Greg Stevens is a brave man. He explains why people get fat, what to do about it and why fat people should stop complaining about being ‘shamed’ by society, at The Kernel:
…If you are reading this, there’s a good chance you are obese. Over 35 per cent of Americans are, and over 23 per cent of British people. More people are getting unacceptably overweight every year. And yet the science of getting fat is not terribly complicated. People who are obese eat too much, and exercise too little. Although some people have a mild predisposition toward weight gain, obesity is not a “glandular” issue for any more than a tiny fraction of the people who are overweight, nor is it a disease.
Obesity only appears complicated because weight is tied up with self-image, politics, marketing regulations, the for-profit health industry, corporate economics, political correctness, and hosts of other cultural albatrosses. As a practical matter, however, the “issues” surrounding weight function as nothing more than dangerous distractions for a person who is unhappy about being fat.
Consider, for example, the broad and complex issue of the politics of self-esteem. It is true that our society has a strained relationship with youth idolisation and images of beauty. We simultaneously demonise “shallowness” while putting skinny, pretty people on a pedestal.
It is also true that this has a complicated and damaging psychological effect on people who may never be able to attain a “magazine cover body”, especially when they are inundated with these images from a young age.
But none of this has anything to do with obesity. An honest conversation about obesity is not about forcing people to “conform to a standard of beauty”; it is about health. An honest conversation about obesity will not focus around whether or not girls who are slightly full-figured can still be considered “sexy”. An honest conversation about obesity should not be about whether society has the “right” to dictate body-image.
In a conversation about obesity, anybody who starts foaming at the mouth about the tyranny of fashion magazines is deflecting from the real issue. Obesity is not about “standards of beauty”; it is about people who are medically and dangerously overweight.
If you are obese, then you can lose weight regardless of whether you can (or should) attain a swimsuit model body. More often than not, introducing this kind of political issue into the conversation is just a cover for laziness: it is explicitly or implicitly part of an argument that says, “Because I cannot ever look like a person one of those fashion magazines, I’m going to just eat whatever the hell I want and never exercise.”
There is no other area in life in which that kind of argument makes sense. Imagine your child coming to you and saying, “I don’t think I’m smart enough to ever get an A in maths, so I’m just never going to study it at all!”…
[continues at The Kernel]