Amy, What About That Ted Talk?

I’ve had a bunch of people ask me about this video.  Peter Attia talks about fat stigma, diabetes, and alternate theories of why people are fat.

There is pretty good science about the idea that there are reasons that lead to obesity other than the “two whole cakes” theory, which states (approximately) that all fat people are somehow sneaking two whole cakes daily. He talked about one of those suggested reasons. The idea is that insulin resistance causes obesity, not the other way around. This is promising. I love that people are looking at their preconceived notions about fat people and talking about them publicly.

I also support the fact that he pointed out that there are a good number of obese people that are metabolically healthy, and thin people with metabolic syndrome. These are often tied to diet and exercise, hence why I follow a HAES® mentality for those that WANT to improve their health. 
Those messages I support.

However, for those people who are fat and metabolically healthy- that means that they aren’t showing signs of insulin resistance. I think that needed to be more than a passing note in his lecture, because if they aren’t showing symptoms of insulin resistance, then why are they fat? I fall into this category. 

I have trouble with his messages of “I eat like this, and I lost a bunch of weight,” and the idea thinner is tacitly better, and realistically achievable. Not everyone loses weight with improved diet and/or activity. I also think that health is multi-dimensional, and sometimes the best thing for someones overall well-being isn’t improving their physical health at the expense of their social, emotional, and/or spiritual health.  This approach does not so much fix the stigma fat people face, but changing the bar by which we judge fat people-  if they’re insulin-resistant, and doctors say it is ok, then they’re not terrible people?  But those other fat people…

I don’t agree with a moving target for stigma.


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3 responses to “Amy, What About That Ted Talk?”

  1. Marilyn Wann says :

    The question, “Why is a fat person so fat?” seems to me motivated by anti-fat sentiment. What if weight variation occurs naturally in human populations? Why seek to place blame? (Also, Stunkard’s work on identical twins and genetic predisposition of weight, basic stuff.) Even seeking to explain weight diversity can so readily tip down the slippery slope of weight negativity. Why not keep celebrating our differences, all sizes of bodies, and finding ways to joyfully treat ourselves and others well?

    • thefatmidwife says :

      Welcome, I am thrilled to see you here!

      As to your comment: That’s fair. I agree that it is important to keep celebrating differences, all sizes of bodies, and finding ways to treat ourselves and others well.

      I also really, really like finding out the ‘why’ of things, and would like to combine understanding diversity with respecting diversity.

      For myself, as a person with a passion for healthcare, I also find it important to be as far ahead of the curve on how weight can affect health, so that I can treat others well on a personal level, and influence other health care professionals by explaining things from a medical point of view. If someone were trying to get me to change my opinions on what treatments I suggest to my (future) patients, I would want information based in science and physiology.

  2. AndiePants says :

    Hey! I nominated your blog for a Liebster award! Check out my most recent post for what that means, then answer the questions and share the love!

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