A Recommendation

Apparently, if its possible, we all need to watch “The Men Who Made Us Thin” a show on BBC 2.

My boyfriend, Richard Neville (internalforcefitness.com) caught it and said it is very enlightening… mostly because it reveals the truth of the “fat” myth that most people don’t want to contend with. And most of these “truth” has to do with how screwed up the dieting system and BMI actually are.

Here’s a short list of the things he mentioned the show discusses:

1. The original BMI table was created by a an insurance agent.

2. Weight loss studies have been done that prove a particular pattern when it comes to weight loss: A vast reduction of calories forces the human body to go into “starvation mode” and the same so of internal changes happen to fat individuals who are put on a low calorie diet as “normal” individuals when they are starved. The body at first refuses to lose weight before finally capitulating and becoming thinner. When calories are increased, the body will not only regain the weight, but gain more weight. This process is much more detrimental to a human body than just maintaining a weight that is considered “over weight”.

3. The man who invented Slim Fast took an existing product, a nutritional shake, and made it strawberry flavored. Because it suddenly tasted good, it became popular. He eventually sold the rights to it to Unilever for millions of dollars.

4. The people at Weight Watchers KNOW that their dieting strategy doesn’t work. They don’t care. They will stick to the idea that because they have a “few” success stories, they are perfectly justified in charging people to, basically, go through waves of harmful dieting.

What I’ve uncovered from Googleing: Even in light of the “lose and regain” factor, the man who has created this show still talks about the harsh health consequences of “morbid” obesity. Apparently for those who have gone through yo-yo dieting so much that they’ve ballooned up to “morbid” can expect… what?

I’m hoping my boyfriend continues to tune in. Maybe the shows will still be available on iPlayer or something when I visit later this month (I doubt it but it’s worth the hope). If they are available, I’ll pass along any insights.

But at the end of the day, no matter how obvious it is that the fast food and dieting industries have and continue to damn people like me to a living hell, very little changes.

As Richie said, if fast food, diet food, soda, etc. are so horrible, so fattening and/or detrimental to an individual’s metabolism, then why aren’t they banned? Why isn’t fast food even covered in the same warnings as cigarettes and booze?

The answer is simple, and horrible in its implications: We all HAVE to eat.

We. All. Have. To. Eat.

Unlike drug addictions or the like, not a single person can avoid opening their mouth and putting food in it. There is no big, obvious line that can be drawn in terms of food, unlike drugs or alcohol. It is for this reason that some insist that food IS NOT ADDICTIVE. Binging cannot be triggered by anything other than personal choice. If we all have to eat, then there is no way to explain overindulgence that is suitable to believe, because the explanations cast blame away from the over eater, and skinnier people just HATE it when fat people don’t blame themselves, and over-indulge in guilt and self hatred.

The actual amount of genetic freaks who are able to naturally consume unlimited quantities of food without fear of weight gain, because those bodies will burn off all the calories ingested without storing a single bit of that energy as “fat” is vastly small, and only able to do so because some aspect of their metabolism is “over active.”

In other words, there is recognition in the world of medicine that the average person’s body functions with the desire to store weight, period. That any other type of functioning is an outlier and should not be taken as “normal”.

My point? Just that I wish I could be watching The Men Who Made Us Thin along with my boyfriend. It sounds like it really is going in-depth into the issues of diet and weight loss, but is it doing so in an appropriate and useful way?

I still find it suspect when I see documentaries or articles written on weight loss and the issue of “obesity”… mostly because every one concludes, even if it is accepted that size is meaningless, with the idea that everyone MUST BE FIT.

It is what we all must strive for. We must BE FIT. For those who want to change up the obesity rules, a new rule is being put forward: We can be as fat as we please, just as long as we’re fit.

I cringe because the underlying mandate that created the issue in the first place is still in place, still active, and championed even by those who want to end fat stigma: We MUST be healthy. It is sinful or bad or whatever to remain “unhealthy.”

At the end of the day the message is still being sent that we have a “choice” when it comes to health. We can choose health.

We can, actively, decide to live forever and never become diseased. We can, with each breath we take, control our bodies so completely that even at the cellular level, are physical functioning is being directed by conscious thought.

Sounds ridiculous? YES, BECAUSE IT IS!

Yet it is the single greatest change that has occurred in the history of humanity: People became convinced, at some time, that immortality is possible. People began to reject death, and in doing so, they rejected the inevitability of infirmity. People now believe that you can be perfectly healthy, for an indeterminate amount of time, if you just make the right “lifestyle” choices, from conception to death. And even though viruses and bacteria exist, are a part of nature, and necessary, they must be combated. They must be attacked and whipped out, even though the act of doing so simply creates treatment-resistant and thus deadly strains of viruses and bacteria.

It is easy to understand the reason why “obesity” is such a problem. It has to do, directly with two conflicting cultural obsessions: fast food, and “health.”

If we can’t get rid of fast food, then we need to release ourselves from the burden of “health.”

I am wondering if “The Men Who Made Us Thin” will eventually conclude what I have concluded, we can either have a consumer culture driven food industry or health. We can’t have them both.

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