I was awake very early this morning (I fell asleep early, too) and saw a gorgeous full moon with passing wispy clouds around it. I could see the moon’s craters and valleys and it was so reassuring. In those moments when I am able to see the moon in its fullness, I am grateful.
There’s a post today on Dr. Arya Sharma’s Blog that is, in my view, worth reading. It was kind of like seeing the full moon for me, a moment of clarity and gratitude. It’s called “Eating More Calories Increases Weight (In Some People – Sometimes – Maybe)” and it confirms so much of what we here in the fatosphere have been saying for years. Of course, for those who claim that those of us fat people who not have binge eating disorder must be lying, this won’t change their minds.
Here are a few highlights from Dr. Sharma’s post:
What I believe this data actually shows is that we are seeing the population effect of the same changes in energy intake (and expenditure) affecting some people more than others.
Similarly, it seems that while EVERYONE is eating more calories now than they were back in 1971, “naturally” thin people somehow manage to stay thin, while “calorie-sensitive” folks get heavier.
Thus, the laws of physics which would tell us that obese people gain weight because they simply eat more and move less don’t quite tell us why thin people can eat more and move less and still stay thin.
So if the obesity epidemic is not simply due to people becoming obese because they’re eating more and moving less (than thin people), then the solution is probably not in simply having them eat less and move more – which, incidentally, is probably why “eat-less-move-more” (ELMM) so seldom works.
There’s another quote I ran across this morning — this one is a bit more controversial — from Harold Goldstein of the California Center for Public Health Advocacy
Imagine a vast national experiment to encourage weight gain. We put fast food on every corner, we put junk food in schools, we got rid of P.E., we put candy and soda at the checkout stand of every retail outlet you can think of. The results are in. It worked.
I think there’s some accuracy in that statement — that is, what exactly would one expect to have happen when there’s fast food on every corner, little access to affordable, safe, enjoyable activity, and complete and total access in every imaginable situation to high energy dense foods that are extremely pleasurable to consume? To combat what the food industry is selling by telling people they are bad and wrong and ugly if they eat it, well, that’s pretty much psychological warfare. Instead of telling me I’m an idiot for consuming food that is marketed to me right, left and center — and calling me an addict on top of it — I would say, you are barking up the wrong tree.
The organization that Harold Goldstein leads, while I might not agree with everything they do (such as using fears about obesity to drive what I consider overall health improvement goals), they do have some good recommendations to address what their studies have found to be higher rates of obesity and diabetes are among people who live in lower-income communities that have a higher proportion of fast food and convenience stores to grocery stores and produce vendors . These recommendations include:
- increasing the availability of grocery stores and produce vendors relative to fast-food restaurants and convenience stores
- improving the availability of healthy foods relative to unhealthy foods in existing retail outlets
- increasing consumer awareness of the nutritional content of restaurant food*
Overall, though, I prefer the approach of California’s non-profit Strategic Alliance. From the web site: “The Strategic Alliance is shifting the debate on nutrition and physical activity away from a primary focus on personal responsibility and individual choice to one that examines corporate and government practices and the role of the environment in shaping eating and activity behaviors.” (Notice how weight and obesity aren’t even mentioned?)
And my thoughts are in these places in part because work has been grueling lately. While I’m grateful to have a job at all, it feels like everything that I’ve worked on over the past nearly 3 years is being pillaged and plundered, and I’m feeling like I’m in the belly of a whale — and if, like Pinocchio, I light a fire in there, not only will I be sneezed out, but the whale will come after me.
But, I have one more day of work this week before a long weekend, and a day of activism for children in my state’s Capitol on one of those days outside of work to look forward to.
Add to this mix some weight fluctuation in the upward direction and I’m feeling a bit off balance. And I remind myself that what helps are walks, sleep, good food, hugs, dance, time spent with family and friends, reading the fatosphere, deep breaths, gratitude that I have held onto adorable clothes that gracefully accommodate such fluctuations in either direction, and lots and lots of love for me no matter what size I am, emanating from within and from others (not necessarily in that order).
* While some may argue against “menu labeling,” I think that it’s a form of transparency that can help guide a HAES perspective — rather than not knowing what is in what is being served. For people with diabetes, for example, knowing the amount of carbohydrate per serving can assist in choosing the “best fit” for a particular meal or snack.