The Main Course: Don’t Tell ME I’m FAT We want nothing more than to help the people we love. From everything like suggesting great books to helping them procure a job. We want to be supportive. However, when it comes to fat on an obese friend we look the other way. I can’t blame you. Now, some people think there’s a nice way to tell someone they’re fat. “You certainly haven’t missed many meals.” or “Have you ever thought of playing sports?” Statements like this assume your fat friend doesn’t know they’re fat. Please tell me you don’t assume they’re stupid too.
A Little Sidebar: Why People Are Fat The hypotheses for obesity are built on several false premises and are the reason people get fat in the first place. We’ve been told we get fat because we don’t expend enough energy and we take in too many calories. Calories in — Calories out. Then we’re led to believe fat bodies come from eating fat. Finally, the prime excuse of thyroid or slow metabolism. There is no science to prove any of these claims.
Let’s look at writer, Gary Taubes, a Harvard scholar trained in applied physics as well as an aerospace engineer at Stanford. Through his careful analysis of thousands of reports he concludes the need for more research. In July 2002 his New York Times Magazine article, What If It’s All Been a Big Fat Lie? kicked off the national low-carb diet trend. Sales of Dr. Atkins diet book increased and the medical community was called to task. All they believed about nutrition and science is based on questionable evidence. He published Good Calories, Bad Calories in 2007. In “Taubes’ message (the) political pressure and sloppy science over the last 50 years have skewed research to make it seem that dietary fat and cholesterol are the main causes of obesity and heart disease, but there is, in fact, little or no objective data to support that hypothesis. A more careful look (Taubes researched his book for five years, its 450 pages include 60 pages of footnotes) reveals that the real obesity-epidemic drivers are increased consumption of refined carbohydrates, mainly sugar and white flour.” That research is continuing through the Nutrition Science Initiative, or NuSI, a nonprofit headed by Taubes and the physician Peter Attia and based in San Diego. Founded in 2012, NuSI describes itself as “dedicated to dramatically reducing the economic and social burden of obesity and obesity-related diseases by significantly improving nutrition science.” The nonprofit plans to support research carried out by a “consortium of respected clinicians and scientists from the fields of endocrinology, metabolism, diabetes, obesity and nutrition.” The Arnold Foundation has put up money for NuSI’s first two years of operation.
Back to the Main Course So, let’s talk about why people stay fat. Forget the theories that people aren’t eating or exercising in order to drop unwanted pounds. These are the psychological reasons why people are still fat. Fat provides a cushion of protection around people. They may recognize and embrace many benefits or ways to cope in life.
- Fat on the body keeps people from getting too close and seeing who I really am.
- I feel abused either physically, emotionally or psychologically and the fat buffers me from that abuse.
- I am lonely and feel that food is my only friend.
- My family think I’m stupid and ugly and I’ll show them!
- My mother always told me I would be fat.
It’s not necessarily our business to fix people, although we try. Obesity always reflects a serious health issue in the making, and we know we must aid those we love. So, forget about the fact that we don’t know HOW they got fat — nor do we know WHY they still are fat. I can assure you these people are not happy with their bodies. They want to live long and active lives without the encumbrance of either 20 or 200 pounds. Not only that, but your friend or kin know they’re fat. Don’t point it out. It’s insulting and will drive a wedge between even the closest of people.
Instead, take care of yourself. Most people feel they can afford to drop a few pounds. Start being aware of your health today. Just because you’re thin you still should be sensitive to health issues like cholesterol, blood pressure and diabetes. Even if you’re thin, stop eating junk. (Admit it, you eat junk from time to time.) Clean up your act and make healthier choices. Include your friend and teach them by example. As Einstein said, “Example isn’t another way to teach, it is the only way to teach.” Be supportive as you both get healthier.