Training & Nutrition - fat psychology
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I'm not in the technically overweight category (approx 13% bf and decreasing) and I've never been in the position of someone that falls under the obese category (bmi), so this is really the opinion of an observer.
Anyway, disclaimer out the way, I just wanted to see peoples opinions on what is actually driving this 'weight loss' craze western society seems to be experiencing and whether its actually good...
I'm not arguing against the benefits of moderate bodyfat but the whole thing seems to be driven primarily by image. Personally, I think its more important to address these issues inherent in our society rather than the 'obesity epidemic' (man what a f$#cked up term), which is probably a pretty difficult task but promoting weight loss through self loathing (maybe those words are a bit extreme) isn't going to solve anything.
Just take for instance tv shows like the biggest loser, and the mentality that the contestants have, or the thread on this forum (which prompted this post from me) "Fat kid something about BS" where people responded with dietary advice (which was well received!) or commenting on his pretty rude posting style.
What I noticed tho is the use of 'disgusting fat' and 'cringe' (at photos of himself) which probably reflect the view of himself... sorry to be impersonal with my references
So why do I think that image and identity issues are a bad driving force for weight loss? Positively reinforcing good dietary and exercise habits by image 'enhancement' (relative to their perceived 'uglier' self) only affirms the visual definition of identity i.e. if you make people feel better because they believe they are more attractive they are more inclined to define themselves based on their appearance, and define others in a similar fashion... so a positive feedback.
In Oz, another public health crisis is that of mental illness (mostly depression), and it makes you wonder how much of this is derived from inadequacy and insecurity over appearance given the emphasis that is placed on image.
My thoughts are that when weight affects either health, or your weight is a serious detriment to self image, then it becomes important to place weight loss into your lifes goals and priorities.
My self image is still ok, because I was fit most of my life, and know I can do it again. However, I am now overweight. More importantly, I get winded easily, and have high blood pressure.
That's why I just bought a new bike and am getting started back on the path to aerobic health and blood pressure health, which may or may not lead to weight loss. I'm male, 49 Y/O, 5'7", 190 lbs (heavy for height) I was 135 lbs in HS. I "used" to hit the weight room, the treadmill, and exercise bikes up until about 7 years ago, then stopped due to life, jobs, family, etc.
I feel like a slug. I will overcome within the next 2 years with diet and exercise, before obesity and lack of exercise does permanent irreverisible damage. I have no idea what my BMI is currently, but really don't care. What I do care about is aerobic capacity, blood pressure, and relative strength to weight.
Society wide, the mistake most folks make is to do diet alone, without exercise, leading to a visious cycle of yo/yo diets where fat burning capability goes down due to muscle loss. Health goes down after multiple diets as muscle mass decreases along with fat, then the fat comes back with lesser levels of muscle. Think "walkway models" as the image many want to achieve, IE, no health but skinny.
Instead, I'm ok with body mass, as long as it is balanced muscle/fat, with balanced diet, cholesterol, "good" blood pressure and aerobic capacity. The hell with body shape, I want good health.
My newbie post is at:
I agree with the image issues. The fact that such a high percentage of very young women seem to desire breast implants is a clear sign that something is wrong.
That being said, I enjoy riding and I enjoy feeling better. Those are the main reasons I ride. Any positive body image from the fitness is appreciated, but it's not a high priority.
You make some interesting points.
01-15-06, 04:05 PM
Many walkway models are "too thin" even dangerously so, not to mention the methods that they used to get that way (anorexia and bulimia). Being a size 2 is probably not something that you want to shoot for. Being a reasonable size with a reasonable %body fat (BMI is really not very well-received anymore because it does not account for the fact that you may contain a high mucscle to fat ratio) is a better goal.
I shoot for overall health and how i feel. Not image.
Which explains why i have not felt the need to get rid of my clothes even 20 years after they have gone out of 'style. Or my haircut, or....or.....you get the point. Im driven by practicality.
But id say a majority of people go for image. Which is why ipod has like 75% of the market share even though it has less features than creatives, etc, etc. People buy products based on 'image' name. They do the same with their fashion and their body shapes.
01-16-06, 02:21 AM
I suspect it's mostly image-driven, but there's an subtle implication of health as well, since the most healthy people are not likely to be obese. However, people get the cause & effect relationship mixed up; it's focusing on improving your health that causes you to be thin as a side-effect.
Society wide, the mistake most folks make is to do diet alone, without exercise, leading to a visious cycle of yo/yo diets where fat burning capability goes down due to muscle loss. Health goes down after multiple diets as muscle mass decreases along with fat, then the fat comes back with lesser levels of muscle. Think "walkway models" as the image many want to achieve, IE, no health but skinny.Exactly, dieting can only get you so far. And that's not very far, you'll be able to lose weight as indicated on a scale, but you'll also lose muscle and your body-fat % will still be high compared to someone who exercised with the goal of improving their health. While dieting will show lower numbers on a scale, it will not give you the following benefits:
- lower resting HR
- higher muscular LT
- higher VO2-max
- significantly lower fat% (more lean muscle-mass, less fat)
- improved immune system
- higher motivation and energy level
- lower LDL cholesterol counts
- stronger/denser bones
Dieting often results in keeping all these health-indicators at the same levels as before. Except you've got a thinner person with the same body-fat %. So you end up with a twig with a double-chin, yecchh! :eek:
BTW - not all size-2 models are bulemic anorexics, I know quite a few that can kick my @ss in running and on the bike... :(
01-16-06, 02:45 AM
I want to lose weight because I am tired of my pants being tight. I want to lose weight because I gained 25 pounds for no good reason since college. I can't ride as far as I could when I was riding 3 or 4 times a week. I am tired all the time because I don't get any exercise.
That and I miss riding all the time :)
01-16-06, 10:47 AM
Obesity is most definitely a health issue. There are many diseases that are made worse by obesity (if not caused by obesity) - heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, to name a few. I hate to generalize, but, generally speaking, the USA is now the fat kid on the block.
I was obese, probably 45-50 pounds over weight last year at this time. In February I was diagnosed with diabetes. If I hadn't gained that weight I may still have gotten diabetes, but probably not for several years.
Going on a diet is not the answer. By definition (not dictionary, but most common), a diet is a TEMPORARY change in food intake to lose weight. After you lose weight, the diet is over. Going on a diet is NOT the answer. It may be a matter of semantics, but I changed my life style by eating better, exercising more. By July I had lost 50 pounds. I strive to treat diabetes and maintaining weight like alcoholism - I need to be continually vigilant.
Sorry for the minor rant. Obesity is most definitely a health issue; going on a diet is not the answer.
01-16-06, 04:30 PM
I want to lose weight because when people see me they see a fat person and they assume all the things that go along with that; most of which have been more or less true at some point since high school. But what people don't see is the person who loves to ride or lift weights, the person who actually enjoys eating Kashi cereal, the person who doesn't get hammered all the time, the person who gets restless easily if they are just sitting around. I also want to be faster on my bike. I feel like I can really ride pretty well now at my weight I can only imagine what I could do if I was at like 10 percent body fat.
thats cool that you want to lose the weight, what my rant was about was that its messed up how all those people 'assume all the things that go along with (being a fat person)', and that you assume they're assuming that.
Also, how this 'health fad' is reinforcing that.
01-19-06, 07:54 AM
If I can lose 20 pounds, I will be a faster rider and be able to climb hills easier in order to get a better view of the world in which I live.
01-19-06, 08:14 AM
There's a weight loss craze?
This was in yesterday's news:
01-19-06, 08:24 AM
I think we're really talking about two different things at the same time.
The "Weight Loss Craze" has been around in the US for a long time, and it's because the Weight Loss Industry spends a lot of money on marketing. And yes, the Weight Loss Industry does not always focus on making people healthier.
But the "Obesity Epidemic" is relatively new, and it came from the sudden surge in obese children. Anybody who works with kids in the US can see it with their own eyes.
01-19-06, 09:01 AM
[QUOTE=same time] and it's because the Weight Loss Industry spends a lot of money on marketing./QUOTE]
Just a wild thought, but I wonder how much stock the Weight Loss Companies have in McDonald's Burger King, Wendy's, etc. Think about it: make 'em fat, make 'em thin, make 'em fat, make 'em thin...
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