Controversial Topic: What Causes Obesity?

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LostKittenRa...

Joined: May 10
Posts: 113

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Posted: 11 Jun 2010, 10:36
I can tell you what caused my obesity, I believe it's a combination that it does run strong in my family's blood and I didn't use to care. I didn't really start caring about how I looked until my serior year of high school. I had spent my whole childhood getting made fun of for my weight... I eventually got in this upside down train of thought where I thought that all of that was perfectly normal and just a part of who I was.

There were a couple of different things that allowed me a smack in the face. I joined Martial Arts when I was a Sophmore, not for the purpose of losing weight, but because it genuinly interested me. At the time I joined I was at my highest weight 230. I went about the next year or two going to my classes feeling like everything was exactly how it always had been. At the beginning of my senior year I ran across a picture of myself from my Freshman year and it took me a moment but I had to do a double take, I went and got a more recent picture of myself and when I saw the difference I almost fell over. I went and weighed myself and that's when I realise I had lost so much weight and was down to 180... never really had a reason to weigh myself prior. It was a scary realization to know that when I was obese I didn't know I was, I was so hung up in La La Land where I merrily skipped around thinking that everything was fine that it took seeing the difference in myself to realise. I did find it kind of strange that so many of my tormentors from high school had started to lay off by my senior year.

I mean I think the point to that large explanation is that some times what can cause obesity is not realising that you are and carrying on exactly as you are. It's only till something opens your eyes to what's really happening that I think most people decide to make a change. I know it made a change for me. I promised myself I would never let that happen again, never let myself get large and unhealthy like that and not realise it. I've paid special close attention to my weight ever since.. and although it's only now that I've decided to really try and lose more I've never let myself gain any back.

I'm also a major emotional eater too... I eat too much when I'm upset, or stressed, or angry... it's taken alot of self discipline to really get a handle on that. I wish I was one of those people that like stops eating or goes on some excersize rampage when I'm upset... but no lol... I crave a beer and a big fat grease bean and cheese burrito from filibertos when I'm upset, hehe.
mrs88

Joined: Mar 10
Posts: 47

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Posted: 11 Jun 2010, 10:44
Other things that I believe have totally added to this problem, for everyone (and sorry if someone has already touched on it) are things that are now added to foods that weren't back when we were young (milk, meat, etc) and the education system. Kids are lucky to get 15 min of outside recess time now (so sad, especially for youngsters that need to burn off energy). All schools teach (for a very short time) the food pyramid, but the do it once, when they are young, instead of keeping on it each year and adding to it when they become more able to understand how certain foods work in the body. Also, youth sports. It is sad that they make these soooo expensive that a lot of parents don't qualify for assistance, but they can't afford it either.

For us growing up, we had 6 tv channels, no computers and atari could barely be seen as something we would sit in front of any length of time.

Just some venting....
Runesinger

Joined: May 10
Posts: 578

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Posted: 11 Jun 2010, 15:42
Hey, Don't get me started on the food pyramid! Back when I was in school, they taught the 4 food groups system. This system ensured a balanced diet of a good variety of foods. Back then, juvenile obesity was unusual. Then they switched to the "Food Pyramid" which emphasized more grains, breads and starchy, empty foods. The rise in juvenile obesity coincided with the "Food Pyramid" program, not TV in the home. I know I'm going to ruffle the feathers of the grain fans, but there you are..

Besides it's a lot easier to follow the food pyramid, if you eat in fast food places or get packaged processed food.
k8yk

Joined: Jan 09
Posts: 4,546

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Posted: 11 Jun 2010, 16:14
I think a lot of people have the idea that carbohydrates are the reason we are fat. Atkins, Paleo... etc are all built on this idea. If you ask me, the over-consumption of ANYTHING will make you fat. A lot of people thought that "low fat" meant "eat all you want" which is simply wrong. There is nothing you can eat in unlimited quantities without weight gain. I'm afraid that now we're making the same mistake all over again with all the "low carb" products and that people will fall into the same trap of thinking you can eat all you want as long as it's not carbs.

I am a firm believer in moderation. If you go look at my daily breakdown, right now it's averaging 20 protein, 40 carbs, 40 fats. Weight loss going great. I think people hate the idea of restricting themselves, but they sabotage themselves by thinking they can eat all they want as long as it isn't fill-in-the-blank.

The food pyramid is bull. The low fat diet is bull. And IMO, so is the low carb diet. It's all driven by the interests of food manufacturers. The last thing they want us all to do is eat real food in moderation. You can make a lot more money off fake food made of corn meal and repackaged with a "healthy" label than anything else. It's a lot harder to market an apple.

I'm concerned that all the restriction of carbohydrates people are doing now has unknown consequences, just as the restriction of fat turned out to have consequences.
My blog, This is not a Diet:
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FatKarateKa

Joined: Jan 10
Posts: 15

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Posted: 11 Jun 2010, 18:56
I also have all the bad habits listed above. But, also, my mom was/is a yo-yo dieter, so I'm thinking I never really learned the right way to eat.

I'm also thinking that there may be some other element involved. I was on Atkins for...well, a long time. Although the diet ultimately didn't work for me, there was one thing that was mentioned in the book that rang true. Dr. Atkins said that some foods were "trigger" foods.

For whatever reason, when someone eats one of their trigger foods, it triggered binge eating. I think that may be true because I don't react the same way to sugary treats the way other people do. My husband can open a package of cookies, eat a single cookie and put the package away. That's it; he's good.

If I eat a single cookie, I'll pace the house for the remainder of the night, unable to think of anything else but the rest of the cookies in the cabinate. If I can't eat the rest of the cookies, I'll eat everything else I can reach. If I can eat the cookies, I'll eat the package of cookies and then everything else. Just a little bit of sugar and I'll go nuts -- yell at people, have fits of anger -- all because I can't think of ANYTHING except getting my hands on more sugary treats.

Oh, and about carbs, I'm on the Paleo diet. (Go ahead, yell all you want. Once you wrap your brain around never being able to eat the "old way" again it's not so bad.) I get horrible gas and stomache cramps when I eat things like bread and pasta. I'm glad to get them out of my life.
Stacy, the Fat Karate-ka
check out my blog: http://fat-karate-ka.com
underscore

Joined: Apr 10
Posts: 165

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Posted: 11 Jun 2010, 20:49
i grew up on processed foods. i had 1 home cooked meal a week if i was lucky.i remember when i was younger my sister and i would split a package of top ramen, now i could eat 2 packages in a big bowl. or 2 tv dinners.or two tostino pizza's. i was never taught to eat healthy so now i have the pleasure/struggle of teaching myself(which lately i have been failing at miserabley.) i can blame the processed foods, but at the end of the day it's me to blame for over eating those processed foods...ohh can i blame the internet and television too for keeping me from getting any type of exercise?! ;p;
Success is sweet and sweeter if long delayed and gotten through many struggles and defeats.
k8yk

Joined: Jan 09
Posts: 4,546

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Posted: 11 Jun 2010, 21:03
Fatkarateka, nobody here is yelling. Just sharing opinions. I'm skeptical of the carb addiction thing, but I'm not you so what do I know? I only know that I used to feel compelled to eat but it turned out I did have self control after all.

Thank you for sharing your story also.
My blog, This is not a Diet:
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anapdc

Joined: Feb 10
Posts: 518

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Posted: 11 Jun 2010, 23:47
I believe that some people have a problem metabolizing carbs, as well as there are people who have trouble metabolizing other things like dairy and fat. My mom, for example, cannot eat much fat like in meat, if she does, she feels bloated and it triggers migranes almost immediately. My father is the opposite, he has type 2 and controls his BG with his food most of the time.

What do I mean by that? I mean that each person has trouble with a certain food. Some have neither. The big thing is NOT following rules to what you can and cannot eat, unless you figured these rules yourself. Some people thrive in low-fat, others in low-carb, dairy free, and the lucky ones can eat junk food and still lose weight. There is no absolute truth, but calories in versus calories out, but the sources of the calories may vary for each person. Bottom line is that we should follow intuition and listen to our bodies.
Do NOT quit! The universe always bows to persistence - Tom Venuto
busymary

Joined: Mar 10
Posts: 34

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Posted: 11 Jun 2010, 23:59
Fatkarateka thanks for mentioning your difficulty with the pasta and bread. I was just wondering if maybe you could be wheat or gluten intolerant? My son has digestive problems (his problem is not really GI but greatly affecting his GI system) and can't tolerate wheat so we do all sorts of alternative things for him (of course, his problem makes him have to eat non stop or he looses weight, go figure). I read that one in eight people in the US has an undiagnosed wheat intolerance. Just thought I would mention Smile
"You should never look down upon a person unless you are helping them up"- Anonymous
NinaV

Joined: Nov 09
Posts: 13

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Posted: 12 Jun 2010, 11:29
Just to throw in my own five cents here - I think the question shouldn't be "What causes obesity?", but should instead be: "What causes people to overeat?" It's pretty obvious that for the most part you would have to put in more calories than you burn - i.e. overeat, in order to gain weight. The question of why do we overeat is sort of the same and yet it isn't. It forces you to think more about the mind then the body. Don't get me wrong, those aren't exactly separate things, they are attached after all, but I do believe that most people tend to underestimate the role our minds play in the weight gaining scenario.

We sit more than we move around because it comes natural for most people. We prefer foods that are more palatable (i.e. sweet, salty and fatty) because it comes natural too. But maybe for those who are "naturally skinny" the desire to sit and eat fattening foods is balanced out by the deeply ingrained love and respect for themselves. If you love someone, you are not likely to do them intentional harm. Same goes for loving yourself - if you do, you will instinctively do things that will keep you alive and happy for long time to come. Gaining so much extra weight that you put your health and thus life at risk is therefore an unfavorable outcome and they (the self-loving "naturally thin" people) are instinctively resistant to it.

When food becomes an addiction, just like any other addicting substance (alcohol, drugs, nicotine), it is often a symptom of subconscious self destructiveness. Why would one want to self-destruct? Variety of reasons - depression, abuse, whether physical or emotional, stress and inability to cope with it in a healthier way, general unhappiness with one's life, fill in the blank, everyone has their own set of "issues", it is how we (the overweight) deal with those issues that sets us apart from the "skinny people".

K8yk, you mentioned a "skinny friend" who used to eat the same junk as you and then ended up gaining weight as she got older. That sort of makes my point - she had pushed the "Panic button" when she gained 25 pounds. Your friend probably has a lot more love for herself than many of us here. For most of us (the overweight) it takes much longer to come out of denial and realize that we need to do something, 50, 100 or even 200 pounds longer.

When all is said and done, much of the information people shared in this topic is true and relevant. Carbs ARE important, because eating highly refined sugars and starches causes elevated blood sugar and leads to wanting more carbs. Fats ARE important because unlike carbs and proteins, which each have 4 calories per 1 gram, fats have 9 calories per gram and are thus contribute much more to your caloric intake in smaller quantities. Proteins ARE important because just like carbs and fats, you need proteins to sustain some very important functions in your body. Eliminating or limiting any of those things artificially (the way many low-carb, no-carb, low-fat, no-fat diets do) makes one feel deprived and leads us right back to the compulsive desire to overeat in order to comfort that feeling of deprivation. Ultimately, we all must find a way to eat what sustains us without the feeling of deprivation and that's the "Body" part of the winning formula. But if we ignore the "Mind" part, our success is limited at best.

In fact, it is only when we find enough love for ourselves to even try losing weight that we even begin to consider all those important things like calories consumed and calories burned. All-in-all, once you have the love and respect for yourself - mind, body and soul, you will find a way to lose the weight. It may take time, but it took time to gain weight as well. And for many of us, realizing that the reason we didn't even bother sooner was because we didn't have enough of that love is the first step.
relz

Joined: Apr 10
Posts: 283

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Posted: 12 Jun 2010, 18:05
Who can possibly keep from gaining extra weight with food (in this case, drinks) like this are being sold all over the country?

http://eatthis.menshealth.com/slideshow/20-worst-drinks-america-2010

We may have to take the responsibility for losing weight, but there's plenty of blame to go around.

confusedange...

Joined: Jan 10
Posts: 579

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Posted: 12 Jun 2010, 19:56
When I was younger, I would have fought you tooth and nail to insist that it was anything except overeating and laziness. (I want to qualify... laziness in my case meant a full time job, a kid at 20 and another at 28, school the majority of my life - including my adult one - and a clean home... which made defending my laziness rather simple. =).) Now, I will admit that I was lazy when it came to my health, and I over-ate the once a day I would eat. I too LOVE food - the taste, the smell, the texture, the rituals involved (without going to far into detail, those are much the things i loved about heroin before i quit, btw). Food is, and was, a full on addiction for me. Addictions, whatever they are, are based on needing to "fill" yourself up, to "feel" something other than what you feel (or to not feel), to control, and to "fix" things. For much of my life, I used food... to fill boredom, to momentarily take away the way I felt about myself (yes, full circle... hated feeling fat, ate to hate myself less, etc etc.)

Its hard to really explain what I feel about the issue now. I know I was overweight in my childhood because of NURTURE - we were not encouraged to participate in sports, etc, because my grandparents (who were raising me) were too busy to drive us, but we were constantly nagged about our weight by someone who was also always on a "diet". We were little kids being served HUGE portions of (not really healthy) foods (casseroles, meat and potatoes, heavy on cheese, butter, salt, grease, etc.) and not leaving the table til we finished our meals. But if I blamed my weight on that, I'd have to blame my addictions on my parents - and I don't see how either of them are actually responsible.

I can't even blame it on lack of information, because the information was ALWAYS available to me - I come from a generation that had the internet early on in life.

A lot of it, these days, has to do with the way I feel about myself internally. On the days that I'm feeling strong, self-loving, and confident, I workout hard, eat right, sleep well, play with my son, and have fun with my friends. On the days where I'm feeling self-loathing, despondant, weak, or depressed - I eat anything I crave, and then continue to eat more because "I've already bit, I might as well chew".

The physical causes most certainly are eating too much and moving too little. I'm willing to laugh at myself now, rather then fight to avoid being called "lazy" (my dad's favorite insult i think =). )... but the emotional reasons (love is an emotion, so anytime i eat because i "love" this food, its emotional) - the background to everyone, is probably different, the same, and impossibly difficult to explain for all of us. =)
obakemono

Joined: Jul 09
Posts: 308

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Posted: 12 Jun 2010, 21:06
relz - although NOTHING (and I mean nothing) could live up to the astounding Cold Stone PB&C 24 fl oz. drink at 2,010 calories and 131 grams of fat (!) from your 'Worst Beverages in America' link - but on the food side, it has come to my attention today that there's an 'Off The Menu' item at McDonalds that I cannot even mention on here as it's name is rude, and the ingredients are even ruder (in nutritional terms).

Do not click on link if you are offended by suggestive/provocative phrases.

There's also another 'Off the Menu' burger at Mcdonalds that's called the Monster Mac - and it's a big Mac composed of 8 meat patties. Please refer to nightmare inducing image HERE!

Seriously, this has got to stop!! Fast food 'restaurants' need to get it together and be a little bit more responsible - even if it's just to stop offering these 'secret' items that are absolute travesties!

And don't let me down, fellow FS'ers - don't be ordering these up, ever! You'll just feel horribly guilty afterwards, and probably quite nauseous.
PETER LORRE:...."How bout some jellied spiders...rabbit's blood?......deadman's hair?"
VINCENT PRICE:.."No...we don't keep those things in this house.....we're vegetarians!!"
('The Raven' - 1963)
k8yk

Joined: Jan 09
Posts: 4,546

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Posted: 12 Jun 2010, 22:30
Yes, my mother taught me to clear my plate, and look what they serve at a restaurant like The Cheesecake Factory (a former favorite).

There are ways of thinking I call "Fat People Think", former habits to be avoided. Some of these are:
-I paid for it, I'm going to finish it to get my money's worth.
-There are only a few left, I'll just finish the bag.
-I'm getting food anyway, may as well supersize, it's only a few nickels more.
-I don't have time to cook, drive thru is all I have time for.
-I have too much work to do to work out. (meanwhile watching 4-6 hours of TV a day)
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obakemono

Joined: Jul 09
Posts: 308

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Posted: 12 Jun 2010, 22:38
k8yk - LOVE the new haircut!

As I was reading your last post here (23:30), I didn't even realize it was your post as you look so different.

You look fab, dahlink!!
PETER LORRE:...."How bout some jellied spiders...rabbit's blood?......deadman's hair?"
VINCENT PRICE:.."No...we don't keep those things in this house.....we're vegetarians!!"
('The Raven' - 1963)
tehrin

Joined: May 10
Posts: 57

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Posted: 12 Jun 2010, 22:41
For most of my life, my family would always get food that was cheap. Overly processed foods, cheap fatty meats, lots of gravy and cheap high calorie snacks (like little debbie cakes) were in abundance. When I was young, it was easy for me to burn off those calories just from being more active, playing outside, riding my bike, and then being in marching band and walking to/from school usually kept my weight down despite eating like crap all the time.

When I started college, I would get a ride or drive myself, I didn't make very good food choices when I did buy my own food. I also became addicted to the internet, namely designing websites and making online friends through blogs and stuff back in 2000-2002 (before most people knew what a blog was lol). So I wasn't very active. I also lived in an unsafe neighborhood where I didn't feel comfortable going on long jogs or walks (or even bike riding).

Also enter a bad relationship that ended horribly, and I started comfort and binge eating. I gained about 50lbs over the course of 2-3 years.

Part of my weight gain may have been choices and behaviors, but I think a large part of it were aspects that I didn't have much control over. I did what I was able to do.

I didn't find myself being able to make a lifestyle change until I moved out. I live within walking distance of a 15 mile bike/hike trail, in a safe neighborhood. I'm also buying my own groceries and making better decisions about what I eat and how much of it. Smile

I also think that once you develop the taste of cheap fatty, greasy, salty foods, you keep seeking it out. But it really takes just a week of making better choices to develop a taste for better food.
CherryPie

Joined: Apr 10
Posts: 74

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Posted: 13 Jun 2010, 03:40
Hmmmm - well all my family except me (and now one niece) are skinny and they eat and eat and eat. My mum is a brilliant cook and has never counted a calorie or 'exercised' in her life but at 81 she still has a nice figure and weighs only 120 lb. I've never really eaten junk food and LOVE fruit and vegetables but I guess I'm overweight because I eat too much of good things. I love food, I love cooking and am also very energetic and reasonably fit (can do 10 mile walk easily without feeling tired) though I hate gym type exercise.

I've never been obese, but never been thin either. I was a bit plump as a child but with 2 skinny parents and 3 skinny siblings I was never going to be eating less than them and perhaps I needed to.

My sister has 4 thin children and she is still thin despite eating like a horse and finishing up all their leftovers! Life just ain't fair sometimes.

I've got low chloresterol, normal thyroid etc and I can see doctors longing for me to have something wrong so they can go ha! I do currently have high blood pressure (with no symptoms) which is what is pushing me to try to lose some weight but I'm not actually convinced it is totally weight related as my weight hasn't really changed much.

I agree totally that if you are overweight then you are eating more than you are burning but I'm not convinced we all burn at the same rate.

I notice that this is a - mostly - American site and I think that in America it is probably portion control and lack of exercise which contributes ot the obesity. I live in France where portions are pretty average and I can see our American guests think they are stingy (despite the fact they make you feel full anyway) so would think that is an issue there. Also I notice that American guest are either obese or skinny with not too much in between (generalising a bit) whereas their European counterparts tend to be mostly just a few pounds overweight.
commandertho...

Joined: Jun 10
Posts: 28

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Posted: 13 Jun 2010, 04:03
To cherry pie:
As americans, people from the large central european conuntries tend to generalize. France is one of the nations of europe which has least obesity per cent. In Germany, Great Britain, Northern Benelux and the Nordic countries obesity has become an increasing problem. In Norway we have McDonald's even in small towns of less than 5000 inhabitants. People don't realize the amount of calories they get from raffined carbs. In a McDonald's burger, by far most of the calories comes from the bread. And when people get "supersized" they get soft drinks with loads of sugar which can contain even more calories than both the burger and fries.
Of course people have different metabolisms. Generally men have better burn better than women and younger better than older. And by the sound of it, you got the genetic mark for fat storage, while the rest of your family did not.
Of course the number of calories you take in will decide whether you lose or gain weight, but it does not so much matter how much, but rather what. Fruit, and raffined carbs like in your french white bread and sugar like in your jam, all increace your insulin level. Insulin's primary purpose is to store fat. Don't think that only your consumption of fat stores fat. Excess protein and carbs are also stored as fat, but mostly the carbs.
Also, if deprived of carbs, your body would use the fat and proteins consumed for fuel. This process uses more energy than carbs, that can usually go straight into the blood stream. therefore you can eat the same calorie amount, but lose weight.

How I got obese:
Overeating and inactiveness. I was playing world of warcraft for three years, eating all kinds of crappy things. Also, I ate when I was bored, and when in emotional distress (had a girl friend who constantly complained about everything).
CherryPie

Joined: Apr 10
Posts: 74

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Posted: 13 Jun 2010, 06:49
Interesting - I've honestly only ever eaten a McDonalds one time in my whole life, but France is now the second biggest consumer of McDonalds in whole world, so expect obesity to hit big time here soon.

I think you are right about the type of food but unfortunately I love fruit way too much to give it up (have problems limiting it too). Perhaps that's why husband - who doesn't much like fruit or veg - and eats tons of junk doesn't have a weight problem! I sadly don't think I could live with a high protein diet - the few times I've tried it made me feel really ill (and normally I feel really healthy) and I was back on the bananas and peaches in no time.

As you can imagine it does irritate the hell out of me living with a bunch a of skinny minnies who eat the same as me! Especially when I asked husband if he could see any difference with 5 kg off and he said no I look exactly the same.
anapdc

Joined: Feb 10
Posts: 518

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Posted: 13 Jun 2010, 06:57
@CherryPie

Oh husbands, they are so cute (NOT) LOL
Sometimes I wish mine would lie a little heehe He is SO FRANK I hate it LOL
Do NOT quit! The universe always bows to persistence - Tom Venuto



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