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I have really been appalled by some of the recent controversy that Regina Benjamin's weight in any way compromises her ability to serve as a good example in the capacity of Surgeon General.  Such comments pop up on message boards across the web, many from morons and twits, but others from genuine aficiniados of exercise and/or nutrition who think they are speaking on behalf of women's health, but in reality have no idea what the fuck they are talking about; I am very glad will we have a Surgeon General who by her very presence will begin to disabuse us of these misconceptions.

The fact is, concerns about obesity are not a partisan issue; many of the most strident critics of being overweight are progressives at the forefront of medicine and nutrition, noting it as a causal factor that increases risks for a myriad of diseases, based on their extended expertise in their specific fields.

However, for those of us who view the issue of women's health through a more holistic lens that acknowledges the intertwining and interacting factors of physical health, psychological self-image, and sociological pressures, the greatest causal threat to women's health is actually not obesity at at all - in fact it is entirely the opposite; the greatest causal threat to women's health is negative body image.

Specifically, this negative body image manifests itself as perpetually seeing one's self as too fat regardless of the reality, a compulsive self-loathing fervor to lose weight that usually only backfires.  

While there are many alarming statistics about obesity, the amount of women who have suffered at one time or another from an eating disorder like bulemia or anorexia is just as staggering - but it only begins to tell the story; I can only speak for my own generation and not those that came before (I just turned thirty), but most women I have have had the fortune of getting to know in my life still have an endless loop of "I'm too fat" going in their minds every time they look at the mirror, regardless of their weight.  In fact, I would say at least three out of four women I have met in my life have some unhealthy level of this fixation, and even thought in most cases it may not rise to the level of a diagnosable eating disorder, the psychological, emotional, and spiritual toll of struggling daily against these kinds of expectations is still immeasurable, and only serves to bolster detrimental health factors like stress, depression - and yes - weight gain as well.  What's worse, these body image problems that many women face appear to be, if anything, getting even more acute with today's teenage girls and young adults.

In many ways, it is no surprise that this phenomenon targets women in particular and only seems to be getting worse; we have a multibillion dollar weight loss and cosmetics industry which has created immense social and psychological pressure on women to get to a size nonexistant, an Orwellian Two Minutes of Hate that women regularly are conditioned to inflict on themselves.  As this industry has expanded, along with its compatriots in the fashion, tabloid, and modeling industries, spreading their mantra of female self-loathing through new technologies and digital airbrushing breakthroughs, the problem has become more acute.  How many weight loss commercials, between TV and Internet ads, does a young woman see by the age of 15 nowadays?  How about compared to thirty years ago, or even ten years ago?  

My point is that if we are looking at causal factors when we talk about obesity causing poor health, we must equally concede that the biggest causal factor for obesity and weight gain among women is negative self-image, and almost always before diet and exercise even come into play; a highly negative self-image inevitably tends to provoke inconsistent attempts at diet and exercise, as opposed to the kind of steady long term regiment that truly leads to improved health.  This serves the cosmetics/weight loss industry just fine, though, as they don't make nearly as much money if people just lose weight and keep it off; their entire financial model relies on women who will keep trying to lose weight in an endless cycle and buy their products over and over again, as they richochet between modes of fierce determination and bitter resentment towards weight loss that inherently lead to an inconsistent regiment.  One can expect little more from those industries, granted, but it certainly is the duty of people in and around the health care, nutrition, and fitness industries to look past their short term bottom lines and NOT reinforce those same stigmas, as they often have in the past; to do so directly undermines their stated main objective of good health for their female clients perhaps in the most destructive way possible.  

Throughout the course of my relative short life, I have personally heard more stories than I can count about women who were incessantly bugged about being fat when they were growing up, often just for being a little chubby, and then ended up losing control of their weights when they got older as a result.  I will share just one such story in the interest of brevity:

My fiancee was a chubby as a child; however, her mother always berated her for being fat, and constantly made it the focus, to the point where a resentment towards restraint and exercise was engendered.  My fiancee continued to gain weight as she got older, despite attempts to diet, with each of her boyfriends having a very negative attitude towards her size and constantly harassing her to lose weight.  It was only until she and I were together for a couple years and she felt no such pressure about her size that she all of a sudden found herself losing weight this year - without even trying - and essentially by accident.

This is really just a basic rule of humanity; after a certain point of pushing someone to do anything too hard, it will inevitably backfire, because it is interpreted as a disparagement of the very will power needed to overcome the problem.  Although motivation can be very helpful in many situations throughout life, there gets to be a point where people just need a little breathing room to feel something other than bad about themselves if they are ever to feel any better.

This highlights a rule of weight loss, and really, of most any substantive changes we attempt to make to our lives: it is vital to feel at least somewhat IN CONTROL to be successful.  Once a person feels like things are completely out of their control, things do not go well, and the primary message that women get from society when it comes to weight loss is that - no matter their size - they ARE out of control, that they MUST always be somewhere else than where they are now, and that they've therefore ALWAYS fallen short and have ALWAYS been out of control (and always will be).

I will pose one last example from my personal experience, as it relates specifically to that issue of feeling in control.  A number of years ago, one of my friends had put on some weight during a depressing period in her life following the death of a parent; when I saw her in 2001 for the first time in over a year, she was caught up in a negative view of her body that went beyond anything I had remembered.  As the time went on and we began to hang out again, though, a funny thing started to happen; she started to joke about her weight in a positive, almost cathartic sense, not in a self-depreciating tone as much as one defiant towards conventional expectations.  It became so common that it was a running joke she had going among our group of friends; she would make cracks about how her weight shook the floor or how she could squish people she didn't like with her weight, interpeting it as something empowering instead of a liability.  It may sound silly, but she was able to look at the idea of being fat through a positive lens; what she had once perceived as a woman's ultimate weakness, through endless social conditioning, she now perceived as a manifestation of "goddess power", as she liked to put it - the weapon that so long had been used against her was in reality only hers to wield as she pleased.  In the months following her regaining a sense of control over her size, she lost all the extra weight with minimal effort and is now in the best physical shape of her life - not by beating herself up or trying too hard, but by simply cutting herself a break.  It's amazing what a positive self-image of one's body can do.

Now, some may read this diary and think that I am trying to argue against or minimize the health consequences of obesity.  Let me be clear, I am doing no such thing - the health risks of obesity are well-established and foolish to dispute.  However, anyone that thinks that an increase in overweight and obese women stems from women not worrying about their weight enough is OUT OF THEIR FUCKING MINDS.

Originally posted to ShadowSD on Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 09:19 AM PDT.

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To the extent that women are overweight in America

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78%89 votes

| 113 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (53+ / 0-)

    Regina Benjamin is not only a fantastic, tremendously qualified, and inspiring candidate, but her serving as Surgeon General implicity sends the message that health relies on much more than the superficial and self-loathing frames provided to women by the weight loss and cosmetic industries.

    I'm certain that a handful of individuals - many of them because they have found success and happiness with strict regiments of fitness and nutrition in their own lives - will continue to make comments, and not as much about Benjamin as a role model, but more about women in general needing to focus on losing weight because they don't take it seriously enough.  These individuals all see themselves as the helpful drill sergeant, and believe that the answer to every situation is that people just need to hit rock bottom to get better; it is analogous to the  intractable stubbornness and shortsightedness of those who vastly increased the amount of terrorists in the name of policies that were supposed to defeat terrorism.

    Berating women about their weight is counterproductive, and only makes obesity more of a likelihood.  If you really care so much about their health, try shutting the fuck up.

    Private insurance companies only profit from denying health care, killing 20,000 Americans a year. A real public option ENDS the rationing of health care.

    by ShadowSD on Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 09:15:17 AM PDT

    •  Her weight wouldn't ever have been an issue if (36+ / 0-)

      SHE was a HE. Plain and simple. Ever hear anyone mention C. Everett koop's weight? Nope? Didn't think so.

       title=

      Beware the lollipop of mediocrity: lick it once and suck forever.

      by second gen on Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 09:28:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I know! (8+ / 0-)

        That's totally sexist, man. :)

        no one has th eright to sell me to abc.

        by Colorado is the Shiznit on Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 09:34:43 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  My point exactly (18+ / 0-)

        There is an entirely different standard when it comes to weight for women; as a man, I can't ever come close to knowing what it feels like to be under these constraints, but I have had the fortune of knowing a lot of wise women in my life whom I have had the benefit of learning from, and I have always been extremely sensitive to these issues ever since.

        The ironic part is that doctors agree that a woman with 15% bodyfat is perfectly healthy, but that the corresponding number for men is just 6%; by that logic, women should get MORE leeway on this issue, not less.  To expect otherwise is to expect women to struggle against their natural shape, against their own very nature; the enduring idea that all bodyfat is evil is essentially an attack on the female form itself, and inherently misogynistic.

        Private insurance companies only profit from denying health care, killing 20,000 Americans a year. A real public option ENDS the rationing of health care.

        by ShadowSD on Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 09:38:15 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  That keeps us in our place, don'tcha know (14+ / 0-)

          forever struggling against your own nature is pretty unproductive.

        •  That, and black women have a different body type (5+ / 0-)

          than white women, in general.  And I'm not saying this in a racist sort of "Blacks are better athletes" or "Blacks are better buck stock" sort of way. It just is. Each ethnicity has a different biological body type. And black women, typically, aren't tiny little string beans.

          I think pointing out weight issues on Regina Benjamin may eventually backfire, both from a sexist and racist standpoint. JMO.

          Beware the lollipop of mediocrity: lick it once and suck forever.

          by second gen on Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 10:00:22 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Absolutely right (5+ / 0-)

            Although I suspect that in this instance, a white woman would be getting plenty of grief about her weight as well, which is why I pursed it primarily as a gender issue.

            Private insurance companies only profit from denying health care, killing 20,000 Americans a year. A real public option ENDS the rationing of health care.

            by ShadowSD on Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 10:28:17 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  I agree with you (0+ / 0-)

            and disagree with you.  Their are absolutely some phsyio/morphological differences.  But my point would be this she is overweight and their is no disputing it.  Does it compromise her ability to do a good job?  No.  There has always been a whisper going around about how poorly docs eat, sleep, and exercise.  I saw a study a while back that was on the weight gain for resident through their 3-5 residencies.  Part of this is natural when you consider the typical age of residents and a significant part is poor eating habits because of the job.  

            body type aside there is a significant obesity problem with black americans and the epi data illustrates this.  I don't believe this is any different than what is also happening to early generation mexicans in this country.  and I think it has to do with the american (affluent) diet being foisted upon groups of people that historically didn't eat this crap.  Find a fat person in africa...keep looking.  Where it's hot as hell people are lean, high skin surface area:volume allows better cooling.  Now go to russia...big fucking people.  And if they come here they will get bigger.  The epi data shows that populations that come here have significant differences in body weight than their 'native' countries in 2 generations.  It's our diet.

            My issue with her weight is as an example and the fact that she now has a commission and is in uniform so she should conform to the regs.  but she can use this as an oprah-like moment.  Be the example for everyone to follow and lose the weight while in office.  I think it would be a wonderful thing for people to see the top doc lose get fit in front of our own eyes.  Her calls for america to get in shape would carry more weight (sorry) I believe.  And if she doesn't oh well she is still a wonderful person that will do her damndest for the betterment of america's health.  

        •  I totally agree with that - nature made women (10+ / 0-)

          plump to produce and care for babies - the next generation.  It will take a heck of a lot of natural selection to get nature to make women be ulta-thin models.

          Also, tell fat critics to take a look at the paintings of Rubens - his maidens are hefty and well fed.  Util the mid-20th century a "zoftig" woman was the standard of health - thin women appeared to be malnourished.

          There is a middle way between the 2 extremes - where Title 9 is enforced, girls have more access to athletic pursuits.  Then, as grown women, they are more likely continue to be physically active to a certain extent.  Not only does physical activity help control weight, is it a good cardio-vascular workout and reduces the chances/impact of osteoporosis later in life.

          Given that some progressives and conservatives voiced concern that with diabetes Sonia Sotomayor might not live as long as the other justices, I'm sure the Republicans will try to make something out of Regina Benjamin's weight.  (Either that or something out of context from a speech she gave 20 years ago.

          The land was ours before we were the land's...Robert Frost, The Gift Outright

          by HylasBrook on Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 10:04:06 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  That's not entirely true. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            miss SPED

            I believe trends in obesity can historically be connected to affluence. Except in the cases where some had access to abundant food sources without actually being affluent. As in the case of, for example, the Inn keepers, or the town bread and pastry bakers, butchers and so on. Though not to suggest all were overweight, or heftier then the average townsfolk, but it would stand to reason.

            That said, modern food producers have come up with the recipes and means of producing maximum calories for the least expense making fatty foods abundant with out affluence being a prerequisite for attaining it. Marketing it extremely slick and directed at children most often, and extremely accessible.

            Whole, fat laden meals can be gotten in seconds, and devoured in minutes. That's just historically unprecedented.

            To whom it may concern. Waterboarding is torture. Torture is illegal. Sincerely, A. No Brainer.

            by Pescadero Bill on Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 11:31:09 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  In my high school health book, 15% (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ShadowSD, luckylizard, miss SPED

          was the lowest percentage they listed as being underweight. 12% was the danger line.

          And that was a book written for older teens who had not gone through the hormones of years as an adult woman or of even one pregnancy.

          Hoping and praying that the empty chairs and empty tables in Iran when all is said and done are as few as possible.

          by Cassandra Waites on Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 10:05:56 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I imagine you are talking numbers (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Cassandra Waites

            for women.  IF so then this is correct.  Because as a boy I hovered in the 5-8% my whole life until the middle of college.  When a woman approaches 15% body fat she will start experiencing oligomenorrhea, changes in the periodicity of her menstruation.  When they get down to say 12% they will go amenorrheic, loss of her period.  These problems are also seen in something called the female athlete triad.  Young women workout hard and keep their weight down (strict, strict athlete diets) in the process but this leads to fatigue, amenorrhea, and bone issues.  It is often first identified with what is called a pathological break in a bone that you wouldn't expect.  then they scan their bones and realize they are osteoporotic.  

            A girls body has to achieve a certain body fat level in order to reach menarche - onset of menses. The obesity epidemic is hypothesized to be responsible for the earlier onset of puberty we are seeing.  It used to be weird (precocious puberty) to see girls developing at 9 but now it is considerably more common. Some people also say it's the environmental estrogens that are contributing.  Either way it isn't good as lifelong exposure to estrogen is a risk factor for hormonal cancers like ovarian and breast.  This is the exact type of stuff our new surgeon general should be getting out there.  

      •  Let's think about the pundits complaining now (3+ / 0-)

        Many of them suffer from Twinkie overdose

      •  Yes, precisely. (0+ / 0-)

        I look forward to all the concern and worry over Mike Huckabee's weight gain.

        Dr. Nancy on MSNBC?  Could you please discuss it was you did the SG nominee's weight?  After all, Mr. Huckabee might be in the running for the most powerful office in the world, so surely his inability to keep the weight off is a reason for concern...

        •  She did. Dr. Nancy did a segment on this the (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ShadowSD

          other day.

          Beware the lollipop of mediocrity: lick it once and suck forever.

          by second gen on Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 10:06:09 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  That was one of the reasons I was inspired to (0+ / 0-)

            write this diary (I just caught the headlines and didn't see the full story, though - how was it?)

            Private insurance companies only profit from denying health care, killing 20,000 Americans a year. A real public option ENDS the rationing of health care.

            by ShadowSD on Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 10:10:18 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Sorry, had to step out. It was okay. (0+ / 0-)

              She didn't do anything about Huckabee. But she did have a guests on who supported Benjamin. Also mentioning that she struggles with diabetes (or someone in the family did, can't remember which)

              One doctor specifically called attention to all her ACHEIVEMENTS.

              Another (A man) was appalled at the fact that it was brought up at all and was the first to note that it wouldn't even be an issue if she was a he.

              Dr. Nancy mentioned Koop and no one mentioned Huckabee.

              Overall, it was basically a rant, and an informative session that the woman is much much more than just a dress size.

              Beware the lollipop of mediocrity: lick it once and suck forever.

              by second gen on Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 03:42:08 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  On both individuals? Or on the SG nominee? (0+ / 0-)

            The promo I heard said nothing about Huckabee...

      •  Took the words right out of my mouth... (5+ / 0-)

        Tommy Thompson,  who had the job in the early 2000's,  was no "skinny minnie".   This is clearly a case of sexist objectification of women.  And its also a desperate attempt by Republicans to find anything negative they can about this administration,  since nothing seems to stick.  (Did you hear the one about Obama's "girly" baseball pitch?)    Its truly silly season for GOP, as they continue their descent into the depths of hell.  

        (-6.25, -4.36) Just another socialist lesbian undermining the sanctity of marriage by breathing

        by Gertrude on Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 10:10:50 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Standing Ovation (8+ / 0-)

      As One who has struggled with weight most of her life, for MYRIAD reasons.One who has managed in the last three years to drop 80lbs and keep it off. I applaud your comment,

      Berating women about their weight is counterproductive, and only makes obesity more of a likelihood.  If you really care so much about their health, try shutting the fuck up.

      There is no one reason - there are some more likely than others but one thing is for sure intolerance and outright arrogance will not change a darn thing.

      I changed my habits because i reached a point in my life where it was possible, financially and mentally. Financially I say loosely because it actually is a struggle financially to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

      We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the vitrolic words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people-MLK

      by digitalmuse on Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 10:37:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I like your poll! (5+ / 0-)
  •  Neither. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    happymisanthropy

    It is about taking the wrong steps to deal with your worrying to begin with.

    "You have attributed conditions to villainy that simply result from stupidity"

    by newfie on Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 09:25:24 AM PDT

    •  This comment (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      newfie

      is extremely confusing to me.

      no one has th eright to sell me to abc.

      by Colorado is the Shiznit on Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 09:36:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sorry (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lgmcp, Colorado is the Shiznit

        more or less referring to this line

        a highly negative self-image inevitably tends to provoke inconsistent attempts at diet and exercise, as opposed to the kind of steady long term regiment that truly leads to improved health.

        Worrying is not an issue of physical healht  - although it impacts physical health - but a matter of mental health.  Dealing with the subject's belief about herself developed over the years of negative feeedback etc belongs in the realm of mental health - which it appears she has achieved through her relationship with the diarist.

        The wrong steps would be (as is typical in such situations) in engaging in a cycle of deprivation, potential short term success, flattening out of that success, disappointment and so on.

        Hmm - hopefully less confusing?

        "You have attributed conditions to villainy that simply result from stupidity"

        by newfie on Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 09:44:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not really. :) (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          newfie, ShadowSD, Piren

          A positive body image is good for everybody and, yes, it definitely falls under the "mental health" category.

          So I can't figure out if you're stating the obvious or saying more - ?

          no one has th eright to sell me to abc.

          by Colorado is the Shiznit on Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 09:46:16 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I lean towards "stating the obvious." (3+ / 0-)

            But do want to emphasize that body image is but one component.  Once a person has gotten rid of the image baggage they will not automatically be endowed with weight loss.  It only enables that person then to approach their eating and exercise differently.  So no longer do I need to focus so much on outcome as focusing in on the process.  Which should be is not guaranteed to yield long term results (giving a nod to those whose issue may ultimately lie in other areas - as in "gee I eat right, exercise regularly and have done for a long time yet I still carry more weight than my frame allows...)

            Heh - that's what I get for trying to listen to a training and typing at the same time.

            "You have attributed conditions to villainy that simply result from stupidity"

            by newfie on Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 09:55:15 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  But my point is that since mental health impacts (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          newfie, Colorado is the Shiznit

          physical health, as you correctly put it, we can't look at obesity as a root cause of health problems without ackowledging negative body image as the root cause of obesity.

          Private insurance companies only profit from denying health care, killing 20,000 Americans a year. A real public option ENDS the rationing of health care.

          by ShadowSD on Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 09:52:17 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes. (2+ / 0-)

            althoug I would say A root cause as the causes can be multiple and complex.  Many of us seek the quick and easy answer - if you have a positive body image you will end up having a healthier body weight.  Which I think you would agree.

            The converse of that is true as well.

            "You have attributed conditions to villainy that simply result from stupidity"

            by newfie on Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 09:57:17 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Negative body image as the root cause of obesity (4+ / 0-)

            for some perhaps. But the root cause of obesity for most lies squarely with the North American diet and what it's become. Packed with sugar, salt, and fat, it's a diet specifically geared and tailored towards food addiction.

            Wherever the North American style diet becomes popular, the population sees an increase in weight and diseases like diabetes. There's plenty of cause and effect there.

            Read Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food to get an idea of how the food industry has screwed us all.

            One shouldn't obsess over negative body image when one's been preyed on by corporate greed and wanton disregard for the negative health effects their terrible products have on a population.

            To me, this isn't about hoping everyone can look like they belong on a fashion magazine, but rather the fight against the corporate manipulation, exploitation and greed once again.

            People have to wise up on how food is produced in this country, and body image will eventually take care of itself.

            To whom it may concern. Waterboarding is torture. Torture is illegal. Sincerely, A. No Brainer.

            by Pescadero Bill on Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 10:42:40 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Fantastic and moving diary. (12+ / 0-)

    I agree and concur wholeheartedly, and I have happily tipped and rec'd your eloquent post.

    On behalf of women everywhere, thank you thank you thank you! :)

    no one has th eright to sell me to abc.

    by Colorado is the Shiznit on Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 09:34:21 AM PDT

  •  When you can't attack people based on their (20+ / 0-)

    qualifications, you attack them based on your own insecurities...and that's what the GOP is all about--insecurity.

    It's often said that life is strange. But compared to what? --Steve Forbert

    by darthstar on Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 09:34:35 AM PDT

  •  Okay, tell me again... (4+ / 0-)

    ...who exactly is criticizing Regina Benjamin over her weight?  This diary has a "some people say" tone to it and I'm curious as to whom is actually "saying" and whether they have any relevance to the conversation.

    You are entitled to express your opinion. But you are NOT entitled to agreement.

    by DawnG on Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 09:36:49 AM PDT

    •  Point well taken and yet (3+ / 0-)

      message boards across the web, many from morons and twits, but others from genuine aficiniados of exercise and/or nutrition who think they are speaking on behalf of women's health

      ... internet chatter DOES, predictably "go there" whenever there is any "there" to be gone to.

      "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

      by lgmcp on Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 09:39:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Opinions ARE like assholes. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lgmcp, esquimaux, ShadowSD

        and you can never underestimate how overbearing some people's judgement can be.

        But Is there anyone who has any say in her confirmation who's making those comments?  That is what I would like to know.

        You are entitled to express your opinion. But you are NOT entitled to agreement.

        by DawnG on Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 10:02:38 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not that I've heard so far (2+ / 0-)

          I can't imagine any Republican Senators would be that stupid (famous last words).

          However, the fact that this is being raised in many discussions says a lot about our society, and I thought this was a rare opportunity to try and address this issue as a whole.  I don't want my two year old daughter to grow up in today's world of obsessive weight standards for women.

          Private insurance companies only profit from denying health care, killing 20,000 Americans a year. A real public option ENDS the rationing of health care.

          by ShadowSD on Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 10:22:50 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Given that they went over-the-line (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            DawnG, ShadowSD

            repeatedly at Sotomayor's confirmation hearings last week, I would not put this doc's weight above their little, teeny tiny minds and even smaller hearts.

            no one has th eright to sell me to abc.

            by Colorado is the Shiznit on Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 10:25:24 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  It doesn't say anything NEW about our society. (2+ / 0-)

            I've seen this kind of mentality all my life.  The superiority of the skinny vs. the inferiority of the overweight or obese.

            The skinny have superior reason, willpower, common sense, genetics, etc.  Never mind that they may have OTHER vices (drinking, smoking, etc).  As long as they can feel good about SOMETHING, that's all that matters.

            You are entitled to express your opinion. But you are NOT entitled to agreement.

            by DawnG on Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 10:28:58 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  It's not just a bunch of conservative dolts, (6+ / 0-)

      sadly, but individuals of different political persuasions mostly posting in non-political forums.  Do a Google Search on that phrase and you'll see plenty of examples; I considered quoting or linking to examples of this kind of nonsense but I decided against giving it an additional forum.  In an earlier iteration of this diary from yesterday, one commenter provided an example of a progressive engaging in this: http://www.dailykos.com/...

      Private insurance companies only profit from denying health care, killing 20,000 Americans a year. A real public option ENDS the rationing of health care.

      by ShadowSD on Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 09:42:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  MSNBC had a column by Arthur Caplan (8+ / 0-)

      Ethics "guru" at Penn. He personally did not criticize Dr. Benjamin on grounds of her weight. But he devoted a column to those who do.

      _Karl Rove is an outside agitator._

      by susanala on Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 09:42:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Check out the AOL welcome page (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      GN1927, lgmcp, ShadowSD, miss SPED

      It was a lead story this morning.

      I always think reform is just around the corner -- until I overhear the people standing next to me on the streetcar. (Ray Stannard Baker, 1905).

      by dotalbon on Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 10:05:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  An excellent point (7+ / 0-)

    that "women not worrying about their weight enough" is  far, far indeed from being the root cause of our obesity epidemic!  

    However I would say that the things that ARE causes are many, and your second poll option is only one among them.  Massive changes in labor patterns, activities of daily living, and meal patterns, of course are in there too.

    I am not so familiar as you with cases where self-acceptance to success, however.  Most self-acceptance leads to self-acceptance, which is far better than living with unproductive self-loathing.  

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 09:37:09 AM PDT

  •  Rush (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dotalbon, miss SPED

    I have really been appalled by some of the recent controversy that Regina Benjamin's weight in any way compromises her ability to serve as a good example in the capacity of Surgeon General.

    Using this logic, does that mean that the fat slob Rush Limbaugh should not comment on the health care reform debate considering how fat he is?

  •  spoken like someone who's never been to (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jim J, joey c

    a Wal-Mart:

    the greatest causal threat to women's health is actually not obesity at at all

    Not to diminish the ill-effects of body image issues, but obesity is a HUGE (pun intended) public health epidemic in this country.  So is poor eating habits in general.  Diabetes, heart attacks, joint problems, the list goes on.  Although there are myriad possible psychological couses, obesity can be remedied only one way - by good dietary choices and sufficient exercise.

    So I think I'm going to disagree with the following:

    However, anyone that thinks that an increase in overweight and obese women stems from women not worrying about their weight enough is OUT OF THEIR FUCKING MINDS.

    I won't deny that issues stemming from body image play a role sometimes, but come on.  People in our country are obese primarily because of a widespread culture of poor dietary choices and insufficient exercise, not because of psychological problems.  In short, IMHO, if you really want to fight obesity, the demons and targets are the food-industrial complex, car-culture, and medical igorance - not models and Cosmo.

    All this wasted time learning and acquiring skills... And all along I should have just squinted to see Russia

    by fizziks on Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 09:45:27 AM PDT

    •  I see public-health doctors struggling (3+ / 0-)

      against discouragement in 'the war on obesity'.  I don't think medical ignorance is much of an issue.

      Obese patients already know their doctors want them to change.  And they already know more or less what would work.  They just can't seem to make themselves do it.  

      The doctors try NOT to belabor the point all the time because frankly it just shuts patients down and kills the relationship.  The doctors mostly seem to try to wait for a 'teachable moment' when their advice may sink home better.

      "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

      by lgmcp on Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 09:50:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Absolutely (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joey c

      I would go so far as to say if women are saying they have full control over their bodies -- as they very often do in the choice debates -- then that goes for body weight as well.

      •  Jim, I think this comment (5+ / 0-)

        is rather ignorant.

        no one has th eright to sell me to abc.

        by Colorado is the Shiznit on Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 09:55:23 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Wait (2+ / 0-)

        So if you want to have the right to an abortion, you can't be fat?

        You know someone named Arsenio Billingham? No.

        by Mikey on Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 09:59:24 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I think the argument being made in this diary (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sillia

        is that women should have full control over their bodies but they don't because of the psychological fallout from negative body image.

        I guess my main contention is that while negative body image may play a role, the main problem is our culture at large that basically encourages obesity and ill-health.  Speaking as someone who is a health and exercise nut, it is HARD.  The entire culture is aligned against being healthy!  Just to cite one example, what do social events (say work events) usually consist of?  Eating either grilled processed red meat products, or eating desert items!  If you are a person who cares about what you eat, and your caloric and/or sat fat intake, it is really difficult.  There is a lot of social pressure against that.  You basically have to be 'that guy' and be the only one to turn down a hot dog or piece of ice cream cake, and suffer the consternation and dirty looks from everyone.  You have marked yourself as an outsider.

        So from my perspective, saying that negative body image is the reason that people can't get it together in order to be fit just rubs against my experience.  The reason people can't be fit is that our culture embraces obesity and makes almost as a default the behaviors that lead to it.  Which is not to say that individuals are not responsible for seeing through the BS and rising above it (as I have) in order to be healthier.

        All this wasted time learning and acquiring skills... And all along I should have just squinted to see Russia

        by fizziks on Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 10:05:30 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Respectfully, your experience is that of a man (4+ / 0-)

          saying that negative body image is the reason that people can't get it together in order to be fit just rubs against my experience

          I'm not saying it about all people.  There is a culturally embedded, economically reinforced, socially inescapable stigma about weight that specifically targets women.

          Private insurance companies only profit from denying health care, killing 20,000 Americans a year. A real public option ENDS the rationing of health care.

          by ShadowSD on Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 10:15:25 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I believe that you are limiting your analysis to (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            sillia, Edward Spurlock

            a SUBSET of obese women.

            For instance, do you think this surgeon general is overweight (if she in fact is) due to body image issues?  I doubt it.  I would guess she is overweight because she is so dedicated to her work that she doesn't make healthy eating and exercise a priority.

            All this wasted time learning and acquiring skills... And all along I should have just squinted to see Russia

            by fizziks on Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 10:26:13 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  No, not at all (0+ / 0-)

              I didn't say it was the only factor, and must be present in all cases.  It's just a hideously underrecognized and rampant factor in the majority of cases, not all; besides, things occur on a timeline, which you're not accounting for.  My fiancee, for instance who I mentioned in the example is still very thick, despite being happy with her weight, but the forty or so pounds she accidentally lost after not consistently being bugged to lose weight for the first time in thirty years is no coincidence - the fact she is still heavy after that does not negate the argument, as your question suggests it would.

              Private insurance companies only profit from denying health care, killing 20,000 Americans a year. A real public option ENDS the rationing of health care.

              by ShadowSD on Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 10:40:17 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  How on earth would you know? (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ShadowSD

              I have no idea why the prospective SG is technically overweight.
              I honestly don't care.
              Is she on the right side of my issues, of the country's issues?
              If she is (and she is,) then stifle it.

              •  This comment belongs in response to the (0+ / 0-)

                Tip Jar, then.  Don't take it out on me.

                Somebody got up on the wrong side of the bed today.

                All this wasted time learning and acquiring skills... And all along I should have just squinted to see Russia

                by fizziks on Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 11:57:41 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  I think you are speaking to (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ShadowSD

      the thing after the thing. For example, poor body image first, poor food choices second.

      And American "I WANT IT NOW RIGHT NOW FUCKING NOW YESTERDAY GODDAMNIT!" culture certainly does not help.

      no one has th eright to sell me to abc.

      by Colorado is the Shiznit on Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 09:53:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  we disagree (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        joey c

        I think that last attitiude you cite is the primary culprit, along with just a cultural melieu that devalues exercise and nutrition.  Then way down on the list I would put body image.  Do you seriously think that all of those tanks that you see walking around Wal-Mart are stuffing down steaks and ice cream and not exercising primarily because of body image?

        But hey, I'm not sure that I'm right and you are wrong.

        All this wasted time learning and acquiring skills... And all along I should have just squinted to see Russia

        by fizziks on Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 10:08:45 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yikes. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ShadowSD, miss SPED

          Sometimes, there are no words. But I can say that your compassion and bedside manner could use some plumping.

          Pun intended.

          no one has th eright to sell me to abc.

          by Colorado is the Shiznit on Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 10:14:12 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Surely you did not intend to be so offensive. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ShadowSD, Cassandra Waites

          I'm working really hard to give you the benefit of the doubt.
          Fizziks, I am a middleaged female who is just a little bit overweight. I have been hypertensive ever since I had children, twenty-some years ago, when I weighed 112 pounds. I have a strong family history of hypertension. I also, as a science teacher, know a lot about nutrition, and have a very active lifestyle (which includes house rehab - try construction work for exercise.)
          I am very sensitive about being told, 'oh if you would just get with it, lose five or ten pounds, pay attention to exercise and nutrition, you would't have high blood pressure.'  That is a crock.
          I am not one of those you would point at in wallyworld and say, 'there's a tank.' But your judgmentalism is just as wrong and hurtful to me as to them.  You don't know anything about what makes folks what they are. You come look in my shopping cart and you won't see anything that doesn't pass your litmus test.

          Seriously, you could't be much more insensitive.

          •  overweight vs. obese (0+ / 0-)

            You are conflating two things.  My impression was that this diary was addressing obesity and its causes, which is a different than phenomenon than people being 10 pounds overweight or however you put it.  

            Look, if you have a shopping cart full of healthy food choices to feed yourself and your family, and if you make the effort to incorporate exercise into your life to the extent that you can given your situations, then good on you and my comment isn't about you.  I do not expect people, especially people in middle age, to be "thin".  But I would like to see them not be obese.

            I see things.  I go shopping.  I have even worked in a supermarket back in high school.  And I saw people (perhaps a majority of people - this was exurban Cincinnati BTW) coming through with a cart piled with all kinds of meat products, tubs of ice cream, potato chips, hot dogs and hamburgers, 2 liters of soda, pre-packaged meat dinners, and so on.  Where are the vegetables?  Where is the friut?  Hell, where is even the pasta or beans.  (This was a suburban mega mart that had a reasonable produce section BTW so none of that 'it's just not available' excuse).  But no, so many peoples' diet was fat, sugar, salt, and corn syrup.  Then they get into their SUV and their lives consist of driving from parking lot to parking lot, and watching TV.  Where is the cycling?  Where is the jogging?  Where is even the walking?

            I'm all for individual freedom and people can run their lives however they want.  I think they are doing a disservice to themselves, their families, and their community, but it's on them.  But it makes me angry when people try to deny or minimize the obvious correlation bewteen lifestyle choices and obesity.  

            All this wasted time learning and acquiring skills... And all along I should have just squinted to see Russia

            by fizziks on Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 12:16:47 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Wow (5+ / 0-)

      Not to diminish the ill-effects of body image issues, but obesity is a HUGE (pun intended) public health epidemic in this country.  So is poor eating habits in general.  Diabetes, heart attacks, joint problems, the list goes on.

      Isn't that exactly what I said?  You quote the last sentence of my diary, and ignore the two immediately before it: "Now, some may read this diary and think that I am trying to argue against or minimize the health consequences of obesity.  Let me be clear, I am doing no such thing - the health risks of obesity are well-established and foolish to dispute."  I guess I wasn't clear enough.

      Although there are myriad possible psychological couses, obesity can be remedied only one way - by good dietary choices and sufficient exercise.

      So that's it?  There are a myriad of POSSIBLE psychological causes, you're saying, but we can't really speculate on them so let just keep suggesting what hasn't been working - simply telling people over and over?  People KNOW that good dietary choices and sufficient exercise are good for them - the question is why do they choose not to take such avenues?  The food industrial complex certainly contributes, I agree, but you can't just chalk it up to that along with laziness and stupidity - that's an extremely harsh and unwarranted view to apply to women.  The equation when it comes to expectations of losing weight IS different for women, it DOES affect every aspect of their weight loss process, and it's the height of insensitivity not to acknowledge that.

      Private insurance companies only profit from denying health care, killing 20,000 Americans a year. A real public option ENDS the rationing of health care.

      by ShadowSD on Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 10:05:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I would rank it like this (0+ / 0-)

        The causes of obesity in our society, in order of importance:

        1. General cultural melieu of poor diet and little execise
        1. Lazyness / selfishness
        1. Marketing stranglehold by the F.I.C.
        1. Ignorance
        1. Psychological issues

        That's just my take.  I could be wrong, but that's how I see it, as an observer of society.

        All this wasted time learning and acquiring skills... And all along I should have just squinted to see Russia

        by fizziks on Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 10:14:52 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  You are well-informed and eloquent (2+ / 0-)

        on this subject.  

        "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

        by lgmcp on Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 10:20:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  bit of a rant (0+ / 0-)

        I am what my parents and friends from college would call a radical liberal. I think it's often not people's fault that they are poor, poorly educated, criminal, or even Republican - circumstances and environment have huge impacts on people's lives that can be almost impossible to overcome. In addition, I am as anti-agribusiness and the food-industrial-complex as anyone. And finally, I am repulsed by the over-the-top antics of hardcore anti-food-pleasure people like MeMe Roth.

        Nevertheless, I remain convinced that one of the few things all of us can control, female or male, is our own body. We can regulate what goes into it, and we can determine how much energy we take from it through activity.

        Thus, all this talk of how women in particular are unhealthily overweight because, as the diarist suggests:

        the psychological, emotional, and spiritual toll of struggling daily against these kinds of expectations is still immeasurable, and only serves to bolster detrimental health factors like stress, depression - and yes - weight gain as well.

        really gets on my nerves. Unhappy with your body and/or body image? Don't sit around whining about how society expects everyone to be rail thin. Hit the gym, eat healthily in modest portions, and let the knowledge that you are doing those things be the source of a new, positive body image. This is not like racism or sexism or poverty. Despite the lazy, twinky-eating cultural milieu Fizziks refers to, you can change your habits and change your outcomes if you want, and no one can stop you except yourself, regardless of how much the ladies on the magazine covers weigh or how much their pictures have been photoshopped. Not saying it's easy, but trying is more effective than bemoaning the horrible patriarchy-enforced body image terror regime while eating doughnuts.

        (end rant)

        Also, as an aside, I am certain that Dr. Benjamin will be a brilliant Surgeon General, regardless of her weight. Weight is certainly not grounds for discriminating against people any more than an accent or taste in clothing would be.

    •  One of my family members (4+ / 0-)

      was basically wiped out by medical bills related to three back surgeries in one summer. She is now on SS disability and gets government commodities every month. She is permanently disabled, and has no hope of ever working again. Have you ever seen what comprises the food that people receive from our government? The last thing that she needs is a weight problem with her medical problems, but the commodities that she receives would make ANYONE fat!

      Why is it that when you visit a Wal-mart you see so many obese people? Could it be that being economically disadvantaged has something to do with food choices?  

      "Clean coal is like a healthy cigarette." -Blan Holman, Southern Environmental Law Center

      by Laurdet on Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 10:14:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Very True! (3+ / 0-)

      People in our country are obese primarily because of a widespread culture of poor dietary choices and insufficient exercise, not because of psychological problems.

      Katha Pollitt pointed out in the Nation last year, that most junk food cost less than the equivalent amount of healthy vegetables.  Junk food is more "afforable" and doesn't need any preparation to be consumed.

      When I was spending some with my mother in Compton, CA - a predominantly working class African American city - I noticed a preponderance of fast food places. In additional to all the fast food chains, there were many places where people could get a quick (highly fattening, nutritiouly poor) meal.  

      I think that the poor economy in that town has people living day to day, no fixed address, the only way to eat food is "on the run" - no time or place for a kitchen, basic cooking utilities, etc.

      And I'm sure people have noticed how heavily (pun not intended) McDonald's and Burger King market to the African American community

      The land was ours before we were the land's...Robert Frost, The Gift Outright

      by HylasBrook on Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 10:28:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  the root causeS of women being overweight (7+ / 0-)

    is multi-factoral, I don't think it can be attributed to one or two root causes.

    Some: medication, unhealthy food choices, (which can be d/t psychological problems) sedentary lifestyle, medical conditions (really!) menopause, age, hormones. Plus plus.

    Your two stories are very inspiring, however, about the effects of attitude changes bringing about positive health benefits.

    A loss of politeness, of gentle manners, is more significant than a riot.

    by smallgal on Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 09:46:01 AM PDT

  •  Control is the core issue. But I think it might (6+ / 0-)

    be useful, if you distinguish between self-control and controlling others.  Males haranguing females about their weight are trying to exercise control over someone else via intimidation.  

    Lots of people are addicted to power.  Often, perhaps, it's because they feel insecure and desire to compensate by exercising dominion over someone else.  But, whatever the cause, the fact is that for power to be felt (recognized), it has to hurt.  Positive feedback is just not going to feel like control.

    How do you tell a predator from a protector? The predator will eat you sooner rather than later.

    by hannah on Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 09:46:22 AM PDT

  •  can't take that poll (4+ / 0-)

    I think there is a huge body image problem in America, but I don't know how much it contributes to the actual obesity problem.  

    DailyKos: the "Free Ice Cream for Everybody" crowd!

    by louisev on Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 09:46:44 AM PDT

  •  Sorry not buying it (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dcrolg, Edward Spurlock

    in a time when a third of all American kids are obese -- not just overweight, but OBESE -- it's more important now than ever before to set good examples.

    This country is fat, fat, fat. Pretending or rationalizing it away is doing no good to anyone.

  •  What's worse (5+ / 0-)

    a Kossack once posted a diary saying Sotomayor should be disqualified because she has diabetes (Type 1), and therefore will not live as long.

    Speaking as a diabetic, FUCK YOU to that Kossack.

    And similar sentiments to anyone who tries this bullshit on this SG nominee.

    We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another. -- Jonathan Swift

    by raptavio on Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 09:54:31 AM PDT

  •  The root cause is POOR FOOD CHOICES. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sillia, fizziks, Edward Spurlock

    It is rampant.  Obesity is rampant.  Diabetes is rampant.  

    One just need to start reading and learning.  How to read labels.  Avoiding fast food.  Being willing to spend a bit more and take a bit more time for fresh fruits, vegetables, pastured (not-corn fed) foods.  

    Industrially-raised chicken is not healthier.  Farm raised salmon is not healthier.  "Smart Choice" cereal is not healthier.  Drinking diet soda is not a good nutrition choice.  Mother nature gave us water, not Crystal Light.

    Yes, I want a healthy role models.

    Take a look, even at the "Food TV" role models.  How many of them are fat?  Obese?

    Start here - three good books

    Fast Food Nation - Eric Schlossor
    What to Eat - Marion Nestle
    Omnivoire's Dilemma - Michael Pollan

    And, if you're too lazy to read, start with King Corn.    

    Truth creates money. Lies destroy it. - Suze Orman

    by smartcookienyc on Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 09:59:53 AM PDT

    •  Ugh. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ShadowSD, miss SPED

      I think you're completely missing the point of this diary. Poor body image (mental health) leads to poor food choices (physical health).

      P.S. I am drinking Mountain Dew and eating white cheddar popcorn. Mostly because I am lazy and I would rather get a root canal than cook. (But I do still read.)

      no one has th eright to sell me to abc.

      by Colorado is the Shiznit on Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 10:08:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Whining gets you nowhere. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        fizziks

        A bit of whining.  Okay.  You whined.  Then what?  

        I think you're completely missing the point of this diary. Poor body image (mental health) leads to poor food choices (physical health).

        Perhaps it's the other way around:  Poor nutrition contributes to poor health including mental health.

        Right now, I'm eating broccoli, mushroom and tomato and drinking water.  See, we all have choices.

        Truth creates money. Lies destroy it. - Suze Orman

        by smartcookienyc on Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 10:44:20 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Or perhaps for some it's one way and for others (4+ / 0-)

          it's the other way.

          There are mental health issues someone can have that can lead to weigh issues but that could not have possibly been caused by food choices themselves.

          Hoping and praying that the empty chairs and empty tables in Iran when all is said and done are as few as possible.

          by Cassandra Waites on Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 11:10:23 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  good grief (2+ / 0-)

          I thought there was only one insensitive human commenting in this thread. Whining? Pul-leeze.

          Get a grip, ok?  You aren't in charge of everyone, and you don't know jack about what they know and what they eat and what their choices are. Are you an MD or a psychiatrist?

          I read every label that goes in my grocery cart.  I've read everything Michael Pollan ever wrote, I've seen King Corn, and I am well read about nutrition - right down to growing my own food because I know what is in it.
          Get real.

      •  Many cases poor food choices are actually (3+ / 0-)

        the only choices. That's part of the problem.

        Many food choices are also a direct result of addiction to certain food additives. Not unlike an addiction to tobacco.

        Read this: Why We Are Addicted to Fat, Salt And Sugar.

        The food industry has deliberately started processing and manipulating foods very much like the tobacco industry used to manipulate tobacco products to make them more addictive.

        Once again, we as a nation are facing the effects of exploitation by greedy corporate entities.

        To whom it may concern. Waterboarding is torture. Torture is illegal. Sincerely, A. No Brainer.

        by Pescadero Bill on Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 11:08:38 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Lack of knowledge is not the problem. (6+ / 0-)

      It's attitudes and beliefs.

      Beliefs and attitudes are way harder to change than knowledge level.If all you had to do was give people facts, I would be unemployed.

      When people sense that their actions and beliefs don't match, they will change beliefs before they will actions. E.g., they will tell themselves that weight doesn't really have any influence on health before they will put down the Twinkie and go for a walk.

      The majority of people can read a food label just fine. They know which foods are more healthful choices, and they know they would feel better and weigh less if they were more active. But they operate under environmental constraints, personal history issues, and a host of other demotivational influences.

      _Karl Rove is an outside agitator._

      by susanala on Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 10:20:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Guess what. I don't buy your excuse. (0+ / 0-)

        But they operate under environmental constraints, personal history issues, and a host of other demotivational influences.

        Okay.  People have difficulties.  And, they're not necessarily rational.  However, all humans, particlarly in our modern American culture has difficulties.    

        When you're done with excuses, however, recognize how many people are really working hard to make great changes with themselves and their communities:  going to farmer's markets and buying local, planting gardens, getting on a bicycle.

        Truth creates money. Lies destroy it. - Suze Orman

        by smartcookienyc on Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 10:49:25 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  No. You don't buy reality. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ShadowSD, Cassandra Waites, miss SPED

          People are who they are. I have pretty decent luck meeting them where they are and encouraging them to try. I also find that suggesting work-arounds to constraints works a whole lot better than denying  that those constraints exist. Or telling them that wondering how to make the rent is no different than wondering whether your bonus will put you over the top for that second home at the beach.

          You also didn't read carefully. I specifically stated that the list of influences on behavior includes personal variables. And I did not say that nobody is making good choices or that no human being is capable of making good choices. You're the one arguing that everyone has problems, and therefore, all problems are created equal.

          And speaking of attitudes, the moralizing from people like you is a problem, not a solution. Come on down to the local free clinic and tell people to STFU and follow your health orders. See what kind of change that elicits. After you pick your teeth up off the floor.

          _Karl Rove is an outside agitator._

          by susanala on Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 11:32:23 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Okay let them eat cake. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            fizziks

            Sugar, Enriched Bleached Wheat Flour [Flour, Ferrous Sulfate (Iron)B Vitamins (Niacin, Thiamine Mononitrate (B1)Riboflavin (B2)Folic Acid)Water, Corn Syrup, Vegetable and/or Animal Shortening (contains One or More of: Partially Hydrogenated Soybean, Cottonseed and/or Canola Oil, Beef Fat)High Fructose Corn Syrup, Cocoa, Cocoa Processed with Alkali. contains 2% or Less of: Whey, Modified Corn Starch, Cellulose Gum, Gelatin, Agar, Leavenings (Baking Soda, Sodium Acid Pyrophosphate, Monocalcium Phosphate, Sodium Phosphate)Chocolate Liquor, Dextrose, Calcium Carbonate, Salt, Cornstarch, Soy Protein Isolate, Guar Gum, Mono and Diglycerides, Sorbitan, Monostearate, Polysorbate 60, Propylene Glycol, Xanthan Gum, Soy Lecithin, Glycerine Wheat Gluten, Sodium and Calcium Caseinate, Natural and Artificial Flavors, Calcium Sulfate, Potassium Sorbate and Sorbic Acid (to Retain Freshness)

            Yummmmmmmy.

            And you wonder why people don't feel well?  

            And why some may object to an Surgeon General who doesn't serve as a good role model?

            Truth creates money. Lies destroy it. - Suze Orman

            by smartcookienyc on Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 11:48:30 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  brava (0+ / 0-)

            the moralizing from people like you is a problem, not a solution. Come on down to the local free clinic and tell people to STFU and follow your health orders. See what kind of change that elicits. After you pick your teeth up off the floor.

            Thank you. You said it. I recc'ed it.

  •  This reminds me of Deborah Voigt (4+ / 0-)

    the beautiful, talented soprano, a leading star in opera,  who was literally forced out of a leading role because the opera company had no costumes to fit her, and refused to special order one for her.

    Imagine someone saying that to Pavarotti:  "Uh, Luigi, you're great, but unless you lose 100 pounds you can't sing here."  

    I always think reform is just around the corner -- until I overhear the people standing next to me on the streetcar. (Ray Stannard Baker, 1905).

    by dotalbon on Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 10:01:10 AM PDT

  •  Maybe off topic (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dotalbon

    but Chris Christie, who is Repub. Gov. candidate in NJ is also more than a little overweight.  There have been articles in the local press speculating if this will have any negative effect on his propsects.

  •  It should also be pointed out (7+ / 0-)

    that there is near-consensus in the medical community that dieting, which overweight people (especially women) do on a regular basis, is the main cause of INCREASING weight gain over the years.  It is nearly impossible to avoid gaining extra weight after you stop dieting, because your body demands and demands the food to counteract the "starvation" mode you've been in (you don't have to be starving for that to kick in, either.  Simply adjusting downward to a normal calorie intake is a huge shock to the system of an overweight person.)

    There are those, sadly some Kossacks among them, who dismiss such facts as excuses for people being overweight.  Obesity is seen as a moral issue, the way alcoholism was decades ago.  

    I always think reform is just around the corner -- until I overhear the people standing next to me on the streetcar. (Ray Stannard Baker, 1905).

    by dotalbon on Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 10:08:53 AM PDT

  •  The GOP is taking a risky gamble (2+ / 0-)

    with this tactic to fire up their conservative base. They're telling the women of that base that carrying a few extra pounds diminishes their qualifications for a professional position.

    Not that I trust a lot of Republican women will get it.  Many of them identified with airhead Palin.

  •  Who's asking if she's too fat? (0+ / 0-)

    MSNBC "expert" Arthur Caplan, a PhD.
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/...

    The website Booker Rising notes similar critiques from Jake Tapper's site and other readers also.

    Commenters (mostly anonymous) at The Savvy Sista claim they can tell by looking she's "not healthy".

    There are a few voices out there advocating the opposite, too.
    http://www.newser.com/...

    Texas: Molly Ivins, Barbara Jordan, Lady Bird & LBJ, Ann Richards, Sam Rayburn, Dan Rather, Ike, Sully Sullenberger, Lloyd Bentsen. It's No Bush League!

    by BlackSheep1 on Mon Jul 20, 2009 at 10:39:36 AM PDT

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