AMA’s Decision To Classify Being Obese As A Disease + Article Critical Of The Decision

This post contains discussion of weight-shaming, weight, and body types. Use your discretion while reading.

So, I don’t know if you all saw, but last week the American Medical Association announced it’s going to classify being obese as an official disease, like diabetes or lupus. Many more eloquent people have written about why that’s a bunch of hooey (and I will be linking to an article about that in a moment) but I wanted to talk about this issue and why it’s bad for people who have eating disorders or disordered eating tendencies. According to, up to 24 MILLION people in the US have an eating disorder and eating disorders have the highest rates of mortality of any mental illness.

As it is, there’s A LOT of pressure to be skinny. It’s all around us from the media, fashion industry, family, friends, an entire industry dedicated to it… And those attitudes definitely contribute to our society’s eating disorder rates. Now add a major medical group telling a third of the population they suddenly have a disease and there’s even MORE pressure to be under that arbitrary pound limit.  As someone with an eating disorder (in recovery) and who’s at the heaviest weight of my life, I find the AMA’s decision terrifying, sickening, negligent, and dangerous.

Now onto the article that I read that reminded me to post about this. I’m just going to directly link to it. It talks about a lot of the stuff I just talked about but with related links and more research. I want to put an additional caution for the article because it discusses weight loss surgery and other weight loss hooey.  Fat People: #IAmNotADisease and here’s the non hyper-linked version:


The Body’s Battle with Weight Loss

CW: talk of weight loss, food, body fat. I posted about this Cracked article but The Fat Chick Sings broke down the links in the article and talks about the mechanics of weight loss and why it’s so hard. Have a look!

slide33.033I recently ran across this little gem on entitled “Fat is Officially Incurable (According to Science)” which offers a surprisingly accurate portrayal about just how likely those “before” and “after” shots in advertisements are to reflect the long-term experience of real, live people.  While proceeding with tongue firmly inserted in cheek, the author offers a nice summary of some of the scientific evidence offered regarding long-term weight loss:

  • Probability of long-term maintenance of very modest weight loss (10-15 pounds)–Very low
  • Probability of a fat person becoming (and staying) a thin person–Practically Non-existant.

One of my favorite things about this article (besides David Wong’s deliciously snarky attitude) is the plethora of links to some other wonderful content that I’ve read, but probably forgotten about.

For example, a lot of the math about Weight Watchers “success stories” (including why you may be 20 times more likely to survive being shot…

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Just What the #$%&! am I Supposed to Eat!?!

CW: discussion of food that may be triggering to people suffering from eating disorders.

Very interesting post talking about the arguments nutrition scientists make about how many milligrams of this and what portion of that one is supposed to eat. The main topic is recent studies that suggest the current sodium intake could be dangerously low and the post talks about how the current recommendation is just the bare minimum of salt a person can eat while still getting sufficient calories and nutrients. I’m particularly interested in this ’cause my mom and her parents had heart disease and I’ve avoided salt like the plague because of that.


So have you seen the article in the New York Times that says it might be okay to eat salt again?  It seems some recent research is calling into question the American Heart Association’s recommendation of 1,500 milligrams a salt per day.  Now on the one hand, this question is almost moot, because it’s nearly impossible to achieve 1,500 milligrams of salt a day and do things like occasionally eat food that has had any processing, eat out once in a while, or you know, live in the modern world.   On the other hand, there are some indications that consuming sodium levels as low as 1,500 milligrams per day might actually be harmful.  So it probably does merit a second look.

So according to the article, several recent studies have indicated that a sodium level goal of 2,300 might be better than 1,500 milligrams per day.  Some of these studies…

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A Sensible Weight/Body Fat Article from

I know, I know., the humour site that borders on offensive and funny, how can they possibly have a good article discussing weight and how it’s impossible to lose large amounts of weight long-term? I don’t know but they do. And it’s really worth a read. However, the link contains screen shots of misleading weight loss ads, discussion of weight, body fat, calories, and related topics, so I caution readers about that.

So the guy or girl you see in the “Before” and “After” photos in weight loss commercials, who completely changed body type with diet and exercise? You know, like Jared from Subway, who lost 230 pounds? Either they’re about to be fat again in a couple of years, or they’re a medical freak occurrence, like the sick guy who was told he had six months to live but miraculously survives 20 years. That guy exists, we all know famous examples. But it’s a rare, freak situation, living in defiance of all of the physical processes at work.

It’s a little funny and a little sad when Cracked gets something like this right and is more sensitive and sensible than mainstream sources.

With that in mind, go check out “Fat Is Officially Incurable (According to Science)”

Here’s the non-hyperlinked version:

Debenhams: Body Positive Fashion

I ran across this on tumblr and it’s truly inspiring! The UK department store Debenhams has decided to use people of over the age of 40 (one who’s almost 70!), People of Colour, amputees, and people who are heavier than you’d usually see be models in their summer 2013 look book. Debenhams also won a Body Confidence Award in 2012 for their on-going body positive projects. The photos are beautiful and I LOVE this quote:

Our customers are not the same shape or size so our latest look book celebrates this diversity.  We would be delighted if others followed our lead.  Hopefully these shots will be a step, albeit a small one, towards more people feeling more comfortable about their bodies,” said Ed Watson, Director of PR, Debenhams.

It’s really great! Have a look!

Non-hyperlinked version:

Spring Fatshion Guide

Brilliant, hilarious satirical article written by a fabulous body-positive woman. Personally, I ADORE the galaxy dress.

I should put up a caution here, though, for satirical discussion of fat-shaming and related “how to not look fat” advice.

My favourite quote:

Biggify your hair! Or wear something else on your head — something distracting, like a live chicken or a talking animatronic bust of Carl Sagan — to draw attention away from your disgusting body!

Without further ado, here’s the article. Non hyperlink version here:

“Ugly” Selfies and The Body Is Not An Apology

I just read a great article on The Cut about SF Bay area poet Sonya Renee Taylor, who did something pretty cool and started a body-positive website called The Body Is Not An Apology. Then, she did something else equally cool and chose a conventionally unattractive picture for her profile picture on Facebook. She did the latter because she felt she wasn’t practicing what her website preaches by un-tagging “ugly” photos that people uploaded of her so she decided to change that in a very public way.

I love the idea behind The Body Is Not An Apology and the mission statement. I think loving ourselves unapologetically, despite and BECAUSE OF our flaws, it’s something we ALL need to work on.

Also, this is apparently my 126th post. Par-tay!