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Monday, August 18, 2008

Amazing Article - "Why Women Lose Weight, or Don’t"
I used to have a blog on MySpace that had a pretty large following, and I've let it sort of taper off as I've moved on to other projects. But I wanted to share some of the blogs that I think were the most interesting to people there, so I'll be updating this blog with archives that include the old posts. Be sure to skim through past months and years of this blog to find some of them. Here is one that I thought was relevant enough to post with today's date stamp:

I just read the most fascinating article that I had to share with you. It's from Newsweek Online, and it's called Why Women Lose Weight-or Don't. The subtitle is "Surprising new findings on how our perceptions of our bodies affect our desire to shed pounds."

The article spoke partly about a recent Cornell University study which looked at how a person's bodily perception affected their motivation to lose weight. Apparently even though obsese and overweight women expressed the greatest dissatisfaction with their bodies, the amount of weight they wanted to lose was not in line with what researches expected. Apparently obsese women were more likely to want to lose an amount of weight that would still technically put them in the "overweight" category.

I think this makes a lot of sense to me, even if it didn't to the people who conducted the study. Maybe it means that many obese/fat/overweight (whatever you want to call them/me/you, lol) women find a relatively fuller figure more attainable and attractive. When I was a size 22 my aspiration was always to be no smaller than a 12, and more likely a 14 or 16. However back in the day before I got fat, when I actually was a 12/14, I wanted to be a size 4. Perhaps fat women are learning what I did, which is that the road to fat is paved with thin intentions, and the road back from fat is a slow, paced journey to health, not skinny-ness. Also, because I learned to embrace myself as a fat woman, I began to find curviness a more desirable quality, therefore the need to be a 4 or 6 didn't seem as strong.

There was another study quoted in the article which I just LOVE. The University of Minnesota published a study that "examined the relationship between body satisfaction and BMI five years later among a group of overweight teen girls. Researchers Patricia van den Berg and Dianne Neumark-Sztainer found that overweight girls who were more comfortable with their bodies were less likely to gain weight as they entered young adulthood. The Minnesota research suggests that girls who felt good about themselves were more likely to be physically active and pay more attention to what they ate."

Imagine that - teenage girls more comfortable with themselves were less likely to gain weight. How shocking - not. I've said for a long time that the earlier we can get to these girls and teach them to feel good about themselves, the easier it will be for many of them to avoid having to travel down the dieting superhighway of self loathing.

Anyway, I think you should read the whole article for yourself and tell me what you think


  • At 8:34 PM, Anonymous Pamela said…

    I really have to disagree with your comment that "the road back from fat is a slow, paced journey to health." It is completely possible to be fat and healthy, and to exercise and eat right and still be fat.

  • At 9:11 PM, Blogger Lisafashionista said…

    Hi Pamela - I understand where you are coming from - I have some other articles I'd like to post on the blog that might give you more context on my belief system. I definitely believe you can be fat and happy - but I also believe you can be fat and fooling yourself. The difference is in the health aspect and that is all individual. Most likely it was something other than healthy eating that made someone fat - but they can pursue a healthy lifestyle after that time and still be technically fat and healthy...(even if they aren't trying to lose weight). I'll post some more old blogs soon.

  • At 9:20 PM, Anonymous Pamela said…

    I'm still confused by your point of view, though. It's completely possible to become fat through other means that have nothing to do with eating badly - for example, many different medicines have weight gain as a major side effect, or there can be thyroid or other health problems, or just genetics. My point is that you can become fat even while you are pursuing a healthy lifestyle. Just as you can stay fat even when you are eating well and exercising a lot. I guess I am still confused about your belief system, because it seems as though you are buying into the belief that fat people cannot be healthy.

  • At 10:08 PM, Blogger Lisafashionista said…

    There is sometimes a dividing line in the sand in opinions. I'm always open to talking about this stuff but not sure we'll see eye to eye. Again, I will say that every person is different, and yes there are people with thyroid conditions etc. But my question would be: how fat is this person? How "well" do they eat? How often and how much do they work out? The minute I started working out on a regular basis I started losing weight, even before I changed my eating habits. And I used to claim I had a slow metabolism and that I just couldn't lose weight. When I changed my eating habits, I didn't become some hard core dieter, and I lost a lot of weight from doing that. Even now, where I eat more of a maintenance type food plan (which includes a piece of chocolate every day, at least 6oz of meat plus a starch at dinner, frozen yogurt a few times a week etc) and work out an average amount (3-4 times a week: 2 30 minutes sessions at the gym, 1 1 hour session at the gym, 1 1.5 hr yoga class)it's pretty hard for me to gain back much more than 5 pounds without actually eating A LOT. And I've talked to hundreds of girls, former dieters, gastric bypass patients, people who've gained hundreds or lost hundreds of pounds and 95% of them were/are the way they are because they simply eat too much and don't work out enough. They aren't pigs, they aren't lazy. Some go to the gym once or twice a week or ride their bike. Some eat healthy, but then have fast food on weekends or drink lots of alcohol. Nobody is living a truly "healthy" lifestyle and maintaining a really "fat" body. At least no one I've come across so far. But again, there is a line in the sand on this, and I know some people sit on my side and some people never will. I'm one of those "annoying" former fat people who stand on a soapbox and get called self

  • At 6:49 AM, Anonymous pamela said…

    Well, I know quite a few people, myself included, who live a "truly healthy lifestyle" as you defined it and are still overweight and/or obese. It's good to relate your own story, but you have to realize that your experience is not going to be the same as everyone else. We're going to have to agree to disagree, but I am going to take your blog off of my RSS reader because your beliefs are too negative for my taste and, in my experience, untrue.

  • At 9:02 PM, Anonymous BigGirlBlue said…

    quote:When I was a size 22 my aspiration was always to be no smaller than a 12, and more likely a 14 or 16. However back in the day before I got fat, when I actually was a 12/14, I wanted to be a size 4. endquote

    I can relate to this comment (although I never wished to be a size four). But I remember being a size 18 and dreaming about a size 14, being a size 24 and dreaming about a size 18 etc.

    As for health and size. I am one of those people who thinks a fat person can be healthy if they exercise and follow a reasonable diet (ie, not eating fast food 1-3 times a week). But I also know there are a lot of fat people who don't exercise and eat more than their body needs in a day.

    Regardless of their choice I don't think they should be ridiculed or bashed for it (I'm not saying you were, I'm just adding that).

    This is an interesting post, and as you say, I'm not surprised either.


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