Tuesday, June 4, 2013

On Fat Acceptance

This fat acceptance thing is really getting out of hand. 

I am fit, but I don't fully agree that fatness is a lifestyle "choice" -- this word implies a non-iterated decision, like choosing what to eat for breakfast in the morning. Obesity is a "lifestyle habit" or "lifestyle series of decisions," the culmination of hundreds or thousands of small choices that add up to one large (heh) impact. It therefore follows that if you are a lazy person that cannot sustain other small positive lifestyle habits, you are more likely to be fat.

I also agree that there are large genetic and environmental components. Some people are naturally more insulin-resistant and prone to pack on extra pounds, and with the demonstrated toxicity of America's food environment it's surprising that anyone naturally stays in a state we consider to be thin.

That said, if you're a well-off, educated person in America, there is no excuse for you to be obese. There are so many blogs, books, articles, testimonials, and treatises on the science on obesity that if you even scratch below the most superficial veneer of lobbyist-driven government eating recommendations, you realize that our food supply is fundamentally poisonous and that there are easily achievable diet alterations will make large differences. If you're reading this blog, you're not living in the ghetto and buying food at gas stations. If you fit this demographic, you are also smart enough to realize that being fat destroys your quality of life -- physical attractiveness, ability to find a high quality mate, ardor of your daily life, self-esteem, respect from others, the list goes on and on.

The speaker is able to graduate suma cum laude from NYU, go to a top 5 law school, and work for large New York law firms, but can't be bothered to go on a juice fast or give up carbohydrates for 6 months in a concerted effort to change her body.

Our life outcomes are a direct reflection of our priorities.

Rather than acknowledging and changing priorities, people would rather deform our culture to accept fatness. The video begins devolve into this self-congratulatory defeatism is when the speaker says:  "Diets don't work for most people, so you shouldn't worry about trying." She suggests that since 95% of people put weight back on after a diet, you shouldn't feel like a failure if you can't lose weight in the long term.

This is wrong. The food that we eat can alter the long-term expression of genes in our body, predisposing our cells to store fat and make us feel like we are starving. A 6-week or even 6-month crash diet to lose 20 lbs is not going to rewire years of careless neglect, just as 3 months of weight training is not going to get you deadlifting 400 pounds. There is a good reason that "diets" don't work -- because people don't apply them properly or consistently.

The speaker goes on cite some laughably bad science about how fat Type 2 Diabetes patients manage the disease more effectively than thinner people. In this statement, she completely neglects the baseline rate of the disease in the different populations. Type 2 diabetes is frequently the result of obesity-induced insulin resistance, and is a debilitating disease that accounts for $200 billion in medical costs annually. The best she can say is that fat people are more resilient when dealing with the horrible diseases caused by their fatness.

You get the sense that the speaker doesn't even fully believe her own rambling, self-serving monologue. Make no mistake: despite her rationalizations, the speaker hates herself and would give nearly anything to be average weight. That is, anything that didn't involve putting in consistent work.

At its roots, this video is emblematic of the worst placating, individuated, equalist features of our culture. Instead of fixing the problem, the growing army of fatsos seeks to change the definition of "healthy" and "attractive" to the detriment of our culture. Letting go of "judgment" in the aggregate contradicts common sense epistemology --  the idea that some things are, elementally, desirable while others are undesirable. A "wellness coach" who ignores science is not someone to be trusted, especially when her appearance defies all reasonable definitions of the word.

Read more: Monsanto Ruins American Bodies

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