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Why do we say it's okay to be fat?

I was reading this article and this man's story. Yes he's lost an amazing amount of weight and he's doing great, but why is his goal 250? Why if he doesn't lose another lbs is he happy with that? Why do people keep telling him he doesn't need to lose more?

I'm in the normal zone so I can understand mine more but people irritate me when they ask and I tell them I want to lose 10 more lbs and they tell me no no no you look great you don't need to lose anymore, but I'm down to a size 8 so I can understand it a bit more.

This guy is a size 44, it says he's 6 ft 2 which makes his current BMI 35.7 even at his goal weight of 250 his BMI is 32.1. Why is his goal to still be OBESE??? Not overweight OBESE! Maybe I'm wrong but to mean his goal should be more like 200 with a BMI of 25.7 which is still just slightly overweight but much better than still OBESE. Why are we telling the extremly obese it's okay to be obese as long as they've lost some of the weight???


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Tue. Jan 2, 9:13am

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It's easier to focus on a smaller goal and achieve it before setting a larger, more ambitious goal. It's easier for me, for example, to say I want to do a 3 mile run than to say I want to complete a marathon. That way if I fail, hey, it was only 3 miles (one pant size)-- and if I succeed I can move on to another goal, with congrats from friends and family.
These people are just not setting themselves up for huge disappointments and failures. And I'm sure it's easier to think about 10 lbs at a time than it is 100 lbs....not to mention that the guy the OP mentioned is just trying to get out of immediate, life-threatening danger with his weight.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007, 10:41 AM

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I do understand both previous posters. I think the best goal is to be healthy. (I recently moved from "obese" to "overwieght." I'm thrilled with that, but I certainly won't stop there.

However, I think a lot of times people with significant amounts of weight to lose (let's 50% or more of there starting weight) may benefit from seeing there weighloss in stages. A lot fear being told by others that their ultimate goal is unreasonable or unachievable. Many times they may say a certain number to others, while their goal in there own mind is significantly lower. We all do better when we have the support of those around us, and this may be a way of insuring this. It's also a way of masking the struggles of acheiving a weight in the healthy weight range. When struggles arise, comfort is taken in the fact that, to friends and family you've already achieved your goal weight. Jeez, I feel sheepish enough admitting I had a tough day here and this is a virtual space! (should add I've received nothing but incredible support here).

I think we should all strive to be healthy, but everyone's goals are based on many factors, some of them deeply personal. Just my two cents.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007, 10:44 AM

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I do understand both previous posters. I think the best goal is to be healthy. (I recently moved from "obese" to "overwieght." I'm thrilled with that, but I certainly won't stop there.

However, I think a lot of times people with significant amounts of weight to lose (let's 50% or more of there starting weight) may benefit from seeing there weighloss in stages. A lot fear being told by others that their ultimate goal is unreasonable or unachievable. Many times they may say a certain number to others, while their goal in there own mind is significantly lower. We all do better when we have the support of those around us, and this may be a way of insuring this. It's also a way of masking the struggles of acheiving a weight in the healthy weight range. When struggles arise, comfort is taken in the fact that, to friends and family you've already achieved your goal weight. Jeez, I feel sheepish enough admitting I had a tough day here and this is a virtual space! (should add I've received nothing but incredible support here).

I think we should all strive to be healthy, but everyone's goals are based on many factors, some of them deeply personal. Just my two cents.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007, 10:44 AM

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I agree

I am a newbie and I am right there with you. I was sitting up last night wondering why it is that I continue to stay obese. Pills, powders, and promises don't work. The miracle cure? Diet and exercise. That's it, plain and simple. I've been working my tail off for six years trying to make a better life for myself and at current I have a 3.95. Why is this important? It dawned on me that I made my academic success what it is, it didn't magically appear and it certainly wasn't a given. So with that, I'm going to put the same effort into weight loss. I know there will be days when I am tempted, but in the long run, if I diet reasonably and continue with the exercise, I will eventually hit my goal. For the record, I am 5'4 and 224.6 lbs as of today's weigh in.

Guys, I can't do it anymore. One day I'm going to wake up diabetic and it would greatly distress me to know that this was preventable. Today is day one. Who's with me?

Tuesday, January 02, 2007, 12:14 PM

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12:14

You go, girl!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007, 2:33 PM

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good luck, 12:14!!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007, 3:10 PM

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I think primarily because it is hard work and takes long term dedication. For some, losing some weight works to help alleviate some health problems. Also, people become more comfortable with their new weight.

When there is a substantial amount of weight to be lost, people tend to burn out over time (maybe do to the slowing of weight loss or not being able to see the light at the end of the tunnel).

Tuesday, January 02, 2007, 3:24 PM

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I agree that it's hard to look at the entirety of the amount to lose (pressuming it's large) and not see it as nearly insurmountable. Looking at problems in terms of small measureable steps is only good sense. Look how many of us reach our goal only to re-evaluate it - especially when you *know* how far you have come and that you can do it.

However I do agree that it has become much more acceptable to be overwieght. I meet lots of people who tell me how skinny I am, when in fact I am not and not so long ago I would not have been perceived as skinny, but simply an average weight for my height. I actually correct people now when initially I was flattered, but lately it's really come to bother me. Simply because I'm not fat doesn't make me skinny - do people even know what healthy looks like anymore?

Tuesday, January 02, 2007, 3:42 PM

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Well no, I don't think that a lot of people know what healthy looks like.

I think some of that stems from misunderstanding of what the categories used in say, BMI rankings, mean. "Obese," "overweight," "healthy," and "underweight" are divided somewhat arbitrarily into these categories, but in fact exist along a continuum. So it's not as if one loses the laaaaast half-pound of "overweight" and is then perfectly okay in the "healthy" range -- being near the low end of the healthy range is a lot healthier than being at the high end of the healthy range, for most people.

The other thing is of course that people make excuses about BMI being a general guide. Yes, it isn't great for very short people, very tall people, and very muscular people -- but be honest about what "very muscular" means! I have guys who lift tell me all the time that they aren't overweight, so BMI is a crock. Funnily enough, every guy who has asserted this to me is visibly 40-50 pounds overweight.

But back to the original question, about it being "okay" to be overweight -- I think a lot of very heavy people either see themselves as their fat, or interact a lot with other people who cannot separate the human being from the fat. And the fact is, that while it's not okay to be overweight -- it's not okay for you, and to be honest, if you're driving up my health insurance costs or crowding me out of my airplane seat it's not okay with me either -- THAT DOESN'T MEAN THE HUMAN BEING ISN'T WONDERFUL! It's awfully hard to condemn the fat without feeling as if one is being hateful to a good person.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007, 4:31 PM

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It's not ok. My friends are extremely prejudiced against fat people. Even people that are overweight. Even if they're not telling you, most people are judging you if you're fat, they're not hiring you if you are. They look at it like they look at an alcoholic, you have a problem and you need discipline.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007, 5:46 PM

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to 12:14

Good for you! Just want to concur with what you said -- if you can succeed in one difficult endeavor, you can succeed in the difficult endeavor of weight loss. I realized the same thing when I was about to graduate with my PhD. If I could do THAT, I figured, I could do anything (since then, down 65 lbs over 5 years). The same skills came into play -- making it a priority, having a plan, steady daily progress, "support and accountability", having emergency plans for the bad days and gritting through it. I'm still working on both my career and my weight, and the skills I learn for one help with the other (which is good, cause otherwise they both demand the same resources of time and energy!) Good luck to you!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007, 9:23 PM

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For the first poster

OK just because the BMI chart says some one is overweight doesnt technically mean they are. You have to consider muscle mass and how they are genitically built to begin with. Take me for example I am dutch so of course i have alot of junk in my trunk and my thighs 9 its a naturally thing) and at 5'8" i weigh180. I wear a size ten and i can out work alot of the other men in my fathers bussiness when it comes to labor wise. I go to a doctor and he tells me i'm over weight by looking at my chart but then he looks at me and tells me i'm perfectly healthy dont worry about it. So this man who puts his goal to where he is still overweight. He could look like Elvis when he gets there. You just dont know how peoples natural bodies are built.


Thursday, January 11, 2007, 9:50 AM

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Click the link and check it out no he is not. At 5'8 180 you are overweight according to your BMI... not obese. This man even at his goal weight of 250 will still be OBESE. And I'm sorry but for all it's failings you can not be Obese according to your BMI and still be a healthy weight.

Thursday, January 11, 2007, 10:19 AM

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Maybe it is OK for the guy to maintain a weight at 259. That may be mainable to him You sound a little judgemental to me. I am sure you were never obese!

Thursday, January 11, 2007, 8:36 PM

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Um, this whole thread is about why we are not MORE judgmental than we are. In fact, obesity should not be a goal. However, it's all relative and less obese is certainly healthier than more obese!

Thursday, January 11, 2007, 10:35 PM

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Are we all weight obsessed borderline eating disordered judgmental snobs?

I though the "why do we say its okay to be fat?" post was out of line, but some of the replies to it surely took the cake!

Just because an outdated insurance company BMI chart tells me I am obese as I hover between 29 & 31% body fat, I don't take this to heart. This is a rough calculation based on some mathematical formula created years ago. IMHO it is not exactly accurate, it is just a guide.

As far as all of the folks who indicated they were not obese or they were thin or never were fat but all had a few pounds they wanted to lose, please spare us the bragging about how you are not fat, go get your head examined as I somehow doubt your seemingly obsessive habits are healthy, and knock off the judgment. Your weight or obsession over 5lbs to lose on your skinny body are irrelevant to the thread and in complaining how people tell you that you look great, you are coming across as actually fishing for more reassurance or something.

Seriously folks, isn't much more manageable for someone to break a large goal into smaller ones? I don't see how anything in our society tells people it is okay to be obese except perhaps fast food advertisements (of course we don't see obese folks in those ads). Nothing tells us it is okay and believe me, an obese person know they are obese.

I am one of the lucky ones who participated in sports and weight training at a young ago so my muscle to fat ratio is not the same as most people at my weight. Fortunately for me I am mostly muscle, unfortunately for me when it comes to the BMI chart, I am mostly muscle. Of course now that I am in my 40s I do have more body fat than in the past and I need to lose poundage! I also take prednisone several times a year or receive injections of it and take many allergy like medicines that also promote weight gain.

I really wish we all get over this obsession with numbers and judging of others, of course I suppose that makes us feel good about ourselves and superior. Why not have compassion for someone you deem obese instead, how about not jumping to conclusions and how about encouraging them to be HEALTHY vs being thin. Not everyone is going to be a size 2 and 100lbs as folks just have different body types. I think the goal should be for health and not for appearance. I believe in empowering grossly overweight people and helping them feel better about themselves and learn about better choices. I also believe this is better accomplished by having them set smaller goals, when they are ready.

Your comments and the original post are such a turnoff to this site. Instead of health minded folks I wonder if this site isn't mostly borderline anorexic/bulimic people overly obsessed with the gym, their bodies and 2 lbs or a piece of skin in a place they don't like.

I know this prejudice of obese folks exists but I hate it, believe it is wrong and think we need to do something to change that. Shaming them makes them feel worse and in some cases perhaps turn to bad food choices or even shy away from physical activity. Let's empower them instead!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012, 9:33 AM

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