Lorenzo Santiago, a former Olympic athlete and author of a study to see why fat and fit people don’t lose weight through exercise, believes that fat people are “out of shape and they have some sort of respiratory limitation”, even though his study shows that fat people are not “grossly deconditioned” (showing that you don’t have to be a certain shape to be “in shape”) and the cardiorespiratory fitness of nonobese subjects may be slightly higher, depending on the prediction equation utilized (in other words, even if you fiddle with the data to get results to suit your personal bias, fat people are only slightly less fit).
Mr. Santiago thinks the key is in the respiratory system (possibly because his own study showed that fat fit people are “in shape”), which he thinks works more efficiently in the fat and fit population. So a fat athlete’s more efficient respiratory system is a problem? Has he considered that this may be why fat people are able to be fit?
Mr. Santiago claims he is doing all of this so he can help regular fat people – not so regular fat people can become fat and fit people, but to fight “this epidemic of obesity.” Well, fuck you very much.
You would think that a former Olympic athlete might appreciate that being fit is more important than being a certain size or weight; that he would be interested on how to encourage more people to enjoy exercise no matter what size they are (and what size they end up). But no. Mr. Santiago obviously has a problem with the idea that fat people can exercise, become fit and still be fat.
Attitudes like Mr. Santiago’s make it hard to convince people that there is any reason for exercise other than for weight loss; that if weight loss doesn’t accompany exercise, there is no purpose to the exercise.
This attitude is harmful because:
1) It leads to fat people giving up on exercise if they don’t lose weight, thinking either
(a) The exercise failed or
(b) They have “failed” in some way;
2) It leads people to believe the fat people they see either
(a) Need to exercise or
(b) Do not exercise.
3) It leads people who see fat people exercise to assume that the reason for the exercise is weight loss.
As Whaliam so succinctly summarized it: Even though Santiago’s own data show that you can be fat and fit, he still sees fatness as a bad thing. Fat people who are in shape and stay fat must still be somehow “out of shape”. This circular reasoning causes Santiago to circle back and plant his own head up his ass.