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« The Fat Positive Feminist Skeptical Diet, Phase 2: Switching from Loss to Maintenance | Main | Greta Speaking at Skepticon 3, Nov. 19-21 - and Brief Blog Break »



Greta, congrats on getting what you wanted. That's awesome. The evidence based approach and cost benefit analysis are the best way I've seen to examine this. I have to be honest, I think of most of the "fat positive" movement much the same way I think of religious fundies or climate-change denialists; people who have a central dogma and are not going to be budged, no matter the facts. Kate Harding and her buddies, besides being thoroughly nasty people, go to some pretty extreme ends to manipulate data. I've been obese, morbidly so, during my adult life; now I'm athletic and strong, because I wanted to be, and made it happen. My mother (who was not in very good shape when I was a small child) did the same, and at 51 she's more fit than most 21 year olds I know.

I have to be honest, I don't worry THAT MUCH about adults eating too little or being underweight in America, for the same reason I don't spend a lot of time worrying about things like "reverse racism" or "arrogant atheists"; it's just such a numerically and socially insignificant flipside to the bigger problem that bringing it up at all seems like a diversionary technique most of the time.


This is a wonderful post. I have my own weight loss battle, including deciding what's right for me now as what was right when I had the luxury of exercising for two-three hours a day (dancing/theatrical combat/walking) every day. Don't have that kind of time now and my body has never quite recovered from the cessation of all that activity. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of your posts on this topic 'cause this one really improved my outlook and attitude on the topic.


Quick question about that company: am I to understand that they say body fat percentage than "athletic" is considered "excellent"?


My comment got eaten, I guess, so I'll try this again:

DA, I don't think the number of overweight people has anything to do with how seriously we take underweight problems at all. There's no reason to judge the seriousness of the problem by considering the number of BMI-underweight people as a ratio to the number of BMI-overweight/obese people. Increasing the number of overweight people without changing the number of underweight people doesn't help the underweight people; the average of an overweight person's weight and an underweight person's weight might be a BMI-normal weight, but that doesn't mean that you've just created two normal-weight people or that overweight people somehow "cancel out" underweight people.

And while there are fewer underweight than overweight people in most of the Western world, to the extent that being underweight is caused by health problems, physical or mental (e.g. anorexia), underweight people will die much younger than overweight people.



I find it very relevant, especially given how many FA types constantly use anorexia as a boogieman to shut up dissent, even bizarrely charecterizing opponents as "pro-ana" (I have never, ever met anyone who fi this description). In America, rampant obesity is a much, much more prevalent health risk than being severely underweight. If there were no social context for the two conditions, I'd agree with you. But how prevalent a problem is shold have a great deal to do with how seriously we take it, in the abstract.


Yup. I'm worried for the day when I no longer receive compliments for my body size when it's not new or exciting anymore. Good luck making the transition from loss to maintenance!


But how prevalent a problem is shold have a great deal to do with how seriously we take it, in the abstract.

It's reasonable to say that we should talk more about problems based partly on how prevalent they are, but I don't think that means that we shouldn't bring up less-prevalent problems at all or that it means that they're unimportant. Anorexia is less common than obesity, but it's not THAT rare. (And I think the seriousness of the disease should be a factor as well, not just the prevalence--anorexia is less common but typically kills at younger ages than obesity, and both are more deadly and less common than athlete's foot.)

I also think it's not really fair to suggest that because other people have used underweight/anorexia to "to shut up dissent", we shouldn't talk about it in a more serious way. Surely you don't think that Greta Christina is using underweight "to shut up dissent" here?


thank you ! both your posts have been the best I have read on the www and as your personal analysis. wow.
(also a positive feminist & atheist, non-american)

Linda Koss

Good luck to you. I'm maintaining a large weight loss for 3 1/2 years. The "compliment season" will wear off, and will be replaced by people who are *horrified* that you will continue your food restrictions to keep the weight off. There are just some people who want life to be a fairy tale. But that's o.k.

I think the most seductive part of being in the weight loss mode is that there is always some future where you can be better--firmer fleshed, prettier, etc.--whereas maintenance is what it is, for real. But if you enjoy the normal, instead of the drama of wondering if your clothes fit every time you try them on, or the happy drama of being the "weight loss queen" for the umpteenth time, you will find staying the same a lot of fun.


Normally, I'd tell you to use BMI because it is the widely used metric for losing weight. However, since you mentioned the a person's frame could differ, I wouldn't be surprised if losing weight for a big boned person becomes harder compared to others.


If you think that diet food or other low fat foods can be consumed in large quantities then you may be totally wrong. Get motivated and start working for your dream look from today. With the constant onslaught of internet advertising yet more bogus claims are made all the time. Everywhere we see and hear different commercials for extreme weight loss prescriptions, diets, and methods. Are those ways safe? For many people, there is an automatic assumption that just because something is natural that it is safe. First and foremost the most important factor would be safety; losing weight must be done in a healthy manner to ensure success.


I started getting concerned remarks about how I shouldn't get *too* thin. I still get those last anytime I happen to mention I'm on a diet.

 Natural Diet Pills

It can give some good broad strokes -- I knew that at five foot three and 200 pounds I should definitely lose weight, and that at 160 pounds I should probably keep going for a bit -- but when it comes to the fine-tuning, it's really not the best gauge.

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