Dieting: how to wreck your health

Why do such studies come as such a shock all the time??That’s right.  Dieting; the bane of many people (visibly fat and not, alike).  The roller-coaster of self-congratulation / self-flagellation that so many of us know so horribly well.  Fat Chicks Rule just pointed me to yet another study that has found some interesting links between dieting and increases in people having the very same diseases that get blamed on fat.

After I was done shaking my head at the way the WebMD article begins “There may actually be an unhealthy downside to losing weight.”  Seriously y’all!  There MAY  “ACTUALLY” be a DOWNSIDE!  You mean just one?  Anyway, moving on…

A new study finds that blood levels of substances known as persistent organic pollutants were higher in people who had lost weight compared to people who maintained or gained weight.

Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are compounds created by humans in industrial processes and have been linked to a wide range of illnesses, including type 2 diabetes, cancer, dementia, and heart disease. The study appears in the International Journal of Obesity.

Researchers say the findings may help explain why some studies have suggested, though not proven, that the risk of heart disease, dementia, or death may sometimes increase after weight loss. (Yeah, no study ever, not even ones about obesity, ever can PROVE something as tenuous as death risks.  Read up on how the scientific method works media!!)

(All emphasis is mine)

So, yet again, studies are finding that one of the staple means proscribed to fatties to Cure All Ills, that is to say: dieting, has a link to an increased prevalence of these harmful, disease correlated, body pollutants.  I mean, what better way can your body tell you to STOP mucking about with its natural systems than to pollute itself as a last-ditch attempt to get you to leave it the fuck alone?

Your Body when faced with dieting behaviors: “Hello?  Hello up there?  Stop messing with me!  I KNOW how to give you signals for hunger and know when I need to move around.  Stop with the enforced dietary restrictions and exercise drudgery already!!! Hello?  Hello!  Is this thing ON??!?”

I can’t help but want to shake some of these folks who act all surprised about these findings who seem to be shaking their heads at the thought that denying your body’s natural ability to regulate itself and send signals to a mind that has been so socially brainwashed into blatantly ignoring them in favor of “Controlling” themselves.  “Well, GOSH!  There’s a DOWNSIDE to starving your body of vital nutrients and forcing it to move around in hurtful and increasingly overdone ways?? How can that be???  Everyone KNOWS that the biggest risk of death is Being outside the accepted social norm of beauty Fat, right?”

No.  You want to know what carries the biggest, unquestionable, risk of death?  Life.  Simply the act of being alive, means that you will die.  100% risk. I mean, once you go about all willy-nilly with your fancy “living being” habits; there you’ve gone and done it.  It’s like you’re practically INVITING death to your doorstep by waving your breathing and heart-beating and brain-functioning in the face of nature, taunting it with your very existence.

Perhaps that thought is a bit too morbid for a Tuesday morning.  Yet, I can’t help but want to point it out in the face of all the fury that seems to surround the masses foaming at the mouth frantically struggling to decry the increased mortality supposedly linked to my body’s size.  Especially, as seen in many of the links rounded up in the post referenced above from Autist’s Corner, from the feminist arena.  Seems that lately there has been a bout of discussion concerning the way that a few of the very same people who staunchly believe that no one has a right to declare what women should or shouldn’t do with their bodies simultaneously believe that this very same fought-for right does not apply if you’re a FAT woman.  Y’all, pointing out that someone else may have attributes (fat) or behaviors (reduced activity levels, perceived or even actual overeating) that have been linked, often erroneously, to an increased risk of death; does not somehow REDUCE your own risk of death, the risk inherent in simply being alive.

Let that percolate a bit, okay?  Life carries the 100% risk of death.  Spending any time of your own brief allotment of life hating others “for their own good” does not increase your life-span or theirs.  It simply makes all involved miserable. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: even being “healthy”, for whatever value of the word you give it, does not somehow remove your human mortality.

Stop the judgments.  Stop the shaming.  Stop the dieting.  Stop the hating.  The life you have is not made better by reducing your own size in it or by hating others who happen to have a size or shape you’ve been told (or even believe) is more inclined to expire earlier.  Save your energies instead for other pursuits; like finding a way to convince the media and the masses that every human being deserves basic, decent, respectful treatment.

Don’t hold onto your perception of “Health” (Whatever it may mean to you) as the only goal worth obtaining for your fleeting time on this Earthly plane.  Be larger than life and LIVE it the way you keep thinking you will in “a few more pounds” or “just one more class” or “just a few more dollars saved up”. I’m not trying to be all “Death is coming no matter what so RUN!” here.  I AM suggesting that spending your life worried about the size of your freaking ass (or OTHER PEOPLES’ asses) certainly doesn’t sound like a fun way to spend this blessing we call “Life” to me.  There is more to life than counting calories and judging others. ~April D

In a canoe with a lifejacket

Does this life-preserver make my life look longer?


19 thoughts on “Dieting: how to wreck your health

  1. Well, 20 years ago “they” said low-fat was the way to get thin and healthy and fat was bad bad baaaaaad. My MIL joined a 5-year study at Duke university to monitor the effects of an extended low-fat diet. FIVE YEARS. She reported every month and had to go in for blood tests, etc. Guess what happened? Her cholesterol went through the roof.

    “But that can’t be…!” declaimed the researchers. “You’re eating LOW FAT! It’s healthy and good and CLEARLY you’re doing something wrong because your cholesterol is high, you’ve actually GAINED weight, and your blood tests are all wonky! Are you cheating?? Shake out your purse…there MUST be brownies in there!”

    Yeah. Whatever grabs the headlines is what they’re going to tell you that you need or else you’ll be a big unhealthy fatty and be buried in a piano case. Once the medical community cottons onto the fact that WE. ARE. ALL. DIFFERENT everyone will be a lot happier.

    • Yorkie I couldn’t agree more with your last line there! And your MIL’s story sounds so familiar! Even without the diet study environs; it seems that despite all evidence to the contrary; folks refuse to stop believing that body size is a simple as a mathematical calculation of Calories In compared to Calories Out; with any outliers (ie: everyone!) being cheaters or liars.

    • And then they probably wonder why people keep dropping out of their diet studies. You know, it may not be the diet that’s demoralizing, it might be that they’re accused of lying every time they go in…

      • Fantine I’ve wondered that too. It can’t be too encouraging as a participant to be constantly told “Well you must be doing it wrong because we’re not getting the results we want!”

    • My mom just had the same experience. She isn’t obese but as a 62 yr old woman is overweight. The doc was worried about her cholesterol, so for a month (thank the gods for her sake not FIVE freakin yrs), she totally cut out all the “bad” food. Well 30 day later and her cholesterol went through the roof. So much for skipping her little bowl of ice-cream in the evening!

  2. “Does this life-preserver make my life look longer?” is my new catchphrase of the day.

    You know, the current obsession with dieting that’s somehow supposed to save us all from ever, ever dying kind of reminds me of a short story written by Italo Calvino I read called The Argentine Ant.

    In the story, a young couple with a baby move to this small town in Argentina. The town is completely overrun with ants. The ants are everywhere. There is not a single house or apartment in town that isn’t swarming with these highly aggressive ants. Each person in town has their own method of ‘getting rid’ of the ants, and yet their homes continue to be filled with ants. Everyone who has a method they’ve invented or chosen to follow scoffs nastily at those with another method, and yet no method is effective to any measurable degree for more than a day or two.

    At the end, the couple decide to opt out and leave the town. Nobody has a real solution and they cannot live with the ants.

    Me? I’ve decided that following every ‘new’ ‘guaranteed’ way to lose weight is a time-consuming, energy-draining waste of my life. I want to enjoy my life – and my food! – while I’m here. If there is no reliable way to make me thin, then why let the pursuit of thin gobble up all my possibilities? I’d rather make art and love and awesome pies and cakes and people laugh.

    Besides, those fat people in my family? Have a way of living well into their eighties. I turned forty-eight yesterday. If I take after my father’s side of the family at all, that means I’ve got a lot of living left to do. I intend to freaking do it.

  3. Reminds me of the book “The World According to Garp”. The last line is:

    “In the world according to Garp, we are all terminal cases”.

  4. First it was low-fat diets that got touted as a cure-all for weight loss. Now people insist it’s carbs that make us fat. Then it’s some other shit with the glycemic index, and for god’s sake I saw this stupid article the other day that said “eat the right kinds of fruit, apples can make you fat.” APPLES? Are you fucking serious?! And all the stupid articles bitching about how people don’t eat enough vegetables (which is mostly richsplaining) then go on to add “don’t eat starchy vegetables like peas and corn”…but aren’t they chock full of nutrients and still vegetables?? So what the hell do we eat then? Light bulbs? Corrugated cardboard, perhaps?
    Then low-carb high-fat diets are touted as a cure-all to lose weight!

    Or how about some chemical-laden frankenfood that costs more than an Upper East Side penthouse because people just get shamed into enjoying real food? I just read this whole thing on about how NutriSystem meals were full of live worms and sugar ants…and people were developing health problems, including one really sickening account of this woman who needed about 5 surgeries to correct throat and stomach problems caused by this questionable product and still has speech problems today.

    Gah what a clusterfuck!!!! I feel so much healthier physically and mentally by practicing HAES and vegetarianism, and not being stressed out and bothered by the diet clusterfuck around me (credit to Big Liberty who wrote a great blog entry of the same title!) How about we just LIVE without being shamed regardless of our body types…

  5. “… then go on to add “don’t eat starchy vegetables like peas and corn”…but aren’t they chock full of nutrients and still vegetables??”

    Actually, technically neither is a vegetable. In technical terms, peas are legumes and corn is a grain. They are, however, very much chock full of nutrients and absolutely valuable foods to eat.

    Since my husband has diabetes, I use corn in rotation with other grains like rice or quinoa, legumes like lentils or chickpeas, and actual starchy vegetables like potatoes or cauliflower rather than in rotation with less starchy vegetables. On the other hand, watching starches is important to keeping his condition under control. If you and yours don’t have diabetes, it’s not nearly so vital. You can absolutely treat peas and corn nutritionally as vegetables.

    • I figured peas were a pulse of some type since I always see split peas in the same aisle as lentils…Ah, you learn something new every day. 🙂

      My dad is diabetic and his doctor tells him to watch his starches; and like with your husband that’s totally understandable– that’s eating for survival; like how somebody who has cholesterol troubles would be told to cut foods like eggs, cream, etc. because they’re high in cholerstol. That’s one thing; you’re doing what you have to do to keep his diabetes under control.

      I’m talking namely about people touting these fad diets and bans as cure-alls and saying that just about anything that has carbs is evil, like the total clusterfucks you see in the news every day, misleading information from personal trainers (had this exercise instructor once who touted the “no carbs after 6PM!” crap so much it made me sick), the numerous diet books and articles, miracle cures on TV, etc. The “avoid starchy vegetables” thing was on yet another weight loss clusterfuck article I came across on the interwebs.

  6. Has anyone noticed the first three letters of diet are DIE?? As in, you want to die when you’re starving yourself on a diet?

    I’ve still got a lot of baby weight hanging around from three pregnancies in 4 years and a c-section pooch. That’s not just going to go away with dieting…my hormones are going to have to settle down, and I don’t think restrictive dieting and self-flagellation are going to do the trick. The last thing I want to do, as I’m up at midnight dealing with a screaming baby, is think…okay, I’ve used up 16 points today…I have four more…can I eat this apple?? Honestly, my efforts are better spent…!

    • Yorkie I’ve definitely been in that mind-set before of “Well I’ve eaten this many points/calories, can I eat a bite of blah” while being stressed over actual life (though not with 3 babies!) and can attest that my efforts are indeed better spent living and loving and (as Twistie said above) making pies ^.^

      • I couldn’t have said it better myself! I’m a grad student/accountant and have enough stress to cope with academically and professionally, and have to make decisions that impact a lot of people. Blowing 10 “points” on a slice of pizza during a 60-hour work week is something I have neither the time nor patience for.

        That’s time better spent with the people I love doing the things I love like seeing bands, going to great bars and restaurants with my friends, making my famous Nesquik cookies and pumpkin cheesecake for my family!

  7. Pingback: Cool Shit 5 — « Fierce, Freethinking Fatties

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