The New York Times has breaking news today: it turns out, every body is different! Some people lose or gain weight much more easily than others, and it has little to do with their own personal failings!
Oh my god, it’s shocking.
No, really, it is. Not the results of the study (which basically just confirmed what most serial dieters have probably suspected for decades), but the fact that in 2011 we still need studies and newspaper articles to make us think for a second about why some people’s bodies are more stubborn than others’.
Actually, I take that back, it’s not shocking. It’s sad. And I have a bad feeling that no matter how many articles like this one are published across the world, the majority of people who have life a bit easier (ie are naturally slim or lose weight relatively easily) will still always look at fat people and assume they’re not trying hard enough. When in fact they may be trying extremely hard, and just not seeing the results that the fitness/medical community has always told them were a given if they would just stick to their diets.
Calories in vs calories out? Yes, of course, but the equation isn’t universal. Cutting 200 calories a day will mean a different weight loss for a slimmer person than it will for a heavier person. Metabolism is a factor, and so is body fat percentage, and indeed weight itself (when it comes to burning calories through physical activity especially).
I honestly believe (and have for years) that so many of our society’s social issues would be solved if people could just think of each other as fellow individuals, rather than grouping them into race/class/size/degree level. Maybe that obese person in the supermarket really pisses you off, and you want to take the unhealthier items out of his cart and chuck them at his face? But what if you knew him? What if you worked with him, or he were a family member, or you’d just had a conversation with him once in a pub? Might you be more likely to think about why he’s obese, or consider that it might not be entirely his own fault (not responsibility, because that’s all his, but fault)?
How hard is it to believe that just because Kim Kardashian lost 10 pounds on a 2-day fast doesn’t mean the rest of us will have the same results? Why is our society so obsessed with pretend homogenization and grouping people into categories? More importantly, when the evidence shows, and has shown for years now, that it’s not working, why do we keep doing the same things about the ‘obesity epidemic’: shaming people by putting footage of their fupas on national news shows; advertizing for Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig; conceiving of ever more reality tv shows that exploit and humiliate fat people ‘for their own good’.
It’s pretty sickening, actually, when I allow myself to think about it for more than five minutes. So I guess I’ll quit while I’m behind and salvage what’s left of my decent mood with some ibuprofen and tea. Tea is low-calorie, right?
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