Survey Shows Americans Are in Denial about Their Weight

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By: , SparkPeople Blogger
9/8/2010 6:00 AM   :  131 comments   :  17,206 Views

See More: news, obesity,
Overweight and obesity are often in the news, with dismal headlines about the fattest states, the heaviest cities, and the rise in our collective girth. Once a problem for our nation's adults, not even our children or babies are immune to uncontrolled weight gain these days. It's hard to miss the headlines, but even harder not to notice that the people around you seem to be getting larger. Despite clear evidence to the contrary, a new online survey of 2,418 adults conducted by Harris Interactive and HealthDay shows that Americans don't view themselves as overweight, even when they actually are. Even worse, when respondents were asked which weight-loss intervention was most effective, diet and exercise didn't even make it into the top three.

In the survey, respondents provided their height and weight, which pollsters used to calculate their body mass index (BMI). Calculate your BMI here. They were then asked which weight classification they thought they fell into: normal weight, overweight, obese, or morbidly obese. Here's what the pollsters found:
  • 30% of the "overweight" individuals believed they were actually normal size.
  • 70% of the "obese" individuals felt they were simply overweight.
  • 60% of the "morbidly obese" individuals labeled themselves as obese, while another 39% considered themselves merely overweight.
Could this explain why overweight and obesity rates continue to rise in the U.S., since people don't recognize their weight as problematic? Experts are saying yes. According to Regina Corso, vice president of Harris Poll Solutions who conducted the poll, "If they do not recognize the problem or don't recognize the severity of the problem, they are less likely to do something about it." Still, most poll respondents recognized that they were heavier than they should be—just not the degree to which they were overweight.

With overweight is the new norm, it's easy to see yourself as "normal" (or not too far from it), even when you're overweight or obese.

So Why Do Americans Think They're Overweight?
Most poll respondents blamed lack of exercise for their weight problems, while far fewer recognized poor eating habits as a culprit. According to the poll,
  • Among overweight respondents, 52% felt they didn't exercise enough, but only 36% blamed their diets.
  • 75% of both the obese and morbidly obese felt they didn't exercise enough, but only 48% of obese respondents and 27% of morbidly obese individuals reported that they ate more than they should.
  • Overall, almost 60% of people said they were aware that they should be getting more exercise.
  • Only a little more than half of the obese and morbidly obese respondents felt they "ate too much of the wrong types of food."
Obviously, obesity is the result of a complex array of factors and decisions, not a single cause, but both food and fitness matter for weight control. If you're eating more than your body can burn, then you're probably eating too much and moving too little. Yes, exercise alone can help with weight control, but both dietary and exercise inventions are needed and recommended for weight loss. Considering what it takes to burn off just one small food item through exercise alone, we're facing a tough, slow, uphill battle against the bulge if we don't recognize that what we eat matters, too—and in my opinion, more than whether or not we exercise.

Why do we put so much credence in exercise and shy away from taking a good, hard look at what we're putting into our mouths? I have two theories.

First, this is the example we are given. We're constantly told that we don't exercise enough, but we are more seldom told that we eat too much. Weight-loss infomercials rarely talk about food—usually they hawk fitness gizmos that miraculously helped people melt away their fat in just minutes a day. (Read the fine print, though. Exercise alone and that device alone is never the sole cause of someone's svelte body.) Weight-loss reality TV shows depict people killing themselves in the gym for hours a day, not weighing their food or talking about how hungry they are from eating less. Fitness magazines primarily talk about workouts, with headlines about losing your gut or de-dimpling your derriere. It's no wonder we think a lack of exercise is what's to blame for our increased girth.

But what about food? People are always told that there is no such thing as good and bad foods, but can that honestly be true? Realistically, there are bad foods—we all know what they are—and they become especially bad when you eat too much of them too often. But it's more than that. Food is deeply personal to us. It reflects who you are, from your culture to your personality. I think people do really know that they eat poorly, eat too much, or eat the wrong things, but probably don't want to face it. For something that says so much about you, to admit that the food you choose to eat isn't so good might mean that you're not a good person either. It may signal that you're weak, that you lack willpower, that you don't care, or that you don't care what others think of you. Because food matters that much to us, and we want freedom to eat whatever we want. We don't want to be told what to eat or how to eat. We especially don't want to be told what NOT to eat. For some reason, there's not much stigma associated with a sedentary lifestyle, but people become very defensive and protective if you try to change, control, or analyze their food choices. It's easier to just say we don't exercise enough than to dissect something so personal to us.

How Americans Rank Weight-Loss Methods
According to the respondents, neither diet nor exercise ranked highly as the "most effective" methods of weight loss. Instead, people ranked other interventions in this order: 1- surgery (such as gastric bypass or stomach stapling), 2- prescription drugs, and 3- over-the-counter drugs and diet pills. Faith in these remedies seemed similar, regardless of the respondents' weight.

We love our quick fixes! Despite the insight that some people expressed about their diets and lack of physical activity, they turned away from those very culprits when asked about losing weight. But the cause is also the solution! Still, it may be easier to avoid changing your own habits by these means, even if they're riskier, potentially less effective, expensive, and downright unsafe at times.

Perhaps we don't want to change because we think it's too hard or aren't sure how to start. I can see how people feel overwhelmed by it all. I've been there myself, struggling to lose weight and failing, trying to exercise more without changing how much I was eating, wanting nothing more than to lose weight but not being ready to truly look at myself and the reasons why I was overweight in the first place. I'm sure many of you felt the same way before embarking on your own weight-loss journey.

That's why I love working for SparkPeople. Because it's real, it works and it's simple. And more than anything else, it's educational. SparkPeople's tools, programs and resources open people's eyes to what they're doing right and what they need to work on, and then we (not just our experts, but our amazingly supportive and smart members) help you get from where you are now to where you want to be, one small step at a time. You don't have to give up anything you don't want to (although you will eat less), and you don't have to run a marathon (although you will find clever ways to become more active each day). When I see news stories like this one, I feel devastated for the poor state of America's health and the future of our children. I feel sad that people don't seem to know what to do or understand how to get out of their weight predicament. But then I remember that SparkPeople is a beacon of hope that has the potential to rewrite the story of America. It's time to get real about our weight, what causes it, and what we can do about it. It's time to join forces with SparkPeople!

How do you explain these poll results? Have you ever experienced denial about your weight or your lifestyle?

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Comments

  • JOLKA79
    131
    thank you for the article! This is one of the best i've read on daily spark and i've been around for a couple years. I've noticed a while ago that people are in denial about their weight or just too lazy to do anything about it. They want everything the easy way because that's what they are used to since the early childhood. Sometimes i feel tired or lazy too, but i make myself exercise, sometimes less, sometimes i just choose an easier workout. There is also a lack of education about food. People choose a huge pretzel over a normal size steak for lunch because they think it's a better option. I didn't know much about food either until i found Sparkpeople. THANK YOU SPARKPEOPLE!!! - 10/13/2010   5:55:23 PM
  • 130
    Yes, as long as I could find clothes to fit I wasen't obese. Now that I have lost 160 lbs I really see the light. That is just something you never want to face. - 9/22/2010   2:22:20 PM
  • 129
    It's was much easier to hide my head in the sand than to face the fact that I was obese! Once I faced that fact then I had to do something about it! It is just more effort than some people want to put forth. We are still looking for the quick fix! - 9/15/2010   11:35:45 AM
  • 128
    I want to save this to my SparkFavorites, and I can't find the link to do that anymore. =( Thank you for writing this blog. I think it's really important and has really gotten me thinking. - 9/14/2010   9:16:40 AM
  • 127
    Its hard to see ourselves as we really are. My niece who is morbid obese, just thought of herself as overweigh. When i complained that i was close to being obese, she said i don't believe in those MBI charts, mine weight is way over any of those charts. When she finally admitted to being obese she said that when she looks at herself in the m mirror she sees herself as being much smaller the she actually is. - 9/14/2010   7:34:57 AM
  • THALIA100
    126
    We tend to compare ourselves with others and there is usually someone out there who is bigger than us. The media play a part too. Whenever I see a news item or documentary about obesity, it always focuses on really heavy people - not the person who is overweight or clinically obese. It becomes easy to believe that you have to be 300lbs to be obese, so doctors are fighting a losing battle in making us believe that we have a problem. - 9/13/2010   5:10:10 PM
  • 125
    I've definitely gone through the denial - still am, in many ways. You're right that I am more willing to exercise than to watch what I eat, but every time I watch what I eat, even for just a few days, the results are so obvious that it's totally impossible for me to deny that overeating is, for me, the biggest culprit.

    I don't know that I am totally ready to change - it feels like a major commitment! :) - 9/12/2010   6:25:57 AM
  • KELLYLEIP
    124
    To the person that said that part of the problem is that people do not know the definition of each, morbidly obese, obese, overweight, etc. I think that is part of the problem. Over the past year I had no misconceptions that I was above my healthy weight range, I just wasn't ready to do anything about it. But since I've been working at it, eating right and exercising, I'm down 47lbs so far and working on more! I figured that I was in the obese category. But I didn't know that anything over 30lbs is morbidly obese (at least I think that is definition - see I STILL don't know!) I just know that I have another 30 - 40lbs to lose to get into my normal range as per my dr's chart and recommendations. But maybe if dr's weren't scolded for being blatantly honest that would help fuel a change? My dr never said anything about my weight until I advised him I was starting Jenny Craig and then he provided me info. But the blame still lies with me for allowing myself to get to that point! - 9/12/2010   1:03:25 AM
  • 123
    I think I never really had a good idea about my weight; when I was younger I felt like I was fat, when older, I felt like I was a good weight even when I wasn't. I try to ask my partner to find people that are about my size so I can see what I look like size-wise. Odd phenomena... I still think the height/weight ration scale is too low EVENTHOUGH it is NOT. It's a matter of self honesty. Just own up to it. - 9/11/2010   7:19:24 PM
  • CASEYJO200
    122
    I am the one who is in denial. I have always seen myself differently than the picture. When I was a normal weight I thought I was fat. That is when I started my yo-yo dieting. :( - 9/11/2010   5:44:28 PM
  • 121
    My husband is in denial. He is borderline obese and thinks he's nowhere near obese. I'm overweight and working on losing my pounds. He's not. I agree with what someone wrote earlier, that we need to change what we are now before our children think that these weights are the norm! - 9/11/2010   5:23:28 PM
  • 120
    So at 5'1", and 143ish pounds, I rank "Overweight" in the BMI category, but if asked in a survey I would say that I am a normal size. A year and a half ago, I would have self identified as overweight because I felt it. Since working out regularly, I have lost inches, but the weight number has not really changed. I still feel better, and my self image has improved. Of course, I am not stupid and know that diet and exercise is the answer.
    I just don't like the way the survey asked people that question and the concluded that people aren't being realistic about their weight. BMI is not an end all answer to the health of an individual. - 9/11/2010   12:18:26 PM
  • 119
    I agree we are biggerin the U.S. and don't recongize it. I traveled to China for a brief trip in my 20s for a Masters program and I was the smalllest out of the group. I was 135 -140 lbs. I went to buy a traditional Chinese dress and the girls behind the counter laughed and pointed to me and said Extra Extra Large. They had to go to the back to find something that big. WOW what an eye opener. - 9/11/2010   8:54:09 AM
  • 118
    Now that I've lost 50 pounds, I've looked at old pictures of myself to really see how far I've come. The woman on the right in the picture at the top of the blog was me -- to a T. And I never really saw it. I knew I was overweight (and I know I still am), but I never gave a good hard look to see exactly by how much. Denial is awfully powerful. - 9/10/2010   9:53:44 PM
  • 117
    This article is true. Most overweight/obese Americans are in denial and it just makes me sad. It is something that I have been perplexed by since I have gained the 60 lbs. I have over the last 15 years. I remember the first time I saw a BMI chart and it classified me as obese. I went home, called my mom, who is a subsantial amount heavier than me, it made her livid! Everytime I've said to anyone how much weight I've needed to lose, they get this shocked look and say if you lose that much you'll be too skinny. NO, I'll be healthy is what I want to scream back. And then there's the common belief of we, as middle-age adults can never weigh what we did in our early 20's. I truly believe these are all beliefs that we overweight/obese WANT to adopt into our logic, because then we have a reason for being what we are. In truth, they are another excuse added to the long list we already have. Ignorance is not bliss. It's time for us to wake up to what the reality is and take responsibility and move in a positive direction before our children believe that overweight/obese is the norm. Educate by example... - 9/10/2010   6:25:02 PM
  • 116
    I can't or won't deny that the idea of Americans being in denial about the severity of the weight issues is a problem or the fact that Americans don't recognize that their diets are responsible for their weight issues, but as I read this something occurred to me. Actually a couple of related somethings got my attention as I was reading this article. First of all, I felt a bit defensive for the people who weren't accepting the obvious truths. Secondly, I thought about who I have been for most of my life. I have always been one of the obese and/or the morbidly obese. I have also been on some sort of "diet" at least 50% of my life if not more. If I were one of the people survered while I was on one of these diets, I would honestly answer that what I eat is not a problem because at that moment in time it wasn't. It is pretty tough to own up to our own responsibility in something as difficult as managing what we eat. If you are embarrassed about it or are actually working on making those changes you need to make, it is easy to see how you would not mention those in your personal laundry list of what you need to change.
    Like I said, this is something that I noticed and I am not suggesting that I agree with others who are avoiding the truth--this is simply an idea to explain part of what this unnerving survey. - 9/10/2010   7:30:30 AM
  • CRUISER2011
    115
    I agree that we're fooling ourselves about weight, but I fervently believe that children need to be taught, in a deliberate and structured way, nutrition and fitness principles in school. I'm trying to lose about 90 pounds right now and in the process am having to completely re-educate myself about healthy food choices and how much exercise we really need. Ignorance is NOT bliss! - 9/10/2010   5:41:45 AM
  • 114
    I well remember when I was growing up in the 1950's... *I* was the one kid who had a 'fat' mom and dad, and I was quite embarrassed about it. I so often think today, when I see SOOOOO many people walking about MUCH heavier than either of my parents (and at much younger ages than them...), that if my parents were living now, they wouldn't be considered at all *unusual*. Oh, you'd recognize them as obese... BUT not *unusual*. Obesity is indeed in many circles becoming the 'new normal'. I feel very grateful that none of my 4 kids have a weight problem, and that I'm more 'trim' and fit than since before having them :-). Thanks, SparkPeople! - 9/9/2010   11:25:14 PM
  • MOSEBORN
    113
    That's a good point Crazygymgirl, I think that the fact that clothing sizes keep getting bigger and bigger is probably contributing to the mistaken idea that we all have about how overweight we really are. They call it "vanity sizing", and clothing manufacturers all do it because people will spend more money when they went in to try on one size, but actually fit into a "smaller" size. - 9/9/2010   10:20:42 PM
  • 112
    I'm hard on myself... my friend constantly tells me that because I'm disappointed if I gain a pound or two or if I don't lose, etc. I expect better from myself. Yet, 5 years ago I was 70+ lbs heavier than I am now. I was still hard on myself, but not about healthy lifestyle, everything else.

    I believe being overweight or obese today isn't a big deal. You look around and figure a) there are tons of people heavier than me and b) I can still buy decent clothes, in decent sizes and I fit in with most of the population. Today at 150 pounds I wear a size 10. Thirty years ago at 134 lbs I wore a size 14!

    Although everyone looks at the obese as weak, gluttonous, lazy, etc... yet everything encourages us to remain obese... fast food, junk food, vanity sizing, etc.

    I believe, most of us (overweight & obese) are masters of denial. We know exactly how fat we are and why.... we eat too and move too little. But it's just easier and a heck of a lot more fun to keep going on that route. Developing a healthy lifestyle and maintaining it isn't fun... it's hard work. And whereas we are into denial about out weight, we're not so willing to deny ourselves food, etc. that keep us fat.

    I am hard on myself, because if I'm not there is a very good chance I'll be 200++ lbs again.... and whereas it is perfectly acceptable to everyone else, it is not for me. I want to be an old, healthy, active happy woman, not an old, obese, woman who can't move without a walker or a wheel chair. What do you want to be? - 9/9/2010   10:03:20 PM
  • 111
    I'll think I look pretty good, and then see a picture of myself. That is a real wake -up call. good article. - 9/9/2010   9:50:11 PM
  • BUFFEDSTUFF--
    110
    This is becoming the new normal. Many people are not in denial it is simply what they see all the time. Therefore it is becoming the new standard. - 9/9/2010   7:04:45 PM
  • JEAN_WIKE
    109
    I'm not in denial; I'm obese because I eat way too much, and have indulged in a lot of binge eating. But still, it took seeing myself in a photo to make me realize I have to lose weight. I'm using a combination of diet and exercise. But I'm NOT measuring or tracking my food intake. I'm eating sensibly, cutting back on serving size, keeping fruit and vegetables on hand, and limiting junk food in my home. - 9/9/2010   3:48:02 PM
  • 108
    Are they really in "denial" about being overweight, obese or morbidly obese or are they just ignorant of the definitions? If you asked one year ago (before SparkPeople), I would've said that I'm overweight. I'd never seen a BMI chart and didn't realize that I would be classified as obese. - 9/9/2010   2:59:07 PM
  • LITTLEGIRLSMOM1
    107
    I will tell you I have been overweight since I was a small child. I come from a family of all overweight parents and aunts and uncles. I have not or never will call myself FAT! I seen other family members starve themselves to death over the word FAT! I have a sister that went through gastric bypass only to put back on every pound and then some. I try my best to eat healthy and exercise. I if the weight goes down then it is a plus for me and if not I will not stress and try to starve to get it down. - 9/9/2010   2:49:24 PM
  • 106
    Great, great article! Thanks for sharing. While I do feel that BMI is not useful for everyone, I also think that overweight is the new normal. I agree with the earlier poster about trying to find clothing. My weight has been basically the same all my life, but where I was a size 6 or 8 20 years ago, I am now a size 0, if that. I know, I know, we should all have such problems. But my point is that our perception of what is normal has changed over time. - 9/9/2010   12:52:07 PM
  • JUDYPOPPINS
    105
    Of course we tend to be in denial. Who wants to admit to being obese. Fluffy, chubby, big-boned. I've used them all, but truthfully I always knew. I wish doctors were more upfront about weight (but they get criticized when they do mention it) and push for being a healthier weight. Being beautiful on the inside is wonderful, but many, many overweight people have health issues that are helped by losing weight. I've used the old ... I may be overweight, but I'm healthy...for years. No I wasn't healthy, but I didn't have any major health issues. Not at all the same.
    For the person who mentioned Weight Watchers wanting her to lose to 106 pounds on a 5'1" frame. I don't know when or where she went to WW but WW has a range for healthy weight (you choose your own goal within that range) and for 5'1" it is 111-132 pounds (a 21 pound range) and you can get a note from your doctor is he/she thinks you will be healthy at a higher weight than the range or if you have medical issues that might preclude you from losing to that range level. BMI is only an indicator, but some people take it as the end all, be all. Every pound lost helps your body just by not having to carry it around. - 9/9/2010   12:34:29 PM
  • 104
    Not the least surprised at this blog. With only about 22 lbs. left to go, I can NOT find smaller sizes to fit me in the stores. Walmart caters to everything over 2X now. RARE to find anything in my size , and don't even THINK of bra shopping in a store, I have to do it on line now to find my size!

    PLUS I am a nurse, and we have a REGULAR cliental coming in for Weight Loss surgery....some close to 600 lbs.
    - 9/9/2010   12:21:00 PM
  • 103
    I think most people are just comparing themselves to the people around them -- thus feeling "a little heavier than my neighbor" when the neighbor is 50 lbs overweight can skew our perceptions. Everyone wants to consider themselves "the norm". It's only natural. We just need to skew that "norm" back to healthy! - 9/9/2010   12:19:59 PM
  • 102
    Denial, yes that's me. Somehow all my extra weight didn't look so bad in the mirror. However, photos are a different story. I finally heard the wakeup call and I'm working at getting into a healthy weight range. Eating consciously is a big change for me! I feel like I've come out of a fog ... and I guess that fog's name is denial. - 9/9/2010   11:56:16 AM
  • 101
    I agree. The weight situation in this country is absolutely alarming. There's a site that shows just how much the problem has been growing: http://healthyamericans.org/reports
    /obesity2010
    /
    There are past reports you can look at as well. The charts are there in those as well, but you have to dig into the PDF.

    I did not realize that people were so ignorant about what to do about overweight and obesity. I've been considering becoming a health coach, and this gives me an idea just how much it is needed. - 9/9/2010   11:45:30 AM
  • 100
    The prevalent use of the BMI chart is a real marketing coup. They took the height-weight tables, converted them to a single number through the magic of math, and re-packaged them as something new and innovative. As any mathematician will tell you, if you have a formula based on the person's height and weight, then the number is based on their height and your weight. It's not new, and it's not innovative. It's simply the same as using the old tables. As a matter of fact, since the BMI doesn't take into consideration things such as gender or bone structure, it's actually less flexible then the old tables (neither of them take fat percentage into consideration).

    Sorry, I just had to get that off my chest. It's something that has been bugging me for years. - 9/9/2010   11:22:49 AM
  • 99
    I too was in denial for many years as to how overweight I was. I used to be 116 pounds and loved how I felt. Life pushed me further and further into bad habits. I didn't want to admit that it was a problem the first 20 or 30 or even 50 pounds. I didn't take the time to look at it until I was 60 pounds heavier. Both parents are morbidly obese and I didn't want to admit I was letting myself go down their road. I only made a change when I found out I was pregnant with my oldest daughter 7 years ago. I lost my job which helped 10 pound shed off. I felt better and had a new baby so I once again ignored my weight when I was 166. I had finally realized I could do something when she was 18 months or so and started watching what I ate and worked out. I had a second child and lost more weight since I cared more when I was pregnant. I had a baby to be healthy for. I know it was bad that I cared more about my child then myself. I was down to 155 with my second. Then I had a third. I let stress and my sweet cravings of pregnancy get the better of me and ended up around the 160's. My youngest is now turning 3 next month and I have been great at maintaining about 160-165. I turn 30 in two weeks and decided to finally stop this battle. I didn't want to put myself first or do anything about it since my husband isn't into working out. I was just like the rest of america, I ignored it and didn't want to admit I needed a change. I have been on spark people for around 2 years now. I have been off and on active. But I never tracked my food. I was in denial that I ate too much and didn't eat the good stuff enough. I thought because I would share a hamburger meal with my kids that since I was only eating half of the normal value meal that I was on track with my eating. Boy was I in denial. I started 8 days ago tracking my food. I weighed in and lost 5 pounds in a week. I didn't get as many workouts as I should have or planned to but still lost the weight with the food tracking. I also limited my calories to what I should not what I felt like. In a week I have gone from needing to eat something sweet after every time I ate to just once a day to get rid of my sweet tooth. I haven't been as hungry either. I denied for 10 years about how bad my eating has gotten and it took until now to do something about it. I am only on day 9 but am determined to keep tracking my weight loss, food, and fitness until I can maintain a healthy lifestyle and make it my everyday habit instead of laying around and eating too much. I completely agree that america is in denial and have proved it with myself. - 9/9/2010   11:21:08 AM
  • 98
    thought provoking - 9/9/2010   10:49:34 AM
  • 97
    I'm sorry, but I think the BMI chart that is just as flawed as many people's perception of their weight. I wear a size 6/7, have a 27 inch waist, am very muscular, and am very near the top of the "overweight" category on the BMI chart. The fact that the BMI chart doesn't take muscle mass, fat distribution patterns, hydration levels, bone density, and frame size into account makes it completely unreliable. "Skinny fat" people get a pass, while hard-working athletes get a bad rap. The BMI chart and this survery can kiss my well-toned and rounded keister! - 9/9/2010   10:47:20 AM
  • 96
    Honestly, even when I know my BMI I still look at myself in the mirror and don't think I'm obese, but the numbers say I am. I think obesity is so common in the U.S. these days, that those polls are really true. People don't know what "obese" vs. "overweight" vs. "normal" really look like. And yes, different body types will hold weight differently, but I think the U.S. has gotten too used to being overweight/obese to realize that while it's the common norm, it's not healthy. Time for a change in perspective. - 9/9/2010   10:39:41 AM
  • 95
    Of course everyone loves a "quick fix". Should the overweight individual be any different?

    You want something? Go to the store and get it on credit. No saving up like our predecessors did. You can get it now and pay for it later, how cool is that?

    You want a date? No, you don't have to court a partner...just go online or call up a "service" and he/she is either at your fingertips on the computer or talking in your ear as soon as you type in your credit card number. No rejection, no waiting, no need to even really "see" them. Instant gratification.

    You want a treat? Heck, you don't have to wait to make anything anymore...the store has all kinds of gooey sweet treats just waiting for you. Load up and away you go...no waiting.

    So...why do we have to wait for weight loss? Because we're being taught it's not necessary. We have all been taught to "accept yourself as you are; everyone is perfect as they are; no one has the right to insult you or tell you what to do; it's against the law to hurt someone's feelings because it's bullying"; yadda yadda yadda. Not only can we do what we want when we want it seems, but no one has the right to tell us not to do that.

    What about being honest with those we love? I don't mean "Good grief, George, you're huge! Lose some weight, would you?" How about teaching us how to say that lovingly, and supportively, without hurting poor "George's" feelings to the point where he goes and eats even more because his ego is battered. How about "George, I think the world of you. Is there something bothering you? You know, I'm your friend and care what happens to you. You can talk with me any time." Maybe "George, I could use your help. Would you consider going to the gym with me or maybe a diet with me? I could use your help and your moral support."

    We live in a society of instancy and convenience. We were not constructed for life to be instant or convenient. We were built to work for our daily bread, and our society is teaching us not to work for what we need out of life.

    Just my two cents' worth. - 9/9/2010   10:29:58 AM
  • 94
    When you are very fat and miserable--denial is a coping skill--not a solution of any kind. That is what I love about SparkPeople--it is a beacon of hope for even the most obese, the most inactive, the often crippled and others who may have given up hope. I fit all those categories--but now I am getting fitter not fatter and in time I will be at a healthy weight--I know it is not easy--but it is possible and that is key to understand. I feel for the many in denial and pray they will find and adopt this beacon of hope, knowledge and understanding. - 9/9/2010   9:49:19 AM
  • 93
    For the record, I'd like to clarify that people who have gastric bypass or gastric banding surgery are NOT taking the easy way out, or getting a quick fix. I can attest to that fact, for anyone who wants more information about WHY it's not a quick fix, I'm happy to email my story.

    That being said, I am 5'5 1/4" inches tall, and I weigh 180 pounds - thereby making my BMI 30.2, and putting me in the Obese category (just over the line). Prior to gastric bypass (November 2007), I weighed 400 pounds. I no longer weigh 400 pounds, or 300 pounds, or even 200 pounds. I am happy at 180, and although I would like to weigh 160, this is where my body seems to have plateaued; I've maintained this weight for seven months now. I just ran my first 5k in August; I run 3x a week. In fact, I work out 6-7 days a week. I eat healthily, but I also have my favorite "bad" foods that I eat in smaller portions than I used to. I know that my diet could be better, but like I said, I feel pretty good at 180, and it's good that I'm not 400 pounds anymore!

    I have posted recent pictures of myself on my blog. I am pretty sure most people wouldn't call me Obese, even if the BMI number does. - 9/9/2010   9:48:03 AM
  • 92
    This blog is the story of my life. I've always been "overweight". I've said I was overweight, I accepted I was overweight, I had been overweight since I was a child.

    Then one day I saw a picture of me with my doggie....and started crying. Um, I was not just overweight. My BMI was nearly 39 and I was just shy of the morbidly obese numbers. For YEARS I had thought I was "just overweight" but I wasn't.

    And still, after 17 months on spark...I am STILL obese (not yet overweight) with a BMI of near 32 (yes, I have gained 14 pounds this summer. Ughhhh).

    Yet, I would still tell people I am "just overweight". I dont' know if we just get comfortable in our own skin. If we are in denial. If we just don't see it. I dont' know. But I do know, I am unquestionably the people that are referred to in this blog. And I do not know how to change it. - 9/9/2010   9:31:39 AM
  • 91
    I am 4' 11 1/2" tall. I had reached 236 lbs and unable to do hardly anything due to being morbitly obese and numerous health issues. I finally decided to do something about my weight. I lost 131 lbs, which was a little too much. I was a little to skinny. I was into a size 4 mainly due to the excess skin. I started eating correctly and exercising
    I also had a RYN Nov 28, 2006. It is a tool not a solution. Before I had the surgery I had already changed my mindset, eating and exercising habits. I followed my Dr's orders to the T. I was very fortunate in the fact that I only got sick a couple of times when I was first introducing foods. I found what I could or could not tolerate.
    I only use a salad plate and a salad fork when I eat. When I do go out to eat I only eat about 1/3 of my meal and bring the rest home. I never order a dessert.
    If the colthing industry would not lie by changing sizes, media and resturants would stop pushing extra large sizes it would help some.
    It is still up to each individual to take responsiblity for what, when and how they consume. We are the laziest and largest country in the world. We spend to much time in front of TV, gaming systems, computers, etc. Look at what we have done in our schools. Our children get little or no exercise and rescess at all. this is suppose to save tax payers money. We end up spend more for health issues in the long run.
    Stop blaming others for your situation. It is time for the United States to take responibility for ourselves. - 9/9/2010   9:18:58 AM
  • SHAN09
    90
    Thank you so much for this!

    I have always been obsessed with my weight, especially when I was younger. Although never formally diagnosed, I know now that I suffered from eating disorders and it is still a constant battle. In my youth I feared the scales because I didn't want to be fat and in doing so I can vividly remember being devastated when I hit 100 lbs in my grade twelve year. In hindsight, this was ridiculous as I am 5' 5"! I refused to have scales for a number of years so that I wouldn't obsess about my weight. However after 25 years, 3 kids (with varying degrees of special needs), trying to re-enter the workforce and a failed relationship, I am obsessing again. This time I am striving to obsess about a healthy life style and not just the numbers. I am wanting to feel better, not just look better as I navigate this new chapter of my life.

    I know can slim down, but my previous habits of controlling what I eat by denying is NOT the answer. Logically and intelligently I know that being 155 lbs at 5' 5" is not obese, but I feel that way and need to change my life style in order to loose (and keep it off!) the 25 - 30 lbs I wish to shed.

    Thanks SparkPeople for the guidance & support as I navigate through these changes in my life!
    - 9/9/2010   9:18:49 AM
  • 89
    DENI_ZEN I love your post here. Poor diet and the lack of nutrition education, I feel has gotten many of us in this unhealthy condition. - 9/9/2010   9:04:08 AM
  • 88
    Since the weight seems to creep up slowly, it's easy to think it is not that bad, however, sometimes when you see yourself reflected in a plate glass mirror it is hard not to wonder who that fat person is! - 9/9/2010   8:55:27 AM
  • DENI_ZEN
    87
    For me, it was a matter of poor diet. As I work on these last 20 pounds, I look forward to eliminating this problem from my life. - 9/9/2010   8:22:07 AM
  • 86
    Great blog!!! It summarizes the situation so well. It's sad too. I'm really grateful for SparkPeople!

    I've personally found that it takes both diet and exercise to win the fitness and weight loss challenge. I used to diet a lot, but always gained it back. Now that I walk and hike, I feel better and have the hope of becoming and staying fit and healthy. - 9/9/2010   7:34:24 AM
  • 85
    I feel that we are a nation of band aid placers and quick fixers. That is one reason we are where we are today politically speaking. Even the Pres, blames others for his problems. The saddest thing is even with the quick fix of the lap, band or gastric bypass, if people do not change their choices of eating they will fail. I had a friend who had the gastric bypass when they first started. She gained all her weight back plus more. Why because she would not accept that her eating patterns contributed to her weight issues. Read my blog on Choices, committment is the answer after you quest the site for dietary knowledge. - 9/9/2010   7:01:49 AM
  • 84
    I know I am obese. I have made an attempt to change that but at 69 it is very difficult to undo what has been going on for over half a century. On the other hand I am very healthy. This year I began taking a very low dose blood pressure med but otherwise no other prescription meds are needed. Best of all my total chlorestoral is 178 and all other functions are normal. Maybe the fresh fruits and vegetables haven't made a big impact on my weight but they are helping me stay healthy. I have always been a very pragmatic person, what you see is what you get and I don't try to deny anything even if it isn't flattering, at least when it comes to me. - 9/9/2010   6:38:16 AM
  • 83
    Personally I'm blaming my weight gain on menopause. Now I'm going to have a cookie and take a nap !! - 9/9/2010   5:50:33 AM
  • 82
    Americans are in denial, and it's costing us our lives. We are a nation of quick fixes, pleasure before work, blaming everything on others, and "everybody gets a prize" - is it any wonder? Great article - should be recommended reading for all doctors' patients! - 9/9/2010   5:26:28 AM

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