Obesity hysteria triggering eating disorders? Shocking.

According to an article in the Sydney Morning Herald.

The number of Australians with eating disorders has doubled in the past decade and specialists think obesity hysteria could be to blame. 

The constant barrage of fat phobic news is having a negative effect? It’s a wild hypothesis. It’s hard to imagine how… 

…could be harmful. Who could have predicted it? Obesity crusaders are brilliant and pure of heart; but they’re not psychic.

Which brings me to my favorite news story of the week:  Reading about the obesity epidemic causes weight gain. lemming3.jpgI had to read that twice too.

The theory here goes if you read about the obesity epidemic, and realize how many people are fat, you’ll gain weight just to fit in. I think they got this from Zelig. It’s also known as the lemming hypothesis. 

Goddammit. Either obesity hysteria turns people into weight obsessed compulsive dieters, or it turns them into conformist complacent fatties (I raise my hand). But it can’t be both.

Because the singular of data is anecdote, I’m turning to my own experience to resolve this koan. Over the past few months I’ve skimmed dozens of stories about the obesity epidemic in the popular press, and I have to admit there was a definite effect on my eating.  

In the interest of science, I will reveal that every time I saw the phrase “lifestyle changes” I popped an Oreo. This stuff gets pretty repetitive and I had to do something to relieve the monotony. It became a game, sort of like “Hi Bob.” Anytime “lifestyle” was code for: “fat people eat burgers all day while sitting motionless” – well that was two Oreos.

You get the idea. Just some examples of my system:

Fat compared to a natural disaster, nuclear explosion, or meteor strike: 3 Oreos and a half hour of Tetris

Weight Loss advocated at the end of an article about the futility of weight loss. 4 Oreos.

Fat children being punted around as political footballs: 4 Oreos and a shot of whole milk.

Kelly Brownell saying something incredibly fat phobic while decrying stigma: A gourmet pizza and a sharp kick to my exercise bike.

The American Obesity Association referred to as a “patient advocacy organization:” 5 Oreos, a bottle of high fructose corn syrup, and a nap.

All of which had the predictable effect, I guess. I’m still fat. 


9 Responses to “Obesity hysteria triggering eating disorders? Shocking.”

  1. celsou Says:

    You can do the same thing when watching a news report on the obesity crisis:
    2 oreos each time you see an anonymous fat person’s bum
    3 oreos for an anonymous tummy
    1 tub of ice cream for blurry shots of stomach surgery
    2slices of pizza for the obligatory montage of fast food places

  2. The Rotund Says:

    *snicker* No! This can’t be! It simply can’t be that obesity hysteria triggers eating disorders!


    Seriously, this is SUCH a duh moment. And, given how many diets fail and the manner in which they fail, even people who do not have eating disorders will buy into the hysteria, go on a diet, and wind up gaining weight.

  3. Nicole Says:

    The depressing thing for me is that it seems to be getting worse, not better. Even when you have pieces in the NYT that tell us that even in the 1950s the medical establishment knew that the “eat less, exercise more” mantra would not make people uniformly skinny, the madness continues. I can’t read Susan Szwarc more than once a week. It just makes me too crazy to hear how we are all being manipulated by these ridiculous “studies”.

    Thanks for a great post. I’m really enjoying your blog!

  4. Meowzer Says:

    ABC, what sooooper geeeeniuses you are. Of course, everyone wants their very own headless stomachs to become world famous, so they just eat and eat and eat, and not celery sticks either, and then sit and sit and sit and sit and then sit some more, because nobody would want to be left out of being told that rain forests are being torched every day on their selfish fat butt’s behalf. *I* sure would miss it.

    So how many calories are burned with each headdesk, anyway? (I don’t like Oreos, can I use Nutter Butters to make up the deficit instead?)

  5. Maya's Granny Says:

    Wonderful. The propaganda gets heavier and heavier while we get more and more sinned against. And nowhere do they seem to question their obsession with women who look like junior high school boys!

  6. wriggles Says:

    Interesting, warnings against fatness causes fatness. Does this mean they will stop talking now?

  7. vesta44 Says:

    And why wouldn’t it trigger an eating disorder? Hell, the food advertisements followed by dieting commercials on television alone are enough to cause eating disorders. Push food, food, food, on people 24/7 and then tell them that they have to be thin, so if you eat the food, you then have to deprive yourself of that very food in order to meet their ideal of thinness.
    I have been saying for years that dieting (for weight loss) is a no-win situation. If you are an alcoholic, you can live without that alcohol (it’s not going to kill you if you never have another drink), and if you’re a smoker, you can live without cigarettes (same thing as alcohol, not smoking another cigarette is not going to kill you, might make you wish it would…lol). But if you are obese, you can bet it’s damn well going to kill you if you never eat another bite of any kind of food.
    The obsession marketers have with creating and selling food, in all of its myriad flavors, natural and artificial, seems to be a major problem. I mean really, how many kinds of cereal do we need? And how many different types of mac & cheese? Or any other processed food? Our parents and grandparents got along just fine with a smaller selection than what we have now.
    I know living in an industrialized nation means we have more disposable income than at any time in our history, but does everything have to be more, bigger, MORE, MORE, MORE, all the time?

  8. Some Listening for Your Workout « fat fu Says:

    […] Kelly Brownell have been debating all week in the Los Angeles Times. Go read. The down side is my exercise bike is now a total loss. Posted in […]

  9. kateharding Says:

    How did I miss this the first time around? Hilarious!

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