NotBlueAtAll

I'm just a fat gal with a blog and an opinion. Well, lots of opinions.

(TR) A&E’s New Series “Heavy”

January10

I don’t do Trigger Warnings, but this is all kinds of triggering. So this is a Trigger Warning for pretty much anything and everything relating to diet talk, weight loss and so much more. Ugh! (Also, I swear!)

A&E has a new show called, “Heavy” from the site: A&E’s new docudrama Heavy follows twenty-two individuals facing extreme life-threatening health consequences as a result of their obesity. The one-hour series follows two participants per episode documenting their incredible transformations during a six month treatment program.

(The ad at the top right when I loaded the page was for onestopplus.com, the one at the bottom of the page is from avenue.com, irony much?)

The ad I found in a magazine I subscribe to (Entertainment Weekly) is what made me look it up. The image for the ad seems overly doctored and just weird. A woman standing on a scale blank-faced, staring right at you. Also, the people in the ad/ads aren’t actually from the show, they could be models or CGI, not sure. But it bugged me enough to go online and look it up. The tag line for the series, “Losing is their only hope.” UGH!

“Unlike other weight loss series, “Heavy” is not a competition or stunt, but is rooted in the incredible real life day-to-day journeys of the participants during a lengthy treatment program. In order to most accurately document these multiple weight loss journeys over the course of six months and present them individually in one hour, A&E sought out two different production companies to undertake the lengthy and ambitious filming process. The result is a never-before-seen look at the unique struggles faced by dangerously obese individuals who must learn to live healthier lifestyles and understand the root of their food addictions. Through their day-to-day struggle and the voices of their loved ones, viewers will see first hand the pain and self-doubt associated with a debilitating weight problem.”

This makes me feel ill. I just don’t have the words right now. I won’t discount that some people do have food addictions, and maybe everyone they chose for the series does have one, but not all fats have a fucking food addiction! That’s absurd! Well, except for the simple fact that all living things NEED FOOD!!! WTF?! I have never watched any weight loss series/show. I have seen clips from “Biggest Loser” and decided on my own that it wasn’t for me. And after reading Golda’s interview with BL finalist Kai Hibbard I knew it wasn’t going to “entertain” me, at all. The whole concept sickens me. But I digress…

“In the premiere episode, viewers meet Tom and Jodi, both 37 from Houston, TX, and learn why they are heavy and how they must reverse their lifestyles or die.”

This is what pissed me off most: “Jodi, 5-foot-6 and 363 pounds, is at a critical juncture with her health. Her heaviness prevents her from keeping up with her husband and two children and from her favorite pastime, singing with her brothers in a band.”

What the fucking fuck?! My weight has never stood in the way of keeping up with my husband and our puppy or my love of singing…SINGING! It mentions her fear of suffering another stroke. And this: -Wants to lose the weight to avoid another stroke
Am I wrong here? I thought a stroke was a blood clot in the brain, no? How the hell does weight affect this? If I’m wrong, let me know. I know that individual experiences differ so very greatly, but I just don’t buy any of this.

The Bios page is the worst bit for me. You click on a picture and it gives the “bio” for the person. Only, it’s no bio like I’ve seen, it’s only stats, health problems, limitations and “stakes.” I mean, half of these people, when you read what it is that they want, they just need FA & HAES! One gal, Julia, says “Scared of getting diabetes” under health problems. So, wait…she doesn’t even have any health problems! WTF?!

Look, the ignorance runs deep with this show. It makes me sad and angry. And this anger, this very special kind of anger that cuts right to the heart of my big fat fucking body, it fuels my fat activist flame! It is because of stupid bullshit like this being broadcast to the masses (not sure what the ratings are like for A&E, but it’s more than ten people and that’s too many) that I and so many other fat bloggers/activists work to spread the word, support one another and just be publicly fat and happy, dammit!

Had these people been introduced to Fat Acceptance before being approached by A&E they may have an entirely different outlook on themselves, life and the world all together. I know I do!

So what can we do to spread the word on FA & HAES? How can we let A&E know that this show is bullshit? What else can we do?

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36 Comments to

“(TR) A&E’s New Series “Heavy””

  1. On January 10th, 2011 at 6:23 am wriggles Says:

    We’ve just been talking about this over at bigfatblog.

    I agree with you that this project exposes the absurd inaptness of weight loss dieting to solve any problem.

    It is clear that some of these people at least have developed
    eating disorders/metabolic imbalance as a result of stress. This is so not the way to go.

    You are right though a distinction does have to be between those with this kind of problem and merely being fat. In the same way that there is a distinction between being thin and being anorexic.

  2. On January 10th, 2011 at 8:46 am Not Blue at All Says:

    I must have missed it! I’ll pop over and catch up! But yes, it makes me sad, too to consider the fact that there must be a group of fats who believe this stuff and think that their fate is prescribed to be full of shame. I want to hugs the fats of the world and let them know that they don’t have to hide or fear or live with shame/guilt. FA is here! *waves* C’mon in! The fats are fine! Ha-ha!

  3. On January 10th, 2011 at 7:21 am Psycho Sue Says:

    My big worry about these shows is their impact on culture. They make people think it’s ok to run around judging other people’s body conditions in the name of “saving someone” from diabetes or what ever the hell else. Just “because they care.”
    Shows like this are trash. They think it’s “good tv” and it will “encourage others in the struggle to loose weight.” But these shows never translate to real life. It’s like a freak show at a circus. You have to have the freak show to make extra money on. They make these shows for people who are revolted by fatties; to justify their warped positions. They are not for fatties at all. No fatty would watch this and retain any self respect. They would turn off the tv feeling like they are a fuck up who let themselves go and and has no quality of life and are a burden and a worry to all their family who have to “deal” with them. Well I hope the network is happy.

  4. On January 10th, 2011 at 8:47 am Not Blue at All Says:

    I think you’re right about it not being for fatties, but then I also think there are fats out there who see this and actually believe it and my heart breaks for them. If only no one would watch this show…?

  5. On January 10th, 2011 at 9:43 am Carol Gwenn Says:

    May I recommend the boycott?

    For years now, I’ve made note of the advertisers on shows that I find unsuitable for television audiences of any age (like the disgusting sludge referenced above) & bombarded them with letters, emails, etc. Gotten as many friends as possible to join in, letting those advertisers know that as long as they sponsor such crap in the guise of “entertainment” or “reality” tv, they’ll never get a nickel of OUR money.

    I think some of these advertisers conveniently forget that the very people they are belittling, insulting, what you will, are people with money to spend & who will now spend it on a competitor’s products.

    No, it may not remove the show from the air, but it WILL let those advertisers & tv networks know that we’re more than happy to shop – and watch – the competition, rather than support anything that would make us feel that we’re less than first-class citizens of the world.

  6. On January 10th, 2011 at 9:59 am Not Blue at All Says:

    Yes, I actively participated in the Marie Claire boycott deal. I made many calls and sent emails to the advertisers. In the end I’m not sure we did anything but piss off some executive assistants and customer service people, but that is beside the point. You’re right, we should speak up and be heard, at the very least. Thank you!

  7. On January 10th, 2011 at 9:47 am vesta44 Says:

    Someone needs to do a show about fats living their lives through HAES/FA to counter this kind of tripe. But that’s not what gets ratings, showing happy fat people, living their lives, having friends, families, relationships, jobs, businesses, etc. The only thing that brings in ratings for the networks, via ad revenue from tons of people watching, is the misery of fat people, to be gawked at, pointed at, blamed and shamed. Continuing the stereotype of fat people as death-looking-for-a-place-to-happen if they don’t lose the “excess” weight soonest is what makes money for the networks, the medical community, the diet industry, and pharmaceutical companies. When you’re up against that kind of profit motive, it’s an uphill battle.

  8. On January 10th, 2011 at 10:00 am Not Blue at All Says:

    Hmmm, yes, good point. So how could we frame a positive FA type fatty show that would attract those advertising dollars? That I guess is the big question! =0)

  9. On January 10th, 2011 at 10:07 am Golda Says:

    Just nauseating. I’m so sick of this shit. I’m so sick of the way just being fat is pathologized. Ugh! Thanks for this post.

  10. On January 10th, 2011 at 10:26 am Not Blue at All Says:

    Oh, sorry for nauseating you today, Golda. Hope this doesn’t put a damper on your Monday. =0)

  11. On January 10th, 2011 at 10:27 am Ashley Says:

    So I don’t really ever watch anything on A&E, but there is a similarly bad show on MTV currently called “I Use to Be Fat” that follows teenagers for the three months between the end of their senior year of high school and when they start college, where they have a personal trainer work with the person and their family. I watched part of one episode where a 250ish pound girl who was her high school’s homecoming queen was encouraged to lose 90 pounds in about 3 months. Her trainer straight up told her in the part of the episode i watched that she needed to lose 6 pounds a week to reach her goal. Even by the most generous standards of “recommended weight loss”, isn’t that like 3 times the recommended rate? And this show, by it’s participants and the network it’s on, is specifically aimed at teenagers. Somehow I find that worse than BL or whatever other shows that feature adult participants, I guess just because I know how impressionable teenagers are.

  12. On January 10th, 2011 at 10:51 am Not Blue at All Says:

    YES! I saw that show’s info, but couldn’t bring myself to even click on that channel. (They need to rename that whole network.) Was the girl 18? It doesn’t even matter though, does it? I mean, there really is no positive messaging out there for fats! There is no mainstream alternative. I wish everyone could find out about FA in some grand positive way all at once, ya know? Ugh! I don’t even think it’s worse for teens versus adults (okay, maybe it is), but the simple fact that it perpetuates stereotypes (fat = bad/death/disease) and shames those who are fat. Sick of this! Thanks for your comment.

  13. On January 10th, 2011 at 12:04 pm Patsy Nevins Says:

    I refuse to watch any of this crap, but from what I understand through reading & also through contact with other fat people I know, including family members, I would say 95-98% of fat people themselves believe that all this bullshit is gospel truth, that they are lazy gluttons eating themselves into an early grave, that they need to ‘get hold of themselves’ & ‘take control of their lives.’ I play an online game played by at least 32 million people worldwide, supposedly aimed at kids, but at least 10-12 million of us are over 18. We rate each other’s rooms, leave notes, etc., & there is an alarming prevalence of notes saying things like, “how can a 2# pound box of chocolates make a woman gain 5 pounds?’, “Here are calorie-free stars for you”, or comments like, “My clothes are too tight, time to diet” (from a 65-year-old woman, the age group for whom weight loss increases mortality risks by several hundred percent), “i have to get myself in shape” from a 60-year-old man, etc. This on a website where we interact with a lot of children & teens, in a culture where body image & eating disorders are rampant. When I write a response such as, “I believe we all are beautiful as we are”, or “I believe in body acceptance & making peace with our natural sizes for all of us” or explain to a friend who protests when I call myself fat that it is not an insult but a statement of fact, I feel as if I might as well be advocating human sacrifice from the reactions I get, when people do not just ignore what I have written & pretend it was never said. Oh, yes, most people of all sizes, including the majority of fat people, participate in their own demonization & promote myths & quote lies as fact every day.

  14. On January 10th, 2011 at 12:06 pm Not Blue at All Says:

    Isn’t it almost always easier to believe the lie? I often equate my discovering FA to the Matrix movies. I chose the red pill, you see, I chose not to live in a world that will have me hiding and starving myself. How can we get these positive messages to the millions of fats young and old?

  15. On January 10th, 2011 at 1:59 pm Patsy Nevins Says:

    I wish I knew. I spent years attending family dinners, sitting at a table with a thin older brother (who was built exactly like our thin father) who ate 3 times as much as I did while he preached the gospel of, “You are too young to let yourself go that way” to me. I also sat across from & beside a fat sister & two fat brothers who were all convinced that they were ugly fat gluttons & that someday, when they found the ‘willpower’, they would ‘do something about it’. I discovered FA & tried to reason with them, to point out that we were built like our mother & her relatives, virtually all of whom lived into their 80’s & 90’s, that it was natural & alright for many people to be fat, that we ate no more than thin people on average (as they could see watching our brother), but they believed the media & the culture, they thought I was in denial, making excuses for myself so that I would not have stop stuffing my face, etc. The other side is louder, better financed, & gets a hell of a lot more publicity & approbation. We need to find an answer, to reach more people. People suffer, hate themselves, stunt their lives, have health problems, & often die before they should because of this worship of THIN & the intense culture wide hatred of fat.

  16. On January 10th, 2011 at 2:22 pm Not Blue at All Says:

    Damn! I am so sick of the in/out gospel spouting! And while I’m (now) quick to debunk it with facts, it still gets my goat (as they say).
    I guess the true issue of getting a fat positive message out is money, right? No backers, no ads. Hmm…

  17. On January 11th, 2011 at 12:44 pm Patsy Nevins Says:

    Amen. We cannot come up with over $60 billion every year to effectively combat those who push weight loss. All we can do is keep trying to reach as many people as we can.

    BTW, just as an aside, my thin father died at 63, while my fat mother, despite inheriting kidney disease from her father’s family & having only 1 kidney for over 40 years, lived to be 85. Isn’t it a shame how fat kills?

  18. On January 11th, 2011 at 12:52 pm Not Blue at All Says:

    Wow! Yes, it is a shame…ha-ha! I’ve read so much about fat helping people live longer it makes me wonder why more people don’t know this. But you’re right about the billions spent on diet ads, I’m sick of the corporatocracy!

  19. On January 27th, 2011 at 11:54 am Tess Says:

    I am the model from the show, and I am proud to represent the people on the show. They have all worked so hard, and I have had the pleasure of knowing them personally and I finally feel that this show is about people changing their lives..not trying to win a prize. The people at A&E have really worked hard at this, and I am honored to be a part of the show. HOWEVER, I am not crazy about the words ‘losing is their only hope’ splashed aross my photo because I AM NOT suffering from any health problems and am actually perfectly healthy. The photo was shot from a 7ft tall ladder, thus why my shoulders look huge. (no pun intended) It’s all to sell a show, and that’s what they are trying to do. With that said, I will continue to support the show, despite that fact because I’m tired of “fat” people being portrayed in a negative light. We have voices and want to be heard..not have money shoved in our face to race up a hill and embarrass us on national tv.

    Thanks.

    Tess

  20. On January 27th, 2011 at 12:08 pm Not Blue at All Says:

    Hi Tess,
    Thank you for reading & commenting. I still feel as though this show IS in fact portraying fats in a very negative light and that they make fat itself seem like a disease. I agree that we have voices and SHOULD be heard, but what I see and hear from the show? I can’t find a single good thing about it. I know that A&E are trying to be more “real” in a more personal and documentary style with the show, but it still makes me sick to think that these people are blaming things on their weight when there’s way more to it than that.
    I appreciate your willingness to share, but I would hope that you can understand why these shows go against the Health At Every Size (Book by Linda Bacon PHD) way of life.
    Thanks again, would love to see more of you out there! <3

  21. On January 27th, 2011 at 12:15 pm Tess Says:

    I understand where you are coming from, and I just did an interview with PMM (Plus Model Magazine) about how I feel like this was ‘just a job’ for me, and most plus models take gigs like I did, because who would turn down being the face of a national ad campaign?? Not me..obviously. But I would like more FAT-ACCEPTANCE in the world..for sure. If you follow PMM, you will see my interview and know that you and I share very similar beliefs. I do not agree that being overweight is a disease, but I do feel like it’s a mental disorder almost that takes over. I wouldn’t be 100lbs overweight if I had the control that comes so easily to some of my friends.

    I would love to have ‘a job’ where I was able to showcase what it’s really like to be a plus woman in today’s world. That we don’t sulk in our pj’s, eating bon bon’s and crying. NO. Some of us..*cough cough* dress up like Hello Kitty, Eat cupcakes, and go on adventures. That’s life. Not standing on a scale for the world to see.

    xo.

  22. On January 27th, 2011 at 12:30 pm Not Blue at All Says:

    OMZ! Did you somehow psychic-ly know my friend said I looked like Hello Kitty in my FB Profile pic yesterday? Coincidence? Hmm…*suspicious eyes* Ha-ha! You’re fabulous! I do not follow PMM (a friend/mentor insists I should model, but I explained that I am too short and death fat for such a thing), but I’ll look up your interview.
    I love that you’re into Fat Acceptance, but I have an issue with what you said here, “but I do feel like it’s a mental disorder almost that takes over. I wouldn’t be 100lbs overweight if I had the control that comes so easily to some of my friends” Obviously I don’t know you, but it pains me to see statements like that. Fat is not a mental disorder and control has nothing to do with it or being thin either. Genetics, lifestyle, food choices (sure this plays a role, but not in ways that are stereotypically depicted), movement/activity…I know why I am fat and it has nothing to do with my food choices or “control.” I don’t want to sound defensive, I don’t speak for anyone but myself here, but I just want more people to know thw truth about fat and fat people. Please check out this site/book: http://www.lindabacon.org/ The book was a major eye opener for me and I read it at a point when I thought I know FA inside and out. I did not and I loved learning about the science behind nutrition and the hard facts all of the so-called “studies” on “obesity” versus what they want you to believe.
    Thank you again for sharing and commenting here. Let’s hope more people find the truth about their fat so they won’t make themselves sick or worse trying to fit into someone else’s social standard.

  23. On January 27th, 2011 at 1:17 pm FilthyMidget Says:

    I’d like to state I know the model personally she is a good, dear, amazing, beautiful, sweet woman who is near & dear to my heart. She was in no way altered or “CGI”ed. It was all of her except added lighting & make up.

    I am not a fan of these weight loss shows, but there are people out there who wish to not be overweight for what ever their reasons are. I need to loose a few pounds but I am okay with my overweight & it doesn’t stop me from much. Now my handicaps & broken body stop me from lots but I am one to always push the gamut.

    I am not a fan of reality shows I feel like I loose IQ points when I see them or hear people debate them. I dont really watch TV, I dont even own a cable box to get it. I support my friends modeling career though. She feels that she can support this show & I support her.

    It would be nice to see a better spin on people who are comfortable in their weights, that being weight of all kinds. All my friends vary from thin & athletic, to chubby & overweight. They respect me & I them. We need more shows about respect & self worth. We are based on a society that respects little & expects us to all be the same. I could rant forever.

    This year I am focusing on being okay with my weight, I have struggled with it all my life. I hate that society wants you to be anorexic. My body was not built to be thin which sucks since I am only 4’11”. This is my battle & I want to be okay with me whether it is losing weight, gaining weight or staying the same. As long as I keep my border line diabetes under control & the aches of my joints & knee.

    As to the Stroke & being overweight here is a good article & yes being overweight can push you towards strokes.

    http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=4716

    I am glad you women love your bodies that is great! I wish more women would. Weight is not who am, it is just 1 small part of me.

  24. On January 27th, 2011 at 1:35 pm Not Blue at All Says:

    Thank you for supporting your friend and commenting here. I appreciate your thoughts on the subject and after seeing a different picture of her, well, that A&E ad just doesn’t do her justice, she’s gorgeous!
    Couple of things bothered me though. Mainly: “Overweight” exactly what weight is ideal? For whom? Why? I don’t believe there is such a thing as “overweight.” Obviously mobility is a concern of yours and many others. But fat/weight doesn’t always cause these things, I don’t think that fat itself causes anything but jiggliness. Ha-ha!
    The American Heart Association, for all the good it’s given is actually funded by corporations and pharmaceutical companies (along with individuals). It is because of this that I question a lot of the messages they put forth. The link you provided did not list fat as an indicator on it’s own for strokes. It was way down the list (as “obesity” along with lack of physical activity, believe me I’m physically active and my fat does not hinder this) and what struck me was that it also lists Geographical and Socioeconomic factors — “There’s some evidence that strokes are more common among low-income people than among more affluent people.” Hmm…just like fat, it targets poor folks (like me).
    Please check out this link: http://kateharding.net/faq/but-dont-you-realize-fat-is-unhealthy/ and consider reading this book: http://www.lindabacon.org/ as I feel it really pinpoints the problems and solutions for living healthy at every size (HAES).
    I do thank you for your comment and am glad that you felt comfortable enough to speak up. I always encourage the sharing of thoughts/opinions/ideas here. Keep on rockin’! <3

  25. On January 27th, 2011 at 1:44 pm FilthyMidget Says:

    I am also not a big fan of the AHA, but I have spoke to Doctors & trust & who are honest with me. I am overweight for my health. Not from some fashion magazine*gags* My weight actually hurts my body & does stop me from doing things because of a previous injuries from a car accident. The less I weigh the easier it is on my body to deal. The better my diet is the lower my blood sugars & cholesterol is as well. That is just me though. I think everything is different for everyone. Just because this is how I am, doesn’t mean this is how you are, or even Tess for that matter. I think weight is personal, just like religion. Whatever it is your believe or how ever you look, as long as you are happy & a good person I say do it & be it!. I will be following your blogs now & then I am sure. I am glad to be welcomed to the fold.

  26. On January 27th, 2011 at 2:41 pm Not Blue at All Says:

    But see, you mentioned a car accident causing the injuries. Certainly weight can factor in or make things worse, but it is an individual thing for sure. The whole point of Fat Acceptance and Health At Every Size is about doing what feels good, makes you feel healthy, and living a great life no matter your size. You are totally welcomed to the fold/s and rolls and all of it! Ha! Thanks for speaking up!

  27. On January 27th, 2011 at 1:55 pm Tess Says:

    WOW, THANK YOU LADY! I appreciate all of your comments, and I adore you even more than I did for them.

    Now in response to Blue:

    I totally understand what you are saying, and I have read excerpts from the book you linked, but I still feel with every fiber in my body that being overweight is part mental, part genetics. It’s a combo of SO much. If it wasn’t mental, then why can’t I put down a box of double stuf oreo’s after having a uber shitty day? Why have I ballooned from 210 (my “healthy” weight) to 280lbs? BTW, I’M 5’4..if I can model..you can too Blue. Don’t let a little thing like that stop you!! <3 Buuuut back to what I was saying…I am planning on changing the world in my pink tutu one misconception at a time. I do appreciate what you are trying to do..but I just feel like it's not a war of who is right and who is wrong. I feel like we both have very valid points. I am a supporter of healthyisthenewskinny.com they are doing great things. Being healthy doesn't mean being a stick. I hope that women will start loving themselves for how they were created and not how society creates us.

    xo.

  28. On January 27th, 2011 at 2:48 pm Not Blue at All Says:

    What? You mean at 5’4″ and 300lbs I can model? Hmm, just not what I’ve been told. Rock on!
    It is terms like “overweight” and “should weigh” that bother me. It supports the thought that there is an ideal weight for any/all of us. I simply disagree.
    I am so glad that you are about being healthy, but as the book HAES proves, if you focus on the weight loss part of health you lose sight of what truly supports it.
    Keep doing what you’re doing, you are fabulous! <3

  29. On January 27th, 2011 at 2:00 pm Stacia Says:

    Hi there! I am one of the participants of the show HEAVY. It was, by far, the most amazing six months of my life. I feel like I learned so much about myself, and re-learned so much about the person that I used to be before I gained so much weight. And let me assure you, it does change you to weigh 470 pounds when you should weigh around 150 pounds. I would be curious (in a most respectful way) if you have ever been more than 300 pounds overweight? It is utterly debilitating in every way.The 22 of us all have different stories, just as all human beings do. And because of that, we all had a very different journey. My experience (and my emotional respone to) being overweight for many years changed over the span of those years. There were many times that I was happy, and I felt attractive, but there were many more times that I felt quite the opposite. I am a singer, like Jodi, and I promise you that all that excess weight had a devastating on the quality of my singing simply because I couldn’t breathe to walk to my car, let alone sing an aria! I performed in and directed many stage musicals being a big girl…and it was fun! I got to play the ballsy, quirky, characters with a lot more depth than the typical ingenue. However, it got to the point where I couldn’t have walked across the stage without getting out of breath, let alone muster the endurance to get through an entire performance.

    For me, this journey was about getting back to myself, not to some unrealistic waifish model. The most important thing to me was feeling good about myself again. I am convinced that my weight loss was an awesome fringe benefit of working on myself from the inside out. I have never felt at all exploited throughout the whole process. To the contrary, I feel like I was given the most amazing gift ever…the opportunity to change my life, with help and support. Sometimes we simply can’t do it alone.

  30. On January 27th, 2011 at 2:53 pm Not Blue at All Says:

    Thank you for sharing your experience here and with the world, Stacia. I am a singer, too. I weigh over 300 lbs. I am completely unhindered by my weight. But it’s an individual experience and we all lead very different types of lives. I believe that we all need love, help, support and access to the information and resources of the world to live our best and most authentic lives! Here’s to all of us living long, healthy and truly fabulous ones, too! <3

  31. On January 27th, 2011 at 8:49 pm withoutscene Says:

    Hi, all.
    I have to first comment on the idea that fat is a mental thing. While that may be your experience, we can’t assume that all fat people are fat (in part) from some mental issue. This is the problem that most of us in FA have–fatness, fat people, and the causes of fatness are depicted in very specific ways with very little diversity. And you seem to agree since you see the show as contributing to some diversity in the depictions of fat people.

    In the same vein, to say that ALL people over 300 lbs are hindered–whether that be in terms of mobility, vocal ability, or whatever, is an overgeneralization. Again, if this is your experience, fine, but that’s not all people’s experience. Further, we tend to attribute problems to fat that are about health or stamina, rather than fat itself. I know of a lot of people who can exercise and have no problem breathing because they are fit, despite being fat.

    Also as NB said, studies that look at ‘obesity’ often only show a correlation between BMI and certain health problems. But correlation is not causation, as any scientist will tell you. Fatness is associated with a high level of stigma/stress and also often with low socio-economic status–both things found to affect people’s health. In addition, partly because of stigma and fucked up ideas about fat and partly because fat people–whether because they are fat or poor–have less access to good health care. When you don’t have access to good health care or you feel so stigmatized that you do not access health care (or physical activity, for that matter), this has an affect on your health and it’s not good. So while I’d never say fat NEVER EVER has any effect on health, the effect it does have is greatly exaggerated and the other sources of poor health in fat people are overlooked.

    Linda Bacon is awesome, but I almost always recommend people take a look at Gina Kolata’s “Rethinking Thin” because she does an extensive review of obesity and weight research. She finds that studies show it’s impossible to stay fat if your body doesn’t want to, and it’s impossible to stay thin if your body doesn’t want to.

    Finally, I just want to say that I really appreciate the level of discourse here. This is a really good example which shows that people who disagree can have a civil dialogue, rather than jumping down each others’ throats. You all are awesome for that!

  32. On January 28th, 2011 at 9:13 am Not Blue at All Says:

    Wow, thank you. So well said and informed. Rock on! <3

  33. On February 12th, 2011 at 1:00 am sp Says:

    I’m fat. I love food the way a crackheads loves crack. I like the show

  34. On September 28th, 2011 at 3:30 am Vanessa Says:

    VERY late to the conversation.:) I am new to FA and watched three episodes of this show on Netflix last night. I felt like I wasted my time. I cared not about the weight loss but about how the participants faced the issues in their life (the ones that the show blames for their fat.)

    Good dialogue above; I enjoyed reading this post.

  35. On September 28th, 2011 at 9:28 am Not Blue at All Says:

    @Vanessa: Oh no! I must admit that I never did watch that show. It irritated me too much from the get go. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts here.

  36. On February 24th, 2012 at 6:58 am Morgan Says:

    I like the show and though I would prefer that they had a more balanced focus on food, exercise and mental support I think that it is an honest portrayal. Yes I could do without the stark black screen with ominous music that proclaims that if the people in the show don’t lose weight they will die. I believe that fat acceptance is important and that people shouldn’t feel ashamed to be fat and that before someone tries to lose weight or begin a fitness regimen they should try to love themselves and recognize their inherent worth and beauty. That said, what is wrong with someone who is desperately unhappy in their life and obviously eating unhealthily and neglecting their fitness trying to change their life? I get that there are statistics that 98% of people fail in their weight loss attempts but statistics are often bullshit. People can change. It’s just really hard. You might be happy as you are and that is amazing and a gift that many people of all sizes don’t have. Can’t you see that the people on this show are not happy as they are. Does accepting fat acceptance mean that you can judge people who do not feel they are happy when obese and want to change their habits, their life and yes, their weight?

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