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Thoughts on the “glamourizing/normalizing” obesity vs body positivity conversations



  • northviewvintagenorthviewvintage Member Posts: 1,915 Member Member Posts: 1,915 Member
    I think normalizing =good...glamourizing=bad ...Same for homosexuality...I think it's good to see gay people on tv, just playing regular roles not full of innuendo about what they do in the bedroom. Most people do not want to hear about it! Casting overweight people in more diverse roles wouldn't hurt. Last I read, 42% of Americans are obese, so where I'm at it's normal. Glamourizing it, in my opinion, causes a lot of confusion. Obesity is definately not healthy, but being a bit overweight might be if you have a mad passion for baking and eating bread, and know that eating those foods are worth it for you, personally, to be some pounds overweight. I am all about tolerance as long as you're not hurting others with your behavior. Here are some chunky people that I think are beautiful:


    But the thing is obesity SHOULDN'T be normal. Why should we be normalizing something like obesity? That is saying it's normal, so why should anyone change if it's normal and accepted and there is nothing wrong with it.

    Homosexuality is completely different. That isn’t a choice and isn’t something you can change like being obese is.

    The only reason I mentioned homosexuals is because those are two groups of people, amongst others, that are seldom represented right to the public. I've known quite a few gay people, and they're not always making people uncomfortable with sexual innuendos and I've known a few obese people who just want to eat how they want to eat not caring if it takes 20 years off their life. They're not always chefs. They're not always extremely funny. Obesity is a choice, but not everyone chooses to be healthy. Are they hurting you with that choice? With normal being defined as "the usual, average, or typical state or condition" and 42% of Americans being obese, I still say it's normal.I do think, I hope, that we can alter our society in ways that promote healthy lifestyles, so that it might not be so normal in the future.

    I'm not sure who is arguing that gay people are always making people uncomfortable with sexual innuendos. You may be getting pushback because you're arguing against some bizarroworld conception of what gay people are like. There are tons of movies, books, music, and podcasts showing the amazing diversity of LBGTQ culture (although we could always use more!).

    Just playing regular roles? Okay, they're doing it. They'd be doing it a lot more if people hadn't been gatekeeping them for years based on these destructive ideas about Americans somehow melting into a puddle if they have to contemplate that -- just like straight Americans -- some LGBTQ people are having sex.

    Well, that's good to hear! I admit that I am a bit out of touch with the entertainment business and you are probably right on that subject. I was just going on what I, personally, see on tv and movies.I think you misunderstood me a bit, tnough. My point is that normalizing what we see in real life, in my opinion, is healthy. Glamourizing certain types of people in unrealistic ways might not be.

  • Theoldguy1Theoldguy1 Member Posts: 1,563 Member Member Posts: 1,563 Member
    Theoldguy1 wrote: »
    Theoldguy1 wrote: »
    AnnPT77 wrote: »
    For myself, I don't spend much time considering what could have been if other people had done or would do some other thing, especially if it's in the past.

    It's not in the past though. The COVID situation is ongoing and getting worse, and is projected to last several more months at least. Even after COVID is done with, pandemics happen fairly frequently (the last one was only 10 years ago --H1N1) and the population is less and less able to handle them as their overall health declines due to obesity. Diseases that might not be pandemics in a healthier population, might be pandemics in a less healthy one. There's also the larger policy question of the responsibility of the individual to society -- is it our civic duty to maintain our personal health? So these questions won't just go away.
    I'm old (65) and have the start of COPD, so I'm at higher risk of dying, but I can't wrap my head around considering whether I should take more blame for the pandemic and its consequences because of those things (if I hadn't lived with smokers most of my life, despite not being one, I probably wouldn't have the COPD . . . .).

    I wouldn't consider those factors to be blame-worthy. I also don't judge people who were obese and decided to get to a healthy weight because of COVID, or people who choose to remain obese but also disagree that everyone else should sacrifice in order to protect them.

    I do wonder, though, if age has to do with our different responses to the lockdowns. I'm 29 and spent my first 22 years living in a violent, abusive household, so I feel like I barely got to live and missed out on a lot in my life, and now even more is being taken away. It sucks to not even be 30 and feel like "well, this is the limit of what I'm going to experience in life." I lost many years of my life because my family couldn't get their act together, and now it just feels like this is a variant of the same thing.
    Truly, I'm sympathetic, but don't feel that I have any way to help. I think this is probably not the thread for it, either, especially if we diverge from the subject of obesity and its "glamorization".

    The discussion did diverge from the original point.

    From my direct and indirect observation and anecdata, many of the people who gained in the pandemic are not obese, just on the verge of normal weight. I.e. obese and normal BMI gained alike. The fact that most people gained is due to moving less when wfh, since no commute (plus probably stress eating, food inequality issues etc. but reduced movement is a huge factor). And before you say that they should have used the commute time to do extra sport - statistics show most people use that time now to do extra work! The fear of losing their livelihood is real, as well as all other stressors, mental health issues etc.

    Sorry people gained weight during the pandemic because they chose to eat more calories than they burned (just like weight gain over holidays, a vacation, etc).

    Weight gain is not the pandemic's fault, need to look in one's own mirror.

    Let the disagrees and excuses begin.

    Yes, people gained weight because they consumed more than they burned.

    But I think for the average person this isn't exactly a deliberate choice. It's not like we have calorie meters on our arms that tell us when we've had what we need for the day.

    I know there are tools available, but most people weren't using them pre-pandemic.

    I know I've gotten a lot of flak for saying that many people don't have a great concept of how weight management works, but for the average person, they're not going to look at a plate and have a great understanding of how it fits with their calorie needs for the day -- especially if their calorie needs have suddenly gone down due to changes in their lifestyle.

    So while it's true that people gained weight because they consumed more than they need, think about how many people here -- people who are already motivated to lose weight and are starting to use these tools -- struggle with getting the basics of calorie counting and then consider someone trying to balance that without any of the tools.

    I do think a lot of people were caught off-guard by how they were suddenly using fewer calories. Combined with the context of not really understanding how much they were eating before and in newly stressful situations, I'm not surprised at the outcome, especially since so many people mistakenly believe they NEED to exercise to lose weight and we tossed gym closures on top of all that.

    I think we can find a balance between personal responsibility AND acknowledging that a lot of people had a bunch of weird stuff tossed in their lap this year.

    We don't have calorie meters on our arms but most of us wear clothes.

    When articles of clothing start getting noticeably tighter it's a pretty good indicator one has gained some weight and needs to back off on the eating and/or increase activity to stop the gain and lose what was gained.

    About 15% of the US population has gym memberships. I would venture to say those with the memberships and actually were using them before covid found alternative ways to move. The people with dedication to an active lifestyle didn't just quit because their gym closed.

    Your clothes getting tighter doesn't really help you understand HOW to proceed. "Eat fewer calories" is pretty easy to say, but fewer than what? And how do I know when I'm hitting fewer?

    When your clothes start getting looser again. Not rocket science.
  • Speakeasy76Speakeasy76 Member Posts: 132 Member Member Posts: 132 Member
    People also need to realize that the social distancing, lockdown, masking measures are not just to reduce the number of deaths. It's to reduce the strain on the healthcare system. Our hospital system wasn't (and sill isn't) prepared to deal with a pandemic on this level.

    I'd also like to point out that this disease isn't just riskier to obese people, but other onderlhing conditions not related to obesity as well. Research is stating that low vitamin d levels are also a risk. Should we condone people who don't get outside enough, have darker skin tones or live in places with cold weather? After all, shouldn't we all know what to do to get more vitamin D?
  • Speakeasy76Speakeasy76 Member Posts: 132 Member Member Posts: 132 Member
    People also need to realize that the social distancing, lockdown, masking measures are not just to reduce the number of deaths. It's to reduce the strain on the healthcare system. Our hospital system wasn't (and sill isn't) prepared to deal with a pandemic on this level.

    Yes and the argument for reducing obesity levels is that it's another way to reduce the strain on the healthcare system and could reduce the need for social distancing and lockdowns, as well as reaping additional long-term health benefits. Maybe the healthcare system wouldn't be strained now, or would be less strained now, if people had addressed their lifestyle-related preventable illnesses earlier in the year.
    I'd also like to point out that this disease isn't just riskier to obese people, but other onderlhing conditions not related to obesity as well. Research is stating that low vitamin d levels are also a risk. Should we condone people who don't get outside enough, have darker skin tones or live in places with cold weather? After all, shouldn't we all know what to do to get more vitamin D?

    No, that's a false comparison. First of all, low vitamin D isn't listed on the official list of COVID-19 risk factors ( whereas obesity and obesity-related diseases are. I'm not saying low vitamin D doesn't play a role, but the evidence must not be as clear-cut as it is for obesity, and if you're just going by official public health sources (which we've been told is what we should listen to), you're not going to know about it.

    Also, it's easy to tell if you're overweight or obese. You don't even necessarily have to get on a scale to figure it out. Whereas you can only tell if you have low vitamin D from a blood test, so a lot of people don't know they have it. And obviously when all non-COVID healthcare is shut down for months, nobody can go to the doctor for a routine checkup.

    Also, doctors haven't taken low vitamin D seriously in the past. A couple of years ago, my doctor told me that doctors were advised to not even check vitamin D levels on a blood test anymore, because low vitamin D levels are so commonplace and aren't considered to be a serious health problem anymore. Doctors also tell people that the risk of low vitamin D is less bad than the risk of skin cancer from not wearing sunscreen, but they also don't tell people to supplement with vitamin D unless their blood test comes back with low vitamin D.

    Now, unfortunately, as we know from this discussion, some doctors have the same approach to obesity, but it's still more generally accepted that obesity shortens lifespan and leads to health consequences. Whereas the average person doesn't really know what the consequences of low vitamin D are. Certainly, it's not common knowledge (and especially wasn't before this year) that low vitamin D can increase the risk of dying from respiratory illness. Whereas it is common knowledge that obesity affects the cardiovascular and pulmonary systems.

    Lastly, are you trying to insinuate that certain people in this discussion are racist or something ("have darker skin tones")? Because that is really unfair.

    Whoa, what? "Trying to insinuate that certain people in this discussion are racist or something?" What I meant is that it is pretty well-documented that pigment in darker skin can block sun absorption, thereby reducing the body's ability to convert it to vitamin D.

    I was not realistically comparing having low vitamin D to obesity as risk factors for COVID. In actuality, low vitamin D would be much easier to treat than obesity, because I think being obese and the solutions to it are multi-faceted for many people (not just that they are "uninformed," "lazy, or "lack willpower"_ and just need to "eat less and move more"-not my thoughts). And you are absolutely correct in that people know they are obese, and most likely already know that it's a risk factor for COVID complications. I know the people I know that are obese do.

    For some people, knowing this has been enough for them to make changes so they are able to lose weight. For many others, it hasn't. I don't fault them for not doing so or question why they can't or haven't done so yet. I guess I've become (or tried to become) more of the mindset that I can't control the actions of others, even if I'd like to or think it's for the common good (even though I'd like to, esp. with what happened in the US yesterday). I think that if for most people knowing that obesity is a risk factor for many diseases and complications isn't motivating enough to get someone to change, knowing that it also could be somehow contributing to the healthcare crisis created by COVID wouldn't be either.

    I do know that obesity in and of itself (even outside of COVID) can increase the strain on the healthcare system, yet I feel it's a little late at this point to negate its affects when it comes to COVID. Could it make a small dent if right now everyone decided to lose weight? Maybe. But how would that work outside of people deciding to make the changes themselves? Even so, losing weight healthily can take awhile. Should the government get involved somehow? How would that even work?

    edited January 8
  • siberiantarragonsiberiantarragon Member Posts: 75 Member Member Posts: 75 Member
    I noticed you never bothered to actually reply to the point above of Canada vs US, you resorted to the UK and France as counterexample (quite wrong - see below) without discussing the merits of the point.

    I have a lot more thoughts on the matter, but I reduced it down to the most important couple of sentences because this thread isn't the place for general pandemic discussion.

    However, I will say that you're uninformed on the UK and France. The UK had a lockdown for months where you're only allowed to associate with one other family, and celebrating the holidays was banned. Now it's even stricter than that. These are their current rules and they've had rules as restrictive as this on and off since the beginning depending on case numbers ( They even have rules restricting what you can buy in stores as "essential" vs. "non-essential." The police are also strongly enforcing lockdowns with jail time. Schools are also not open.

    France had lockdowns where outdoor exercise was banned in some areas, the punishment being a six-month jail sentence! ( To say that is comparable to the measures in any part of the US is simply false.

    I have a friend who lives in Canada and her area was, at its peak, equally restricted as mine was, and hers opened up earlier. By fall, shopping malls, restaurants, schools, etc. were open and small indoor gatherings were allowed. So to say that Canada had some kind of insane lockdown compared to the US is simply untrue.

    Getting back to obesity, Canada has a 25% obesity rate according to this article from August of this year ( vs. 42% for the US. So it absolutely could play a role in lower death rates. (BTW, if you want to see an example of obesity being normalized by doctors, check out that article!)

    Again though if you want to discuss this further (and I could discuss this all day), we should do it in another thread or over PM, because this thread is about the normalization of obesity in modern culture and its effects.

    edited January 11
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