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This is part three of a series in which I respond to the author of this:

And Ms. Weinberg, reducing calorie intake and increasing calorie expenditure does not always lead to weight loss. And while the arithmetic (calories in = calories out) seems simple, the results are not because the human body is not simple.

Deb Burgard’s thoughts (“is there value in focusing on weight at all?”) are a breath of fresh air in this article.

And Ms. Weinberg shows exactly where she misses the actual point that Deb Burgard is making:

[Deb Burgard’s] point sticks, blunted by data that do, in fact, show a health disparity between people of different weights – and on the other hand, strengthened by research showing a strong connection between chronic stress and health.

The health disparity between people of different weights may be due to reasons other than weight. There is more going on here than weight. And that is Deb Burgard’s point.

Ms. Weinberg does not understand, besides the convenience of access to healthy food and a place to exercise, the kind of discrimination and bigotry fat people face each time they appear in public. She doesn’t understand what that does to a person over a lifetime.

If people want fat folks to live a healthier life, then stop treating us like shit when we venture out and attempt to participate in healthy activities. How about you just stop treating us like shit altogether? How would that be?

The fact remains, what constitutes healthy behavior for fat people, is healthy behavior for all people. There is no reason for a focus on weight, and studies have shown that a focus on weight loss tends to lead to the end of healthy behavior when the weight loss stops. Studies have shown, as well, that if the focus is on health or enjoyment, the healthy behavior is more likely to continue whether or not weight loss occurs. So the focus on weight is self-defeating.

The solution is not to reframe obesity as superfluous, but rather to seek a new approach to a decades-old problem. We need to focus on treating and preventing obesity, not only through intensive weight-loss regimes for individuals, but by attacking the root cause: the behaviours that are damaging to your health, no matter what your size.

No Ms. Weinberg, the solution is not focus on treating and preventing obesity. We’ve been focusing on fatness, and it hasn’t worked.


The focus should be on achieving better health no matter what your size. That is something that is achievable.

If we stop stigmatizing and judging fat children; if we stop putting fat children on diets, or exposing all children to fat bias, maybe children can grow up with the type of body they were naturally meant to have. Instead of trying to force them all into some cookie-cutter mold, people could be naturally what they are and we could enjoy the diversity of nature.

I am not saying that we should ignore the health-risks that have been associated with obesity. I am saying we need to treat those conditions if they arise (and not simply assume they will arise, because they don’t always). I am saying that until there is an actual treatment for obesity, the healthcare professionals need to focus on what is achievable – better health. And even if there were a way to turn fatties in to thin folks, the healthcare industry should still be focusing on health first.

And you Ms. Weinberg, don’t understand, really, that the impacts of fat shaming and discrimination are not only psychological; they are physical as well. Society is cruel. But the problem with discrimination and fat-shaming and bigotry runs a lot deeper than that, especially when the outcome is fat people being denied their basic rights. If you think fat people simply need to toughen up, you must not know any fat people –or the ones you do know, don’t trust you enough to let you see who they are and what they deal with as a fat person.

Yes, government and society need to address access to healthy food and lack of exercise spaces. But society needs to provide fat people with a safe place to access and utilize those things.

And healthcare professionals need to provide fat people with non-stigmatizing healthcare that focuses on health instead of weight.


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