Expert Says We Should Shame the Obese Into Losing Weight

Pic: Fj.toloza992 (CC)

Pic: Fj.toloza992 (CC)

Hastings Center Professor Emeritus Daniel Callahan thinks that shaming obese people might be a good strategy for conquering America’s weight problem.

Via Addicting Info:

Daniel Callahan thinks that we ought to fat shame overweight people so that they will lose weight faster. He’s not at all happy with the lack of progress in the effort to slow America’s obesity epidemic. With 69.2% of adults overweight and obese and 12.1% of children 2-5 who are, it’s something we need to work on, for sure. But those kids who are 6-19 and overweight/obese do not need to have schools condone fat shaming. It’s hard enough to lose weight as a teen — ask me how I know — we do not need to add further stigmatization.

Keep reading.

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  • http://wildernessvagabonds.com/ Mike Lewinski

    Well that’s a losing strategy according to one recent study.

    “Researchers assessed the body mass index… of 6,157 people, all Americans ages 50 and older, in 2006 and 2010. The people they studied were a mix of sizes — normal weight, overweight and obese. But they found that the overweight people who reported experiencing weight discrimination were more than twice as likely to become obese by the next check-in in 2010. And people who were already obese in 2006 were three times more likely to remain obese by 2010 if they had experienced weight discrimination.”

    http://www.nbcnews.com/health/fat-shaming-actually-increases-risk-becoming-or-staying-obese-new-8C10751491

    • Tuna Ghost

      “ages 50 and older”? That’s a demographic that’s already circling the drain due to a wide variety of other reasons. Why on earth would anyone think THAT was the important demographic in obesity-prevention research?

      • Calypso_1

        Because that is the demographic where obesity will have the greatest impact on all other costs of healthcare. The study showed correlation between this age group and increase of obesity with weight discrimination. Losing weight in this demographic is the number one modifiable measure for heart disease, cancer, stroke & diabetes.
        The obese spend ~40% more on healthcare per year than persons in a healthy weight range. Prescription drug costs are 80% higher.

        • Tuna Ghost

          …oh

  • Conspiracy Carrot

    This pisses me off in a way because a lot of overweight people already feel ashamed and clearly positive reinforcement & encouragement are the best motivators; but it was being called “fat ass” by a fat ass coworker that really enraged me and pushed me to work harder… After dropping 70 pounds the guy told me I was HIS inspiration to start cycling to work and lay off the junk food.

    • Conspiracy Carrot

      Your thumbs down only make me stronger. Sorry you’re still fat.

  • echar

    That expert is an asshole.

    • RealLayer

      Truth can be assholy.

      • echar

        Oh yeah? You are an asshole.

        • RealLayer

          I do not deny that, as an example. Therefore, my statement holds true.

          • echar

            And, you are still an asshole.

          • Andrew

            That doesn’t follow. While I agree that truth is often assholy, the fact that you don’t deny being an asshole doesn’t mean that what you say is true.

          • RealLayer

            In this case it does, I am, therefore it is. Anyone who disagrees is just as big an asshole, at least by the standards of this fine establishment.
            Dissent is bigotry, straying from the herd mentality is treason. You guys are fun.

          • Andrew

            In your first case it was true, but then you went on to prove my point.

            > Dissent is bigotry, straying from the herd mentality is treason. You guys are fun.

            Bullshit. There are constant disagreements here, and no two commenters have the same opinions on everything.

          • echar

            Your circular reasoning is duly noted.

          • RealLayer

            I learned from NOW.

      • bobbiethejean

        Except that it’s not true because it doesn’t work.

        • RealLayer

          The beauty of life is that there is no truth, only belief & perception. Just because you say it does not work, does not make it true. Even if it is true, it may not work. And I may not give a rat’s colon.

          • Andrew

            First you say truth can be assholy, then you say there is no truth, then you say truth may not work. I’m not convinced you’d know truth if it slapped you in the face.

          • RealLayer

            I know an asshole when I read one. That was the point of the OP.
            I also like a good slap, in the right context.

          • Rhoid Rager

            line me up ;)

          • bobbiethejean

            If there’s no truth then why not throw yourself off a ten story building and see what happens? Apparently it’s not true that you’re stupid, ignorant, hateful ass would splatter all over the pavement.

            1.) Fat-shaming has an extremely low efficacy rate. FACT.

            2.) For every instance of fat-shaming that results in a target losing weight, there are a hundred more where it doesn’t work or where it causes even worse issues such as depression, neurosis, avoidance complexes, even suicide.

            3.) A lot of fat people simply cannot lose weight no matter how hard they try so shaming them will only make them feel terrible about something they can’t change.

            With all that having been said, if you still run around fat-shaming people, you’re a shitty person, plain and simple.

          • RealLayer

            Would you speak to me like that face to face? I feel so sorry for you & yours.

          • bobbiethejean

            Damnright I would if you were acting like the asshole you are now. And I see no reason why you should feel sorry for me. Aside from a few expensive/mildly painful medical issues, I’m in a happy, long-lasting relationship, I love my job, I have good friends, and I enjoy life. I just have 0 tolerance for ignorant bigots like you.

          • RealLayer

            You are projecting. Out.

          • bobbiethejean

            Copout and wrong. Plain and simple. If anyone is projecting here, it’s you. I made a concrete case that you haven’t even addressed. All you’ve done is namecall and act like a douche. Also consider that you’ve just accused me of having NPD when I was long ago diagnosed with the exact opposite problem. GENIUS! Oooooh, you know everything don’t you? Guess again.

          • RealLayer

            Your venom clouds your comprehension. I was referring to living with a parent who has NPD. I hope you get help.

          • bobbiethejean

            Well I’m sorry but your meaning wasn’t terribly clear. You left a vague, pronoun-lacking statement and I wasn’t sure how you meant it. Here’s basically what your statement could have read as:

            1.) You have NPD.
            2.) I have NPD
            3.) You’re the victim of parents with NPD.
            4.) I’m the victim of parents with NPD.

            I figured 2 and 4 were the most likely but again, your statement was vague and if you meant 2 or 4, you’re STILL wrong. I hardly ever see my stepfather and my mother is a perfectly normal human being with no mental diagnoses that I’m aware of except for a slight case of profligacy. Furthermore, I love how you assume I’m living with my parents. I have a 2 bedroom 2 bath, 800sqft condo for fuck’s sake.

            You just keep throwing darts at random diagnoses if that makes you feel good instead of, ya know, addressing the actual points that I made.

          • RealLayer

            That’s because I do not care about you.
            You showed some promise, but poisoned it with hamster venom & poor reading skills.
            NWMT.

          • bobbiethejean

            Now you’re just being a troll. I made fair points which you have yet to address. Instead you’re hiding behind personal attacks and editing your comments when someone points how that you’re not making sense. You’ve lost.

          • RealLayer

            There is nothing to lose for he who cares not. Keep the venom!

          • bobbiethejean

            4 days in counting and you still haven’t addressed the fair points I’ve made. So basically you’re admitting to being an ignorant, bigoted douchebag. Congrats. Not many people are so forthcoming with their psychological malfunctions as you are.

          • RealLayer

            No points were worth my time. You greatly over-estimate your worth.

          • bobbiethejean

            Another ad hominem instead of addressing the points I made that fat-shaming is cruel, ineffective, and illogical. So basically this is a summation of our “conversation” if it can even be called that.

            YOU: Fat people deserve to be shamed. It will make them lose weight.

            ME: Logical, evidenced counterpoints.

            YOU: YOU’RE STUPID!

            ME: You haven’t addressed my points.

            YOU: YOU’RE STUPID!

            ME: And you STILL haven’t addressed my points.

            YOU: YOU’RE STUPID!

            ME: Aaaaannnddddd we’re done here.

          • RealLayer

            Good luck with your anger & comprehension issues.

            Namaste.

          • Mikala Romans

            The hamster is strong in this one.

          • bobbiethejean

            I’m not angry and nor do I have comprehension issues. You on the other hand are one of the most stunning cases of Dunning-Kruger I have ever seen anywhere, ever- which would be why none of your insults are actually bothering me. I don’t tend to take assessments of my character or intellect serious when they come from laughably stupid, bigoted ignorants such as yourself.

          • RealLayer

            On the contrary. If you had reading skills, you would know that I admit to knowing nothing, and being nothing. You should realize that there is no shame in not understanding what I say, and just admit it. Then you can move through your obvious self-loathing issues, and get down to working on comprehension. No amount of /b/-derived ailments can cover your obvious inadequacies.

          • bobbiethejean

            Troll.

          • RealLayer

            Just trying to help.

          • Mikala Romans

            Actually, he hasn’t called anyone a single name, nor was he referring to you personally. Your the one name calling and to be honest, on one comment board, I have never seen anyone swear as much as you either.

          • RealLayer

            I guess due to recent events I see humanity where it has been eradicated. That is a change, no? Damn you for being decent.

          • Mikala Romans

            lmao – I shall endeavor to be more evil. Just not a natural state for me unless it’s a full moon :)

          • RealLayer

            Sunday is full moon. Good luck with that. Weekend mode commencing in 3, 2, 1…
            Stay safe.

          • Mikala Romans

            Have a great weekend!

          • Rhoid Rager

            generally personal criticisms work that way… there is more to this conversation than is worth handling, from my perspective.

  • InfvoCuernos

    Don’t we already do this?

  • Haystack

    In addition to being a douchebag, he’s also just wrong. A study recent study by Angelina Sutin of the Florida State College of Medicine found that shaming actually promotes weight gain. You put stress on people, they respond by overeating.

    Our “expert” might be expected to know this if he had actual credentials in the field of medicine, but, alas, his doctorate is in philosophy.

  • Lygeia

    It won’t work. If you shame them, they will just eat more.

  • GraveOf FreeSpeech
  • DeepCough

    I guess the shallow culture of beauty which includes nary a person who is so much as husky just ain’t cuttin’ it.

  • Eric_D_Read

    Although I don’t agree that this approach will be all that effective, the “fat acceptance” movement is every bit as bad. it encourages learned helplessness similar to that of 12 step programs (ask me how I know).

    And speaking as a former fat kid who did take control of his own body at around 17; wanting to get laid played a really big part in altering my eating and exercise habits.

    • tibby trillz

      ha. we followed similar paths. i remember in the first few years always wondering if the women who i dated would have ever talked to me had i not lost the weight. i lost weight in the most unhealthy way possible. those yellow jacket deals that were made out of ephedrine and i was broke and living on my own at age 19 and could afford only one small meal a day

      • Eric_D_Read

        Yea, absolute poverty at a young age combined with stimulants just melts the pounds right off you.
        I wondered the same thing about girls I was banging until a girl who friend zoned me when I was a fat fuck was all too eager to jump on my dick when I had washboard abs four years later. That put things in perspective.

    • bobbiethejean

      As far as I know, the fat acceptance movement doesn’t promote being fat, it promotes not treating fat people like shit.

      • Eric_D_Read

        “Only dogs like bones. Real men prefer curves.”

        Ever hear that one? Of course, in fat acceptance speak, “curves”=rolls.

        And whether you know it or not, there is a well documented trend in pushing fat acceptance into scientific fields.

        http://www.themonthly.com.au/issue/2013/march/1361848247/karen-hitchcock/fat-city

        • oneironauticus

          “Only dogs like bones. Real men prefer curves.”

          I know it sounds whiny, given there is an entire industry supporting the claim that “thin is in”, but that message is just as mean and hurtful to naturally-thin girls who already struggle with feeling “less feminine” because of a lack of breasts and hips. There’s a reason why breast implants are still one of the most requested plastic surgeries, after nose jobs.

          I went through most of high school with people spreading rumors that I was either anorexic or on drugs (including, in one case, a friend’s mother who tried to make her daughter feel better about her own weight by telling her that I must be on meth!) and it took a long time to accept my body as it is…(long enough that I gained a little on my hips…so…problem solved?)

  • Juan

    As fat-phobic as I am, I don’t think it’s a good idea to shame anyone, no matter how fat they are.
    Now I could be way off, but it seems to me, that this epidemic of obesity is yet ANOTHER symptom of a deeply dysfunctional society. Like mass shootings, addictions to perscription drugs, etc, etc, ad nauseum. When you have so many people stressed to the max, totally freaked out by the constant barrage of FEAR, UNCERTAINTY, and DOUBT and fed a diet of chemical shit, it’s actually kind of amazing that things function half as well as they do.

  • erte4wt4etrg

    What he means is lets dump more of our negativity onto a socially sanctioned scapegoat. Too many people in this society already hate themselves enough

  • Matt Staggs

    I lost about 40 pounds. Nothing really shamed me into doing it. I just started hanging around healthy, active people and I wanted a similar lifestyle. After that initial push, I started getting positive reinforcement from others which motivated me a little more. I think that it’s also a matter of finding a new pattern of behavior that you can keep up and you enjoy. I love jiu-jitsu and walking, and it’s easy enough to keep the sweets and fried foods to a bare minimum. Put me in a standard gym and try to get me on some kind of weird diet and it’s a recipe for failure.

    • RealLayer

      Martial arts can be a life-saver, especially for those of us who hate jocks.

    • Juan

      I’m with you on not liking the fucking gym, ugh. Also, I hate running. It is nothing but punishment, as far as I’m concerned. I will not run, ever, unless it is to save my own or someone eles’s life or to avoid some danger.
      I like walking as well. Mostly, I swim, surf and ride bikes. Also have some free weights and an indoor rower that I use at home when weather and time constraints preclude the outdoor stuff.
      Have been meaning to look into yoga and tai chi, but haven’t gotten around to that yet.

      • Matt Staggs

        All of that is awesome. You might have a similar philosophy that I do: Exercise is something you should enjoy doing. I don’t do any kind of exercise that doesn’t feel like play on some level. BJJ is just wrestling, more or less, and walking around the track is a blast when the weather is nice and I’ve got a bunch of podcasts to listen to. Yoga (when I do it) is fun because it’s relaxing and there’s an element of “Hmm… how much can I contort my own body into new and interesting shapes?”

      • Iuwus

        i really like tai chi, i have real difficulty getting up and being active but i love how slowly you can do it by yourself at your own speed. here’s the pdf i’ve been using to get myself started if you’re interested: http://www.sendspace.com/file/oh9tje

        i love how much energy it gives you even when you’re tired and how healthy i feel afterwards.

    • bobbiethejean

      Last time I went to a gym, I got made fun of by a bunch of jocks who were marveling at how a “fat chick” was able to do hanging situps so rapidly. On one hand, I was flattered by how impressed they were with my routine but on the other hand, they were still essentially pointing and laughing…. not to mention drawing a lot of attention to themselves and to me. I told them to fuck off but the gym owner scolded ME and let them continue standing their pointing and laughing. Well that made me feel just all wonderful and tingly inside.

      So I quit and started jogging around my neighborhood…… at night when no one can see me. :P I enjoyed that for a long time until it started wrecking my knees. Now I just walk. Doesn’t do any good for weightloss but it keeps my bloodwork all nice and sparkly.

      • Calypso_1

        People like that are body dysmorphic in addition to being idiots.

      • Matt Staggs

        I’ve got mad respect for people who are committed to positive change, especially against difficult odds. Overweight people who want to get into shape have my admiration because I know how hard it is to get past the mindfuck of the gym being a place to exercise yet also being a place that is unfriendly to those who need to exercise the most. I’m in a somewhat similar position in my class: I’m older, pretty spazzy and not especially strong. I also have terrible mind-body integration and it takes longer for me to learn things that other people pick up quicker. Fortunately, the men and women at my school understand challenge and work to support people who want to learn. There’s another school in town with grim reapers as their team logo and promote a Billy Badass public reputation. It’s funny: Those guys seem to get the ego freaks and psychos and we get the families and largely balanced normal people looking to learn and have fun. I can’t imagine having walked into the other place out of shape and completely ignorant regarding BJJ. I never would have lasted. Long story short, there’s no “one size fits all” exercise solution, and people who treat other people like garbage when they need support and encouragement probably need to reconsider how they’re living their lives. Bobbie Jean, you have my respect, and were you living in my town I’d probably try to get you to come to my class – or at least be there cheering you on during your walks and whatever else you’re doing. As a wise man once said, “Fuck the haters.”

        • bobbiethejean

          WOW! :D That’s really nice to hear. Just made my dern day.

          • Andrew

            Man, who was the stupid asshole who downvoted THAT comment?

  • bobbiethejean

    1.) We already do this. It comes naturally to most people. When you see someone who’s fat, your first reaction is probably EW gross! You might not say it out loud and congrats on that! If you don’t, you’re not an asshole. But you can’t deny that thought didn’t spring into your head….. unless you’re a fat fetishist I suppose. >.>; Not really my cup of tea but whatever boats your float I suppose.

    2.) This tack has been proven not to work.

    3.) The psychological devastation of being shunned and humiliated has
    caused people to commit suicide, become neurotic, develop avoidant complexes, retreat further into the bad behaviors that cause weight gain, self-harm, and other very negative consequences that are possibly worse than excess weight.

    4.) In a society that already hates fat people so much, why the hell would anyone CHOOSE to be fat? The obvious answer is that they don’t choose. There is a lot more at play there than simple poor food choice and lack of exercise. It is A LOT easier to gain weight than lose weight for most people and in this day, it can be REALLY hard to find that extra hour a day to exercise. Some people are predisposed to gaining weight and there are a slew of disorders that make losing weight more difficult (PCOS being one of the worst offenders).

    5.) Some people don’t care about being blubbery, fat oafs but others struggle with their weight their entire lives and do the best they can but they still can’t lose the pounds. On visuals alone, it can be hard to tell the difference. So should we start quizzing people about their dieting and exercising habits so we know whether to shun them or not? Or maybe we should just shun all fat people and who cares if we end up pointlessly shunning a few who don’t deserve it?

    6.) A full third of obese people are (according to a study) as healthy as their thin counterparts because despite their inability to lose weight, they exercise and eat right. Yet half of thin people have a lot of the health issues associated with obesity because they don’t exercise and eat properly. Should we quiz-n-shun them too?

    I could go on all day as to why there are so many things wrong with this idea. It’s just completely unproductive and cruel.

    In closing: Don’t assume all fat people are couch-flattening gluttons who can’t be arsed to do anymore exercise than however many walrus-flops it takes to get to the fridge for another tub of butter. Are some people like that? Sure. Maybe even a lot. But there is A LOT more to it than that. Some fat people exercise relentlessly and work hard to lose weight that will not budge. Some fat people just don’t have the time to exercise. It is also A LOT easier to gain weight than lose weight.

    So then how do we get an entire country full of people to lose weight? There are several things we can do without violating anyone’s rights or stepping on anyone’s toes but let’s get one thing straight right now- shunning people is not one of them. That will NEVER work.

    • RealLayer

      Check your privilege, you know nothing. I lived with a 400-pounder for my early life, who had gastric surgery, lost 220lbs, then proceeded to eat until she was back at 370. I will concede one point; you do seem to go on all day.

      • echar

        Oh yeah, I lived with a 400.5332- pounder for 2 whole lives, who had their stomache removed then replaced with a robotic stomache. They had three anuses and could fart harmoniously. It was super cool.

        • RealLayer

          Sounds like you learned all they had to offer.

          • echar

            Are you sure?

          • Calypso_1

            what was their performance range and did they use just intonation or equal temperament?

          • echar

            For example, this person would commonly amuse me with their rendition of Ricercar a 3 & a 6.

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H7MDKh52aQw

            Sadly this person lived to make me happy, and I was oh so greedy and bored at times. In a fit of demented glee I requested Andante by Yngwie Malmsteen.

            This friend of mine made it all the way through, but died moments later. Exhausted from the notiness. I blamed Yngwie and his abuse of notes for years. Until I came to terms and realized it was I. It’s hard to recall to this day. Excuse me I must wipe eyes.

            Andante
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x9HTATjVcO0

          • Calypso_1

            Glorious!

            That poor conductor, et al. Malmsteen’s timing is horrendous. Utterly no nuance.

          • The Well Dressed Man

            He’s everywhere except for on time in that clip. I imagine nobody could actually hear enough to keep time. The room itself is built for that string section, not marshall stacks.

          • Calypso_1

            regardless of how the room was built I imagine there would be the same requirements for the predominance of the ‘maestro’s’ sound.

          • The Well Dressed Man

            don’t forget the importance of the correct depth of aquanet lacquering on those scalloped frets to “maestrosound”

          • RealLayer

            That is my perception.

          • echar

            Then you have percieved how it is done.

      • bobbiethejean

        Pft yeah right. I flat out don’t believe you. You’re exactly the kind of shithead who would make some BS like that up just to make a point. And did it not occur to you that (assuming you’re not lying) she might have an eating disorder? Someone with an eating disorder needs help and medication, not to be treated like shit.

        And furthermore, you might want to check your assumptions. There is nothing privileged about my situation or my perspective.

        • RealLayer

          All too real. You assume I am the aggressor.

          Look up: Parent with NPD and get back to me, but I will not respond.

          • bobbiethejean

            What…. are you saying? You have NPD? Well then go back on your meds, dude because you’re acting like a real asshole.

            On the other hand, I certainly hope you’re not accusing me of that because that would be fucking hilarious. I could show that accusation to everyone I know and crack them the fuck up. I could forgive you for not knowing I have the OPPOSITE problem….. seeing as how you don’t know me.

        • Matt Staggs

          “Check your privilege” is a thought-terminating cliche.

          • RealLayer

            Agreed completely. The irony of using it here seems lost to most.

          • oneironauticus

            Claiming “irony” whenever one has been called out for a mistake is a worse cliche.

            Check *your* privilege, dude: you weren’t the fat person in this (potentially entirely invented) scenario. Just because you hate your mother, or whatever, doesn’t mean you know jack shit about living in her skin.

          • RealLayer

            You make several false assumptions, which are not worth correcting. Enjoy “life.”

  • VaudeVillain

    Or we could start promoting non-fad dietary and lifestyle decisions and framing them in ways that actually work rather than being directly counterproductive. Diets need to be framed in positive, additive terms, rather than in negative subtractive terms. Exercise needs to be discussed outside of the narrow framework of “going to the gym”.

    It comes down to pretty basic human psychology. Both dominant strategies fail to accommodate for it in really transparent ways.

    When you tell people “don’t eat food that is bad for you” and leave it at that, it causes two specific problems: first, it fails to inform them what they *should* eat, which is critical because, obviously, people need to eat something. Second, it causes them to focus on what they shouldn’t eat, rather than what they should, and this leads to people wanting it. Negative diet planning is rather akin to telling somebody not to think of the color red, then being surprised when they do precisely that.

    Instead, diets need to be positive. Teach people what they should be eating, encourage them to cook more of their own food from scratch, and to seek diversity in what they eat. If people are focused more on eating fresh fruits and vegetables as part of every meal, they will wind up eating less processed food, meats and starches as a necessary consequence without even trying. Simply cooking for oneself, even if the foods cooked aren’t great, is a huge step toward reducing the intake of preservatives (salt being the least problematic, and still vastly over-consumed by most Americans) and processed foods, which is a huge step.

    As for exercise, when the focus is on doing something specific and additional, it is extremely easy for people to fall off the wagon. Hitting the gym, or a pilates class, or jogging in the morning is definitely worthwhile, and people who can stick to that kind of regimen should do so. What they probably can do is find little things in their routine where they already could be more active, even just a little bit, and do them: take the stairs, walk to the store, play with their kids, anything at all beats nothing whatsoever.

    • Matt Staggs

      YES! POWERFUL!

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