Tag Archives: study

New Study Finds that Losing Weight Won’t Make You Happy

 

In the past I’ve talked about how fat people can be happy without losing weight.  Now a new study confirms something else I’ve known for quite a while, that losing weight won’t necessarily make you happy.  The study, while still managing to pontificate about the “health benefits” of losing weight, points out that fat people who lost more than 5% of their body weight tended to be more depressed than those fat people who didn’t lose more than 5% of their body weight.  In fact, after adjusting for health issues and major life events (like losing a spouse) those who lost more than 5% of their original body weight were more than 50% more likely to be depressed than the group that lost less weight.

The study press release goes on to suggest that of course you should still lose weight because it’s good for your health.  And the study is careful to suggest that correlation is not causation, so we don’t know that the weight loss causes depression.  (BTW this is a good practice that is curiously absent in many press releases about the health risks of obesity, but I digress…)  And the study suggests a few possible reasons why this depression might be happening.  They use a lot of flowery language, but it boils down to:

1.  Constantly dieting and not eating what you want and weighing and measuring every morsel of food you put in your mouth takes a lot of energy and kind of sucks.

2.  When you win the weight loss lottery and your life is not as wonderful as promised, it can be a major letdown.

And I suspect both of these suggested reasons are totally true.  Constantly fighting the fact that your body is HUNGRY and you want to eat takes a lot of energy.  Watching your friends eat fabulous stuff while you order the fish (steamed please, no butter) and vegetables (steamed please, no butter) and salad (dry with cruets of vinegar and oil on the side) gets old really fast.  And don’t even get me started on weighing and measuring and obsessive point/calorie counting.

And let me remind you about the big fat cycle.  One of the major triggers for the big fat cycle of weight loss and gain is fantasy.  We are taught that when we are thin our lives will be perfect.  We will be beautiful.  We will be like movie stars.  Men or women (depending on your preference) will be standing in line to take us out and buy us fabulous stuff because we are gorgeous.  Our health will magically be perfect.  We will be pain free.  We will climb mountains and become CEOs of multinational corporations because that’s what thin people do.  Look out for me, baby!

Then we (at least temporarily) get  thin.  And we are the same.  Our lives are much the same.  A few people who weren’t interested in dating us before may become interested.  But instead of feeling elated about that, we feel hurt and kinda pissed off.  We wonder why we weren’t good enough to date before.  And we wonder about the fear of dating somebody who will drop us when we gain some or all of the weight back.  People tell us how fabulous we look now.  And again, it kind of hurts.  We wonder what they thought about how we looked before we lost the weight.  We still feel pain.  We still get sick.  We fail to climb mountains or climb the corporate ladder.  We are simply smaller versions of ourselves with the same frustrations, insecurities, problems, challenges, frustrations and crud in our lives as before–except without cookies.  No cookies are anywhere.  And people wonder why weight loss can be accompanied by a side of depression?

This is why a behavior-based approach to health is so much better.  There is no before and after.  There just is.  I feel better when I exercise, so I exercise.  I don’t have to do something I hate.  I don’t have to do things that feel like punishment.  I don’t have to build up some ridiculous fantasy about how my life will change when I do it.  I find exercise that I like.  I know I feel better when I do it.  So I do.  It’s pretty simple really.

I know that when I eat too much of certain things, I feel kinda icky.  So I don’t usually eat too much of certain things.  Sometimes I do.  Sometimes I know I’m going to feel kinda icky and I eat it anyway and I enjoy it.  But I don’t like feeling icky so the next day I probably won’t eat too much of that thing.

I know when I eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, my body feels better.  I don’t count servings or weigh or measure my broccoli.  I don’t eat fruit or vegetables because I won’t allow myself to eat anything else and I’m starving.  I just kinda know I feel better when I eat fruits and veggies so I do.  I eat the ones I like when I am hungry for them.  I don’t imbue them with magical powers.  I am not suddenly going to grow taller or develop forearms like Popeye because I’ve downed a little spinach.  Fruits and veggies feel good, so I eat them.

It may seem revolutionary to some.  But I think when we stop focusing on how our bodies look and start focusing on the messages our bodies are sending us, we feel better.  And I don’t really know if I need a study to tell me that.

Love,

Jeanette DePatie (AKA The Fat Chick)

P.S.  We are only a few days away from the Fat Activism Conference.  It’s only $39 or pay what you can.  Check it out here!

P.S.S. Looking for a fabulously funny speaker who can talk about body image, HAES, eating disorder prevention, fitness and more?  Book me here!

Advertisements

Even more research on Fitness and Fatness

For the 1,000th time, fitness is more important than fatness when it comes to overall health outcomes.  In the midst of the holiday hubub, I came across yet another study regarding weight vs. exercise as a determinant of health.  This was actually a metastudy, which means the scientists gathered together a lot of other studies and used math and science to determine what most of those other studies said.  And it’s no surprise, at least to me, that fitness is much more important than body size in determining how long and how well people live.

This metastudy analyzed the results of 10 other studies.  And these studies in turn measured the results of tens of thousands of participants (the largest single study included 21,856 participant) and perhaps more importantly measured these people over a significant span of time (ranging from 7 to over 16 years).  It’s important to note that the studies analyzed included both enough participants to be statistically significant and were conducted over a long enough period to see what was actually happening in the lives of the participants.  Many of the studies cited regarding the effectiveness and efficacy of weight loss are conducted over a period of three years or less.  Given the fact that long term studies indicate that weight loss participants tend to regain all the weight that was lost and often a little more in the 3-5 year range, it’s clear that the duration of the study is an important factor in determining actual results.

And what were the actual results in this case?  I think they were pretty astounding.  The metastudy indicated that unfit people, no matter what they weighed, had twice the risk of dying during the study than fit people.  And the study showed that if you are fit and fat, your mortality risk is about the same as if you are fit and thin.  That means that all those thin and unfit folks had about a 50 percent greater chance of mortality than the fat and fit folks during the course of the study.

Whoa.

So here we are heading into the holidays.  This is a time when we have access to fabulous food and friends and fantastic food and family and well, FOOD.  This is a time when many of us feel more and more panic regarding weight and body size, culminating in a full blown panic that hits full force right around January 1st.  We live in a society where the commercials are full of food porn shots of holiday turkeys lovingly basted in butter and mountains of chocolate until December 25.  Only to be replaced on December 26 with shots of impossibly tanned and ripped bodies exhorting us to make 2014 the year where we too get to look like a movie star.

Bah Humbug!

The bad news is, no matter how many mashed potatoes we eat or avoid, and no matter how many crunches and squats we do, we are probably NOT going to look like the perky fitness models gracing those commercials on January 1.  The good news is, we don’t have to.  You don’t have to look like that to be a successful exerciser, and you don’t have to look like that to achieve massive health benefits from engaging in regular exercise.  And that regular exercise doesn’t have to include 2 hours per day at the gym or running marathons.  We’re talking about a cumulative total of 150 minutes per week here.  Eventually.  If you aren’t there yet, don’t worry.  You can get there!  Just start wherever you currently are with your fitness level and increase gradually, up to 10 percent per week until you get there.  Some studies show that even as little as 75 minutes per week of exercise can have a significant effect on health.

So, so what?

Why am I being such a Negative Nelly and bursting your exercise bubble?  Why am I not suggesting that you’ll look like that hateful woman with the three kids and the super flat abs and very tiny shorts who is all over the internet and your television asking you what is  your excuse?  (Because, of course, she says, if you do some exercise surely you’ll look a lot like she does!)  I’m telling you this because exercise is not only a wonderful way to improve health outcomes, but is also a wonderful tool to help you feel better, feel better about yourself, enjoy a better quality of life and have a darn good time.  And far too often, I’ve seen people approach exercise thinking it will make them look like a supermodel, only to give up a short time later when they find that they are not accosted by modeling agencies or Hollywood directors eager to make them millionaires or at least take them out to very expensive restaurants to tell them how pretty they are.

God, I’m GORGEOUS!

Exercise is wonderful.  I’ve seen exercise work magic in the lives of many, many people.  But it rarely works the sort of magic seen in “before and after” photo shoots.  The sad thing is, by looking exclusively for the “magic of exercise” as seen on TV, many people miss the magic that is right in front of them.

Here’s wishing you a calm, lovely, peaceful holiday.  And a 2014 that is full of all the magic that a moderately active lifestyle can bring to you!

Love,

Jeanette

AKA The Fat Chick

P.S. There is a lot of great advice about how to go from zero to moderately active in YOUR life in my book–The Fat Chick Works Out!  Now get both the book and DVD for only $25.

P.P.S. Want to get access to FREE STUFF?  Just opt in RIGHT HERE!

New Study Finds Shaming People Doesn’t Help Them Lose Weight: Confirms Ursine Creatures Poo in Forest

Bear poops in woods.  News at eleven!

Bear poops in woods. News at eleven!

Yet another study came out this week confirming that perceived weight stigma does not help overweight get thinner people.  In fact, weight discrimination is more likely to make them gain weight. 

Participants who experienced weight discrimination were approximately 2.5 times more likely to become obese by follow-up (OR = 2.54, 95% CI = 1.58–4.08) and participants who were obese at baseline were three times more likely to remain obese at follow up (OR = 3.20, 95% CI = 2.06–4.97) than those who had not experienced such discrimination.

In other news, a study confirms the pope is Catholic.

It’s possible by now you are well and truly sick of hearing me say that fat shaming people does not help them lose weight.  I know I’m a little sick of saying it.  But as long as the world takes this “fat shaming doesn’t work but let’s try it again” approach, I’ll feel honor-bound to keep repeating it.

On the same day that I came across this new research, I came across this gem (warning, serious asshattery) touting some new “hard-hitting childhood obesity ads” out of the UK.  While the article on Buzz Feed praises the ad for not showing pictures of fat kids looking miserable (as in the Georgia Billboard campaign), the author clearly needs a delivery from the clue department.  Because, even if you use kindergarten level graphics or an image of an overflowing urn, shaming people is shaming.  And shaming people doesn’t work. Shaming people doesn’t work.  SHAMING PEOPLE DOESN’T WORK.  *Grabs paper bag and starts breathing into it…*

Despite all the evidence mounting from all the studies about shame and obesity, the anti-fat people regularly demonstrate the qualities of insanity by trying the same things over and over again and expecting different results.  I think the reasoning goes something like, “Even though it didn’t work last time, fat-shaming gets government and organizational funding like nobody’s business.  Let’s get a grant to do it a little bit differently than we did it before and spin the results like a Maytag washer.”

So it seems that folks are going to continue to spend money on ineffective and dangerous fat shaming.  And I’ll continue to write about it.  It’s the circle of blog life I guess.

Love,

The Fat Chick

Like my posts?  You’ll love my stuff!

Buy my book: The Fat Chick Works Out! (Fitness that is Fun and Feasible for Folks of All Ages, Shapes Sizes and Abilities)–available in softcover and e-book versions

Buy my DVD: The Fat Chick Works Out! (A Safe, Easy and Fun Workout for Klutzes, Wimps and Absolute Beginners!)

Buy a book or a DVD for a friend and save $5!  Just enter FRIENDBLFT in the discount code box!

Check out my Training Programs–both in person and via Skype (Starting at just $25!)

or

Book me to speak at your special event!

Bullying is Also Bad for the Bullies

Last week, while wiling away minutes and hours on facebook, I came across this study about the negative effects of bullying on the bullies.  Now lest I be accused of victim blaming (on today of all days) I want to make it clear that nobody deserves to be bullied and there is nothing in this world that makes being a bully okay.  But I do find this study compelling.  The negative effects of bullying on those who are ostracized have been pretty well documented.  Those who are bullied face increased incidence of depression, a compromised immune system, increased stress hormones, poorer blood glucose levels and a whole host of other stress related problems.  But I hadn’t really thought before about the negative repercussions for those doing the actual bullying.  The study represented in the graph above seems to indicate that those who engage in mean behavior experience a higher level of emotional difficulties than those who don’t.

Now this is just one small study (152 subjects).  I don’t think we can establish a clear causal relationship here or in fact any definitive conclusions about bullies based on 152 subjects tested in one very specific scenario.  But it does get me thinking.  I mean being a bully clearly isn’t the best or most productive way to relate to the world.  Learning to cope with ones peers by bullying doesn’t seem likely to promise a future of many happy and rich relationships or fulfillment or happiness.  And what about those “innocent bystanders” in the “neutral” category on that chart?  What are they learning?  Are they learning to keep their head down, stay quiet, and keep off the radar?  Are they learning not to stand up and defend those weaker than themselves?  Are they learning to keep a low profile and just stay out of it?

I don’t know the answer to these questions.  I’m unlikely to know anytime soon.  But on an instinctual level, it seems clear to me that when there is bullying, nobody and I mean NOBODY wins.  When we allow bullying to continue unabated in our homes and schools and churches and public places, we fail.  We manifest a world based on fear.  Bullies learn a way of relating to the world that is mean and empty and unproductive.  Many among those who don’t experience any punishment or negative feedback for their actions learn to bully in ever more terrifying ways–tormenting, assulting, raping and abusing.  For some, the first punishment they ever receive as a bully is a life altering one (like a prison sentence and a lifelong criminal record).  Neutral parties learn that the only way to stay safe is to remain neutral.  And those who are bullied, just try to learn to survive.  Sometimes they do, and go on to thrive.  Sometimes they don’t and a life is ended far, far too soon.

As a society we have to make a choice.  Will we cope with bullying and cruelty when kids are young and the crimes potentially smaller?  Will we write off the behavior saying things like “boys will be boys” or “kids have to learn to work these things out for themselves?”  Will we wait until both the crime and the punishment will leave irrevocable, lifelong scars?  We must chose and chose well.  Because when bullying continues unchecked, everybody loses.

Love,

The Fat Chick