Bill Maher Calls Out American Obesity Crisis, Says Fat Shaming Needs To Come Back

Brenda Archer

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It's a very fair concern. Something I mentioned very briefly earlier in the thread is that food is a HUGE part of people's cultures. One of the best things that can happen to your health is to be born in a place like Okinawa, where the traditional diet of the culture is extremely healthy. It's also very socially isolating to not eat like your local culture. Part of why Mississippi struggles so much with some of these issues is just because the traditional diet of the region happens to be terrible for you. They didn't know that when that culture was forming, and obviously traditional diets are often based on what was available.
It sounds as though there should be a chef intervention here, exploring ways to expand the local vegetable recipes, and varying cooking methods.
 

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Well, and this stuff is what settled me on the “Mediterranean diet.” As a New Englander, my tastes and cooking skills are already programmed for it.
 
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Well, and this stuff is what settled me on the “Mediterranean diet.” As a New Englander, my tastes and cooking skills are already programmed for it.
That's another good one. And I remember hearing that unlike with American diets, the poor people version of the mediteranean diet is even healthier, since it's more veggies and less meat and cheese.

I'm really hopeful that they keep making progress on making cheap processed food healthier. I think in principle, it should be possible to make something that duplicates the taste and mouth feel of a 5 cheese pizza, while actually behaving in your gut more like black beans or something.

RANDOM THOUGHT: A while ago, someone on my facebook posted a meme about how you could have any wish, but it had to be bean related. My thought was that whenever I eat junk food, I'd want it to magically turn into healthy, fibrous black beans once it's in my stomach, haha.
 

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That's another good one. And I remember hearing that unlike with American diets, the poor people version of the mediteranean diet is even healthier, since it's more veggies and less meat and cheese.

I'm really hopeful that they keep making progress on making cheap processed food healthier. I think in principle, it should be possible to make something that duplicates the taste and mouth feel of a 5 cheese pizza, while actually behaving in your gut more like black beans or something.

RANDOM THOUGHT: A while ago, someone on my facebook posted a meme about how you could have any wish, but it had to be bean related. My thought was that whenever I eat junk food, I'd want it to magically turn into healthy, fibrous black beans once it's in my stomach, haha.
Southwestern cooking is awesome in the bean department if you like spicy 🌶

I like lentils:
Italian Lentil Soup

I like white beans:
Vegetarian Tuscan White Bean Soup
 

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Smoking rates have plummeted in the US at least. People still smoke, but it's a lot less.
Smoker-shaming is definitely a thing, but I think it has much the same effect as fat-shaming, namely, it makes the problem worse. I think the drop in smoking is more attributable to the cost of cigarettes these days. When I smoked, I could get a pack of cheap cigarettes for about a buck. By the time I quit about ten years ago, it was about $2.50 a pack. Nowadays, I'm seeing them for about seven bucks a pack. That's got to be giving a lot of smokers pause. Between that and better overall education on the dangers of smoking that does not amount to shaming, I think that's why the numbers are down. Unfortunately, a lot of people have gone from cigarettes to vaping, which I'm not convinced is much better, health-wise.
 

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I guess we have different definitions of 'caloric surplus'. To me it means eating more or taking in more calories, which I did not.
By the best of my understanding, "caloric surplus" happens when you absorb more calories than you burn off in a given day, and that number is different for everybody. If your body typically burns off 2500 calories in a day, and you absorb 2500 calories a day, then there's no surplus. But if something happens to you and your metabolism slows to the point where you're only burning 1500 calories a day, then you've got a significant surplus.
 

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Thanks. I can see the argument
stress > inflammation > illness.

The ACEs study showed children exposed to traumatic stressors get more illnesses, including obesity, even as adults. It makes sense to think of a connection between inflammation and endocrine problems like diabetes.

People are still failing to see how much poor people are affected by malnutrition. They want to blame poor people for not knowing enough to be dieting like middle class people do. But if you really don’t have enough money for food, and you buy high calorie density food to have more days with adequate calories, you’re going to see low calorie density food as a luxury even if it’s available. You can go further on a cheeseburger than on a salad when you only have enough money for one of them. This eventually leads to malnutrition.

I want to ask too, did the people bringing in produce match it to the culture of the people it is meant for? It’s pretty patronizing to say the poor don’t eat well because they can’t cook. All subcultures have vegetable dishes, but people aren’t going to buy odd, unfamiliar vegetables. This is the error of thinking what poor people really need is a Whole Foods in their neighborhood. Actually what they need is a supermarket supplying what people really cook.
A couple of things here.

The first: Haven't they tied cortisol, a stress hormone, to belly fat? I believe there are ways to counteract it somewhat, but these involve getting a good night's sleep and eating healthy foods, something that someone under extreme or constant levels of high stress might not even consider.

The second: When we talk about bringing healthy alternatives into food deserts, I think we have to be mindful of cost. I've seen a bit of this here. A well-meaning group of people might decide to do such a thing, but then the cost of their food is rather prohibitive to the local folks. If you bring in, say, organic fruits and veggies, into a food desert, or rather one that exists due to socioeconomic reasons, and have them priced at say, Whole Foods prices or higher, odds are that it won't do well.
 

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A couple of things here.

The first: Haven't they tied cortisol, a stress hormone, to belly fat? I believe there are ways to counteract it somewhat, but these involve getting a good night's sleep and eating healthy foods, something that someone under extreme or constant levels of high stress might not even consider.

The second: When we talk about bringing healthy alternatives into food deserts, I think we have to be mindful of cost. I've seen a bit of this here. A well-meaning group of people might decide to do such a thing, but then the cost of their food is rather prohibitive to the local folks. If you bring in, say, organic fruits and veggies, into a food desert, or rather one that exists due to socioeconomic reasons, and have them priced at say, Whole Foods prices or higher, odds are that it won't do well.
I’ve heard about the problem with cortisol, though not recently, but it still makes sense to me. Then after the stress is over, the belly fat is still there to contribute to insulin resistance.

Traumatized people have trouble finding trauma trained therapists even when they have insurance. I think this is pretty outrageous considering how many everyday mental health problems are trauma. So the cortisol problem can go on for years.

How would shaming do anything to a traumatized person but be a trigger and mess up their physical condition even more? But our superstitious society thinks you can even shame people out of trauma.

Very definitely, overpriced produce is of no use. If someone wants to do this as a charitable effort, subsidizing the price may be necessary. This tells us something about the true cost of fresh food.
 
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So how would people know who deserved fat-shaming, if anyone deserves it?
It's not about that. Some people just want to insult people for no reason. This is, and always will be, plain naked spite.

Bill Maher is presumably uncomfortable with the terminology that accurately describes him, so he's trying to convince people that being spiteful is a form of good health activism rather than a form of being a hostile dick.

It's as dumb as it sounds.
 

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Banner Sears was diagnosed with ROHHAD in June of last year, months after his weight increased at an alarming rate and he began experiencing breathing problems. The syndrome, which impacts the autonomic nervous system, means the youngster weighs five stone [31.75 kg, 70lb] – almost twice the average for children his age. His mother Lyndsay Sears, 39, said she was shocked at reactions of some adults, adding that their comments only add to the grief that comes with accepting their child’s life-limiting condition. ‘People can be so cruel,’ she said.

The hairstylist from Rhode Island described how one house refused to give Banner any sweets when they were out trick or treating. Another time, at the fair, ‘a woman started pointing at him and doing a blow up face’ as he ate a doughnut. ‘In 2019 when there are so many invisible diseases it shocked me that an adult could behave like that,’ said the mother-of-two. ‘He’s just a little kid and he doesn’t understand, which is lucky, but people are just unbelievably cruel.’

Even if it wasn't for his medical condition, the idea that some adults see nothing wrong in treating a 4-year-old this way is appalling.

It's part of the same mindset that allows people to justify separating the children of asylum seekers from their parents and locking them up without proper care in detention centres (or whatever the euphemism is).
 

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Screw you Bill. There are pretty complex reasons why someone might be overweight. Yes, if they admits it is out of laziness is one thing but rarely do people say that. A lot of people have an actual medical reason and, no, you do not have a right to their personal medical information to determine if that is the case.

For example, my weight was rock solid for decades. Then several medical things happened in a short span of time (changing several meds that are known to interact with weight) and it started to rise. The annoying thing is if I change the usual stuff, exercise and diet, I risk a seizure.
 

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Agreed. My entire life up until around age 32 or so I hovered between 95 and 110. Suddenly I skyrocketed within around a year to 170, with no sign of slowdown. I was having to go buy new clothes constantly. I had quit smoking and attributed it to that initially, expecting to have weight gain, until I just kept growing and growing. I was, most definitely not eating more. I was eating the very same as I always had, which is to say pretty lightly. In response to it, I was going to the gym three times a week, sometimes more, doing an entire aerobic and weight training routine each time, but still kept growing and growing.

During a yearly exam, I brought it up to the doctor. She decided to run some more tests, including blood tests and an ultrasound. She diagnosed me with both PCOS and hypothyroidism (which often go hand in hand), which surprised me because I was always a person who fidgeted constantly and was hyper if anything. I asked her why this had rather rapidly occurred as after reading about it, I had learned that this was largely a lifetime condition, but usually diagnosed in 20's/30's. We got to talking about menstruation cycles and such and I had always presented differently, sometimes going for a very long time without one, and of course was infertile, which also had been diagnosed as another reason. I had spoken to a doctors about it during annual female exams as far back as my teens. But way back in those days they didn't even know what it was and simply said that I had a hormone imbalance and was prescribed the birth control pill as a means to control it. They just simply thought it was extra male hormones (also part of PCOS). I also had presented hirsutism, rosacea, and severe acne, also symptoms. I had written off the acne as simply part of my youth. I had never even heard of this thing called PCOS. She told me it was something that they were still learning about. The ultrasound did indeed present numerous ovarian cysts, as well. She proscribed a number of things to me, one of which was a hypothyroid drug. These brought it under control somewhat. I eventually lost all of it, but that was due to a different medical condition.

TL;DR
I was NOT eating any more food, in fact I was eating less because of the weight gain. So no, it does NOT always coincide with overeating.
With me I had been rock-solid at 183 since high school, not even varying by a pound in either direction. I could eat as much or as little as I wanted and it was always the same number when I stepped on a scale. Then I got to SRS and initially dropped a little, but that is normal when recovering from surgery. Not too long after I had changed several medications, some of which were known to cause a change in weight gain. I started spiraling up an average of 2 or 3 pounds a year. Of course all of my doctors want to dismiss it as normal. Umm, if something barely budges for years, then you change several variables and it starts to climb with no end in sight that to me says one of the variables that was changed is the culprit and it is not normal aging.
 

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Screw you Bill. There are pretty complex reasons why someone might be overweight. Yes, if they admits it is out of laziness is one thing but rarely do people say that. A lot of people have an actual medical reason and, no, you do not have a right to their personal medical information to determine if that is the case.

For example, my weight was rock solid for decades. Then several medical things happened in a short span of time (changing several meds that are known to interact with weight) and it started to rise. The annoying thing is if I change the usual stuff, exercise and diet, I risk a seizure.
Yep, same here. I was 125 to 130 for years and then I had a grand mal seizure. They put me on Dilantin which in very short time put 65 pounds on me, then they gave me prednisone, whoopie, I put on another 60 pounds. That said; I'd rather do this than take the biologics for lupus and risk T or B cell lymphoma. Nor do I wish to go through chemo therapy again which has caused me all sorts of issues later in life like hearing loss and cataracts.

Sometimes, there are no easy solutions. The best I can do is try to stay on an even keel. I'm hoping that I've bottomed out now on the weight thing but who can say?

People think that if they comment on your weight even in a "respectful" manner because "they care about you" that it doesn't hurt. Well, it does.
 

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Yep, same here. I was 125 to 130 for years and then I had a grand mal seizure. They put me on Dilantin which in very short time put 65 pounds on me, then they gave me prednisone, whoopie, I put on another 60 pounds. That said; I'd rather do this than take the biologics for lupus and risk T or B cell lymphoma. Nor do I wish to go through chemo therapy again which has caused me all sorts of issues later in life like hearing loss and cataracts.

Sometimes, there are no easy solutions. The best I can do is try to stay on an even keel. I'm hoping that I've bottomed out now on the weight thing but who can say?

People think that if they comment on your weight even in a "respectful" manner because "they care about you" that it doesn't hurt. Well, it does.
Yeah, my weight is often not noticed because I am also tall but I know what the numbers say. When people comment about relatives I know they are trying to be helpful but they really are not most of the time. Sure, I am concerned about some people where their size makes for a logistical issue but beyond things like 'oh, yeah, that chair will not work for him' it really is not my business.
 

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I just know that after losing 25 pounds in my early -mid 20s, going back on the Pill made me gain 75 pounds in 6 months and again, no change to how I eat. Its taken me 25 years give or take, to finally lose 40-50 of that, and its thrown out the window when I go one trips because it is very hard to actually eat keto, or do one meal a day when you aren't at home - especially since I like to make sure I eat fresh foods.

But anyway, until I stopped feeling 'shamed' for being fat, I also didn't lose weight.
 

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Smoking rates have plummeted in the US at least. People still smoke, but it's a lot less. That said, I am not saying shaming is the way to go in all things. Smoking isn't a deep, fundamental evolutionary drive in the way that food is.
It's biologically *very*addictive.

Shaming had far less to do with the decline in smoking than it being taxed all to hell. When a pack of cigarettes is $8, people start rethinking things.
 

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It's biologically *very*addictive.

Shaming had far less to do with the decline in smoking than it being taxed all to hell. When a pack of cigarettes is $8, people start rethinking things.
:qft:

I stopped smoking 3 years ago. When cigarettes in Pennsylvania jumped $1 a pack at the beginning of August, 2016. I didn't quit because anyone shamed me. Screw what people said, I thought. Nope, I quit because I could no longer justify spending that much money every day for something which provided no actual, tangible benefit to me. Expense outweighed desire. Shaming never made one bit of difference...in fact, if anything, I may have smoked MORE because "I'm doing what I want, not what YOU want" was my mindset.