Not Pulling Their Own Weight

I got a little fat in the last couple of months and I know how to solve that problem. I simply need to eat less and move more. It is not easy. I have “won” this battle several times only to have the forces of fatness regroup and attack again. The struggle never ends and I have to fight it myself. Nobody can do it for me and nobody is to blame but me if I fail.

Like many of today's problems, being overweight is a matter of choice and lifestyle. I am not saying that people choose to be fat, but they do make the choices that lead them to become and remain fat. It is true that some people have an easier time gaining or losing weight, but only rarely is there a genetic cause for fatness. It is based on individual choices.

Fighting "epidemics" caused by voluntary behavior has become problematic in our PC-culture. It has long been considered unacceptable in some circles to "blame the victim," i.e. the person actually eating more and moving less than his/her body requires. Of course, we should not ridicule the "gravity challenged" community, but there needs to be stigma attached to obesity. When we tolerate or protect bad behavior, we get more of it. And some people have become so sensitive that you cannot even praise good behavior for fear of offending those unwilling to engage in it.

There is actually a national association to promote fat acceptance. I am not making this up. Disney was pressured to shut down an an exhibit that promoted healthy habits because it portrayed bad habits as ... wait for it ... bad.

For example, who cannot envision the scenario of well-meaning adults praising the healthy habits of lean and fit kids and then in the next breath saying that the fat and sedentary ones are okay too. Even worse, fatness is de-facto protected. When people get fat enough, they become sick and disabled and come under protection of disabilities laws. I worked with a woman who was so fat that she snapped bones in her ankles. We had to provide her with a motorized chair to get around.

Meanwhile, we try various government programs to reduce the growing weight of Americans. Unfortunately, they dare not openly acknowledge the real causes.
I have always liked fast food and candy bars. I know that I cannot eat them to the extent I want w/o becoming fat, but it is stupid to blame those foods. I notice that in times when I ride my bike to work, a distance of 17 miles, I can indeed eat those sorts of things.

The secret of fighting fat is to eat less and move more. It really is that simple.

Is there a societal responsibility? Yes. Since being fat creates all sorts of health problems, which Obamacare demands we all pay for, and in general makes people less productive, the chronically obese, like those who abuse drugs or alcohol, are letting the rest of us down, or shall we say "not pulling their own weight."

I worry that my liberal friends will decide that it is a right to be thin and healthy and then we will all have to pay for the tummy tucks and bypass surgeries needed by those w/o the will to eat less or move more.

BTW - one of my cousins had bypass surgery. He became thin for a while, but then he managed to eat past the improvement and got fat again. The problem is still the same and so is the solution. Eat less and move more.

I declared my latest war on fat the day before yesterday. I will prevail ... again. Today there is no beer for me and I won't be riding elevators, among other things. It has gotten easier. I used to drink 2 liters of Coca-Cola every day, lots of calories. Now I drink 2 liters of Coke Zero. Over the years, I have come to like Coke Zero better, so the sacrifice is no longer a sacrifice. Now if they can come up with a zero calorie Big Mac ...

Posted by Christine & John at March 8, 2012 6:51 PM
Comment #337935

C&J, pink slime in hamburger turned me off on ‘big-macs’ many years ago.
But, I feel yore pain. I had bypass in my 50’s and have fought a continuous ‘plaque’ problem hence. The cycle is the same as you relate, only I’m trying to eat well to cut down on plaque build up while you, and many others are trying to shed pounds.

Recently, I was blogging about the relative high cost of health care HC compared to other countries and noticed that bypass was approx $100k, the most expensive surgery.

But, just being overweight can lead to diabetes and number of serious, and expensive, problems.

Your post delves into the fairness issue where smart and/or healthy folks have few medical problems but pay part of the freight for folks who are not so smart and/or have many health issues over their life span. My problem came from smoking which I readily gave up after an uncle and my father passed from lung cancer.

Not to wander, but it’s in the news today that young people are starting to pick up the smoking habit. How could that possibly be with their being no doubt what causes lung cancer and heart problems?

And so, how are we to pay for HC? Should the healthy pay less than the unhealthy, etc? If the costs weren’t socialized could an unhealthy person afford a high cost ins?
Should there be a monetary reward for a person who lives a smart/healthy lifestyle.

I tend to believe a socialized system of HC is more palpable from all aspects. A healthy person may get hit by a train and spend years in/out of hospitals, etc. One never knows - - -

In the news lately re huge medicare fraud. If we could eliminate fraud and corpocracy from HC the cost to an individual would be no problem. The fed doesn’t negotiate cost with medicare providers, left up to the market!!?? Maybe a private system would better serve the public. I’m willing to try that. For example, auto insurance seems to work pretty well

An alternative would be to give HC to the fed carte blanche. Issue us a HC card f/u/w any/all HC providers thereby, cutting out the middle men in the HC system.

Don’t know what the answer is but I do no it is not Obamacare.

Otherwise - - -

Posted by: Roy Ellis at March 8, 2012 8:29 PM
Comment #337937


This is the problem I mentioned of fighting voluntary health problems. People choose to be fat, just as they choose other sorts of risky behavior. And when we socialize more and more risk, we make freedom more and more difficult. Why?

It is a lot easier to be tolerant when you don’t have to pay for bad behavior of others. If someone is a boozer, druggie or tub of lard, it really is none of my business - unless I am asked to pay for it.

We have a couple of friends who used to be fat. They still are not thin, but they made a concerted effort to improve their habits. We were amazed by how much healthier they got. Their doctors took them off several medicines and they just didn’t get sick as often.

There is a significant cost to bad habits and who pays for it makes a difference. That is one of the real threats of ObamaCare. If everybody is now paying for mandated care, everybody’s behavior becomes everybody else’s concern.

Commitment can be a good thing or a bad one. If you are committed to a relationship, you stay and fight (good) or you stay and fight (bad). If you are merely involved, you can be tolerant or detached.

You know the difference between commitment and being merely involved if you look at a bacon and egg breakfast. The chicken is merely involved. The pig is committed. His ass is in the game.

Posted by: C&J at March 8, 2012 8:48 PM
Comment #337965

C&J, I can’t hang with you on such a narrow position. There are many more issues to consider than just cost.

But, first let’s be clear that a gov’t mandate is out of the questions for obvious reasons not related to HC in any way. Mandated HC is a purely sovereign issues and we don’t won’t to go down that path a tall.

And, what about issues other than cost? Fraud, corpocracy, etc. Who decides your treatment and limit, insurance companies, gov’t, or the doctor? And, should not insurance, pharmas and medical procedures be negotiated for price? Who gets to negotiate and with whom?

Maybe I’m missing your point but I can’t see where paying into a socialized system is intolerable. I go back to my example of a smart/healthy person getting hit by a train. You might have started with a well priced policy but after the train wreck your ins would go astronomical,IMO. Now, you might then switch ins providers but the ins companies wouldn’t like that, which is why I guess they prefer a socialized systems too.

And, let’s say a destitute person has no ins and gets hit by a train. What are we to do? Comes back to the neighborhood thing of neighbor helping neighbor where again the socialized path seems to win out, IMO.

Posted by: Roy Ellis at March 8, 2012 9:59 PM
Comment #337971

Green tea , hot or cold helps, sans sugar of course.
It is appropriate for the government to educate people regarding health issues and even require calory/fat /content labeling for food products. Bypass surgery may be a bargain compared to diabetic care and in the US we do not usually just let people die on the hospital steps. I would have prefered that the ACA had been a straight single payer plan. Then we could have decided collectively what we should cover. Instead that is largely up to private carriers after minimum requirements are met.BO, the centrist, and the Dems adopted the Rohmny/Heritage Foundation plan in an effort at compromise.One can only hope he has learned his lesson and will stop trying to deal with those that will always hate him and never cooperate. Its not the menu they don’t like. Its the waiter.

Posted by: bills at March 9, 2012 12:24 AM
Comment #338034

I declared a war on my fat last year. Even as a man who eats no animals and little to no animal bi-products I was still consuming the wrong foods in the wrong amounts and getting little exercise. I ballooned up to 277 pounds over the last few years before I got sick of looking in the mirror.

In January of last year I started a strict diet and exercise program and I dropped down as low as 206 pounds finally reaching a BMI well below obeise and actually into a healthy weight range for perhaps the first time since I was about 9 years old.

I’ve gained back about 20 pounds since I got off the diet and I’ve recently tried to go back to war on that 20 pounds but it’s tough. It’s a lot easier to go from 277 to 257 than it is to go from 227 to 207.

What I find is a major problem is just lack of understanding of nutrition in America. I get people questioning my strict vegetarian diet who don’t even understand their own diet let alone mine. Our health classes in grade school and high school were a complete joke.

The phrase eat less or move more is accurate but I’d rather tell folks you need to eat better and move more and for the love of God stop drinking high calorie sodas when the zero-calorie drinks taste just as good. I’m completely with you on that one.

A funny thing about losing weight is that people began to associate it with my strict vegetarian diet as if when you stop eating meat and cheese and milk you just simply waste away on your lettuce and your broccoli sprouts. No, fat carbs and protein are pretty much the same no matter the source. I was the fattest vegan I knew.

Posted by: Adam Ducker at March 9, 2012 10:37 AM
Comment #338046

A very small part of the human population has a genetic “full” switch, I am part of that population, when I get full I don’t want food. Not only do I not want food it actually makes me feel not well to think about eating until I have used enough calories and am ready to eat. It has taken me 15 years and having medical issues that make moving more a difficult proposition to gain 10-15 pounds. Moving more is a lot more difficult in this day and age with most jobs being sedentary. I happen to have a job that I move more than most people do all day. When I am more active I eat more, when I am less active I eat less. If we could figure out how to get more of the population to have this ability to have the body tell them it needs food or not it would solve many problems.
I have bad news for you on Zero calorie soda’s they are just as fattening as the caloried soda’s. All the research in the last 15-20 years tells us that soda of any kind is not good for you. They have something in the sweetener that causes the body to function in the starve/feast mode and store fats to protect the body from the next stave phase.

Posted by: timesend at March 12, 2012 7:05 PM
Comment #338074

I agree that the PC society has gone way too far in areas like this. Personally, I’d like to see a move to cut off government assistance for those significantly overweight. That will slim them down one way or another and they might even find they can work. But no, we can’t have government actually solving problem, we just want them to pay some lip service and fake it.

Posted by: Schwamp at March 13, 2012 9:20 AM
Comment #338081

Schwamp: “Personally, I’d like to see a move to cut off government assistance for those significantly overweight.”

What connection is there between government assistance and weight persons? What defines government assistance and what defines overweight?

Many poor people and a generation of poor children get fat not because they eat too much and exercise too little but because poor people buy cheaper, processed foods that are worse for you. Think mac and cheese, hamburger helper, hot dogs and hamburgers, white bread bologna sandwiches, fast food, etc. All cheap, all terrible for you.

Posted by: Adam Ducker at March 13, 2012 1:01 PM
Comment #338090

Adam, it’s not just the poor. Yes, they eat more of those products because they are less expensive, but most of those food items can be found in most households.

Mom has another job and isn’t in the kitchen half the day cooking good hols om meals for the family. Technology increases competition. There is no time to eat properly anymore. Fast food and on with the competition at work or play.

We have given over agriculture to corporation. As a result, we rely more on their processed foods that are researched to be tasty and appealing to a broad range of consumers and are heavily promoted by mass marketing techniques.

We could have a better agricultural system that is more free market and produces a better product, but not likely in a way that can be competitive with corporate agriculture.

Twiggy’s days are over, it’s the age of big booties now. A nation of fat people can still be competitive when they do most of it sitting down.

Posted by: jlw at March 13, 2012 2:30 PM
Comment #338105


Re no-calorie soda - when I switched from regular Coke to Cola-Lite or Coke Zero, I dropped off about ten pounds, which I still did not regain until recently, about ten years later. I think other lifestyle factors caused this gain, which I am now fighting. I have started to drive to work too often, instead of riding my bike. I think that is the cause. I can change that back.

Some people don’t like Coca-Cola products for some strange ideological reasons. They like to make them the cause of some trouble. But there really is no problem.

BTW - you can also quench your thirst with Coke. I rarely drink water and have managed to “hydrate” with Coke even in places like Arizona and Iraq.

Adam, Jlw et al

If you can afford enough bad food to make you fat, you can afford enough good food to keep you healthy.

There is a definite negative correlation between fat and income. But I don’t believe it is causal. IMO, the same bad habits and lack of knowledge that make and keep people poor help make and keep them fat.

Posted by: C&J at March 13, 2012 8:08 PM
Comment #338190

The Fed dropped $200M in stimulus to lobby state gov’ts on the issue of obesity. Should not the insurance companies take on such a lobbying effort?

Posted by: Roy Ellis at March 14, 2012 9:40 PM
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