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« Please Explain: Cezanne | Main | Traveling to Buy Stuff »

October 31, 2008


Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

* Obese people anticipate enjoying food more than lean people do -- but when they actually eat it, they enjoy it less.

* Diabetes is 'way up. (A small immigration angle here: "Diabetes is two to three times more common in Mexican American ... adults than in non-Hispanic whites." In other words, one reason the U.S.'s diabetes problem is becoming worse is that we have growing numbers of people of Mexican descent in the country. Not that you'll find this fact alluded to very often in the polite press ... )

* Dr. Michael Eades reports that obese people these days tend to underestimate how overweight they are. Why? Because fat has become the new normal. To demonstrate his point, Dr. Eades runs some clips of famous fatties from previous generations: Oliver Hardy, Curly of the Three Stooges, and Jackie Gleason, who called himself "The Fat Man." It's quite amazing how not-very-fat-at-all they look to present-day eyes. Big guys, sure. But not fat -- let alone obese -- by contempo standards. I'm not entirely surprised to learn that, where weight goes, surroundings do count. A major reason a Frenchperson will tend to be slim is that other Frenchpeople tend to be slim, for instance. And when the Wife and I visit relatives in the midwest, we giggle over the fact that we could put on 30 pounds each and still pass for slim among those sweet-natured but full-figured heartlanders.

* Learn about Intermittent Fasting from the experts.



posted by Michael at October 31, 2008


I took umbrage at your giggle at midwesterners. Google: "cdc U.S. obesity trends 1985-2007". The trend is lead by the southern states. The western states population are thinner, but little to distinguish midwest form the east coast.

Posted by: jz-md on October 31, 2008 10:52 AM

Well, the south, good lord ... At least the food there (soul food, southern cooking, etc) can tend to be delicious. The Wife and I each put on 10 pounds when we spent a couple of weeks there a few years back. It was all "joy of living" weight, let me tell you - gravies, pies, good fried food ... The food in the midwest these days is generally lousy. Hard to imagine eating enough of it to get fat. Funny fact: back prior to 1950, midwestern cooking was often really good.

But you don't see a lot of heftiness in the midwest when you're there? I'm surprised. My midwestern relatives and acquaintances talk about it (my "fullfigured" term is a joke I lifted from one of them). And when I was in a St. Louis hospital seven years ago all but one of the nurses who cared for me were huuuuuuuuuuge, as in "had to move the furniture aside just to make it across the room" huge. And they were nearly all in their 20s.

But you're right, the south clearly is leading in the extra-poundage sweepstakes.


Posted by: Michael Blowhard on October 31, 2008 11:02 AM

Is this pop science? Because the doctor told my husband the definition of diabetic had been changed, and where before he wouldn't have been diabetic, under the new definition he was. Diet and exercise took care of it in 3 mos. time.

Posted by: anonymousinTexas on October 31, 2008 12:40 PM

"The food in the midwest these days is generally lousy. Hard to imagine eating enough of it to get fat."

Midwesterners subscribe strongly to the philosophy that "the food is bad, but at least the portions are large" is the preferred model.

Posted by: CyndiF on October 31, 2008 1:54 PM

If you can't put on weight in the land of the all-you-can-eat pork barbecue, fried chicken, and fried-catfish with hushpuppies buffet, with ice cream and cobbler for dessert, then you can't put on weight anywhere.

Man, do I miss those places. Somebody needs to start one around Boston, and I mean in time for dinner tonight.

Posted by: Derek Lowe on October 31, 2008 2:29 PM

Beg to differ. Oliver Hardy and Jackie Gleason would have been fat in any era.

I claim no expertise in this area, but it seems to me the biggest obstacle people have to overcome when it comes to eating too much, myself included, is the food culture they were raised in. My mother was at best an average cook and the food she put on the table was unimaginative and only mildly tasteful but the portions were large. Nothing particularly wrong other than boring about a dinner plate consisting of london broil, mashed potatoes and string beans; but 2 slices of london broil instead of the 4 or 5 she put on the plate, a scoop instead of 2 or 3 scoops of the mashed potatoes, 6 string beans instead of 12 would have sated our hunger.

The habit of too much is almost impossible to break. To this day I "know" that very little food suffices to satisfy and fuel me, I'm not a laborer, but I still pile my plate high. In my experience it's very very difficult to break that imprinting.

Posted by: ricpic on October 31, 2008 3:41 PM

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