaming his health issues and poor long term prognosis. Depression over his situation lead to him gaining more weight. He died about 5 years after the stroke.

Just sayin.
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  #32  
Old 10-14-2009, 10:14 AM
billfish678 billfish678 is offline
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Originally Posted by Zsofia View Post
I was in physical therapy for a stress fracture, and I don't know about the rest of the day, but at 7 AM it's all fat women who have ruined their knees. Literally every single one of those people was a fat lady with knee problems. I was expecting some athletes, you know? No. Me and probably fifteen rotten knees. And you know what? They were supportive of each other but downright rude as hell to me. "Look at Little Miss Running!" Yeah, look at Little Miss Still Has Her Knees. I mean, I can hear you! I was nothing but nice to you! I'm not saying all overweight women are like that (I know they aren't), but the 7 AM club sure is. It was really kind of hurtful - everybody else gets "You can do it!" and I get "<snort> Well, look at that."
I like to think I have a balanced amount of sympathy for overwieght folks. Not an enabler, yet not 10 lbs over and what a loser! mindset either.

Buttttt if I had to put up with that crap in rehab for any length of time, I'd be coming in with a plethora of fat jokes every morning.
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  #33  
Old 10-14-2009, 10:18 AM
aruvqan aruvqan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zsofia View Post
I'm sure that you get to be 500 pounds and using a scooter because you used to be 250 pounds and it's really, REALLY easy to go from 250 to 275. And it's absolutely trivial to get to 300. And you blink and you hit 350. And you don't even really see the point of trying, because you're 350 pounds, for chrissake, and you probably don't think you're even capable of losing the weight at this point. And then, boom, 400 and 500 is peeking around the corner. That's how people get so fat.

I was in physical therapy for a stress fracture, and I don't know about the rest of the day, but at 7 AM it's all fat women who have ruined their knees. Literally every single one of those people was a fat lady with knee problems. I was expecting some athletes, you know? No. Me and probably fifteen rotten knees. And you know what? They were supportive of each other but downright rude as hell to me. "Look at Little Miss Running!" Yeah, look at Little Miss Still Has Her Knees. I mean, I can hear you! I was nothing but nice to you! I'm not saying all overweight women are like that (I know they aren't), but the 7 AM club sure is. It was really kind of hurtful - everybody else gets "You can do it!" and I get "<snort> Well, look at that."

ETA - and you use the scooter not to continue eating but because it hurts like hell to walk and you breathe like a Clydesdale coming up a mountain and think you're going to die before you get to Sporting Goods. It isn't a conscious choice of "food or walking", I'm sure.
You know, it is attitudes like yours that makes going to a gym fucking HELL on people who arent miss pretty?

For what it is worth, I thrashed my knees out playing soccer, cross country skiing, and one memorable time my horse slammed my knee into a tree while out on a steeplechase. I was having joint issues at 135 lbs at 5'7" and in good shape. Im not on crutches and a chair for that at all ... I have an entirely different degenerative issue in my feet. My knees are oddly enough doing fine, except for a little light crunching in the one that got the kneecap broken.

Did you know that most athletic high school kids thrash major joint systems and end up suffering for it when they hit 40 ... one cheerleader that I did a couple years in school with has already had knee replacement done on one side - when she was 30. Her other knee is up for replacement in about 2 months.
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  #34  
Old 10-14-2009, 10:21 AM
aruvqan aruvqan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerseyman View Post
It's not just eating, a lot is what gets eaten, lack of exercise and lack of muscle tone. There is a heart care poster saying that only half an hour's walk a day is enough to keep the heart in shape. I don't know how anybody can manage [i]not[i] to walk for half an hour a day unless they spend it in bed.
/me raises hand. Some days I actually do spend in bed. Pain sucks. I'd tell them to cut my feet off and go with prosthetics, but I would probably be that lucky one that gets phantom pain... nothing like athletes feet itch you cant scratch because you dont have feet....

And of course most doctors sort of resist the idea of cutting off more orless perfectly good limbs without a seriously good reason, and CPPD in the feet isnt considered one of them, or at least not until every single joint is affected and totally destroyed.
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  #35  
Old 10-14-2009, 10:22 AM
Shodan Shodan is online now
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I doubt if the epidemic of obesity in the Western world is caused by medical problems. More like the other way around, most of the time.

Sure, it can be a self-reinforcing cycle, where you are obese and that puts stress on your weight-bearing joints, which means you have trouble walking and get a power chair, which means that you don't walk very much, which makes you even more obese.

But the obesity came first. Look, we're hunter-gatherers, programmed to overeat in times of abundance to prepare for times of famine. Now we don't have times of famine, or the Darwinian effect where a hunter-gatherer who couldn't walk due to obesity would starve by force of circumstances until he could either walk or died.

Now he just buys a power chair and goes to get more groceries.
Quote:
Originally Posted by aruvqan
You know, it is attitudes like yours that makes going to a gym fucking HELL on people who arent miss pretty?
I don't think you read Zsofia's post very closely, if you don't mind my saying so.

Regards,
Shodan
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  #36  
Old 10-14-2009, 10:28 AM
Zsofia Zsofia is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aruvqan View Post
You know, it is attitudes like yours that makes going to a gym fucking HELL on people who arent miss pretty?

For what it is worth, I thrashed my knees out playing soccer, cross country skiing, and one memorable time my horse slammed my knee into a tree while out on a steeplechase. I was having joint issues at 135 lbs at 5'7" and in good shape. Im not on crutches and a chair for that at all ... I have an entirely different degenerative issue in my feet. My knees are oddly enough doing fine, except for a little light crunching in the one that got the kneecap broken.

Did you know that most athletic high school kids thrash major joint systems and end up suffering for it when they hit 40 ... one cheerleader that I did a couple years in school with has already had knee replacement done on one side - when she was 30. Her other knee is up for replacement in about 2 months.
My attitudes? I don't care why they're in therapy, I care that they're making snitty comments about me because I run on the treadmill because my therapist told me to! I don't even have any attitudes! I was just surprised at the extreme prevalence of knee injuries and that everybody but me was really fat - I don't know why they hurt their knees, really, but that wasn't the point at ALL. The point is that they were mean about the one person who wasn't fat and didn't have screwed up knees! Jeez, look, it sucks to be the albino chicken the other chickens peck at, especially when your bone hurts and you have to wake up at 7 AM to go through painful physical therapy and you hear a bunch of bullshit from everybody else.

And the rest of my post was trying to put myself in the mind of somebody who is gaining a lot of weight. Sorry you got offended or something, but I don't understand why.
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  #37  
Old 10-14-2009, 10:52 AM
Athena Athena is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jerseyman View Post
One thing I've noticed about American food too (and applies particularly to additives like relishes) is how bland it is. Everything cancels out in a big mixup that becomes a vaguely sweet pulp. There's no 'bite' in the bite! The only spice they seem aware of is chilli and some of their chilli sauces give the impression that a korma curry would have them gasping for breath.
Where did you have this "American" food? If you stick to fast food, then yes. But I would bet that fast food in any country is more or less bland and not great.

We have TONS of spice that's not 'chilli' - have you had roasted green chiles? How about chipotles? What about Louisiana blackened fish/meat? Trust me, we can keep up with the best korma curry out there, heat and taste wise.

Have you gone to a non-chain American restaurant and had regional food? Seafood in the Northeast, California style food in the West, Southwestern corn and squash and the aforementioned green chile? Great steaks and pizza in the midwest?

I'm not saying that every American takes advantage of the good food around them, and obviously as a country, we have a collective weight problem. But it's not because the food isn't good. If you haven't had good American food, you haven't looked around very much.
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  #38  
Old 10-14-2009, 10:54 AM
Fear Itself Fear Itself is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shodan View Post
I doubt if the epidemic of obesity in the Western world is caused by medical problems. More like the other way around, most of the time.

Sure, it can be a self-reinforcing cycle, where you are obese and that puts stress on your weight-bearing joints, which means you have trouble walking and get a power chair, which means that you don't walk very much, which makes you even more obese.

But the obesity came first.
Not always. My wife uses a power chair when we go shopping, because her scleroderma has ruined her hips and legs, and she only has 45% of normal lung capacity. Due to her illness and the drugs she is taking (including steroids) she has gained weight. If you saw her on a power chair at the supermarket, you would be incorrect to make the generalization you offered above.
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  #39  
Old 10-14-2009, 11:41 AM
LurkMeister LurkMeister is offline
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I know exactly how I got fat. When I graduated from high school I was barely five feet tall and don't think I weighed much more than a hundred pounds. Then I went away to college, where I got all my meals at their all you can eat cafeteria, heavy on the starches. During my freshman year I finally got a growth spurt; my height shot up to my present 5'6". I had never been that big an eater before that, but suddenly I was ravenous. The aforementioned all-I-could-eat, heavy-on-the-starches menu caused to pack on the pounds, and I think I doubled my weight by the time I had graduated. I didn't feel unhealthy, though; I had never been the athletic type, and didn't have any trouble getting around, so I wasn't really aware of how my weight was slowly creeping up until one day in my mid-twenties I got on a scale and found that I was over 240.

This gave me a bit of a wake-up call, and I resolved to get rid of the excess. First thing I did was see a doctor to make sure I didn't have any health problems that would interfere with exercising. My blood pressure was fine (always has been, to the constant amazement of my doctors) and I was given the okay to join a health club. I put myself on a strict diet and went to the health club three days a week, and in less than a year I was down to 186 pounds.

Then things came up in my life; I had to move and it was no longer convenient to get to the health club. I started relaxing my diet, and bit by bit I put on all the weight I'd lost. I hovered around 240-250 for years, occasionally telling myself that I needed to lose weight but never really doing anything about it. When my wife was dying, and then after her death, I became depressed and put on another thirty pounds.

Now I'm trying to get myself back into something resembling fit. But at 57 it's hard to break myself of ingrained habits. I have managed to drop a few pounds, so I must be doing something right.
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  #40  
Old 10-14-2009, 12:26 PM
Freudian Slit Freudian Slit is offline
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Originally Posted by Shodan View Post
I don't think you read Zsofia's post very closely, if you don't mind my saying so.
Me neither. All she was saying is that she herself was mocked by people who were overweight. I didn't see any insulting attitudes on her part.
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  #41  
Old 10-14-2009, 12:39 PM
Anne Neville Anne Neville is offline
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Originally Posted by Colophon View Post
I felt obliged to at least attempt to clear more than half of my plate.
This is why large portion sizes are a problem, and why restaurants being willing to give you a doggy bag isn't going to solve that problem. A lot of us were brought up to "clean your plate", or "not waste food", and that can make it hard to not eat more than you really want to when you're given too large a portion.
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  #42  
Old 10-14-2009, 12:43 PM
Dripping Dripping is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigT View Post
As for myself, I'm a larger framed person
Larger than what?

Quote:
obesity runs in my family...I've got the genetics
Ok, so it's not that you eat lots of food then, it's genetic.

Quote:
I've also been on quite a few medicines....some of them made me gain weight.
Ok, so it's not that you eat lots of food then, it's these meds.

Quote:
I also have jaw problems, that keep me from chewing well.
Ok, so it's not that you eat lots of food then, it's the jaw problem.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BigT View Post
I was raised in the south, in a place where eating lots of food is just something you are supposed to do
Wait, what?
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  #43  
Old 10-14-2009, 12:49 PM
needscoffee needscoffee is offline
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I think we can all agree that not all overweight people on scooters are there because they are fat. The OP's question is how do people who are incredibly overweight get that way.

My adopted daughter's birth mother is obese. We adopted her at birth. Since my daughter was an infant, she ate huge quantities of food. As a teenager today, she eats 3 times as much food as I can, and can't control her eating. No one else in the family eats like this. We're all slightly overweight, but watch what we eat and get exercise. I can't buy things like crackers or chips anymore or she will eat the entire thing. She's currently at least 60 lbs overweight, and rapidly gaining, and hates it, but would rather eat. Once a kid is old enough to obtain their own food, you no longer have complete control what they consume anymore. No amount of pleading, punishing, rewarding, etc makes a bit of difference. Some people are just hardwired to be out of control. Frank Bruni's new autobiography goes into detail about this, too.

I recommend Gary Taubes' great book (albeit bad title) Good Calories, Bad Calories. It's about how eating carbs makes us need to eat more carbs, and how they cause immense weight and health problems, and how once the concept of eating lowfat, high-carb diets came into vogue, and eating less meat, Americans' weight ballooned.

I have known MANY obese people who are obese ONLY because they eat uncontrollably. Perhaps they would also be obese if they ate normal quantities of food as well, but they will never find out.

I agree with an above poster; it's all a matter of degrees. Each 15 lbs adds just a bit more girth, and it isn't enough of a change to make you take the blinders off.
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  #44  
Old 10-14-2009, 01:37 PM
Dripping Dripping is offline
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Originally Posted by needscoffee View Post
My adopted daughter's birth mother is obese. We adopted her at birth. Since my daughter was an infant, she ate huge quantities of food.
Um, infants don't make their own meals or decide on their portion sizes. Parents do that for them. Why are you blaming the kid's birth mother for the kid's obesity when YOU are the one who overfed her from birth?
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  #45  
Old 10-14-2009, 01:39 PM
jtgain jtgain is offline
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The OP is right. It comes down to responsibility and personal character. Those are dirty words on the SMDB, but they are needed. The OP saw things getting out of control and took personal initiative to correct them. It boggles my mind as well that someone can see that they are getting too fat to walk, and instead of dieting, they buy a scooter.

And while I feel sorry for those with medical issues, I agree with Shodan that these people are in the minority. Problem is that nothing is anyone's fault anymore. You eat too much? You have a disease, it's not your fault. So, feel sorry for yourself and keep cramming cheeseburgers in your mouth.

When you have a heart attack and die, you can go to heaven knowing that it wasn't your fault. Take no responsiblity for your own health.
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  #46  
Old 10-14-2009, 01:58 PM
rhubarbarin rhubarbarin is offline
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It sounds like the OP was inactive and ate lots of junk food (and still never got very fat). When he changed habits, the weight fell off. Of course, for the majority of people carrying excess weight things are not nearly that simple.

Being fat is impossible without carbohydrates in the diet. Read Gary Taubes' book. Some people are more 'sensitive' to carbs than others. It's genetic. I can eat nothing but sugar and not gain an ounce. My best friend can put sugar in her coffee twice a day and gain 10 lb in a week. Both of us have about the same risks of health problems from a poor diet, though.

There are many medical conditions that cause weight gain, such as hypothyroidism, PCOS, diabetes, kidney conditions, the list goes on. Medications (steroids, birth control, anti-depressants, anti-convulsants) can also cause fat gain to an extreme degree.

When it comes to the super-obese, most either have both underlying endocrine issues and a problem with overeating carbs. But it seems to me (from observation of my many fat friends) that overweight and moderately obese people (by BMI measures*, as useless as they are) usually eat about the same amount 'normal weight' and skinny people do.. it's just that when they eat causes them to put on more fat.

*http://www.flickr.com/photos/7736776...7602199008819/
http://www.cockeyed.com/photos/bodie...htweight.shtml

Everyone's metabolism is vastly different. I know this because my own is completely abnormal. I have never been over a BMI of 17.5 (quite underweight) in my entire life, no matter what or how much I eat (naturally I eat somewhere between 1500-2000 calories per day, within normal ranges for a small woman. When I have gone on weight gain diets I have eaten as much as 4000 per day and felt very ill from it.. put on a few pounds, but not enough to make me normal weight, and the heartburn and nausea isn't worth it). Calories in=calories out has nothing to do with what my body looks like, so why should it apply to everyone else?

It's both stupid and ignorant to blame people's behavior for their weight or being ill/immobile. IMO. This thread disappoints me.

Last edited by rhubarbarin; 10-14-2009 at 02:03 PM..
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  #47  
Old 10-14-2009, 02:16 PM
filling_pages filling_pages is offline
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Originally Posted by Dripping View Post
Um, infants don't make their own meals or decide on their portion sizes. Parents do that for them. Why are you blaming the kid's birth mother for the kid's obesity when YOU are the one who overfed her from birth?
My mom didn't overfeed us. In fact, she's acutely aware of portion control and healthy eating. But literally from the time I could open the fridge, I have been sneaking food. At 4 years and up. I never felt full, unless seriously packed, and the urge to eat still more remained even then. I would fry bread in butter when she was out of the house. Steal money from her purse to buy snacks she never kept around. When I washed dishes, I would scrape the pans and eat what I could get that way (if no one was watching). If I went into a situation where food might be available, that was my main thought and focus, even if I could manage to hide that from the people around me.

I am now in my early 30s and, yes, quite fat, although not washing-myself-with-a-rag-on-a-stick fat. I've managed to learn to fight that drive to compulsively overeat to an extent, but it is still very much part of me. But it's not my parents' fault. If there is blame too be laid, it is on me. I have to tell you, though, it feels like a chemically based addiction and always has.
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  #48  
Old 10-14-2009, 02:18 PM
lissener lissener is offline
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Originally Posted by Crafter_Man View Post
I agree with this.

The physical reason why an obese person is obese is because they eat too much. This is true regardless of any disease they might have (or claim to have, which is usually the case).

On the surface, the solution is simple: eat less. Easting less works 100% of the time.

But it's not that simple, because what we're really dealing with is a mental problem. And becoming obese is a physical result of this mental problem. The challenge is to fix the mental problem that makes a person want to overeat. This is very difficult to do.
Every single member of my family is fat. Sisters, both parents, parent's parents and siblings. Both sides of my family, the only people who aren't obese are the ones who make a full-time job of it: for them eating is not a pleasure but a punishment, rewarded with more punishment in the form of the neverending battle of burning off the calories. My dad and his two brothers all played professional football. All three of them got fat the day they retired.

So I gots the gene.

On top of that I suffer from major depression, and I'm a compulsive overeater: when I'm anxious or depressed, that physically unpleasant feeling you get in the pit of your stomach can be quelled, often, by filling it. Perhaps conditioned upon this, for me an empty stomach feels exactly like anxiety, and can generate a feeling of panic and depression.

So, all told, without a constant battle, a battle that is waged not just day to day but minute to minute, my "path of least resistance"--just going with my natural flow--leads to obesity.

The OP makes the mistake of believing that each act of overeating is an active choice. It's not. For me it's like gravity; it happens to me, unless I devote the majority of my attention and energy to fighting it.

(Add to all this the fact that there are days--a lot of them sometimes, like, uh, now--when the only moment of comfort you can find in a hostile world involves ice cream or butter.)
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  #49  
Old 10-14-2009, 02:27 PM
rhubarbarin rhubarbarin is offline
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It's worth noting that it's only called 'overeating' when someone is fat.

So fat people should be shamed into keeping themselves constantly hungry (even though there is no science that provides any evidence that calorie restriction leads to long-term weight loss of any degree)..

..while natural beanpoles like me can stuff their faces with burgers and cake to their heart's content, and people chuckle and tell me to eat more?

This is disturbing to me.
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  #50  
Old 10-14-2009, 02:33 PM
gazpacho gazpacho is offline
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Originally Posted by rhubarbarin View Post
..while natural beanpoles like me can stuff their faces with burgers and cake to their heart's content, and people chuckle and tell me to eat more?
I don't for an instant believe that you do stuff your face and remain a beanpole. If you are thin then you are taking in significantly less calories than someone who is fat. You may on occasion indulge yourself with a burger or cake but you don't make a habit of it.
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