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more on fat: Blaming the victim

The other day I watched Discovery Health's program "You are what you eat". I had seen a podcast of one of these that comparied high-carb and high-protein diets during an endurance event. High-carb won, just as our coaches have said all these years. Hands down. The way the test was structured was innovative and fun to watch.

This time it focused on a young woman who was severely overweight. She had gynecological problems related to her weight - loss of period and some other things. The diet guru showed up, inspected the mom, and included her in the regime as well.

This diet person noted that mom and daughter ate poorly and too much and were too sedentary. She got them out of their chairs and into a gym and she moved them into a healthier diet, sometimes kicking and screaming. It wasn't long before the two were losing weight and feeling better. Then the show ended.

I was irritated first because of the military approach the guru took. She attacked both of them. "You must be ever vigilant! No backsliding!"

I wonder if she ever had the temptations these two faced. I wonder if she ever had a weight problem herself.

Second, I was irritated because they ended the program with the two having lost some weight. A big SO WHAT?? There is no mystery about losing weight. Many kinds of diet and exercise will do that. Sticking with the program and then maintaining that weight is about a thousand times more difficult. The vast majority of persons who lose weight regain it - and more. There is something to be said for not losing it in the first place, or for aiming for less of a loss.

I finished Rethinking Thin. It is a smallish book that is quick and easy to read. There is no absolute conclusion in it but it does take down common myths about fat, including the one about just having to lower calories and increase activity. After a while this combo stops doing the job. And the "starvation mode" people attain while dieting makes it much more difficult to stay on course. It's almost a superhuman feat. Look at how Oprah struggles, and she has all the help anyone could ask for. I will, of course, write a more in-depth review of the book on bookcrossing, then in my book review journal.



Judith Lautner
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January 2012


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