Archive for November, 2010|Monthly archive page

Who Are We Here? Hint: “Squeak”

In Weight-Loss Maintenance on November 29, 2010 at 1:58 pm

When I started this blog I was hoping to find some like-minded and supportive individuals. Friends, if you will, who have also found themselves in an odd and skeptical place with regard to obesity and the research surrounding it, a place that doesn’t seem to exist if you accept only the gushy daily headlines about the latest weight-loss “discoveries.” I guess I wanted to find the other weight-loss killjoys at the water cooler, and while many reside at Big Fat Blog and other fatosphere locales, I always felt like an outsider. Talking about my weight-loss maintenance there would have been rude. But I wanted to talk about it. To share my mixed feelings, and find out whether there are others like me who are as confused by our cultural mythology as I am, and who may feel betrayed.

It’s not that I need more friends in my social circle. I have party friends, neighbor friends, tap-dance class friends, etc. I’m even on my church council of Deacons. However, in any certain geography, there aren’t a lot of people who are maintaining weight loss long term. There are even fewer people who are interested in the science of it to the degree I am. Moreover, there aren’t all that many people of any size who hate the weight-loss madness on reality TV and in the daily news the way I do. There are virtually no people where I live who are both weight-loss maintainers and size acceptance proponents, or, even, who are in one of those two groups but talking to each other. I wanted that, but didn’t trust that it existed.

Wow. We do exist! And I am so happy. Some of you have come by way of Big Fat Blog and the size acceptance chat boards. You forgive me my weight-loss maintenance peccadillo and accept me in the size acceptance community, even though I’m engaged in this Read the rest of this entry »


Thanksgiving Thoughts

In Weight-Loss Maintenance on November 24, 2010 at 8:59 am

Before I leap into three days of family revelry and cranberry sauce, I will give thanks here for something that only my friends in this readership can appreciate.  (Whether we’re maintainers, size acceptance proponents or both, our families don’t “get” us entirely, do they?)

Today I give thanks that Joseph Majdan was brought into the world and chose to use his formidable brain and heart in the healing arts.  Here is an excerpt from his essay, Memoirs of an Obese Physician, in which he bravely addresses his fellow Wearers-of-the-White-Coat, and firmly but gently calls them to task for their unprofessional behavior.   It appears in the recent Annals of Internal Medicine.   Again, I cannot get you through to the full article, but this account by Stacey Burling in the Philadelphia Inquirer provides most of the heart-breaking details.

 All of us have our stories of humiliation and shame.  We’ve been bullied.  We have memories of playground nicknames (Sappopotomus was my least favorite).  We recall times in which our opinions were marginalized, simply because we were (or are) fat.  Vesta keeps the First, Do No Harm blog chugging along with stories devoted strictly to marginalizations from the medical community alone. 

But we can, to some degree, escape those indignities.  We can choose a new doctor (and often we should).  Doctor Madjan spent a lifetime in that viper pit, delivering kindness and care despite the shameless, blatant snubs of his colleagues.  “One patient told me of her request to her physician to be referred to me. The physician responded, “Why do you want to go to him? He’s fat.” She came to me nonetheless. Other physicians openly told my friends that they would never refer anyone to me because of my obesity.” Read the rest of this entry »

The Roulette Wheel Stops

In Weight-Loss Maintenance on November 22, 2010 at 7:12 pm

Well, THANK YOU for playing my game. It’s time to name a winner. And I gotta say, it’s not easy. Special appreciation to Jocetta for providing thought-provoking links (which I may purloin and post upon). And to DeeLeigh, for keeping Jocetta on her toes. And back at Jocetta, again, for accepting DeeLeigh’s toe-correction with grace!

Thanks to RNegade and DeeLeigh for a heated yet interesting discussion on the strength of the link between obesity and Type II Diabetes. It got us a little off topic, but it’s clearly a great topic for another day. Many of the White Labcoats have pronounced causation when it’s still clearly ONLY association. Maybe we, the lab rats, can gently suggest they research the outside factor(s) that may initiate both.

Yes, the Roulette table was confusing and confounding.  Thank you to all 23 players, many with multiple entries.  Vegas would get rich off of you. 

Now, I wasn’t asking what makes us fat (though I got a lot of good answers). I was asking what has changed to make us fatter in the last four decades. And Friday, I pooh-poohed the idea that our formerly virtuous behavior has collectively eroded. Today, I award a tie and identical copies of the GRAND CYBER GLOAT to Mo, Jocetta and RNegade, the proponents of genetics and epigenetics, which I didn’t even put on the board to begin with. But, indeed, the scientists who are advancing the best thinking are starting from the point of view that who we are, down to our very code, not what we do (unless it’s affecting that code) is making us fatter. Who we are impels us to eat when we know we will store too much energy – for our personal comfort and for the social rewards of a culture that detests fat people. Who we are as organisms (engaged in complex chemical reactions) has, on average, gotten more adept at storing energy. Read the rest of this entry »

Black or Red? Narrowing the Field

In Weight-Loss Maintenance on November 18, 2010 at 7:46 pm

First of all, let’s agree there is no definitive answer to the Big Fat Roulette Wheel game.  Any answer may be correct, but some strike me as more plausible than others. 

Since my last post, we’ve had five more gamblers, all placing their bets somewhere on the black side, which means the board is now tied.  “Personal choices” and “outside forces” are even.  Makes for an interesting discussion!  If you haven’t read the comments, please do.  And don’t forget the second Roulette post, with more discussion, and some great links to additional research that I’m still digesting.

Before I break the tie, let’s eliminate a few contenders:

Aspartame:  No one picked it.  I certainly wouldn’t either.  I lived on sugar-free sodas for the first five years of my maintenance.  I have only recently (and radically) cut back for reasons other than maintenance, and that action has had no effect on my maintenance – it didn’t get easier, I didn’t drop additional weight. 

It may seem arrogant to give credence to personal experiences and hunches alone, without scientific evidence, but I think in this realm, our individual experiences and anecdotes are vital.  I was delighted that many of the answers to Fat Roulette game began “In my experience . . .”  Let’s continue to wrap the most descriptive and useful language we can around our experiences, to help one another and, perhaps, to provide fodder for those in the scientific community who haven’t abdicated their curiosity and set their assumptions in concrete.   

Now, as for aspartame, it may get our sweet receptors all excited, it’s packaged with other crud that may cause us to eat, but no, it’s probably not the Boogieman. Read the rest of this entry »

BRRRRRrrrpupupup puhp puhp. . . The Wheel is Spinning

In Weight-Loss Maintenance on November 16, 2010 at 12:16 pm

So many wonderful and daring gamblers, along with a few cowards.  Thank you all for playing my game!

As I analyze it, Red bets have trumped black ten-to-five, with three totally confused people and/or shameless fence-straddlers, or six if you count all of NewMe’s multiple (charming) personalities. 

Today I point out the lines that struck me as funniest (without revealing anything about the contest winner) and I hand out special kudos to those who came up with new boxes for our ever expanding Big Fat Roulette table.  Let’s start with those:

  • Demographics.  Mulberry points out that an aging population is an ever fatter population.  Good call.  Add it to the black side.
  • Proffered by DeeLeigh:  Dieting during pregnancy makes for fat offspring.  While this is an interesting addition to the board, right beside it we would need to place a box for excessive weight gain during pregnancy.  Both, apparently, can cause the offspring to be fat adults.  In other words, always blame mothers regardless of what they do, unless it’s absolutely perfectly in the middle.  Sigh.  Oh, heck, blame mothers anyway, even if they do nothing but get pregnant while fat.  That’s three additions to the black side.  While it is personal choice, it is Mom’s personal choice that makes an offspring fat.
  • Attack-Laurel pointed out that prescription drugs frequently have weight gain as a side effect.  And as we use more prescription drugs we risk more of that side effect. Put that on the Red side. Read the rest of this entry »

Shhhhh, They’re Talking about US! Let’s Listen and then Talk about THEM

In Weight-Loss Maintenance on November 12, 2010 at 1:02 pm

First, I would encourage everyone to come join the roulette table.  You still have time before the wheel spins, the winner is named and I reveal my hypothesis.  BUT, in the meantime, if you have already placed your bet, or you otherwise have an extra 26 minutes to spare, you may wish to watch the entertainment in the Obesity Studies Lounge.  Please know that there is NO particular reason I post the following picture.

Bosley and the Angels

 Or this one:

Lee Majors

Any resemblance of our entertainers to the above pictured cast and/or ex-spouse of a cast member is purely coincidental, and we will only talk about them with the utmost respect. Read the rest of this entry »

Let’s play Fat Roulette! Where will you place YOUR chip?

In Weight-Loss Maintenance on November 10, 2010 at 4:06 pm

Let us acknowledge that we, in the developed world, are getting bigger.  Our height is increasing some, but it only partially compensates for our increased weight. 

From 1960 to 2002, according to the most alarming study on the subject, the average weight of adults in this country, at the center of the bell curve, shifted upwards about 24 pounds, while average height increased by an inch. 

How concerned we should be about this increase and what we should do about it is fodder for another post or two or three or more.  Today, let’s just accept that it is happening, and ask why? 

I like to think of this dilemma as the Big Fat Roulette table, with dozens of boxes containing the various explanations for our increased size.  The wheel at the south end of the table has corresponding cubbies for each explanation.  Today I am handing you a single chip.  But, the contest is rigged.  Let’s pretend there is a magnet in the wheel that will attract the ball to the one reason most responsible for our increase in average weight.  

In the comments, you may place your chip on one box or on the line between two boxes.  Or you may choose black or red.  Then give your explanation for why you think the ball will land where it will.  Next week, I will award a grand cyber gloat to the commenter I think gives the most well reasoned answer (or the funniest) and I will also reveal my opinion, which may be different from the winner’s. Read the rest of this entry »

My Love/Hate Relationship with the National Weight Control Registry

In Weight-Loss Maintenance on November 8, 2010 at 8:48 am

For me, and I’d love to know whether this goes for other maintainers, one of the things that keeps me from eating with abandon during the holiday season is the impending spring survey from the National Weight Control Registry.  Once a year, Aprilish, we know we’ll be called to account.   (Question:   Since accountability is a recognized precept of weight loss and maintenance, does the implied accountability of the NWCR process corrupt the organization’s own data?  Hmmmmm.  A ponderable for another day.)

Most years it’s the short form:  Have you gained?  Have you lost?  Have you maintained?  How do you feel about that on a scale of one to five (or is it ten)?  The scientists define “maintaining” as not gaining more than five pounds in a single year.  I have ranked their highest success category for all the five years I have participated.  I have been “maintaining” loss for more than seven years and regained ten pounds in that time, but never a full five in one year.   So, with mixed feelings, I accept their mantle and call myself a “success,” though some days I question that.

Some years, it’s the long form where we fill in pages of ovals with a number two pencil and try to break down our weekly food intake into the scientists’ categories.  We try our best to parse the soups and stir fries we’ve eaten into their component parts.  The scientists don’t ask us about the quality of our food – how much is organic, etc.  – just the Read the rest of this entry »

Thoughts on a Peptide YY Study (with a digression on the “N” word)

In Weight-Loss Maintenance on November 5, 2010 at 8:39 am

I read a comment yesterday from a woman who has lost 100 pounds, yet she’s frustrated and feels betrayed by her own body.  I understand that frustration.  She devotes great time and effort to weight management – three hours daily on the exercise component alone.  This is so much more than magazines and other purveyors of cultural mythology (even our doctors) tell us will be required for our zippy weight-loss and maintenance “lifestyles.”   Moreover, her trimmer body has not magically cured all of her health issues (something else the magazines and doctors imply will happen), and new ones have emerged.

Her struggle reminds me how important it is that we do our research on the science of weight loss and maintenance and try to better communicate with our doctors just how complicated and difficult it is.

I don’t think doctors are mean spirited, but they are overworked and must keep current on hundreds of medical issues.  Weight management, for many reasons, has been simplified down to useless advice:  calories in/calories out, eat less/exercise more, walk thirty minutes a day, eat fresh produce and control your portions.  Blah, blah, blah.  When patients fail to lose weight or maintain weight loss on such simplistic recommendations, doctors chalk it up to “patient noncompliance,” common medical parlance that translates as “blame the victim” to those of us not wearing white coats. Read the rest of this entry »

Holiday Treats: Another Digression (prompted by Halloween)

In Weight-Loss Maintenance on November 1, 2010 at 1:29 pm

A decade and a half ago, my grandmother-in-law hosted a gathering of extended family.  Throughout dinner, she kept pushing seconds, thirds.  If you said “no, thank you,” she pushed harder and repeatedly, until you said firmly, “NO. Thank you.”  After dinner, your desire for dessert was assumed and one showed up in front of you.  If that weren’t enough, she kept cutting and plating pieces, which I thought she was going to put in the refrigerator to save.  But no, if you finished your dessert (my mistake), another showed up in front of you.  At the time, I was dumbfounded, miserably full, and had a graceless reaction to this tradition. She has passed away now, and I regret that scene.  She was from a different culture and time, in which food scarcity had made asking for seconds cultural taboo, so pushing them (and thirds and fourths) without an invitation was considered an act of caring and generosity.  Moreover, that was before my weight loss, so her act of “fat blindness,” treating me just like the others, may have been kindness that I didn’t recognize at the time. 

As Depression era people pass on, these situations become less common.  I later learned from other family members that they just counted on feeling miserable after these meals and left it at that.  I just couldn’t, and even now I wouldn’t.  But now I hope I’d be more graceful.  “No more, please.  I’m done, thank you,” may have gone a long way.   Especially if I’d just excused myself to the living room and left my dessert Read the rest of this entry »