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Things Being Thin Won’t Cure

July 12, 2012

Things that being thin won’t cure:

  • Depression
  • Social anxiety
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • Arthritis
  • Cancer
  • High blood pressure
  • Self-esteem problems
  • Your obsession with dieting and weight loss
  • High cholesterol

How do I know this? Because thin people have all of these problems too. Things that can help with these issues:

  • Regular exercise
  • Muscle strengthening (for arthritis)
  • Intuitive eating
  • Loving yourself
  • Fat Acceptance and Body Acceptance
  • Health at Every Size®
  • Therapy as needed
  • Taking care of yourself because you love yourself, not because you want to be a certain size

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11 Comments leave one →
  1. fatology101 permalink
    July 12, 2012 10:11 am

    Well said and to the point. Love it.

  2. July 12, 2012 10:51 am

    Yes, very well put. 🙂

  3. Judy S permalink
    July 12, 2012 11:41 am

    Beautifully simple….. not to be confused with easy.

  4. Janet permalink
    July 12, 2012 12:13 pm

    Why can’t thin people, who have never been anything but thin (I don’t say without weight issues because it seems even the thinnest person has an issue with weight), see this? Why do they make the assumptions they do that if you are fat, you will definately have all these problems? WE have these problems as a society and weight is only one possible contributing factor. But I guess the health/weight loss/media industries have got so many people brainwashed, they don’t want to believe that this can happen to them. It’s like people who believe that only smokers get cancer. Or only gay people get aids. When are people going to wake up and think for themselves and get informed? This was a great post, btw!

  5. Mulberry permalink
    July 12, 2012 4:09 pm

    Devil’s Advocate here (note the horns).
    First, curing is not the same as “can help with”, so the comparison isn’t fair.
    Second, I think that becoming thin can help with a few of those problems, not because it’s healthier, but because it would make it easier to find more effective medical treatment.
    Third, even if thin people have all of these problems too, it is still instructive to look at the relative incidence among fat and thin people. People who don’t smoke can get lung cancer, but it doesn’t indicate that smoking is safe. On the other hand, if a bigger percentage of fat people have diabetes, it may be that the insulin resistance is causing the weight gain rather than the converse.

    @Janet – Where are most people going to learn differently? We are bombarded with all sorts of info from all sides, a fair amount of it contradictory, so how do you know whom to believe? And it’s not just thin people who believe the assumptions you mentioned; plenty of fat people believe them, too.

    • July 13, 2012 12:03 pm

      I think the incidence question is a good one, and one I thought of when proofing this post. Some diseases are more prevalent in heavier people and I agree that insulin resistance leads to weight gain in a good number of those cases. I think the more important question is will weight loss improve those numbers, and considering the difficulty to near impossibility of long-term weight loss, we have to question whether attempting to lose weight is more important to health than maintaining a stable weight. None of these questions are answered by simply looking at the prevalence. If anything, these questions muddy the waters more since weight cycling leads to long-term weight gain, etc.

      As to your second point, I don’t think being thin improves access to more effective medical treatment. I would say that being thin improves access to less judgmental medical treatment, which is more effective. Thin people are taken at their word by physicians, while fat people are often assumed to be lying about their lifestyle choices (they’re fat, they must be gluttonous sloths). I’m sure there are some treatments that are more effective at lower weights, but when you look at the actual distribution of BMI in this country, those with body sizes that might disrupt, or negate, treatment are a small percentage (morbid obesity being 6.3% of the population) of the population. And, again, what happens when the temporarily thin person regains the weight? Does treatment stop? Is that worse for the patient?

      So, while I would agree that in some selective cases, losing weight is necessary for treating certain diseases, I would say that the vast majority of people who are wanting to lose weight aren’t doing so for some medical reason and that those who do so for metabolic health may end up doing more damage by focusing on weight loss, rather than healthy behaviors.

      What say you, Devil Mulberry?

      Peace,
      Shannon

      • Mulberry permalink
        July 13, 2012 5:32 pm

        Let’s see…(puts on horns again, which promptly knocks off glasses, so removes them, replacing specs)
        It still could be that being less fat might improve prognosis here and there, but that doesn’t mean it’s worth it to diet, given the physical and emotional costs of dieting.
        Yes, less judgmental medical treatment tends to be more effective, which is what I meant, not that a treatment might be more effective at a lower weight. But even here, aren’t more clinical trials done on people of lower weights?
        As far as prevalence, I mean that the fact that thin people might get a disease does not prove that fat doesn’t cause it.
        That’s really it. I was merely questioning the logic, not trying to advocate for weight loss (shudder).

  6. LexieDi permalink
    July 12, 2012 4:53 pm

    My mother’s co-worker has a son who used to weigh 300+ pounds and would never go outside. He lost a lot of weight and is now 170 pounds. He’s still terrified of going outside, embarrassed of his body and wants to lose MORE weight because 150 is what he should be according to the BMI charts.

    He wouldn’t even attend his sister’s wedding…

    I hate that we live in a world that shuts people up and shuts people down and makes them terrified of being who they are… fat or thin… No one’s good enough.

  7. Janet permalink
    July 12, 2012 5:22 pm

    Lexie…I agree…it’s sad that there are always outwardly aggressive and passive/aggressive people who are hostile to others who don’t conform or even speak the words of conformity; ie – wanting to lose weight to fit in. And those who use the lies the media have spouted all these years to try and subjugate others just for amusement and/or to make themselves feel superior. It’s sad that your co-worker’s son didn’t go to his mother’s wedding, but I think most people who come to this site can identify with those kinds of feelings of shame. I still suffer from the fear of speaking out, even amongst my own family, but there are days when I just want to tell them how I really feel about their sheeplike obsession. Having good health is one thing, but no matter your weight, you can be unhealthy physically and mentally.

  8. Emerald permalink
    July 13, 2012 3:39 am

    This needs pointing out – thank you.

    One problem about the constant association between exercise and weight loss is that lots of us, whose conditions could be helped by exercise, get put off exactly what would help us by the weight loss guff.

    I suffer from depression, on and off, and when I’ve fallen into a pattern of sitting on the couch staring into space, getting out and about, even just going for a walk (and getting out in the sunlight, such as it is in the UK) can be exactly what I need most. (Along with meds, which seem to be essential to give me the impetus to do anything else.) A great counsellor advised me of this a couple of years back, and it did help. But if she’d phrased it as ‘getting off your butt will help you lose some weight and feel better about yourself’ – as I’m sure many people would – it would have just made me want to go back to bed and pull the covers over my head, because people’s attitudes to my body were among the factors that probably contributed to my depression in the first place.

    Despite recent studies that ‘proved’ otherwise, anecdotally a lot of people in the mental health community know that exercise helps their conditions, but I think (and have pointed out in online discussions on this subject) we need to guard against our culture’s idea of exercise as primarily a calorie-burning/weight loss activity creeping into the discussion, as it could do much more harm than good.

  9. The Real Cie permalink
    July 26, 2012 10:56 am

    My self esteem was just as bad if not worse back when I was younger and thinner (but thought I was “fat.”) I had no self respect and let myself get involved with guys who treated me deplorably. I had problems with self-injury. I was constantly moving from one diet to the next. Being thin did not make me happy. I have to accept myself at whatever size I am. A size is not the answer to my other issues.

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