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Old 04-25-2002, 12:59 AM   #1
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Your thoughts on obesity, eating disorders, etc.

I am interested in hearing other people's opinions on the problems of obesity, eating disorders, and related topics. I have recently had some interesting weight-related experiences and thought it might make a good FYM topic. I'm really interested in people's perceptions of overweight and underweight people, and how the media or other influences might affect those perceptions.

Uh, just jump right in with your thoughts or experiences. I'll share my experiences in a bit.

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Old 04-25-2002, 08:54 AM   #2
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I've seen the claim that "the average American woman is 5'4" and 145 lbs" posted on flyers all around campus (Harvard) by a student group that aims to increase awareness of eating disorders. (I forget what the corresponding statistics are for American models. Something like 5'10", 110 perhaps.)

Now I'm sure that this group's aims are noble...but 5'4", 145? I'm a 23 year old male, kind of skinny but pretty athletic, and I'm 5'10", 145. I have a hard time believing these average statistics for American women. If these stats are indeed accurate, then I'm inclined to believe that the average American woman (just like the average American man) is overweight, as doctors have lamented all through the '80s and '90s.

I'm not looking down on people who have genuine eating disorders here, but I do take issue with the opposite mentality that always says "I'm fine and I should accept myself the way I am."

Can someone please enlighten me? Thanks.

[This message has been edited by speedracer (edited 04-25-2002).]
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Old 04-25-2002, 05:38 PM   #3
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I've struggled with my weight a lot in the last couple of years... almost to eating disorder levels. Thankfully I have good friends and family that pulled me out of a bad place before I got sick. That is the average womans size. I'm 5'3" and about 140. Yes, I'm overweight, but I'm trying to work on it. I watch what I eat, I go to the gym, but there are some things about my body that are genetic and won't change. I will never be what the media calls "skinny," but I'm trying to accept that and find someone that accepts me as I am. However, that's hard to do, when the most vocal people are the ones without those problems, who could never fathom what it's like to diet and go to the gym 4 times a week to see no results after two months. We are beseiged by a media that calls Drew Barrymore (possibly a size 6) one of the fattest girls in hollywood. Hell, Marilyn Monroe was a size 12! It's even harder when the people you care about are blinded by that mentality and say things like "you could stand to lose a few pounds- from each leg", "you should stick to the gym this time- you'll look a lot better" and "one of the reasons I don't want to be with you anymore is because you've gained some weight (7 lbs- medical problems caused it) and I'm not attracted to you anymore." I'm not saying that people shouldn't try to be healthy, but I wish the world would be more understanding of the fact that sometimes, there's not a whole lot you can do about it. For me- I'm doing my best to be happy, and not be disgusted with myself if I pig out every once in a while. I've stoped researching plastic surgury. I am who I am. The world will just have to love me like that.
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Old 04-25-2002, 06:03 PM   #4
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Thanks for the reply peaseblossom.

I understand that due to medical or genetic conditions, some folks can't shed weight in a healthy manner. However, I still can't shake the suspicion that certain groups and advocates like the one at Harvard I mentioned are trying to take special cases such as yours and establish them as the norm. (The percentage of the general population that shares your condition is surely less than 100%.)
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Old 04-25-2002, 06:13 PM   #5
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I suggest that everyone here throw out their height and weight charts and pay attention to one thing, body fat percentage. For women, that should be around 22% for body fat. Not lower than 20% though and not higher than 25%. All men should be below 15% body fat.
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Old 04-25-2002, 06:23 PM   #6
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These are my thoughts. Please don't take them as gospel truth, nor assume that any of this is based on actual scientific research. If they happen to coincide with research, it's coincidence.

...

On obesity and eating disorders:

I think it has a lot to do with *several* factors.

--Part of it is genetics; certain people are just going to be bigger boned, fatter, etc. You just cannot escape it in certain cases.

--Part of it is due to our diet, which is high in processed foods that deplete essential nutrients, and is high in carbohydrates/sugars and low in fats/proteins, which, contrary to 1980s-early 1990's folklore, actually make you *fatter.* What are farm animals fattened with? Field corn. Carbohydrates/sugars are broken down via insulin, which is secreted from the pancreas, and, with the presence of insulin, your body resists the breaking down of fat. That's why the (in)famous protein diet works. Due to the high carbo diet, we have higher instances of obesity and type-II diabetes, with the latter being caused by an overstressed pancreas.

--Part of it is due to our more sedentary lifestyle. When doctors say that "diet and exercise" is important, you'd better believe it. Exercise, in addition to building muscle, stimulates your organs to release the appropriate hormones to balance your system. Contrary to what you think, being sedentary will actually lead your organs to function at very low capacity. Like everything, they need external stimulation, which is best achieved by exercise.

--Part of it is our high stress lifestyle, which is taking its toll on our adrenal glands. This is a major chain reaction problem, and many of the symptoms often get misdiagnosed as being the *cause.* With over 30 hormones secreted from these glands, affecting everything from mental health to metabolism to energy to vitamin/mineral absorption to even insulin usefulness, it is highly important that these organs are functioning properly. The best way to get these going, in my opinion, is exercise and a vitamin/mineral regiment coinciding.

...

My two cents...

Melon

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Old 04-25-2002, 08:18 PM   #7
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I'm not saying men don't have issues with body image and weight, but let's face it-the media pressure is mostly on women.

Like Peaseblossom was saying-in Hollywood, a size 6 is considered 'overweight'. Genetically, I am prone to being overweight, and it's not easy as you get older to lose weight. I don't consider myself overweight-luckily I am tall-but in comparison to the media standards, I suppose I am. It hurts to look at movies, TV, and magazines and feel inadequate. Not to mention having your own father and brother make you feel that way-but that's another issue, I guess. It does sometimes seem like some men are insensitive to this though, and will use this to hurt you when they want to.

I have gone through periods when I was younger when I practically starved myself-I still do. My best friend in HS was anorexic-this was just around the time that anorexia was gaining a lot of media attention. And girls 'boasted' about their bulimia too. Obviously, anorexia/bulimia isn't just about wanting to be thin-there are many issues such as family relationships and self esteem.

And I admit I do have a fairly sedentary lifestyle-I enjoy exercising, and walk every day, but I'm past the point of wanting to punish myself in a gym. For my health I have to do it, but it's just tough getting motivated sometimes.

So for me, saying 'I'm fine and should accept myself for who I am' is never really possible, when I feel the way I do about myself, and have to face the pressure from media, etc. But it just gets to the point where you HAVE to say that to yourself in order to have a shred of self esteem.
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Old 04-25-2002, 10:15 PM   #8
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I'm 5'11 3/4". I'm tall. My father is tall, my brother is tall, my uncle is tall, and I'm the shortest. heh. I never had a weight problem when I was younger - I could eat whatever I wanted because I was very active in sports. I played basketball (surprise!), softball, track & field, volleyball, and I swam during the summer. As an incoming freshman in high school, I was 5'10" and weighed 149 pounds. I was a size 10/12. I had a flat stomach and was trim.

Unfortunately, I had a grandmother whose mother started a vicious cycle. Back in the '30's, it was considered beautiful to be thin. My grandmother constantly fought her weight because her mother pushed her to be rail thin. When my grandmother had my mom, my mom was treated the same way. So, you guessed it, I was also expected to be rail thin. Problem there: my mom is my step-mother (she raised me) so, my body chemistry and metabolism was very different from hers. I took after my biological mother and started gaining a little weight in high school.

My grandmother thought it was healthy and right to send me articles on how to lose weight when I was only 13 years old. I cringe every time one of my 8th grade students comes up and says "I'm fat, I'm trying to lose weight" when there isn't any weight to lose. I battled with losing weight all through high school when I *didn't* need to.

Now, I'm at 5'11 3/4", but am extremely overweight. I still try to exercise, but as a teacher, it's mostly running around the classroom during the day that I get any exercise done. I desperately want to get back into the pool and start swimming again.

Exercise is extremely important. When we consider our society today, what is it that stands out? McDonalds, Jack 'n the box, Taco Bell, etc. All fast foods. All FAST. We live in a society where we have become impatient. No longer do we even have to get out of our cars to go to the bank. We even have the opportunity to shop for our clothes, our food, and other items on-line from the comfort of our chairs at home. We drive places and pick up things to go, not even getting out of the car. Our foods have way more preservatives than ever and as children, we were taught that breads, cereals, etc. were part of a balanced diet. Sure, if you're not eating tons of carbs all day long and not exercising it off. It's one thing to eat a plate of spaghetti and then swim 3,000 yards (equivalent of 120 laps in a yard pool) to work it off, and it's completely another to eat that same plate of spaghetti and let it just sit in your system, and the energy your body stored up from the food sitting there unused.

Anyhow. I know lots about trying to lose weight. You can't do it just sitting there watching what you eat. You'll lose a little bit, but what needs to be done is exercising... getting your heart pounding and your muscles working. I should talk: I need to get my butt out and start swimming again. Unfortunately, it's finding the time to do it. Get me out of this chair, and into a racing suit again. PLEASE!

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Old 04-25-2002, 10:17 PM   #9
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Ooh. Sore spot.

Well, as a woman of a more rubenesque nature, I'm the largest one in my family, thanks to genetics, so I've never really felt 'at home' in my family. They're all pretty skinny (also via genetics). I don't get out-and-out comments, but they're subtle, oh yes. And typically they're by 'well meaning' family members. Thank goodness my friends like me for ME!

Most of the comments come in the form of "we're just worried about your health," and granted, they may be, but it's ad naseum. Sending me articles about exercising, diet and health stuff does nothing but piss me off, and makes me want to do it even less!

I still can't believe it's taken the fashion industry THIS LONG to understand that 60% (!!!) of women in this country are over a size 12 or 14. Crikey, we're not all built like Kate Moss...in fact MOST of us aren't!

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Old 04-25-2002, 10:28 PM   #10
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Regarding exercise:

By far the best way to burn calories and get in general shape is to run, and that at a pretty demanding pace. Say, hard enough to get your pulse to 150 beats per minute. 170-190 is better, if you're in good health--i.e. you don't have a heart condition or something like that.
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Old 04-25-2002, 10:28 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by Gina Marie:
[B]I'm not saying men don't have issues with body image and weight, but let's face it-the media pressure is mostly on women.

B]
Exactly, GM.

I've never been thin, and have struggled for years to lose extra weight. (I did lose about 24 pounds four years ago and have been attempting to exercise more and watch what I eat lately to lose more.) As a result I had to deal with a harsh society at times (mostly when I was younger and in school-I was the "fat girl"). I was led to believe that if I wasn't model thin, I was nothing of value. Unfortunately, my mom had this same thought nailed into her head, and when I was 9 years old I would steal her Weight Watchers exercise cards and work out in my room when she thought I was playing with Barbies (another can of worms there I won't get into, :P). That's when I remember this obsession with becoming thin beginning. I went on a new eating plan I created for myself practically every month for all of my school years, ocassionally going with gimmicks like Slim-Fast and Deal-A-Meal to help me along.

And whoever said they have issue with acceptance of oneself as they are, what's wrong with that? I think if more people were happy with what they saw in the mirror we'd have less eating disorders, drug problems, or any other types of self-abuse we have in this culture of ours.

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Old 04-25-2002, 11:27 PM   #12
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sorry, i realised i contributed nothing to the thread.

[This message has been edited by KhanadaRhodes (edited 04-26-2002).]
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Old 04-26-2002, 12:42 AM   #13
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I agree with Melon's two cents, and I will, with the absence of any scientific evidence or proof just offer my observations.

We all know the general stereotype that 'Americans are Fat', Well, It's hard not to agree, because on the whole Americans are.. I mean, We Are. However, I never see the amount of fat people in Foreign Countries that I see here in America.. It's like night and day, a Statement I have heard from many foreigners themselves.

I coming from a family of Tall and Thin people am at the opposite end of the spectrum, No matter how much I eat, no matter how much I lift weights, I gain no muscle mass, or minimal at that, I just go through the ol' Toned phase.. However my brother has been using various kinds of shit from ebay ranging from testosterone, to creatine, to steroids, and he's pretty jacked, but I don't wanna bust his bubble and tell him he'd be just as big without that shit..

And those Special Diets.. Oh boy.. It seems to me that people don't realize that if they are going to lose weight by changing their diet, they will have to eat that diet for the rest of their lives, it will have to be a lifestyle change, not just a six week shindig.

Anyways, I do understand the genetic aspect that some people are just going to be bigger than others, and my statements are not directed at you in any way. What gets to me are those who just by their own free will 'Become Fat'... It's the ones in the Dining Hall who line up for the 'No Fat' Yo Creme Machine, which packs a walloping 2000 calories per cone, not to mention the enormous bowls of mashed potatos they just put on the dish conveyer, and the joke always is 'Why are you Doing That'.. Or so I hear..

What gets to me even more is when I'm in a Coach Seat of an airplane, and a fat person comes and sits right next to me, overflowing my seat, taking my precious two extra inches of room the airline has recently installed.. Which I think at times comes at Fifty dollars per inch, and This person, goes on like nothing is wrong... No I don't get an apology, No I don't get any stipend from this person for invading on the space that I have paid expensive amounts for.. It just irks me, to know that a large portion of our Overweight Culture comes from the Gobs of Shit we shove into our mouths on a daily basis while we drink beers watching JEopardy and the newly installed 'Clue Crew'.

My Older brother is in the 'rotation' phase of Med School, and just will tell me how these four hundred pound ladies will scuffle into the clinic complaining of Heart Pain and chronic knee problems.. And the Amazing thing about it is 'They Want to Know Why?!'.

More of an editorial statement, and like I said, I understand about things being linked to genetics, I will never probably exceed 170 pounds for my 62 frame, 'Oh Deary Me'.. The days I wanted to be that MeatHead on the Spring Break Beaches of South Padre. .. Hahaha.. I guess I would have to go on one of those trips in the first place.

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[This message has been edited by Lemonite (edited 04-26-2002).]
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Old 04-26-2002, 07:38 AM   #14
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I've struggled with extra weight all my life; whenever I have an even slightly excessive meal it ends up on my hips the next morning. Even when I do reach my "ideal" weight, I still have big bones and a curvy hourglass figure... which suits me fine because no matter what the stupid media says, there's no way I'd want to look like Kate Moss. It's not about conforming to what the fashion magazines tell you, but rather treating your body with care and making the best of what the nature has given you without going to extremes.
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Old 04-26-2002, 08:31 AM   #15
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I am a 24 year old female. 5'8. The healthy weight range for my body is 132-162. Two years ago I weighted 166 lbs. At that point I decided that I wanted to lose weight. My original goal was to lose 150lbs. That would have put me at a very healthy weight for my frame. I wasn't unhappy with my body, but I could tell that other people were starting to notice the weight gain, and I didn't like buying clothes in size 12/13. I started exercising on a regular basis and following the Weight Watchers plan. When I got to 150lbs I thought to myself "I am still not skinny enough, I will lose another 5". I kept doing that until I got down to 135lbs. Now I am 135lbs, and I wear a size 7/8. I hate the way that I look. I still want to lose another 10/15 pounds of weight, which would put me at a very unhealthy weight for my size. I feel so much preasure now to look like the models that I see on tv, and to look like my skinny friends. Preasure that I never felt when I was bigger. I think that we should just be happy with who we are, as long as we are healthy, and stop worrying about what the scale says.... I have been trying for over a year now, and for some reason learning to love my body, is a harder struggle then it was to lose 30lbs.


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