The Fatlogic Mindset

Fat Amy composite

Alex Brecher, who has successfully maintained a loss of more than 100 pounds for over a decade, vouches for the efficacy of lap-band surgery.

Having come across them so often himself, Brecher is uniquely qualified to expose examples of fatlogic. He does so with a briskly humorous approach and offers very sensible suggestions on how to detach from rationalizations that he calls “absurd excuses.” For instance, some Americans were brought up to believe that it’s right to eat everything in front of you, because children are starving in Africa. His response:

Yes, they are. There are also starving children in Asia, and in South America. It is extremely sad that hundreds of millions of children are starving. Do you know how many of them you will help if you clean your plate instead of throwing the extra food away? Zero.

Brecher encourages logical thought. Once a person realizes that the plate is too full, what are the alternatives? Throw away (or better yet, compost) the excess. Refrigerate the leftovers for later. Or, “Use your body as a trash can, and eat them.” Using one’s body as a trash can is not a good option under any circumstances. As Brecher points out:

If you’re really so eager to be in the “Clean Plate Club,” serve yourself less to begin with. And if you want to help starving children in Africa, make a donation using the money you save by not eating as much.

Brecher presides over the website BariatricPal, which contains a forum section where users can compare notes and share stories. Over the years, Childhood Obesity News has cataloged many of the unpleasant everyday humiliations that overweight people encounter. An online participant at BariatricPal offers a new one:

My blood pressure is fine, but they always have to get the next size up on the arm thing to check my BP. And now that I write this I feel stupid for getting so upset over that but it’s a little embarrassing to have this tiny size 0 Japanese girl attempt to take my bp only to try to shove my fat arm into the wrap and then have to go get a bigger size because it’s too small.

Opening a thread called “When you can’t even be honest with yourself,” we find a conversation about the pros and cons of openly discussing weight loss surgery. The formerly obese are likely to be very familiar with the difficulties of being honest with oneself.

Much more raw and confrontational than Brecher’s forum, the discussion website Reddit features an entire section in which fatlogic is explored in meticulous detail. Just a glance at the topic headings gives intriguing hints of the riches to be found:

  • Typical fatlogic at the doctor
  • Treating food like a friend
  • Fatlogic is thinking you know more than the experts at the CDC about the costs and effects of obesity
  • Did your high metabolism really ‘stop’ or did stuffing your face finally catch up with you?
  • In a shocking turn of events, researcher determines obesity is caused by eating too much
  • Why I choose to be fat
  • Obesity prevention efforts? LITERALLY THE NAZIS
  • The “I don’t have time” excuse
  • Stop me from succumbing to fatlogic
  • I’d rather be fat than skinny as hell looking like a victim.
  • Ultimate fatlogic
  • Fatlogic in a nutshell

These entries come from people who are intimately familiar with the dangers of being stuck in too much self-acceptance, and an unhealthy variety of it. Such a person might say, “Except for my diabetes, I’m perfectly healthy.” There might be an inability to see the connection between cause and effect. In the world of fatlogic, a knee problem has nothing to do with the poor abused joint being asked to carry 400 pounds from place to place.

A variation on an Abraham Lincoln quotation goes like this: “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and you can fool all of the people some of the time. But you can’t fool yourself.”

Unfortunately, with the fatlogic mindset, it is all to easy to fool yourself, and many people do it unrelentingly.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: ““I’m Cleaning My Plate Because Children Are Starving in Africa…”and Other Terrible Excuses to Overeat,” BariatricPal.com, October 23, 2014
Source: “Almost cried today,” BariatricPal.com, October 29, 2013
Source: “When you can’t even be honest with yourself,” BariatricPal.com, October 18, 2014
Source: “/r/fatlogic,” reddit.com
Image by Fat Amy

 

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Profiles: Kids Struggling with Weight

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OVERWEIGHT: What Kids Say explores the obesity problem from the often-overlooked perspective of children struggling with being overweight.

About Dr. Robert A. Pretlow

Dr. Robert A. Pretlow is a pediatrician and childhood obesity specialist. He has been researching and spreading awareness on the childhood obesity epidemic in the US for more than a decade.
You can contact Dr. Pretlow at:

Presentations

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the American Society of Animal Science 2020 Conference
What’s Causing Obesity in Companion Animals and What Can We Do About It

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the World Obesity Federation 2019 Conference:
Food/Eating Addiction and the Displacement Mechanism

Dr. Pretlow’s Multi-Center Clinical Trial Kick-off Speech 2018:
Obesity: Tackling the Root Cause

Dr. Pretlow’s 2017 Workshop on
Treatment of Obesity Using the Addiction Model

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation for
TEC and UNC 2016

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the 2015 Obesity Summit in London, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s invited keynote at the 2014 European Childhood Obesity Group Congress in Salzburg, Austria.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2013 European Congress on Obesity in Liverpool, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2011 International Conference on Childhood Obesity in Lisbon, Portugal.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2010 Uniting Against Childhood Obesity Conference in Houston, TX.

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