Saturday, June 2

Who Watches the Skinny?

I've been reading online the last couple weeks. A lot about weight, obesity, and things like that. And one of the more interesting, if distressing, things is reading peoples' comments about some articles, posts, etc.

It got me to thinking back to pretty much everyone I know, all the times I've eaten in public with others, etc. And what I want to know is this: who watches the skinny?

I've seen people eat enough food for two full days of meals at dinner and not blink, and then eat dessert on top of it. I've dined with people who ate so much starch/sugar in their meal it's amazing they didn't pass out on the floor an hour later from the blood sugar drop. I've sometimes hung out with people who noshed on junk morning, noon and night, partied and drank, and considered ice cream a food group.

And most of these people had a completely unreasonable, and inaccurate, "pride" in themselves for not being fat. Like the majority of people commenting on the internet, they really believed that fat people were doing something they weren't, something unreasonable and probably shocking, which got them into that situation.

It never occurs to people that maybe skinny people eat like hell too. That some of the biggest junk food addicts and sweet tooth fanatics are skinny people.

If merely eating badly made people fat, I suspect the population of morbidly obese people would be 3x what it is now. It's obvious that eating badly makes SOME people fat. But not others. This is a no-brainer, I admit.

So where does the open prejudice against the obese come from? Is it society's last -ISM? People aren't allowed to openly despise others for being a given race or a given religion anymore, but it's perfectly ok -- in fact, all experts and the media at large agrees -- that despising and mocking people who are fat is perfectly ok. And the entire basis of this is: they ate themselves into it.

Yes... that's true, although not necessarily because they ate donuts constantly; there are other ways to "eat yourself fat," including eating a lot of carbs when you're insulin resistant, eating foods you have body intolerances for, not eating often enough, and other non-food issues that contribute. Usually it's a combination of things.

(I think one reason lowcarb works so well for so many, is because by default, nearly by accident, it tends to wipe out food people commonly are sensitive to, such as gluten-foods and milk.)

But from my observation, half the skinny people I know have eaten themselves into what would be 300 lbs if their bodies worked like some other peoples' bodies.

Yes, I know quite a few people who are thin and who eat well and exercise and certainly "deserve" to be thin. But I also know a lot of people, by far the majority, who eat just as badly as any fat person I've known.

They eat junk, and lots of it, when upset. They eat junk, and lots of it, for every imaginable holiday, party, or special event. They eat deep fried burritos off the lunch truck and donuts at the office for breakfast and too much for dinner. But you know what?

Nobody stares at them. Nobody looks at their plate in restaurants, as if to assure themselves that if it contains anything but dry carrot sticks, "No wonder that person is so fat." Nobody watches them shop like it's the court's incriminating eyewitness evidence for their figure.

Because they aren't fat. So nobody cares how they eat.

I think a lot of people who get fat, do get that way through sheer junk eating, but ironically, a lot of them do it after eating that way for many years with no result. And then one day, after a lifetime of carb overdose, their body starts getting insulin resistant. And the pounds start packing on. And the more fat cells, the bigger the metabolic problem, so it starts to become exponential. And then, yes, they too are fat. But for a good portion of their life, they ate that way and weren't.

It would make more sense if so many thin people, many of whom I've known and who certainly eat worse than I ever did if gluttony is any measure, didn't feel such arrogant pride about how they are NOT fat and other people ARE and so they have an "opinion" about those other people. Don't look, Ethyl! Can you imagine what that woman had to do to weigh THAT MUCH?!

And in public places, I see people watching me. It's not just paranoia; I used to be thin, I gained weight very rapidly while immersed in work and school, and when I surfaced, the difference in peoples' reaction to me was mindblowing. I know it's not just my projection, people really do "react" -- literally taken aback by my size, quickly followed by the culturally-indoctrinated response of sheer disgust, aversion, or embarrassment. Much like I told my child, "Don't stare at the man with the missing arm, it's rude!", that rule seems to hold for many people on looking at overly fat people. It's a horrible disfigurement; it qualifies for the "look away" response. But most people don't look away -- they just look.

They watch my shopping basket. They watch my restaurant dinner plate. They watch me with that look on their faces, often, as if they can't imagine what truly bizarre sinful behavior I had to indulge in; surely, it's nothing they've ever done, or that nobody they know has ever done.

If they were watching the skinny, they'd know better.


Marshmallow said...

Bravo! What an AWESOME post, PJ! I couldn't have said it any better - it deserves linkage!

Anonymous said...

Most of the people I see in the store have the same kind of junk in their carts whether they're fat or skinny.

I never used to notice what other people had until I started trying to eat better. I seem to have more fresh veggies in mine than anyone else does, that's for sure.

Sometimes the skinny little teenagers at the checkout act like they've never seen a vegetable before. Once I had to tell a girl what half the stuff was so she could look up the codes.

Sweet Tart said...

Great Post PJ! My ex is one of the genetically gifted skinny people who eats terribly. You are absolutely right that some skinny folks have this smug attitude that somehow they've figured out a secret that the rest of us don't understand. He would tell me to just eat less while drinking 5 Cokes, a huge meal and dessert. I did eat less than him, but my less still made me fat while he stayed slim.

Being slim does not necessarily mean that you're healthy. And being fat does not necessarily mean that you're unhealthy or unfit. But that's a rant for another day:-).

Niki said...

Wow, what a great post PJ!!!
My fiance is so damn skinny *knocks on his bones*
He use to be about 50 pounds over weight. Since he lost the weight (about 3 years ago) he is under weight and has a hard time putting weight on O_O I should be so lucky!!!

I always LOVE reading your blog :)
Have a great week sweetie!!!

Calianna said...

I think I did junk my way to morbid obesity... But at the same time, I also know it was the addictive nature of all those carbs that fueled the constant gluttony for carby junk.

I've seen people of all sizes with carts full of absolute junk. Mostly, you're right, it just hasn't caught up with the younger ones yet. But the older ones are blindly following the low-fat (full of sugars and starches) lie, while getting fatter and sicker all the time.

Ironically, you'd think that the older people, knowing how their own parents ate (real butter, lard, meat with the fat still on it, vegetables, fruit in season) and that their parents lived to ripe old ages without ever reaching morbid obesity, would see that what they're doing just isn't working.

Tracy said...

Augh, I feel you. My BF is the worst eater I've ever seen - constant pop, candy, chocolate bars, chips, donuts etc - and he's not only slim, but muscular. He looks like the epitome of health. And naturally, he tends towards the "eat less and get off your ass" weight loss mythology, though seeing what I've been through diet-wise has helped soften his tone some.

Of course, he has health issues (IBS symptoms, which I believe are food intolerance related) and his Dad is T2. He doesn't care, as long as he stays skinny. Sad, sad, sad. He has some real emotional issues with food.

But you're so right - no-one really watches what you eat unless you're fat. I take that back...actually, when you've lost weight many people who haven't (and want to) will scrutinize your plate full of meat and fat and say, with a sneer "Must be nice to be able to eat whatever you want" and so on, as if you were born thin, never had to worry about what you eat, didn't work like a dog to get the weight off, and don't have major food intolerances.

Dreamboat said...

I think I did junk my way to morbid obesity... But at the same time, I also know it was the addictive nature of all those carbs that fueled the constant gluttony for carby junk.

Amen, Calliana. Now that I've found a way to control my impulsive behavior (masquerading as addiction), I've suddenly stopped eating ice cream and cookies for dinner.

It makes me crazy when my parents who have struggled with their weight for decades (one to stay thin, the other to get there) give me advice on eating. Why is your constant struggle a model?

sussex said...

Awesome post, as usual. Those thin people who overeat junk look at the obese and think we must be eating 2 or 3 times the junk that THEY eat, or how else did we get so fat?