Why All the Fat Shaming?

The obesity rates are high in America. Just take a look at some of the facts from the CDC. 36.5% of adults in this country have obesity. It’s probably on the rise too. It’s sad, but should not be surprising. Fast food, ineffective diets, and psychological issues contribute to this statistic.

Usually you hear that all you need to do to lose weight is diet and exercise. That’s generally true, though there can be other factors that make losing weight harder. Genetics, body chemistry, or other physiological issues can make it nearly impossible to lose weight even if you are doing everything right. Metabolism also plays an important role as efficient metabolisms are really good at storing fat even when eating right.

We do have tools to help get the job done. The BMI standard, which is really just a guide, can help you determine what weight you should be at to stay healthy based on your age and height. It doesn’t take into account fat vs. muscle mass., so you could still be fat but at the right weight, technically speaking. That’s the situation in. I’m at a good BMI, but I still have too much body fat. I never really cared about it enough to do anything about it until a few years ago, when I started playing Wii Fit. I began losing weight gradually, from around 155 pounds to what I’m at now at about 143.5 pounds.

I’ve talked about my body weight with my friend Mark Mushakian often in the past. His feeling is that any excess body fat is bad. I don’t feel like my body is unhealthy, but I do realize that I could use some more muscle. My advice, if you are overweight to the extent that it’s becoming a real problem, you should get help. I know it’s not easy, be it fear, pride, or some other reason, we can feel like getting help isn’t an option.

What you need to do if figure out why you are overweight. Is it bad eating habits? Are you using food to feel better cuz you are bored, have anxiety, or worried/scared of something? It may surprise you, but you could be over eating because of a psychological issue. It doesn’t make you crazy, actually it’s perfectly normal. Occasional I catch myself eating something because I don’t want to feel anxious. If you have tried exercise and a healthy diet and are still overweight, one reason might be because you are avoiding an uncomfortable feeling.

If that’s not your issue, there may be something physiological wrong. Like maybe your metabolism is sabotaging you, like I mentioned earlier. Some people have a biological reason they have trouble losing weight. Obviously you should talk to your doctor to rule out any physical or biological issue that might be the problem. Then you can think about the potential of a behavioral issue.

Bill Maher’s show Reel Time on HBO brought up this issue, bringing up a political side. He argues that both The Right and The Left in politics are both enablers, allowing the obesity epidemic to continue. The Left wants to protect people’s feelings while The Right doesn’t want to feel like someone is telling them what to eat, was his point, essentially.

I’m personally torn in this issue. Body weight and type are personal and most of us don’t like to talk about it. It’s certainly not nice to use a person’s body as an insult or use negative motivation to try to get someone to change their behavior. It often is received as bullying, which just makes things worse. Yet in comedy, weight can be used as the subject of jokes. Take Christ Christie for example. Late night comedians have used his body type as a subject of their jokes quite a bit. Take the most recent example of the Governor and the beach scandal. One person’s personal experience dealing with a fat joke.

Some people think that by insulting and humiliating people will get them to change their behavior. It never works as far as I know. People won’t change because you point out a problem they have and then tell them how horrible they are. It may make them want to eat more in order to feel better or avoid facing what real issues they may have. Ridiculing and insulting people in general is down right mean.

It’s better to try to be understanding. Walk a mile in their shoes, as the old saying goes. At the same time, we can’t make being overweight something that is okay, because it is a significant health issue. Being overweight increases the chance of getting certain diseases later in life. It causes stress on some internal organs and makes the body work harder. That can lead to other problems down the line. While it feels better to enable people with weight problems, it’s not good for them in the long run.

At the end of the day, we should all want to be healthy. No excuses. Work on yourself, be a good example. Bullying, shaming, and other negative social behavior is not going to solve anything. At the same time, leaving things the way they are isn’t the answer. Better education, healthcare, and positive motivation is the better way. Being fat for some can feel like a prison sentence. It comes without a lot of dangers but also social stigma. Let’s not demonize people who are overweight, but encourage them to get fit through positive social behavior. What do ya say?

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Minecraft Addiction

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Old photo of my bridge on SDBmania Land

Last week I played Minecraft ALOT. Possibly almost too much, but to be fair I hadn’t really played the game much for the last couple of years. Minecraft is the kind of game that you can play for hours at a time until you run out of ideas to build things. For me, I play a lot when I have a cool idea for a project in the game. The last thing I did was build a residential area in my town and wall it up. Now my villagers are pretty safe.

SDBmania Land is quite a sight, if you ever get to see it (which you can if you want to watch hours of YouTube videos). I’ve built up a nice size town, added a nether tunnel, killed stuff, and ventured in the nether world (hence the tunnel). Not to mention I have a kick ass mine cart track and partial subway. 🙂

My “binge” was the result of anxiety over driving with Lyft. It’s a slow process, but I’m getting more comfortable with it. I plan to drive at least part-time to start, but if I get really serious with it I’m likely to buy a used Prius to save on gas. Right now the Escape I drive gets about 19 mpg, which isn’t bad, but not great either.

Minecraft wonderfully distracted me from my anxiety last week when I went back to driving with Lyft. I’ve been using a slow and steady plan to get me used to driving more. Last week I took a day off in between drives with the exception of last weekend. So far, I’ve driven two days in a row this week, working towards making that 5 days in a row.

Thankfully, I’m not in a situation where I have panic attacks, so this level of anxiety isn’t too bad. It lessens a bit with each drive and now I don’t feel as tired afterwards. I’m also fighting against my old lifestyle. Being out of work for so many years, even with school and volunteering in between,  I got used to not having anything I had to do all day. So, getting back to work is part of the process, though it’s not as difficult as the anxiety.

Most of the anxiety contains a few things, like insecurity, uncertainty, and worrying if I can do the job. I still usually don’t know who I am going to pickup or where I will go until it’s all set in stone, but the insecurity and worrying part is slowing being replaced with the confidence that I can do it. I’m not a great driver, but I’m safe and so far no one has complained. If this is the norm, with the occasional bad experience, I think this could become my job. I’m optimistic. I’ve been doing just one ride a day. Last week was 3 days a week, this week 5 days, and next week I intend to drive more than one person. Ideally I want to drive in the mornings so I get it out of the way.

Sometimes I feel like this is taking too long, but knowing my history, I think I’m doing it the right way. It’s not going to be another month until I am driving more often. This way, I’m able to give myself a chance to adjust and face my anxieties without pushing myself too hard. I think it’s a good balance. And really, it’s not going to be much longer until I am driving 4 or more hours a day. That’s something to smile about.