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Alternatively, fat is caused by the diet industry: "We're getting fatter because of dieting," as one activist puts it. "The way to fatten an animal is to starve it and then re-feed it. Your metabolism slows down when you're eating less. People on diets are predisposing their body to gain more weight."
Well this is certainly true. I'm sure that the shocking amounts of misinformation pumped out by the diet industry and the popular press (eg Atkins, cabbage soup diet, whatever) has had adverse effects on numerous people. Successful long-term weightloss generally requires access to sensible information, which is harder to locate when you have so much crap entering the public consciousness.

While the diet industry comes under attack, the $900 billion food industry does not. But as Marion Nestle points out in her convincing treatise, Food Politics (2002), the food industry now produces 3,800 calories a day for every person in the United States (2,200 to 2,500 would be adequate). That's a 500 calorie-a-day increase since 1970. And, as Nestle notes, the American weight spike in the late 1970s exactly corresponded with the invention of supersizing in fast-food marketing.
Again, its almost certainly true that the food industry's marketing can contribute to obesity (although this works both ways; look at the plethora of nice tasting healthy food which has emerged in recent years due to market demand).

Your post seems to be based on a rather simplistic view of casuation; most events do not have one single cause, and saying that X contributes to phenomenon Y doesnt prevent other factors from being partly responsible. Yes, people are fat because they choose to eat too much, but there are numerous things that can influence their choices, including poor information, social pressure, and certain forms of advertising.

Obviously none of this justifies government intervention since there are no rights violations here, although you could probably justify charging several companies with fraud based on the amount of nonsense they spread.

Edited by Hal
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I sympathize with JMeganSnow on the issue that she brought up: in my memory, it was extremely difficult to lose weight when finances were a problem.

This seems odd in retrospect, because why should eating less food cost more? Probably just the type of food that is available when resorting to fast food, or convenient food.

In fact, once I changed my diet to a vegetable-intense diet (not vegetarian -- like my pizza too much for that), my food bills are much lower. Healthy foods are cheap, as it turns out.

I'm sure everyone will eventually chime in with their diet advice, so I'll mention a couple of books that were helpful to me:

"Fat of the Land" by Michael Fumento. Cuts through a lot of the pseudoscience in the diet industry. Good for avoiding bad advice.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detai...=glance&s=books

[ten-words or less summary of the above book: fat is unhealthy. Lose weight by eating less and exercising.]

And this book, recommended by an Objectivist (Mark over at Capmag.com), which has been very helpful. I'm not getting into discussing a few minor objection to each of these. Overall these books helped me understand diet better, and helped me get healthier.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detai...=glance&s=books

[ten-words-or-less summary: Eat less calories by eating LOTS of fruits and vegetables].

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With what weights?

I appreciate the advice, and telling me what I can do (when I'm actually able to do it) is helpful. Telling me what I should do (especially for someone as pigheaded as me!) is an exercise (heh) in futility.

Light weights to break yourself in and work out how strong you currently are and work up from there.

If you do want to take up the challenge, tell me privately.

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Hmm.. I wonder if these Fat!So?- guys understand how self-contradictory their statements are. Either being fat is beautiful, then: What's the problem? Or being fat is bad and caused by genetics, then they just have bad luck.

...Or good luck, if it's beautiful? :)

Well this is certainly true. I'm sure that the shocking amounts of misinformation pumped out by the diet industry and the popular press (eg Atkins, cabbage soup diet, whatever) has had adverse effects on numerous people.

No doubt there is a lot of misinformation out there. I wouldn't dispute that for a second.

But read the quote again: that fellow wasn't blaming bad diets, he was blaming dieting as such. He was saying, basically, "People are fat because diets are hard and they give up and binge. If "society" would just stop telling everyone to eat a healthy diet, then we wouldn't be fat."

Which is nonsense.

With what weights?

Depends. How are your finances? If they're stable, a home gym is a big option. If you can make some cutbacks in other areas, it will be worth it to fix your health...

If not, then I know in my area there are at least 12 gyms within 10 miles and you can get a membership for under $20 a month if you don't buy the "add-ons" they try to sell you.

If money's tight temporarily, you could just buy a few small freeweights and a chin-up bar and use those and gravity exercises to start out, like Blacksabbath suggested. You will eventually need access to the heavier stuff, though. But it won't take hours per day, I'll tell you that. (just trying to offer some hope)

I think Megan is acting very rationally. She puts money first, which is a reasonable choice.

Of course only she knows the full context of her life, so only she is qualified to say. But at 125lbs overweight, it's not something that should be put off for long... there are a LOT of health risks in that condition.

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Well I think it is possible for an overweight person to be aesthetically intergrated. I had much unnesessary angest over this when I first decided to become an Objectivist because I have always been attracted to heavier girls.

I don't get this. Why would you have angst over "heavier" girls? I can see angst if you found yourself attracted to morbidly obese girls, that would signify an issue to worry about. Generally if a person appears healthy, and you find them pleasing to thine eye, I don't see a problem.

On another note I did a google picture search today of mariyln monroe (for the hair style) and since it was unfiltered the playboy spread came up. She was certainly beautiful--yet I don't think you'd ever see someone her size in magazines, nor someone so nude but that's another issue. I'd post the picture but I'm pretty sure that's a no-no here.

From what I heard she was hearty size 10. Vavavoom

http://www.microla.com/ltpages/ltimages/marilyn8.jpg

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I don't get this. Why would you have angst over "heavier" girls? I can see angst if you found yourself attracted to morbidly obese girls, that would signify an issue to worry about. Generally if a person appears healthy, and you find them pleasing to thine eye, I don't see a problem.

On another note I did a google picture search today of mariyln monroe (for the hair style) and since it was unfiltered the playboy spread came up. She was certainly beautiful--yet I don't think you'd ever see someone her size in magazines, nor someone so nude but that's another issue. I'd post the picture but I'm pretty sure that's a no-no here.

From what I heard she was hearty size 10. Vavavoom

http://www.microla.com/ltpages/ltimages/marilyn8.jpg

Well it was when I was younger and was still controled by a reglious mindset of Intrincisism. I noticed how Rand always had slender heroines and I thought that liking bigger girls somehow came into conflict with Objectivist aesthetics.

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GAH! Eight hundred calories a day is below the recommended minimum for an adult, which is like 1000. At a thousand calories a day I've lost weight, and fast . . . the problem is also that I'd sleep 14 hours a day because I had no energy. And I'd still be keeping up this ruinously painful diet for 11 months to get rid of the weight I've got. No THANK you.

I remember reading that Nazi scientists did research in some of the concentration camps on how much food a person requires every day just to survive, and it came to something like 750 calories. A lady speaking on health and dieting mentioned it because a fad supermodel diet at the time was recommending you eat six hundred calories a day. I swear, people are crazy.

It's precisely this sort of advice that makes me say it's not in my self-interest to diet. In a few weeks I may be moving to a more physically-demanding job, which should help. It pays better, too, and I'll be cutting my expenses, so I'll have money to spend on going to a gym or something.

Yes that is the daily requirement for a human... not a fat human. A fat human has ample stores of calories that the body will burn. When I was taking in 800 calories a day I wasn't even close to risking my health because I had 140,000 extra calories that my body could run off of. The only reason I took in any calories at all is for nutrients which of course you body cannot get from fat.

A person who is a healthy weight could fast for more than a month without taking in a single calorie and be just fine. A fat person can go longer. I mean sure if you take a petite model or a concentration camp victim and deprive them of less than 800 or so calories a day they will die BUT they have no fat stores to use up.

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Put a keyboard and a monitor on an exercise bike so I can work while I'm working out and we'll talk.

NOW theres an idea! You could market that and sell it. Just attach a laptop to the bike and wolah! You could be making MILLIONS. Just give it a catchy name, and you'll be all set.

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NOW theres an idea! You could market that and sell it. Just attach a laptop to the bike and wolah! You could be making MILLIONS. Just give it a catchy name, and you'll be all set.

Good point. I always wished the exercise bikes came with bookstands to hold pages open so my hands could be free! Similar concept.

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NOW theres an idea! You could market that and sell it. Just attach a laptop to the bike and wolah! You could be making MILLIONS. Just give it a catchy name, and you'll be all set.

I'll sell you the idea. :(

I'm pretty sure you can get something like this already, though.

A person who is a healthy weight could fast for more than a month without taking in a single calorie and be just fine.

In that they won't suffer permanent damage from the experience, assuming they return to an adequate diet in the near future. But they won't be able to WORK or do ANYTHING productive unless there's someone standing over them with a whip. If I didn't mind losing my job and becoming a street person (aka urban outdoorsman) I might consider it. Wait. No, I wouldn't.

Starvation is no way to lose weight. It is a good way to lose your hair and teeth, muscle tone, and bone density, though.

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A person who is a healthy weight could fast for more than a month without taking in a single calorie and be just fine.

Not exactly. There are things that the body needs that it can't get from drawing on fat reserves. You'd also lose a bunch of muscle, which would decrease your caloric requirements and work against you. A starvation diet isn't a good idea, but depending on the person, 1000 or even 800 calories could do them just fine, if they got the right vitamins.

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A person who is a healthy weight could fast for more than a month without taking in a single calorie and be just fine. A fat person can go longer. I mean sure if you take a petite model or a concentration camp victim and deprive them of less than 800 or so calories a day they will die BUT they have no fat stores to use up.

Not only that, I hear that a fast is not in the least bit painful if done right. If you have a water only fast, then you'll have initial hunger pangs which will then go away, and after that you can fast for weeks and will actually feel quite good.

So, when you see those guys who fast for days, just be aware it's pretty damned easy. It's not some painful process they all seem to imply. <_<

The book "Fasting and Eating for Health" by Joel Fuhrman discusses this. The book and method comes highly recommended by a scientist I know. The scientist is an expert on body chemistry. Apparently over time toxins build up in your system and by shutting it down for a while your system can catch up and clean itself of these, thus making you healthier.

The problem with fasting is it's not really practical in most situations. You should probably have physician supervision if you do it for any length and who has a couple of weeks to give up? Or, maybe there is some practical way I'm not aware of?

I'm so intrigued by the idea, however, I'm considering doing it myself sometime. Perhaps for a weekend to see what sort of effect it has.

Edited by Thales
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Something funny and related to the topic...

I went to see Andrew Bernstein give his talk on the immorality of religion (about a year ago at the University of Illinois) and at the end during questions and answers he talked about the "problem" of obesity in America. He said something to the effect that we should be so lucky to even HAVE that problem which is only possible due to our incredible wealth as a nation.

Best,

Jacob

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Not exactly. There are things that the body needs that it can't get from drawing on fat reserves. You'd also lose a bunch of muscle, which would decrease your caloric requirements and work against you. A starvation diet isn't a good idea, but depending on the person, 1000 or even 800 calories could do them just fine, if they got the right vitamins.

This is why I was advocating eating something in the range of 800 calories a day (which is what I did) just to make sure you get the stuff that you need for your body to function. Your body defintely needs other things in order to function. I also agree I would not fast to lose weight (well not more than 10 or 15 days max) because it's much much eaiser to eat 800 calories a day and survive and still be able to work. When I was on mine I still kept up my normal routine of 90-100 hours a week towards productive purposes. After about the third of fourth day I was pretty much adjusted to the diet.

The only case I can really see it not being in someone's best interests to lose weight is if they knew they would die soon. (NOTE: I'm not saying there are not other situations) Otherwise you can extend your life expectancy, feel much better, look much better, get better paying jobs and promotions much easier (that has been my observation over and over again) while also saving a lot of money on food and knowing that you do not have a hedonistic addiction.

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Off-Topic:

Even though I am quite dogmatic about maintaining health (training and good diet) being an objective need of man (I once read that people of this attitude are described as Body-Nazis :P), I think Megan is acting very rationally. She puts money first, which is a reasonable choice.

Now she waits (more precisely: she works) till she moves to another place and has another job that pays her more. THEN she may find the time and money to focus on these health issues. If you need your time for work and your money for your rent, then it's perfectly rational NOT to cut off time and money for working out and dieting but instead to focus on improving your situation which is exactly what she does.

Disagree. There are a number of physiological and practical reasons why a vigorous exercise program is not where to start for Megan. Just grab 135 pounds and walk around for a while and you'll understand one big reason.

What she needs now (if weigh loss is the goal) is calorie restriction and not much more. Walking a little extra maybe, but even that's optional. Exercise = GOOD, Calorie Restriction = NECESSARY. Eating less takes LESS time and costs LESS.

You are either the master of your habits or the victim of your habits. Is it rational to be a victim? I don't think so.

Bob

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A person who is a healthy weight could fast for more than a month without taking in a single calorie and be just fine. A fat person can go longer. I mean sure if you take a petite model or a concentration camp victim and deprive them of less than 800 or so calories a day they will die BUT they have no fat stores to use up.

Well they could live. I did this a couple of years ago for three weeks not 4 (cleansing purposes) and I did get some calories from broth and a few other natural products though I can't remember now which fruits were acceptable. Either way, I lived but I was impossible to live with, and tired.

Good point. I always wished the exercise bikes came with bookstands to hold pages open so my hands could be free! Similar concept.

I find that books on tape work well for this. I run and it is impossible to read while running -- even with a stand or something. But yeah if you can get your books on tape/cd they work fabulously.

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I agree with Bob Mac above. At a certain point overweight, there should be more emphasis on diet than on exercise. If one is 100+ lbs overweight, exercise can be painful, probably even dangerous. (I'm referring to vigorous exercise, btw, e.g., running, intense aerobics, etc.)

Again with due acknowledgement to Joel Fuhrmans' book, "Eat to Live" (see website http://www.drfuhrman.com), I have found that a very good way to restrict calories is to eat a LOT of fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are so filling per calorie that it is nearly impossible to eat to take in excess calories. You could fill your stomach to jam-packed full of salad, and still have taken in only a couple hundred calories (not to mention the benefit that these foods are packed with huge amounts nutrients per calorie).

For people like myself, who don't want to forego foods we love, this is great advice. It works to the extent it is practiced. When I would eat a large salad -- whether vegetable or fruit -- it would fill me up to some extent, and even if I ate not-as-healthy foods later in the day, I wouldn't eat as much of the not-as-healthy foods. The result was consistent, fairly quick weight loss.

Anymore, I always take care to eat lots of fresh fruit or vegetables, and I don't worry much about what else I eat, because there is little worry that I'll overeat, and little worry that I won't get necessary nutrients.

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I agree with Bob Mac above. At a certain point overweight, there should be more emphasis on diet than on exercise. If one is 100+ lbs overweight, exercise can be painful, probably even dangerous. (I'm referring to vigorous exercise, btw, e.g., running, intense aerobics, etc.)

Definitely losing weight is 90% diet IMO.

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This is why I was advocating eating something in the range of 800 calories a day (which is what I did) just to make sure you get the stuff that you need for your body to function. Your body defintely needs other things in order to function. I also agree I would not fast to lose weight (well not more than 10 or 15 days max) because it's much much eaiser to eat 800 calories a day and survive and still be able to work. When I was on mine I still kept up my normal routine of 90-100 hours a week towards productive purposes. After about the third of fourth day I was pretty much adjusted to the diet.

Did I not explain that I did this for THREE MONTHS before? I was TIRED. I could manage to stay awake and upright for precisely the amount of time that I was scheduled to be at work. I woke up when my alarm went off ("woke up" being a euphemism for dragged myself out of bed after several attempts) and I fell asleep within 20 minutes of getting home no matter WHAT I tried to do. On my days off I managed approx. 10 hours awake because I'd spend it lying on the floor in front of my computer. If I was feeling particularly spunky I'd do laundry.

When I'm getting MODERATE exercise (i.e. 15-20 minutes on a rowing machine every day, barely a warm up for most) I experience this same problem on 2000 calories a day. No joke.

It doesn't matter what time of day I work out.

It doesn't matter what sort of things I eat. Either I get enough calories or I fall over. I found it was quite hard to eat salad and fruit, because I'd feel stuffed and drained at the same time. (Tried the Slim Fast diet, and that's what I ate.) It was awful.

When I was taking Leptopril I could maintain energy (taking the maxiumum dose, mind you) and still diet, but a bottle of pills is like $50 and it lasts you less than a month, money that I don't have currently.

It's possible that I have some sort of medical problem, but any time I've ever gotten a thyroid check the doctor always said "you're fine, levels are normal." "Oh . . . you're cholesterol's a bit above normal, you might want to cut back, and your blood pressure is above normal, but other than that . . . I guess you could stand to lose some weight."

I have learned through lengthy experience that if I'm going to lose weight I'm going to have to create my own regimen from scratch because no advice I have EVER gotten (and I've heard EVERYTHING) has amounted to a hill of beans. After all, I've only been fat since I was eight years old.

If you come up with something I haven't tried (like the serious weightlifting, which I will try as best I can, I could use some upper-body muscle anyway--my legs don't need the help), I'll give it a shot and see whether I can do that and still manage to have a "rest of my life". If it crushes my other goals I'm having none of it. I'm not in a position where I can take a year or more off of my efforts to develop my career so that I can fit in smaller pants. I'm too old and too knowledgeable to be working entry-level jobs. I've come to the conclusion that career is #1 for the forseeable future and anything that gets in the way has to be shelved.

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Have you tried dieting just a little bit? The argument you made against it before was that it would take too long, but it would be working, however gradually.

Also, the muscle-building strategy will also require that you diet; if only to keep your calories exactly where they are, so you don't accidentally eat more to compensate. It would of course benefit from subtracting a few hundred calories. (this is assuming that you're not currently taking in calories OVER your maintenance.)

A wise strategy would be to begin muscle building and reduce your calories 150-200 below maintenance. Every time you drop 5 lbs, reduce them by another 50 calories/day. If you're gradual about it, you can avoid the body's "reactions" to a diet, such as the fatigue you've wrestled with.

Actually, I think I have a link that will help you QUITE a bit. Here:

http://www.fourmilab.ch/hackdiet/www/hackdiet.html

it's a big read, but it will help you understand your genetic disadvantages and such. I'd ignore his exercise advice, since that sort of exercise isn't what you're looking for. I'd recommend Heavy Duty or Max Contraction for the exercise.

Mods, could I get a thread split here? Two distinct topics have developed...

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JMeganSnow wrote: "It doesn't matter what sort of things I eat. Either I get enough calories or I fall over."

Have you considered a psychological component to this? For example, in my past when times were tough and money was tight, I would feel drained if I wasn't able to eat something that felt like a "reward", like an all-you-can-eat pizza buffet or something. The reason wasn't complicated: when other daily rewards were scarce, the simple enjoyment of a food I liked was motivating.

The reason I ask is because I can not understand any physiological reason for such a thing. By your own description, you have nearly half-a-million extra calories in storage, which conceivably could supply quite a lot of extra energy (assuming some basic nutrient intake to keep things running which are not easily powered by converted fat).

If it is a pyscological issue, then we're back to an earlier issue, namely: where does weight loss fit in your heirarchy of values; you've answered that question quite explicitly. I'm not one to criticize anyone's optional values, especially since I never did get my weight under control at the time when money was tight and pizza was precious. I will add only this: if I knew then what I know now, I would've lost the weight. There's nothing that's less enjoyable now that I'm at a healthy weight-- including the slightly less frequent pizza binge -- and plenty of things that are more enjoyable.

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