In which a group of graying eternal amateurs discuss their passions, interests and obsessions, among them: movies, art, politics, evolutionary biology, taxes, writing, computers, these kids these days, and lousy educations.

E-Mail Donald
Demographer, recovering sociologist, and arts buff

E-Mail Fenster
College administrator and arts buff

E-Mail Francis
Architectural historian and arts buff

E-Mail Friedrich
Entrepreneur and arts buff
E-Mail Michael
Media flunky and arts buff

We assume it's OK to quote emailers by name.

Try Advanced Search

  1. Seattle Squeeze: New Urban Living
  2. Checking In
  3. Ben Aronson's Representational Abstractions
  4. Rock is ... Forever?
  5. We Need the Arts: A Sob Story
  6. Form Following (Commercial) Function
  7. Two Humorous Items from the Financial Crisis
  8. Ken Auster of the Kute Kaptions
  9. What Might Representational Painters Paint?
  10. In The Times ...

Sasha Castel
AC Douglas
Out of Lascaux
The Ambler
Modern Art Notes
Cranky Professor
Mike Snider on Poetry
Silliman on Poetry
Felix Salmon
Polly Frost
Polly and Ray's Forum
Stumbling Tongue
Brian's Culture Blog
Banana Oil
Scourge of Modernism
Visible Darkness
Thomas Hobbs
Blog Lodge
Leibman Theory
Goliard Dream
Third Level Digression
Here Inside
My Stupid Dog
W.J. Duquette

Politics, Education, and Economics Blogs
Andrew Sullivan
The Corner at National Review
Steve Sailer
Joanne Jacobs
Natalie Solent
A Libertarian Parent in the Countryside
Rational Parenting
Colby Cosh
View from the Right
Pejman Pundit
God of the Machine
One Good Turn
Liberty Log
Daily Pundit
Catallaxy Files
Greatest Jeneration
Glenn Frazier
Jane Galt
Jim Miller
Limbic Nutrition
Innocents Abroad
Chicago Boyz
James Lileks
Cybrarian at Large
Hello Bloggy!
Setting the World to Rights
Travelling Shoes

Redwood Dragon
The Invisible Hand
Daze Reader
Lynn Sislo
The Fat Guy
Jon Walz


Our Last 50 Referrers

« Bird Flu or Not? | Main | Going to Hawaii to Jump the Shark »

October 19, 2005

The Weight Loss Industry

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

Thanks to visitor (and weight-and-diet expert) PeggyNature, who called my attention to Paul Campos' "The Obesity Myth." Campos' book is a lot more than just provocative. Spiked Online runs a substantial excerpt here. Eye-opening passage:

We should be encouraging Americans to be physically active, to eat well, and to provide reasonable access to medical care for those among us who lack it. What we should not be doing is telling Americans that they will improve their health by trying to lose weight. There is very little evidence that attempts to achieve weight loss will improve the health of most people who undertake them, and a great deal of evidence that such attempts do more harm than good.

Perhaps the time has come to throw those diet books away.



posted by Michael at October 19, 2005


Throwing out those diet books? Does that count as exercise? I'm on it!

Posted by: DarkoV on October 19, 2005 4:47 PM

Aha! An excuse to shamelessly promote my new blog: Videogame Workout. Modern technology has recently been making physical activity a lot more convenient and a lot less tedious. The initial wave was the dancing game - Dance Dance Revolution and the like. Then we started getting more weird controllers to enable new kinds of kinetic games or turn all the old-fashioned games into exercise, and now we have the digitized personal trainer that never tires, judges, requires you to show up at a gym or charges by the hour.

So losing weight as a primary goal may be passe, but getting in shape has never been easier.

Seriously, if you've ever considered taking an fitness class or using a personal trainer, you've GOT to try Yourself!Fitness. It is truly addictive.

Their official site is here.

Posted by: Glen Raphael on October 19, 2005 5:03 PM

And lo and behold, it looks like for many people their obesity may have been caused by a virus:

Although I'm sure all the corn syrup doesn't help any either!

Posted by: David Mercer on October 19, 2005 8:57 PM

There is no doubt that extreme obesity is dangerous, but the idea that being just slightly over one's "ideal" weight is unhealthy, that's another story.

Posted by: Peter on October 19, 2005 10:35 PM

This is ever-so-slightly off-topic, but in a mag/tabloid rack near checkout, I noticed a headline saying something very much like "Eat More and Lose Weight!" Perfect editorial marketing.

But "Fat is Healthy" (well, maybe "Fat Won't Kill Ya") could prove the death of such lovely eyeball grabbers.

Michael, you are SO cruel!

Posted by: Donald Pittenger on October 19, 2005 10:36 PM

Remember Robert Maynard Hutchins' quip: "Whenever I feel like exercise, I lie down until the feeling passes."

Posted by: winifer skattebol on October 19, 2005 11:05 PM

I totally agree--being healthy is not all about diets. I think too many people these days concentrate too much on what they eat rather than how much exercise they're doing, or being active, or not working too hard, or just even taking care of their own mental health.

Posted by: sya on October 20, 2005 10:33 AM

My own hunch is that Americans really, really love being stressed-out, striving for the impossible, and complaining about it all -- that many people are addicted to this cycle. How else to explain how/why so many people refuse to ease up on themselves a bit? Which would suggest that most Americans won't really be able to abandon the roller-coaster ride of nervous eating, over-fretting about health, making new resolutions, and watching themselves get fatter and get in worse and worse psychological/physical shape ...

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on October 20, 2005 10:46 AM

As long as big-heads-on-sticks celebrities are in fashion, it doesn't matter what the experts say about dieting, people will still be dieting.

Posted by: Rachel on October 20, 2005 2:45 PM

Americans are bloated, no doubt about it. If you don't think so, I respectfully suggest that you open your freaking eyes. ;)

Fat is very ugly. Fat people are ungainly, smelly, shapeless, and grotesque. My father said that in the 1940s, anyone who looked like the average female customer in Wal-Mart looks today would only be seen in the circus - as the "Fat Lady," in her own tent. However, today such piano-legged persons are common.

Eat less indeed. Despite the talk of viruses or bad vibes or whatever causing obesity, you may observe (if you look carefully enough) that most everyone whom one might describe as "fat" has (in at least one hand) either a bag of chips or a "jumbo"-size soft drink during all waking hours. Especially soft drink. And they carry it and slurp it everywhere they ponderously waddle: down the sidewalk, down the Wal-Mart aisle, in the doctor's waiting room, and (who knows?) even in the surgery room.

What gets me is the story of that doctor who recently told one of his patients that being so fat is a health risk. The patient sued the doctor - because, blubbered the patient blubberly by way of explanation, the doctor was "mean" to say this.

There is only one solution to bloat: put down that soft drink, stop snacking, reduce intake. Exercise doesn't work. Notice that it works only when combined with reduced intake. Notice that reduced intake works on its own. QED.

The worst thing to do for fat people is not to point out that they are too large. The worst thing is to encourage them to believe that 200 pounds is a "normal, average" weight, and that the airliner seats are "too small." Bosh.

Yes, I'm mean. So sue me. But make sure you live long enough to collect the settlement - by not getting or staying fat.

Hugs and kisses,

Posted by: David R. on October 21, 2005 11:32 AM

That's a weight off my mind.

Posted by: Rick Darby on October 21, 2005 11:34 AM

1) David R. is a jerk. I think the worst thing we can do with jerks is not point out to them that they are jerks---letting them think they are "just being honest"---bah. Being a jerk is worse than extra pounds, because being thin doesn't make up for it. Then you are just a thin jerk. Ick.

2) I think people just have to find a weight for themselves which allows them to not be crazy about their weight, one way (too thin) or the other (too heavy).

Posted by: annette on October 21, 2005 12:22 PM

A jerk? Probably. And hey, there are plenty of really skinny folk who are lumbering, ill-shaped as any circus curiosities, capable of knocking a flock of buzzards off a shitwagon, and just plain unlovely. So what.

That stuff is about hatred. The kind that you have to be carefully taught.

Posted by: Flutist on October 22, 2005 9:30 AM

Post a comment

Email Address:



Remember your info?