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Instead of fat shaming, how can we encourage healthy eating habits?

 
pollinator
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Good morning Permies!

On the way to work this morning, I heard about James Corden's response to Bill Maher's current take on fat shaming. Take a look:



I think this is worthy of a good permies discussion.

Full disclosure, I like James Corden, and I don't really have much use for Bill Maher. That said, if you take the shaming bit out of Bill's argument, taking the long view, I would usually share whatever legitimate concern remains for the normalisation of biologically unhealthy attitudes for humanity.

I think the part of this that is problematic for me is actually twofold.

The shaming part isn't helpful. Making people feel bad can't make things better, really, or at least any progress you seek to make through this method are poison pills, or come with mental baggage that is equally harmful to the person.

The other part with which I have an issue, though, is the idea sometimes perpetuated that it's okay to be unhealthy in that way. I understand that it's not the goal of the movement to normalise obesity (that ship has sailed), but to end the shaming tactics that, as James points out, don't work. If one has arrived at that point because of stress eating or a combination of other factors, shaming can actually make things worse.

I have some experience with the issue. I have never been small; except for a few years in university, when I dropped down to 175 lbs. and was at risk of fainting if my blood sugar dropped, I have rarely, since the middle of high school, been lower than 220 lbs. Now I am a little over six feet tall, thankfully, and my frame is such that I have rarely looked like I was carrying as much weight as I was, but the fact of the matter is that I was heavy enough to make physical exertion more taxing than entertaining, which was yet another barrier I didn't need to add to the obstacle course I was running for my health.

I think that James is onto something when he brings up the responsibility of government to make changes to move populations out of obesity. I think that one of the greatest obstacles to this is returning to actual, nutritionally-rich food production methods, eating real food made from recognisable ingredients, and doing so with one's own hands. I don't care if the burrito you're nuking from the freezer is vegan or beef, if it's the result of industrial processing, it's very likely to contain ingredients that you wouldn't want to add yourself, and I don't mean lima beans.

I might get flack for this, and don't misunderstand, I am not personally casting aspersions, but something that makes me halt for a second to ponder is the preponderance of obese models doing scantilly-clad photoshoots. I don't personally have anything against them, and some are indeed quite flattering. I love the fact that these women feel powerful enough to show off what they've got, and to hell with the skin-and-bone norm. And while I applaud the boons to mental health, my concern is for the normalisation and acceptance of unhealthy patterns.

So shaming is right out as a management and teaching tool, for all the reasons James mentioned. I think I, too, would have had a six-pack a long time ago if shaming actually worked to knock the weight off. How do we, then, in a caring manner, conscientious of the self-worth of the individual, move towards practices that promote healthy eating and living, and therefore body weight and image?

Does this make any sense? Does anyone share any of the same concerns? I would love to hear permies' perspectives on this issue.

-CK
 
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You can be heavy and healthy and there are a lot of current studies that show it. If you have a healthy cardio respiratory fittness mortality is about even with thin folks. That being said healthy CRF would probably lead to reduced diabetic dangers since one would probably be active with that healthy CRF. Blondes being dumb, fat being unhealthy, red heads being hot headed are all visual preconceptions....well maybe not the red heads, but uneducated first impression. Sedentary lifestyles are a killer.
 
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My wife doesn't want me to ever become fat. She would find this highly embarrassing. It's a class thing.

In the Philippines, the majority of men who are sober and productive, tend to be a healthy weight. Alcoholism is rampant, amongst males. The Philippines seems to be the junk food capital of the world, and eating this junk is often a big part of sitting around and drinking. Alcoholics are often quite stout.

So, for Nova being fat is viewed as going hand-in-hand with alcoholism, chronic unemployment and even philandering.

It's not that way for me. I realize that there can be any number of reasons why a person might put on weight.

When we run into people she knows, the first thing she tells them about me is that I don't drink alcohol and live on junk food. I've known women who want me to jump through a lot of hoops. Nova only requires that I remain healthy and sober.
 
Robert Ray
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Visual point has apparently been proved. Alchoholism is not a disease that affect just heavy people and I don't think that unemployment and philandering are traits that present themselves solely to heavy or thin people. I believe and and you can find references that many acoholics are underweight rather than overweight even though alcohol is high in calories. Sedentary lifestyles are a factor in many gaining weight. Unfortunately lifestyle choices are made for some through employment or even where they live. Opportunities to be active are limited from commutes and employment opportunities. Social interaction taking place on smartphones and Facebook rather than kids playing at outside.
 
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Robert Ray wrote:You can be heavy and healthy and there are a lot of current studies that show it. If you have a healthy cardio respiratory fittness mortality is about even with thin folks. That being said healthy CRF would probably lead to reduced diabetic dangers since one would probably be active with that healthy CRF. Blondes being dumb, fat being unhealthy, red heads being hot headed are all visual preconceptions....well maybe not the red heads, but uneducated first impression. Sedentary lifestyles are a killer.



I personally think there are far more studies and evidence that being obese is very unhealthy.  

I'm also very much against government intervention into something that I feel falls solely under the title of personal responsibility.  

Those things being said, I think "shaming" fat people, or indeed, making fun of any person's perceived failings, tells far more about the person doing the shaming than the person being shamed.  There will always be people that feel superior by making others feel inferior.  What a sad existence those people must have.
 
Robert Ray
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Oh I agree, obesity is not healthy. Cardio Respiratory Fitness is the key, not all fat people are unhealthy and not all skinny people are healthy.I would agree that obesity leads to many health problems. I would also agree that being slender does not negate the diseases that seem to plague heavy people, strokes, heart attacks, diabetes. The common perception that a heavy person is unhealthy is sometimes not true. Healthy food availability, current lifestyle/societal norms, are factors how do we address those issues.
 
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ooh thank you for sharing this, I heard about it and missed it last week.

It seems similar to a lot of other things- making assumptions that I know more about other people than they do (or how they should live, decisions they should make, etc) is generally not a great idea. Instead, if I really care about these people, really truly, there is a lot to be learned about their experiences.
 
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As a husband, and a father with four daughters, this disgusts me.

My wife and daughters are now subjected to over 600 images per day of what the world feels the ideal woman should look like, and I constantly find myself telling them they are beautiful, but it is my opinion against the world's.

I can tell you what shaming does to girls, in my case my wife's mother (my mother-in-law) feeling bad about herself so bad, that she had to constant belittle my wife so she felt better about herself. Her Dad showed favortism to her younger sister, and went hunting, fishing or gardening and left Katie to be belittled constantly by her mother who said she was not pretty enough, thin enough, or smart enough. All that talk has destroyed Katie. She hates herself to this day, and there is no reason too as she is actually very pretty, and very intelligent. A lot of women would love to look how Katie look's, and yet Katie has the same feeling about herself, "she is fat".

(She is not,  I am just saying that is how she feels about herself)

Katie does not do this now, but she had a huge belimia problem growing up...which is, making herself throw up after diner so she would not gain weight, and I am pretty sure I have a 13 year old daughter doing so now too.

Oh yeah, fat shaming disgusts me. BIG TIME!

And just in case anyone cares, I am a 100% male American, but actually think a lady with a bit more weight looks better than a stick figure. And I will even dare say, I like older women as well, so no age-shaming in front of me either.

 
Travis Johnson
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This is a picture of me and Katie.

I am posting this so that people can see how really vile fat-shaming is. Whether heavy or not, it does not matter, my point here is that Katie HATES herself, and feels she is fat because her mother fat-shamed her, her whole life. And it goes beyond fat-shaming, age-shaming, and other things. Katie's mother knocks her down for not having a clean house, not making enough money, not being pretty, being overweight, etc.

Can't we all just "be nice"?


This stuff destroys people...absolutely DESTROYS them. And I am sick of it...





1922538_518544408263873_775242477_n.jpg
[Thumbnail for 1922538_518544408263873_775242477_n.jpg]
Katie and I
 
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90% of our food is made at home. Even cookies have to be made as I rarely buy any. Not a bragging thing. Just a way I do things because I really like to cook. My son has a six pack. He has for ages. He's just that active. My daughter does not. She'd rather color things and play with toys inside. She is not fat by any standard, but she'd made a few comments about being fat like me (I'm pregnant). I'm not sure if she's getting this elsewhere or if it's her innocent way of saying things. I really don't know. I just tell her she's spectacularly beautiful and perfect and I AM NOT FAT! lol Growing up with me, though, I can't imagine my daughter will ever feel ashamed of her body. I certainly don't feel any shame about mine and body size isn't something we discuss. She does get a million compliments about being "pretty" and the like so she is fairly conceited about her appearance. I try to temper it with, you are beautiful but it's better to be smart or kind or ____. She just nods. She probably stopped listening at beautiful.
 
Chris Kott
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Great responses, all.

Honestly, I had pretty much discarded the whole "shaming" part of the issue, to look at how it might be possible to both encourage positivity about body image and healthy eating and non-sedentary lifestyles.

As to the damage shaming does, I completely agree. That part needs to be eliminated. Even at my lightest and fittest, I still looked fat to myself. And it wasn't anything anyone did to me, but rather what I did to myself, simply being immersed in popular culture. Do you remember this scene from the touchstone show of my generation?



I think many of us, even just those like me, who did it to ourselves, are like Homer in the mirror, except we may look like his imaginings, but only see fat.

-CK
 
Travis Johnson
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I put on quite a bit of weight in only a few months; 25 pounds to be exact, but IT WAS NOT anything I did. I had thyroid cancer...

Considering Thyroid Cancer is the greatest increasing cancer in the United States, and yet Thyroid issues are underreported by about 85% for women, and pretty high for men, SOME (but not all granted) of quick weight gains could be attributed to undiagnosed medical issues.

IF we see people gain some significant weight, and we have the type of relationship where we can say something, it may be appropriate to have them see the doctor. But we should never do what my mother-in-law does to Katie, Look at her with a nasty look and say, "Jeesh Kate..." (She only says Kate when she is about to scold.)
 
pollinator
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I don't think that shaming people is helpful, and I don't really think that most people who do so actually care or are trying to help.

I think that everyone does something that is less than ideal. Being overweight is just an easy target, because it is visible. It's always easier to point out others flaws than to examine oneself.

I did like James Corden's response, made a lot more sense than Bill Maher's rant, and was much more compassionate.

I feel like most people are doing the best they can at any given point and time.
 
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My children have decided that fat=cute. I'm not quite sure how this happened. But my son loves to go on and on about our "fatty-fat-fat cat" and our "cutie fat fatty fat fat cute chicken."

...This of course becomes problematic when we're at the store and my son tries to talk about how fat someone is. Oh goodness, NO! Don't talk about how people are fat!

Speaking of fat and health, being a little overweight--not obese--can be beneficial. If one gets sick for a long time--or goes through chemo/radiation--that bit of extra weight offers a buffer. The body will burn through that before eating away muscle. My husband is technically overweight, but most of it is muscle. While it still puts extra strain on his heart, he's still probably more healthy than a person of average weight with little muscle mass. There are many ways to be healthy.

I think the best thing one can do for someone who is unhealthy, is to try to involve them in fun, healthy activities. We would go for walks with my husband's mom, or take her to the beach. We would also take her shopping with us and we'd have fun laughing at silly things in the store. Inviting them over to a healhty, yummy dinner and involving them in the prepwork is also helpful and can be a fun time. Basically, form a relationship and involve them in good things, and share with them tips that are a level or two above where they're at.

I love the analogy of the Wheaton Eco Scale, and I think of similar scales for other topics. On a healthy scale, you might have something like this:

Level 0: Eats McDonalds and Ho-hos everyday and doesn't know how to cook anything other than maybe mac and cheese (this was the level my husband was at when I met him), sits on a couch all day

Level 2: Eats some vegetables, eats at "healthier" fast food like subway, microwave dinners. Takes the stairs rather than escalator and doesn't mind walking from a father parking spot (this would be different for someone who has a hard time walking for whatever reason, but you get the picture.)

Level 3: Tries to eat healthy, but doesn't know how to read lables and thinks things that say "natural" or "Healthy" on them must be healthy. Tries to exercise, but doesn't know effective ways to and just gets frustrated and gives up

....
Level 8: Lots of whole foods, prepared without additives, balanced nutrition that suits their own needs. Is active and builds strength and endurance through good ergonomics.

Basically, figure out where the person is on the healthy scale, give them tips a level or two above theirs. Don't try to get the McDonald eating person to instantly start making everything from scratch. They'll think you're insane. But, they might start eating at subway or getting healthier frozen dinners.
 
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The trend toward "plus sized" models is a relatively new thing, started by Dove soap a few years ago if I'm not mistaken.  Now Sports Illustrated has their "normal" array of impossibly thin women posing in swim suits in their biggest issue of the year, and one "plus-sized" woman.

Oh . . . well that makes it all cool.

In some ways, I think it makes it even more fat-shame-y when they do that.  "We'll throw in Ashley Graham just to prove how thin these other dozen women are, and how unattainable their look is."

Unnaturally thin (to the point of looking sickly and fragile) appears to me to be more unhealthy than someone who is carrying a few pound.  Heck, even if someone is carrying quite a few extra pounds, that feels far more natural and healthy than someone whose belt-buckle is scraping against her backbone.

I'm not shaming anyone on either end of the spectrum, but as a father of a daughter that has navigated the teen years and is now finishing college, the messages that she's bombarded with daily make it difficult to counter with my words of "You're beautiful just as you are."  It's all quite sad.
 
Chris Kott
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I think the focus is flawed, where it comes to plus-sized models. I mean, that's certainly a potential part of it, but what of women with swedish weightlifter frames, who make me look puny, the same width from hips to shoulders, and all lean muscle, even if they don't lift, or do anything to amplify it?

I say women, but what of men who don't fit a narrow definition of masculine beauty? What of short, stocky, powerful people who could've had dwarves (Tolkien reference, not discrimination) as grandparents? What of tall, lanky giants of any gender?

And if we can't fit our definition of beauty around all traditional body types that fit a binary gendered perspective, how are we to look at non-binary forms and beauty? How is our aesthetic supposed to evolve?

-CK
 
Trace Oswald
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I think in order to have this discussion intelligently, when we are talking about what is healthy, it's important to differentiate between someone that is 20 lbs overweight and someone that is 150 lbs overweight.
 
Chris Kott
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As mentioned above, it goes deeper than that. Someone who carries excess weight because of a sedentary lifestyle alone may have many options to make a change; someone with thyroid issues may have none.

In my opinion, the 20 lbs. versus 150 lbs. determination misses the point. The point here is to adapt the aesthetic to conform with reality, not to offer judgement upon what degree of excess fat is acceptable, and to adapt the aesthetic, but also to have a conversation that stresses health over appearance of health.

I mean, let's take a look as though we were looking at obesity in animals, because we're animals. How is healthy weight determined in animals? Can we use those metrics for human health?

Would it be ethical to establish a norm for healthy physicality to determine fitness and to provide a goal for average maintenance? I mean, in the same way you can establish ranges of physical capacity and normalcy for animal behaviour and performance, we could look at human physical capacity and normalcy.

Those stats do, in fact, actually exist. I don't believe any wild animal will have the breadth of range of acceptability for "health" that humans allow themselves.

Or is it somehow cruel to try to tie our evolutionary history, our physical niches as animals that ran down prey during the hottest part of the day over the savannah, with today's distinct lack of comparable effort, except by over-celebrated, over-compensated celebrity sportspeople?

I know I can't run down prey on the savannah now. I might have the endurance to track something over days, but I am far from that evolutionary niche, personally.

Or have we differentiated to such an extent that it would be like asking a pug to race a greyhound? Have we gone from wolves to chihuahuas, poodles, Bernese mountain dogs, and Alsatians, with some having lost completely the traits that were key to survival in generations past?

This is getting a little far afield, I suppose, but my focus was never on the shaming part of it, which I see as counterproductive, lazy, and mean. My concern is, how do we ensure that we maintain a healthy expectation of what average human capability should be, and at the same time broaden our idea of what that means, and our level of aesthetic comfort?

-CK
 
Stacy Witscher
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Chris - I do think that you have some great points. I've had difficulties with vets about dogs weights as well. It's almost like they don't know that different breeds have different weight distribution or tendencies. Same thing with beef cattle vs. dairy cattle, dairy cattle are always going to be bonier looking than beef cattle (if they are healthy). But somehow, these differences are considered a problem with people. I think that it's bizarre to think that all human women of a specific height only have a 10 pound weight variation to be considered healthy. Activity levels, age etc. all impact these things.
 
Trace Oswald
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Chris Kott wrote:

In my opinion, the 20 lbs. versus 150 lbs. determination misses the point. The point here is to adapt the aesthetic to conform with reality, not to offer judgement upon what degree of excess fat is acceptable, and to adapt the aesthetic, but also to have a conversation that stresses health over appearance of health.
-CK



I think you missed my point.  I don't care at all about passing "judgement upon what degree of excess fat is acceptable".  My point is that I believe it's easy to be fit, healthy, and have great longevity if you are 20 lbs overweight.  I don't believe the same can be said about being 150 lbs overweight, and I believe that a person that is very obese has more health problems, greater chance of early death, and a much poorer quality of life than a smaller person.  None of this has to do with shaming, but it very much aligns with a discussion about whether a person can be "overweight" and healthy.
 
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Stacy Witscher wrote:Chris - I do think that you have some great points. I've had difficulties with vets about dogs weights as well. It's almost like they don't know that different breeds have different weight distribution or tendencies. Same thing with beef cattle vs. dairy cattle, dairy cattle are always going to be bonier looking than beef cattle (if they are healthy). But somehow, these differences are considered a problem with people. I think that it's bizarre to think that all human women of a specific height only have a 10 pound weight variation to be considered healthy. Activity levels, age etc. all impact these things.



100% agree. I have a poodle. She has a lean runners build, and should not have the same weight to height ratio as a hound or a German shepherd, due to different body structures. Humans, though less obviously variable, are similar. I am from hardy European peasant stock, bred to do heavy lifting and farmwork, and survive lean winters, not run marathons. My body style would enable me to be a good wrestler, but not a good sprinter.

The body image for women is absurd. Why do men's magazines celebrate "bulking up" and gaining muscle mass, or lifting heavier, and womens magazines focus on how to achieve a number on a scale? We are one species, why the double standard for health?

I think as a society we are obsessed with weight. I think we focus on it to the exclusion of other, more important and less obvious indicators of health.

I think we should be focusing on the inactivity epidemic, and the lack of physical strength epidemic rather than the obesity epidemic.

There are dozens of studies that show obesity is not just a matter of willpower alone, or "calories in vs calories out". "Fat shamers" claiming its just needing go develop willpower do not help anyone, and distract from the larger issues. A few of the most personally interesting studies I have seen are:
- Epigenetics plays a part - if your parents or grandparents starved at some point, it has been found to activate the expression of genes in future generations for holding excess fat.
- A study found that, someone with a given calorie intake and activity level in the 1980s would be substantially thinner than someone with that same intake and activity level today. What's up with that?
- gut biome and weight are highly correlated. If you have a less diverse gut biome, you are more prone to weight gain. Other studies have shown microbiome health is very poor in curgent society.

It is clear that, as a society, things have changed, and to have things at a societal level improve, we need a broader effort to improve our health, not just personal responsibility.

I also suspect declining nutrition in food and increased exposure to various organic compounds in synthetics are to partially to blame. If you put a cow out on nutrient depleted soils, or feed only limited types of fodder, they will be unhealthy. Why should we expect humans being fed from nutrient depleted soils and a limited diet of foodstuffs should be any different? Is it possible that, lacking nutrition in food, our bodies desire more and more food to try and get the nutrients we need? I know that I am more satiated on a meal of my own homegrown veggies than conventional storebought. What about milk, and meat?

At my healthiest, I was size 8, even a 6 in some brands. I biked 16 km (10 miles) a day, 40+ km for fun on weekends, had thighs of steel, and still considered myself fat, as I was 20 lbs outside of the "normal" range. I felt fat as I biked, like I didn't deserve to be on a nice bike because I wasn't thin and beautiful and athletic enough. I didn't even want my picture taken.  In retrospect, I can't believe I thought that!  I stopped biking due to chronic pain and too many close calls with motorists in a city without bike lanes, shoulders, or sidewalks. I know i would be healthier if i resumed, unless, of course, I become a cycling safety statistic. We know physical activity is important to health, so why do we design our cities so that they are only safe to traverse by car?

I have a friend who is my height, Chinese, with thin bones, and wrists half the size of mine. Why are we both being judged by the same standard of acceptable weight?  She would fall under "normal" weight, possibly even the low end. We went for a walk, to pick garbage for an event. She could not carry her garbage bag back, as it was too heavy. I carried hers, and mine which was twice as heavy back the 2 km.  What is healthier?

Studies have repeatedly shown that there is a higher early mortality rate in people in the low end of normal than the low to mid range of overweight. Who made these groups and defined what is "healthy"? Apparently one of the best predictors of early mortality is not your weight, it's if you are able to get up off the floor without using your hands.

Again, it's not just willpower at play, and I strongly resent people who claim it is. I suspect a lot of weight issues are symptoms of other health issues.  I have some personal resentment towards the "Use willpower" and "only eat when you are hungry" people.  I am overweight now, in large part due to a few years of chronic pain and meds that made me feel starving, constantly. I have switched meds and the pain is almost under control, and the meds no longer make me hungry, so.... fingers crossed I can lose some weight. This was weight gain despite a healthy, varied, vegetable rich diet, home cooked, with very limited sugary desserts or treats, just large portions because I never felt full. Last Christmas dinner, after all the turkey, gravy, stuffing, potatos, 4 kinds of veggies, 2 types of pie, etc, I was still hungry, and forced myself to not eat more, which was a good demonstration for how out of whack my feeling of satiation was.
 
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I think getting away from equating health and weight would be a good thing. If you have a healthy diet and active lifestyle, the proper weight for your body type should follow, barring medical or psychological issues. But just losing weight doesn't necessarily mean you're suddenly healthy. Our society focuses more on the outward appearance than what's actually going on behind the scenes. For instance, thin people can have a lot of fat around their organs, which is actually a lot harder on the body than carrying that same amount of fat visibly.  A thin people might be nutritionally deficient because they function on 1000 calories a day, propped up by caffeine. A person might look overweight because they're recovering from anorexia. There are all kinds of things that could be going on that prevent weight from being an indicator of health. It would be nice if everyone would worry about living a healthy lifestyle first, and be happy with whatever body came out of that.

My husband and I are good examples of how much body type impacts your healthy weight. He's six feet tall, and has been 150lbs since high school - actually he has to really pay attention to his eating to make sure he doesn't drop below that. The last few years he's been working a desk job and started drinking a lot of pop. He put on five pounds and loves how he feels with that little bit of extra weight - he's not cold all the time anymore and his energy levels are more consistent. He really wants to stay away from HFCS, so he keeps trying to kick his pop habit. Every time he does, his weight goes back down. He couldn't get fat if he tried, no matter how much junk he ate and how little exercise he got.  His whole family is like that.

I'm 5'1" and have never weighed less than 125lbs. That weight was during one of the most inactive periods of my life and I had very little muscle. My weight can fluctuate 10lbs over a week or two, just due to my menstrual cycle. A healthy weight for me seems to be about 135lbs, but if I'm doing a lot of physical work my weight can go up as high as 150lbs. My husband rages at the amount of muscle I can put on, almost by accident, while he spends hours working out and you can hardly tell by looking at him. If I'm not using my body though, I go to fat really quickly. Completely different from him.

Put me and my sister in law side by side, and a lot of people would assume she's in better shape than me cause she's so thin. Get us both to push a wheelbarrow of dirt up a hill and you might reconsider after seeing her arms give out halfway up and hearing her wheezing after she walks the rest of the way.

I don't think that normalizing obesity by having a few more plus sized models is a thing to worry about. Like Corden said, fat shaming hasn't gone anywhere. Most of the stuff out there that people worry is normalizing an unhealthy look is just overweight people trying to feel okay about themselves in the face of overwhelming ridicule and othering. If plus sized models are actually helping anyone feel better,  then I'm glad.

I'd like to see models of all different body types represented, though. It would be nice if everyone got to see someone that looked like them. I remember when I was a kid, some department store had flyers where the employees and their kids modeled the clothes. I remember looking at those flyers with great interest, cause they were real people! I wondered which of the kids would be nice to have as friends and what their lives were like. I never did that with the regular flyers, full of tanorexic blandroids ;)
 
Nicole Alderman
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My husband and his mom are both of that "peasant" build as well. They put on muscle and keep it, even when horribly sick and inactive. I still remember how my mother-in-law had been chronically ill, had blood transfusions and was in constant pain and spent most of her time lying in bed. She was STILL stronger than me, and I was perfectly healthy and was more active! When my husband had lost 30+ pounds due to Crohn's and was lying in bed in pain for weeks on end and unable to walk and cold all the time, he still was strong. In fact, people kept asking him if he was working out, because he'd just wasted away the fat and not that much muscle.

I've got frail thin bones. I don't gain weigh easily. I'm 5'4" and have been between 127 and 132 pounds since I was 16 (excluding pregnancy and about 2 months after each pregnancy. I got up to 160 while pregnant). I've gotten stronger through homesteading, but I still don't look strong and probably am still weaker than my mother-in-law. My kids got my husband's build. They're both short and beefy. They're not overweight, but they're also not frail like me, and they build muscle very easily. Both of them are very strong and I'm so proud of them!
 
Dale Hodgins
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My mother-in-law who is 49 yrs. and 4 feet 9, was very lean and fit when I met her. She had been earning money delivering animals from her home in a deep gorge, to the main highway. This involved a climb of about 800 ft and probably 8 miles round trip. She would sometimes earn an extra dollar, by carrying about 50 lb of supplies to a relative who runs a little store, on the return trip.

Then she spent three months in the city, where she only got a little bit of exercise walking the neighbourhood or going shopping. She continued to eat as normal and gained at least 25 lb, which really shows up on someone 4 feet 9 in.

For her, it's clearly about exercise.

When my wife was about 13, she was working at a restaurant where she had the opportunity to steal food regularly. She was supposed to only glean leftovers at this unpaid position. She shot up to about 145 lb which is quite large for her at 5 ft 2 . Now that she's not constantly worried about food security, she is back down to a healthy 115 pounds. People who have been hungry often have a strange relationship with food. Whenever her sister visits, she opens the fridge and within a couple of minutes eats more than she should. She's probably 20 lb overweight. Her boyfriend who is quite lean, has never feared starvation. He is constantly trying to monitor her diet. When I spoke to him about it, he was surprised. She hadn't told told him just how bad it was when she was little. I told him to encourage good food choices but not to try to get her to not eat.

Nova's diet has really improved, just because we have plenty of money to buy good food. Her former employer had her living on mostly rice and other starches.

We are waiting for paperwork, so she's in the Philippines and I'm here in Canada. Whenever she goes to the market, I am sent a picture, showing all of the healthy choices. I think until we have an operating farm, she will always be a little bit worried about food. Often our fridge was already full, and she would buy something more. Hoarding seems like something that would come naturally to anyone who has truly been hungry.

We support her sister on Mindanao who is in school. She sometimes makes foolish decisions with a limited amount of money, so Nova has started to get her to lay out what she bought and send a picture. Otherwise she might spend some of her limited budget on pop and chips and other junk that used to be beyond her reach.

Today we sent a small amount of money to her mother who had run out of most foods and informed her that she was living on coconut and moringa. She can't be given enough money to buy food for the month, or she will spend a substantial portion of it on junk food. Part of her weight gain while in the city came from nightly consumption of soft drinks. A rare treat before I came into the picture.

Her brother Sonny goes from fat two quite lean within a couple weeks of finding hard physical work.

There's probably a genetic factor to this , because I know there were ups and downs in the food supply for their grandparents and great-grandparents.

I'm 55 and my gluttony has shown me that I'm unlikely to ever have a weight problem.
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I lost 21lbs in 5 months eating 4000-5000calories per day. Got ripped, met my future wife, and I only had to do an average of 8 hrs moderate exercise a day hiking from Mexico to Canada on the Pacific Crest Trail. You can eat whatever you want, just do some badass shit and you will be what you are. Shame is bullshit.
 
Chris Kott
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That is a big thing, Ben. I think a big part of the problem is that we want to eat whatever we want to eat, but we don't do the work that eating like that requires. And shame is bullshit.

It's okay to eat like a lumberjack if you're going to go burn the same amount of calories daily as a lumberjack; if you eat a stack of flapjacks, three kinds of breakfast meat, three eggs, four slices of toast with bacon fat, and a scone with butter and jam for breakfast, and then sit in front of a screen all day, it doesn't take a professional of any sort to predict what will happen.

I have found that mentality prevalent in some recent immigrant populations (my mother was born in Poland and came to Canada at the age of 5, and both of her sisters and at least one cousin are, if not morbidly obese, then on the cusp, and have been for decades, to the point of chronic health issues). I think it stems from a change of availability and from cultural inertia bearing on how food is regarded. If, back in the mother country, meat was only rarely available, or was a food of the wealthy, and it's now cheap and plentiful in Canada, most dishes are going to focus on the meat. If, back in the mother country, the majority of the family worked in physical occupations and ate that way, it's unlikely that pattern would change, even if, instead of working in the fields all day, one is working in a factory environment, not burning anywhere near as many calories.

And so my grandfather had his first major heart attack in his mid-thirties, and listened to the wisdom of the day, and cut back a bit on everything. His next major heart attack was in his mid-fifties, and at that point he was cautioned to take extreme measures. So he drank much less (average consumption for that demographic of Polish immigrant would easily have qualified as alcoholism today, and probably still does) and cut back on everything. Five years or so later, he decided that it wasn't worth living if he couldn't live, and started doing what he wanted again.

So at sixty-two, he had another heart attack in the early summer of that year. He had a more severe one mowing the lawn that fall. He didn't survive.

And he wasn't obese, strictly speaking. He was carrying around a spare tire, but he wasn't even jolly-old-St.-Nick fat. And he was extremely active. So the amount of body fat one is carrying isn't necessarily even indicative of much, nor is it necessary to be excessively sedentary to do onesself harm.

So again, shaming is bullshit. Full stop. I think it really important to have conversations about what people consider healthy food, healthy amounts, healthy average physical capabilities for people for different age ranges, that sort of thing. And again, not because I think we need a metric to use to make people feel bad. For me, that's like smell in permaculture; if you're smelling it, you're probably doing it wrong. If you're making people feel bad, and negativity is all there is to it, it isn't achieving the desired result, and is doing harm, besides.

I think we need these metrics so that we can better tie the ways physicality and proper diet composed of actual food helps keep us healthy. And to sate whatever natural human competitiveness exists. We should have goals for average physicality, not just celebrity, record-breaking physicality.

-CK
 
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Just to add my 2 cents...

Although there is disturbing evidence about an obesity crisis it's hard to discuss the topic because we still don't have the proper information to have a base line conversation.

What is a healthy weight?

Well let's start with the 'medical' or 'scientific' view of this. We don't know! Why don't we know? First reason is that the majority of Western medicine is still based of old studies that used white men between the ages of 18-25 to determine baseline health statistics. Even though more recent studies have come out to address this issue it still takes a long tome for this information to enter the education system and even longer to be used in medical practice. The second issue is that our medical system treats populations not individuals. There are practical reasons for this, but the fact is that an individuals health needs to be addressed at the individual level.

The second issue is that we are so bombarded with images through social media and media in general that it's hard to even conceptualize what a 'normal' person should look like. The media uses body extremes to grab our attention. So what is a normal body type? When you're bombarded with images of women with tiny wastes and yet huge asses you start to wonder why there are so many people who can obtain the 'ideal' body and despite your best effort you are still 'bland'. However, the internet gives us access to millions of other lives. If only 0.1% of the population have the genetic and social-financial requirements to have "That Bod" then out of a 100 million people on the internet that is still 100,000 people with Intsagram pages solely devoted beach bods and workout photo shoots. Those people get the attention, the sponsors, and the 'presence' on social media platforms. MATH!

So how do we have a discussion about what is a healthy weight when the world 'healthy' has such polarized meanings? How do we teach our children to eat healthy when the scientific literature is getting jerked around by multi-billion dollar industries. How do adults inspire body confidence in others when we don't even know what a normal body is anymore?
 
Dale Hodgins
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I don't think it's true that we have no idea what healthy people should look like. Search hunter-gathering people on YouTube, and you will see people of every race, and how those people looked before agriculture allowed them to live on sugar and starch.
There will be differences. The pygmies and San of Africa carry less fat than the Inuit or Laplanders, but no matter where they are from, it's clear from the pictures that they tend to have more lean body mass and less fat. You may have to go to Historic pictures for the Inuit and Laps.

There are also groups in Thailand, the Amazon basin and Palawan, who hunt and gather most of their diet. They tend to be a different shape than their city-dwelling brethren.

One of the most extreme examples would be amongst the San or Bushman of southern Africa. Many work on Commercial Farms, where their diet has changed. Diabetes and other modern health problems are rampant. Those who have continued with the traditional diet that involves quite a bit of exercise, to obtain that diet, are not experiencing this health crisis.

I was in France, where the majority of people looked fit and trim. Obesity and the associated problems are rampant amongst French Canadians. So I think we can rule out genetics. There are definite differences in the cuisine between the two places, and the amount of exercise that people get, just travelling around. I believe the automobile is responsible for much of the world's obesity.
 
Ashley Cottonwood
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Dale Hodgins wrote:I don't think it's true that we have no idea what healthy people should look like. Search hunter-gathering people on YouTube, and you will see people of every race, and how those people looked before agriculture allowed them to live on sugar and starch.
There will be differences. The pygmies and San of Africa carry less fat than the Inuit or Laplanders, but no matter where they are from, it's clear from the pictures that they tend to have more lean body mass and less fat. You may have to go to Historic pictures for the Inuit and Laps.

There are also groups in Thailand, the Amazon basin and Palawan, who hunt and gather most of their diet. They tend to be a different shape than their city-dwelling brethren.

One of the most extreme examples would be amongst the San or Bushman of southern Africa. Many work on Commercial Farms, where their diet has changed. Diabetes and other modern health problems are rampant. Those who have continued with the traditional diet that involves quite a bit of exercise, to obtain that diet, are not experiencing this health crisis.

I was in France, where the majority of people looked fit and trim. Obesity and the associated problems are rampant amongst French Canadians. So I think we can rule out genetics. There are definite differences in the cuisine between the two places, and the amount of exercise that people get, just travelling around. I believe the automobile is responsible for much of the world's obesity.



I guess I should be more specific then: What does a healthy individual look like on an individual level and how do we, as a society, asses that or how does an individual asses their own health?

There are black and white example of poor health or the degradation of population health because of colonization, but the examples above of personal accounts are more grey. Should I loose 10lbs? What ratio of carbs, fats, and proteins should I be eating? Hunting and gathering is great natural system to strive towards but again can not always be applied to the individual due to geographical and social-economic constraints. How do you balance maintaining a 'natural' diet with the diet of your community and the social interactions you may void by not participating. Yes, living in a permaculture/hunter gatherer based community may address a lot of these issues but that doesn't address the needs of people who still live urban centres or harsher climates.
 
Trace Oswald
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In this day and age with information readily available, I struggle with the idea that some people don't know what healthy food is.  I understand there are alternative diets, differing opinions, and the like, but does anyone really not know that chicken, fish, fresh fruits and vegetables are healthier than donuts, hotdogs, McDonalds, and microwave dinners?  The "healthy food costs too much" idea doesn't ring true for me either.  If you only shop at Whole Foods, that may very well be the case, but nearly all populated areas have Walmarts and other grocery stores that sell healthy food at relatively low prices.  In rural areas, eating healthy is even cheaper in many places, as farmer's markets, roadside stands, you-pick-em places are all pretty popular in the rural communities I have lived in or visited.  Vegetables are very cheap in this country.  Chicken can be purchased, especially on sale, for much less than garbage food costs.  I don't see a need for everyone to return to a hunter-gatherer lifestyle to eat healthy food.
 
Nicole Alderman
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When you look at how many calories you can get per dollar, you can get a LOT more calories eating processed food than non processed. Bacon and hot dogs have a lot of calories (largely from fat, and many think that these are healthy if sourced well. What's wrong with grassfed hotdogs?), but they're much lower in nutrients than veggies.

Sure, it's probably cheaper to cook rice and beans and potatoes from scratch than it is to eat a bunch of ho-hos or McDonalds. But that requires you to actually know how to cook and have the equipment and time to do so. A cup of ramen is a lot easier to cook and is cheaper. To get enough calories from veggies, you need to buy a LOT of them. I once made a big excell spreadsheet with the cost to calorie ratio of all the foods we buy. Veggies and fruits came in really low. Juice, bacon, and rice came up much higher.  We don't buy fruits or veggies any more, due to their high cost and low calories--we grow them instead.

Bacon and rice and beans don't have nearly as much vitamins as veggies, but they are much cheaper. There are a lot of sales at Walmart, etc for frozen pizzas and breaded chicken dinos and ice cream.

When I'd see people who spent $100 or less per month on groceries, it was largely couponed processed food. We spend a good $1,200+ on groceries four the four of us. Due to my husband's crohn's, he can't eat any starches or sugars other than honey or fruit. I try to limit all the starches for my kids and I, too, due to our autoimmune problems and the ones that our kids might have inherited.

My friend always has lower grocery costs than us--she buys processed food at walmart that's on sale. We buy organic stuff on sale at local outlet stores. it still costs more. And we spend a lot more time cooking from scratch than she does throwing a frozen pizza or lasagna in the oven (or box of mac and cheese in the pot) than we do...
 
Ashley Cottonwood
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Trace Oswald wrote: In this day and age with information readily available, I struggle with the idea that some people don't know what healthy food is.


Because the information we receive and seek goes still goes through a cultural filter.

Trace Oswald wrote: I understand there are alternative diets, differing opinions, and the like, but does anyone really not know that chicken, fish, fresh fruits and vegetables are healthier than donuts, hotdogs, McDonalds, and microwave dinners?


This is because we are isolating the issue of food choice to the access of information and not taking in account the the physical, mental, and spiritual environments that these choices take place in. Do I take the time to prep a healthy meal or do I take the kids to McDonalds so I get to spend 30 minutes with my kids and save myself time so I can sleep maybe 5 hours tonight. What is the healthier choice in the long run? It's contextual.


Trace Oswald wrote:  The "healthy food costs too much" idea doesn't ring true for me either.  If you only shop at Whole Foods, that may very well be the case, but nearly all populated areas have Walmarts and other grocery stores that sell healthy food at relatively low prices.  In rural areas, eating healthy is even cheaper in many places, as farmer's markets, roadside stands, you-pick-em places are all pretty popular in the rural communities I have lived in or visited.  Vegetables are very cheap in this country.  Chicken can be purchased, especially on sale, for much less than garbage food costs.  I don't see a need for everyone to return to a hunter-gatherer lifestyle to eat healthy food.



I'm not sure where you live but this is not the case for my community. Farmers markets are 'posh' and the cost of fruit, veggies, and meat are more expensive than what you would find in the grocery store the vast majority of the time. Meat can up to twice the cost at the farmers market (for good reason too!). This also assumes that you have the ability to go the the farmers market the one day a week it takes place. The one road side fruit stand the produce, is again, usually more expensive unless you buying in bulk (and then have to have the time to food prep if you buy produce in bulk) and is seasonal so is only available 4 months of the year. I live in almost a 'food dessert' if it wasn't for the successful small scale ranching in the area; but meat is expensive and produce is hard to grow affordably when your growing season is so short.  

I live in a rural area. The nearest Walmart is a 2.5 hour drive. The nearest large grocery store is an hour away. The town has a population of between 6,000 and 10,000 people depending in the season (tourist town) so it's not exactly insignificant.

Again, I think these judgements on others are made without context. Your food education depends on your culture and your family; you will filter the information you have access to after through that lens unless you are specifically taught to make decisions understanding person and cultural bias (which is rare these days).

Economic status plays a HUGE role in food choice. You may not be able to afford to live in an area the has easy access to fresh foods. You may not be able to afford the time required to make healthy food choice.

The biggest factor I think we have yet to talk about it the mental health crisis and how it relates to food. Also food addiction and addiction itself are closely correlated to an individuals socioeconomic status. Of course people know the donut is not healthy, but when it's your only source of joy in your day you might end up eating it.

Speaking of joy and food. Food is foundational for, I would say, every culture. Because of how fast paced and isolated our societies of become so many people have lost their connection with food and the social interaction associated with it. People often feel guilty about enjoying food because of all the cultural pressures put on food choices these days; as seen in eating disorders.

I guess my point is it's easy to over simplify the issue and place blame on the individual.
 
Trace Oswald
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Allazandrea Cottonwood wrote: Again, I think these judgements on others are made without context. Your food education depends on your culture and your family; you will filter the information you have access to after through that lens unless you are specifically taught to make decisions understanding person and cultural bias (which is rare these days).

I guess my point is it's easy to over simplify the issue and place blame on the individual.




Please don't put words in my mouth or make assumptions about what you think I said.  I'm not making any judgement on others, and I'm very much against shaming of anyone, to include the very heavy, or very thin.  I'm not placing blame on anyone, and I'm not skinny.  I'm simply saying that those two reasons don't make sense to me.  I think that most people that are overweight, and that includes me and people in my immediate family, one of whom has been more than 100 lbs overweight for 30 or more years, are overweight for psychological reasons.  In my own case, I boredom eat, and when I do, I'm not eating a salad.  Lots of people eat because of poor self-esteem, stress, or other psychological reasons, which is another reason shaming is exactly the wrong tactic if you truly want to help.  
 
Trace Oswald
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Nicole Alderman wrote:When you look at how many calories you can get per dollar, you can get a LOT more calories eating processed food than non processed. Bacon and hot dogs have a lot of calories (largely from fat, and many think that these are healthy if sourced well. What's wrong with grassfed hotdogs?), but they're much lower in nutrients than veggies.



And I would say that is a very good reason that eating processed, packaged food lends itself to obesity issues.

Nicole Alderman wrote:My friend always has lower grocery costs than us--she buys processed food at walmart that's on sale. We buy organic stuff on sale at local outlet stores. it still costs more. And we spend a lot more time cooking from scratch than she does throwing a frozen pizza or lasagna in the oven (or box of mac and cheese in the pot) than we do...



I agree that organic foods cost a lot more than some other choices.  I would also say that, given limited funds, buying non-organic fruits and vegetables is a much better choice than processed food.  And yes, it takes longer to cook than it does to throw something in a microwave, but everything in life is about what you choose to spend your time on.  Exercising takes time, cooking takes time, watching TV takes time, spending quality time with your children takes time.  We all have 24 hours in the day, and we all have our own priorities when choosing how to spend that time.
 
Ashley Cottonwood
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Trace Oswald wrote:

Please don't put words in my mouth or make assumptions about what you think I said.  I'm not making any judgement on others, and I'm very much against shaming of anyone, to include the very heavy, or very thin.  I'm not placing blame on anyone, and I'm not skinny.  I'm simply saying that those two reasons don't make sense to me.  I think that most people that are overweight, and that includes me and people in my immediate family, one of whom has been more than 100 lbs overweight for 30 or more years, are overweight for psychological reasons.  In my own case, I boredom eat, and when I do, I'm not eating a salad.  Lots of people eat because of poor self-esteem, stress, or other psychological reasons, which is another reason shaming is exactly the wrong tactic if you truly want to help.  



My sincere apologies. My final statement was in attempts to summarize my thought not imply that you, yourself, where judging people. I should have made that more clear.

Again, to try and make my thoughts clear. When addressing the issue of obesity in society I often find that proposed 'solutions' are blanket statements that do not account for the complexity that is human behaviour. That whatever solutions that may exists are implemented on a small scale level taking that take into account micro environments and culture while drawing information and resources from what ever population studies and governmental policies that are applicable.
 
Trace Oswald
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Allazandrea Cottonwood wrote:

Trace Oswald wrote:

Please don't put words in my mouth or make assumptions about what you think I said.  I'm not making any judgement on others, and I'm very much against shaming of anyone, to include the very heavy, or very thin.  I'm not placing blame on anyone, and I'm not skinny.  I'm simply saying that those two reasons don't make sense to me.  I think that most people that are overweight, and that includes me and people in my immediate family, one of whom has been more than 100 lbs overweight for 30 or more years, are overweight for psychological reasons.  In my own case, I boredom eat, and when I do, I'm not eating a salad.  Lots of people eat because of poor self-esteem, stress, or other psychological reasons, which is another reason shaming is exactly the wrong tactic if you truly want to help.  



My sincere apologies. My final statement was in attempts to summarize my thought not imply that you, yourself, where judging people. I should have made that more clear.

Again, to try and make my thoughts clear. When addressing the issue of obesity in society I often find that proposed 'solutions' are blanket statements that do not account for the complexity that is human behaviour. That whatever solutions that may exists are implemented on a small scale level taking that take into account micro environments and culture while drawing information and resources from what ever population studies and governmental policies that are applicable.



No apology necessary.  I agree with you that this is an issue that is over-simplified and doesn't begin to account for the complexity of the issue.
 
Ashley Cottonwood
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I think to clarify what I'm getting at I'd like to share this video. I think it's a powerful reminder of how important our culture and overall environmental exposure is to our decision making. The kids just learned how 'chicken nuggets' are made but check out their reaction at the end!

 
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I believe that a lot of people, I’m not pointing at anyone here in this discussion just kind of American society as a group, think short term when it comes to food costs - How much money leaves our wallets when purchasing food today, and few seem to consider the long term costs of health problems later in life after decades of eating fast food and soda pop & processed and boxed foods. Decades of daily consumption of processed fat & sugars often leads to diabetes and becomes quite an expense to manage, and comes with new dietary restrictions and guidelines. There are a host of other health maladies that can largely be avoided, simply by eating real food. If we cast aside and don’t even consider the monetary costs of ailments such as diabetes, heart disease, fatty liver, obesity etc, it’s a real downer on ones quality of life. I do my best to avoid making broad generalizing statements, especially written ones here on Permies, but I’m going to make one here: I bet nobody, anywhere, dreams of and fantasizes about being chronically sick during their lifetime. It just happens to people, and some don’t realize it’s largely avoidable, and they’ve been bringing systemic illness upon themselves by not taking into consideration their food choices.
 
Travis Johnson
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James Freyr wrote:I believe that a lot of people, I’m not pointing at anyone here in this discussion just kind of American society as a group, think short term when it comes to food costs - How much money leaves our wallets when purchasing food today, and few seem to consider the long term costs of health problems later in life after decades of eating fast food and soda pop & processed and boxed foods. Decades of daily consumption of processed fat & sugars often leads to diabetes and becomes quite an expense to manage, and comes with new dietary restrictions and guidelines. There are a host of other health maladies that can largely be avoided, simply by eating real food. If we cast aside and don’t even consider the monetary costs of ailments such as diabetes, heart disease, fatty liver, obesity etc, it’s a real downer on ones quality of life. I do my best to avoid making broad generalizing statements, especially written ones here on Permies, but I’m going to make one here: I bet nobody, anywhere, dreams of and fantasizes about being chronically sick during their lifetime. It just happens to people, and some don’t realize it’s largely avoidable, and they’ve been bringing systemic illness upon themselves by not taking into consideration their food choices.




That is all true, but then there is the cost of quality food.

I live adjacent to the poorest town in the United States, and people here just do not have the money for quality food. When I was at the grocery store, a woman with an obvious family bought food, and I complimented her on her quality food choices, and a nice conversation began. But I was well aware of what the total cost was too, and it was twice that of someone buying average groceries.

Here, because of the heavy push to feed America's starving children (Called food insecurity now), low income people have food choices everywhere, from Farmer's Markets, to Farmer Drops, to Coops...however, the cost is incredibly high. That is fine, but the food stamp system is done by allocated monies, so a poor family might have the choice of buying half their high nutrition foods at a farmers market for two weeks, or all of their cheaper food at a grocery store for the month. The majority of people chose the latter because it stretches food, farther.

This is doubly troublesome to taxpayers because the poor also have government health insurance too, so the taxpayer is double-paying for those poor food choices.

There is some happy news though. Just a few years ago 1 in 6 kids were "food insecure", but now it has dropped to 1 in 5 kids. How did they do that? Again, I live in a very poor area, so they did it by giving quality food to kids. EVERYONE in my school district, regardless of income levels, gets free school lunches. And those school lunches are provided during school vacations, including during the summer. If you are under 18 years old, on any weekday, you can eat for free at any school caferteria, or other comunity caferterias throughout the area.

But how nutriitious are these meals?

Pretty darn good.

Our school dirtrict has won awards for farmer to school meals. We were the first in the country to not only provide county-farmer veggies and fruits, but also meat. In fact my daughters at recess, can see their next school lunch meal grazing across the street at the local beef farm. It literally is that local.

So things are working, and getting better. I mean consider this, I can take my four daughters at 11:30 AM on any weekday, and get them free nutritious, locally raised meals just by stopping into community centers, or any school cafeteria. Technically I cannot get a free meal because I am over 18 years old, but...they always have extra food, and I would be surprised if they turned anyone away, even due to being an adult.

We still have our problems I admit, and I can discuss them if anyone wishes, but it is getting better here.
 
James Freyr
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Travis Johnson wrote:

That is all true, but then there is the cost of quality food.

I live adjacent to the poorest town in the United States, and people here just do not have the money for quality food.



Indeed, quality food does cost more, but, I think it's important to inform and educate people that quality food isn't only accessible with money, but a good portion can be grown in a backyard garden to offset the costs, just like Nicole mentioned in her post above. Seeds don't cost a whole lot, and can theoretically be purchased once and saved each year, providing a lifetime of vegetables for a person who gardens. Animal proteins may be another matter, but I believe that just because someone doesn't have much money for food, doesn't mean they're de facto limited or even restricted to eating junk. I think this is really wading into philosophy and I do realize that some folks just don't want to garden; it's too much work, it's a hassle, it's inconvenient, it's too hot outside etc. No one can force anyone to change. People have to want it. I think it's very complicated - talking about it is easy, but making lifestyle changes isn't. Maybe some just don't even consider gardening but if they just tried they may discover they really like it.
 
Always look on the bright side of life. At least this ad is really tiny:
September-October Homestead Skills Jamboree 2019
https://permies.com/wiki/118704/permaculture-projects/September-October-Homestead-Skills-Jamboree
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