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Does your region affect your attitude toward weight/health?

karmelpopcornkarmelpopcorn Posts: 77Member Member Posts: 77Member Member
I live in a state ranked 35th in the nation for good health - which is definitely in the bottom half of these United States, and in a county with poor health patterns as well (obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, teen pregnancy, STDs, etc. etc.).

So if half of all Americans are overweight or obese, I guarantee that it is higher in my city/county. Obesity is the norm.

I am in good health but overweight at 43 years old – 5'6", I am 176 pounds.

I find that it's difficult to find support among peers, even my partner, because in this community - measured against the norm, I look like I'm doing pretty well.

I know I'm not.

My eating habits which include a love of all vegetables (except bok choy), tofu, sushi, and a commitment to sustainable eating just don't resonate with many either.

Sometimes this helps me make excuses for myself when I am feeling discouraged. How does your community/culture affect your weight?
edited February 2016
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Replies

  • lemurcat12lemurcat12 Posts: 30,886Member Member Posts: 30,886Member Member
    I think it does, although I'd focus on subculture and your specific group of friends and associates more than the state or region. (There's actually a new-ish book about this by Walter Willett and there have been studies: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00FWT9IKC/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?ie=UTF8&btkr=1.)

    For me, whatever the stats of my state or city (and they are likely dismal), the neighborhood I live in and the people surrounding me are definitely thinner and more health-conscious than the US as a whole, which I think is a subculture thing. When I was fat I was more unusual than I am now at a healthy weight. I see heavier people all the time, of course, but they aren't really the people I tend to judge myself against or think are judging me, if that makes sense. Now, I never felt particularly stigmatized when fat and I cared too little, probably, but I certainly felt social pressure to be thinner and I never feel any social judgment or pressure to be heavier now -- universally all the comments about weight loss have been positive and even those saying "you don't need to lose any more weight" or "don't get too thin" or jokes about being a "skinny minnie" (which I am not) get taken positively, because I know that's the social norm, that thin is better (and healthy/strong is good too).

    On the whole I think this is a positive thing for me, as I know lots of people into being active, most prioritize exercise and nutrition in some way (although high cal food is hardly uncommon or verboten) and enough people I know are on some trendy diet or another that anything I might do hardly gets noticed unless I make a point of it (which I do not). Also, people do eat vegetables. ;-)
  • ManiacalLaughManiacalLaugh Posts: 1,048Member Member Posts: 1,048Member Member
    About a year or so ago, I moved from CO (one of the fittest states) to MO (one of the fatter states). The difference in attitude is amazing. Culture is definitely a defining point. I was single in Colorado, and all of the men I spoke to online wanted someone who was into camping, long hikes, rock climbing, skiing, sky diving (no kidding)... They wanted active.

    Since I've been in MO, I've been attached, but from hearing the way my single friends talk, they want someone who likes good food, good movies... definitely more sedentary activities. Also, bigger women with larger behinds definitely seem more in vogue here.

    The place where I work is also a huge indicator of the cultural change. In my CO office, it was an exception to be overweight. I was usually the fattest person there. In MO, the average person seems to be 100 lbs overweight at least (the horrible part is, we have a public security force who shares our office and they're often the heaviest of us all. Many of them require seat belt extenders... for seat belts that already rated up to 300 lbs). I have 30 lbs to go before end-goal and I'm one of the skinniest in my office.

    I will say though that food is seen as a community event in MO. Although I try not to partake too often, the sense of closeness you get when you share a plate of food in MO with someone is pretty cool.
    edited February 2016
  • viren19890viren19890 Posts: 783Member Member Posts: 783Member Member
    I live in a state ranked 35th in the nation for good health - which is definitely in the bottom half of these United States, and in a county with poor health patterns as well (obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, teen pregnancy, STDs, etc. etc.).

    So if half of all Americans are overweight or obese, I guarantee that it is higher in my city/county. Obesity is the norm.

    I am in good health but overweight at 43 years old – 5'6", I am 176 pounds.

    I find that it's difficult to find support among peers, even my partner, because in this community - measured against the norm, I look like I'm doing pretty well.

    I know I'm not.

    My eating habits which include a love of all vegetables (except bok choy), tofu, sushi, and a commitment to sustainable eating just don't resonate with many either.

    Sometimes this helps me make excuses for myself when I am feeling discouraged. How does your community/culture affect your weight?

    I compete with my former self-so I can be around people who are 100's of lbs overweight -it won't budge me cause what I'm doing is for my satisfaction and besting my former self.

    When I was bulking (unknowingly) I was the fattest in my group of friends and I'd drink the most/eat the most -my friends would sometimes call me- "bro you look like an uncle" lol I stayed on track and kept lifting heavy and kept eating.

    Now I'm a vegetarian-everyone around me eats and drinks-I eat zero meat and zero alcohol and I'm fine. I don't judge them or point out or anything -My focus is myself.

    It may seem like a good idea that having people around who are just like you-but what happens when you are in a situation when it isn't favorable? you can break down and return to your old ways ergo I always compete with my former self which is with me all the time.

    It's the same theory as- people saying "they need absolute silence to meditate" -well this is real world- you can get the silence in mountains or shut the doors and put on noise blocking headphones but what's the good in that cause when you go outside in the world -your mind is still chattering. Quiet the inner self and outside noise won't budge bother.
  • karmelpopcornkarmelpopcorn Posts: 77Member Member Posts: 77Member Member
    Wow, you all have really good thoughts! Thank you so much. Soaking it in!
  • senecarrsenecarr Posts: 5,377Member Member Posts: 5,377Member Member
    Supposedly Southerns are more honest and willing to share their weight with phone survey strangers than other states.
    http://blog.al.com/spotnews/2013/04/people_in_the_south_are_not_so.html
  • lemurcat12lemurcat12 Posts: 30,886Member Member Posts: 30,886Member Member
    My guess is that might be difference between African-Americans and whites (especially women).

    For the record, I'm a white woman in the midwest and haven't been surveyed, but I lied about my weight on my drivers license for years.
  • RoxieDawnRoxieDawn Posts: 15,518Member, Premium Member Posts: 15,518Member, Premium Member
    Culture and culture.

    I live in one of the most obese states in America. It is not high altitude or anything of that nature around here. It is pure grass roots southern way of cooking, lack of exercise and more than enough fast food to go around at every corner. We are not an activity latent state and I will say this again because I used to eat this way, it is way southerners cook, it is hospitality and family oriented and 99% of all occasions involve southern food, buffets, you name it.

    We do have a high African-American population, but that has nothing to dot with it at all here.

    And btw I am from the south born and bred and I really do not go around sharing weight, age and what not. But I am older so perhaps I want to keep those things to my self for now! LOL
  • Sued0nimSued0nim Posts: 17,504Member Member Posts: 17,504Member Member
    I live outside the States

    I find cheerleading support with the aim of validating my feelings cloying and unhelpful and don't look for it from friends, appreciating this is my life and they can't do it for me

    I find in RL people are open to whatever kind of eating habits you have, and they just enjoy your company and wish to be hospitable ..if you don't make a big deal about it, neither will they.

    I think I live amongst food snobs rather than fast food fans...it is more common that we will try a new restaurant or have a dinner party than get fast food or take out...in fact my kids hate McDs and suffer BK when travelling ...and would prefer a sandwich

    I come from a family, and married into a family where love is shown by food, that's common...both the preparation and the sharing of...nobody is offending by the word no, they just don't take it as a final answer, like ever :D

    edited February 2016
  • viren19890viren19890 Posts: 783Member Member Posts: 783Member Member
    rabbitjb wrote: »
    I live outside the States

    I find cheerleading support with the aim of validating my feelings cloying and unhelpful and don't look for it from friends, appreciating this is my life and they can't do it for me

    I find in RL people are open to whatever kind of eating habits you have, and they just enjoy your company and wish to be hospitable ..if you don't make a big deal about it, neither will they.

    I think I live amongst food snobs rather than fast food fans...it is more common that we will try a new restaurant or have a dinner party than get fast food or take out...in fact my kids hate McDs and suffer BK when travelling ...and would prefer a sandwich

    I come from a family, and married into a family where love is shown by food, that's common...both the preparation and the sharing of...nobody is offending by the word no, they just don't take it as a final answer, like ever :D
    What is RL ?
  • lemurcat12lemurcat12 Posts: 30,886Member Member Posts: 30,886Member Member
    Real life? Offline.
  • rhtexasgalrhtexasgal Posts: 539Member Member Posts: 539Member Member
    I live in a place that was voted the one of the fittest small cities in the US for several years running and truly, the overall environment reflects it. There are many city parks with exercise implements, designated run and bike areas and every day, you see the local fields filled with soccer, football and baseball players from youth to adult having fun. The local shopping has extended so that you have to park a bit of distance to get to the shops and then you have to walk all over to partake.

    We do have our share of obese people but based on the number of new fitness centers opening up and staying open, more people are recognizing they need to shape up, at least here anyway. Of course, we do have major detriment ... a mexican food restaurant practically on every corner! When I go out to eat as a treat, I do straight to my favorite place and load up on the chips and salsa!
  • emdeeseaemdeesea Posts: 1,827Member Member Posts: 1,827Member Member
    I'll echo the poster from MO. I had lived there for 20 years and most of my family and friends are still there. And yeah, we were all overweight, and just about everyone in our little community was too. So it was just the norm.

    And then my SO and I moved to Madison, WI, where EVERYONE is fit, everyone is outdoorsy, everyone goes running, hiking, skiing, etc., and boy did I feel out of place. It was not the reason I got fit myself, but I don't lie, it helped.

    Now I go back to MO for visits and I look and feel out of place. And I get the "you look sick" thing sometimes too. :neutral: It's aggravating because I don't and I'm not. It's just more the norm there to be overweight and not here.
  • lemurcat12lemurcat12 Posts: 30,886Member Member Posts: 30,886Member Member
    I'm sure this is not the norm in other places. It's just been my experience here.

    It's the norm here, even among groups/subcultures of people where being overweight is uncommon.
  • zcb94zcb94 Posts: 4,191Member Member Posts: 4,191Member Member
    I'll contribute constructively soon, but am just curious for now:
    Howdy from West Texas! How healthy are we, according to OP's research? It can't be good, what with our affinity with Mexican food, but I don't know for sure.
  • karmelpopcornkarmelpopcorn Posts: 77Member Member Posts: 77Member Member
    zcb94 wrote: »
    I'll contribute constructively soon, but am just curious for now:
    Howdy from West Texas! How healthy are we, according to OP's research? It can't be good, what with our affinity with Mexican food, but I don't know for sure.

    I was on my computer when I researched this so I don't know exactly where the article was but I do remember reading Texas got a bad ranking due to the number of uninsured.
  • zcb94zcb94 Posts: 4,191Member Member Posts: 4,191Member Member
    ^Oh okay. Yikes!
  • makingmarkmakingmark Posts: 672Member Member Posts: 672Member Member
    I think it can have a lot to do with it because of access to resources like gyms, walking trails, and even the type of food that is carried in the grocery stores.
  • karmelpopcornkarmelpopcorn Posts: 77Member Member Posts: 77Member Member
    Wow. Interesting. Thank you all for your replies- so varied!

    I am a committed home cook and pretty much a hippie (with some type A in me). I went to a liberal university in my home state (not here) where I became a farmers market, food cooperative shopping locavore. I garden and can. I do have some like minded friends but I don't see them often.

    My problem here is an acceptance that large body types are the norm and my struggle to be lean is vanity. I haven't really talked with anyone about my desire to lose because of this. That's okay and I can handle that but we all reach points where we want to give up for awhile and this can really help me justify getting lax about my health when the chips are down.
  • feisty_bucketfeisty_bucket Posts: 1,002Member Member Posts: 1,002Member Member
    I live in Manhattan and am from Texas. In both places, fitness seems to track social class a lot.
    Sometimes this helps me make excuses for myself when I am feeling discouraged. How does your community/culture affect your weight?

    As for the solution, you've got to set your own standards. Keep your head down and mind them.

    Also, the Internet is a great tool for finding a sort of mental-niche to give you a different peer group than what you might be saddled with in RL. That can help reinforcement in positive ways, if you're careful.
    edited February 2016
  • lemurcat12lemurcat12 Posts: 30,886Member Member Posts: 30,886Member Member
    I am a committed home cook and pretty much a hippie (with some type A in me). I went to a liberal university in my home state (not here) where I became a farmers market, food cooperative shopping locavore. I garden and can. I do have some like minded friends but I don't see them often.

    It's actually really weird that farmers markets and the like are stereotypically a liberal thing, as I don't see why that should be (and think it's sad it is, although I lean liberal -- I like the crunchy con thing, in theory, as something positive for the country). I have a bunch of relatives of my grandparents and (in a couple of cases) parents' generations who are farmers, and they aren't lefty at all (quite the opposite).

    My perspective is distorted because I live in a liberal area (north side of Chicago), but the green market (which I love) is lefty beyond the average even here (except perhaps the vendors). A few weekends ago at ours I was approached by this guy who asked me if I wanted to support Bernie Sanders (meaning getting on the ballot) with this tone like of course all of us at the green market were pro Bernie Sanders. Just because that assumption annoyed me (not making a political statement here) I said "no, not particularly, but I do want to support ballot access" (and then I signed). (I'm about the opposite of a hippie, but I do have locovore envy and am a home cook and want to can. I garden as best I can, but have a top floor condo, so that means roof gardening (in pots), so I am somewhat limited, as well as as just not the best gardener.)
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