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Changing the 'Fat is OK' Equation
Posted by Debbie Rocker
on Thu, Mar 15, 2007, 4:17 pm PDT Post a Comment View all 98 Comments »
Watch out – we’re headed for trouble bigger than we have ever seen, no pun intended.

I have talked about this before, but it’s worth discussing again: Every year Americans spend more and more money – billions of dollars - on weight loss remedies, and every year we are still fatter. There is something morbidly wrong with this equation. And it gets worse!

We are beginning to see that as women (men, too, but most studies are done on women) find themselves further and further from the way they ideally want to look, they have to find ways to cope (other than eating) with the discomfort.

Eating is a temporary comfort but then makes the problem worse, so new coping mechanisms are being found like taking on the “if you can’t beat 'em, join 'em,” attitude. Women may feel like they have lost the battle to look like the girls in magazines, so they’re going the other way - the fat and happy, or “I’m so OK with it,” team.

It is understandable and natural to look for ways to fit in and feel better about oneself. We all need to find a way to feel OK – even when we feel terrible.

But this is creating a new phenomenon called fat talk, where women support each other by cutting themselves down. And because they are all fat – it’s OK. Since they self-deprecate, as a way of bonding and supporting each other, they all feel better and fit in.

Yes – we need to find support, and comfort, but not for staying unhealthily overweight, and not for giving up.

We have to right this wrong turn or being OK with being unhealthy will be a new part of the upside-down equation mentioned above: Every year Americans are heavier and more unhealthy, and every year they are more and more OK with it.

Let’s do something,
Debbie Rocker


Wed. Mar 21, 12:34pm

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Someone needs to tell her about peertrainer.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007, 12:38 PM

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I am sick of people assuming all overweight people are obese, and they all got that way by eating McDonalds every night. I am also sick of these anorexic women trying to push their idea of the "perfect" person onto everyone else. I think we should all be what WE consider healthy and not "hot"

Wednesday, March 21, 2007, 12:50 PM

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Even if you aren't obese but you are overweight it isn't healthy. It increases the risks for so many things! And who said anyone needs to be "perfect" or "anorexic"? Just not overweight

Wednesday, March 21, 2007, 1:00 PM

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so, let me get this straight...

there are overweight women (and men, too, I guess) who make themselves feel better about being fat by ridiculing each other?? This makes no sense to me. But if it works, let's try this:
Okay, all you alcoholics - Let's not stop drinking. Instead, let's sit around a keg, get drunk and tell each other what rotten people we are. Yeah, that sounds totally healthy!
Since when did feeling good about yourself become the top priority in our society?? You see this in schools all the time. "Let's help these kids have high self esteem, but let's not give them the tools they need to succeed at anything. God forbid they try to get good grades - - let's give out awards to kids who just show up. Arghh!!!!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007, 2:03 PM

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I agree with the article. There is this kind of "fat and happy" or "excuses" club out there and I once was a member. I made excuses for why I was the way I was and that I was okay with being overweight. It's easy to fall into this trap and find others who want to share it with you.

But this article doesn't provide any cause of action or remedy. I think we need to turn away from dieting and instead emphasize change for healthier lifestyles, workplaces and schools. We need to increase mass transit options and provide green spaces in urban areas; make healthier food options available to everyone; and educate people about the dangers they might face if they don't make a change.

If Debbie Rocker wants us to make a change in some way shape or form, she should lay out her dreams and goals for change.

What would you like to change about the dieting/unhealthy/obesity "epidemic" discussion?

Wednesday, March 21, 2007, 2:05 PM

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it's ALWAYS a personal decision

Debbie Rocker could write a 50-page treatise on her plans. It's not like all the fat people are suddenly going to say, "OH!! Now I get it!!"
When I was a smoker, all the anti-smoking commercials and health warnings in the world were not enough to make me quit. In fact, when I someone mentioned smoking, even in the most negative way, it just made me want a cigarette. I finally quit for a personal reason - I saw my toddler imitating me smoke. I couldn't get that image out of my head. I haven't smoked since - - it's been over two years. But something clicked inside MY head - no one told me anything that changed my mind.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007, 2:18 PM

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I agree that the fat suit is a comfort/coping mechanism, so wouldn't the key be to address what they're hiding from? It's a really hard thing to do. You're not going to stick to a diet or keep off lost weight if you're not ready from the neck up.

I started this attempt from a place of neither strength nor weakness, and I found a level of tenacity I haven't experienced since I was a teenager because, as the above poster mentions, "something clicked inside". I'm only just now figuring out why I was hiding under the fat, and it's bloody uncomfortable. But it will be worth it.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007, 2:14 PM

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