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Showing it like it is: a library to fight fatist images in the media

Discussions about obesity tend to focus on perceived health risks and the financial drain they pose to the health system. What’s less recognised is that the way we talk about obesity makes the social position…

The image library presents obese people in positive, natural poses. Here, Zoe prepares for work. Isaac Brown

Discussions about obesity tend to focus on perceived health risks and the financial drain they pose to the health system. What’s less recognised is that the way we talk about obesity makes the social position of obese people disadvantaged and highly stigmatised – this is exactly what our new project aims to tackle.

Obese individuals face a range of prejudices and discrimination because of their weight. Stereotypes of being lazy, undisciplined, slovenly and unmotivated, result in widespread unfair treatment. This leads to limited opportunities, harassment and bullying in the workplace, and biased treatment and inappropriate comments from health-care professionals.

Evidence suggests that such discrimination results in heightened body image issues, disordered eating patterns and low levels of self esteem.

The role of the media

One of the leading causes of weight-based stigma and its normalisation comes from the images we encounter in the media. A recent study found that 72% of images that accompanied news stories about obesity portrayed obese people in a negative light.

Kath, activist and bike rider. Isaac Brown

Obese subjects were more likely to be headless, for instance, or eating and drinking, and less likely to be fully clothed, professionally attired or exercising. Given the integral role the media plays in framing issues to generate public understanding, these reinforcements of weight bias should cause great concern.

Images in the media cast obese people in a highly negative light, reinforcing stereotypes and prejudice. This reflects the views of obese subjects in our own research who have, time and time again, complained of the damaging effects of media images of obesity in their day-to-day lives.

Nick and Natalie outside their house Isaac Brown

Not only do research participants feel that fat bodies are not justly represented, but their discriminatory portrayal leads to feelings of shame, guilt, anger and disempowerment.

Our findings are reinforced in a study, which showed that unlike other public health issues such as cancer or AIDS, coverage of obesity tends to take a blaming approach. This process alienates obese people although little thought is given to the consequences of such prejudice.

Body positive imagery

Although belonging to online fat-acceptance communities have played an important role for obese people in responding to weight-based stigma, action is also needed in mainstream environments.

We are currently engaged in a project with the aim of producing an image library that more fully represents the lived experience of obesity in a non-stigmatising manner. The images show people engaged in activities such as bike riding, shopping for fashionable clothes and applying makeup – depictions that challenge the image of the slovenly and lazy obese subject.

Frances at Clovelly Isaac Brown

The photographs for the image library are the outcome of a 12-month documentary-style study of the lived experience of fat. The participants are everyday people who are involved in fat-acceptance communities and keen to see change in the representation of obesity.

Our approach is of photographing everyday life so nothing is staged or constructed. The photographs acknowledge the identity of the subject to bring the viewer closer to a felt experience. The documentary imagery to be shown through the library is a non-stigmatising, life-affirming view of what it is to be obese and live a positive life.

Our aim is to make the library available to the media around June 2012, as a way of changing the conversation about obesity and the way it’s depicted. Offering more positive imagery is an important step toward stopping the daily discrimination obese people encounter and the trauma they face from the simple act of opening up a newspaper.

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243 Comments sorted by

  1. John Clark

    Manager

    The reason why obesity is described in negative terms is because it is undesirable and a health hazard. The answer for obese individuals is to lose weight and regain their self esteem.

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    1. Frances Lockie

      Policy officer

      In reply to John Clark

      Nice one, John. We posed in public with two photographers following us and consented to these images being placed in an image library because we LACK self-esteem?!

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    2. Thomas Marshall

      Postgraduate Student

      In reply to John Clark

      I think a balance needs to be struck between the attitude of blame and shame, and that which is depicted by the images.

      That obesity is a negative factor in health is well-established. People who are overweight or obese should neither be publicly shamed and humiliated, nor be totally normalised.

      It is important that people seek to maintain a healthy weight, while not being stigmatised to the point of demoralisation, which would surely be unhelpful for anyone seeking to lose weight.

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    3. Kerry Beake

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Thomas Marshall

      well perputated??!!! Thomas is not the same as well established. It is actually not well established if you care to explore. What is normal and who gets to decide? When fat people are the only ones dying, getting sick, having accidents, causing global warming, crippling the hospital system, causing the aussie cricket team to lose etc etc etc and other such ignorant comments then we might consider that perhaps it's not normal BUT until then the fact remains people of every size experience these things, it's just some of us choose to believe we are better, more virtuous and invincible. Good luck with that thinking

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    4. Thomas Marshall

      Postgraduate Student

      In reply to Kerry Beake

      Are you actually suggesting that there is no difference to the state of your health if your BMI is 22 or 30? That there is no correlation between Type II Diabetes and body weight? No extra impact on your joints?

      I thought we had some areas of the debate agreed upon. Apparently that is not the case. There are also people who dispute evolution, gravity and plate tectonics.

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    5. Frances Lockie

      Policy officer

      In reply to Thomas Marshall

      The state of MY health? I'm actually way healthier now at a BMI of 32 than a was... 25kg ago. Because 25kg ago I was barely eating. And now I exercise, as opposed to skipping meals. And Type II diabetes is far more strongly correlated with family history. And correlation does not equal causation.

      Cheers for the snarky remark of the end, too.

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    6. Kerry Beake

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Thomas Marshall

      If we are talking about architecture as opposed to a percieved obestiy problem I might feel like you have a clue what you're talking about. But you gave it all away by mentioning BMI and clearly you have no idea if you are going to argue that pointless piece of a mathmatical equation. Frances was just talking to a dietitian today about how she has found that in her practice and a big reason she now wants to learn about HAES.

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    7. Thomas Marshall

      Postgraduate Student

      In reply to Kerry Beake

      I wasn't trying to argue about technical specifics like whether BMI is a good indicator, but now that you've brought it up I'll address why I used it: BMI is a general indicator for weight, just like GDP is for the economy. Both are flawed models which do not respond to nuances, but they make useful general indicators when compared to vague verbal concepts, which cannot be quantitative.

      What I was seeking for you to clarify is whether you think a person is just as healthy regardless of whether they are fat or not. So let's use body fat percentage. Do you think a male with 7% of their weight comprised of fat is exactly as healthy as a male with 30% of their weight comprised of fat? (all other things being equal)

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    8. Nick Wright

      Scientist

      In reply to Kerry Beake

      While a BMI measurement doesn't give the whole picture, it does place some constraints on the "health parameter space." It isn't a question of "Statistically, who is healthier: someone with a BMI of 21 or 22?"; it's 22 and 30. There is a clear answer here.

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    9. Lorna Jarrett

      Former PhD candidate, physics teacher

      In reply to John Clark

      I've never had to struggle with my weight so I have no idea what it's like to be fat, or to try to lose a lot of weight. But I'm guessing it's not trivially easy as I understand the body responds to dieting by reducing metabolic rate (comment from an expert here would be welcome).

      I think this image library is a damn useful reminder to the rest of us that obese people deserve basic human respect. I won't say I've never nursed a judgmental thought (so I'm grateful to the authors for giving me a chance to reflect on my attitudes) but those "typical" media images always strike me as exploitative.

      I don't want to see overweight normalised as obese people *usually* suffer greater morbidity - but I also understand that most obese people would rather be thinner. I'm pretty sure they're not doing it to piss the rest of us off, it's inappropriate for us to react as though we're insulted by their size.

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    10. Lorna Jarrett

      Former PhD candidate, physics teacher

      In reply to Lorna Jarrett

      Sorry - I wasn't very clear there. What I mean is that I don't want to see people of my size made to look like freaks. I went clothes shopping a while ago and found the size 16+ rack labelled "real sizes". Aren't they ALL real sizes? I'm not keen on the idea that some women are more real than others.

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    11. Frances Lockie

      Policy officer

      In reply to Thomas Marshall

      If ALL other things are equal (all other things being stuff like blood pressure, cholesterol, blah blah blah), then yes. They are as healthy as each other.

      The things is, if fat people are not totally normalised - as is your wish - then they will always be slightly stigmatised. Which means the fat man will always have to prove himself to others to be considered worthy.

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  2. Geoff Russell

    Computer Programmer, Author

    Why use the word "perceived" in front of health risks. Both the risks and the costs are very real. Who is to blame? Certainly there is plenty of blame to go around. We have a food supply system from the supermarkets through to almost every restaurant in the country. With rare exceptions, every restaurant in the country markets unhealthy food as a policy. Every cooking program ... again, exceptions are rare. We have Governments who regard any action to target unhealthy foods as anathema. Decades…

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    1. Nick Perkins

      Fat Activist

      In reply to Geoff Russell

      Geoff, Have you ever been to a McDonalds and had a cheeseburger? Even once in your life? I'm sure there are millions of people around the world who have had a McDonalds cheeseburger and they are not fat from that. The same with people who might go to a French restaurant and enjoy some lovely meal with duck fat and butter sauces and whatever else.

      There are many different reasons that people are fat. The concept of "eating more calories that you use" is not only very simplified, but has been disproved. Genetics, environmental factors, socio-economic factors all come into play.

      But even outside of that, we know that fat people can be fit as well. Why? Because the science is there that shows that fat people who lead "healthy lifestyles" (good food, joyful physical activity) have great health outcomes.

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    2. Geoff Russell

      Computer Programmer, Author

      In reply to Nick Perkins

      The CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet research is here:
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15941879

      About a hundred women assigned to 2 very different diets with the same caloric value. Both groups lost 7.3 kg plus or minus 0.3 kg ... incredibly close. What happened once the carefully monitored study period was over with all food supplied? The people started to regain the weight they lost.

      There have been thousands of such studies over the decades. The "eating more calories than you use" is well…

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    3. Madam Q

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Geoff Russell

      Sports injuries cost Medicare about the same amount of money as illness attributed to obesity. Therefore sport is undesirable and unhealthy and we should only depict sportspeople who have horrible injuries, and if the picture includes their heads they should look appropriately sad and remorseful. That will totally encourage people to stop being unhealthy sporty types!

      There is considerable research to show that getting rid of weight stigma and improving body image increases health for fat people - and all people really. Likewise getting physical activity and eating healthily regardless of whether weight is lost. So if people like Geoff and John truly do care about health, surely they'd be all for this kind of project? No? I guess they mostly just care about policing other people's bodies then.

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    4. Kerry Beake

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Geoff Russell

      Geoff, show us your real research because I haven't found it? I've found lots of manipulated and poorly researched studies and plenty of information to the contrary. Research that shows weight loss is a dime a dozen and I don't care who does it. Research that shows that weight loss staying off for longer than 2 years for anymore than around 5% of people, scant. Research that shows weight cycling to be worse for health increasing, research showing that fitness of individuals of ANY size is about…

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    5. Alexandre Desmarais

      full time student and ex morbidly obese person

      In reply to Madam Q

      sports are also a means of socializing, helps kids to both assert their talents and to push their limits, as the benefits of lowering cholesterol levels, etc.

      Now, what about obesity? Eating is a means of socializing, cooking is a means of asserting your culinary talents, yes. But what about overeating, what about obesity?

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    6. Andrew Jones

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Nick Perkins

      "The concept of "eating more calories that you use" is not only very simplified, but has been disproved. Genetics, environmental factors, socio-economic factors all come into play."

      The laws of thermodynamics have been disproved? Since when? If you don't have even the most simplistic (yet still correct) understanding of physics, don't even bother commenting. Energy has to come from somewhere and fat people sure as hell aren't magically more efficient at extracting it from food or magically leech it out of the air.

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    7. Frances Lockie

      Policy officer

      In reply to Alexandre Desmarais

      My obesity has been a means of socialising! The friends I've made in fat acceptance have improved my life no end.

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    8. Alexandre Desmarais

      full time student and ex morbidly obese person

      In reply to Frances Lockie

      it's difficult to know if you are being serious or not.

      It's your common opinions that brought you together. If you were thin you could still be part of a fat acceptance group, no? For example, if your parents were, or your husband/bf was or if you just agreed with the idea itself.

      Your obesity was never a positive means of socialising.

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    9. Frances Lockie

      Policy officer

      In reply to Alexandre Desmarais

      I was making fun. Yes, there are thin people in fat acceptance. I made fun because I found "But what about overeating, what about obesity?" absurd.
      1) The 'overeating' and 'obesity' are not the same thing.
      2) You're going to reject whatever positive aspect of fatness anyone tells you anyway.

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    10. Alexandre Desmarais

      full time student and ex morbidly obese person

      In reply to Frances Lockie

      if you overeat you become obese. If you overeat or eat at maintenance while being obese, you will stay obese.

      True, they are not the same thing but they are linked.

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    11. Frances Lockie

      Policy officer

      In reply to Andrew Jones

      This comment (posted below) is from someone who does have the most simplistic understanding of physics:

      "I do think there's a lot more to the physiology of fat than "calories in / calories out" - I teach biomedical physics and I KNOW that simple formulas that work for physical just don't apply to living things - they are SO much more complicated and physics always assumes maximum simplicity (one problem in the course involves metabolic rates - and assumes all the animals are spherical and homogeneous!)."

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    12. Andrew Jones

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Frances Lockie

      Indeed. Someone that claims to teach biophysics should know that in the end, it does come down to calories metabolized (which is different than calories in) / calories out. Both can be measured and accounted for. BMR can be determined. All the extra factors in the world don't change that. Complexity doesn't change the basic equations; it doesn't nullify energy.

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    13. Lorna Jarrett

      Former PhD candidate, physics teacher

      In reply to Andrew Jones

      Andrew - that'd be me. Who finds it interesting that as I'm defending the fat women I'm now only "claiming" to teach biomedical physics. Andrew - can you explain why you have to use the word "claiming"?

      Anyway - calories in-calories out. True IF calories out is not a function of calories in. Reducing your calorie intake results in a reduction of your metabolic rate as lots of studies over the years have shown. So "calories out" reduces as "calories in" is reduced - and the simple formula just…

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    14. Lorna Jarrett

      Former PhD candidate, physics teacher

      In reply to Lorna Jarrett

      Might help if I illustrate:

      Ideal gas law: PV = nkT

      - assumes gas molecules have no "size" and only interact in a simple way.

      Real gas law:

      P + (n^2a/V^2)](V - nb) = nRT

      - takes account of molecular size and Van der Waals forces between molecules.

      Andrew - are you still going to argue that "complexity doesn't change the basic equations"?

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    15. Lorna Jarrett

      Former PhD candidate, physics teacher

      In reply to Frances Lockie

      The more of these comments I read, the more I find myself thinking "what if the roles were reversed and these guys (is it just me or are they all guys ?) were the ones being made to defend some incredibly personal aspect of themselves against allegations of all sorts of social harm that fat people are supposed to be causing. Why do THEY get so worked up about YOUR body?

      Feel free to call me out on this but it looks like another form of male-on-female body control. OK I know there are men involved in the project but that's not reflected in the comments.

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    16. Alexandre Desmarais

      full time student and ex morbidly obese person

      In reply to Lorna Jarrett

      " So "calories out" reduces as "calories in" is reduced - and the simple formula just doesn't apply."

      we know about that, we have successfully lost weight. The thing is, your body doesn't start reducing its metabolism by an amount equivalent to that many calories, nor does it happen overnight.

      Also, you can compensante for that effect with many strategies, such as doing exercise.

      "Did anyone see the series on TV last year where 6 or so young healthy people were fed an increased-calorie diet…

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    17. Andrew Jones

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Lorna Jarrett

      I said "claim" because I don't know you. Nothing personal. First off, your tone tells me you're flustered. Chill out.

      "Reducing your calorie intake results in a reduction of your metabolic rate as lots of studies over the years have shown. So "calories out" reduces as "calories in" is reduced - and the simple formula just doesn't apply."

      I can guarantee that's not a linear relationship.

      Adding those additional factors to the ideal gas law does not change the RELATIONSHIPS between factors…

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    18. Andrew Jones

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Lorna Jarrett

      Point is, those extra factors don't change the fact that if you eat at maintenance, you won't gain or lose weight. From studies that I've read, BMR doesn't typically vary more than about 20-30% between different people

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    19. Lorna Jarrett

      Former PhD candidate, physics teacher

      In reply to Andrew Jones

      Andrew - first off, "your tone tells me you're flustered. Chill out." That's patronising. If you use the word "claim" because you don't know me, how can you justify the above? It doesn't add anything to the logic of the argument but it does add to the rather chauvanist vibe that I'm picking up all over this conversation, and it DETRACTS FROM YOUR CREDIBILITY ok? Helpful hint.

      You claimed "complexity doesn't change the basic equations". That was a very easy claim to disprove, and I disproved it…

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    20. Andrew Jones

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Lorna Jarrett

      Against my better judgment, I'm trying to carry on a civilized conversation with somebody that can't keep their damn feelings in damn check by putting damn all over their damn post. On the flip-side, accusing me of being a chauvinist is detracting from your credibility. My feelings toward fat acceptance are the same for men and women. You're the one assuming I'm making a distinction and you know what they say about assuming...

      "If you use the word "claim" because you don't know me, how can you…

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  3. Kath Read

    IT Librarian

    Well it's interesting the first two comments on this article are "lose weight and gain self esteem" and "but you're unhealthy and you're going to die".

    Nice way to illustrate the point of the article gentlemen.

    I'm the person on the bicycle up there in the second photograph. There is nothing wrong with my self esteem (my being fabulous and all), and as you can see, I live an active lifestyle full of fresh air, joyful activity and self care.

    We are all going to die. Even those of you…

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    1. Geoff Russell

      Computer Programmer, Author

      In reply to Kath Read

      Yes Kath, we are all going to die, but watch a few sick people live out their last 10-20 years in pain and discomfort and your attitudes might change. Many obese people can be healthy for many years, just like many smokers can be fit and active for many years and some will never get smoking related illnesses, but they don't do anybody any favours by trying to get smoking accepted as normal and healthy and telling people that the problems are only "perceived".

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    2. Kath Read

      IT Librarian

      In reply to Geoff Russell

      Firstly: Smoking and weight are not the same thing. Smoking is a habit that people do. Weight is a state of being that people ARE.

      Geoff - you're not listening. The whole point of this article (and the project) is to show you that the perception that fat = unhealthy is inaccurate. Again, your response is the equivalent of sticking your fingers in your ears and going "Lalalalalalala not true!"

      How many fat people have you personally watched "living out their lives in pain and discomfort…

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    3. John Bourke

      Student, LLB, BSc

      In reply to Kath Read

      Kath. You're comment regarding smoking and weight is correct. But your analysis is not. Smoking and eating are activities. Emphysema (for example) and weight gain are symptoms related to these activities. If one engages in these activities in a careless manner, then one can expect to show these symptoms.

      To your other points, of course no one is commenting on an individual person's life. Reports regarding obesity don't say "Person X is obese and is therefore unhealthy and going to die a…

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    4. Frances Lockie

      Policy officer

      In reply to John Bourke

      Reports regarding obesity don't say "Person X is obese and is therefore unhealthy and going to die a painful death".

      No, I suppose reports have to be more tactful. But people who skim news articles about these reports certainly do say as much. People tell fat people they're going to get sick and die all the time. People use the excuses of "HEALTH!" AND "SCIENCE!" to treat fat people appallingly.

      On the other hand, fat people are also patronised, as you are doing now. We understand healthy eating. Seriously. Many fat people have settled at their weights after years of diets and exercise programs and 'lifestyle changes'. These are the bodies we have. Clearly the photos above show us living active, social and happy lives.

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    5. Kath Read

      IT Librarian

      In reply to John Bourke

      Can you not see the complete double standard in your response? You are a) saying that you have naturally high metabolism and that's why you don't gain weight. b) you are then suggesting that all fat people are addicted to food and that this is why they are fat.

      Your suggestion is that somehow, fat people must restrict food (diet) to the point of not gaining weight, but you then suggest that no matter how much some people eat or don't eat, they can't change their metabolism. Double standard…

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    6. John Bourke

      Student, LLB, BSc

      In reply to Kath Read

      Kath. By suggesting that I am applying a double standard you are failing to grasp the actual point. My point isn't that people with a fast metabolism should just eat whatever they want and people with a slow metabolism should not. The point is that some people are lucky that they can eat whatever they want and not show any signs of obesity while others are not so lucky. I am not condoning the activity of eating crap food, rather I am saying that people who show adverse health symptoms when they…

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    7. Kerry Beake

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Frances Lockie

      Thanks for challenging the stereotypes and bringing this awareness. Thanks

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    8. Kath Read

      IT Librarian

      In reply to John Bourke

      Again, you're suggesting that people are fat BECAUSE they eat too much and are sedentry. You have indicated that ALL fat people are addicted to food and are sedentry, and that is what is causing them to be fat. You're suggesting that fat people somehow bring this on themselves - yet you call being naturally thin "luck". How is that not a double standard?

      We are showing you. How much more obvious can we make it that we are SHOWING YOU with this very project that your assumptions about fat being…

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    9. John Bourke

      Student, LLB, BSc

      In reply to Kath Read

      Kath. Yes, people who eat poorly and remain thin are lucky. People who eat poorly and become fat are unlucky in the fact that bad food makes them fat, however they are not unlucky if, knowing that bad food makes them fat, they continue to eat bad food. I'm not sure if I can make this argument any clearer. It is not a double standard.

      What this project is showing is not that the assumptions are wrong. It is simply attempting to show the affect media stereotyping has on fat people. You would…

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    10. Frances Lockie

      Policy officer

      In reply to John Bourke

      Dieting is also a strong predictor of future weight gain. Every fat person featured in this project - Kath and I included - has dieted. Repeatedly. It hasn't worked. Even when we call it a lifestyle change. Even when we eat right and exercise.

      "If normalising obesity is considered okay then we say to children, eat what you want whenever you want, never exercise and if you become obese as a result, then that's okay. That's acceptable. Is this really what you are promoting?"
      NO. We're saying we exist. We're saying that we deserve to be treated with respect and not having strangers on the internet lecture us about our imagined diets and exercise regimes. It's quite telling that you think that us showing that we can live without shame automatically equates to "KIDS! Eat junk and never exercise." You keep saying that we're missing you're point, but you are failing quite spectacularly to grasp ours.

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    11. Alexandre Desmarais

      full time student and ex morbidly obese person

      In reply to Frances Lockie

      you did not do it "right" if it hasn't worked. I think we can agree on "right" being the equivalent of "working" here.

      What is eating right? You could be eating whatever the hell you want in the end as long as you had a caloric deficit and you WOULD lose weight. It's things like "dieting" that is the problem, because, of course, if you go on one of those fad diets and start only drinking juice, eating vegetables, etc. you are not going to do that for very long. The point is not for you to stop enjoying food, it is for you to eat less than what your body burns.

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    12. John Bourke

      Student, LLB, BSc

      In reply to Frances Lockie

      Yes. I understand this. Containing the increase in obesity is more about prevention as opposed to fixing after the event.

      And no, I am not asserting that someone who is obese shouldn't be entitled to live a fulfilling life or that by an obese person doing so they are promoting an unhealthy lifestyle. That is crude extrapolation of what I have said.

      The media plays an important role in legitimising certain behaviours and condemning others, particularly in the eyes of children. Of course, at the other end of the scale is anorexia and eating disorders. Thus, the media must tread a fine line in order to not promote obesity and eating disorders. I would suggest that portraying obesity within the media as being okay is dangerous.

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    13. Nick Wright

      Scientist

      In reply to Frances Lockie

      A diet is just a term for what you eat. But it is often thrown around as meaning "a regimen for weight loss." Several coworkers and I decided to get in shape 6 months ago, and we've all lost weight anywhere from 15 to 50 pounds. At the end of the day, it comes down to calories in vs. calories out. However, the threshold for calories out is definitely a function of genetics, metabolism, etc. It took me a few weeks to see how many calories I needed to eat to maintain the same weight. What is your idea…

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    14. Kerry Beake

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Nick Wright

      great, it worked for you. You have come to a site that is supportive of diversity in size Nick and you have chosen to comment. It is not for anyone to justify, explain or appease you about their personal life, no more relevent or appropriate than asking someone why they have grey hair or wrinkles or why they go to church or not etc. The point of this site is not for people to argue the merits of size, diets or lifestyle choices. You can be as right as you like elsewhere. This project is about a basic human right of respect, dignity and validation. There is no debate needed.

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    15. Nick Wright

      Scientist

      In reply to Kerry Beake

      When you make a claim, the justification should follow. He said...

      "Dieting is also a strong predictor of future weight gain. Every fat person featured in this project - Kath and I included - has dieted. Repeatedly. It hasn't worked. Even when we call it a lifestyle change. Even when we eat right and exercise."

      ...and I countered with my own experience. I've implied that I'm not arguing for or against the merits of size, diets, etc. The only thing I will press people on is scientific ignorance. I simply want to briefly discuss, with any self-proclaimed fat person, his/her reason for being fat. Please point me to a post that addresses this in case I missed one.

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    16. Frances Lockie

      Policy officer

      In reply to John Bourke

      " I am not asserting that someone who is obese shouldn't be entitled to live a fulfilling life or that by an obese person doing so they are promoting an unhealthy lifestyle."

      No, but you are saying that portraying our fulfilling lives publicly is dangerous. That's crude in and of itself.

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    17. Frances Lockie

      Policy officer

      In reply to Alexandre Desmarais

      It'll be pretty hard for me to enjoy food if, like you suggested, I eat a pound of broccoli when I feel like a burger (especially if I made it, because I make seriously tasty burgers).

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    18. Frances Lockie

      Policy officer

      In reply to Nick Wright

      Help you...? No, I haven't given an explicit reason for my weight. I'm pretty sure of them, but they're not anyone's business. If you 'take issue' with me because of the reason I give for my body, that's a pretty dick move on your part.

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    19. Alexandre Desmarais

      full time student and ex morbidly obese person

      In reply to Frances Lockie

      I have yet, miss Lockie, to see you write about trying to lose weight. You seem to be perfectly fine with being obese which is, in itself, fine by me.

      My point was directed towards miss Read because she claimed that she dieted many times to not much avail, alas.

      You can enjoy your burger, so can miss Read if she likes burgers, but then she could not complain about not losing the weight because of some random factors unbestknown to all of us (it isn't, she eated more calories that she needed, that's that simple).

      But I can tell you, miss Lockie, I can actually enjoy a burger myself whenever I want, for example, if I can still eat 500 calories for my day before going to bed, or if I eat the burger in the morning or for lunch and adjust the rest of my day in consequence.

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    20. Kyle S

      College Student, Formerly Obese

      In reply to Frances Lockie

      The fact that it's repeated implies that after the first time you lost the weight, you gained it back. In such a regard, yeah, if the body yoyos from being treated right and exercised and being sedentary/bombarded with sugars, carbs, and sweets, it will have a worse net effect than remaining obese. The other side of the coin, though, is that it is statistically proven that individuals with less body fat will be better off than one with more, all other factors identical.

      That said, I find it funny…

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    21. Kyle S

      College Student, Formerly Obese

      In reply to Kyle S

      Accidentally cut myself off, had to shift to different tab to do the math:

      18* pounds of broccoli (about how much you would need to intake 3000 calories)..

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    22. Kyle S

      College Student, Formerly Obese

      In reply to Frances Lockie

      Mixed vegetables with the right seasoning is delicious. You can have your meat too, for that matter. Just that bun is adding hundreds of calories to good protein, though.

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    23. Frances Lockie

      Policy officer

      In reply to Kyle S

      "And before you say I'm stereotyping all obese people as eating nothing but deserts, by no means am I attempting to"
      and yet...
      "What isn't accepted is that a truly healthy diet for a human doesn't include a baked good desert with every meal."
      See, to me, that sounds like you're stereotyping obese people.

      ""Eating in moderation is a good idea for everybody, and so is regular exercise," said Mann"
      I totally agree with this! I do this! I'm still in the obese category.

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    24. Kyle S

      College Student, Formerly Obese

      In reply to Frances Lockie

      Yeah, Frances, well, "moderation" means more than just less volume. I use the example of cookies, baked goods, whatever, because it's the most common examples of foods that you can 'eat less' of but still fail to diet. Chips, pretty much any bread product (carbs in general, hell), anything sugary... No, not saying you can't eat any of this, but you must realize that they have absurd amounts of calories within them.

      Tell me, Frances, did you count calories? And I mean, REALLY count them? I literally…

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    25. Frances Lockie

      Policy officer

      In reply to Kyle S

      As a physics teacher has said in this thread, the laws of physics are complicated when applied to living organisms. We're not that miraculous (at least, not for the reasons you think!).

      You get that asking me to prove to you everything that I did to lose weight makes you a bit creepy, right?

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  4. Gordon Smith

    Private citizen

    I am quite skinny but have become alarmed at the ease of which people mock fat people who are over weight.
    There is always someone who has to be a scapegoat and it seems that being over weight is one of the 'new bads'.
    In poorer cultures being over weight is seen as a sign of abundance and plenty and seen as a desirable thing.
    Regardless of your personal opinion of Gina Reinhart what was alarming was the constant referrals in a negative way to her body size in respondents to blogs re her and Fairfax. Many comments seemed to equate fat with evil and regarded it legitimate to attack someone on their body size.

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  5. Frances Lockie

    Policy officer

    Thanks Lauren and Isaac! I am so proud to be part of this project. I can't wait to see the final library filled with happy, active, loving fatties.

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  6. Frances Lockie

    Policy officer

    I find it amusing that all the fat accepting comments have minus scores and all the fat shaming comments have positive scores. Tough crowd.

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    1. Jenn Roger

      apprentice

      In reply to Frances Lockie

      Every comment I clicked "insightful" on went down a point. Every comment I clicked "unconstructive" on didn't move either direction.

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    2. Kissindra

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Reema Rattan

      and I have never seen this sort of thing on the conversation, where it just doesn't matter what comments are actually saying, they will be given negative feedback in abundance based on who is percieved to be saying it. Yet people have the hide to say "oh we aren't promoting stigma, just health" ???

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    3. Frances Lockie

      Policy officer

      In reply to Reema Rattan

      Yeah, me too. I guess I can laugh because - after a few years of blogging on this topic - I'm not surprised by it.

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    4. Kyle S

      College Student, Formerly Obese

      In reply to Frances Lockie

      "Fat shaming" -- that's a funny way of saying "Posts saying 'it's okay to be overweight if you're okay with it, here's a way to lose weight if you want to".

      Oh, and you missed the posts replying to those that pretty much say that once you're fat, you'll never lose weight, because apparently all diets will lead to getting fat again. Hell, what's the point of getting out of bed in the morning, then? You're just gonna end up asleep again anyway!

      If you wish to resign yourself to overweight...ness…

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    1. Reema Rattan

      Editor at The Conversation

      In reply to Darliene Howell

      That's great, Darlene, thanks for bringing that to our attention. We'll be sure to use those images on our story.

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    2. Thomas Marshall

      Postgraduate Student

      In reply to Darliene Howell

      How did this comment get such a large negative score? Are there really a majority of people who think only negative images of fat people should be used? I think it's a nice idea. They aren't trying to say fat is healthy, they're just being more sensitive and realistic.

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    3. Alexandre Desmarais

      full time student and ex morbidly obese person

      In reply to Thomas Marshall

      Mister Marshall, read the comments. Maybe in the article the point was not to say "fat is healthy", but a lot of those that actually participated in the photoshoot are INDEED trying to say exactly that in the comment section.

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    4. Lorna Jarrett

      Former PhD candidate, physics teacher

      In reply to Frances Lockie

      Frances - that certainly seems to be the case for women at least. I've known a lot of seriously fit fat women - including one who ended up running the gym she joined in an attempt to lose weight (which didn't happen).

      I think it would be great if this project led to less stigmatisation of fat people enjoying being active (something a lot of people here have commented on). Maybe they'd lose weight, maybe not - that's not really the point. There's a lot of evidence for cognitive and psychological effects of excercise. Then there's the social aspect of excercise - and the opportunity for fatter people to help some thinner types overcome their prejudice ;)

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    5. Frances Lockie

      Policy officer

      In reply to Lorna Jarrett

      Exactly. A friend of mine does a lot of qualitative research into fat stigma (Dr Samantha Thomas) and she's heard horrible stories about fat people who are reluctant to exercise because of the abuse they experience. One woman runs in the middle of the night because she knows she won't have to deal with people yelling at her from their cars.

      Ending this comment on a positive note, there are a few fat exercise groups out there. I know of Big Body Yoga and Big Moves (a plus size dance troupe), both in America. In Melbourne, there is a fat synchronised swimming group called Aquaporko (an idea that began in Sydney).

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    6. Lorna Jarrett

      Former PhD candidate, physics teacher

      In reply to Frances Lockie

      Looks like there could be a lot of positives coming from this.

      I do think there's a lot more to the physiology of fat than "calories in / calories out" - I teach biomedical physics and I KNOW that simple formulas that work for physical just don't apply to living things - they are SO much more complicated and physics always assumes maximum simplicity (one problem in the course involves metabolic rates - and assumes all the animals are spherical and homogeneous!).

      It's such a complex issue - not every fat person is equally fat / physically active / well-nourished / socially active / wealthy / time-poor etc. etc. So generalisations are of pretty limited use. I suppose it's easier to make a load of assumptions and judgements about people based on something they can't hide - but what does that say about the intellectual capacity of the people making judgements?

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    7. Kerry Beake

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Frances Lockie

      I love this, yet I feel certain that some twat will still try and argue the physics now. I am waiting in amused anticipation for what baseless argument they will try this time. Great explanation

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    8. Lorna Jarrett

      Former PhD candidate, physics teacher

      In reply to Frances Lockie

      Likewise! I've got to say you, Kissandra and Kath have been far more interesting, thought-provoking, and insightful commentators than a lot of people who participate in the conversation (not just this article either) and I'm glad I took part. Too often these comment sections degenerate into ugly slanging matches (whatever happened to the terms of use??) and you've had plenty of provocation but none of you ever responded to abuse with abuse.

      I'm looking forward to seeing more of these images in the media!

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    9. Lorna Jarrett

      Former PhD candidate, physics teacher

      In reply to Kerry Beake

      haha some twat just did. Did we have any money on this?

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  7. Natalie Perkins

    logged in via Twitter

    I'm proud to be part of this project and shoving my awesome fat in Geoff and John's faces.

    Removing fat people's humanity is a pretty screwed up thing to support.

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    1. Geoff Russell

      Computer Programmer, Author

      In reply to Natalie Perkins

      Nobody has supported "removing fat people's humanity" or any other kind of stigmatism.

      There are things like Praeder-Willi which is genetic, but most obesity is not. While I find TV programs like "The Biggest Loser" totally obnoxious in they way they humiliate and pit people against each other, they do demonstrate that less food, better food and more exercise works. They also demonstrate how hard it is to eat and live a healthy lifestyle with today's food supply and many people's work environment. I'm not about demonising people, but can't support telling fat kids that it's wonderful to be fat. It isn't. It's a problem. A society wide problem that won't be easy to fix.

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    2. John Bourke

      Student, LLB, BSc

      In reply to Geoff Russell

      Spot on Geoff.

      Something else I would like to add. It is irresponsible to (and it seems to be becoming more prevalent) redraw the obesity discussion as a quasi race related discussion - i.e. "don't hate me because I am fat" being somehow similar to "don't hate me because I'm black". Now I know hate is a strong word and I don't think it is a pervasive mentality within society, however to align the argument in such a manner is to deny the rationality of arguments against obesity. There is no…

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    3. Kissindra

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Geoff Russell

      if the science says it is entirely possible to be healthy and not skinny, active and not skinny, eating well and not skinny (which it does) then why can't we say that? If fat people can be smart, professional, tidy, outgoing, talented and brilliant why can't we see that? Why do we have to let kids believe that no fat person eats well or exercises or does really great things? Why do we need to lie and accept this false notion that all fat people are unhealthy and bad? Do you know what those lies do Geoff? They cause little girls to have eating disorders, they cause doctors to ignore their patients, they cause people to think hurling abuse at complete strangers is warranted, they cause employers to not hire a perfectly capable and competant person. All we ask is that there is some truth represented - why so scared of a little truth?

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    4. Natalie Perkins

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Geoff Russell

      The thing is, you don't know why people are fat. You. Don't. Know. And you don't get to guess either. It's none of your business.
      This project isn't about why people are fat. It's about addressing the construct of "fat person" in your head. YOUR HEAD.
      I am ignoring your derailing arguments. Address your bigotry.

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    5. Kath Read

      IT Librarian

      In reply to Geoff Russell

      I get it. The prevailing attitude is that fat people should never be seen in society. They should be hidden away, as a dirty secret, never acknowledged as existing. Because to merely acknowledge their existence, and allow them to be seen as the human beings they are, is considered "promoting obesity".

      The mere suggestion that a fat person, ANY fat person is not some kind of slothful glutton sitting at home in front of the television stuffing donuts in their face is just completely denied…

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    6. Kyle S

      College Student, Formerly Obese

      In reply to Kath Read

      Well, they're either not exercising, taking in more calories than they use, or some combination of the two (IE exercising, but not enough to use up the energy they're intaking). Fat doesn't just magically appear ma'am, despite your insinuation. No, you might not be sitting on a couch and overeating, but you might be out jogging and munching on a snack the whole time. Or maybe you're not eating all 'that much' (at or 'only' slightly over BMR), but you're also spending all your time sitting at a desk at work.

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    7. Kyle S

      College Student, Formerly Obese

      In reply to Natalie Perkins

      "The thing is, you don't know why people are fat. You. Don't. Know."

      1.) Eating more than required amount of calories for daily expenditure.

      ... Well, that just about covers it, actually. The expenditure can be changed by some things -- lowered by things like thyroid issues (like my stepfather has), increased by things like exercise -- but there really isn't anything else that makes people fat.

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  8. Kissindra

    logged in via Twitter

    Plenty have said it before but it is worth repeating - you know what you can tell from looking at me? That I am fat. You cannot tell what I eat, if I am lazy, how much I exercise, how professional I am or if I am healthy...but because of unrelenting media negativity many people see my fat and asign me a whole host of negative views and don't stop for a second to consider if they are wrong. I have encounted hundreds of people who truly think it is perfectly acceptable to ridicule, attack and abuse…

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    1. John Bourke

      Student, LLB, BSc

      In reply to Kissindra

      I don't think anyone would argueit is okay to be cruel or nasty to someone based on their physique. However we should show caution in 'promoting' obesity as being okay. There is a difference between the two things is there not? I think this is a distinction that has quite clearly been missed. I would suggest that if the media begins showing obesity as something normal, then it suggests obesity is a reasonable life-style choice. It isn't.

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    2. Kissindra

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to John Bourke

      in practical purposes, no, there isn't a difference. The denial that fat people can be active and healthy directly contributes to the fact that people making hateful remarks feel utterly entitled to do so. It also means others don't step in to stop the abuse because they believe it is "for the persons own good". This is such a silly argument, people who are absolutely ok with super tall and skinny models being ALL over the media don't seem to be worried about promoting eating disorders, but ask to show a fat girl/boy in a possitive light because the scope of human variety means fat people actually are more than the currently presented stereotype and you get accused of wanting to promote obesity!

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    3. Kath Read

      IT Librarian

      In reply to John Bourke

      How is documenting our lives "promoting obesity"? How is being accurately represented by the media as human beings with rich, full lives a bad thing? Do you honestly think that people are going to see these photographs and decide that they're going to do whatever they can to also become fat?

      ALL bodies are normal, even the ones that are different to the majority. Even the injured ones, the ones with illnesses, the bodies with disability. What would you have instead - all fat people cloistered away as part of a freak show like Victorian times?

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    4. Alexandre Desmarais

      full time student and ex morbidly obese person

      In reply to Kath Read

      Are you seriously comparing the fact of being obese to being "injured", "ill" or ""having a disability"?

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    5. Frances Lockie

      Policy officer

      In reply to Alexandre Desmarais

      Insofar as to say that all those kinds of bodies are stigmatised. They are all outside the health and beauty ideal. The issues these bodies deal with are not the same.

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    6. Frances Lockie

      Policy officer

      In reply to John Bourke

      "I don't think anyone would argueit is okay to be cruel or nasty to someone based on their physique." - Are you kidding? Lots of people argue exactly that.

      Documenting fat people as more than headless fatties in ill-fitting tracksuits does not "promote obesity". It humanises us. The fact that people are so against showing photos of us happy and active says a lot.

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    7. Andy 'Brock' Sev

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Frances Lockie

      Okay, so no one is denying that people do make fun of obese people, there are people in the world that are out there to hurt others for the sole reason being "because they can" most other people would just dislike obesity in silence.

      So, what are you trying to achieve by putting more photos of obese people up?

      From my point of view I think the photos will just attract more negative comments and while it may reassure your view on how you see yourselves, you will not change the minds and functionally working hearts of the people who already do not like seeing obese people.

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    8. Kissindra

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Andy 'Brock' Sev

      I want to stop the assumption that if you are fat you secretly hate yourself and are miserable, I want to stop the way women talk about other women and are scared to be seen by even their close friends in swimwear (reguardless of their size), I want to stop doctors from saying "just lose some weight" whenever a fat person has a health issue and often ignoring warning signs for and failing to treat a completely unrelated condition because they can't see past the assumption that any issue an overweight…

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    9. Kissindra

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Kissindra

      should add, i have nothing to do with this project so don't speak for those that do.

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    10. Nick Wright

      Scientist

      In reply to Kissindra

      "I want to stop the assumption that if you are fat you secretly hate yourself and are miserable"

      While this is indeed a bad assumption to make, some fat people come to terms with their state by wanting to put the blame on factors outside of their control (i.e. genetics). Sometimes understanding the painful truth of a problem rather than sugar coating it with lies is the best course of action.

      "want to stop the way women talk about other women and are scared to be seen by even their close friends…

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    11. Kath Read

      IT Librarian

      In reply to Andy 'Brock' Sev

      Andy 'Brock' Sev - I personally stopped giving a toss what people who are "disgusted" by fat people think.

      I don't participate in this for them. I do it for people like me, who have been told our whole lives we're worthless. I do it for people who believe the cultural LIES that fat people are worthless, are unhappy, are unloved, are sub-human. I do it to show them that their lives don't have to be this way.

      I do it to tell my story and encourage others to tell theirs. I do it to give an accurate representation of fat people and their lives. I do it so that other fat people will stand up to the bullying and discrimination.

      You may be disgusted by "photos of obese people", but that only shows your own prejudice, not our value.

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    12. Andy 'Brock' Sev

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Kissindra

      Well in all honesty if they don't want to be scared of being seen in public in swim wear, I will be, very damn terrified.Yes there are some people with conditions that cause obesity, but there are some conditions that come with obesity as well. Sure there could be an underlying defect somewhere in the body causing the person to be sick, but the majority of the time it would be a High blood pressure, High cholesterol and an excess of fat putting unnecessary stress on joints that are the most obvious and usually the main cause of these problems.

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    13. Andy 'Brock' Sev

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Kath Read

      The culture does not say FAT PEOPLE ARE WORTHLESS, it says Obesity will be a massive strain on the healthcare system when all the fatties start getting illnesses and needing surgery and artery and organ transplants to save their lives because their consumption habits and lack of exercise lead them to being on a hospital bed funded by tax payers.
      Their lives don't have to be that way Kath Read, there are hundreds of stories of people who have turned their lives around by simply taking up exercise…

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    14. Kissindra

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Nick Wright

      1. I'm with you, no doubt some do, but the fat folk I know are not deluding themselves about anything, and they DO NOT NEED YOU to tell them anything about their weight, this is the point we are trying to make. There is an overwhelming dialogue that says most fat people are stupid, lie to themselves, lie to others and don't know their own bodies better than complete strangers - and it is ridiculous.

      2. oh don't give me that, social change in attitudes is a constantly happening thing - take a look…

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    15. Kissindra

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Andy 'Brock' Sev

      just listen to yourself will you? You would be scared by women of all shapes and sizes (I did specify I wasn't just talking about the overweight) being comfortable in swimwear, oh well diddums, let me break it down for you - women are not here for the sole purpose of being oggled, we don't have to gain the right to be seen in public by fitting your beauty ideal, we HAVE the right and if that makes you scared well go hide in your house because I wont be, and you wonder why some fat people are scared to go out and exercise in public with your hateful and grossly sexist attitudes? Nice, now even the armchair expert doctors are able to diagnose all fat people with a health issue, even without any information about any specific individual - see the problem here yet?

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    16. Kissindra

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Andy 'Brock' Sev

      and another perfect example of the way people think it is ok to get abusive, negative and hateful towards fat folk and just assume we should embrace their hate as being "good for us" - nope, not going to happen. I've made changes in my life for me IN SPITE of people like you, not because of them. How many studies need to show that shaming people doesn't work and how many fat people and obesity specialists need to say "this causes more harm than good, there is a better way!" before you stop telling yourself you are just helping people?

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    17. John Bourke

      Student, LLB, BSc

      In reply to Frances Lockie

      Frances Lockie. I thought I wouldn't have use a patronisingly explicit tone, but it seems I may. No one - who is a person of influence in the community, a doctor, politician etc - would RATIONALLY argue that fat people be bullied. Yes, there are people who do bully fat people, however who is arguing in support of these bullies? Find me someone please! Is anyone out there saying: "what we need to solve the obesity epidemic is to bully fat children, then they will feel so ashamed they will decide…

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    18. Kissindra

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to John Bourke

      there was an article recently about a place in texas where the argument was put forward that teachers not portray the gay lifestyle in a possitive light, but remain neutral or not mention it at all. The idea being, we don't promote it as a rational "good" lifestyle choice, but we wont explicitely say it is bad either.

      Rate of teen suicide went up drasticly in line with the rate kids were bullied, kids resported massive increases in bullying to do with sexual orietation.

      point being, when you…

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    19. Lorna Jarrett

      Former PhD candidate, physics teacher

      In reply to Kissindra

      Kissandra, can I suggest you ditch these losers and take up bellydancing? You mentioned something earlier about being laughed at when you dance - well, no-one laughs at the likes of Fifi Noir. Especially when she's dancing with swords or fire.

      Maybe the image library needs some bellydancers - there are a lot of beautiful, talented, charismatic big women out there - with better cardiovascular fitness than a lot of normal-weight-range people.

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    20. Frances Lockie

      Policy officer

      In reply to John Bourke

      Dude, you have been patronising the entire time!

      People may not explicitly state "I wish to openly stigmatise fat people", but basically all anti-obesity health campaigns do. Few people in positions of power openly support bullying, but many tacitly endorse it.

      It's amusing that you told m in another comment that I'm crudely extrapolating your points when you are doing the exact same thing. No, you're not saying all fat people should be bullied. I did not accuse you of this. You are, however, expecting that all representations of fat people should be negative so it cannot be seen as a positive "choice". That's stigmatising. You are stigmatising fat people.

      Who is saying this should be a private study....? We're fat activists that face criticism for our bodies and politics everyday. We consented to our images being used in a publicly available image library. We knew what we were getting ourselves into.

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    21. Frances Lockie

      Policy officer

      In reply to Lorna Jarrett

      The image library will have photos of me in my samba class. Fat samba dancers are a rare thing, so I'm really happy to show this side of me.

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    22. John Bourke

      Student, LLB, BSc

      In reply to Frances Lockie

      Look through the comments section (see Kerry Beake for example) and you will find people suggesting that if you don't agree with the study, then you shouldn't comment.

      Yes, I know that I am not saying all fat people should be bullied. I also said "no one would argue that fat people should be bullied" to which you gave a retort. Thus, my question: who is supporting the bullying of fat people? There isn't anyone I can think of.

      No, I am not saying all representations of fat people should be…

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    23. Frances Lockie

      Policy officer

      In reply to Andy 'Brock' Sev

      Oh man, you are going to be horrified when you see the photo of me in my bikini! The photo will be in the library; my stomach hangs over an everything! BOO.

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    24. Frances Lockie

      Policy officer

      In reply to John Bourke

      I answered your question already. People may not explicitly state "I wish to openly stigmatise fat people", but basically all anti-obesity health campaigns do. Few people in positions of power openly support bullying, but many tacitly endorse it.

      I think you've misunderstood the project. Any story on obesity can use these images. Obviously I won't be thrilled if my photo is used on, say, a story about the correlation between obesity and heart disease, but I will be pleased that my photo is being used insted of the usual headless fatty in ill-fitting tracky dacks. Because it will be harder to depict obesity as a lazy person's disease when a photo of me sweating in my dance class is used. It will be harder to show us as deeply unhappy when a photo of me laughing is used.

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    25. Kissindra

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to John Bourke

      ther fact that you can't think of one, can't envisage any time where a possitive image of a fat person would be relevant is WHY this project is happening, because you've got such a massively negative association happening that the mere idea that there is any space for a relevant possitive view is incomprehensible to you and that is warped.

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    26. Lorna Jarrett

      Former PhD candidate, physics teacher

      In reply to Frances Lockie

      Sounds great Frances! I'd love to see the photos. I have seen a lot of truly show-stopping fat women dance - and the dance community is richer for their contribution.

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    27. Frances Lockie

      Policy officer

      In reply to Lorna Jarrett

      Absolutely! The dance community can be extremely anti-fat, which is hard to deal with. I'm all for body diversity in dance.

      Speaking of fat bellydancers, have you seen Majda Anwar? She's a beautiful dancer. http://majidaanwar.com/

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    28. Lorna Jarrett

      Former PhD candidate, physics teacher

      In reply to Frances Lockie

      Thanks for the link! She's beautiful. Fat dancers (and teeny short dancers) have been part of the bellydance community forever so it actually seems strange that people might find fat dancers strange.

      Funny... I performed for a 92 year-old relative on her birthday. She said "No offence, but can you bring along another dancer with, you know, a proper figure?".

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    29. Lorna Jarrett

      Former PhD candidate, physics teacher

      In reply to Frances Lockie

      OK now I'm stunned. Ballet wouldn't have me, I'm too short!

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    30. John Bourke

      Student, LLB, BSc

      In reply to Kissindra

      Kissandra. This is suggesting knowledge cannot be deduced through logic. It has nothing at all to do with the fact that the media portrays obese people in a negative light, rather, one can logically consider whether something is possible. You are suggesting every person who has commented critically on this study is an automaton that sucks in anything the media gives them.

      Frances Lockie. Via this logic, a person who speaks out against bullying but fails to comment on 'fat bullying' is tacitly…

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    31. Frances Lockie

      Policy officer

      In reply to John Bourke

      You don't need to keep referring to me by my full name. Frances is fine. There are no other Franceses in this thread, so I'll know when you're responding to me.

      "Via this logic, a person who speaks out against bullying but fails to comment on 'fat bullying' is tacitly endorsing the bullying of fat people."

      .......No, that's not what I said. I said that conversations about obesity from people/organisations of influence are stigmatising and can be dehumanising, whether they intend it or not…

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    32. John Bourke

      Student, LLB, BSc

      In reply to Frances Lockie

      Okay sure Frances.

      ""As it is impossible to conceive of obesity as being 'good' or 'okay' (viz. neutral) then when would a photo that aligns with this sentiment be used?"

      lol @ "impossible to conceive". Righto mate."

      Please. I'm genuinely interested in knowing how obesity could be a good thing.

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    33. Frances Lockie

      Policy officer

      In reply to John Bourke

      First of all, I don't want fatness being presented as 'good' in the way that smaller bodies are currently portrayed as 'good'. If I can get bolshy for a moment, I don't want to shift the paradign, I want to smash it. (Perhaps by sitting on it.)

      But, for the sake on continued discussion/arguing, I can indulge.

      There have been studies showing that fatness can be beneficial; for example, fat people are less likely to die on the operating table, and someone who is fit and fat is actually better…

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    34. John Bourke

      Student, LLB, BSc

      In reply to Frances Lockie

      Hey Frances,

      I'm sorry, I should have framed my question more clearly (and I'm not trying to be patronising! I promise!).

      I'm not really referring to isolated instances of when being obese is a good thing. I.e. I wouldn't pose the converse argument that being thin is advantageous when one is on a plane etc. I appreciate that there are remote instances where having a larger amount of body fat is advantageous.

      The question I would like answered, from a holistic lifestyle perspective, is…

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    35. Frances Lockie

      Policy officer

      In reply to John Bourke

      "The question I would like answered, from a holistic lifestyle perspective, is whether there is an argument to make that it is good to BECOME obese."

      No, I don't think that from that perspective, someone should strive to become fat. That's an odd question, though, as no one here is arguing in favour of that scenario.

      I don't know in what context these photos will be used. Kath's photo on her bike could be used to illustrate raising levels of bicycle ownership for all we know. But there is an easily identified gap in the market for this project.

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  9. Kerry Beake

    logged in via Twitter

    Love this concept guys and the work that has been done. Brilliant!

    Disappointed but not surprised that there are negative commentators who feel justified in spreading their opinions and ideas that are founded on nothing more than regurgitated psuedo science from the newspapers, tv or even your uni lecturer. It is not science if you bother to delve deeper as many of us have. At least if you did some research first people, before opening your mouths or typing on your keyboards you wouldn't sound so rude, stupid and ignorant. The only thing that is irresponsible in this, is people passing judgement on things they clearly know very little about, having an opinion is not the same thing as knowledge. There is no open-minded inquisitiveness about why this has come about, there is no empathy or seeking to undertand anothers experience, just judgement, narrow, close minded rhetoric. Question your own beliefs and ideas and the source of those before moralising and pontificating to others.

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    1. John Bourke

      Student, LLB, BSc

      In reply to Kerry Beake

      Hi Kerry,

      What is it that you are claiming is pseudo-science? It wouldn't be the research produced by Universities would it? Including peer-reviewed journal articles? Because, as far as I can tell, these are the people actually researching in these areas...and guess what the research indicates? By no means am I arguing that the research is infallible...but there isn't much to suggest that obesity and health are concomitant. I'm sure if you dig deep enough you can pretty much find any result you are after...

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    2. Alexandre Desmarais

      full time student and ex morbidly obese person

      In reply to Kerry Beake

      Kerry, how are the studies you refer to (but do not link to) any more valid that the ones other 'posters have refered to considering the health risks associated to being obese?

      Also, I understand you have an ungoing Master's degree in nutrition. To quote you, " are founded on nothing more than regurgitated psuedo science from the newspapers, tv or even your uni lecturer.".

      You are telling me that uni lecturers (all of which have PhDs) spread pseudo-science and that you know the actual real science.

      I guess I might have what's coming to me, as this can be seen as a personal attack, but I fail to see how a master's degree student of nutrition would know more about science related to health and obesity than lecturers that have PhDs and that have done actually research on the subject (I do not mean reading on the subject, I mean experimenting, participating in studies being made).

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    3. Kerry Beake

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to John Bourke

      John, pseudo science in this case is science that is biased, used, manipulated and promoted as true for a purpose of basically making money. If you choose to believe any article you read and that obesity is something evil and to be shunned, avoided and fought against then go right ahead. You just won't find many takers here. Much of the research that is reported is backed by either pharmaceutical companies or weightloss companies if you care to look. There is plenty of information out there for any…

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    4. Alexandre Desmarais

      full time student and ex morbidly obese person

      In reply to Kerry Beake

      "pseudo science in this case is science that is biased, used, manipulated and promoted as true for a purpose of basically making money"

      How is it different from the HAES movement? Or from the purpose of this very article? A post doc in marketing participates in writing an article like this and in the project at hand and you don't wonder why? There is also a lot of money to be made by bringing people to think it is fine for them to stay obese, even if it is actually unhealthy.

      Hell, being a HAES coach is a niche market, isn't it? It must cater to people who are willing to try to improve themselves but lack the motivation for real changes like actually losing the surplus of fat they have.

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    5. Kerry Beake

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Alexandre Desmarais

      Well then I clearly don't. Well I best run back to some of my undergrad PhD tutors and tell them the information they wanted on insulin resistance etc is flawed because well I was only an undergrad then. And now I better call back the doctors and dietitians and psychologists I've recently spoken to and tell them to ignore everything I shared with them because my 20+ years of studying and journey through information means squat diddly because I'm not yet a dietitian or PhD and any personal experiences…

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    6. Alexandre Desmarais

      full time student and ex morbidly obese person

      In reply to Kerry Beake

      I am also comfortable with what I know. And what I know is that I was 260 lbs when I was 15 years old and that I am now 23 years old sitting at 187 lbs and a bf% of 17. I am also currently losing my fat surplus because at my age it is better being under 14 bf%.

      You know what my experience tells me? That I had lower back pain when I was fat, but now, even if I deadlift at the gym crazy amounts of weight, I don't anymore.

      You know what my experience tells me? That PTs will most likely prescribe a program consisting exclusively of low weight, high rep machine exercises which will do nothing more than burn a few calories and maybe ''tone'' you a little.

      You know what my experience tells me? That to accept yourself is one thing, to refuse to see the reality of you being obese as unhealthy is another.

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    7. Kerry Beake

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Alexandre Desmarais

      That's your experience and choice and that's valid. At 23 you still have a lot of life to live and much of this time will influence your future. You feeling healthier and recognising when you were unhealthy is the message. But your experience is not true or applicable for everyone else. What you have chosen is not true, right or real for anyone else. The side-effect of choosing a healthier lifestyle may indeed be weightloss, but the fact remains it may not. But by choosing to pursue a healthier lifestyle…

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    8. Geoff Russell

      Computer Programmer, Author

      In reply to Alexandre Desmarais

      Brilliant Alexandre. I've known more than a few people who have lost significant amounts of weight and not one of them wishes it would return.

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    9. Carrie Padian

      Technical Analyst

      In reply to Alexandre Desmarais

      Please tell me who stands to make money off of encouraging all people to eat healthfully and move their bodies in ways they enjoy. How is that going to become a 60 billion dollar industry like dieting is? The truth is there IS no money to be made off of HAES which is why it's still considered a "fringe" idea even though it makes perfect logical and medical sense. Just for once, let's try taking the messages the media feeds us with a tiny grain of salt and question their sources and motivations rather than swallowing and regurgitating them at any fat person who would have the audacity to live their life without shame.

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    10. John Bourke

      Student, LLB, BSc

      In reply to Kerry Beake

      I'm sorry Kerry. You talk about putting forward 'new ideas' but as far as I can tell you have offered no argument whatsoever. You have simply attempted to dismantle another persons argument by asserting they are relying on pseudo-science...and then offered the usual rhetoric about drug companies etc. No where in the above have I mentioned that obese people should diet till they drop, or exercise like crazy. Rather, I have simply asserted that the CAUSE of obesity - i.e. most people are not BORN…

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    11. Kerry Beake

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to John Bourke

      You have come to a place that supports diversity in size John, I did not seek you out and I am not here to validate to you or anyone my view. Different if I had sought you out. So if you don't support this and don't wish to. Then end of discussion.

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    12. Alexandre Desmarais

      full time student and ex morbidly obese person

      In reply to Carrie Padian

      Being a HAES coach:

      http://www.haescoach.com/Services_Offered.html

      HAES coaching is not free (and it should not be). That is to say saying there is no money to be made off of HAES is a blatant lie.

      Again, it is a niche market. It will certainly not reach the benefits of the fitness industry as a whole, but it can certainly make someone make a good living out of it.

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    13. John Bourke

      Student, LLB, BSc

      In reply to Kerry Beake

      Well Kerry, that sounds all a little too easy. You didn't specifically seek a response from me, however when you quite blandly assert that anyone who disagrees with the general position of an article is pedaling pseudo science, then you need to go through some fairly bizarre mental gymnastics to then argue that you weren't seeking a response at all.

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    14. Nick Wright

      Scientist

      In reply to Kerry Beake

      Just so you know, it's could HAVE. I forgive a lot of grammar mistakes, but that's an important one.

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    15. Kath Read

      IT Librarian

      In reply to Alexandre Desmarais

      I lost 60lbs at 22. I also lost 40lbs at 18. Then I lost 33lbs at 27. At 29, I lost 40lbs again. At 32, I lost 55lbs. At 35 years old, I tried to commit suicide because that weight would just not stay off, no matter what I did. And I did everything - from "lifestyle changes" to every diet doctors gave me to a full blown eating disorder and abusing diet pills. Thankfully my loved ones helped me through and love me no matter what shape or size I am. And I decided from that moment I would never, ever punish my body for not being what society says it should be, and would nourish it and move it and treat it as well as I could, no matter what size or shape it happens to be at any given time.

      I hope that your body has found it's set point and it stays there Alexandre. Because in 10 or 15 years, you might realise you wasted a significant portion of your life trying to be something you're not too, if it doesn't.

      That's what MY experience tells me.

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    16. Nick Wright

      Scientist

      In reply to Kath Read

      "I lost 60lbs at 22. I also lost 40lbs at 18. Then I lost 33lbs at 27. At 29, I lost 40lbs again. At 32, I lost 55lbs. At 35 years old, I tried to commit suicide because that weight would just not stay off, no matter what I did."

      Metabolism does slow down with age. People in their 20s think they can eat like they did in high school. Once they realize they can't, they're up 20 or 30 pounds. I was like that. I steadily gained weight all my life until 6 months ago when I wanted to do something about…

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    17. Kissindra

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Geoff Russell

      Dawn French did an interview recently of how she misses her larger body after her recent weight loss.

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    18. Alexandre Desmarais

      full time student and ex morbidly obese person

      In reply to Kath Read

      Miss Read,

      I assure you that no matter what my body ends up like in 10 or 15 years from now, the last year particularly will all have been worth it in the end.

      I am sorry dieting did not work for you, but, again, and I said that in an earlier comment, it's calories in, calories out. You need to eat at a caloric deficit, that's it. Then if you want to mainly lose fat rather than muscle with that weight loss, you exercise too and eat a high protein diet (the term diet here is misleading, because…

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    19. Kath Read

      IT Librarian

      In reply to Nick Wright

      Nothing will sway you people from the "fat = glutton" myth will it? No amount of evidence, no amount of personal stories, nothing. You've got it all figured out, that every fat person in the world is too stupid to know how or what to eat, or how to look after their bodies.

      No matter how much evidence you are shown, no matter how many times I tell you that it is simply not true, there is NOTHING that will ever take your mind out of that narrow, narrow, bigoted little view that fat people are somehow less than everyone else. Less intelligent, less capable, less healthy, less happy, less everything. That's what this is all about, a superiority complex.

      Well, you keep convincing yourself that the shape and size of your body makes you superior to other people, and see where that gets you.

      I've got a life to live.

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    20. Alexandre Desmarais

      full time student and ex morbidly obese person

      In reply to Kath Read

      you do realize that mister Wright and I responded in a perfectly polite manner, right? Who is being a bigot here?:

      "there is NOTHING that will ever take your mind out of that narrow, narrow, bigoted little view that fat people are somehow less than everyone else"

      "Well, you keep convincing yourself that the shape and size of your body makes you superior to other people"

      I am going to be straight forward, because being polite gets me insulted anyways:

      if you don't lose weight it's because…

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    21. Kissindra

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Alexandre Desmarais

      it isn't that simple. It really really is not, Alexandre. Please try to grasp this point.

      Most people know at least one skinny person who eats junk non stop, never exercises and never gains a thing. In fact there was a relatively recent article about a UK woman who eats nothing but chicken nuggets and fast food and is still skinny.

      So if a skinny person can eat high levels of crap food, not work out and STILL be skinny, what is insane accepting that a fat person can be eating healthily, working…

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    22. Frances Lockie

      Policy officer

      In reply to Alexandre Desmarais

      So what do you make of people who have had weight loss surgery who regain all the weight? There are many testimonials of people who physically cannot eat too many calories and yet - after initial weight loss - they have regained every kilo.

      Bodies can resist weight loss, particularly after years of starvation diets. This doesn't negate your experience, so please don't negate ours.

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    23. Alexandre Desmarais

      full time student and ex morbidly obese person

      In reply to Frances Lockie

      what do you mean by "weight loss surgery"? Let me guess...getting your stomach tucked/resized?

      The stomach is like any muscle, it will expand with use. Getting surgery doesn't change bad habits.

      "There are many testimonials of people who physically cannot eat too many calories "

      is that an assessment made by the health professional who proceeded to the surgery or by the patient? I would not trust someone who did not made a lifestyle change but used surgery to know what "too many calories" is.

      Their stomach simply went back to the size it was before their surgery with time. Don't believe me? Then it must surely be magic, what else?

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    24. Frances Lockie

      Policy officer

      In reply to Alexandre Desmarais

      I meant a lapband, because they're more common. And I mean they physically cannot eat too many calories/too much food, because when they do they throw up.

      "I would not trust someone who did not made a lifestyle change but used surgery to know what "too many calories" is." - That's pretty rough. An invasive surgical procedure to permanently alter a major organ isn't a decision to be sniffed at.

      It's not magic. It's the body resisting weight loss.

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    25. Alexandre Desmarais

      full time student and ex morbidly obese person

      In reply to Kissindra

      "So if a skinny person can eat high levels of crap food, not work out and STILL be skinny, what is insane accepting that a fat person can be eating healthily, working out and still not shedding weight?"

      yes, it is. It's about calories in, calories out.

      Do you know what my basic metabolism plus exercise requirements currently are to neither lose nor gain weight, miss Kissindra?

      it's 2500 calories on days I don't train and 3000 calories on days I train. What does that mean? It means I could…

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    26. Kissindra

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Alexandre Desmarais

      gosh you are a poster child for WHY this campaign is important. I love how you just assume you are the font of all knowledge and that no fat person here knows anything that you do or examines the science around obesity/weight issues, you just can't grasp the notion that we are arguing with you because we know more than you!

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    27. Alexandre Desmarais

      full time student and ex morbidly obese person

      In reply to Frances Lockie

      I had never heard of lapband before. I can only take your word on it about people gaining the weight back, because from what I read on it is as a high success rate. If you could link to actual testimonies of people saying they gained the weight back using lapband it would better prove your point and really be appreciated.

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    28. Alexandre Desmarais

      full time student and ex morbidly obese person

      In reply to Kissindra

      You know more than me on dieting, nutrition, obesity, etc. Yet none of you was able to lose weight and not gain it back.

      If you had done your "homework" like actually calculating what your body really needs as a daily calorie intake and adjusted it to, say, a 500 calories deficit a day, maybe it would have worked.

      Do you actually have science or arguments to give or just insults?: "poster child for WHY this campaign is important"

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    29. Kissindra

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Alexandre Desmarais

      YOUR body, is not MY body, there is no sound basis for you to believe that your results would be replecated in the case of ever other person, and given this experience comes up time again again and is not related to a lack of "homework" (it is entirely your own negative assumption that people telling you these accounts must have "done it wrong") How can I have any meaningful dialogue with you when you can't see past your need to disbelieve anything anyone tells you of their own personal experience? You point blank refuse to listen here and constantly assert your belief that I and others are simply, flawwed, lying, lazy and stupid when we say anything that doesn't fit what your currently believe to be true. I offered absolutely no insult in what I said, I used a common expression to highlight the fact that you are indeed a very good representation of why this campaign is needed, and you are.

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    30. Alexandre Desmarais

      full time student and ex morbidly obese person

      In reply to Kissindra

      "personal experience" doesn't beat science.

      Science: a pound of fat is 3500 calories
      Science: if you eat at a 500 calories deficit a day you will lose a pound of wieght a week
      Science: a diet rich in protein will help preserve muscle when losing weight
      Science: doing exercice will also help preserve muscle when losing weight
      Science: an orange is 100 calories and 3 ounces of chicken meat is also 100 calories

      Personal experience of fat people who gained the weight back after dieting: "you cannot understand my problems/ it is more complicated than that/I tried everything/I am not lazy"

      And you call me a child? I like to think that the difference between a child and an adult is that the adult takes responsability for himself, instead of making excuses and BSing people saying it's not their fault.

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    31. Kyle S

      College Student, Formerly Obese

      In reply to Kissindra

      Kissindra, I know you're going to have every excuse in the book to explain away the fact, but the reality is that, while a complex organic machine, the body is still a machine. Unless your biology is so vastly different from the majority of humanity that one pound of fat does not equal 3500 calories of energy stored up (I'm sure you aren't the abberation of nature you're suggesting you are), then everything Alex has said is true. Now, I also know that you're either going to pretend that, unlike my…

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    32. Frances Lockie

      Policy officer

      In reply to Kyle S

      Why is it insulting to say that you're a statistical anomaly?

      We're not denying your or Alexandre's experiences. You lost weight and you're happy, that's awesome. No one is denying you that. But you are denying OUR experiences. We have told you our dieting histories and our disordered eating experiences and how we live now (even though we are not obligated to justify ourselves to you), and you and Alexandre have told us that we are lying or that we did it wrong or that we're kidding ourselves.

      You are being insulting. Own your behaviour.

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    33. Frances Lockie

      Policy officer

      In reply to Alexandre Desmarais

      "I have experience in this area due to my qualifications and employment" is a COMPLETELY different thing to "research primarily funded by weight loss companies".

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    34. Kissindra

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Kyle S

      well that was a very long reply, and I'll admit now I haven't read it all, because the quick skim I did to start with showed that it was absolutely littered with you deciding what my experience is, what my thoughts are and what my responces might be with a liberal sprinkling of accusing me of saying things I haven't, so again - how can I have dialogue when you simply can't move past your need to ascribe all sorts of negative assumptions to me?

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    35. Alexandre Desmarais

      full time student and ex morbidly obese person

      In reply to Frances Lockie

      you're sticking on our "experiences"

      Again, yes, we spoke about our experiences, but also about science.

      it is a FACT that 1 pound of fat in the human body is equal to 3500 calories. It is also a FACT that if you had made a lifestyle change rather than "dieted" you would all not have gained the weight back.

      It amazes me how you can all argue with such a simple and ENTIRELY CLAIM such as:
      if you eat 500 calories less a day than what you actually need (compared to eating 500 calories less of what you are currently eating, which might very well be way above what you need) you WILL lose a pound of bodyweight a week.

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    36. Frances Lockie

      Policy officer

      In reply to Alexandre Desmarais

      Yes, because you are refusing to acknowledge our experiences. We followed the science with healthy eating and regular exercise like we were supposed to. It didn't work for us, and doesn't work for most people. You can use as much caps lock as you like when you write the word 'fact', the science didn't work. That's our FACT.

      Here, have some more science from a fellow commenter: "I do think there's a lot more to the physiology of fat than "calories in / calories out" - I teach biomedical physics and I KNOW that simple formulas that work for physical just don't apply to living things - they are SO much more complicated and physics always assumes maximum simplicity (one problem in the course involves metabolic rates - and assumes all the animals are spherical and homogeneous!)."

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    37. Alexandre Desmarais

      full time student and ex morbidly obese person

      In reply to Kissindra

      3 paragraphs: long

      " the science didn't work. That's our FACT."

      not a fact, a personal experience. I guess we really can't have a dialogue, because you are just not ready to assume your own blame in failing to change your condition and then you blame external factors.

      Centuries ago, it was magic, now it's "simple formulas" and "I did everything right!".

      Your body is special, we get it. It's magic in a bad way seeing as it will not let you lose weight, even if you do everything right. Sounds sarcastic? I hope so.

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    38. Kyle S

      College Student, Formerly Obese

      In reply to Frances Lockie

      "Why is it insulting to say that you're a statistical anomaly? "

      Because if I had as much luck as I did in meeting 3 or 4 people (Kath, Frances, Kissindra, someone else I missed I think) who defy the understood laws of physics and/or thermodynamics as you all apparently do at the same time in the same place, then I would have won the lottery by now.

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    39. Kissindra

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Alexandre Desmarais

      feel better now you've had a slightly more obvious dig at me? Let some of that fat hate out like you've been dying to?

      Kindly do not address further comments to me unless you can check your bigotry.

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    40. Kyle S

      College Student, Formerly Obese

      In reply to Kissindra

      It really is sad -- and yes, I do mean that in a condescending way -- that when faced with confrontation, your response is to just crawl into your happy place and scream that everyone's just being mean to poor Kissindra. This lack of willingness to confront your weaknesses -- NOT YOUR OBESITY, but your LIES about how you 'tried so hard' when in fact you didn't really -- is simply an examplar of what I'm getting at.

      Like leading a horse to water, you can lead an overweight person to a healthy, sensible, but yes, time-consuming method of losing weight, but while neither can be made to take what's offered, you won't see the horse complaining that the water is poison, that it won't actually sate its thirst, that there's no point drinking it because it'll just get thirsty again, etc.

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    41. Kissindra

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Kyle S

      Kyle, what pray tell would be the point in engaging in further dialogue? - we clearly wont come to any understanding. I have every right to assert that I will not put up with someone being codescending, rude, fatist and repeatedly accusing me of saying things I have not said. You are incapable of discussing this with me, utterly incapable - go take a tally of the sheer volume of things you've decided you know vrs what inofrmation I have given. You are "calling me out" on information I never gave you, you even think you KNOW what weight category I fall into, but I'm not obese and never said I was. YOU have a problem with how you engage with fat people, and I don't have to leave myself in the firing line of your issues when it clearly wont be of any educational benefit.

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    42. Frances Lockie

      Policy officer

      In reply to Alexandre Desmarais

      I'm not blaming anything! My fat is not a fault for which something must be laden with blame.

      No, we can't have a dialogue. That much is clear.

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    43. Frances Lockie

      Policy officer

      In reply to Kyle S

      It's insulting to say that you're a statistical anomaly because if you met me you'd be a lottery winner?

      (PS. You're being insulting again.)

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  10. Andy 'Brock' Sev

    logged in via Facebook

    I am enjoying seeing the obesity protectors blatantly ignoring common sense and logical arguments presented before them and dismissing them with irrational comments such as "YOU DON'T KNOW WHY THEY ARE FAT" and "I am proud to be shoving my fat" 'Quote Natalie Perkins'. A person who is less politically correct would dismiss her as having "Fattitude" see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O9T7blO-wro

    None of the arguments from Geoff or John have ever stated that obese people should be hidden from the…

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    1. Kath Read

      IT Librarian

      In reply to Andy 'Brock' Sev

      They don't need to say it directly, they are saying it by suggesting there is something wrong with documenting the lifestyles of a group of fat people and breaking down fat stigma to encourage fat people to live their lives to the fullest. By saying that what this project is doing is a bad thing, they are directly stigmatising fat people.

      They, and you, are saying that fat people SHOULD be stigmatised by society. Because any step to shame, hide, deny, dispute, segregate, silence or generally reduce fat people to a stereotype is fat stigma.

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    2. Nick Wright

      Scientist

      In reply to Kath Read

      Let's break down the goal of this project:

      "Our aim is to make the library available to the media around June 2012, as a way of changing the conversation about obesity and the way it’s depicted."

      So what don't you like about the way obesity is depicted? I'm not trying to mock you with a supposedly dumb question. You take issue with something and want to do something about it. What specifically don't you approve of?

      "Offering more positive imagery is an important step toward stopping the daily discrimination obese people encounter and the trauma they face from the simple act of opening up a newspaper."

      I probably need above part answered before we can discuss this part in more depth.

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    3. Andy 'Brock' Sev

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Kath Read

      Where in my paragraphs have I stated that obese/fat people should be stigmatised by society. I have said that obesity should be not be accepted as a healthy lifestyle as they are limiting themselves from living life to the fullest. Which as you said is the point of this project.

      What I have said is that there is a correlation between obesity and unhealthiness as well as heart disease and other illnesses.

      I understand that living life to the fullest may mean many different things to different…

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    4. Kath Read

      IT Librarian

      In reply to Nick Wright

      Have you not read the article Nick Wright? I shall quote:

      "Obese individuals face a range of prejudices and discrimination because of their weight. Stereotypes of being lazy, undisciplined, slovenly and unmotivated, result in widespread unfair treatment. This leads to limited opportunities, harassment and bullying in the workplace, and biased treatment and inappropriate comments from health-care professionals."

      If you want it in my words:

      Fatness is depicted as dirty, lazy, unhealthy, sedentry…

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    5. Nick Wright

      Scientist

      In reply to Kath Read

      "Have you not read the article Nick Wright? I shall quote:"

      Yes, I have. But I'm addressing you, not the article. If you want to cite the article, that's fine.

      "If you want it in my words: Fatness is depicted as dirty, lazy, unhealthy, sedentry, non-productive, gluttonous, selfish, stupid, lonely, unloved, unmotivated... shall I go on?"

      Yeah, go on. You listed a bunch of adjectives. I want something more concrete and specific.

      "Read through the anti-fat brigade on here. Look at how they…

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    6. Kath Read

      IT Librarian

      In reply to Nick Wright

      You just have excuses for everything don't you? You clearly know what it's like to live in a fat body, you clearly know better than EVERYONE out there, even the people who actually live their own lives.

      Damn, I wish I was as omnipotent and omnipresent as you.

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  11. Kath Read

    IT Librarian

    It seems many of you people don't understand what stigmatisation actually means. Here:

    Noun, 1. stigmatisation - the act of stigmatizing. branding, stigmatization · disapproval - the act of disapproving or condemning.

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  12. Diane Fruchtman

    Student

    What a wonderful idea! Positive, healthy images are always welcome, and we really do need to combat this notion that only people of a certain size can be well-dressed, successful, happy, and healthy.

    Health (and Happiness!) at every size!

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  13. Tony Linde
    Tony Linde is a Friend of The Conversation.

    retired

    This article seems to be about images that accompany news articles about obesity and that a "recent study found that 72% of images that accompanied news stories about obesity portrayed obese people in a negative light." Given that most such news articles would be reporting research showing the deleterious health effects of obesity, it is hardly surprising that the images would be mainly negative: they are chosen, after all, to illustrate the message of the article. I'd assume that the other 28% of images accompany articles about how to counter obesity with exercise, sensible diet and an active lifestyle. So I'm not sure what the authors of this article/study are looking for. They may well produce "an image library that more fully represents the lived experience of obesity in a non-stigmatising manner" but where do they expect such images to be used?

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  14. John Clark

    Manager

    What about a practical example?

    There are jobs from which obese applicants are excluded (using BMI). This may be perceived as stimatising, humiliating or discriminatory, but a fact of life. Lose the weight, by whatever means, and reapply.

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    1. Kissindra

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to John Clark

      if that were representative of practical examples then sure - but the practical examples are more like "fat person applies for a job they are fully qualified, experienced and capable of doing but another candidate with equal qualification, expereince and capability gets the job because the employer percieves that someone who is overweight will be lazy at performing their job reguardless of how good references were".

      You've misunderstood what we mean by stigma and discrimination, because the situation you describe would not be classed as discrimination. This isn't "stupid fat people trying to get a job they can't reasonably do and then complaining about it" - when you presume that then you let your own preconcieved judgements of fat people show, and you need to have a good hard think about why you assumed that when we used the words discrimination and stigma we didn't know what they meant and didn't REALLY experience them.

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  15. Tyler Reed

    logged in via Facebook

    Honestly I do have to ask if Kath Read, and Frances Lockie are proud to be "fatties". I have absolutely no problem with trying to lower the amount of obese children who are bullied, promoting realistic images of healthy bodies, and teaching our children about healthy diets. All of these things are important, I'm 20 and I find myself constantly wondering what to eat to be healthy, and I wish our society would have instilled that knowledge into me when I was younger.

    Yet I don't support the concept…

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    1. Kissindra

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Tyler Reed

      can I ask you Tyler - are you ok with the fact that not having any possitive images of fat people promotes prejudice and stigma to the degree that fat people really do experience high levels of abuse and unwarranted negative assumtions on a daily basis? Are you ok that this high level of prejudice actually makes it harder for fat people to engage in healthy activity and recieve adequate health care? Are you ok with the fact that when we focus on weight rather than lifestyle there is a section of the community who never feels the need to address their ridky lifestyle because they happen to be the kind of people who can eat whatever they like, not exercise and not gain a thing? If there are other, better ways(which there are) to promote good lifestyle choices which still work without promoting fat hate via denying fat people have any good qualities, why would those not be a better option?

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    2. Frances Lockie

      Policy officer

      In reply to Tyler Reed

      "Honestly I do have to ask if Kath Read, and Frances Lockie are proud to be "fatties"."

      That's kind of an odd question. I didn't do anything to 'earn' this body so it can't be a source of pride of me. It's just the body I have.

      That said, I love the way I look. I have confidence in how I look. I am proud of what my body can do (if I may toot my own horn, I am a shit-hot samba dancer and a para-professional Afro-Brazillian dancer).

      If you want to lower the rate of bullying in obese children, you have to stop stigmatising obesity. Simple as that. Health campaigns don't have to send the message "IF YOU DON'T EXERCISE YOU'LL BE FAT AND YOU WILL DIE". I'd like to see positive health messages emphasising how fun exercise can be or how good healthy food tastes. I'd like a focus on wellbeing, rather than weight.

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    3. Alexandre Desmarais

      full time student and ex morbidly obese person

      In reply to Frances Lockie

      "Health campaigns don't have to send the message "IF YOU DON'T EXERCISE YOU'LL BE FAT AND YOU WILL DIE (earlier)"

      But it's the truth (see the "earlier" I added).

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    4. Frances Lockie

      Policy officer

      In reply to Alexandre Desmarais

      No it isn't. I know plenty of thin people that don't exercise. Is their health impacted? For sure. But they may not ever become fat.

      That's one of the reasons why health campaigns that aim to improve the health of everyone, rather than heaping shame on fat people, would be better.

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    5. Kath Read

      IT Librarian

      In reply to Tyler Reed

      "Honestly I do have to ask if Kath Read, and Frances Lockie are proud to be "fatties". "

      I have to say, that is possibly the most ridiculous question I have ever received about my state of fatness (and someone once asked me if I ever menstruated being so fat, and another asked me if my fat ever broke any of my bones, so it's a pretty ridiculous pool of questions I'm drawing from here). It's like asking if someone is proud to have big feet, or proud to be green eyed.

      But I think I understand…

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    6. Tyler Reed

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Kath Read

      How is that at all a ridiculous question given that the thumbnail that Frances uses has the word "Fatty" on it. So thus it has logical roots, I'd prefer if you not be patronizing, given that my comment involved no insults or attempts to be negative.

      Obesity does actually reflect on behavior to some degree as well. This isn't to be rude or anything of the sort, but having worked in the service industry I've seen that the people who buy large amounts of soda, chips and greasy food are generally…

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    7. Tyler Reed

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Frances Lockie

      You did do something to earn your body though, whether or not you care to admit it, by doing nothing. I've earned the body I have by jogging every morning, going to the gym every evening, and trying to eat well and limit my soda intake. If someone did what I do every day they'd have a very similar body, so if you have a heavy set body you have most certainly done something to earn it.

      I do find it admirable that you can dance, and do. That is great, and to be frank I'm envious because I lack…

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    8. Tyler Reed

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Kissindra

      I have problems with bullying in school in general, along with all forms of prejudice. All I've said is that I don't agree with the concept of promoting acceptance of obesity, since to be frank obesity isn't like ethnicity or sexuality and is something you can choose not to be. I agree that more steps need to be made to actually force the food industry to be more honest about how healthy their food is, and to promote better education of children in school about how to remain healthy. I do not on…

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    9. Lorna Jarrett

      Former PhD candidate, physics teacher

      In reply to Tyler Reed

      "You don't get a mom to force her kids to remain active by saying it is fun, you do it by pointing out that obesity can lead to type 2 diabetes, wearing of the joints, heart issues, and issues with breathing".

      That's pretty damn dismal. For one - "forcing" kids to remain active? Kids are naturally active, it's in their natures. For another, parenting by fear rather than fun? You honestly think it's better to lecture kids about a list of health risks or point out how strong and graceful they will feel if they excercise, how they'll have fun with other people, and well, just generally have fun.

      You mention jogging and the gym. I don't want to judge your life choices man, but you wouldn't catch me doing either. In the sea pools when the swell's up and the tide's high, on the dancefloor or the lyra, on the other hand - those are FUN!

      Maybe if you tried really hard you could acquire a sense of rhythm. Everyone should have one of those.

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    10. Kissindra

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Tyler Reed

      When I talk about acceptance, I don't mean "ok, all you obese folk there is no need or benefit to change!" I mean instead "ok you are obese, and we aren't going to prescribe you with a whole host of assumptions which may or may not apply" - I'm asking for a holistic view of weight/health issues to be adopted, rather than the rather blunt assumption of what the reality of "choice" for a particular individual is. I'm asking that we deflate the overwhelming belief people have that skinny always equals…

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    11. Lorna Jarrett

      Former PhD candidate, physics teacher

      In reply to Kissindra

      Kissandra - I couldn't agree more. Most non-fat people probably don't think about the complexities of this issue, or examine their own unconscious, reflex attitudes - and in that alone the project is worthwhile in challenging assumptions. The problem is how people react when their assumptions are challenged!

      Tyler, Kyle, and the rest - how would you guys feel if the rest of us weighed in in judgment on some area of your personal life to the extent you've done here? Are you so perfect in every…

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    12. Alexandre Desmarais

      full time student and ex morbidly obese person

      In reply to Lorna Jarrett

      "Less judgment means more acceptance of complexity and ambiguity. More acceptance means more understanding."

      that's nice and all, but it still doesn't explain how 3500 calories isn't a pound of bodyweight for your body.

      "Tyler, Kyle, and the rest - how would you guys feel if the rest of us weighed in in judgment on some area of your personal life to the extent you've done here?"

      We judge criminals for engaging in criminal activities, we judge people for dating people way older or younger…

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    13. Tyler Reed

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Kissindra

      Kissindra, a lot of what I am getting from this is that obese people are upset that the other side of the spectrum in weight isn't healthy either and it isn't focused on. That is probably because people with sedantary lifestyles that are skinny, don't have anywhere near the same health hazards as those who are obese. Not to mention the rise in obesity is such a problem that we have to do as much as we can to stave off said rise, where else the rise in death of sedantary skinny people really doesn't…

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    14. Lorna Jarrett

      Former PhD candidate, physics teacher

      In reply to Tyler Reed

      Here's food for thought...not the original research (reported on the Conversation actually) but a digested read.

      http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/17/magazine/mag-17Sugar-t.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all

      Bear in mind that Australia has a big sugar industry and apparently people used to be encouraged to put 3 teaspoons in their tea - "one for the country".

      Interestingly, these people say the "calories in-calories out" argument is "bullshit".

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    15. Lorna Jarrett

      Former PhD candidate, physics teacher

      In reply to Lorna Jarrett

      From the article:

      "Whether the empty-calories argument is true, it’s certainly convenient. It allows everyone to assign blame for obesity ... to overeating of all foods, or underexercising, because a calorie is a calorie".

      "The phrase Lustig uses ... is “isocaloric but not isometabolic.” This means we can eat 100 calories of glucose (from a potato or bread or other starch) or 100 calories of sugar (half glucose and half fructose), and they will be metabolized differently and have a different effect on the body. The calories are the same, but the metabolic consequences are quite different".

      If even half of what these people are claiming is true, it's serious stuff.

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    16. Frances Lockie

      Policy officer

      In reply to Tyler Reed

      It's a ridiculous question because we can't really have pride in something we didn't work for. Not because you used the word 'fatties'.

      "when I see lack of self control and the destructive behavior associated with lack of excersice and a poor diet I judge a fat person very much the way I would judge an addict."

      Do you judge thin people who engage in those behaviours too? People who sunbake? Women who wear high heels? People who don't wash their contact lenses properly?

      You are able to have your own priorities; health seems to be one of yours. But when you judge the behaviours of a fat person more harshly that those of others, that's bigotry.

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    17. Frances Lockie

      Policy officer

      In reply to Alexandre Desmarais

      Did you just compare respecting fat people with crime and pedophilia?! GEEZ.

      A couple of people have explained why basic physics principles are complicated in living organisms.

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    18. Frances Lockie

      Policy officer

      In reply to Tyler Reed

      Your comment doesn't make sense. You acknowledge all the exercise I do, and yet you tell me I got my body by doing nothing. You acknowledge that an AIDS campaign is best targeted at changing behaviours, yet think that health campaigns should be primarily targeted at fat people. You are contradicting yourself.

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    19. Tyler Reed

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Frances Lockie

      By no means did I contradict myself. Obviously you don't dance enough for you to not be overweight, doing one physical activity doesn't equal adequate exercise.

      My comment on AIDS prevention is based on what really works for AIDS prevention, targeting those that are at greatest risk, when it comes to healthy fat people are at a higher risk than skinny people. So it is logical that you primarily target fat people, if I were trying to prevent AIDS/HIV spread I would travel to Africa or Indonesia and begin to work with them, I wouldn't head to Denver, Colorado where most people aren't engaged in risky enough behavior for many fo them to get HIV.

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    20. Tyler Reed

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Lorna Jarrett

      I'm not saying you make kids afraid, I'm saying that making mothers aware of the risks is more likely to work than trying to convince moms that it's fun. As for how said moms apply the knowledge to their raising of their children is pretty much up to them, all we can rely on is that if enough mothers are legitimately worried about their children's health they'll start trying to instill a healthier lifestyle and we can curb the growth in obesity.

      I personally find the gym fun, it's work, but it's rewarding. There are few things like working out where you can measure week by week how much you improve. Hell, I went from not being able to even run a mile when I first started to now I can run 3 without stop at a 7.50 minute pace the entire time. I still love doing other physical stuff, like I love to bicycle, hike, box, long board, and basically anything else. The gym is just the only thing that is viable to do daily.

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    21. Tyler Reed

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Frances Lockie

      I just women who tan too much just as badly. By no means would anyone I know call me a bigot, I simply disagree with the concept of normalizing obesity. In the U.S. I live in the fittest state, with a 44% obesity rate(when last I checked), that is just sad. Whether or not you want to admit it, obesity is an epidemic and we as a global society really need to address it and start working to change our cultures.

      I don't at all enjoy the concept of treating fat people poorly, but I do dislike that normalizing obesity would make it so that my future children would grow up in a society where being overweight is considered okay, and if it is okay for other people how can I convince them it isn't okay for them? Parents can only do so much to direct their children, society has control of the rest, and so far our society isn't doing a very good job at showing children what lifestyle choices really aren't acceptable.

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    22. Tyler Reed

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Lorna Jarrett

      That was an interesting article, but in the end it really doesn't change anything in the argument as is. In the end anyone who is trying to lose weight should know, just by basic common sense, that cutting sugars out of their diet is necessary to do so.

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  16. Miriam H Friedman Berger

    logged in via Facebook

    I'm so terribly sick and tired of reading "Everyone knows fat people put a strain on the healthcare system and that being fat give you Type 2 Diabetes etc..." No, everyone doesn't know that, because it's not true, there is no scientific data to support these statements - they were originally made by individuals who confuse Correlation with Causation, or who based their studies on statistically flawed representations of a population and have been repeated ad-nausium by people who can't be bothered…

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    1. Alexandre Desmarais

      full time student and ex morbidly obese person

      In reply to Miriam H Friedman Berger

      so if I understand correctly your logic that those studies saying obesity puts a strain on the healthcare system and that it is correlated with Diabetes are utter BS, but that obese people not only survive better surgeries and have a low blood pressure as long as they like our body, then....

      shouldn't we all be obese?

      Do you even understand what you just posted? I am seriously asking you that.

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    2. Frances Lockie

      Policy officer

      In reply to Alexandre Desmarais

      No, we shouldn't all be obese. That's not what any of us are saying. We're saying that OBESITY = BAD is not as simple as that and people should not make assumptions about our health.

      Treat people with respect. Let them take care of their own bodies. I don't see what's so outrageous about that.

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  17. Kerry Beake

    logged in via Twitter

    There are certain people on here that want an argument, have a need to be right, twist any attempt anyone makes to share what they know and even mock individuals experiences, so to those people if you want to learn more about creating inclusive and healthier evironments for all people then ask, otherwise your patronisingly phrased questions that are nothing more than designed to bait and irriate is far from conducive to discussion. Be right, whatever. The information is there, the science is there…

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    1. Alexandre Desmarais

      full time student and ex morbidly obese person

      In reply to Kerry Beake

      "or a 11 year girl worry if she should eat that. "

      True. If her parents did their job right no one else, including her, would have to ask that question. Problem is, a lot of parents don't do well their job and it would actually help those kids to know that taking a second plate of pastas or eating a third portion fo cake is a bad idea. But, eh, what would I know, it's not like I started being obese at the age of 8 because my parents did not know what reasonable quantities of food were....

      "My…

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    2. Kerry Beake

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Alexandre Desmarais

      You seem to have all the answers and make massive assumptions. How do you know the parents havent done their job? What exactly is their job? You know nothing of this child, the parents or anything else and yet you can make such broad based statements. You seem to have the weightloss thing all pegged out because you lost weight. Great you lost weight, if that works for you wonderful and I can assure you that being healthy is important for anyone regardless of weight and regardless of whether you believe…

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    3. Alexandre Desmarais

      full time student and ex morbidly obese person

      In reply to Kerry Beake

      " What exactly is their job? "

      it is to take care of their kids, in all manners. Before you say something like "junk food is cheaper than healthy food"...no, it's not. Those parents did wrong to their child by not teaching them how to eat right.

      -------

      " narrow minded git with zero life experience who lost weight. "

      and you, miss, are trying to make money by lying to people and telling them it's ok to stay morbidly obese as long as they do some exercising on the side, even if science…

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    4. Kerry Beake

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Alexandre Desmarais

      again more assumptions and finger pointing 'should' statements with no information. You have not sought any information on which to base those statements before sprouting out your 23year old advice. If you want your master's degree in whatever the hell you are studying to be funny, then again you choice. Intelligence can be measured in many ways and being smart and acting smart by the way. I also notice you are into mind-reading by knowing what I am apparently going to say along with your assumptions…

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    5. Kissindra

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Kerry Beake

      one thing people tend to come across often is others that have internalised years of fat hate, and then succeded in losing weight, being violently opposed to the information given. When the belief in dominant discourse about what it means to be fat and that shame is justified is a core belief for an individual, and one which did help them lose weight, then anything that threatens that belief is going to be vehemently opposed to the point where there just is nothing you can say to sway that individual…

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    6. Kyle S

      College Student, Formerly Obese

      In reply to Kerry Beake

      The hilarious bit, Kerry, being that since you can't reject his scientific proof of the veritability of his claims, you instead leap to ageist remarks to attempt to discredit him! The irony is delicious.

      We younguns may not put things as eloquently as you elder learned folk, but to dismiss out of hand what we say based on our age and not on any rational grounds is only serving to make yourself look like the fool, not us.

      I, like Alex, await your evidence that fat has been disproven to be roughly…

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    7. Kyle S

      College Student, Formerly Obese

      In reply to Kerry Beake

      Oh, and I think I've made clear, I have no qualms with obesity in and of itself, I have qualms with telling people they must REMAIN obese ('healthily' so, of course), because ALL diets (that aren't fads known to be invalid) will lead to FAILURE! And you provided all that proo-- oh, wait.

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    8. Kyle S

      College Student, Formerly Obese

      In reply to Kissindra

      The only people bringing up any question of worth are you, Kath, Frances, Kerry, etc. What I, Alex, and... some other people, I don't know, the only person of like sympathies I know of here is Alex -- What Alex and I are saying is quite clear, and unless you can point to any counterexamples, quite consistent: Comfort with one's size is important, whatever that size may be. Lies to establish that comfort are problems.

      In my particular case, it's the lies that you're telling the world, and maybe…

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    9. Kissindra

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Kyle S

      Kyle - enough, flat out dead set enough.
      I'm beyond the point of caring whether you believe anything I say, nor whether you understand the absurdity of your claims about my medical/personal history and the certainty with which you assert your baseless insults. I'm tired of words being put in my mouth that are based on what you need to think of me, not anything I've said. Enough.

      I am proud to be supportive of better health care measures, I am proud to say there is a need to have possitive images of fat people, I am proud to be pointing the finger at very real problems and that I am capable of having a broad and full understanding of the various issues at play, the variables, how those interplay and how they inform more effective measures and focuses.

      Don't address further comments to me.

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    10. Alexandre Desmarais

      full time student and ex morbidly obese person

      In reply to Kerry Beake

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vpY7sizfvtw&feature=related starting at 8min24seconds. Just an example of bad parenting and of the horrors parents that don't know squat about nutrition and fitness can inflict on their children. An extreme example? Yes. The exception? No.

      How often do you see fat kids with slim parents?
      How often do you see fat kids with fat parents?

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    11. Frances Lockie

      Policy officer

      In reply to Kyle S

      None of us are saying people MUST remain obese. We're saying if people are obese, for whatever reason, people should treat them with respect.

      It sounds like you're only willing to respect fat people so long as they're doing something about it. Conditional dignity is bullshit.

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    12. Frances Lockie

      Policy officer

      In reply to Kyle S

      Then you are completely msunderstanding us. I'll try to break it down.

      Do whatever you want with your body. I'll do whatever I want with mine. Don't be a dick.

      That's it.

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  18. Kerry Beake

    logged in via Twitter

    Having just reread the following article, I thought it explains wonderfully why the simplistic dismissive idea that parents just need to teach them, is incredibly offensive to me and anyone that works in or with eating disorder perons (and by work at present I don't make money, it's out of interest, love & concern). Seeing as you didn't ask for background information, I shall provide some. The 9 & 11 year old (my niece and nephew) are healthy normal children, they have no apparent health issues and…

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  19. Kyle S

    College Student, Formerly Obese

    I find it funny how fat activists are allowed to criticize diets because of the examples of people taking it to the excess and thus harming themselves -- starvation, overexercising, etc. -- while simultaneously refusing to allow criticism of eating poorly when they ARE the examples of people taking it to the excess -- obesity, poor cardiovascular health, etc.

    Just found the fact that one side believes itself unassailable because they have a moral high ground (e.g. "It's wrong to hurt others' feelings!"), while simultaneously doing exactly what they claim the other side does (Is it offensive to you to be told your lifestyle and diet led to this situation? Well, it's offensive that you're suggesting exercise will lead in all cases to people dying from exhaustion).

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    1. Kissindra

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Kyle S

      you must not be reading my comments, I've repeated more than once that my wish is for a better way to promote good lifestyle habits. We can look critically and what promotes health without saying that it is never ok to show a fat person happy, successful, active ect (because numerous commentators are arguing that any possitive portrayal of a fat person is a dangerous risk)
      People are saying it is offensive to be told that when they share their own personal or professional experiences of the generally accepted theories not working that they are liars/lazy/flawwed/stupid....because that is offensive, to be utterly disbelieved simply because your experience doesn't conform to what other people believe to be true is to get a faceful of fat stigma from someone denying there is any societal issue with fat stigma!.

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    2. Kyle S

      College Student, Formerly Obese

      In reply to Kissindra

      Kissindra, when a person tells me that they followed a proper diet -- that is, not some Atkin's fad diet or something -- and ate below their calorie requirements, yet still somehow failed to lose weight, yeah, that makes them a liar. And I see an awful lot of that going on here.

      Like I said in my long story, I used to be in the same boat. I used to 'go on diets' and sneak meals, or just sort of wave my hand whenever I had to think about how much I had eaten that day. I wouldn't do my exercises…

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  20. Kerry Beake

    logged in via Twitter

    John, Kyle, Alexandre you are all right! Everything you say is true. We are all so stupid and clueless. Our own research, experience and others no matter what their qualifications are, is completely flawed, we get it. You are all right. We get that you aren't interested in learning and just want to be right. So be right. You are so right!

    Great, now what? What do we do now that you're right and it's acknowledged? Perhaps I need to get hold of every piece of research that has been done that has…

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    1. John Bourke

      Student, LLB, BSc

      In reply to Kerry Beake

      Hey Kerry.

      The most bizarre thing in this whole saga of back and forth, two and fro arguing, is that not once have you engaged in any form of constructive debate with those who disagree with you. You go on about research but provide none for us to read. Then when we ask for it, you say "it is not my place to convince you". To me this sounds like you have no research to back up your statements.

      Instead of ranting in the way you have above, construct an argument, make it compelling and give us something other than anecdotal experience. If you cannot spend the time to do this I'm not sure how you have the time to put together the self-indulgent load of garbage you have just given us.

      Read this: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v482/n7383/full/482027a.html

      There are things you will agree with. I can GUARANTEE it having read all the stuff you have posted.

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    2. Alexandre Desmarais

      full time student and ex morbidly obese person

      In reply to Kerry Beake

      "Perhaps I need to get hold of every piece of research that has been done that has discredited your point of view and supports what we say"

      good idea. Start by posting a link to one of those famous studies of yours. You have been speaking about them in nearly all your posts but you have failed to provide any link.

      ...And you call yourself a "scientist"? A scientist knows about falsification. A scientist will provide a means for others to falsify his claims, because a scientist is like that.

      "please tell us what we should all be doing"

      -eat 500 calories less a day that what you need and burn (your BMR plus exercice)
      -do exercise
      -stop bullshitting us and telling us that the laws of thermodynamics don't apply to you and that, for some unknown reason, a pound of fat is not 3500 calories for your body.

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    3. Kissindra

      logged in via Twitter

      In reply to Kerry Beake

      I don't think they will grasp the irony, they've grasped precious little here so far!

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    4. Frances Lockie

      Policy officer

      In reply to John Bourke

      I don't want to speak for Kerry, but keep in mind that the reason some of us rant is because this is a deeply personal issue for us. This is our lives. When people talk about how we're disgusting, or horrific, or deeply unhealthy, or dangerous (all of which has been said in the comments on this article), we take it personally. These comments come in addition to negative comments we've received over the years (or over the hours) from our family, friends, partners, coworkers, strangers on the street... It takes some serious effort to "make [something] compelling" when we feel like screaming. (Which reminds me a nice quote I saw years ago, "If you think fat people have no self-discipline, consider the fact that they haven't killed you yet.")

      I'm not trying to derail the argument, I'm just trying to get you to consider the impact of your words and recognise why some people struggle with putting up an impartial facade.

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    5. Kyle S

      College Student, Formerly Obese

      In reply to Kerry Beake

      Kerry, what disappoints me most is not the fact that you're overweight -- that, in fact, doesn't bother me at all. As I have said already, my issue lies in your bullshit lies. You KNOW you're lying. 3500 calories = one pound of fat. This is scientific truth. You know why your diet 'failed.' It's because you cheated, gave up, or otherwise were taking in more calories than you used.

      It disappoints me that rather than own up to your mistakes, you want to create a culture in which obesity is accepted…

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    6. Kyle S

      College Student, Formerly Obese

      In reply to Frances Lockie

      Frances, as I made clear in another reply to you, the disgusting bit isn't your physical appearance, it's the wanton lies. Being overweight, in and of itself, is nothing wrong. Discouraging ALL diets (I can agree with fad diets being kicked out, but deficit diets? Really?) is the disgusting, horrific, and for others who seek to lose weight, unhealthy and dangerous thing.

      If you want to discourage young, obese girls from puking their guts out to try to be as thin as an anorexic, fine, hell I'd walk beside you on whatever rally you go to on the subject. But don't get in the way of them wanting to lose weight in a healthy way -- and if you're saying that a minor deficit diet is unhealthy, then you're by extension simply saying that all dieting is wrong, because that's really the only healthy way, and by corollary to THAT promoting eternal obesity once a person becomes such.

      In other words, you're sacrificing their health for that of your ego.

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    7. Frances Lockie

      Policy officer

      In reply to Kyle S

      This article is about a positive body image library showing that fat people can lead varied lives. Almost immediately people started talking about our health, the causes of our fatness, and how me floating in the ocean or Kath ridiing a bike or Zoe putting on make-up is dangerous and sends the wrong message to the children. I don't know how to stress how bizarre that is.

      People have a problem withour bodies, Kyle. So do you. Your disgust being conditional on our stance on dieting isn't reasonable. (I mean, me saying "How about we focus on wellbeing instead of weight?" makes me DISGUSTING? Seriously?!)

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  21. Alexandre Desmarais

    full time student and ex morbidly obese person

    what are the chances of them getting fat if you don't tell them to eat that 4th cookie?
    what are the chances of them developing anorexia because you tell them not to eat that 4th cookie?

    The risk is acceptable, and the rewards of educating your children on what good and adequate nutrition is are way above the chances of them developing an eating disorder.

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