To want to offer up to all the fat shamers...

(599 Posts)
WichitaLineman Mon 27-Jan-14 13:57:35

... On mumsnet who peddle the old "fat people are lazy and lack will -power" or proffer their simplistic formula of "eat less, move more" an incredibly succinct description of food addiction by Marcus Brigstocke. I will admit that that sentence isn't quite so succinct wink

"Eating is different [from drug addiction]; it's dirty, it's horrible - you do it on your own and you wear it. [With] alcohol and drugs, you have moments of sobriety, [but] you don't stop being fat. You wear it; everyone can see it - it is a brand… an overcoat of shame for everyone to see.

"You despise yourself, you make promises to yourself, you say 'I had a bad day, that was bad but that means this is baseline and I can start', then you go and break those promises and do it again, and worse.

"Eating disorders are more pervasive and subtle [than alcohol and drugs] and availability and acceptability are much higher... the ”high“ comes from the totally full-up feeling ”It is an anaesthetic. You lie like a python digesting what you have, it slows your brain down and you are physically inert. Numb and dull, that is the feeling you get."

Whilst I am not saying that every obese person is a compulsive overeater, I wold wager that most are, including myself. This has resonated with me and is the best description I have read of the self-loathing involved in compulsive overeating. It is a faulty mechanism to deal with emotional pain and the fat shamers can't cause any more shame than we already feel for ourselves.

Whilst there are many people on mn who are understanding, I am always appalled by those who aren't. Please think on this when those threads come up. Thank you.

WichitaLineman Mon 27-Jan-14 13:58:23

Ps I am an old timer name-changer. See. Ashamed. sad

RooobarbAndCustard Mon 27-Jan-14 13:58:50

Good post.

Purplegirly Mon 27-Jan-14 14:04:43

I eat because I hate myself, it's a form of self harm. As a kid I used to cut myself. Now I eat. Everyone can see how awful I am ....

angelos02 Mon 27-Jan-14 14:10:19

I agree that people are often very simplistic when it comes to discussing people that are overweight. It would be odd to hear someone say to someone anorexic, 'oh, just eat more'. Yet people are happy to say 'just eat less' to someone that overate.

Sammie101 Mon 27-Jan-14 14:13:41

The biggest thing that annoys me is when people say, if they make horrible comments about someone it will spur them on to lose weight. All the nasty comments I got didn't make me think 'they're right, I should lose weight', they made me go home and eat more for comfort.

The biggest motivation when I was losing weight was all the people who noticed and said lovely things. It spurred me on to keep going and know that people could see the difference.

I hate it when people think that their nasty comments can spur people to lose weight!

Grennie Mon 27-Jan-14 14:14:01

I posted on a fat shaming thread how my friend was brought up as a child with disordered eating. Her sister had anorexia, she is very fat. Different side of the same coin in their case.

Even then there were posters saying - well if she really wanted to, she could lose weight.

On some threads, I struggle not to have a very low opinion of some posters.

headlesslambrini Mon 27-Jan-14 14:15:15

Very true

RandyRudolf Mon 27-Jan-14 14:16:13

I am new to the world of being fat shamed. Until a couple of years ago I was very slim, ate well, never exercised and never put on weight. I considered myself blessed that I didn't have to try to be slim. However now I'm older I find that I'm eating the same portions but I'm not burning it off and for the first time in my life I'm overweight and getting fatter. My family like to grab my flabby overhang and make 'jokey' comments about it. They're shocked to see me, someone who has always been slim actually carrying weight. I'm glad they find it so amusing because I bloody well don't. There are lots of things I could critisise about them if I was that way inclined but I would never dream of being so personal.

The main thing that I hate about threads like this is it starts off about overweight people and then interchanges with Obese people.

There is a big difference in carrying extra weight and being obese.

The recent research, once again showed that as long as you are "fat and fit", you are in no risk of disease or some health conditions.

The key is activity levels and fitness, whether you are thin or carrying body fat.

Obesity is something different.

I thought that this thread might be about the new research.

I agree with what you are saying, but I think that some women do genuinely struggle to maintain a medically correct weight.

Emotional over eating is a symptom and carrying body fat is an outward sign of that.

OpalQuartz Mon 27-Jan-14 14:18:38

Good post OP

Dawndonnaagain Mon 27-Jan-14 14:20:26

“Is 'fat' really the worst thing a human being can be? Is 'fat' worse than 'vindictive', 'jealous', 'shallow', 'vain', 'boring' or 'cruel'? Not to me.”
JK Rowling.

WichitaLineman Mon 27-Jan-14 14:20:51

I agree. I have been reasonably slim and had the same compulsions and self loathing. I am now obese.

The fat is the symptom and it could just as easily be drugs or alcohol (although I do think that compulsive overeating tends to be the drug of choice for people pleasers and codependents).

Being overweight because you like food, or you occasionally overeat out of enjoyment is totally different. I hate food but I can't stop eating.

Grennie Mon 27-Jan-14 14:22:07

Birds - We virtually all do things that are bad for our health for a variety of reasons. The OP explained a reason why many people are fat or obese. And you have to comment with your stupid health issue that everyone knows about.

Do you post on threads about anorexia - well being underweight is bad for your health.....?

Just listen to the OP and think about the real issue instead of posting the usual trite stuff people say.

SkinnybitchWannabe Mon 27-Jan-14 14:22:37

I am a compulsive overeater and am very slowly learning that food is not a comforter or a friend (if that makes sense).
Ive tried every single 'diet' there is. I've bought pills off the internet and attempted bulimia at one point.
I even tried to cut the fat off my stomach once when I was about 15 years old.
Im the stereotypical smiling bubbly fat girl but inside I was slowly dying.
I have a heart condition that I'm on medication for.
I am losing weight, 4 stone last year hoping for the same again this year. It is a daily battle to stop having a complete binge.
I really wish those people who say 'just stop eating crap' could live a day in my head.

Technically you don't have to be too overweight to be deemed obese - it just means you are 20% over what you should weigh so say if you are meant to weigh 10 stone but weigh 12 then you are obese....ridiculous but true.

I do agree OP but it goes the other way too........I am following a really strict gym regime at the moment as for me it is the only way I can control what I eat. I am an all or nothing person, starve or binge although currently I am being ok and healthy. I get comments like, you are too thin, your face looks too small, oooh look at your muscles, don't you ever eat....and it is very tiring.

So really, fat, thin, short, tall, we all get ridiculous comments so what matters is how we process and deal with them. I just grow a thick skin.

"And you have to comment with your stupid health issue that everyone knows about."

Try reading what I have written.

I write the same in every "fat" thread, being overweight isn't that much of a health risk.

I was pre-empting all the "what about your health" posts that are about to follow.

Health isn't dictated by body size, that was my point, as said to pre-empt the usual "fat shamers".

The distinction needs to be made between obesity and overweight. It keeps threads on track, most are pointless and go round in circles, otherwise.

I have just gone from the obese category to overweight after leaving an abusive relationship.

Try reading posts properly and think about what is written, rather than assume.

Rooners Mon 27-Jan-14 14:29:24

I always feel awful reading a comment that attacks people who overeat.

I say this as an anorexic since childhood, who used to overeat as well - it's a different side of the same coin.

I am very LUCKY to be at a stable weight now but many people are not so lucky.

Having said that I don't agree with the sense of fullness being satisfying that is described in the OP. To me that would be terrifying.

Maybe that's why I went to the other extreme.

It is never as simple as eating less for someone with a weight problem, but that's because it isn't about the food.

WichitaLineman Mon 27-Jan-14 14:30:43

Well done skinny - I hope you are getting emotional help too?

I have been in a residential treatment facility for addicts but still struggle daily. Having spent months with, and developed deep enduring friendships with heroin addicts, compulsive gamblers, sex addicts amongst others, the most pervasive and difficult to treat addictions were always the eating disorders. We have to live with our drug of choice every single day and it is exhausting...

I do function, and have loving relationships including a fantastic, understanding husband and wonderful kids, so I don't mean to come across as self-pitying. I would just like people to try to empathise with how soul destroying this is. I do everything I possibly can to try to ensure my kids have healthy self-esteem and don't feel the need to medicate their feelings, but it scares the shit out of me that they may have to suffer this too.

Rooners Mon 27-Jan-14 14:31:30

Grennie wasn't that a bit uncalled for - I for one didn't have a clue that Birds had any sort of health issue.

I'm sure it isn't relevant even if I did. Or if other people did. Which most of us probably didn't.

<loses train of thought>

"And you have to comment with your stupid health issue that everyone knows about."

Just to add, a lot of people, especially on MN, don't understand weight and health, or health in general.

We get the same clap trap every weight discussion thread, about " the health risks" of being overweight.

Grennie Mon 27-Jan-14 14:33:55

My comment wasn't about bird and any health issue she may or may not have. My point was that psychological distress is the issue here, not physical health.

And sorry, but your comment did make me really angry.

WichitaLineman Mon 27-Jan-14 14:35:04

With respect, Betty, I don't think you really understand what I am trying to convey. It is not about nasty comments about our weight.

There is a deep seated revulsion for the behaviour and the evidence of that behaviour - from ourselves and others. It is an illness, and it would be really, really nice if people could try and understand that.

Poloholo Mon 27-Jan-14 14:35:29

Caitlin Moran has a great piece in her book which you can also find here

WaffilyVersatile Mon 27-Jan-14 14:37:40

I am 5ft6 and my weight in the last 12 years (and 2 kids) has gone from 10st to 17st. I am utterly ashamed of how unfit I am - I actually don't care too much about how I look probably because I haven't felt like myself in so long that I have stopped looking.
Since being obese I found that its not just you who stops looking, other people don't seem to see me, if I speak in a group I have to speak up and even then I am not necessarily paid attention to. I think that people really do see those of a certain weight as almost a second class citizen.

I found out recently that I am expecting a baby so for me the game has been completely changed. I have started forcing myself to walk by either leaving the car at home or parking further away. I have downsized my plate and am now eating little and often (this is not just about my weight but also the sickness!) in a bid to make myself a little healthier. I don't have a plan to diet while pregnant but I want to make sure that I am doing all I can for my baby. I might not feel like I am worth the effort but its not about me now.

wonderingsoul Mon 27-Jan-14 14:37:49

Eating is different [from drug addiction]; it's dirty, it's horrible - you do it on your own and you wear it. [With] alcohol and drugs, you have moments of sobriety, [but] you don't stop being fat. You wear it; everyone can see it - it is a brand… an overcoat of shame for everyone to see.

wow.. that really hit acord with me, i cant put into words how, but it really rings true for me.

as a kid food/sweets was a reword.. didnt see much of etheir parent.. so sweets soften the blow..

i also use food for a reward now , if im feeling really happy ill treat myself t o some nice to top the day off ... if im depressed.. i binge eat... its just a viouse horrible relationship with food. and i wish i could just not eat all together!

which idid for a while on the cambridge diet.. lost 7 stone.... put i tall back on with in a year or two.. and my god the guilt over that.. its crippling.

and its true when you hate yourself that much and your self esteem is lower then snals poop its hard to be kind to yourself and to help your self.

WichitaLineman Mon 27-Jan-14 14:38:00

Brilliant, Poloholo - I have just remembered reading that and thinking how very, very true it is in my experience.

2tiredtocare Mon 27-Jan-14 14:39:11

Don't be ashamed OP thanks

ShephardsDelight Mon 27-Jan-14 14:39:14

Good thread, this seems to be the one issue where people are allowed to be openly vitrolic.

I once made a post about how annoying it was to be forced things like 'consultant' and other measure when in 2 pregnancies I have not even so much as a wavering blood pressure and that fat doesn't always = ill,

All I got of one poster was, "FFS a consultants time is expensive loose some weight before getting pregnant" cunt.
sorry thats not helpful but apt in this particular situation.

Pregnant women who choose to smoke and drink literally get less abuse, its astounding!!!!

Viviennemary Mon 27-Jan-14 14:43:43

I'd like to be slimmer. But being overweight isn't healthy. I don't quite know what you are getting at by your first post. And it isn't claptrap about risks and being overweight. It's a fact. So no point in being in denial.

WichitaLineman Mon 27-Jan-14 14:45:25

I don't quite know what you are getting at with your post either Vivienne. So that is good.

ShephardsDelight Mon 27-Jan-14 14:46:28

we know that vivien,

niether is drinking, drugs, smoking, being underweight, being promiscuous from a young age, watching too much tv, too much computer time,...

being fat is the only thing that it is acceptable to be cruel about though...

frumpet Mon 27-Jan-14 14:47:04

I think there are two fat camps :
1 . those of us who overeat because we are a bit greedy , portions too big , too many little snacks etc
2. Those who have a toxic or addictive relationship with food .

And i suppose there is always camp 3 who are overweight due to medical conditions that they have no or little control over .

Eat less and move more is effective for camp 1 , would be effective for camp 2 once the emotional issues relating to eating are dealt with first .

WichitaLineman Mon 27-Jan-14 14:50:01

You probably won't find morbidly obsese people - the ones who are the target of all this indispensable advice about moving more and eating less - in camp 1 though, will you?

Rooners Mon 27-Jan-14 14:50:04

Oh, sorry Grennie. I misunderstood it as a personal attack.

Ignore me, I will stop meddling.

Wait it's unhealthy to be fat!? shock

Nooooooo i'll put the chips down now then viviien. hmm
You are so right op. I think that fat shaming seems to affect women disproportionally to men quite a lot too. Yes it's an addiction, but you've made yourself unfanciable and there is nothing lower at that point. hmm

Also unlike other drugs.. you can't give up food cold turkty. and your brain never gets over your addiction.

put it this way..I have never seen a smoker or a drunk person verbally abused in the street but have regularly seen overweight women be.

Viviennemary Mon 27-Jan-14 14:58:38

I was doing fine losing weight before Christmas. Then Christmas came and though I had good intentions not to overeat I did. That was my fault. I haven't found that people are cruel about overweight people. Most people are quite sympathetic and realise eating less and excercising more isn't as easy as it sounds. But others don't.

Viviennemary Mon 27-Jan-14 15:00:08

I didn't read these last few posts before posting again. Sorry.

Purplegirly Mon 27-Jan-14 15:02:13

Gosh Vivienne, you haven't found people are cruel??? You have been very lucky.,as I said earlier I eat because I hate myself, I used to self harm - this is just another way. People can be very cruel.

LessMissAbs Mon 27-Jan-14 15:04:09

No idea what this post is about or what a fat shamer is, or why only fat people are lazy, but off out for a run instead of posting threads on it.

Also when fat people get (life risking) gastric surgery to make themselves healthy. What do people say?

it's cheating
just have some self control

When someone wants to give up smoking..

good for you, It's so hard, have you tried e-cigs/patches/gums?

I suspect people who think it is acceptable to be cruel about larger people are just arseholes who would think it is ok to be cruel to anyone about anything.

fromparistoberlin Mon 27-Jan-14 15:13:07

yes....and...not everyone falls into this category of overeating emotionally

put another way, if we say that everyone who has a weight problem had emotional problems associated, how can we tackle it?

I have never been one of the people you describe OP

but we need to be able to discuss it without people getting sensitive as its a very worrrying issue

also, it is a coicidence that the rise in obesity is linked the the rise in disposable income, and the prevalance of shitty foods?
yet you say its down to raising a generation of compulsive overeaters?

I am not bashing you OP, but I think your argument is dangerous as it risks creating a culture where we skirt around the problem

it also completely cuts overweight kids out of the equation, they dont have emotional problems, they are in the main fed very poorly and its not their fault either

MrsDeVere Mon 27-Jan-14 15:15:09

I was watching 'obese a year to save my life' last week.
There was a young lad on it. He was only in his mid twenties.
He had lost a lot of weight. About 8 stone by half way though the programme.

But he was still a 'fat person' in his mind. He wore fat people's clothes and he saw him self as the same person. He just couldnt' see how much weight he had lost.

He also had a really severe case of gynecomastia.

All I could feel for him was sympathy. Poor lad.

It wasn't hard to see how he had reached the point he had and just how bloody hard it was to change even with all the help he was getting.

Lets face it you only have to eat a few hundred extra calories a day to put on weight and than can be a packet of crisps and a few biscuits.

TalkinPeace Mon 27-Jan-14 15:18:31

Most of the "weight loss industry" fails the people it is trying to help because they focus on the food
rather than the brain chemistry that has made food the drug of choice.

For any person with a dysfunctional relationship with food - be that too much, too little or specific foods
until the brain and the body can be brought into alignment, all that can be done by others is to offer support and encouragement and to wait.

sunshinemmum Mon 27-Jan-14 15:20:02

Thank you for this Wichit!

Mrs DV so true. Years ago I lost a fair bit of weight through SW and my leader told me that I would always feel fat inside - whether she should have said that I don't know but it is certainly true. To me I am still fat, and even when people make comments about how tiny I am (I'm not) I don't know who they are seeing.

I read an article yesterday that said all we need to eat is an extra 100 g of chocolate a day on top of our normal diet and we would gain 4 stone in a year!

Scary stuff.....

Hedgehog80 Mon 27-Jan-14 15:20:46

I would not ever judge somebody who is overweight as I know, given a different metabolism it would be me.

I over eat/comfort eat when I'm stressed/upset/nervous etc. I have an unhealthy relationship with food and have far too much sugar in my diet. Dh is at times disgusted by what I eat. He cannot believe that his DM and dsis (who are both very large) eat less than me and he has said how worried he is for my future health.

Because it doesn't show on the outside its easier for me to pretend I'm not being stupid with food but it must be damaging me on the inside but the problem is the same.

WorraLiberty Mon 27-Jan-14 15:22:28

It's also acceptable to be cruel and vitriolic about smokers

I think fat shaming and smoker shaming seem to be the favourite pass times of some Mnetters.

CalamitouslyWrong Mon 27-Jan-14 15:23:46

*we know that vivien,

niether is drinking, drugs, smoking, being underweight, being promiscuous from a young age, watching too much tv, too much computer time,...

being fat is the only thing that it is acceptable to be cruel about though...*

That's not true. People are awful and judgemental about all of the above. Particularly relevant to thus thread is that people are cruel and judgemental about underweight women in exactly the same way that they are about overweight women.

normalishdude Mon 27-Jan-14 15:25:12

I think a lot of the difficulty is that it's actually easier for some people to stop substance abuse than it is for some people to lose fat. One can stop drinking/drug-taking one day and suddenly be a non user (although they still may be carrying health/emotional issues that have arisen from/caused the addiction, etc.), but it takes ages to not be fat anymore so one has to still deal with all the prejudices that go with that.

WichitaLineman Mon 27-Jan-14 15:54:06

Actually fromparistoberlin I was addicted to food from the age of 4. Stealing biscuits and gorging until I felt sick. I was suffering from low self-esteem and ate to fill an emotional void.

Children can absolutely suffer from disordered eating.

MrsDeVere Mon 27-Jan-14 15:56:46

There was a thread a couple of years ago about underweight/overweight.

I left it after a while. I descended into the same old crap about skinny women being grumpy because they are hungry and blah blah blah. Lots of grin and <arf>

No one batted an eyelid. It was fine to be rude and stereotypical about 'skinny' women.

A more recent one argued that the OP was BU to not like being called 'skinny'. It was a compliment apparently and she was lucky.

This is not meant to say that being thin is harder than being overweight or a moan about how difficult it is to be thin.

More that as soon as weight is mentioned all reason seems to fly out the window.

It strikes me that thin women think they are being judged by overweight women and overweight women think they are being judged by thin women.

When its more likely that everyone is so bothered about what they look like they barely notice what anyone else weighs.
Or they just don't care because they don't care about weight or dress size.

WichitaLineman Mon 27-Jan-14 16:10:34

I think my op is being derailed though. I have been and am called horrible names and kind of expect it, although it's not nice. I have also been anorexic (the two sides of the same coin thing). On the surface it would seem I exorcised extraordinary will power then - but inside I felt exactly the same lack of self-control as when I am binge eating.

I am more asking that before the usual suspects trot out nonsense about all fat people lack will-power and what an enormous drain we are on resources, they think about the alternative possibilities. That many of us suffer deep self-loathing and would do anything to lose weight, but more importantly the feelings that cause the overeating.

And by the way, the social stigma and insults of being fat were 10 times more demoralising than when I was thin and being judged for being overweight.

Just try and be kind. That's all.

WichitaLineman Mon 27-Jan-14 16:11:17

underweight not overweight

LaGuardia Mon 27-Jan-14 16:14:16


All I know is, if it was as easy and straightforward as some people think it is, do those same people really think that I would rather keep eating and stay obese and have random strangers call out "fat piece of shit" as I walk past them if it was as easy as all that to change it?

Kubrickian Mon 27-Jan-14 16:20:03

Ok my opinion will not be popular and I might get flamed - but I do believe in "fat shaming"

Not shaming as in calling someone derogatory names or mocking them. But in terms of a health professional saying out and out these are the risks with the lifestyle you have chosen and what the future risks will be.

Supersize vs Superskinny - I think that illustrates the point.

I believe in empathy, but I don't believe in comforting people in denial.

(I'm referring to morbidly/obese - not just people carrying a little extra weight.)

And this is a rather ignorant thing to say, but when people binge or over/comfort eat - why not do that with healthier substitutes? I do understand that need and want to eat but you're still making the choice of what exactly it is you're putting in your body.

WichitaLineman Mon 27-Jan-14 16:21:58

Exactly Gwendoline - you cannot possibly know what it is like to be passed over for promotion, jeered at in the street, lose relationships and friendships and health unless you are obese.

Nobody would choose that life.

I was just trying to offer an insight from the inside. Lots of people are empathetic, but a few posts on here have shown that some people will never, ever get it. Which is ok. I hope one or two may start to understand after some of these heartfelt brave posts by other people on here.

WorraLiberty Mon 27-Jan-14 16:25:15

And by the way, the social stigma and insults of being fat were 10 times more demoralising than when I was thin and being judged for being overweight.

For you personally yes

Not necessarily for others as I think MrsDeVere is pointing out.

WichitaLineman Mon 27-Jan-14 16:27:33

confused FFs it is not a lifestyle choice. Seriously, I won't waste any more breath on ignorance like that.

I feel pretty vulnerable explaining something that I am very very ashamed of. Yes even over the internet. And people like you choose to totally ignore what I am trying to say.

There is an obesity epidemic. People should be made aware of the health risks. I feel fucking terrible that I may cost the nhs cash because I am fat. I have been to residential treatment that involved selling a property to find to try to tackle this addiction. I see a councillor and attend over eaters anonymous. What else would you like me to try? What more evidence do you need that this is a pernicious,awful addiction?

WichitaLineman Mon 27-Jan-14 16:28:52

But how do you know unless you have been obese? Genuine question?

Fabulous idea to start this thread Witchita - just blown away by that quote - thank you. Where is it from? I googled "Marcus Bridgestock food addiction" etc but too many hits come up and they seem to be from 2010?

WichitaLineman Mon 27-Jan-14 16:32:11

Also I am morbidly obese and very very far from being in denial. Do you really think that most morbidly obese people don't realise they are fat? That is incredibly naive, and I wouldn't base your social commentary on a channel 4 show btw.

WichitaLineman Mon 27-Jan-14 16:32:39

It's from the independent - thanks bridges.

I have been obese. For me though, it was a lifestlye choice.....I liked eating more than I liked moving, it really was as simple as that (for me).

Almost 20 years ago now though I saw the light, pulled myself out of my dark pit, joined a slimming loss club and lost the weight.

I guess we all need a light bulb moment, and mine actually happened when someone insulted me. It hurt but at the end of the day it did me a massive favour.

Sadly, no one can do it for us, we have to be accountable to ourselves.

Not shaming as in calling someone derogatory names or mocking them. But in terms of a health professional saying out and out these are the risks with the lifestyle you have chosen and what the future risks will be.

That's not fatshaming hmm nor is it remotely what the Op is talkign about. If I go in to the doctor and say I have bad knees..and she says "well losing some weight would help, how can we work on that".

That's a medical opinion.

Some random twat on the internet saying just go on a diet,it's EASY. Is fat shaming. jeez

Kubrickian Mon 27-Jan-14 16:36:29

FFs it is not a lifestyle choice. Seriously, I won't waste any more breath on ignorance like that.

I'm not saying you specifically - but yes for some people it is a lifestyle choice.

Great thread Wichita - do you mind me asking what approaches the clinic and your counsellor are using to try and help you? Happy for a pm if you think it would derail the thread smile

TalkinPeace Mon 27-Jan-14 16:41:03

"food addiction" only exists where there are supermarkets and salaries and benefits that provide the means to become so

changing the mindset once it is created is incredibly hard in the food centric developed world environment

nobody should be insulted to their face about their size
but they should be offered support to get their body to a healthy size - whether that involves gaining or losing weight

Does anyone really think for a minute that those of us who carry excess weight (and I'm on the plump side of normal at the moment, having lost 5 stone last year and then going back to old habits over Christmas, now frantically trying to get back on the 'right' way of eating but struggling) don't KNOW that we're overweight, and don't KNOW what we need to do to become more healthy?

Sanctimonious posts about 'move more, eat less' and 'when you want to comfort eat, do it with lettuce' are so bloody patronising - it's like people assume that overweight people never read any diet advice, that our IQs go down as our weight goes up - drives me nuts.

I read Gary Taube's 'Why We Get Fat (and what to do about it)' and that has helped me understand the biological (as opposed to emotional) compulsion to eat the wrong stuff, and in the wrong quantities, and so I've managed to get away from the guilt of 'knowing' that I was fat because I was greedy and lazy - I am neither - but I still have to walk around wearing the evidence of my 'addiction'. That's not an easy thing to do, and I ended up barely leaving the house for 4 years after regaining weight subsequent to a dramatic weight loss.

Being overweight, let alone obese, is bloody agony for a lot of people - it can be the first thought when you wake up, and your last thought before falling asleep, and every day can be filled with reminders (mirrors, shop windows, just getting dressed) of how you are a 'failure'. It's not an exaggeration to say that you think about it, and are (self) conscious of it every hour of every day - and yet people still come out with the platitudes of - 'do more exercise', 'watch your portion size', 'use smaller plates' and all that crap. Well, bugger off.

If there was an easy solution to being overweight/obese, those who suffer from it would leap at it. There isn't. Personally, once I can get through the first few days of low carbing (which depends on what else is going on in my life, crisis-wise) then I can lose weight - and other people will have found their own ways of doing it - but I have immense sympathy and empathy for those who haven't found anything that clicked and worked for them.

Not really sure why I'm posting here, or what point I'm trying to make other than asking the 'fat shamers' to please shut up, because you're not helping anyone smile

jellyandcake Mon 27-Jan-14 16:55:10

I've told this story before on here - I was nine months pregnant one winter and wrapped up in a big long coat and scarf, therefore undeniably barrel-shaped. A van zoomed past me and the driver leaned out and shouted 'fat cow'. I was horrified and shaken and horribly embarrassed. It made me wonder what it would feel like to be that size and subject to that kind of judgement, censure and abuse on a regular basis. I agree that smoking is villified and smokers disapproved of for using up NHS resources but I don't think any group comes in for such revolted contempt as overweight people.

will never forget a thread on here where the OP had gone to her first mw appt and been spoken to patronisingly and unlikely by the mw regarding her weight. A large number of posters delighted in putting the boot in, telling her that she was clearly in denial about how very fat she was. Now, she may have needed some dietary advice or monitoring as of course weight can be a risk factor in pregnancy but it was the way some people felt entitled to be blunt, offensive and cruel under the guise of being 'honest'. That kind of 'honesty' is totally counter-productive. As the OP states, weight can reflect self-hatred and to reinforce that self-hatred is less likely to shock someone into constructive action than to simply send them into a more self-destructive pattern.

I will always remember that hot tingling sense of shame I felt getting such public and humiliating abuse for my pregnant belly. If it had been fat rather than baby it would not have spurred me to healthy eating habits, it would have strengthened that cruel mocking voice in my head telling me I was worthless. That doesn't inspire people to treat themselves well - Ime I need to be in a healthy frame of mind before I can be in a healthy state of body. Being treated with respect and dignity helps people to respect themselves and live in a dignified manner. Bring scorned and reviled will do the opposite.

MorrisZapp Mon 27-Jan-14 17:05:08

MN is a self selecting group of intelligent, usually quite well informed women though. I doubt there's anybody on here who thinks 'I wonder why I'm so overweight' whilst overeating.

But out there in RL there are thousands of people with not the first clue about many aspects of their health, including how to eat reasonably well. Case in point would be my BIL and his family, who think that it's ok to give my overweight niece a burger for her breakfast because they also gave her a fried egg.

Or the school kids who don't give a second thought to downing nearly 1000 calories of whipped drink heaven in Starbucks because liquid doesn't count.

Etc, etc. Ignorance rules in so many aspects of our lives. I agree that saying 'eat less, move more' to overweight women on MN is pointless, as they will almost certainly have thought much more deeply than that about their weight. But out there, obesity is just one of many serious problems we're storing up for our future and our kids future.

I'm overweight myself, doing the 5/2 just now to try to shift it. I want to be healthy.

WichitaLineman Mon 27-Jan-14 17:09:40

Some fabulous, understanding posts here. Some not so much. Those about accountability are as bad as the "eat less" ones. And anyone who writes that has absolutely no fucking idea about addiction. confused

I have been careful not to state that every obese person suffers from food addiction, but I do believe that the majority do and are not simply "greedy" or gluttonous - or why the hell wouldn't they have just rained it in a bit?

And I have done 12 step programmes as an inpatient, as an outpatient and through oa (the most effective although brutal in terms of deconstructing the psyche), psychotherapy, cbt, slimming clubs... All self-funded. I currently have psychotherapy.

As I say, I am mortified to think that I would give the fat shamers another reason to put the boot in if I have to use the nhs and their tax dollars - hence the fact that I am trying what I possibly can.

Grennie Mon 27-Jan-14 17:09:42

I agree that for most people, being mocked or patronised for being fat does not help. It does not help them lose weight one bit. It reinforces negative feelings they already have.

Madmammy83 Mon 27-Jan-14 17:10:59

*Ok my opinion will not be popular and I might get flamed - but I do believe in "fat shaming"

Not shaming as in calling someone derogatory names or mocking them. But in terms of a health professional saying out and out these are the risks with the lifestyle you have chosen and what the future risks will be.

Supersize vs Superskinny - I think that illustrates the point.

I believe in empathy, but I don't believe in comforting people in denial.

(I'm referring to morbidly/obese - not just people carrying a little extra weight.)

And this is a rather ignorant thing to say, but when people binge or over/comfort eat - why not do that with healthier substitutes? I do understand that need and want to eat but you're still making the choice of what exactly it is you're putting in your body.*

I'm not going to flame you. I am going to say that I think you're incredibly fortunate to never have felt the crushing sadness that comes before or after a food binge. I've had a terrible relationship with food since I was old enough to buy my own - I didn't have friends, I was cripplingly shy, and had an alcoholic single parent. Food was my comfort, my friend, and the one thing I knew wouldn't laugh at me or leave me on my own. As a 12 year old who went to school with a mouldy cheese sandwich once because her alcoholic mother didn't notice it had gone off, I can assure you that chopping carrots didn't register highly on my radar when I came home that evening. I would devour all the sweets I could get my hands on because at that particular second, they tasted good and they comforted me.

As a result I'm only really learning about food now for the last couple of years, what calories are and how things are broken down in the body. I've probably had a sugar addiction for about 20 years. I joined a slimming club and was told I was 16 and a half stone, and I was embarrassed and shocked. Did this mean I never binged again? No. It didn't. Despite a year of hard work and a couple of stone loss, I know I have the potential to put on serious weight again. My eldest son was taken to hospital a few weeks ago and I reached for my old friends - cake and crackers and butter and biscuits. Every mouthful tasted like guilt, but it was comforting at the same time. Please don't be so flippant as to say things like "I don't believe in comforting people in denial" or "why not binge with healthier substitutes" .
Believe me, very few of us are in denial. Would you encourage an alcoholic to go and drink ten pints of water instead of beer?

People without food issues seem to forget that an alcoholic can avoid drink, or pubs. Smokers get quit aids, or can avoid people who smoke. People with food addictions still can not avoid food. So it takes an incredible amount of education and willpower to turn your back on something you've used as a crutch your whole life, especially when people see you as a lazy lump or a fat cow. Fat shaming isn't productive, it isn't helpful, and it isn't encouraging. We are already ashamed.

WichitaLineman Mon 27-Jan-14 17:12:51

What a moving post madmammy sad.

TalkinPeace Mon 27-Jan-14 17:15:49

Morriss is utterly correct about the huge numbers of people with no insight at all about their behaviour.
When I see food diaries that do not include any drinks at all - even when its cups of tea with three sugars every hour
Or parents buying their children big packs of sweets as breakfast, I know that there is a total lack of mindfulness, and little capacity to create such, in much of the population.

Wichita Compulsive behaviour is a mental illness that needs to be treated. When the compulsion turns towards food, all of the normal 'avoidance / aversion' therapies cease to work. Hence why the medics fail most people.

WichitaLineman Mon 27-Jan-14 17:16:52

I get the well-educated thing, I do. However there are also addicts in all walks of life and I think it is a mistake to put too much blame on ill-education. Poverty can cause hopelessness, which in turn can cause low-self esteem and escapist addictive behaviour, perpetuating the cycle.

ProfondoRosso Mon 27-Jan-14 17:17:30

Wichita, I completely support what you say about our need to address the psychological issues before we can work on anything else re: disordered eating. No amount of healthy eating advice, 'motivation' from peers or exercise will do anything to help with the reasons why a person has an unhealthy relationship with food. It's like putting an elastoplast over a huge gash from open heart surgery.

I speak as a former bulimic. I also starved myself, but wouldn't go as far to say I was anorexic, but I was very, very thin as a teenager. I thought being thin would make me happy and that everyone trying to help was trying to sabotage my chances of being beautiful, desirable and 'good.' As a bulimic, I would binge eat like mad. I completely fetishised food, hiding Twix bars in my pillowcase, for instance. I remember walking around the supermarket with my mum, starving, looking at cakes and sweets, thinking 'if only I could have that and still be thin.' And I was bloody thin!

It took me a long time to get over that. Some familiar, frightening feelings have crept up recently. I'm on anti-depressants for an anxiety disorder and, without changing my eating habits (I swear), I have put on a significant amount of weight. I have been tempted to throw up my dinner, but have not done it and I know I won't. I don't enjoy being bigger than I was, but I'm glad, at least, that I have an appetite. As anyone with an anxiety issue knows, there's no joy to be gained from losing 3 stone due to being unable to eat and constantly throwing up with nerves. I think that put things into perspective for me a bit re: food and weight.

ALL of these feelings related to food and my body came from psychological illness, NOT from greed or because I just loved cramming in Double Deckers. Without proper attempts to understand and treat the psychological causes of disordered eating, and to treat sufferers with empathy, we/they won't get better. This is why it annoys me when posters on here go on about the physical health issues of being overweight, because we know the risks. I just want to say "well, lucky for you, being mentally/emotionally healthy enough that food isn't a massive emotional issue for you." As I said, a sticking plaster over a huge, open wound is no good.

I hope you're OK, Wichita, and commend you for a good, insightful post.

Grennie Mon 27-Jan-14 17:18:27

I read a study that had a group of obese people in hospital where they were monitored and given no food at all to lose weight. They all said it was massively easier to not eat at all, than to eat in small amounts.

Grennie Mon 27-Jan-14 17:20:47

And there is a difference with those who just have shit diets. Slimming clubs can help them, because they just need to understand how to cook and eat well, and what a normal portion looks like.

Many obese people know exactly what they should be eating and know the calorie counts for lots of food. It is not lack of knowledge that is the issue.

WichitaLineman Mon 27-Jan-14 17:22:30

I have written food diaries for nutritionists. And lied through my teeth. Because I was ashamed. It didn't mean I was in denial...

Yes I agree it needs psychological help - I think that is what most of us have said...

WichitaLineman Mon 27-Jan-14 17:26:13

Thanks profondothanks. I am fine. But I am weary of lying, protecting supply, secret eating. I am a nice person and this is all consuming. It fucking sucks. I am so glad for you that you are so mindful of not using on your feelings. And long may that last.

I actually function very well day to day. I just wish I could be free if this. sad

CuntyBunty Mon 27-Jan-14 17:27:44

The "trouble" with food is that we all have to eat, no matter how fat or thin we are. If you are giving up cigs, smack or booze, then you can just cut them out all together. It is still hard, but you can keep away. Food is everywhere; we have to prepare it for our children, people eat on the run, in public and there seems to be a fast food establishment every half a mile. It's hard OP and I don't think the diet industry helps. Good thread.

ProfondoRosso Mon 27-Jan-14 17:31:13

I wish I had some good advice to offer, Wichita - I do still eat too much from time to time, but not like I used to. I smoke (and have unhealthily obsessive feelings about it, as you say lying, protecting supply, secret smoking, in my case). But I think it can get better. I really, really do.

One thing I can tentatively say I've found quite helpful in dealing with my feelings/compulsions is mindfulness meditation. I was doing great with that for a good while, but got out of practice and have just come out of a very bad anxious episode. But I've enrolled on a course, so I can dedicate time to it each day. The message of it is not to judge yourself or others, to cultivate ease of being which in turns helps you get past the bad feelings which make you behave compulsively. I'd really recommend it.

WichitaLineman Mon 27-Jan-14 17:31:34

I also get peddled the "no eating disorders in Africa" line. You will find that many, many people there are addicted to solvents (I have lived there before I get told I'm talking shit). Same illness, different vice.

WichitaLineman Mon 27-Jan-14 17:32:33

Interesting. I'll look into it profondo. Definitely having 3 small kids and losing your sense of self doesn't help, so it may be just the thing!

BiscuitMillionaire Mon 27-Jan-14 17:33:09

Thanks OP, I have learnt something from your post (and Marcus Brigstock's words). I had never thought before about how your 'drug of choice' is ever present, that must be incredibly hard. Wishing you well.

It was noticeable at my kids' previous school which had a more 'deprived' intake, the number of mums who were obese. It was quite striking. I used to wonder if they had all had abusive backgrounds or if they were depressed.

WichitaLineman Mon 27-Jan-14 17:34:50

Thanks biscuit thanks. If you have learned something then maybe someone else may think twice before oversimplifying this problem.

TalkinPeace Mon 27-Jan-14 17:36:56

Wichita I can second Profondo on Mindfulness.
It works with all sorts of "pattern" problems.

Mindfulness is all about focussing on the right now, not judging the current moment against the past or the future.
Which for a food point of view works towards the 'not beating yourself up about the past and not anticipating beating yourself up about the future'
Its also about being honest with yourself, long before you worry about others as through honesty and focus can gradually come control.

be that over solvents, food, alcohol or work stresses ....

WichitaLineman Mon 27-Jan-14 17:37:09

Food is cheaper than booze. And as I said down-thread I actually think it is a particular drug of choice for those who are disempowered and co-dependent. I guess that would fit with lower-income families, many of whom who are struggling to raise a family in poverty. I dunno...

Moreisnnogedag Mon 27-Jan-14 17:40:25

I think overeating is a difficult issue, as bunty says you have to eat.

I do think that on MN there is a certain <ahem> brutal honesty thing that goes on where people are far harsher than they would be in real life. But that goes for many aspects of our lives: the way we raise our children, behave in queues, interact with our DPs etc. I don't think that being obese is particularly targeted, though I think that if you have an issue with eating you will notice it more.

In the same way, Witchitica I think you probably overlay your own difficulties on others (please don't take that the wrong way). I meet countless people who don't feel they have a weight issue as they are the same size as their friends or really do eat healthily but do not do any exercise whatsoever. A subset of those do have underlying problems, but it is not the majority.

MN is a way for people to gain information and honest opinions, but people should never be insulted whatever is going on and perhaps we just need to get better at reporting offensive posters.

goodasitgets Mon 27-Jan-14 17:40:43

You can be fat and fit. People believe "oh I eat so much crap and I can't put on a pound" so why is "I eat right and exercise but I can't lose a pound" so hard to believe
I am (by BMI) overweight. I exercise a lot and eat well. My blood pressure is normal and I have a resting pulse of 62. I'm not unhealthy

bodygoingsouth Mon 27-Jan-14 17:45:56

WhitchitaLineman your posts are very instructive, the stupid comments if not seeing fat people in Africa make me cross but I had no idea if the solvent abuse issue, that's fascinating I guess everyone has a drug, some excersise to a ridiculous degree.

I can't add as I know little about this but to try and Shame someone into not eating is vile.

Grennie you tell your relatives what you think of them if they point out your weight. what a bloody cheek.

fromparistoberlin Mon 27-Jan-14 17:46:15

OP, I am sorry this has stemmed from childhood, and I find your post very moving

I think my comments in fact are not really related to your OP anyway

But I am genuinely curious as to the increase in weight issues/diabetes and the increase in shit food being cheap, and easily available.

I think many people do have the the emotional issues you state

But I also think alot is down to poverty, education, parenting too IYSWIM

please dont think I am trotting out "eat less, move more", I just get very upset when I see and read about overweight children thats all and I think we have to accept there are many issues at play, and the emotional issue you speak of is a huge factor, yes

WichitaLineman Mon 27-Jan-14 17:46:48

But more, a small poll on this thread has shown approx 2 people who admit to being overweight because they enjoy overindulging. Many, many more have written movingly about their addiction to food.

Would you say that people who drink with awful consequences don't have an issue. Because it is exactly the same thing. It's about when the consequences become intolerable and yet you still engage in the same behaviour - that is addiction.

feelingdizzy Mon 27-Jan-14 17:48:37

I gain and lose the same 3 stone fairly regularly, am very heavy at the top end ,ok at the bottom end. I do not know how to maintain a 'normal' weight don't feel particularly bad about it ,don't hate myself when fatter(like slimmer better) just can't do it. My eating is the first thing to go when under pressure. I am almost 40,honestly can't be bothered anymore.
Someone up thread mentioned about a family member with anorexia , I had a brother who almost died from anorexia, makes me think that we learned something wrong about food ,I can't think what. But honestly when I do I think about it I realise how fecked up my family seems to be ,which guess what makes me want to have a chocolate bar !!!!! Might be a clue there wink

WichitaLineman Mon 27-Jan-14 17:50:23

Aw thanks you lot. And thanks most of you for not belittling the many brave posters for sharing their experiences. Apart from anything else it is so comforting to feel like I'm not alone.

I have two friends who are morbidly obese. Their stomachs hang down to their knees. They struggle to walk. Both are absolutely the loveliest people I know. Who would ever choose that life? One of these ladies I've known since nursery school and she's always been big but I know she's trying her best.
I like the saying 'don't judge anyone until you've walked a mile in their shoes'.
When I see someone obese I feel sad for them, and the crap they must go through. My dd1 was a chubby tween so I took her to sw with me to learn healthy choices as she was determined to eat rubbish given the chance. I was criticised by some members of my family but the reality is that being an overweight teenager is not a nice place to be. 5 years later she's a healthy size and eats everything in moderation.

I have my own issues with food. I get a kick from going to bed hungry and hate the feeling do being full. But I'm a healthy weight, slightly podgy but that's because I like chocolate more than I like being skinny smile
And I'm happy.
When I am unhappy I immediately stop eating whereas others would binge. I'm 6 foot tall and have weighed as much as 17 stone and as little as 9.
Not sure what I'm trying to say other than eating disorders are shit. I can have a crap day or a good day depending on what the scales say int he morning.

I'm trying very hard to teach my daughters 'healthy' eating rather than eating to be thin but it's so much more than that.

ItsATIARA Mon 27-Jan-14 17:54:27

Is it Caitlin Moran who said that food is the woman's / carer's addiction because it doesn't affect your ability to look after your dependents like booze, drugs or gambling?

I think there is a gender divide here. Brigstocke is a counterexample that there are men who are fat due to food addiction and of course there are women who have become very obese just because they like chips more than they like being thin and they have eaten 50 surplus calories every day over a period of thirty years. But it's more normally the other way around. I know a few men who have gone from obese to ideal weight just by doing the bleeding obvious, ditching the chocolates and beer, eating less and moving more and I can think of a few male public figures who've done the same. I can't think of any women who've managed that. (I do know one man who is morbidly obese due to psychological problems).

Partly perhaps because the pressure to be thin is so strong for women that very few would choose chips and social ostracism without some underlying issue, whereas for a man the stakes are so much lower that they do get fat merely because they like beer and chips, and hence a stern talking to by their GP may be enough to make them change their mind.

Moreisnnogedag Mon 27-Jan-14 17:55:20

Witchita there is an element of self-selection bias however. This is a thread about problematic overeating due to underlying issues, therefore more people who have those issues will post than those who don't.

People should never insult people and "fat shaming" in that sense is never acceptable, but people who post politely and with good intentions about calorie intake vs expenditure should not be vilified in turn. We all occasionally get 'advice' that makes us clench our teeth, but for some it may help.

WichitaLineman Mon 27-Jan-14 18:05:32

But it is very very hard to admit to such self-destructive behaviour. My husband knows I am fat. He knows I have issues with food. And yet I would be so ashamed and mortified to show him this thread.

So to extrapolate from that I think you would find that people would prefer others to think them greedy than admit to the real cause. The despair, the stealing, the lying...

I don't think some of you have a clue about what is going on in the fat person in your office, or the morbidly obese person on the street's head.

I would prefer to admit to having an affair than to having this compulsion.

TalkinPeace Mon 27-Jan-14 18:15:12

Your compulsion is the same as that of any addict.

One of my clients is an alcoholic. He has destroyed his family in the past, pulled it together for a few years and is currently in the middle of another self destructive spiral.
Losing his driving licence has made him worse as he has no reason to sober up enough to drive.
The sooner he gets in a fight and gets put in prison (yet again) the sooner he'll sober up for a few more years.
But the demons in his head will always be there no matter how he appears on a good day.

WichitaLineman Mon 27-Jan-14 18:18:46

Exactly. Rock bottoms and all that sad

itsatiarra I agree with everythign you said.

KatnipEvergreen Mon 27-Jan-14 18:33:06

I completely understand people being obese. Fat shaming on the other hand? Why would you want to do that? At least you can change your weight easier than your entire bloody personality that makes you want to shame someone.

For one thing, with modern lifestyles and the availability of convenient, high-calorie food it's a lot easier to be overweight than slim.

I think at last I might have knocked comfort eating on the head. But I totally get the food-tastes-nice-and-makes-me-feel-warm-and-loved. I started at 16 when I got called fat (I was barely overweight, 11 and a half stone and 5'7") and it just made me eat more, and have done it off and on ever since.

I also get the "I hate myself so I'll eat to excess" thing as a form of self-harm. I have bordered on that at times of stress. The only thing that has stopped me from being very overweight is discovering that exercise was actually rather important to me and enjoyable, and I feel much better when I do it than when I don't.

WorraLiberty Mon 27-Jan-14 18:34:08

I don't think some of you have a clue about what is going on in the fat person in your office, or the morbidly obese person on the street's head.

No-one knows what's going on in anyone's head to be fair.

People are overweight/obese for a whole multitude of personal reasons.

maddening Mon 27-Jan-14 18:41:07

yanbu - and the difference to other addictions is that you can cut out old drinking/drug friends etc you can't escape food - you still have to eat - and every occasion involves food!

in my case it is a health issue that makes my fight against fat v hard but those looking at me and thinking Fat/lazy don't know this.

WichitaLineman Mon 27-Jan-14 18:41:48

Don't be pedantic. You know what I mean. And to be fair a lot of people who do not have weight problems spend an inordinate amount of time speculating about what is inside obese people's heads. There is a whole dieting industry exploiting it.

I am offering an alternative perspective from someone who has shared innermost thoughts with many obese people.

Debs75 Mon 27-Jan-14 18:49:09

"Eating is different [from drug addiction]; it's dirty, it's horrible - you do it on your own and you wear it. [With] alcohol and drugs, you have moments of sobriety, [but] you don't stop being fat. You wear it; everyone can see it - it is a brand… an overcoat of shame for everyone to see.

That right there is why I struggle with weight loss so much and why I always feel I have to explain away my weight. I could live on salads, grilled chicken and brown rice for a month but I wouldn't suddenly be a size 10. No matter how good a day you have had you are still fat at the end of the day.

I have been overweight all my life and Obese for most of my 20's. My Mum used to just tell me to lose weight, pretty hard when she was doing my cooking and she had no advice for me at all. She is a complete fattist. She makes remarks on everybodies weight, usually as an opening line.

I have lost around 3 stone since dd3 was born 3 years ago. I know that is a great achievement for me but I am still fat and people see that and judge me, including mum. When I have reached a new milestone and tell her she always adds 'but you still have a lot to lose'
Well no shit! Yes I do, I know that but I need encouragement and recognition to keep me going

KatnipEvergreen Mon 27-Jan-14 18:57:36

YY, it can take a bloody long time to lose even a few pounds. Then you have a bad week and there they are again.

Debs, it's horrible to have an unsupportive parent. It sounds like she has some issues herself. KBO (Keep Buggering On) xx

GimmeDaBoobehz Mon 27-Jan-14 18:59:32

Only read a few responses so not sure if it has been mentioned yet but the thing that I remember most when remembering this (I am pretty overweight myself) is that at least when you are addicted to drugs, alcohol, porn, gambling you can live without it. But the worst addiction is being addicted to something you need to survive and that is so true.

ShephardsDelight Mon 27-Jan-14 19:01:43

'judgemental about underweight women in exactly the same way that they are about overweight women.'

thats not true , society in general is much kinder to underweight women.

WorraLiberty Mon 27-Jan-14 19:03:39

I'm not being pedantic at all.

You've said a couple of times that you'd be willing to bet most obese people are compulsive over eaters.

But then you quite rightly went on to point out that you don't know what goes in in their heads.

There have been many posts on MN over the years from people saying they're overweight/obese because they enjoy all the wrong foods and don't exercise.

There have also been many posts from overweight/obese people saying that just like you, they are compulsive over eaters.

I guess what I'm saying is, everyone has their own individual story.

IamGluezilla Mon 27-Jan-14 19:06:24

I don't think some of you have a clue about what is going on in the fat person in your office, or the morbidly obese person on the street's head.

I think this is probably true, but I think it is hard to truly empathize with something you haven't experienced at first hand- especially when shame/media blindness/misogyny make it less likely that you will find out what that experience is actually like.

This thread also raises the question of "so how do you support an overweight/obese person". Can you say "I'm worried you are unhappy?", "I'm worried about you"?

MrsDeVere Mon 27-Jan-14 19:10:22

Shepards that might be true on a mass scale but it certainly isn't on a smaller, social, personal scale.

If you are scathing/judgmental/aggressive/abusive about someone who is thin or fat it doesn't really matter if Hollywood prefers women with a BMI of 14. It won't protect Alison Jones from Dungeness from wanting to self harm or from buying dangerous 'bust building' drugs off the internet.

It doesn't take away from the pain and the damage it does.

Admitting that it happens to underweight women does not take away from the pain overweight women feel. Minimising what someone else goes though is not an effective way of dealing what you are going through.

The issue here is weight and what society expects from women.

I don't see what is to be gained from dividing women into them and us.

KatnipEvergreen Mon 27-Jan-14 19:18:37

Yes, I hate those things that pop up on Facebook about Marilyn Monroe being so much more attractive to men than some stick thin model. Just swapping one ideal body for another which may be equally unachieveable, and saying you are only a valid person if sexually attractive to men.

Also I was cheered by the "Strong is the new thin" message at first, as I have always been a bit muscly. And yes, exercise and having a strong body are a very good idea for health reasons. But again, it is just swapping one body fascism for another.

WichitaLineman Mon 27-Jan-14 19:31:19

But worra, as I have said, with all the shame surrounding compulsive overeating many people would rather claim greed and enjoyment of food is the cause of their obesity than a compulsion. I have and continue to do this.

I have had years of therapy and have spoken to hundreds of people about this and it is so much more prevalent than I think you realise.

I agree that it is wrong to judge anyone on their weight, but we are being disingenuous if we pretend that morbidly obese people and underweight people suffer the same censure from society. The stereotypes of fat people are that they are lacking control, greedy and lazy. They tend to be that a thin person has an iron will and is a bit neurotic. Not the same.

I wouldn't dream of making a remark about anyone's weight however.

Backinthering Mon 27-Jan-14 19:32:50

I read last week that woman who were sexually abused when young are more than twice as likely to binge eat. That made me think that the fat shamers should hang their ignorant heads.

WichitaLineman Mon 27-Jan-14 19:43:06

Also, note how many made-for-tv true movies there are about anorexia, drug addiction - even sex addiction. Any about compulsive overeating? Not very glamorous, eh?

Do anorexics get abuse shouted at them in the street? Not nearly as much as obese people. Just go back and read GwendolineMary's post. Let's be honest about this and then perhaps we can start to lose the stigma surrounding it and genuinely reach out to help with the issues.

thepurplepenguin Mon 27-Jan-14 19:50:37

My DH is obese and on a constant diet. If you met him you would probably think he was poorly educated about diet and nutrition because he seems to abdicate all responsibility for eating 'properly'. But when you get to know him you realise he is 'ignorant' because he is addicted and ashamed but pleading ignorance seems like the more socially acceptable option.

Moreisnnogedag Mon 27-Jan-14 19:52:40

As worra has said for the individual though, is there much comfort to be had that the Hollywood ideal is a size x when they have snipey comments made about them.

I think the greater issue is that people feel it appropriate or right to negatively comment on someone's size.

There is a world of difference between offering someone well intentioned advice and shouting out insults to a random on the street.

jenniferalisonphillipasue Mon 27-Jan-14 19:53:41

I have enormous sympathy for those who are obese and do not want to be. However like any addict it ultimately comes down to choice. Whether that choice is simple or not is irrelevant.
I spent 14 years as a bulimic. Making myself sick up to 10 times per day and spending a fortune on food to binge on. I made myself pretty ill. After a lot of searching I realised the only person that could change things was me. It took me a long time to change my behaviours and I occasionally relapse but not for long. If you don't want to be fat you do have a choice and like most things it is a long, hard road but ultimately only you can change it.
Also for those comparing anorexia and overeating. They are not the same thing, they are opposite. They might stem from the same cause but it is really hard to be anorexic (i tried and failed a number of times) whereas it is not difficult to over eat.

WichitaLineman Mon 27-Jan-14 20:08:11

I have been both. I have weighed 20 stone and 6 3/4 stone. The addictive process is the same. They are opposite sides of the same coin and no it is not easy to overeat and difficult to undereat. By saying that you are fat shaming yet again. hmm stupid over eaters taking the easy road.

A perfect example of how hard it is to change people's entrenched prejudices towards compulsive overeating.

Yes, ultimately only you can decide to get well, but often we are not master of our own destiny and are chained to this repulsive, addictive damaging behaviour.

As I say, I have had 20 years of various treatment and have read endless research/ been treated by the most eminent in the business.

Tabby1963 Mon 27-Jan-14 20:14:18

The root of the problem is low self esteem. I don't believe that I deserve a healthy body so I will sabotage every diet or weight loss programme I ever try I don't deserve to succeed because I am rubbish, everyone knows this.

Marcus's statement sums it up nicely, OP. I like this bit particularly "You despise yourself, you make promises to yourself, you say 'I had a bad day, that was bad but that means this is baseline and I can start', then you go and break those promises and do it again, and worse."

Why don't we then turn this whole thing on it's head? Take away the weight loss aspect and concentrate on improving our self esteem instead?

Much harder to achieve; no scales, no diets, no weighing stuff, no calorie counting, no measuring waist sizes, no special food rules...

I have been focusing on improving my self esteem by challenging my personal 'voices' which put me down and belittle me every day. It's a very subtle change that begins to take place; hard to measure. It's just a change in attitude and behaviour, a new acceptance of me by me.

It means practically that I can make choices about what I eat which can be kinder to my health, if that makes sense. I am worth it. One of the side effects is clothing getting looser and me having to look out smaller stuff in bags under the bed. I do not ever weigh myself any more, it's irrelevant now. Looking after my self-esteem and continuing to challenge negative thoughts and assumptions is more important.

It's not dieting though, so anyone who wants to "lose a stone by Easter" or "drop a dress size in a month" will be sorely disappointed.

jenniferalisonphillipasue Mon 27-Jan-14 20:17:44

I am not fat shaming at all. Like you I have spent the last 20 years being fat and thin and searching for the answer to my emotional eating. I do believe that in this situation that we are masters of our own destiny. If we aren't then who is? And who else has the the power to change it?

TalkinPeace Mon 27-Jan-14 20:17:50

been treated by the most eminent in the business
sadly that reassures me not at all
The latest craze for surgery is being pushed because of fees, not because of outcomes for patients

All addictions need to be treated in the head as well as the body : gastric bands and VLCDs do nothing of the sort.

In almost all other types of addiction (drugs, alcohol etc etc) the treatment workers are former sufferers.
How many of the medics working with the obese or anorexic have ever been either? Therefore why is it a surprise when they do not 'get' the mindset?

Alcoholics recover when their inner desires to do other things than be drunk can be hauled up above their desire for booze.
Drug addicts ditto
Food addicts, although they can never give up food, can switch to eating mindfully - with a great deal of appropriate support.
Sadly appropriate support has not yet been developed by most hospitals and medics.

Moreisnnogedag Mon 27-Jan-14 20:20:06

That's a bit harsh wichita. I think jennifer is just saying that there is a greater availability to overeating, over time our body will override our satiety reflex, whereas it is much harder to override our hunger reflex. I don't think there was a moral judgement attached to that.

Osmiornica Mon 27-Jan-14 20:23:41

I have been overweight my entire adult life (and I'm not young). I've battled with trying to lose weight by going on various diets, ww, sw etc but nothing worked for long and I'd normally stop losing weight for months then end up quitting and putting it all back on again (and some). I was always hungry and used to get attacks of low blood sugar and shakes which were awful.

I could never understand how people could so easily say no to food and to be ok with being hungry (no shakes etc).

Lately I've been doing a low carb diet and I can honestly say the shakes have gone as have the cravings. I sat and ate dinner today with 2 chocolate cakes in front of me on the table and I just wasn't bothered at all - unheard of before. I don't have that insatiable appetite I had before - it's physiological not psychological for me.

I truly believe that following a low fat (ie high carb) diet has led me to the position of being so overweight in the first place.

Oh, and those saying you only need x amount of calories to put on y amount of weight each year surely is just nonsense. Can you imagine if that were really true? People would get crazy weight loss and gains all the time as most people don't count calories to that extent. Also what happens when you get to a low weight - do you continue to lose it even though you're only eating x amount of calories less than the recommended each day - of course not.

bodygoingsouth Mon 27-Jan-14 20:34:13

Debs you tell your mum she's being very hurtful and unsupportive. well done for loosing 3 stone.xx

WichitaLineman Mon 27-Jan-14 20:35:59

But all the counsellors in the treatment centre are former addicts. In fact eating disorders were treated with all other forms of addiction.

One of the tenets of the 12 steps is to acknowledge that we are powerless over our addiction - it is based on the principle that all addiction is a form of control. It also suggests that you hand over to a "higher power". This sounds a bit "woo" but means different things for different people. For me it meant being accountable to the group in group therapy.

Addicts are fundamentally manipulative and it was important for me to let the rest of the group call me on it when I was being dishonest. That is what I mean by not being master of my own destiny.

I had to reach rock bottom and go into treatment on my knees emotionally. It took that for me to seek help.

TalkinPeace Mon 27-Jan-14 20:38:15

If you are not the master of your own destiny, who is, when you are away from the group?

WichitaLineman Mon 27-Jan-14 20:40:02

But moreis, most of the people I know with eating disorders have no concept of appetite or hunger or fullness. So I think that this argument is irrelevant and does perpetuate the myth that overeating is caused by a lack of control whilst undereating is caused by immense willpower.

This is just not the case a lot of the time. confused

WichitaLineman Mon 27-Jan-14 20:41:44

That is why, when following a 12 step programme you need to attend meetings every week (90 in the first 90 days) and why you have a sponsor. It's exactly the same for alcoholics.

I should probably follow my own advice and do this again but I am scared.

ProfessorSkullyMental Mon 27-Jan-14 20:44:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TalkinPeace Mon 27-Jan-14 20:44:28

most of the people I know with eating disorders have no concept of appetite or hunger or fullness
the myth that overeating is caused by a lack of control

Overeating is caused by the brain having trained itself to ignore the chemical feedbacks that should semi regulate appetite.

Very low carb diets have been shown to reset the feedback loops that allow the stomach to regain control from the brain about what goes in.
Mindfulness helps a lot of people.

Saying that nothing can be done is copping out.
You just have to keep looking until you find the system that helps you get your mind and body back in synch.

WichitaLineman Mon 27-Jan-14 20:50:20

Believe me I am working on it.

I have exposed myself on this thread. I know it is aibu, but it makes me feel vulnerable that some people are refusing to hear what I am saying.

I can't believe that some people are still arguing that it is to do with overriding appetite mechanisms. I have done endless low carb diets - south beach, Atkins, metabolism miracle.

I have had times of respite. I lost 7 stone 3 years ago and put it all back on within 6 months. That is not normal and I hate myself for it. Don't you think I've fucking tried all these things?

I have not given up hope. If you look at my earlier posts you will see that I have and will continue to spend vast amounts of cash on sorting this out. For my health, my happiness and that of my wonderful family who hate seeing me suffering and also find it incredibly frustrating seeing me killing myself.

I will not give up. But please don't patronise me.

TalkinPeace Mon 27-Jan-14 20:51:39

In that case all I can say is - give Mindfulness training a go and good luck.

WichitaLineman Mon 27-Jan-14 20:55:46

Thank you. I didn't mean to make this all about me and I am not nearly as miserable and joyless as I seem.

I didn't mean this thread to be about the way the obese are judged. I just wanted to give an honest account of compulsive overeating to counteract the usual generalisations.

Tweasels Mon 27-Jan-14 20:58:37

Thank you for this thread Witchita. And all the other contributors. It's really wonderful to see this issue discussed in such an intellectual way.

I, like many others here have an eating disorder. I either eat too much or too little. I obsess about food. I feel suffocated and trapped by it. I have no problem losing weight when I'm in the right frame of mind but it becomes extreme, then unmanageable and ends in binging.

I'm quite frankly sick of thinking about it.

I went to the GP and tried to explain this and was given an advice sheet on healthy eating. The medical world just don't seem to 'get it'.

JesusInTheCabbageVan Mon 27-Jan-14 21:01:18

Has anyone read The Hungry Years by William Leith? If not you should - anyone who has struggled with binge eating and weight should read it. It's all about his own food issues, what caused them, the shame and humiliation of being overweight/ obese. Really fascinating, compelling and well worth reading.

Madmammy83 Mon 27-Jan-14 21:05:59

Thanks for the thread Witchita, you'll get there x

paxtecum Mon 27-Jan-14 21:16:48

Holistic hypnotherapy works on raising self esteem so could be really worth trying.

Struggling90 Mon 27-Jan-14 21:23:43

This is a very interesting thread.

I have always been slimmer than my dsis and when the weight starts to creep on I start calorie counting or just eat smaller portions. I have given her tips on losing weight and probably gave the impression it would be easy. In fact she struggles with having smaller portions/restricting herself as her love for food is greater than her desire to.lose weight.

I have little confidence and being a slim/healthy weight is one of the few things I can feel good about.

WichitaLineman Mon 27-Jan-14 21:27:32

If we are talking her needing to lose a few pounds then perhaps she does just love food.

If she is morbidly obese I suggest it is likely that she hates food.

JoinYourPlayfellows Mon 27-Jan-14 21:34:54

I feel fucking terrible that I may cost the nhs cash because I am fat.

No sad

The NHS is there to care for all of us when we are sick.

Quangle Mon 27-Jan-14 21:42:07

OP I totally agree with your basic premise about fat shaming. And the idea that fat is a visible "failing" whereas everyone else who goes home and drinks half a bottle of wine every single evening has an invisble failing so they don't get knocked for it or treated as less worthy.

So I get that.

However, I do think there are lots of things going on with fatness. Some of it is addiction-related and a form of self-harm. Some of it is not - but that doesn't mean it's actually any easier to fix.

Some people are just more motivated by food than others, more interested, less easily sated. Controlling that is hard too. And once you have put on weight through say an extra 50 cals per day over a few decades, it seems like a mountain to climb to get rid of it.

And then you add in our obesogenic society with calorific food available cheaply everywhere all the time and it's even more difficult. I am not sure there's been a massive increase in society's levels of psychological need but there has been a massive increase in obesity and I think a lot of that is just down to food being everywhere, all the time, and every day tiny steps being taken that make it that bit less likely that you'll stay active (selling off school playing fields, cramming the curriculum so no time for PE, giving people choice over schooling so children no longer necessarily go the local school they can walk to and so on and so on). None of these choices are wrong in themselves but they add up to a different society to one my parents grew up in.

Bottom line - it's a very hard problem to resolve. And if we were serious about treating it we'd start by banning cars and getting everyone walking again. And banning supersized food portions and chocolate bars as big as coffee table books in supermarkets...but that would all be anti-business and the nanny state and all that stuff that would never do. So easier to tell all the fat people it's all their own fault.

Quangle Mon 27-Jan-14 21:47:07

great piece by Caitlin...shame about the comments, as ever.

WichitaLineman Mon 27-Jan-14 21:48:12

Good points quangle. I'm not sure that these things alone lead to morbid obesity though. That is a whole other level of eating and weight gain.

I think that in part the obesity epidemic has to do with a change in drug of choice due to cost, availability etc.

I take what you have said on board though. I just think that most people without an eating disorder could stop the damage before the consequences become intolerable. I have often felt like I would like to die (if not actually suicidal).

fab84 Mon 27-Jan-14 21:50:25

Not read thread but great post op.
My sister was a little plum size 14. Some idiot made a comment. It led to years of eating disorders. Aneroxia and bullimia. Her weight is now steady but she is anemic and has lost most of her teeth.
She was healthier as a size 14.
I am now obese and I use food as a crutch. I can lose weight when happy but not when things are bad. Being exposed to eating disorders as a early teen can't have helped
So yes op people should leave people alone.

bodygoingsouth Mon 27-Jan-14 21:52:11

this is a fascinating thread and an eye opener for me personally. thanks to every brave poster for sharing. hope just writing this stuff down helps in some small way.

well done whitchita and others

troubleinstore Mon 27-Jan-14 21:55:56

I overeat .. there I said it.

My thinking is sometimes if I eat 'this' or 'that' how thin a layer of fat will that make over my whole body?... and the answer is always 'a very thin layer, almost miniscule' that means it wont matter this time.

I also sometimes think that if we ate food and it ended up the same shape in your stomach i.e. a pizza and it ended up a circle wedged sideways in your tummy, you'd eat less, as it would be more noticeable

I know this is just ridiculous.

is it just me?

MorrisZapp Mon 27-Jan-14 22:01:03

Lol, well that is ridiculous smile But I'm just as bad. I refuse to accept that chocolate is fattening if I have it with a cup of tea. I feel like as it enters my body as a hot liquid, it can't do any harm.

I don't problem overeat, but I do have the odd binge. I think at the time, this tastes so good, it simply can't be wrong. If my body wants it so much, who am I to deny etc.

Quangle Mon 27-Jan-14 22:04:37

I come from a long line of obese and morbidly obese people. The ones I can speak for (ie, my very close family) don't have the kind of self-harm thing you describe. They are just all there in the same place for lots of different reasons and I think for everyone, once you are there, it's so so hard to get back from.

I'm sorry this has been such an awful burden for you OP. I do know something of the pain and suffering you are going through, having seen it in my family, and I wish you all the best with tackling it.

One thing I will mention - with caution because I am the very last person to give advice on this and this isn't a thread about looking for advice - is that one family member had bariatric surgery, successfully. I agree with the poster who said it's really annoying that this is viewed as "cheating". There's also a view that you need to "fix your head" first - but that's easier said than done and if you could fix your head you'd probably lose the weight without the surgery. The naysayers are all a bit simplistic and kneejerk about it, imho. My observation was that what really helped was the massive headstart iyswim. My relative lost a huge amount of weight - her mental state didn't change as a result but she kept it off because she was no longer faced with an impossible task. I think that can be very valuable in itself.

I hope this isn't too out of place in a very thoughtful thread. I just wanted to share an experience I know of - about a method that is often misunderstood.

WichitaLineman Mon 27-Jan-14 22:13:51

Not at all. And obviously I have considered it. But the small nagging abusive voice in my head says I am not worth it. That I should be able to exercise the necessary self-control to tackle it myself... Ridiculous but it shows how deep rooted the shame and is.

I think what I would like to achieve by spilling my guts here is that one person or more may stop stigmatising fat people. The shame keeps us secretive and unable to seek help, which perpetuates the cycle.

I don't want dieting tips, I want someone to ask how I am feeling. I feel so hmm that when someone asks their doctor for advice, as seen below, that they are offered nutritional advice. There are so many well educated and articulate mn who get it so so wrong with this.

Anyway, onwards and upwards. Thanks for letting me vent.

Quangle Mon 27-Jan-14 22:16:40

yes that made me angry too. To expose yourself to a medical professional and be treated like an idiot who doesn't know the basics angry

It's a very complex issue with complex solutions and a diet sheet is highly unlikely to be the fix. Keep talking Witchita - you do deserve to find a way out of these feelings.

WichitaLineman Mon 27-Jan-14 22:26:16

Sadly so common though. It is distasteful to gorge on food and drs often treat it as such.

I spoke to my midwife, desperate to protect my baby. I was honest. She sent me to a nutritionist who gave me a diet sheet. I have also had counsellors pat me on the shoulder when is have brought it up anxious to talk about it and tell me that we should focus on something else and it will fix itself.

WorraLiberty Mon 27-Jan-14 22:35:07

But worra, as I have said, with all the shame surrounding compulsive overeating many people would rather claim greed and enjoyment of food is the cause of their obesity than a compulsion. I have and continue to do this.

Yes but again you don't know how many

I get what you're saying but you can't tar obese people with the same brush because they are all individuals.

I'm sure there will be some that are reading this and taking offence to being 'diagnosed' for want of a better way to put it.

MsJJones Mon 27-Jan-14 22:37:22

Thanks for starting this thread, Witchita (great namechange smile) so much of it has rung true for me and I'm touched by others' stories. I have a lot in common with you and I don't know the answer but it definitely isn't fat-shaming.

One of my healthiest times was when I was pregnant, even though I was still overweight I was eating healthily, doing exercise, yoga and felt proud of my body because for once it was doing what I wanted and had a purpose rather than being this useless thing (my 'coat') I carried around. At one appointment a mw said how nice it was to see a 'normal healthy pregnant woman' - it made my day and was more motivating than any warnings or cruelty could ever have been.

WichitaLineman Mon 27-Jan-14 22:43:13

As I have said. I am careful not to say all. It seems like you are just eager to discredit for the sake of it.

Surely it is more important that one person who has felt alone and miserable with this feels less alone?

I am obviously not speaking for the whole obese population of the world. I am not that arrogant. I do, however, speak for many many obese people who have felt misunderstood, judged and like failures. Any rational person could see that is all I am trying to say. It seems that you would be able to "blame" some obese people for simply lacking control...

When my family staged an intervention to get me help it was a revelation that other people felt like me. I have now met hundreds and hundreds of people who suffer with eating disorders and nearly all of them felt isolated before. The relief of that has been immense. Please don't belittle it.

Many apologies to anyone who feels like I have been "diagnosing" anything.

WichitaLineman Mon 27-Jan-14 22:46:09

And mrsjones I love the term "coat". One of the reasons that people I have met who suffered sexual abuse as children binge eat is to make themselves "invisible" so that they can't be objectified.

I haven't been sexually abused, but a fear of having to reach my potential and not just be the boring fat one has often sabotaged my recovery.

WorraLiberty Mon 27-Jan-14 22:46:35

I think you've got me totally wrong OP

I'm not 'blaming' anyone. Why would I? They don't affect me or my life.

I'm just pointing out that weight issues are generally quite complicated and personal to individual people.

WichitaLineman Mon 27-Jan-14 22:51:22

Yes, but if it isn't an addictive and emotional process causing overeating then what is it? It can only be greed/weak will.

So those that don't have an addiction are weak willed? Or what is the cause of their obesity? I am genuinely interested.

Fancyashandy Mon 27-Jan-14 23:02:06

I'm not at all surprised that people overeat and obesity is a problem. With modern day living abundance of food, processed stuff with the worst crap in it, less manual work outside and inside the home, less walking etc, people drink more. Really don't think it's surprising. It takes control and denial to stay within what's considered a healthy weight.

Before, people just didn't really have the opportunity. Food was scarce and had to be worked hard for.

Anyone who picks on someone because of their weight is just nasty full stop.

WichitaLineman Mon 27-Jan-14 23:05:22

"It takes control and denial..."

So people who are fat lack control? Sorry to be precious about it but there is a whole vernacular to fat shaming that is ingrained in our rhetoric. I think you are understanding and being nice about obesity, but even so, these phrases slip in.

sillyoldfool Mon 27-Jan-14 23:11:27

I weigh twice what I should. I've binged for as long as I can remember. I hate it and I hate myself.
Once I was a size 8, I was obsessive over every morsel that went into my mouth, I spent a couple of hours every day in the gym. being thin was all I thought about.
It's incredibly depressing to know that even if I get slim again the obsession won't go away, I'm going to have issues with food forever.

WorraLiberty Mon 27-Jan-14 23:12:05

Yes, but if it isn't an addictive and emotional process causing overeating then what is it? It can only be greed/weak will.

So those that don't have an addiction are weak willed? Or what is the cause of their obesity? I am genuinely interested.

Well in my best friend's case she's quite open and honest. She's morbidly obese because she is very weak willed. She's 44 now and has been battling with her weight since her early teens. She'll tell you herself that she just loves too much of the wrong foods and far too much of it.

Some people are week willed and that's a fact.

Some people have compulsive eating disorders and that's also a fact.

There has been some very interesting threads in the last month or so where people have posted all sorts of reasons for being overweight or obese. All very personal to them.

WichitaLineman Mon 27-Jan-14 23:14:26

My best friends see me plaster on a smile and pretend I love food as well.

WichitaLineman Mon 27-Jan-14 23:17:43

There is a value judgement in calling someone weak willed. I would rather sound implausible labelling everyone as having an eating disorder than risk one miserable,suicidal compulsive overeater who is pretending that they are fat and happy being labelled weak-willed.

Think of all the people who make that snap judgement about me? It hurts. It really hurts. Particularly in a society where so much store is put in being strong. hmm

MorrisZapp Mon 27-Jan-14 23:19:55

It takes control and denial to lose weight, and for many people it takes control and denial to maintain healthy weight.

I can't see how this is fat shaming when really, it is just fact.

WichitaLineman Mon 27-Jan-14 23:21:29

Because the opposite, ergo being obese, is not necessarily caused by a lack of control and the ability to deny oneself food. And that statement seems to imply it is.

WorraLiberty Mon 27-Jan-14 23:21:42

You just won't have it will you?

I've known my best friend for 40 years and if she was a member of MN she'd tell you herself.

She's quite happy go lucky about it and not afraid to be honest at all. She's very confident in herself and has a wonderful DH, DD and close family. The only time I see her get annoyed regarding her weight, is when people claim to know better than her why she is obese.

You asked if those who don't have an addiction are weak willed and I answered that yes some people are.

I have no idea whether people make snap judgements about you, but if they do then they have no right to.

Fancyashandy Mon 27-Jan-14 23:22:22

"So people who are fat lack control?" - they lack control about their eating - I think that is just a fact and is not meant to be an insult. i've often lacked control in my eating or on the flip side become obsessive and very controling about it - both not good. Doesn't mean they lack control about other areas in their life.

It's just too easy to access food, especially the wrong sort and too easy to put on weight.

WichitaLineman Mon 27-Jan-14 23:22:52

By which I mean - if you read the thread - I have been anorexic and obese. Both caused by the same compulsion.

sillyoldfool Mon 27-Jan-14 23:22:58

If you asked any of my friends/family, even my husband, they would say I just enjoyed my food too much.

I don't enjoy food at all, I hate it, I feel utter relief when all the food is gone, or when I feel so sick I can't eat more, because then I can stop eating. It's a compulsion.

I went to the GP to ask for help and was given lots of sheets on low fat eating. I know more about dieting than many, I know the calorie content of everything, I need a way to get over the compulsion to eat, not healthy eating advice.

WichitaLineman Mon 27-Jan-14 23:25:28

Perhaps that is true for her. Although it sounds like you are describing me. Exactly.

My husband believes this to be true about me and he and I are very intimate and share nearly everything.

WichitaLineman Mon 27-Jan-14 23:28:22

Sorry sillyoldfool - xpost - that was for worra.

It's all about deceit, isn't it silly? I fear if my husband knew me - really knew me - he would think I am as worthless as I believe I am. I prefer him to think I am fat and jolly and fully functioning. It also means we don't have to address the eating disorder. Very fucked up.

sillyoldfool Mon 27-Jan-14 23:36:58

I remember very clearly the moment I realised that people liked me if I was giggly and jolly, I was 12. I assumed that persona, despite going home and crying in secret, when I wasn't stealing money and going to the cornershop, telling the shopkeeper (who knew my family well) that my mum needed a big bar of dairy milk for making a cake, then going to hide at the rec and eating it all as quickly as possible.

I can't imagine being honest with people about it all in real life.

MorrisZapp Mon 27-Jan-14 23:39:14

Your logic doesn't make sense, sorry. Anybody who's ever been on a diet knows that control and denial are needed. There are hundreds of us here on MN alone, I'm currently on the 5/2 threads.

I'm hungry as we speak as its a fast day today. I've denied myself things I wanted, and forced myself to exert control. It's not bloody easy and I'd never say it was. But it's a biological fact, not a value judgement.

sillyoldfool Mon 27-Jan-14 23:39:58

thankyou for posting the quote at the beginning of this thread, it really really struck a chord. especially the bit about wearing fatness as a coat.

I quite young and work in a creative industry, but can't dress the way people would expect me to, I turn up for interviews and they look at me, and i can feel them thinking I must be crap at what I do, because I look this way.

sillyoldfool Mon 27-Jan-14 23:42:39

I can exert very strict control about what I eat, I can be extremely disciplined. I have lost many many stones and been a size 8 gym bunny type, but when I'm slim the obsessive control is just another way my food issues manifest. It just takes a small emotional upheaval and I loose control and end up spiralling towards fat again.

HuntingforBunting Mon 27-Jan-14 23:42:46

Op thank you for quote. It really struck a chord for me x

WichitaLineman Mon 27-Jan-14 23:43:18

confused Morris. You are deliberately missing my point. I am not going to reach everyone and that is fine. Most people have been awesome. Thank you thanks

Fancyashandy Mon 27-Jan-14 23:51:52

I think an awful lot of people swing between the control and obsession and bingeing or lack of control. It is just too easy to eat, same with drinking and other things that can cause you issues. If you are feeling crap about yourself of course it's easy to eat or drink etc. but I still think the overabundance of food, especially bad food plays a part.

BasilandLime Mon 27-Jan-14 23:53:13

fancyashandy i agree, the world we live in, its a miracle we arent all obese.
Im on the 5:2 at the moment. I see it as nwcessary to 'evolve' and survive (exaggeration) in the environment that doesnt suit us humans.

WorraLiberty Mon 27-Jan-14 23:57:06

Perhaps that is true for her. Although it sounds like you are describing me. Exactly.

Yes it is true for her. Thank you for accepting that.

It's also true for many people but not true for many others. That's the only point I was trying to make.

Because some ignorant tossers tar all obese people as weak willed/greedy/lacking self control, it doesn't take away the fact that some individual people actually are and they are quite happy to be honest and admit it. However, that does not mean they speak for anyone other than themselves.

In my friend's case, her open and honest way of thinking was what prevented her from continuing to over feed her DD. When her DD became overweight as a child, she realised she had no real idea of what a child size portion should look like because her idea of food portions in general were skewed.

Try telling her she over eats because it's a compulsion and she'll rip you a new one for daring to assume something so personal grin

Fancyashandy Mon 27-Jan-14 23:59:27

I'm surprised more folk aren't obese either TBH. I imagine a future like Walle unless someone invents some miracle cure and a pill to keep you slim.

I'm sort of on the 5:2 as well (fast day today and really struggle to not creep ver that 500). Trying to have fast days anyway - it's really removed the guilt and obsession I had calorie counting in the past and being really down when I blew a day and overate.

jenniferalisonphillipasue Tue 28-Jan-14 00:02:25

I agree with Worra. Some people are weak willed. It doesn't make them a bad person it just means that they can't always say no to food. It also doesn't mean that they are weak willed in other areas of their life. In fact I am that person now. I think I have dealt with my emotional food issues as best I can. I know how to control my weight. I put weight on over Christmas because I was weak willed and ate all of the kids chocolate. It wasn't emotional eating. It was just there so I ate it. By saying this I am not judging anyone or trying to offend anyone. It was just what happened. Eating when I was in the throes of an eating disorder was a totally different experience, something which at the time I felt I had no control over and did very much have an emotional aspect. The only way I was able to deal with this was to separate the two things and it took a long time.

I don't think over eating always has an emotional side. I know of many people who have eaten a moderate diet but over the years, as their metabolism slows, they have gradually put weight on.

I think a lot of our weight problems in society in general come down to education and how food is presented to us. If you go into a supermarket you are bombarded with offers encouraging you to over buy and therefore overeat as you don't want to create waste. Generally these offers are for high sugar and high salt products. Over time our taste for plainer foods is eroded and we fall into a trap of wanting to eat all this crap. We are also sucked into all these diet companies who are businesses. Yes they want you to lose weight but they want you to put it back on so you go back to them. They don't advocate a particularly healthy lifestyle and they also don't enable you to deal with any emotional issues you have that are associated with food. As someone else said our opportunity for exercise has been gradually eroded due to lack of open spaces and physical jobs being replaced by machinery. This obviously has nothing to do with emotional eating but I do think it makes everything easier to start and harder to stop.

Wichita I really hope you find the answers you are looking for and you learn to love yourself enough to deal with your food issues.

BasilandLime Tue 28-Jan-14 00:04:03

Worra, i agree with what u said upthread, i would never believe i knew what was going on in somebody elses head.

To the poster with a male relative that had anorexia, i did too. It is really embarrassing to tell people so we dont mention it. A family secret.

IceBeing Tue 28-Jan-14 00:52:23

what the hell does 'weak willed' even mean? If you are being sufficiently 'weak willed' that you are killing yourself with food, how are you not 'mentally ill' with it?

I mean what difference does the specific failure mode of your brain make?

I think people have brains that work in certain ways programmed by genetics and environmental influences.

I think it is ridiculous that people are perfectly happy to say someone's intelligence level is a thing that is outside their control and hence you are no better a person if you a smart than if you are not, but when it comes to other equally hard wired personality traits like will power it is suddenly the strong willed that are better people and the weak willed are worse.

I think saying to someone that they 'need more will power' is as ridiculous as telling someone they need to become 'more intelligent'.

If you could buy will power in the shops then I would be buying!

Now maybe there should be way to improve, not your will power, but the expression of it in your daily life in a similar way to improving, not your native intelligence, but your performance in IQ tests. If there is a way then I think this mindfulness/meditation may be it....

WichitaLineman Tue 28-Jan-14 07:11:33

I don't actually think this thread is self-selecting. I would be expecting a lot more morbidly obese people (and ffs I am not talking about people who put weight on over Christmas, I am talking about people who are debilitatingly, life-threateningly fat) to come on and tell me how they are fat and happy and to challenge what I have said.

Where are all these jolly fatties? There have maybe been two on this thread. Instead I have heard from lots of incredibly brave women who have been acutely touched by the quote in the op. I don't think those of you who are not morbidly obese really know what you are talking about. Fuck will power. I have extraordinary will power. But I can't stop killing myself with food. And I maintain that that is true for most morbidly obese people.

It seem so much more comfortable not to deal with the distress of these people and assume they are greedy and happy and could deal with it if they fancied, and exercised a little more willpower.

jenniferalisonphillipasue Tue 28-Jan-14 07:28:25

Please don't belittle what I am saying. Yes being morbidly obese is a different thing but being overweight starts somewhere and once you begin on that path it can be very easy to carry on.

Bendysboxers Tue 28-Jan-14 07:32:22

I have NC for this but am a regular, (Gluezilla, penis beaker, festival goer etc)

its crap that I feel so ashamed that I have to nc but I do.

Worra you make as always some excellent points, but even my dearest and very closest friends (one who I have known years was with me when dc was born) would say that I just love my food and I am the fat happy person, Im not inside Im just so ashamed of what and who I am, so unhappy and so judged by everyone in society. I know I would get more help and support if I was an alchoholic or a drug addict

I am a very strong determined people in all other areas of my life, just no control over this at all

Not every obese person feels like this, but I would think there are far more than you would imagine

WichitaLineman Tue 28-Jan-14 07:38:15

But Jennifer, I fundamentally believe that to be untrue I'm afraid. An eating disorder is not the same as overindulging, and you are belittling me if you state it is.

Yes, I am known as the happy, calm, serene one who can take the piss out of myself and loves her grub. Even by my family. My parents dragged me into rehab. I am fatter now than I was then, but they are so convinced by my act that they won't believe I am back there again. They think I am struggling with 5 year old baby weight and a large appetite sad. It is too painful for them, having been there with me before, to think that I am ill. I feel awful for causing them the inevitable heartache.

kotinka Tue 28-Jan-14 07:49:57

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

jenniferalisonphillipasue Tue 28-Jan-14 08:01:14

I know compulsive eating is not the same as overindulging but I bet a few started out that way: you overindulge, put weight on, hate the way you look and feel and so carry on eating to stem the pain.

What you won't seem to accept is that being obese is not always associated with being a compulsive eater or having an eating disorder. We are verging on 50% of our population being overweight. There must be other reasons to factor in.

MorrisZapp Tue 28-Jan-14 08:07:51

Yes, exactly. What Jennifer just said. If half of the population is obese (we're heading that way) does that mean that half of the population has a mental illness? I'm certain it dorsnt.

I'm on ad's myself btw, I'm not a MH denier.

IWantToSCRRREAM Tue 28-Jan-14 08:11:38

I'm not fat but I an relate to the OPs post alot. I know I'm putting on weight slowly. sad

fortyplus Tue 28-Jan-14 08:14:52

I do think that people who overcome their eating addiction have to have a reason to do so - a 'Eureka moment'. It's so obvious, isn't it - eat less and you will lose weight, so why don't we believe that we can do it? I was 'only' about 3 stone overweight, but for years totally failed to do anything about it. I do realise that this probably makes me an over indulger rather than a compulsive eater, but it didn't feel like it at the time - it seemed that I was a 'victim' of food.

For me it was the death of a close friend - a fit healthy slim non smoker and moderate drinker. He had an inoperable kidney tumour and died inside 3 months. Seeing the devastation inflicted on his family made me so angry with myself for knowingly increasing my risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer that at last I found it in myself to lose the weight. That was 9 years ago and I'm still a healthy BMI. But if our friend hadn't died I might never have confronted my weight issue.

WichitaLineman Tue 28-Jan-14 08:16:23

Well, yet again, I give you the experiences of all the people on this thread. And no happy, overindulging morbidly obese people... Plus all the hundreds I have met. I would be fascinated if a morbidly obese person came on here and genuinely told me they just lack willpower and that is how they got so fat. Really. But none so far...

Yes, as I have said, addiction is very rife in the population. I do believe that wholeheartedly.

Fancyashandy Tue 28-Jan-14 08:20:18

When people are saying weak willed and lack of control, I don't think they are using it as an insult. It's just part of being human. In some people it's with food, other things to other people. Think people have loads of issues that make us liable to be a bit self destructive when we have the means. For some, it's food, drink, cigarettes etc. I also think we are hard wired a bit to be greedy and want more (especially something as vital as food). Read somewhere that folk used to binge or load up for the times when food is scarce - well it's never scarce now except in poor third world countries where of then they don't have they same obesity problems but they have probably more pressing issues.

Just don't think it's surprising that folk overeat and use food the way they do. Obviously some folk have eating disorders - ai'm just not sure that we all aren't on the same scale here (or many of us) but just on a different spectrum of it.

WichitaLineman Tue 28-Jan-14 08:22:54

I actually agree with the spectrum thing. I don't know many people who have an easy relationship with food. I am talking about people with (arbitrarily) a bmi of over 40. And not every single one of them, but most.

ProfPlumSpeaking Tue 28-Jan-14 08:22:59

Great OP. Eating disorders really are the pits, and generally have some deep psychological cause which the sufferer finds impossible to overcome without help.

One point though: why has the number of obese people risen so dramatically in the past 20 years? It is unlikely that the whole population has changed psychologically and physiologically from the generation before them, so there must also be something in our environment that is causing some of this. If we could tackle that, then maybe lots of people would be helped. (? Sugar stuffed into processed foods? ?car use up dramatically? ? sale of school playing fields ? lack of cookery lessons at school? )

anotetofollowso Tue 28-Jan-14 08:28:21

Powerful, important OP. Thanks for posting.

Livvylongpants Tue 28-Jan-14 08:51:10

I havn't read all the replies but the OP hit a nerve with me. I over eat. I know i shouldn't as I do it when OH can't see, I'm ashamed of it. Im a size 16/18 bud mostly due to breastfeeding and the fact I have no access to a car during the Week so HAVE to walk everywhere. If I didn't have to I wouldn't. I understand what a healthy diet is as I feed my children it daily. Doesn't stop me reaching for a second bag of Crisps when I'm not really hungry.

I do get embarrassed about it. Having to have a glucose tolerance test as my BMI is 31 having the midwife give you knowing looks when she passes you the healthy eating in pregnancy leaflet,having strangers ask me if I'm pregnant 3 months post birth.

WichitaLineman Tue 28-Jan-14 08:51:17

Probably a bit of everything - but mainly, I think, availability and cost (as well as sugar - I agree with that). Whilst I am not disagreeing with any of this, in my experience it is a real mistake to focus too much on the poison - the feelings of hopelessness,despair and low-self esteem are what we should be focussing on.

Communities are increasingly isolated and while poverty is nothing new, the isolation and lack of support networks are. I don't have all the answers I'm afraid. smile

WichitaLineman Tue 28-Jan-14 08:53:31

The things that define addiction are lying, secretiveness, protection of supply, consequences outweighing the pleasure but still being unable to stop and the behaviour deteriorating over time.

I think a distinction needs to be made between emotional eating and food addiction. The first can most certainly lead to the other, compounding the problem, but they are different things. I believe food addiction has to be the issue for a large proportion of seriously obese people. Think about it, very few people would make the choice to be so big that they feel ostracised from society, not to mention physically uncomfortable and ill, risking life threatening conditions.

Make no mistake, food addiction is real. Tests have shown that sugar is more addictive than morphine or cocaine. Our bodies are designed to get a level of sweet pleasure from whole fruit, now that the sugar in fruit has been unwrapped, concentrated and put into pretty much every processed food available, we are getting a hit all the time (and starch can have the same effect once digested). This essentially desensitises the pleasure receptors in the brain, meaning we crave more and more of the food in an attempt to get the same hit of pleasure, and it's an ever decreasing circle as dopamine production lessens the more and more we eat the addictive substance. This won't be an issue for everyone, but if you have the 'addict gene' which I think we can all agree exists, or if you eat emotionally and constantly expose yourself to those pleasurable food, or if you are brought up from childhood on a high 'pleasure' diet, these can lead to addiction.

The addict has to have the wherewithal to identify and decide not to eat those particular foods (which depends on having a certain level of self esteem, care or motivation to do so, often a big issue in itself for very obese people). They then have to face those foods every day (unlike an alcoholic, you can't just 'stay away from the pub') and make the 'healthy choice' every day to not eat that food you know triggers the switch. Yes, it's willpower, but not the same as a 'non addict' deciding not to have that last glass of wine or a third biscuit....

hackmum Tue 28-Jan-14 09:06:26

It's such an interesting debate. My view, for what it's worth, is that psychology is only a part of this. I think that sugar is addictive, and that manufacturers have in the past 20 or 30 years massively increased the amount of sugar they put in ordinary foods, including so-called diet foods. I think sugar is easy to reach to for comfort, in the same way that cigarettes were an easily available solace for an earlier generation.

I think that, just as some people can drink one glass of wine, while others, once they've started, feel the need to drink the whole bottle, people's physiologies respond differently to sugar. It's not really about willpower - I never have the urge to drink a whole bottle of wine, just as I never have the urge to eat a whole packet of biscuits. I don't have superior willpower, it's just (I think) that my body works differently. Once you're addicted to sugar, it seems that the body loses the ability to tell your brain that you're full.

WichitaLineman Tue 28-Jan-14 09:07:01

Thanks sleep. I think you understand what I am rather inarticulately trying to say wink

Fancyashandy Tue 28-Jan-14 09:38:37

Saw "The Men Who Made Us Fat" on Tv a while back. Very interesting, depressing and downright infuriating how people have been manipulated for profit at the expense of their health and that of their children.

OpalQuartz Tue 28-Jan-14 09:46:25

I just looked up that programme you mentioned Fancyashandy and read this "Peretti travels to America to investigate the story of high-fructose corn syrup. The sweetener was championed in the US in the 1970s by Richard Nixon's agriculture secretary Earl Butz to make use of the excess corn grown by farmers. Cheaper and sweeter than sugar, it soon found its way into almost all processed foods and soft drinks. HFCS is not only sweeter than sugar, it also interferes with leptin, the hormone that controls appetite, so once you start eating or drinking it, you don't know when to stop.

Endocrinologist Robert Lustig was one of the first to recognise the dangers of HFCS but his findings were discredited at the time. Meanwhile a US Congress report blamed fat, not sugar, for the disturbing rise in cardio-vascular disease and the food industry responded with ranges of 'low fat', 'heart healthy' products in which the fat was removed - but the substitute was yet more sugar."

Not good!

Exactly Opal, the start of the rise in obesity coincided pretty much exactly with the 'low fat' message, when HFCS suddenly because used to make all those low fat products palatable (as well as being pumped in ever increasing quantities into everything else). Sugar really is today what tobacco was a few decades back.

Fancyashandy Tue 28-Jan-14 09:53:35

my blood pressure was going through the roof when I watched it - very upsetting (if accurate) and definitely made you think about the food industry and people's relationship to that in a different way. It is not just about being able to know when to put the fork down.

Actually it's worse than least with tobacco you are clear about exactly when and how much you are consuming and we weren't ever bringing out kids up on it!

wordfactory Tue 28-Jan-14 09:57:12

I really really don't understand fat shaming.

What do the fat shamers expect to happen?

I am slim. Always have been. Why on earth would I feel the need to tell off those who aint so lucky?

Similarly, I don't feel the need to shame the stupid, the ugly or the poor!!!

MsJJones Tue 28-Jan-14 09:58:52

I think the issue of control is complicated - sometimes as you've said with people who've been abused or suffered the eating is a form of control, even though it doesn't make them happy it can make them feel safe. Even in less traumatic cases the same sort of thing is true. Eating numbs the pain or quells the anxiety. It is a short term fix so yes, it's not controlled in the same way as some may think but it is on some level a way of controlling what can feel like a chaotic existence.

WorraLiberty Tue 28-Jan-14 10:05:09

Exactly Opal, the start of the rise in obesity coincided pretty much exactly with the 'low fat' message,

And the massive boom in the fast food industry.

My Dad still lives in the house I grew up in. On the busy high street in the 70's we had one Wimpy and one fish and chip shop.

I went to visit him last week and it's absolutely heaving with them. There's a McDonalds, numerous fried chicken shops, kebab shops, 2 fish and chip shops, 3 or 4 Indian takeaways, 1 Malaysian takeaway and a Chinese. All in a relatively small High Street.

And most do free delivery so you don't even have to leave the house.

OpalQuartz Tue 28-Jan-14 10:11:25

Is high fat food to blame as well as HFCS though? Burgers and chips probably don't contain much sugar, but are fattening if eaten too much. Just interested in learning more about this.

Quangle Tue 28-Jan-14 10:25:20

agree with wordfactory and hackmum. I do have a bit of a problem with food and it is a constant battle for me to stay at a decent weight - I'm only now (very belatedly) realising it's a fight I have to have every single day of my life for ever. But somehow that realisation has made it easier for me. There isn't a magic bullet or a one off solution - it's every day all the time for ever. I'd love to be one of those people who never really have to think about it but I'm not and I have to deal with that. I'm not slim by any means but I am an acceptable weight now - I don't try to get down to what would be my "ideal" weight because the fight for me would be too much so I'm prepared to stay at this weight and battle to stay at this weight and forget the idea of ever being 9 stone (to be honest, I've never even dreamt of that - it just seems utterly out of reach).

The best analogy for me is drink. I hardly ever drink and when I do I drink one glass of wine and stop. I just don't have the urge or the need to drink more. It's not hard for me - it's easy. The question never enters my head. But I'm very aware of the difference for me between food and drink. One motivates me and one doesn't. And that's why I am very sympathetic to people who have a drink problem even though I've never had one and never will. I just don't have that problem - that doesn't mean it's not an awfully hard problem for some people.

FancySpaceGloves Tue 28-Jan-14 10:35:51

I have been a size 6. I have been a size 20. Mostly I am size 10 -12.

My eating habits are directly related to my mental health. That can be from moment to moment. For example, yesterday when all the kids were whinging at the same time, I felt completely overwhelmed then felt an incredibly strong compulsion to eat something, anything, now, right now.

That's just me. I expect other emotional eaters have different triggers.

My mental health has improved dramatically in the last few years and thus my body is in good condition. This happened because of a few lightbulb moments / actions.

Here's what helped me, in no particular order. I hope it helps others, but hey, everyone's different.

1. Weight watchers, slimming world, etc. Bloody pointless for me. I know that eating 10 rounds of buttered cheese toast is too much. I know that a nice prawn stir fry is good for me. FFS, it is like treating an alcoholic by giving them a list of healthy drinks: cup of tea instead of whisky, problem solved, or a drug addict by suggesting they buy some nice perfume to stuff up their nose instead of coke.

2. Tiredness is an emotional killer for me. I must remind myself to Get. More. Sleep.

3. The symptoms of anaemia are very similar to the symptoms of depression. I take SpaTone every day.

4. Hunger is another emotional drain for me. Low carb / paleo helps keep this at bay.

5. A bloody fucking revolution for me. The online course cost over £100 a few years back but it has changed my life. I would NEVER have gone to a therapist or support group, or even talked to close friends/DP about my food problems. But this, this worked.

6. The Happiness Trap. A self help book. The only one that has every truly helped me. God knows I've spent a fortune on self-help books that I read quickly. I always hide the books from other people.

That was a bit long. Hell of a delurk!

soverylucky Tue 28-Jan-14 11:06:14

I am overweight and I hate it. I eat healthily I just eat too much. I can't help myself. I know I will be so happy if I lose the weight yet I just can't stop myself. It is an addiction. It is about will power.

But what really irritates me is people who eat more than me who are slim or who eat crap and for some reason they don't end up overweight and then they cast judgement. I used to live with my MIL who ate terribly - processed food, chocolate every night, pudding after every meal yet she always stayed a size 10. She was always picking at things I did - for example having a sweetner in my tea and yet she was just lucky. My gorgeous niece posts picture of take outs on FB nearly every night but she has the figure of a model.
Now I know many women work very hard to maintain a slim figure - I am not denying that. And I am not going to blame being overweight on being big boned or genetics. I am just pointing out that some people do put weight on more easily than others.

ProfondoRosso Tue 28-Jan-14 11:20:11

Seriously, to those emphasising 'control' and 'denial' as characteristic of people who eat healthily and maintain a healthy weight, do you not see that control and denial are something that compulsive eaters/bingers/purgers/starvers have in spades?

When I was bulimic, I controlled my environment to a scary degree. I needed to know how much food was in the house, when I could be alone to binge, when I could throw up without anyone realising. If I had assumed there was a four pack of Snickers and I got home to find two gone, I'd crack up, because my well-laid plans were ruined. I engineered these situations like military operations. And as for denial, I rejected the fact that I had a problem, or that I couldn't stop. I worked very hard at keeping people's questions at bay, and looking normal.

People with compulsion issues surrounding food aren't weak willed. Compulsions/addictions take time, hard work, planning, secrecy, initiative. Secret eaters probably work a shitload harder at their task than 5:2 dieters. So please don't judge.

troubleinstore Tue 28-Jan-14 11:24:11

Fancy ... just bought that book ... looked interesting and also the website too
Thank you

^If you asked any of my friends/family, even my husband, they would say I just enjoyed my food too much.

I don't enjoy food at all, I hate it, I feel utter relief when all the food is gone, or when I feel so sick I can't eat more, because then I can stop eating. It's a compulsion.

I went to the GP to ask for help and was given lots of sheets on low fat eating. I know more about dieting than many, I know the calorie content of everything, I need a way to get over the compulsion to eat, not healthy eating advice.^

That is such a sensible post and I agree with every single word. I could win Mastermind with my knowledge of calories, fat content, portion size recommendations. Doesn't make a blind bit of difference to my weight. My rational head knows what I should be eating. The rest of me ignores it. No, it doesn't even ignore it, it doesn't register at all.

Bum, complete bolding fail on all fronts!

Try again...

If you asked any of my friends/family, even my husband, they would say I just enjoyed my food too much.

I don't enjoy food at all, I hate it, I feel utter relief when all the food is gone, or when I feel so sick I can't eat more, because then I can stop eating. It's a compulsion.

I went to the GP to ask for help and was given lots of sheets on low fat eating. I know more about dieting than many, I know the calorie content of everything, I need a way to get over the compulsion to eat, not healthy eating advice.

That is such a sensible post and I agree with every single word. I could win Mastermind with my knowledge of calories, fat content, portion size recommendations. Doesn't make a blind bit of difference to my weight. My rational head knows what I should be eating. The rest of me ignores it. No, it doesn't even ignore it, it doesn't register at all.

Opal - regarding the takeaway, the answer to that is MSG and more importantly, hydrogenated fat (trans-fats) - industrially altered fat that is also ubiquitous and addictive. I don't know that they alter our brain chemistry in exactly the same way as sugar/cocaine does but the pleasure principle is the same and they are substances our bodies cannot cope with, trans fats increase bad cholesterol, lower good cholesterol and have been linked to diabetes and aggression as well as a long list of other problems.

Possibly a bold statement but if HFCS and all hydrogenated/partially hydrogenated fat could be eliminated from the planet I think there would be much less of a problem with obesity.

ladymontdore Tue 28-Jan-14 11:36:29

Could I apologise and completely crash the thread please?
I have a good friend who is very over weight, her son (6) is heading in the same direction. She has tried a few diets but doesn't really mention it at all. I'm slim so find it hard to know how to reply on the rare occasions when she does mention it - I have no understanding of the complex reasons behind her issues, other than knowing that they are deep and complicated. I know she understands 'less food, more exercise' etc. I know she feeds her children 'healthy' food.
I don't want to sound insensitive in posting this thread but I worry about her health and would love some suggestions - what do you want from your friends?

Dahlen Tue 28-Jan-14 11:47:38

I don't understand fat shaming. When is it ever ok to deliberately humiliate someone?

I think a lot of people think weight is a choice. They don't understand the complicated relationship between food and mind.

No one wants to be fat. Particularly women, who are held to a much higher standard than men when it comes to their weight. For most people it's not a choice.

Which isn't to say that the mind and body can't be re-educated into living more healthily and achieving a more healthy weight and I think as a society we need to do that as our nation is becoming steadily more unhealthy, unproductive and costly. That's different.

One of my friends is obese. We talk honestly about her weight because pretending that it isn't going to hurt her health would be a lie. But I am always very, very careful about what I say. She may be "fat" but I would be a fuckwit if I deliberately or carelessly made her feel shit about herself.

sovery - don't envy those slim people with the terrible diets too much. Being slim doesn't mean you are healthy, and being able to eat what you want without gaining weight doesn't necessarily last for a lifetime. Its an awful shock and big adjustment to make if/when that changes, or you are forced to rethink your diet for health reasons.

WichitaLineman Tue 28-Jan-14 11:49:09

Brilliant post profondo.

OpalQuartz Tue 28-Jan-14 11:50:29

Thanks Sleepwhen You are probably right that it would make a big difference.

HairyPorter Tue 28-Jan-14 12:02:23

Agreed that is a great description of emotional over eating. But I disagree about not having the power to change things. And I say it as an emotional eater. It is all about willpower and learning to recognise hunger vs emotional needs. I struggle with it but am getting to grips with it (very slowly!). It is a journey. To expect overnight healthy eating is unrealistic. If I eat better today than I did yesterday then I am already winning. If I replace chocolate / crisps / biscuits with veg then even if I overeat the consequences aren't too bad. It's not easy, but if I don't get a grip on it now when will I?!?

ProfondoRosso Tue 28-Jan-14 12:09:28

Don't envy those slim people with the terrible diets too much. Being slim doesn't mean you are healthy, and being able to eat what you want without gaining weight doesn't necessarily last for a lifetime. Its an awful shock and big adjustment to make if/when that changes, or you are forced to rethink your diet for health reasons.

Sleepwhen, absolutely right. This was me a few years ago. I had been out of the binge-purge cycle for a good few years and just didn't really think about my weight anymore. I could eat pretty much what I wanted, and often ate crap, but stayed slim (I was never bulimic because I wanted to get to a 'healthy' weight, it was because I was obsessive. I knew I was a healthy weight).

Then I went on anti-depressants for anxiety in 2010 and my weight has increased significantly. I hadn't felt 'fat' in years and it's been very hard not to get obsessed with 'repairing' this new body. If there's any positive to be found, though, it's that I started thinking more creatively and curiously about food - what can I cook that's healthy and tasty, that I won't get bored of? I make a lot of juice and actively feel good about knowing I've consumed three beetroots and lots of spinach (disguised under the more palatable taste of citrus fruits or berries grin) of a morning, because I know they're good for me. Things aren't perfect - I'll still eat a whole Domino's on occasion (and it's usually if I've had a bad day) and my relationship with food might never be 'neutral' but we can only do our best.

I much prefer thinking like that to doing something like 5:2, where you're fasting and counting every calorie, because, for someone who has issues with compulsion, I feel it could be very, very dangerous.

hairy - dealing with emotional eating is very difficult yes. It is usually a learned coping mechanism, so you can re-train yourself to find different coping mechanisms, or address the thing that is requiring you to cope (put the kids up for adoption perhaps wink). But addiction is a different level to this - once you are an addict, the pre-frontal cortex of your brain, the bit that makes the sensible decisions, is impaired, only by de-toxing from the addictive substance can you get back to a 'normal' state of being able to use logic and reasoning, all tied in with 'willpower' like other people do.

FancySpaceGloves Tue 28-Jan-14 13:43:30

Agreed that is a great description of emotional over eating. But I disagree about not having the power to change things.


The desire to be thin led me to learn about emotional eating which ultimately led to me learning techniques to manage my mental health better.

I cannot stop myself from being an emotional eater. I can limit my self-destructive behaviour.

profondo - I think what you are doing with food is a great approach. As soon as we have any struggle with our weight we are indoctrinated to think of it as the enemy, to minimise it, avoid it. When in fact that goes against all our natural instincts.

It would be amazing if we could look at what positive things food can do for us - because there are many - and choose accordingly, to nourish ourselves and care for our health (not so much our waistline) rather than deprive ourselves. If we made 90% of our food choices on that basis we would mostly be eating - and enjoying (believe it or not smile) - lots of good quality whole foods, naturally occurring fat, protein, veg and pulses, never forcing ourselves to count calories or endure hunger to be a healthy weight. In that context, occasionally eating a pizza or some cake won't be harmful and we would maintain a healthy weight without having to think about it. So much easier said than done to get to this way of living when we are mostly all thinking and eating on a completely different basis and surrounded by cheap crap food though sad.

WorraLiberty Tue 28-Jan-14 13:50:32

I think that's the key issue - learning a way to limit the behaviour.

You could go your whole life understanding and repeating what the experts say...and getting to know exactly why you're addicted to something. Some people know enough to write a whole book on it.

But if they're convinced they don't have the power to change/manage their addiction, nothing will ever change for them.

In years to come they'll still be talking about it but with no change at all.

BasilandLime Tue 28-Jan-14 14:00:14

yes I agree, if it's your head, fix your head. and i don't say that lightly honestly, I have had counselling and I'd have psychotherapy and the psychotherapy particularly was so beneficial to me.

I've been able to stay slim in a world that makes obesity if not inevitable for all then almost but not quite inevitable for me, i 5:2, i exercise, it's a life sentence! i'm pragmatic, i get on with it. i exercise denial because I believe it's necessary but NOT self-loathing I don't believe the two go together and it's assumed sometimes that they do.

I never managed to get any qualifications, sit an exam. I think of myself as a clever person trapped inside the body of somebody who can't study, work, apply myself.......... all around me I used to see fat people with degrees and great jobs and relationships and savings plans and mortgages and lovely homes and actually I would think that in contrast to the areas of my own lifee that were in total disarray, yes they DID have control.

I feel like your op tells us what we think of obese people. I have my own musings.

worra you are right, in the end there's only one person who can stop an addictive habit and that is the addict themself, but I think its worth understanding, especially if we jump straight to judging obese individuals, how the level of effort required to do that is different from the rest of us feeling a bit chubby and cutting down on the crisps, or even losing a stone or two using whatever diet we choose smile.

tb Tue 28-Jan-14 14:08:43

Haven't read all the thread, but on a 'fat-bashing' thread recently the most stupid comment I read was the 'a calorie is just a calorie' when it so obviously isn't.

Even more sadly, some of the medical profession (using the word medical loosely) think this, too.

Human beings don't work like central heating boilers - very inconvient it is, too.

WichitaLineman Tue 28-Jan-14 14:16:21

Of course we have to be the ones to implement change. Read all the things I have done and tell me what I am doing wrong. Please? I would love nothing, literally nothing more than to beat this.

I have sold property to fund treatment. Is it my fault? Am I not trying hard enough? I don't feel hopeless and I will keep trying.

As I stated in the op, I don't want sympathy. I would like my post to generate a little empathy. That's all. I have no idea what people think of obese people, but a little market research on mn and the street tells me the majority of it ain't very empathetic.

Tb yes, the calorie theory works to a point - a calorie burned is a calorie burned, but calories consumed are far from equal in terms of what our bodies do with them, depending on their source. ''a calorie is a calorie' is up there with 'fat makes us fat ' .

FancySpaceGloves Tue 28-Jan-14 14:21:00

ladymontdore start a new thread with your post, you seem nice and non-judgy.

I bet you'll get loads of advice. Some of it will be useful. Make this face hmm at responses like "explain to her that being obese is unhealthy", "tell her she is a terrible mother for having an obese child, someone should call SS", "give her a healthy eating leaflet", "offer to show her how to make a lovely salad, here's a recipe".

wordfactory Tue 28-Jan-14 14:21:24

See the way I see it, fat people are often fighting an uphill battle.

Our human biology has sadly not developed alongside the world we live in and we're still those greedy hunter gatherers we always were, filling up on whatever we can get our hands on in fear of the next famine.

The trouble is we need not hunt nor gather anymore and we can get our hands on far more fattening foods than our ancestors.

This coupled with an innate love of sweet and fat (breast milk) puts most people at a disadvantage that is entirely normal, biologically.

The final nail in the coffin is the power of the food industries, especially the sugar lobby. These industries have a vested interest in supplying us with as much of their product as is possible...

Why slim people can't see this is beyond me.

Piscivorus Tue 28-Jan-14 14:23:53

Have to say I agree with those whose friends would say they are happy and confident but just enjoy my food a bit too much but I too am aware of far deeper problems in myself

I have spent years knowing this and looking at the simplistic psychological explanations. Am I eating because I am sad, bored, angry, what?? Or am I just eating mindlessly? I still don't know

I too am trying to control the addictive sugars, etc by low carbing but have learned a lot from this thread. Thank you OP and others

HairyPorter Tue 28-Jan-14 14:25:20

You're right there's not much sympathy or empathy for people who are obese. But why do they/we need it?! It was me who made bad choices which led to weight gain (mainly due to lack of knowledge), and it was me who made the decision to change. I really don't understand why sympathy is needed. I know it's bloody difficult and I struggle with it myself, but I don't want anyone feeling sorry me! My mum is obese and chooses not to change her eating habits. I think she feels powerless about it and refuses to even talk about it. I have no sympathy for her whatsoever as I have tried numerous times to offer her as much support as I can. Why should I feel sorry for her?? She does have the power to change things. It's not easy but it is in her hands. She just chooses not to.

Dahlen Tue 28-Jan-14 14:28:51

Wichita - have you read any of the articles about how combinations of certain foods create addictive responses in the brain on a par with heroin and cocaine?

No one has any trouble accepting that these things are incredibly hard to overcome, and yet you can go cold turkey with drugs, unlike food.

It can be very hard to eliminate foods with these combinations in your diet without a great deal of effort and cost. Cooking from scratch with all-natural, unadulterated ingredients is expensive and time-consuming. The food industry has made it very difficult to eat healthily.

No matter how iron-willed you are, if you are fighting those sorts of withdrawal symptoms on a continual basis (whereas you only have to overcome it once to get off drugs), it's not surprising that so many compulsive over-eaters fail.

Apologies if you've already done all this. I don't want to come across as patronising, but having gone on a health drive years ago when pregnant where I went a bit mad and insisted that only whole foods would pass my lips, etc., one of the unexpected side-effects I discovered was that biscuits, chocolate, take-aways etc all suddenly became unappetising to me after a few months and I started craving much healthier alternatives and in lesser amounts. I also found that while my weight remained stable (I've never been overweight), the distribution of my body fat changed. I lost my muffin top, for example. I find that very interesting.

tb Tue 28-Jan-14 14:31:19

Not all hydrogenated fat is bad - naturally hydrogenated fat is 'cis' the industrial sort is 'trans' and that is the harmful sort.

h h h
\ / \ /
==== ====
/ \ cis fat / \ trans fat - the industrial artificial
h one

tb Tue 28-Jan-14 14:31:49

Oops, didn't work!

WichitaLineman Tue 28-Jan-14 14:37:15

Please, people, read the thread. Especially you Hairy. You are exactly the type of person I am talking about. Not least the fact that you have even misread my latest post. I hate sympathy. I would love some empathy.

I worry about people who can't feel empathy for others who are in deep distress. It says way more about you than me tbh.

I have exposed myself exhaustively and you still come along with your stiff upper lip, sort yourself out, patronising bullshit. Sorry but your post makes me angry.

BasilandLime Tue 28-Jan-14 14:37:18

Who is saying it's your fault!

this is what I really believe

"Our human biology has sadly not developed alongside the world we live in and we're still those greedy hunter gatherers we always were, filling up on whatever we can get our hands on in fear of the next famine."

So that belief would take away some of the personal responsibility. I think there's a lot expected of us in 'modern life' or whatever you call it. The ability to do well in school, to behave "normally" and to achieve and to earn to be successful and to have relationships and to be sociable etc.... so much is expected of us.

ProfondoRosso Tue 28-Jan-14 14:42:03

You're right there's not much sympathy or empathy for people who are obese. But why do they/we need it?! It was me who made bad choices which led to weight gain (mainly due to lack of knowledge), and it was me who made the decision to change. I really don't understand why sympathy is needed

I think it's to do with how society, in general, regards the issue of obesity/overeating, Hairy. Overeating is an emotionally governed behaviour. It must be, because if our bodies are telling us we're not hungry, then why do we keep eating? It might be a controversial thing to say, but I don't believe that anyone who overeats does so without being led by emotion.

And therefore people who suffer with emotional issues do deserve sympathy or, even better, empathy, IMO. Our decisions to fight unhealthy behaviour in ourselves are of course in our own hands. But as we know, fighting a psychological battle on your own is horrendous.

I wish that, when a person presented his/herself at the GP and said 'I think I have a problem with my eating,' that the GP's first action would be to ask questions about emotional responses and suggest referral for therapy/reading materials (for the interim), not to offer a factsheet about calorie-controlled diets. But I know MH services are horribly underfunded. Doing that, IMO, is like saying to a heroin addict, 'just you stop injecting that heroin and put a few drops of Rescue Remedy on your tongue.' Ain't gonna work.

A more supportive and empathetic society all round is needed. People know it's not OK to joke about alcoholics or drug addicts, people with depression or anxiety. But fat is still taboo, because people think it's funny and grotesque. Look at the delightfully named character Fat Bastard in the Austin Powers films, whose stock phrase was "I eat because I'm unhappy and I'm unhappy because I'm fat." Or the mocking of the overweight teenage Monica in Friends; Ross says to her "cheater, cheater, compulsive eater." The fact of the matter is that plenty of people think fat shaming is OK, and these are people who would balk at calling someone a miserable git if they were suffering from depression. This needs to change, because shame and judgement force people right back into the closet to continue their harmful behaviour.

FancySpaceGloves Tue 28-Jan-14 14:43:44

WichitaLineman The results of market research depend heavily on what question you ask and how you ask it. Sometimes we ask a loaded question and get the answer we expect. Sometimes we search for an answer ignoring the data that doesn't fit the expected answer. See the Daily Fail for evidence of this wink.

I would like my post to generate a little empathy. That's all. Maybe you are over-sensitive to perceived lack of empathy? I see bucket loads of empathy on this thread. It's what drove me to de-lurk.

Have you tried ACT? It is a v successful therapy with addictive behaviours. That book I mentioned "The Happiness Trap" is based on it.

BasilandLime Tue 28-Jan-14 14:44:44

Hairy is not on the outside looking in though OP, she's surely entitled to have her own feelings about her own weight loss, and her own opinion on her mother's relationship with food. You can't really be getting angry with hairy for what she thinks can you?

I think witcheta that you're angry with people who don't view the subject in the exact same way that you do. Surely it's such a massive subject that it is open to interpretation and analysis and different people can feel differently about the same thing that they've both experienced.

So, just watch out there that you don't tell people what to think, or what the correct view is. It's all so complex, and people who weight the same to the gram can be fighting different battles, i guess it's a bit like a thread on feminism. We can all be feminists and all have slightly different experiences, different obstacles, be hurt or held back by others' views (or not affected by them at all).

tb - I think you mean there are some small amounts of naturally occurring trans fats (in meat for example) and these shouldn't be a cause for concern - but there's no such thing as naturally hydrogenated fat.

Interesting article on nutrition myths that we have been sold here if anyone's interested. Slight diversion from OP's topic but illustrates how hard it is to know what a 'healthy' diet is.

WorraLiberty Tue 28-Jan-14 15:13:34

Good post BasilandLime

WichitaLineman Tue 28-Jan-14 15:36:29

I am asking that when you see a morbidly obese person, you offer empathy. It doesn't matter what the cause of the obesity. Nobody wants to be that size. I am not telling anyone what to think.

And much of my market research is formed from people jeering abuse in the street.

WichitaLineman Tue 28-Jan-14 15:43:03

And my problem with posts like hairy's are that they are talking about something completely different and collating it to what I am talking about. Emotional eating is not the same as compulsive overeating. My mum is a little bit overweight and treats food as reward/ punishment.

I eat until I can't move and am morbidly obese. I hate having to hammer that home because I am ashamed of how grotesque it is. But i am forced to repeat myself again and again confused.

I am not asking for sympathy because I do not deserve it and it implies pity. Sympathy and empathy are different. Please don't twist what I have been trying to say, which started as I have stated many times as an attempt to offer the perspective of someone with a very real condition.

Piscivorus Tue 28-Jan-14 15:46:18

Of course we're not all going to think the same, we are all individuals who are entitled to our own feelings and views and I don't think the OP has ever said we aren't

But equally, I do not deserve to be thought of as inferior or weak because of my weight and I certainly don't deserve abuse or belittling because of carrying around the evidence of my issues

WichitaLineman Tue 28-Jan-14 15:51:57

Thanks piscivorus. I am not telling people what to think. I am suggesting that the morbidly obese jolly person you know may not be as jolly as you think.

And that unless you have felt the despair that goes with compulsive overeating you really shouldn't be flippant about it. Because that is really hurtful and I know most people on mn are kind wink

FancySpaceGloves Tue 28-Jan-14 16:09:07

Re fat-bashing, in RL I was always gob-smacked when anyone gently "intervened" to tell me I was fat and should lose weight. Like I hadn't noticed. What exactly was going through their tiny minds? I couldn't think what to say. It happened a couple of times. I never did come up with a suitable retort. Maybe because I was already filled with self loathing at my lack of will power (wrong thinking on my part of course).

Open disdain like that of my DM was preferable.

WichitaLineman Tue 28-Jan-14 16:24:14

And if I am being accused of making assumptions, so is hairy. Just because she was able to change her behaviour and therefore thinks she shouldn't receive sympathy or empathy for her issues, does that mean I can't expect it?

HairyPorter Tue 28-Jan-14 16:27:08

I have sympathy / empathy for anyone on a weight loss journey who accepts there is a problem and is willing to do something about it. Whether this means asking for help / behavioural therapy / counselling / group weight loss etc. do whatever you need to get the help you need. But to do nothing is defeatist!

WichitaLineman Tue 28-Jan-14 16:34:04

I get what you mean, but as I have said (and this may sound counterintuitive) shame stops many from seeking help. Also, addictive processes give something to the addict - be it numbness, escapism, relief from emotional pain (although very temporary). Like self harm.

An addict has to reach rock bottom before they seek help. Hence why many alcoholics are homeless and nearly dead from chirrhosis (sp?) before they ask for help.

It is really not simple.

Maybe someone will be able to identify with Marcus brigstocke's quote and they will seek help. Or just not feel so alone. Then I will be glad that I started this thread.

But I am repeating myself. Sorry.

newmorning Tue 28-Jan-14 16:35:20

Fat people are not weak-willed. In fact, a fat person can have a will of iron, just as a thin person or a medium-sized person can.

The problem for fat people is that the attraction of food is (for many complex reasons) stronger than their will to resist.

Naturally-slim people are not attracted to food anywhere near as strongly as fat people are so, given equal strengths of will, one will remain slim and the other will be fat.

To think of fat people as 'weak-willed' is to misunderstand the nature of the problem.

Tabby1963 Tue 28-Jan-14 16:56:41

"But the small nagging abusive voice in my head says I am not worth it."

Wichita, this is where you can begin. You start by challenging this negative comment first of all, and reply "well actually I am worth it because I (here you insert all the good things about you and yes, you will have to sit down and have a good think about these good things, it took me a while at first and I wrote them on a bit of paper to remind me ). As you continue to challenge these negative thoughts, it begins to slowly get easier to do, kind of like a habit forming a good habit for a change lol.

What then will follow is a subtle change in your attitude to yourself, the negative thoughts will have less impact and your challenges will become more confident.

Have a go!

normalishdude Tue 28-Jan-14 17:00:38

Some fat people are weak willed, in the same way that some people are weak willed. Fatter people aren't a different species.

Tabby1963 Tue 28-Jan-14 17:05:14

Hmmm, as an obese person I am not sure that I even want empathy, OP, let alone sympathy from others. I just want and expect to be accepted for what I am (be is size, height, weight, age, colour etc). At long last I have learned to accept myself and am much happier for it.

ProfondoRosso Tue 28-Jan-14 17:15:19

Some fat people are weak willed, in the same way that some people are weak willed. Fatter people aren't a different species

I think what newmorning is suggesting, normalish is that over-eating is not a matter of 'weak will' but of more complex psychological processes which have nothing to do with greed or laziness.

WichitaLineman Tue 28-Jan-14 17:16:25

That would be the ideal. Don't think it's going to happen any time soon though, do you?

BasilandLime Tue 28-Jan-14 17:26:27

Have you had any therapy to see if it might be possible to work through the complex psychological processes? I do have empathy for what you're going through, because of what you're saying on this thread, but it wouldn't be blanket empathy for every fat person that I've never spoken to! confused

WichitaLineman Tue 28-Jan-14 17:27:34

Omg. Read the thread please!

BasilandLime Tue 28-Jan-14 17:28:35

Is that to me?

I have read the thread!!!!!!

WichitaLineman Tue 28-Jan-14 17:34:38

Have you noticed how many many references I have made to all the help I have sought?

And also the last one where I stated the reasons why many people feel unable to seek help?

BasilandLime Tue 28-Jan-14 17:37:21

Apologies if it's mentioned somewhere in the 12 pages whether or not you've had psychotherapy. I don't go round suggesting psychotherapy as some sort of condescending insult. I've had psychotherapy myself and I found it so, so, so beneficial. I only wish I'd had it at 29 not 39. If I'd had it ten years earlier I wouldn't have spent 7 years in an abusive relationship. I felt a failure for a long time, and by a lot of measures I was a 'failure'. No degree, no qualifications, single parent, no partner of any description since......... psychotherapy has helped me not to compare myself, it has restored my self-esteem, it has made me value the 'success' of being a content person.

So if you think it's an insult to ask you if you've had psychotherapy, as though that were simplistic or a sneer, then you're wrong about me !?

I was very angry coming out of psychotherapy some days.

ProfessorSkullyMental Tue 28-Jan-14 17:37:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

WichitaLineman Tue 28-Jan-14 17:54:28

Ok, sorry basil. I have mentioned it about 8 times.

I just don't like the implication that some fat people are wallowing in misery and self pity. I have tried to explain why it is often very hard to seek help and you seem to be dismissing this.

frugalfuzzpig Tue 28-Jan-14 18:11:39

There's a lot of pressure for obese people to appear happy with their weight, besides saving embarrassment. I remember a lot of stuff in the media when I was growing up around the question "can you REALLY be fat AND happy? hmm" there was such incredulity at the idea that anyone could possibly be genuinely happy being big. And if you admit that you aren't happy, then you get the "well DUH, do something about it then..." from people who just don't get it.

As for the fat shamers, well, they don't want us to get slimmer. People who shout abuse in the street want - no, NEED - people - whether obese, disabled or in some other way 'different' - for some reason it makes them feel better about themselves I guess hmm

BasilandLime Tue 28-Jan-14 18:12:55

I'm not dismissing it, and I don't think it is wallowing or self-pity that prevents people seeking help. The help I finally sought was at least a decade overdue so I don't think it's easy for anybody to seek help and I can well understand that an obese person would fear that the therapist might judge them, but they wouldn't if they were a professional. The one I saw was excellent and so if I'm guilty of anything it's that I am perhaps a bit evangelical about psychotherapy. I know it's not easy, first I had a counsellor and she judged me. She said "get a job" to me, when I was basically suffering from PTSD. She made me feel worse. So I know it's not easy to just roll up at a psychotherapist's office and be fixed as if by magic.

I know I do have empathy!

itsbetterthanabox Tue 28-Jan-14 18:18:46

I am happy and big. I genuinely like my body and think I am attractive.
I don't think my weight is anyone else's business.

WorraLiberty Tue 28-Jan-14 18:21:39

It's definitely a complicated thing.

Some people actually get addicted to the therapy but still don't end up managing their original addiction.

It's like the therapy becomes the thing that's distracting them from actually making a change.

jenniferalisonphillipasue Tue 28-Jan-14 19:00:18

I saw a psychotherapist, councillor, had one session CBT and even a hypno therapist. The problem was that I wanted a solution and it took me a while to realise that there wasn't one. You don't have to seek help to start dealing with your problems. You do have to acknowledge them and ultimately the desire to change needs to overcome whatever it is that causes you to use food.

Personally I ate when I was happy, I ate when I was sad, I ate pretty much whenever I had any emotion. Food was my crutch. I was miserable and I hated myself. I did however have that Eureka moment where I suddenly had clarity and realised I didn't have to be like that. That food didn't have to consume my every waking thought. It was also very scary. I had so long being entrenched in this viscous circle that my bulimia was a part of my identity.It was my fall back mechanism and I was scared of what might be left when it had gone. I had to totally change my behaviour and attitude towards food.

The first thing I did was set myself a realistic goal. I went from bingeing on average four times per day to only once. If I had a bad day I didn't beat myself up over it. I picked back up where I had left of.

I started to recognise my emotional triggers and when I felt the need to binge I distracted myself and would run up and downstairs or drink water.

I went on a detox and cut all processed food and sugar out of my diet to reeducate my taste buds. I also chewed every mouthful 26 times (arbitrary figure) to enable my body to learn when I was full.

There were lots of other things and it took a long time but my desire to change and to feel better about myself were what got me through.

I am offering up my experience just so that those who are right in the middle of what can seem like a hopeless situation can see that for me there was a way out. There is a way out for everyone. It might not always seem obvious but somewhere under all the self loathing and hate it is there.

LosingItSlowly Tue 28-Jan-14 19:31:58

I've veered up and down between anorexia and binge-eating my whole life. Food literally works like a drug for me (and I've tried those too, including nicotine). Food is the only one I haven't been able to shake, because like others have pointed out... you can't go cold turkey, or at least, not for long.

I was starved as a child, along with my siblings, and made to eat food that had gone off, including curdled milk, mouldy food, and cereal with insects in.
On occasion we'd be offered 'nice' food, but we'd have to follow orders, deliberately humiliating or hurting ourselves and each other for our father's amusement, and sometimes we still wouldn't get it.

Rarely, our apathetic and depressed mother would have a burst of guilt, and would bring us home chocolate buttons or something, and bath us, and wash some clean clothes for us, and maybe even give us a hug.

So food to me really does equal love. I associate feeling full with feeling momentarily safe, nurtured, and protected, which was something so rare and fleeting growing up that it became pricelessly precious.

Whereas hunger feels like being a lonely, frightened child again, desperately gnawing inside. I can go into that mindset for extended periods (as I did with anorexia), by becoming my father's voice and hating myself so much that it is an ongoing act of self-harm.

But try as I might, I cannot find a middle way. It is as if two powerful demons wrestle in my head, and they will never, ever compromise.

jenniferalisonphillipasue Tue 28-Jan-14 19:37:36

Wow losing. I had some shit in my childhood but that sounds horrific. I worked through my issues because I had the tools to do so. Probably an obvious question but have you sought professional help?

LosingItSlowly Tue 28-Jan-14 19:44:14

Sorry for your troubles too jenniferalison, and yes, have explored many avenues of help including counselling/medication and less healthy options as well.

I do think therapy has helped me understand a lot of the 'whys', but I've never been able to crack the swinging between two extremes. Have lost and gained over 100 lbs (from underweight to very obese) so many times I'm amazed my gallbladder is still hanging around.

everlong Tue 28-Jan-14 19:51:28

We've had to visit outpatients for the past few months for ds' arm.

There is a nurse there who is the biggest/largest/fattest woman I've seen. She is young and pretty and has lovely hair.

She can barely walk. Ds (14) commented that her weight wasn't a good advert as a health professional.

I guess he has a point?

MrsDeVere Tue 28-Jan-14 20:03:52

I have just had to set up an alarm that alerts me if someone walks into my kitchen.
DS has serious food compulsions.

We have tried everything.

Next step will be to pay ££££ to get doors fitted.

He is tall and thin now.
I doubt he will be thin when he is 30

sillyoldfool Tue 28-Jan-14 20:04:34

She's a nurse doing a job, not an advert. Most the nurses I know smoke...

everlong Tue 28-Jan-14 20:06:11

She can barely walk, you're not telling that's healthy.

WichitaLineman Tue 28-Jan-14 20:15:41

And nothing of what you have read, everlong, makes you think that maybe she deserves compassion? That she may be battling awful demons and be so full of self loathing that no amount of censure from you and your son could make her feel worse?

Should she be sacked? Given a written warning?

I honestly despair sad

Please re-read some of the brave posts before you start objectifying people so cruelly - and yes, referring to her as an advert is objectifying her. I bet that she is a compulsive overeater, and that her experiences give her a huge amount of compassion and makes her very good at being a nurse.

WichitaLineman Tue 28-Jan-14 20:17:35

And mrs de vere I am sorry. I can't imagine how hard it has been for my parents to watch me self-destruct.

HairyPorter Tue 28-Jan-14 20:17:39

Agree a lot of health care professionals are overweight and its not a good image BUT everlong have you ever done shift work yourself? It really messes with your system. Health care professionals like nurses are paid very poorly when you consider how physically and mentally demanding their job is, especially if they have to do night shifts. I think doing shifts makes you more vulnerable to emotional eating. Please don't slate the overweight health professionals unless you know personally what their job truly entails!

everlong Tue 28-Jan-14 20:22:58

This lady isn't just chubby I don't believe her weight is because if shift work.

She is grossly over weight. Of course there's a reason for it and yes she deserves compassion, I never said she didn't!

I guess I find it strange that someone working in that profession would abuse her body the way she does.

WichitaLineman Tue 28-Jan-14 20:23:44


everlong Tue 28-Jan-14 20:24:23


itsbetterthanabox Tue 28-Jan-14 20:25:19

You think the nhs shouldn't hire people based on their weight?

everlong Tue 28-Jan-14 20:25:53

If I had to guess I would say she was 20 stone.
Maybe more. Probably more actually.

everlong Tue 28-Jan-14 20:26:36

No I haven't said that have I?

itsbetterthanabox Tue 28-Jan-14 20:28:50

Then what is the issue? Clearly this woman does her job well. Her personal food habits are irrelevant

everlong Tue 28-Jan-14 20:31:02

The issue ( which isn't really an issue more an observation ) is that she works in a profession looking after other peoples health but abuses her own body.. plus she can barely walk around. How is that ok?

sobbingmummy Tue 28-Jan-14 20:31:25

People who are obese eat too much, and exercise too little. Although some people have a mild predisposition toward weight gain, obesity is not a “glandular” issue for any more than a tiny fraction of the people who are overweight, nor is it a disease.
If there is a disease at work in the obesity epidemic, it is the disease of laziness. People want a quick fix to solve all their problems, and they don’t want to have to do anything differently… even though the things they have always done are what caused them to end up being overweight and unhappy with themselves.
The desire for a magic answer ends up creating a psychological barrier to progress. Because people want a quick, magical solution, even good medical advice is translated into bad, ineffectual behaviour.
The science of obesity is not complex, but cutting through the noise requires some common sense. If you are obese, then losing weight is simple. You need to gradually decrease the amount of food that you eat, and gradually increase the amount that you exercise, so that over time your body adapts to having less “fuel”. If you do this, you will gradually lose weight.
But there are no short cuts. There is no special food that you can eat, or exclude, and have the pounds melt away with no other change in your lifestyle. Eating organic or “additive free” food won’t help you if you eat 4,000 calories a day. There are no magic pills.
Eating healthy food is great, and is something everyone should strive for. But if you are seriously overweight, focusing on the minutiae of your vitamins and leafy green intake is likely to be an unnecessary distraction.

everlong Tue 28-Jan-14 20:33:15

How can you say being that overweight isn't an issue and is ok?

How can you condone it?

Whether its somebody working or Julie from down the street?

How is it good for you?

WichitaLineman Tue 28-Jan-14 20:38:26

You two. Seriously? Please go and have your ill informed rants somewhere else. This thread was about offering an alternative perspective. Nobody has even mentioned bloody glands.

I simply cannot believe after all that has been said, you have twisted this thread so ridiculously. You are my first ever, (in 8 years) biscuit. I am lost for words.

You put the daily mail to shame. Well done.

IceBeing Tue 28-Jan-14 20:40:02

Wow everlong did you really come on this thread to tell us that your son thinks fat people shouldn't be allowed to work for the NHS?


Can I politely suggest that you sit him down and explain the fallacy of judging peoples ability to do their job based purely on their appearance? That you also point out what an unpleasant nasty personality trait it is to judge people at all when you know nothing of their circumstances and the difficulties they may face?

Oh and while you are at it, do have the same chat with yourself!

everlong Tue 28-Jan-14 20:40:04

Stop being dramatic.

Sobbingmummy you clearly work at the cutting edge of nutritional science, thanks for your amazing insights hmm....

WichitaLineman Tue 28-Jan-14 20:41:47

But sobbing, I will obviously try your wonderful advice before I fuck off this thread. I had no idea it was all so simple. I could have saved so much money and heartache and misery had I just thought of these indispensable pearls of wisdom myself.

I'm thick as well as fat. Oh wait, fat people are all thick.

ItsATIARA Tue 28-Jan-14 20:43:47

Oh FFS sobbing, have you actually read any of this thread at all? Next time someone asks whether women can do mansplaining I'm going to point them to your post.

IceBeing Tue 28-Jan-14 20:44:08

sobbing do us all a favour and read the other 300 odd posts on this thread which explain in great detail why you can take your trite one size fits all back of the cereal packet wisdom and shove it straight up your ass.

HairyPorter Tue 28-Jan-14 20:44:14

Well said icebeing. everlong you've avoided my question re shift work and if you've ever done night shifts a few times a month for several years? Shift work causes obesity. This is a completely different issue to what the op is posting about.

When I was at my worst with binge eating in my 20s, I used to spend 3+ hours in the gym if I could to try and repair the damage (not the same day, I was physically spent after a binge).
I'm not saying that's right at all but it does throw a spanner in the works of the myth of being lazy, weak-willed etc. It took a lot of bloody will to shift myself to the gym after a major binge, but the disgust in myself won over.

I've been anorexic, overweight from binge eating and every bloomin' stage in between. I still slip up now, but thankfully, and thanks to the amazing help from the Maudsley, I'm just about holding my own.

Anyone who puts all cases of binge eating solely down to being greedy (surely people don't still think this?) are seriously misinformed. Places like the Maudsley hospital in London (formerly Bedlum, which I only recently found out!) have dedicated eating disorders departments - why would mental health institutions have eating disorder clinics if sufferers were simply greedy and weak-willed?

everlong Tue 28-Jan-14 20:45:32

He saw the nurse struggling to walk. On her feet all the time we were waiting for our appointment. It was an observation on how someone advocating health could abuse her own body.

Not in a sneery way. An observation.

Tell me how that is wrong?

Ubik1 Tue 28-Jan-14 20:45:38

Shift work really does affect what you eat. Many HCPs survive on unhealthy focus because it is fast yo eat snd gives you energy . Frankly at 4am on nightshift number 4 a macdonalds is really welcome. And then you have the anxiety when you come off shift. Cravings for carbs etc

sobbingmummy Tue 28-Jan-14 20:46:09

I actually didn't read the thread.

Oh yes, and 'lazy' - I forgot that one sobbing hmm

HairyPorter Tue 28-Jan-14 20:46:13

Oops x post grin. I meant icebeing's response to everlong. But it's appropriate here too!

IceBeing Tue 28-Jan-14 20:46:56

Actually I am pretty amazed this thread got even this far before getting trolled. I am afraid Wichi it was all but inevitable. But I think a lot of people have actually found some useful insight before it happened. So please don't think it was a waste of effort.

Custardo Tue 28-Jan-14 20:48:45

talk about stating the bleedin' obvious sobbing...

the recipe to losing weight is simple, therefore one has to look at the more complex issues

becuase if following that very simple recipe ( for it is simply eat less move more) the diet industry couldn't make millions could it

itsbetterthanabox Tue 28-Jan-14 20:48:48

I imagine she walks fine. The weight you've said wouldn't affect mobility.
People can advise ill people how to get better without following that advice themselves. They are telling patients scientific information not personal anecdotes. I'm certain nhs professionals binge drink, smoke, get in fights! All can affect their health.
I don't think anyone's weight has anything to do with you. That's the point here. Whether you think their weight is 'ok' or not is irrelevantconfused.

WichitaLineman Tue 28-Jan-14 20:49:02

Thankfully sobbing and everlong are the only people, in a very heartening thread of over 300 posts to make such outrageous comments.

Even though some have been harder than others to read, the rest have been measured and considered and I have taken them on board.

You are doing the courageous women like the previous one a massive disservice with your ill judged remarks.

sobbingmummy Tue 28-Jan-14 20:52:15

posts to make such outrageous comments.

Err when ?

IceBeing Tue 28-Jan-14 20:52:26

ever It is not at all a mystery that somebody could train as a nurse then suffer some trauma in their life that caused their pre-existing food addiction issues to spiral.

There is nothing surprising that someone in health care could have mental health issues or physical health issues. Your job is separate to your health whatever your job is.

What is a fucking mystery is why anyone intelligent enough to operate a computer would come on a thread like this and say what you did.

WichitaLineman Tue 28-Jan-14 20:54:14

The ones that are blanketly denying the experiences of dozens of women who have written eloquently about how they feel on this thread. How fucking dare you. I am angry for them and for me. Oh, but you haven't even bothered your arse to read them...

IceBeing Tue 28-Jan-14 20:54:35

sobbing "I actually didn't read the thread."

grin no shit sherlock.

Maybe you could try that next time?

Wichita, I meant to also say thanks for starting this thread smile

WichitaLineman Tue 28-Jan-14 20:55:42


sobbingmummy Tue 28-Jan-14 20:56:06

Calm down. Ive not made outrageous comments. I already said I posted before reading.

IceBeing Tue 28-Jan-14 20:57:11

sorry wichi it is so bad it is know like laugh or cry time?

300 thoughtful posts on peoples real experiences and then 'ohh I know, I know - have you tried.....eating less?????'

<sobbing takes a bow to the adulation of masses>

everlong Tue 28-Jan-14 20:57:18

I'm guessing weight ( obviously ) she walked with difficulty.
I saw her walking, you didn't.

And profession aside, you're saying it's ok to be that overweight?

WichitaLineman Tue 28-Jan-14 20:57:30

Thanks for that apology sobbing. Very big of you. Excuse the pun...

sobbingmummy Tue 28-Jan-14 20:58:08

Sorry x

WichitaLineman Tue 28-Jan-14 21:01:30

I was until recently that overweight everlong.

Am I not worthy of a job? Or should I just make sure it isn't in healthcare?

Mimishimi Tue 28-Jan-14 21:01:45

Hmmm... I don't think the OP is really offering another perspective. I absolutely agree that people should keep their nasty comments or unsolicited advice to themselves but saying that it's an addiction doesn't make it ok - just as being addicted to cigarettes is just something that people have to overcome if they want better health.

SugarMouse1 Tue 28-Jan-14 21:02:04

I've never noticed people 'fat shaming' tbh.

People do say things to me all the time though about me being quiet, which is cruel and pig ignorant. I am only as quiet as I am because I became self-conscious about it when teachers said it all the time.

You might as well ask someone why they are black, gay or disabled.

Fucking stupid.

IceBeing Tue 28-Jan-14 21:02:52

ever it is as okay to be that over weight as to suffer from OCD, or to suffer from cancer...or depression...or ...well you know any other deep seated difficult to cure health problem that isn't actively contagious.

Obviously it would be better if we could cure all of these mental and physical health problems. But we can't. So we probably shouldn't round up people suffering from them and tell them they are inappropriate for paid work.

Sobbing I think you do sound well informed about everything diet/health related except for the psychological aspects of overeating/binging, and how it really doesn't come down to a love of food at all, but rather the self-hatred of the person, in my case anyway.

You said you haven't read the thread, but you really should do as it's possibly a real eye-opener for anyone who hasn't experience of an eating disorder x

suskia Tue 28-Jan-14 21:05:18

I wouldn't employ a dentist with rotten teeth.
Nurses as front line health professionals should be practising what they preach.
Last week my blood pressure was taken by a nurse so fat that when she leant forward she couldn't breathe. She then gave me a talk about the importance of having healthy BP. WTF?!
And this was nothing to do with shifts and all that - this was the practise nurse at the GPs. The receptionists are fat too.

The British people are getting fatter by the day - 1 in 10 children is obese by the time they start school. This generation will predecease their parents from entirely avoidable illnesses simply because they ate too much crap and didn't get enough exercise. How anyone can think that is acceptable is beyond me.

sobbingmummy Tue 28-Jan-14 21:05:22

I copied it from an article I was reading the other day.

IceBeing Tue 28-Jan-14 21:05:26

sugar please read everlongs posts where she says she isn't sure if it is okay for people over a certain weight to work in the NHS. This is an example of fat shaming. It is telling people they have less value to society simply because of their weight.

WichitaLineman Tue 28-Jan-14 21:06:43

In what way is it not ok?

Am I saying it is ok?

Step 1. Of the 12 step programme for addiction:

We admitted we were powerless over food—that our lives had become unmanageable.

IceBeing Tue 28-Jan-14 21:07:00

OMG what happened? Is there a 300 post limit on sensible discourse and then its all 'fat shaming isn't real - fat people actually shouldn't be allowed to work or be seen in public'

WichitaLineman Tue 28-Jan-14 21:08:44

Fucks sake, not you too Suskia? Read the bloody threadangry

IceBeing Tue 28-Jan-14 21:08:58

suskia seriously? What if the dentist was a shit hot dentist with a genetic abnormality that affected their teeth? Are you normally this disablist in your thinking?

everlong Tue 28-Jan-14 21:11:33

I gave you ds' comments. I didn't say overweight people shouldn't work for the nhs!

I have asked how you all can condone someone being morbidly obese.. because that's the bit I don't understand.

Of course there are reasons but you are saying its ok, I don't agree.

suskia Tue 28-Jan-14 21:19:26

Sorry but that really is hysterical - in both senses of the word!
And yes I have read the thread thank you.
And no I am not disablist either. hmm

I'd like to know something - would you get counselling about giving up alcohol from someone who was actively abusing substances?
Do you think someone who is grossly overweight is in any position to tell people what to do with their health in relation to weight and BP?

WichitaLineman Tue 28-Jan-14 21:19:56

How can you condone or not condone it? If you understand some of the reasons how would you propose to deal with it? The term condone is absurd. As if you have the moral authority to condone someone else's weight. Extraordinary. confused