Why 'Fat And Fit' Is A Dangerous Myth

The idea that people can be healthy at any weight has gained credence in recent years, despite widespread evidence that obesity creates health risks. While the idea is attractive, it's also dangerous because it can lull people who need to lose weight now into a false sense of security.

Exercise picture from Shutterstock

In a new book The Obesity Paradox: When Thinner Means Sicker and Heavier Means Healthier, for example, US cardiologist Carl Lavie argues that people with certain chronic diseases who are overweight, or even moderately obese, often live longer and fare better than normal weight people with the same ailments.

This may indeed be the case for a small proportion of people, but messages such as this are cause for concern because they can lead to complacency and delays in action against overweight by governments, health professionals and individuals alike.

Being fat and fit?

Lavie's idea is not new. An increasing number of reports show it's possible to have a body mass index (BMI) in the overweight (25 or more kilograms per height in metres squared) or obese (30 or more kilograms per height in metres squared) range and still be metabolically healthy. The latter is defined as the absence of certain risk factors for metabolic diseases typically associated with being overweight or obese, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

While the proportion of obese people who are metabolically healthy varies depending on how obesity and health are defined, it's a much smaller proportion than those who are not metabolically healthy. And it's not possible to predict who will remain metabolically healthy despite excess weight gain.

What's worse, recent research suggests it's only a matter of time before obese people who are metabolically healthy start facing health issues. And whether or not a person with excess weight develops illness, sooner or later the mechanical effects of excess weight and the resultant gait abnormalities, combined with systemic inflammation, are likely to take their toll.

Overweight adults are more than twice as likely to develop knee osteoarthritis, and the risk increases with weight. Carrying excess weight also contributes to escalating difficulties in performing everyday activities, such as walking, getting out of a chair and climbing stairs.

Any delay in action is even more worrying because of emerging research in animals such as mice, rats and monkeys that suggests there may be a limited window of opportunity to do something about excess weight.

After a while on an excessive diet (several months in rodents; unknown in people), carrying excess weight may become "hard wired" into the parts of the brain that regulate appetite. It may then become almost impossible to lose weight.

Effects of processed food

Exposure to a processed, energy-dense diet that's high in fat, or high in fat and sugar (the default diet of modern societies), initially leads to physiological changes in animals and humans that tend to counteract weight gain.

These include a loss of appetite, but whether you actually lose weight in this phase depends on whether you pay attention to how you feel or eat when you're not hungry. Problems arise when signals for reducing food intake are ignored and people continue eating more than they need.

Chronic exposure to excess food in rodents leads to the breakdown of these compensatory responses. Changes in the brain similar to those seen in drug addiction also occur. Both changes are thought to contribute to a compulsive drive to overeat.

So, instead of the body fighting ongoing fat build-up, as is the case during the initial stages of kilojoule excess and weight gain, long-term excess and fat accretion lead to physiological changes that enable the body to put on weight more easily.

While we know this happens, we don't know why or how eating too much over time breaks down the body's natural defences against weight gain. And we don't know whether the effects of long-term overconsumption to promote a seemingly permanent state of obesity in rodents also occur in humans.

More importantly -- and more worryingly -- we don't yet know whether the detrimental effects of long-term excess can be reversed by switching to a healthier, lower-kilojoule diet.

Advantages of acting early

While there are gaps in the evidence for this idea, in light of emerging evidence from animals showing similarities with human brain pathways controlling body weight, it's probably safer to act now rather than wait.

That's why the increasingly widespread promotion of the idea of being healthy at any weight, which is potentially a recipe for complacency, is bad.

Governments should take urgent action to ensure that healthy diets are readily accessible to everyone, and that highly processed high-fat, high-sugar diets are difficult to access. We also need more research to find better ways to help people to lose excess weight.

Anyone carrying excess weight should do whatever it takes to rid themselves of it gradually. They should start as soon as possible -- while their body is still likely to be amenable to weight loss.

If you put off losing those excess kilos until later, it may be impossible to do it without bariatric surgery or other extreme measures that leave you feeling permanently hungry.

As a society we need to work together to nip excess weight in the bud -- the earlier the better, while it is still possible.The Conversation

Amanda Salis is NHMRC Senior Research Fellow in the Boden Insitute of Obesity, Nutrition, Exercise & Eating Disorders at University of Sydney. She receives funding from the National Health & Medical Research Council (NHMRC) of Australia, in the form of research project grants and a Senior Research Fellowship. She is the author of The Don't Go Hungry Diet (Bantam, Australia and New Zealand, 2007) and Don't Go Hungry for Life (Bantam, Australia and New Zealand, 2011) and owns shares in a company (Zuman International Pty Ltd) that sells these books.

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.


    Ugly, fat celebrities sold the idea of "I'm not fat, I'm thick!" or "I'm curvy!". Fat pride is a real thing. Being a lazy, overweight, burden on the health system is now a source of pride. And if anyone dares to question it we'd be accused of bigotry against the lard arses of society.

      well that probably has to do with the way you are choosing to say it, while it is most certainly is a burden on the health systems, your language is derogatory and rude, and unnecessary.

      You could have just said "the health risks are a burden on the health system" people are not accusing you of being bigoted you are in fact bigoted. Obesity is absolutely a problem but bullying isn't the answer.

        best answer so far!

        Last edited 16/04/14 11:22 am

        You are entirely right but I'm still on Jelly's side. I don't care if your gay transgender black Asian or a mix of all the above, I do care if you are fat. Not just a few kilo's overweight but Obese kind of fat. (like the person pictured though she is on the lower side of my disgust)

        Why? because its entirely your choice once your an adult. When I go to the supermarket or kmart and see 70% of the people there are at least 50KG+ overweight, my first thought itsn't a nice one, its the you repulse and sicken me as a person.

        Now i'm not going to walk up to people and tell them this but when I hear things like "Fat pride" It angers me. They are effectively saying" I like that I have no self control and cost taxpayers millions more than is needed because they now need cranes in ambulances (and new larger ambulances/hospital beds), that poor hospital staff injure themselves trying to turn your comatose diabetic ass over in bed so you don't get bed sores. That you enjoy being so fat you can't wash yourself properly and get infections and fungus growing in your fat rolls.

        That is what sickens me and it should sicken you too, that kind of behavior isn't acceptable and it should be looked down apon, it should be shameful because fuck those that think their entitled to eat themselves into oblivion and make everyone else pick up and pay to take care of them when they can't even get out of bed anymore.

        Its harsh, its mean but i'll be damned if its not the truth.
        Though the real victims here are the children of such people brought up in households that have fatty food 3 times a day. Those poor fucking children should be taken away from them because its child abuse and , so if your not going to be angry for yourself at least get mad for these children.

          Most of my life i was trying to put on weight (less than 5% body fat), had a fast metabolism and could eat whatever I wanted without putting on weight. As i got older, metabolism slowed, with back & leg problems, and having a lifetime of enjoying my food, I put on weight.

          I enjoy cooking and love cooking with fat (fat means flavour!) eating well rather than eating mass produced tasteless crap. Consequently I am bigger than I have been ever in my life, but coupled with maturity, I am the happiest I have been in my life. Fat pride? No I am comfortable with myself, whatever state my body is in - still could improve it, but that shouldn't make me miserable.

          Why all the hate for a particular group? You realise this is a real bigoted attitude towards a group of people you obviously just lump together to suit your opinion - and that aint a solution in itself

          Its harsh, its mean but i'll be damned if its not the truth.
          Though the real victims here are the children of such people brought up in households that have fatty food 3 times a day. Those poor fucking children should be taken away from them because its child abuse and , so if your not going to be angry for yourself at least get mad for these children.

          You'll be damned because it aint the truth - do you understand what abuse is? Do you think poor choices in feeding a kid 3 times a day counts as abuse? Get angry enough to take kids away from their parents? You think this will make a better solution? Another bullshit 'what about the children' statement to pretend bigotry is based on caring...

          A recent study (which included the results of many others) concluded Fat is not the enemy, rather sugar and processed foods - Fat is better for you than not having it at all - and everything in moderation - studies to prove vegetarianism aint so healthy http://www.plosone.org/article/fetchObject.action?uri=info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0088278&representation=PDF
          so there aint one diet, way of life etc that is 'right'

          Obviously spouting off in online comments is a lot easier than being a solution to a problem in the real world, and rather than feeding the trolls (whose opinions I really don't care about and do not seem to have the capacity for balanced appraisals of situations) I just have to appeal to more reasonable readers, Don't be a dick to anyone unless they truly deserve it (you may not know all there is to know about a persons situation)

            "Do you think poor choices in feeding a kid 3 times a day counts as abuse?"

            Oh, absolutely. Without doubt it is abuse.

            Not a single thing you said is relevant to my comment not a single shred.

            Having self confidence DOES NOT EQUAL taking pride in being fat. Hence my chosen word of fat pride, handling being fat or" not suicidal, because I'm fat" no I said "fat pride".
            You can tell me a sob story of someone with a slow metabolism, that doesn't justify being 200KG. The last study i read at school said was that most metabolisms vary by about 5%. That is almost negligible. You can tell me you have a gland condition and thats why your fat. but its not. Its why you got slightly fat, but then you gave up and let yourself go and put on 2x that weight.

            I know this because I have experienced and seen. This was one of my year 12 courses, health studies, we looked at this stuff. I had a neighbor who was at least 150kg, she had a medical condition that made that was partly to blame, but her weight was actually making her sicker and it wasn't the health problem that made her gain that problem weight. I know this because my mother is a nurse at the public hospital, she does both research for new medical trials and also works in intensive care. I hear how she has hurt her back because there was a 250kg walrus in the ICU (intensive care unit) in a diabetic coma. IT takes 8 people to changes her sheets and 4 people just to wash her, 3 of them to hold up the 30-40kg fat rolls.

            This isn't 1990 where the obese people probably had a reason, this is 2014 where closer to 50%+ of the population is sickeningly overweight. I would also guarantee at least 80% of them only have themselves to blame.

            and When I talk about kids, im not some dick head government lackey preaching about 18+ content corrupting our "youf". I'm talking about when i go to the movies and see a father and his two children. The father is at least 200KG, his 11 year old daughter is a good 30cm shorter than me and is easily far heavier than me, a fully grown 176cm (5f 11 i think) tall adult muscular male she was probably 100KG easy. The son even younger probably 8, barely 120cm tall and easily the same weight as me.

            These children were so fat that they didn't have god damn necks and thye were rounder than they were tall. THAT IS FUCKING CHILD ABUSE and it SICKENS me. Granted these are probably the worst cases but every day I see more and more people like this. The children in such homes can't do anything about it, its entire on the adults.

            So what exactly are you going to say to that? That It's none of my business, that it doesn't give me the right to look down upon them with disgust? Because if everyone keeps on acting like its no big deal nothing will change and people will think its okay when its not. We already have doctors pleading with people to lose weight, everyone knows its unhealthy to be fat. You are at greater risk for an insane number of medical conditions from type 2 diabetes to heart disease and taxpayers foot the bill for every single one of these 100% AVOIDABLE problems.

            Society dictates what is acceptable and being so hideously overweight shouldn't be.

            *edit* I can also add that I personally have a medical condition that has kept me house bound for around 3 of the last 5 years. I couldn't exercise all I could do was eat out of boredom. You know what happened I stopped myself. I realised I had put on some excess weight so I stopped. I didn't buy as much unhealthy food and within a few months i had lost that excess weight. Apparently though if i was some regular joe (according to you) I would have taken leave to put on 50-100KG and would've been "happy" with that.

            Last edited 16/04/14 4:56 pm

            Why all the hate for a particular group?
            Because you being fat (In Australia) costs me something. I have exactly the same issue with smokers, excessive drinkers, people that don't wear seatbelts, drive fast. I pay taxes in a country with pensions and free health care, so these all indirectly affect me financially, and if I'm unfortunate enough they directly affect me physically or emotionally.

        No doubt you've been upvoted 12 times by fatties who blame everyone else except themselves for when they are 30 or 40 kilos overweight.

        Criticizing the stupid health choices of others which costs all of us is not bigotry. Is criticising smoking or alcoholism bigotry? No. Who's really the bad guy in this equation: the person who tells people to be not to bullshit themselves with childish names for their situation (fat pride. I'm thick, not fat!) and take control of their health so they can live longer and happier lives or the person who just goes along with all of this, essentially contributing to the cost and misery which obesity causes?

        I'm not going to bully anyone, but I sure as hell not going to enable people fly the "let's all be fat and proud of it" flag which is a result of the myth this article is addressing.

      There are a number of 'celebrities' promoting self esteem at every weight - and enjoying who and what they are. Why should a person have low self esteem just because they can't loose weight? Most of the celebrities that I can think of who are larger are not ugly. The two do not go hand in hand. Its not always the choice between being lazy and overweight. This is incorrect - some people have hormonal or medical issues that prevent them from being slim.

      You are not accused of being bigoted, you ARE being bigoted. If you wore your worst personal issue on the outside for everyone to freely judge - how would that make you feel on a daily basis? What if you couldn't do anything, despite a daily exercise regime, and careful eating? What if you were treated in same tone of your response, on a daily basis?

      Fat pride is a real thing, and it exists solely because there is high instance of esteem issues surrounding weight. Despite trying to do something about it, shows like 'The Biggest Loser' have propagated the myth that you just put a few weeks or months effort and you will come out slim the other side.

      @randomawesome - great response.

        LOL what myth? If you put in a sustained effort and keep doing working hard eventually it works. It's a lifestyle change. Aside from legitimate medical conditions (ie; often not those who complain the loudest against "bigots"), losing weight is as simple as expending more calories than you intake. And not eating crap of course.

        The Biggest Loser producers should really push that they keep helping people afterwards, since that's brilliant and the only way people will really keep it off.

        "can't loose weight?"


        Anyway, nothing wrong with people not having a problem with their weight. Taking pride in it, however, is disgusting and it needs to stop happening. There should be no pride in gluttony and refusal to exercise.

        Of course people shouldn't be bullied and we should treat any fat person the same as we treat any slim person but this fat pride stuff is taking it to ridiculous lengths.

        Studies show that people that lose weight on reality shows tend to put it straight back on afterwards.
        Put people in an environment where there is nothing to do except lose weight (in the real world we have jobs, commitments, social lives etc to waste our time) and all it will be is a short term solution. Diets tend to stress the body, sending into emergency mode, where it stores more fat. Solutions should be gradual and long term, not to suit a TV season.

        Pride should be something based on a persons self appraisal of their situation and life choices, and a personal judgement that they do deserve some respect as a human being. Who is the person that decides who deserves to feel good about themselves or not? I have a hypotheses that being happy with yourself is good for your mental & physical self - so abusing people about what you perceive as peoples problems may be a health problem in itself

      A lot of this is also resistance to the increase health measures being taken against obesity.

      Ever walked past a smoker and gotten a distinctive "what are you looking at?" vibe from them? It's because they've been pushed into a corner legally and socially. Which means if they're continuing to smoke, they have to have an attitude about it to ignore all the cultural pressure.

      It's the same with being overweight now. For a lot of people it's easier to have 'fat pride' than to do all of the hard work that getting to a better shape entails.

      Depression is also a big burden on out health industry caused largely by people just like you. Hypocrisy?

      here here!


    being fat is a product of being lazy. get out and go for a run

      Hypothalamus? Also running is terrible for you.

      Last edited 16/04/14 12:23 pm

        Using US statistics, less than 5% of the population will experience some sort of metabolic thyroid problem, and over 30% are medically obese. So... no.

          how many thin people are just as lazy, have terrible diets and don't exercise, I know tons of people like that. Are they figured into the equation? Everyone's metabolism falls into the scale somewhere and if these overweight people were blessed with the skinny gene wouldn't that mean that they could also eat what they want and not exercise and be slim like the millions of others who get away with it?

          Or am I missing something?

            That is such a fucking cop out its ridiculous.

            Dees the stupid person get a free pass because he was born stupid or does he still get pushed to study at school so he can achieve something in life?

            EVERYONE is different, everyone has short comings that they must make up for. So really its just a big fat " oh BOO hoo you have a self proclaimed slow metabolism and can't eat fatty foods." IT's not fair i want to be like skinny person Y who never gets fat and yet i see him eating fast food all the time so im gonna eat fat food anyway wahhhhhhhhhhhh.

            Guess what out side of the extra fucking rare circumstances peoples metabolisms do not vary in such extreme's. I had a friend like that and guess what, for every time i saw him eat maccas (which was all he ate at home) he hadn't eaten for the last 12 hours so his daily intake was still less than mine.

            Its the most simple thing in the world take in more energy than you use = put on weight, less = lose weight. There isn't a single thing in the world that can stop this basic principle outside of a few VERY RARE medical conditions. Any perosn who claims to have tried "every diet" and exercised and lost nothing or put it back on is a liar or an idiot, there is no 3rd option.

            Diets should exist they don't make you healthy or help you stay slim. To do that you need to change your LIFE. If you 200kg and eat like a sumo and then diet down to 120KG and stop said diet what happens is you eat like a sumo again and put all that weight on. You need to NEVER EAT LIKE A SUMO AGAIN FOREVER. That is how it works.

            The amount of misinformation and sheer delusions/excuses i see from fat people is staggering.

      Correct. But fat people will argue they are sick or their body aches too much. What they don't admit is it is because they are fat that they are sick. "Oh I have sore knees I can't run", they will say. Well that's because your knees aren't designed to carry 10 tonnes of fat you lazy fool.

    A good friend of mine is seriously over weight. Unfortunately it's due to a chronic medical condition. A few years ago she took up Salsa dancing and she lost maybe 5 kilos in that time. But her cardiologist is extremely happy with her because she's fitter than people half her age. Her's story is when over weight can still be healthy.

    I on the other hand am an office slob who barely works out and enjoys pizza on the weekend. I'm fat and unhealthy and there is no excuse besides being lazy.

      Hmmm... did you hear the cardiologist say this? Was it qualified with anything? A lot of overweight people seem to hear a single positive thing about their health and harp on about it forever, whilst ignoring all the negatives.

        Totally understand the scepticism - I was too. But her cholesterol levels are low, while her resting heart rate and blood pressure are at the level of a serious athlete. I saw the results. And while she'll be the first to admit it's not perfect - she knows given her condition it's about the best she can do.

      There is no way "being over weight can still be healthy". She may not be as unhealthy as you but she is still unhealthy. Large amounts of body fat and health don't go together.

        This is false, you can still be "healthy" and fat. They are not mutually exclusive especially if it is SOLELY from a medical condition.

        While said person will still be at a higher risk for several other medical problems their basic health can still be good and as such make them "healthy". In the case of the above posters friend she would be one such person if everything he says is 100% accurate. But it also depends on how fat said person is. 20-30KG overweight is manageable in such an example being 50Kg+, is not.

        But as I've said before most people with these conditions think its an excuse and put on many more times the weight than their condition would have on its own and then blame it all on the condition.

        Last edited 21/04/14 9:46 am

    @pud, when you are a woman with size G jugs, you CAN'T run without (1) pain, (2) ending up with size H or larger jugs when they stretch even if you've tried to contain them with a sports bra (which don't work in high impact scenarios for chests that large).

    I walk 10K a day, including (on average) 350-400 stairs a day. I don't eat sugars or sugar substitutes, except palm sugar in a papaya salad once a month or so. But yeah, I'm one of those whose genetics incline me to being overweight no matter how little I eat. (When I've had to save money due to financial circumstances, I economized down to my food being 3-7 cans of plain, unsauced beans per week. I reliably lost about 2kg per month that way, but wasn't about to keep doing this for 14 months to get down to what society feels is a healthy weight, because that certainly WASN'T a healthy diet. (And no, months of less caloric restriction than that didn't change my weight at all. I had to go extreme to get any sort of results. And yes, as soon as I resumed a normal 1200-1500 calorie a day diet, every pound of the weight came back within a couple months.) My grandmother who outweighed me by 30kg lived until her late 80's. My mum, who for multiple decades ate only bags of small horse apples and boiled cabbage broth with vegies because it was the only way she could keep a size 12 figure, didn't make it to retirement age. Sorry if you find fat chicks unsightly, but given my family history, I'm betting on not stressing over my genetics, staying active, not eating crap but also not doing the insane horse apple and veg broth thing, and spending 25 more years on the planet enjoying life than my thin mum got to do.

      I'm not saying you're a liar, but low caloric intake + non-sedentary lifestyle = weight loss. Unless you are breaking new ground in the field of physics and have found a way to subvert the laws of thermodynamics, I suspect that you aren't being honest about how much/what you eat and how much exercise you actually do. Perhaps it's yourself you're not being honest with.

        Where did you get your medical degree from? Do you know this persons complete medical history? Hormone profile?

        Perhaps you shouldn't apply your rudimentary understanding of the human body for fat-shaming people.

          How much does a hormone weigh, msmakeupgrrl? Which genes are responsible for converting nothing into body fat? This could revolutionise the fight against world hunger.

          I'm not making a judgement. I'm simply saying there is far more evidence for people lying to themselves about their calorie intake and level of exercise than there is for people who, in defiance of basic principles of the conservation of energy, maintain a high weight due to excess body fat while allegedly starving themselves.

          Even actual medical conditions such as hypothyroidism only account for an extremely small amount of weight retention, partially due to fluid retention.

          If calling me a "fat shamer" is some comfort to you, then so be it. As someone who is fat and spent a number of years making excuses for it, I am endeavouring to lose weight by eating less and moving more (a time-tested method, since the dawn of animal life on this planet). I have had some success, but I guess that must be my genetics, or I have a high metabolism.

          The best thing a person can do is start tracking how many calories actually go in, and be honest about it. The motivation for that level of honesty comes from a willingness to change. I'm not saying you can't be happy as an overweight person. But I am saying you aren't as healthy. Carrying the extra load alone will have an impact on your joints and contribute to early onset arthritis.

          If a person is being honest and willing to change and still cannot lose weight, then they have a medical condition and should seek help for it.

            haha you have no idea what you're talking about but you defend your position all the same. Look up hypothalamus. There's a lot that is unknown, like examples of identical twins with the same caloric intake and aerobic output and one is overweight and one isn't, you're simple equation doesnt always hold up.

              examples of identical twins with the same caloric intake and aerobic output and one is overweight and one isn't*

              *citation needed

              Here, I'll get you started.


              We conclude that even though there were large individual differences in response to the negative energy balance and exercise protocol, subjects with the same genotype were more alike in responses than subjects with different genotypes particularly for body fat, body energy, and abdominal visceral fat changes. High lipid oxidizers and low lipid oxidizers during submaximal exercise were also seen despite the fact that all subjects had experienced the same exercise and nutritional conditions for about three months.

              Huh, that... doesn't support your assertion at all. My google-fu is weak, master. Perhaps you can show me the way.

                FYI: A downvote is not the same thing as evidence.

                  Your evidence doesn't counter his assertion that cases exist, but rather indicates that there's a statistical trend towards twins having similar physiological responses. A statistical trend has no bearing on individual cases.

                  It also goes on to say that there was significant variation in the amount of weight lost by participants, despite being on the same exercise and dietary regimes, which somewhat pours water over your oversimplified formula of how weight loss occurs.

                  And different responses still indicates there was a response.

                  There is no evidence anywhere that you can be starving, active and still fat. But there's plenty of evidence for people deluding themselves about how active and well fed they are. Ever hear of a show called secret eaters?

            A little common sense and understanding of biology, finally.

          why? just because you didn't like the bluntness of the his last answer doesn't mean he isn't 100% correct

          less than 3% of overweight people have any medical reason why they cant lose weight, the rest is simply lifestyle

            He's not 100% correct though. "Low caloric intake + non-sedentary lifestyle = weight loss" is a false statement, an oversimplification used to sell good advice simply, but not necessarily accurately.

              yep more a rule that has exceptions but still a good guide

              over simplification in nutrition is probably what is needed, in fairness, as this thread shows is way to complicated influenced by the whole 'a**holes and opinions' metaphor

              long time no see, been well?

                I'm fine, busy. Have we met?

                I think oversimplification is part of the problem with health information at the moment, actually. Too many different versions of what originally was probably good information, oversimplified in different directions to the point where they contradict each other or omit essential information. Just look at how many different diet regimes are out there that are mutually exclusive with each other, but all claim to be the right way to do things.

                Not exclusively an oversimplification thing, sure, but I don't think it helps either.

          You don't need a medical degree to understand basic biology. If I throw you in the middle of the desert for a month with only enough food to keep you alive, you will lose weight, regardless of your medical history or hormone profile.

        Phishtako, for some people, it is the case that the "low caloric intake" required is well below what is considered safe for body functions other than weight maintenance. I saw that tradeoff in myself, and saw what it did to my mum, and decided I'd have no part of it, because I might have LOOKED healthier and got lots of compliments, but I did not FEEL healthier, I had an irregular heart rhythm (pretty much anorexic food intake does that), and so on. In my youth I was a tiny gymnast and screwed up my metabolism even further than my genetics already had by eating far too little (in part to delay puberty to keep me small so that I could continue to be competitive, but in part to fight against genetics that wanted me to be larger).

          duh... there is a massive difference between caloric intake that loses you weight, gains you weight and the one that keeps weight constant

          your body is in pain from your excesses, your mind is in pain losing it... it has to be that way. once you lose it kick it back to normal intake

          besides sounds like you have other aggravating factors in your history?

      That's crap.

      I believe the laws of thermodynamics would like a word with your incredibly dubious story.

      I've heard so many fatties say the same before, and it's never the case, there's always other 'snacks' or things that go unmentioned, you open their fridge and get a better idea of the true story (or open their car in the case of the Maccas eaters).

      Get to the gym, go for a run - I'd be the first one there cheering you on and running with you, as I have done with a few friends before who needed the foot up the arse to get them going.

      People should be ashamed of weight - weight is an outward representation of their own weak personality. If I can drop 15 kg in a few months just by fixing my diet and excercise routine, so can you.

      If you can't do that, just make sure you don't pass those traits onto the next generation - luckily I've noticed that many obese can't reproduce anyway, so I guess on the large scale selection pressure and Darwinism wins in the end.

        Xsjado, guess I forgot to caveat myself for the doubters with a mention that I was swimming an hour a day about 5 days a week and doing the treadmill for 75-90 minutes every day when existing on those canned beans -- it's funny how when you're unemployed, you have FAR more time for exercise than you do when working a normal 60+ hour a week IT job with a 90 minute commute each way. And yeah, still only a half kilo a week was what I managed. Snacks AYFKM? (Are you fing kidding me?) ALL I COULD AFFORD TO BUY WAS CANNED BEANS.

        Without losing weight at all, several years prior to that, I did distance cycling for 5 years, doing 100-300 km rides approximately monthly and training about 20-25km per day as my normal routine. I don't ride fast, as I've been advised by a cardiologist not to push my heart rate for an extended period of time (7 out of 9 in my Dad's family died from cardiac issues, and while I still check out OK annually and figure that it was smoking that got them as much as anything, I still watch my non-smoker's heart closely). I don't need extra volunteers for cheering me on, because I get them any time I'm on (or celebrating after) big group rides. A lot of them are people just like you, stunned that a fat chick can actually complete rides like this, because we're not supposed to be able to do stuff like that.

        Thermodynamics are not as simplistic as a lot of you folks with better metabolisms believe. LOTS of studies have shown that personal body chemistry and the specific content of food way beyond simple "calories" play into it.

          there is very little beyond caloric intake other than thermic effect, GI response or nutritional deficit that affects your body's thermoregulatory system and nutritionally none of them are obscure or difficult to manage... don't get up in the magic mystical-ness of less than expected results

          Half a kilo a week is not a small loss. You may need to come to terms that losing weight isn't a quick process. The biggest loser system of losing weight isn't normal.
          Also, for the most part, cardio is good for two things: Cardiovascular health and burning energy, and is does the former much much more effectively.
          Weights is a much better form of weight loss, and arguably better for someone who cannot push themselves due to cardiovascular problems.

          Also, people doubting your lack of progress is indeed far too complicated an issue to dismiss so easily, provided you are (I assume) being honest. All things being equal (which I cannot know if they are), weight loss is 80% diet 20% exercise.

          Try looking into doing the Whole30 program (http://www.whole30.com/). Let them change your life.
          It works by cutting out certain inflammatory food groups to give your body and hormonal system a clean slate/restart. It's changed my life for the better, I cannot recomment it enough as a gateway to long term nutritional health.

      If what you are saying is true (and it does strain credibility) you need to see a doctor immediately. You may have some kind of serious hormone imbalance, thyroid problem or similar.

      It is not just "genetics". Explaining it that way really does make it sound like an excuse. Too many people with food addiction lie about these things.

        I've seen a doctor, and the meds they'd give me to correct the thyroid issue have complications that are at odds with my family history, so I'm not interested.

          omfriggin god... so your issue is not your body's response to food its your medical history, less than 3% have problems in this manner so you're more the exception rather than the rule

          and those odds are probably on normal healthy people whereas someone missing out on the full cascade effect that thyroid hormones provide may mean your situation may be helped

          family history isn't current facts, its more an indication - if you haven't given the meds a chance, you need to stop using your experience as relevant

      Every time there is an article about weight there is inevitably overweight people defending their obesity and laziness with excuses. Endless excuses.

      "I can't lose weight" BULLSHIT. EVERYONE can lose weight. There is a VERY small percentage of people who are overweight due to serious health issues, the majority of overweight people are overweight because they eat bad and don't exercise. That's the straight up truth.

      "I can't run/exercise" Ever heard of a cross trainer? Low impact cardio? Rowing machine? Exercise bike? Chin ups? Push ups? Sit ups? Weights??? (which continue to burn fat AFTER you've finished working out). There are plenty of options out there for exercising that can suit everyone, DON'T make lame ass excuses as to why you can't do it, you are only lying to yourself.

      "I only eat beans/healthy/very little" This sounds ridiculous. Fresh fruit and vegetables are all you need. I have never seen an overweight vegan or fruitarian. You don't even have to go that far, poach some chicken or a little bit of lean red meat never made anyone obese. Get educated and learn about food. Just eating beans is the dumbest thing i've ever heard. Don't even get me started on the 'small amounts of food' bullshit either. it is BAD for you to eat very little, it makes your body KEEP the fat because it thinks it's going to need it later. If you exercise regularly then it will make you hungry and if you eat well you will put into your body the correct amount of sugars/protein to build muscle and give you energy.

      Your best bet is to always eat fresh, healthy food and exercise regularly. THAT'S IT. No fad diets, no starvation, no half assed efforts in exercising. Stop making excuses for yourself and showing others around you that it's ok for them to make excuses too.

        Not to call you a dumbass, nope, but I documented above that with severe caloric restriction to the point of being severely unhealthy/anorexic, I can lose weight. Anything less than that, I cannot. It's a matter of picking between the unhealth of too little food in order to attain what you believe would be a healthier or at least better looking weight for me, or the unhealth of pretty much what anyone else eats minus the sugars and fried crap which I don't do either (I last went to a Maccas in the early 2000's, only because I was out with a bunch of others who wanted to eat there... I had an awful salad without dressing...) and a heavier weight.

        Again, MY SPECIFIC BODY CHEMISTRY does not give me the results that are apparently "normal", and when I lived with a guy, he was stunned that I could eat so little, be so active, and weigh what I do.

        End of discussion, no longer posting on this because I just don't appreciate everyone contending that because my results don't match what worked for them, or their wife, or their mum, or what they saw on some TV show or in some men's magazine, they're not my real results.

          Oh, and, i've known quite a few overweight vegetarians. Being vegetarian doesn't stop you eating cake/sugar/chocolate/fried foods.

          @barb - you know, you dont need to justify how little you eat, or how much you work out to any fat bashers. You can give evidence until you're blue in the face, but unless they hang out with you for 24 hours a day - they'll never believe that you're not just cramming cupcakes into your face in the toilet secretly. Fat-hate is so hard wired into some people who won the 'body lottery' that no amount of education or rationale will change their bigotry.

            there is no body lottery - our behaviour dictates most of it, if your fat at five blame your parents

            at age 15 I was a lifelong fat kid, then I saw a bodybuilding mag and nothing could stop me... why? my motivations changed. my mum is obese, according to you I had little chance and my 'lottery ticket' is a loser??

            5 years later I was on a stage and met my goals and life head on...

            and you know what? we don't live in a perfect society, people are treated differently.. and I far prefer how the world is now to how it was then

            stop making excuses or show us your diagnosis where it says a medical, physiological issue causes your fatness because otherwise youre just making excuses....

              Sorry I need to call bullshit on this.

              My younger biological brother and I grew up eating the same meals, the same foods with very little difference. Yet he was always a skinny little stick and I have generally had to fight being somewhat overweight.

              As we got older that was exacerbated a little, he picked up a lot more sports than me and I had a slight sweet tooth. However my parents hugely limited my sugar and junk food intake to try combat it, whilst he could eat away to his hearts content.

              Now there's nothing medical stopping me from getting into shape and I'm working back to it, but the few times I've been in good shape I've needed excessive physical activity (Combined with diet) to the tune of 20 odd hours a week.

              Of course sometimes work or study made that level of commitment untenable, which is why unfortunately I sometimes drop out of the routine.

              Some people do have it easier than others, that's what people mean by the body lottery.

          your experience is not valid and yes if it bothers you that people are countering your experience then you should get off this thread.... your issues are the exception not the rule and to be honest you sound like some self proclaimed new born activist who is throwing a tantrum because no one wants to listen to your game

          your issue is medical not nutritional and as such you need medical help...

          The lady doth protest too much, methinks

          at the risk of repeating myself:

          Every time there is an article about weight there is inevitably overweight people defending their obesity and laziness with excuses. Endless excuses.

          I've also noted that in your various responses to people you've contradicted yourself many times by adding more and more to your story that is at odds with your earlier statements.

          Eat well and exercise regularly. It won't kill you.

        And everytime there is a article of this nature, people with uneducated opinions, fat bashing mentalities come out of the woodwork and say 'well it worked for me' and 'you should stop making excuses rhetoric'

        If there wasn't a genuine problem, people wouldn't choose to be overweight if it was so easy to resolve.

          OH WHATEVER

          and apologists for those who cannot succeed will always deny the logic in any argument to make up for their lack of knowledge of facts .... if fat people cant lose weight, 97% of the time the problem is in the mirror and their own acceptance for lack of ability

    To be fair, BMI is a useless joke of a measurement system. My own example is that I showed up as morbidly obese when I was running 20k a week and spending every Saturday at the beach. I don't even want to think about what I show up as now that I'm stuck behind a desk all day!

      BMI is a loose guide at best. If you fall within the acceptable range then great. If you don't, you might still be ok (assuming your body type isn't best described as spheroid) but it's harder to assess.

    So tired of the "fat pride" and "big is beautiful" movement. It's not about your self esteem, it's about your freaking health. The fact that you or other people still think you're beautiful when you're obese is irrelevant to the fact that you're unhealthy, will probably die younger, and will cost the health system a fortune on your way out.

      What if fat is just symptomatic of a health problem - and you're attacking people for their symptoms rather than offering support for a illness - like you would do for any other illness?

      Do me a favor - and go watch the TED talk by surgeon Peter Attia 'Is the obesity crisis hiding a bigger problem?'

        If someone actually has a valid, diagnosed medical condition which causes them to uncontrollably gain weight and/or prevents them from losing weight, then that's understandable and they should be supported.

        However, the vast majority of obese people do not have such medical excuses and are fat simply because they are consuming more calories than they expend. This is a behavioural issue, not a medical one, and can be remedied by eating less and/or exercising more. The "fat pride" movement is dangerous because it's teaching people that being obese is perfectly fine and acceptable, when in reality it couldn't be further from the truth.

          +1 to this... TED talks??? enough talking and stop moving...

          %97 of overweight people do NOT have a medical or genetic issue, its simply their acceptance of the way they have lead their life

            Hold on, you're dismissing expert information with 'enough talking', while immediately following it up with a statistic that came from an expert? On what basis do you think your statistic is relevant but a talk by another expert should be easily dismissed as 'enough talking'? Are you interested in all the information, or only information that fits your preconceptions?

              touché.... I let my bias of Peter Attia come through...

              ZJ - I know you know what ketosis is... any 'expert' who believes that this is the ideal contractile fuel for athletic performance is wrong, point blank. that opinion has been discredited many times

              though in saying that he does push thermodynamics as being relevant though it would be hard to fight the laws of physics .....the %97 is a statistic issued by the AMA (Aust)... im okay with that source

                This reply didn't appear until after the one below for some reason, did you get stuck in their moderation queue? If so I'm surprised it got approved in less than 48 hours ;)

                I'm not suggesting Attia is right, and certainly not suggesting that the 97% statistic is wrong, just that it's somewhat blinkered to dismiss information without even having reviewed it. Not much beyond that. Though I am curious about the MLB board thing, I haven't been able to find any information on that.

                  Yeah the mods on LH, Giz et al don't tend to be the best

                  Could be worse. Could be Wiki-mods....

              bottom line Peter Attia portends to be a voice for athletic performance yet not one top athlete at an international level will endorse his opinions

              he was thrown out of the Major League Baseball medical panel within 3 months.... even Stephen danks lasted over a year with his service.

              Last edited 16/04/14 4:05 pm

                You judge academic merit by athlete endorsements? That's very troubling.

                Do you have a link to him having been on the MLB medical panel? I can't find any evidence this happened.

                  You give credence to knowledge based on the quality of the links you find? Troubling..


                  @thebatman I give credence to knowledge based on the quality and reliability of the source, absolutely. I'd be troubled if you didn't.

          @m2d2 You seem to be down voting a lot of the comments here which seem to have a more realistic view of obesity. Maybe you'd like to actually make a comment yourself? I'm sure you have something intelligent to say.

            You say 'realistic', i see trolls fat shaming and rhetoric.

              Sorry, I guess I missed the part where pointing out that being obese is unhealthy is "fat shaming".

    Uses BMI as an actual measurement that is useful for anything. Isn't worth reading.

    I love articles like this. Never stop bashing the delusional people out there who actually believe horse shit like "healthy at any weight." There are some people who can't lose weight for actual medial reasons but others are out of their mind, and potentially dangerous if they choose to spread dangerous ideas to other hamplanets who could die at any moment

      While I'm sure you're personally proud of coming up with 'hamplanet', why not try encouragement instead? Might be a little more effective at helping people change their lifestyle, assuming the well-being of others is something you actually care about.

    I cant stay quiet with this one! After a pretty healthy upbringing with plenty of sports, college and uni happened. I turned into a baloon. Beer, chips wings etc all led to 1 thing, laziness, depression and everything else that typically came with being overweight! I wasn't healthy, I didn't feel healthy, feeling the tops of my legs rub together when I walked was NOT a good feeling! Humans were never ever meant to be this way, EVER!

    I decided to change. I took 4 months off work and exercised twice daily (20-40 min interval bike or runner) and weights in the evening, ate clean, vitamin, protein good carb rich foods 5-6 times a day. In 16 weeks I was down to around 6% body fat with 6 pack! Was it hard work? The most difficult 16 weeks of my life, was it worth it, YES! Would I have rather spent those 16 weeks travelling, probably, but I did the crime, I needed to pay the times, or time would catch up with me much earlier than it should!

    I felt whilst being overweight there was no way out, well there is! If pensioners can take up weight training at the age of 70 and pretty much reverse osteperosis, anyone overweight can make the changes they need to to help themselves! I understand that. If you need to start somewhere have a look at Body for Life by Bill Phillips, its an oldie now, but I'd say still the best beginners book at getting fit and eating clean!

    When you are diagnoses with diabetes and you have to stick a needle in your arm everyday to stay alive, those 20-30 mins of exercise a day really doesn't look that bad does it! Yes, there are some(SOME) who have medical conditions and I feel for them, but the ones that jump on the bandwagon where suddenly everyone overweight has glandular problems, I don't buy it, evidence just doesn't back it up!

    Having said all that, for the first time in human history we are in the midst of a massive biological food experiment; we are eating chemicals and god knows what else that has no place in the human body! Gluten intolerance, food allergies are forever increasing and will continue to do so until people wise up about what is being shovelled into their guts! Doctors don't talk about a 2nd brain(the stomach) for no reason!

    Last edited 16/04/14 3:35 pm

    And then there is this from Professor John Dixon and a bunch of other experts that have been researching this exact thing
    "The evidence for the obesity paradox has found those who are overweight or obese are more likely to survive renal failure, heart failure, diabetes and coronary heart disease, regardless of their age."
    "For example, a new review by Deakin University, which looked at research carried out on 20,000 people over the age of 65, found those with a BMI between 23 and 33 actually live longer than people with a BMI in the lower end of the normal weight category (between 18.5 and 23)."

    I cannot believe the ignorant and bigoted comments on this thread. When did calling someone names based on their physical appearance become okay? Why is it okay to belittle someone for being overweight? Poor Barb sharing her story and being thrown nothing but comment after comment saying that she is lying and she must be eating crap and not exercising. Shame on all of you for attacking her.

    I have struggled with weight my whole life, 3 years ago I lost 87kg and I now weigh 86kg. For my height, according to the BMI I am still obese. I have my bloods checked every three months. They are perfect! I am fit, I can run for 30mins without stopping, but I am still a "fatty". The BMI is ridiculous and I really do wish people would stop using it to assess their overall health.

    Those of you throwing out such useful tips like "Just eat less and move more!" THANK YOU!! THANK YOU SO MUCH BECAUSE EVERY FAT PERSON IS OBVIOUSLY DUMB AND LAZY! YOU ARE SO SMART AND WISE!!!

    No. Just no. Overweight people are not all dumb OR lazy. if you judge people based on their physical appearance, that says a lot more about who you are as a person than them. Maybe you should stop belittling people on the internet and go learn a little more about self love and compassion.

    Some really shocking comments here. Sure, being overweight isn't ideal but what right does that give you to abuse these people? What business is it of yours anyway?

    It really isn't hard to lose weight. It' all just a battle in your mind. The hardest part is finding the motivation and sticking to that. I've lost 18Kg in about 4 months just by making choices as they come, say between a bottle of coke or water, a maccas meal or a 1/4 chicken... At first it's hard because you get cravings but it gets easier. smaller portions but more meals through the day.
    Couple this with a few 20 minute runs a week and you'll be shedding in no time. It doesn't need to be complicated.

    Some people exercise but apply not really much effort and expect to loose weight, which would be fine if you are just maintaining weight and fitness, but if you want to loose fat you have to put in serious effort, going for a walk after work wont cut it.
    Your exercise needs to make you sweat and breathing hard for a extended period of time or you wont loose shit.

    The main problem I have noticed with people in my workplace and around is they think they are heating healthy when they aren't. A lot of fat people simply have no idea what healthy food is. Without working out at all so long as you eat healthy you will lose some weight. Eating is 80% of it.

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