The Skeptical Methodologist

Software, Rants and Management

Fat Chance

In the first post towards turning this into a blog of wider interests, I wanted to make a quick comment on the obesity epidemic.  To be more specific, how people react to the obesity epidemic.

There’s a good amount of evidence that contrary to popular belief, we aren’t eating drastically more calories than we used to, nor do we laze the days away on our couches. The best evidence we have to date (and this is a surprisingly hard thing to study) says we move about the same amount, and eat about the same amount. This certainly isn’t the only argument against the highly popularized ‘calories-in-calories-out’ view of obesity, but it’s the widest reaching.

Interestingly, though, when alternative theories are put forward, such as “We’re all getting older”, and “We’ve stopped smoking” or even “Perhaps its a virus”, the blow back is tremendous.  “WEIGHT LOSS IS SIMPLE!”, the zealous masses froth, “EAT LESS AND MOVE MORE!” It doesn’t take much prying to figure out why they aren’t convinced by the evidence out there that weight is more complicated than that. You see, their fundamental theory they’re defending has nothing to do with weight loss or weight gain, it’s this: Fat people are lazy fucks. The questioning of calories-in-calories-out implies that there are, indeed, fat people out there who somehow manage to put down the mountains of ice cream and Doritos long enough to diet and it did not lead to long term weightloss.  Even worse, it implies that there are fat people out there who climbed on one of the myriad of hysterical contraptions (it seems there’s a new one every month) designed to ‘hit their fat burning zone’, and stayed at it for hours a day, and found that those contraptions too did not lead to long term weightloss.

In other words, questioning calories-in-calories-out implies there are fat fucks out there who aren’t so lazy.  In fact, it implies that there are fat fucks out there who might very well be more disciplined than the rest of us.

“IMPOSSIBLE!” the crowds shout. How can they question the evidence piled against calories-in-calories-out, herein referred to as the ‘Aristotelian’ view of weight loss?  “EASY!” they scream, “RESEARCH INVOLVED FAT FUCKS! WE ALL KNOW FAT FUCKS LIE ABOUT EXERCISE AND DIET!!!”

So let’s recap really quickly: our fundamental theory is that fat fucks are lazy.  And all evidence to the contrary can be thrown right out, because, you see, fat fucks are liars.

OK, we get it.  You don’t like fat people. Indeed, nothing seems to make you happier than seeing fat people starve, walking in place on a moving belt that goes no where for hours at a time. You’re allowed your opinions. I mean, after all, for a large part of our history people didn’t like Blacks, Jews or Gays. I think it worked out okay for them. Hey, they even invented more and more wild explanations to justify their hatred too, kind of like you. So at least you have company.

The sad thing is, many of the very researchers and medical professionals involved in this debate are themselves proponents of fat bigotry. So are we going to be able to act like rational adults here and try and get to the bottom of why we weigh more than we used to, and whether or not it’s a bad thing, without stirring up irrational spittle-mouth hatreds of people based on body shape?

Fat chance.

May 23, 2011 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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