The Atlantic- Beating Obesity

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Over43
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The Atlantic- Beating Obesity

Post by Over43 » Thu May 06, 2010 12:50 am

Here's an article that is in this month's "The Atlantic" magazine:

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/arc ... esity/8017
April 4, 2016 197

Bacon is the gateway meat. - Anthony Bourdain
You pale in comparison to Fox Mulder. - The Smoking Man

I made myself be hungry, then I would get hungrier. - Frank Zane Mr. Olympia '77, '78, '79

JoanE
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Post by JoanE » Thu May 06, 2010 1:40 am

Great article. I wonder if the no S diet might have helped the author avoid surgery.

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Post by RJLupin » Thu May 06, 2010 3:25 am

I didn't much care for it. His idea of a solution for everybody seems to be that everyone should get gastric bypass, because he thinks diet and exercise "don't work" or don't work forever. Well, surgery doesn't always work forever, either. He seems to equate weight loss with some kind of very restrictive diet, which No S certainly is not. I personally would much rather someone do something reasonable like No S, than have their intestines and stomach cut out.

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Post by harmony » Thu May 06, 2010 6:44 am

Wow! There was a lot of info in that article. I am not sure it left me with a warm and fuzzy feeling that the goverment will figure this out, though. It did a great job of demonstrating the complexity of the issue, I thought. I get frustrated of being told what is healthy and realizing that I cannot afford it or keep up the lifestyle long term. I have to be careful that I do not just throw my arms up in the air and just give up and live off of the McDonald's dollar menu (don't worry, I really don't like McDonald's).

I would like to see education on boring old basic meal planning. I would like to see permission given to eat standard, easy to find vegetables like peas, carrots, potatoes, green beans, corn, potatoes and those that are easily found canned or frozen (because don't you think eating a canned vegetable is better than eating no vegetables at all?) The same with fruit. I get frustrated with these newer "healthy" recipes that require 3-5 of the more expensive and hard to find fresh vegetables (red peppers, summer squash and zucchini, and various green leafy vegetables are either expensive, hard to find, or of poor quality in my neighborhood stores). I have started to collect older cookbooks because I can make the majority of the recipes with ingredients I can buy at the little local grocery store 2 blocks away. There is so much focus on eating local and eating organic - which I do understand the value of both - but don't you think that the focus should be an getting people to eat ANY vegetable or fruit more often? End of rant :)

But in the end, eating more vegetables and fruits may make you healthier, not neccesarily skinnier. The trick is to figure out how to get back to eating less and that is where it gets very, very, complex for many people.

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The Atlantic - Beating Obesity

Post by Graham » Thu May 06, 2010 8:47 am

Wow - fantastic article - made me SO ANGRY - and, If I have an uncensored rant, I am going to offend so many people on this board...

I know we are advised to play nice here - don't get mad, don't offend people, don't take offence either. What am I to do? put a sock in my mouth?

You may have gathered from my other postings that I'm somewhat disenchanted with unregulated capitalism and find attitudes like "we don't need to be regulated" somewhat naive.

The big food manufacturers just want profits - they don't care about anything else so long as they don't get caught, just like the tobacco people - there is no conscience there, and what do they care about obesity while someone else is picking up the tab? Until they have to pay for the over-indulgence they promote and profit from, what would make them change?

As for people following No S - I'm wet behind the ears, I know too little to comment so far - it works for Reinhard, and has many supporters, how many drop out I do not know, whether it just suits a certain type of dieter (the ones who are still here) I don't know. I do know we all face a battle against those who make bad food choices easy, and good food choices hard.

One thing I have been musing about, an article I read some years ago about lab rats being switched from their standard "lab chow" to a "cafeteria diet". The quantity they ate wasn't regulated, on their standard diet they maintained a healthy weight, but when switched to a more varied diet with lots of tasty/fatty more-ish foods, they all got fat, returning to normal weight only when switched back to their standard food.

It seems the plain but nutritious intake was part of the solution - is it perhaps something we need to think about too? By having food be SO tasty, are we provoking over-eating? Would duller food be the answer? Ban the sale of all flavour-enhanced foods, admitting that, just like with cocaine or heroin, most of us just can't handle it, so we'd better be honest about it and ban it?

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Post by oliviamanda » Thu May 06, 2010 11:55 am

Keeping us overweight and unhealthy is big business. Getting us on the road to recovery is also big business. Addictive food enhancers gets you coming back time after time to buy the food that disrupts your body. Big business doesn't care about the cancer victims, the overweight, the alcoholics. We are here to be made money off of. It's our personal responsibility to choose what kind of statistic we are going to become.

I'm sorry... it's early. I didn't get much sleep. :shock:
Habit is habit and not to be flung out of the window by any man, but coaxed downstairs a step at a time.--- Mark Twain

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Post by JoanE » Thu May 06, 2010 12:32 pm

Harmony - I know this is not possible for many, but do you have a sunny location that you could put a few pots in to grow a garden? There are lots of varieties of lettuce that are easy to grow. Snip off your salad for the evening, and it grows back. Just add water. These can be grown from seed so you very inexpensive. I am just a beginner gardener - and lettuce was my most successful crop last year. I also grew some herbs, since they are so expensive. That said, frozen vegetables and fruit are just as nutritious and almost as tasty as fresh.

Oliviamanda - I agree with you that personal responsibility is important, but we all pay for the costs of obesity, so I do think government should try to do something - especially starting with children. School lunch subsidies have not increased at all for 20 years, so all the food served there is now cheap pre-prepared heat and serve meals. The schools have to stay within the subsidized cost so they are serving the same meal to the free lunch kids as they serve to the full pay kids.

I know from my own experience how hard it is to lose weight and keep it off - since I have just started no-S, I am hopeful. There are many people who are successful at losing weight and keeping it off - many who have posted to this site. It's true we don't see who fell off the wagon - same for any other diet program. Maybe there could be a study...

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Re: The Atlantic- Beating Obesity

Post by BrightAngel » Thu May 06, 2010 12:58 pm

Over43 wrote:Here's an article that is in this month's "The Atlantic" magazine:

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/arc ... esity/8017
Over43,
Thanks for sharing that article.

One is seldom able to read such an accurate dipiction of the issue within a single article.
The author was well-informed;
had an excellent intellectual grasp of the issues;
and extensive personal experience,
which gave his expert opinion an enormous amount of credibility and value.

I have bookmarked it in my "favorites".
BrightAngel - (Dr. Collins)
See: DietHobby. com

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Over43
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Post by Over43 » Thu May 06, 2010 3:36 pm

There are several paradoxes in all of this that have been noted: The food industry makes big bucks, the diet industry makes big bucks, the medical industry (seperate from the diet industry) makes big bucks, state governments tax are taxing "junk foods" or demanding certain ingredients be taken out of foods, but the federal govenrment gives sudbsidies to big food corporations to grow the ingredients to the foods that are being taxed.

Makes your head spin.

I think the issue is less about the science of weight loss, and more about the politics of personal choice and corporate responsibility.
April 4, 2016 197

Bacon is the gateway meat. - Anthony Bourdain
You pale in comparison to Fox Mulder. - The Smoking Man

I made myself be hungry, then I would get hungrier. - Frank Zane Mr. Olympia '77, '78, '79

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Post by ShannahR » Thu May 06, 2010 7:17 pm

I have to admit that when I started No S and before I read that article and The End of Overeating, I was in the "personal responsibility" camp. I thought that my extra weight was my fault and if I just had more will power or was a better person or whatever I wouldn't have a weight problem. I'm slowly starting to see that that attitude is probably not true. One thing from the article that really struck me was this simile:
Putting individual solutions and free will up against the increase in portion sizes, massive technological and societal changes, food-company taste-engineering, and the ubiquity of effective television advertisements is like asking Ecuador to conquer China. And yet, that is what public-health campaigns suggest we do.
This isn't the first thing about food that has gone from the "obviously true" category to the "probably false" for me since I started No S. Sometimes personal growth is hard, but it's worth it.
This version of myself is not permanent, tomorrow I will be different. --BEP
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Post by wosnes » Thu May 06, 2010 9:13 pm

If we know the food industry is making products that are making us fat and unhealthy and we also know that portion sizes are too large, then it's our responsibility to stop supporting the food industry and reduce the portions -- or stop patronizing the places that serve huge portions. We "vote" with our dollars. If we stop giving them our money, they'll start paying attention to what we want.
"That which we persist in doing becomes easier for us to do. Not that the nature of the thing itself has changed but our power to do it is increased." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"You are what you eat -- so don't be Fast, Easy, Cheap or Fake."

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Over43
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p. 79 concerning bariatric surgery

Post by Over43 » Thu May 06, 2010 9:36 pm

On page 79 the author states, " ...many insurance companies refuse to pay the $30,000 cost, reasoning that any econimic benefit they would recoup is years down the road."

My question would be for the insurance companies, if severe diabetes is negated almost immediately (p. 78 according to the author) after most surgeries, and he lost 85 pounds ( in a year give or take...), how does it take "years down the road" to recoup loses? It appears that money spent on band aide fixes (insulin, blood pressure meds, Lipitor, apnea equipment, etc.) would save money almost immediately? :?
April 4, 2016 197

Bacon is the gateway meat. - Anthony Bourdain
You pale in comparison to Fox Mulder. - The Smoking Man

I made myself be hungry, then I would get hungrier. - Frank Zane Mr. Olympia '77, '78, '79

wosnes
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Post by wosnes » Fri May 07, 2010 12:03 am

I don't think what the author experienced is the norm for everyone.
"That which we persist in doing becomes easier for us to do. Not that the nature of the thing itself has changed but our power to do it is increased." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"You are what you eat -- so don't be Fast, Easy, Cheap or Fake."

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Post by BrightAngel » Fri May 07, 2010 1:01 am

wosnes wrote:I don't think what the author experienced is the norm for everyone.

Anyone can have an opinion on anything,
even one as far fetched as to whether the moon is made of green cheese.
However, I'm probably the resident "expert" on WLS inside this forum
since there doesn't appear to be anyone else here
who has actually had the experience of Bariatric surgery on their own body".

Here's my "Expert" opinion.
Of course EVERYONE doesn't experience "the norm".
However, the author's description of his experience was very much the norm,
and was very similiar to my own experience.
BrightAngel - (Dr. Collins)
See: DietHobby. com

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Post by ThomsonsPier » Fri May 07, 2010 8:33 am

ShannahR wrote:I have to admit that when I started No S and before I read that article and The End of Overeating, I was in the "personal responsibility" camp.
I still am, and am unlikely to be moved from it.
ShannahR wrote:One thing from the article that really struck me was this simile:
Putting individual solutions and free will up against the increase in portion sizes, massive technological and societal changes, food-company taste-engineering, and the ubiquity of effective television advertisements is like asking Ecuador to conquer China. And yet, that is what public-health campaigns suggest we do.
Unless I'm missing something, that quotation is nonsense. It's more like asking Ecuador to repel China from its borders, where China is only allowed to enter Ecuador if Ecuador invites them, China's only weapon a wave of propaganda.

It doesn't matter how much advertising there is, how unhealthy-but-appealing food-like products are on the market, or how big the serving on the plate is. An individual is the only one who has control over what goes into their body (unless they're being force-fed on a regular basis, in which case there are bigger problems afoot) and must take the initiative to make sure that what goes in is right. The only influence on the individual I'd rate in that list is "societal"; the pressures to conform in a dietary sense frequently work at odds to effective education about healthy eating.
ThomsonsPier

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Post by Graham » Fri May 07, 2010 8:53 am

wosnes wrote:If we know the food industry is making products that are making us fat and unhealthy and we also know that portion sizes are too large, then it's our responsibility to stop supporting the food industry and reduce the portions -- or stop patronizing the places that serve huge portions. We "vote" with our dollars. If we stop giving them our money, they'll start paying attention to what we want.
I've read and re-read this, with a gnawing sense of unease. I'm not sure what it's essential meaning is: is it to say "forget legislation and what the food companies do, it is up to the individual to deal with this as an individual"? I was asking myself, if we were talking about heroin instead of food, how plausible would it be to say to the addicts "you know this is bad for you, just say "No", you'll be much better off in the long run" - wouldn't that be naive?

And the idea that "we stop giving them our money, they'll start to pay attention to what we want" - I stopped giving them my money years ago, so did you, I assume, but I don't think they noticed.

Unless "we" becomes a substantial part of the population, it won't matter what we do with our money - and anyway, what about the kids who don't have any direct say in what they're fed? They can't be "personally responsible" till they have some power, by which time their metabolisms may be so corrupted they no longer have any desire to fight "Big Food".

For those reasons I don't think we can just address this as individuals without considering wider political action and regulation - the big boys won't leave the kids alone just because they were asked nicely - they are making too much money.

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Post by harmony » Fri May 07, 2010 9:59 am

My question would be for the insurance companies, if severe diabetes is negated almost immediately (p. 78 according to the author) after most surgeries, and he lost 85 pounds ( in a year give or take...), how does it take "years down the road" to recoup loses? It appears that money spent on band aide fixes (insulin, blood pressure meds, Lipitor, apnea equipment, etc.) would save money almost immediately?
I am by no means an expert in the health insurance field, but perhaps they are taking in account that the client may eventually move on to a different insurance company (or succumb to their illness) before they see any savings.
Harmony - I know this is not possible for many, but do you have a sunny location that you could put a few pots in to grow a garden? There are lots of varieties of lettuce that are easy to grow. Snip off your salad for the evening, and it grows back. Just add water. These can be grown from seed so you very inexpensive. I am just a beginner gardener - and lettuce was my most successful crop last year. I also grew some herbs, since they are so expensive. That said, frozen vegetables and fruit are just as nutritious and almost as tasty as fresh.
Thanks for the response JoanE. :) Unfortunately, I tried gardening and failed miserably. I think I am one of the few people that failed at growing radishes. haha. I consider my diet quite healthy despite not having a garden or access to a decent farmer's market. I think most people can improve their health without having to search down specialty markets or growing their own food. Simple solutions are often overlooked in favor of the more glamorous, trendy ideals of the moment. I think the "real food" movement is in the right direction, but right now it alienates a lot of average people (including to some extent myself) that see it as something reserved solely for educated, affluent people, and not the family struggling to pay the bills while working long hours or even dealing with unemployment. Personally, I am tired of hearing that one needs money to lose weight and be healthier. Oh well... :roll:

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Post by Graham » Fri May 07, 2010 10:01 am

ThomsonsPier wrote:It doesn't matter how much advertising there is, how unhealthy-but-appealing food-like products are on the market, or how big the serving on the plate is. An individual is the only one who has control over what goes into their body (unless they're being force-fed on a regular basis, in which case there are bigger problems afoot) and must take the initiative to make sure that what goes in is right.
A question for you then: how then do you judge people who are fat? Lazy? Stupid? Weak?

Surely what you propose above is only true if:
1)you have clear, sound knowledge about which foods are good and which are bad
2)you have real choice where you live : i.e. Good food is available and affordable in your neighbourhood
3)your metabolism/appetite hasn't already been corrupted by years of poor food.

Most obese people will not fulfil all 3 conditions and so won't merit the judgement you would seem to implicitly pass on them. I personally don't believe that anyone would choose to be as miserable as obesity makes most people who suffer from it, rather they are the consequence of an "obesogenic" environment.

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Post by oliviamanda » Fri May 07, 2010 11:49 am

wosnes wrote:If we know the food industry is making products that are making us fat and unhealthy and we also know that portion sizes are too large, then it's our responsibility to stop supporting the food industry and reduce the portions -- or stop patronizing the places that serve huge portions. We "vote" with our dollars. If we stop giving them our money, they'll start paying attention to what we want.
No one is holding a gun to our heads and forcing us to buy all this processed food. We can read labels and make informed decisions about what we put into our bodies. More and more companies are not using HFCS and transfats, so that's a start. Lower sugars and sodium... it's all good as long as it's not substituted with more toxic ingredients.
Habit is habit and not to be flung out of the window by any man, but coaxed downstairs a step at a time.--- Mark Twain

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Post by kccc » Fri May 07, 2010 1:05 pm

oliviamanda wrote: No one is holding a gun to our heads and forcing us to buy all this processed food. We can read labels and make informed decisions about what we put into our bodies. More and more companies are not using HFCS and transfats, so that's a start. Lower sugars and sodium... it's all good as long as it's not substituted with more toxic ingredients.
I do all that, and I maintained my weight (after initial loss in my 20's) for decades doing that. (Until my metabolism slowed, but that's another story and you can find it elsewhere on this board if you look.)

And I still say that it took TREMENDOUS amounts of effort, and that people should live in an environment where constant and extreme vigilance is not required in order to eat decent food and maintain a healthy weight.

Yes, individual choice plays a part. But so does legislation, policy, social mores...

Just as an example, in my role a parent, I am seriously handicapped in my ability to teach my child to eat decently because of the stuff permitted in the schools!! Further, I am exhausted by the effort of trying to combat the combined forces of all the well-paid marketers targeting my child with my lone voice.... [ETA: On re-reading, that's an awful sentence. I'm "combating with my lone voice"; the marketers are not "targeting my child with my lone voice". Too busy to re-write, too obsessive to let it go.]

Saying "it's all up to the individual" is a cop-out, in my opinion. Some of it is, sure - we all make choices, and are responsible for them. But as Graham so eloquently put it, there are pre-conditions that affect our ability to choose wisely, and they're NOT being met. The second one is particularly applicable: "real choice" takes "real effort" and is difficult even for me - and I'm well-educated, and have reasonable financial resources.

(Though the first one is good too - getting accurate nutritional info isn't always that easy. Restaurants are the worst - they are only beginnning to give us info on their foods, and the numbers are generally awful!)
Last edited by kccc on Fri May 07, 2010 2:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Starla » Fri May 07, 2010 1:23 pm

Graham wrote:
ThomsonsPier wrote:It doesn't matter how much advertising there is, how unhealthy-but-appealing food-like products are on the market, or how big the serving on the plate is. An individual is the only one who has control over what goes into their body (unless they're being force-fed on a regular basis, in which case there are bigger problems afoot) and must take the initiative to make sure that what goes in is right.
A question for you then: how then do you judge people who are fat? Lazy? Stupid? Weak?.....I personally don't believe that anyone would choose to be as miserable as obesity makes most people who suffer from it, rather they are the consequence of an "obesogenic" environment.
I think a false dichotomy is being set up here. Saying we are personally responsible for what we put in our mouths does not mean we need to be judged at all, and we certainly don't need to be shamed.

Accepting that we're simply the consequences of our environment makes us passive victims and takes away the very real power each of us has to change our lives.

I agree that no one consciously chooses the misery of obesity. Maybe the problem is that there is no one moment of choice. It's thousands of little choices, each insignificant on its own, that add up to obesity. This is probably where Big Food and advertising come in - they multiply the choices and spend billions trying to convince us to make the choices that benefit THEM, not ourselves. To me that's the genius of No S - eventually habit takes over for conscious choice. It doesn't matter how many Snickers ads I see, I don't eat candy on weekdays!

This has been a very interesting thread with well-thought-out and civil disagreements. I appreciate that.

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Post by kccc » Fri May 07, 2010 1:58 pm

Starla, I agree. You are right that this is not a dichotomy, it's a "both/and" situation. Both the individual and the environment are responsible for choices.

But I still think that environmental choices are deliberately and intentionally overwhelming, and "tilted" toward unhealthy choices.

However... No-S really does provide EXCELLENT tools for dealing with such an environment, which is why I am an absolute advocate.

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Post by Graham » Fri May 07, 2010 2:13 pm

Starla wrote:
Graham wrote:
ThomsonsPier wrote:It doesn't matter how much advertising there is, how unhealthy-but-appealing food-like products are on the market, or how big the serving on the plate is. An individual is the only one who has control over what goes into their body (unless they're being force-fed on a regular basis, in which case there are bigger problems afoot) and must take the initiative to make sure that what goes in is right.
A question for you then: how then do you judge people who are fat? Lazy? Stupid? Weak?.....I personally don't believe that anyone would choose to be as miserable as obesity makes most people who suffer from it, rather they are the consequence of an "obesogenic" environment.
I think a false dichotomy is being set up here. Saying we are personally responsible for what we put in our mouths does not mean we need to be judged at all, and we certainly don't need to be shamed.
Without asking ThompsonsPier we can't know whether he judges fat people or not, that is why I posed a question about it rather than just making a statement, but maybe I fell into judging him?
Starla wrote:Saying that we're simply the consequences of our environment makes us passive victims and takes away the very real power each of us has to change our lives.
Now I think it's your turn with the false dichotomy - accepting your state is the result of a set of forces doesn't equate to passivity. Rather I would see it this way - till you know what's really driving you, you can't make smart choices about how to change. Also, it helps to counteract unproductive self-blame and guilt.
Starla wrote:I agree that no one consciously chooses the misery of obesity. Maybe the problem is that there is no one moment of choice. It's thousands of little choices, each insignificant on its own, that add up to obesity. This is probably where Big Food and advertising come in - they multiply the choices and spend billions trying to convince us to make the choices that benefit THEM, not ourselves. To me that's the genius of No S - eventually habit takes over for conscious choice. It doesn't matter how many Snickers ads I see, I don't eat candy on weekdays!

This has been a very interesting thread with well-thought-out and civil disagreements. I appreciate that.
I think you over-estimate the power of conscious choice in our daily lives - that's why the advertisers are so powerful - they aim at unconscious processes that precede choice (see the work of Benjamin Libet to see the relationship of conscious and unconscious processes and the deceptive nature of conscious choice discussed in detail).

Advertisers don't meet you head on all the time - they are too smart for that, they like to shape your choosing without letting you know. Anyway, whatever perspective you have on why we get fat, we can all agree No S is a good response, a strategy that has worked well for many people, a light in the darkness.

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Re: p. 79 concerning bariatric surgery

Post by wosnes » Fri May 07, 2010 2:36 pm

Over43 wrote:On page 79 the author states, " ...many insurance companies refuse to pay the $30,000 cost, reasoning that any econimic benefit they would recoup is years down the road."

My question would be for the insurance companies, if severe diabetes is negated almost immediately (p. 78 according to the author) after most surgeries, and he lost 85 pounds ( in a year give or take...), how does it take "years down the road" to recoup loses? It appears that money spent on band aide fixes (insulin, blood pressure meds, Lipitor, apnea equipment, etc.) would save money almost immediately? :?
The first thing you have to remember is that insurance companies aren't in business to keep us healthy. Their primary responsibility is to make money for their shareholders. That in itself is a major problem from my point of view.

Second, it's probably not costing them nearly as much as you might think to pay for the medications for hypertension, elevated cholesterol, diabetes and other complications of obesity. Someone is checking the cost of the sleep apnea equipment for me, but after the initial expense of the machine, the cost is minimal. I myself take two blood pressure meds (I have congestive heart failure) and a statin. Total cost to the insurance company is less than $15/monthly. Insulin costs about $50-$100 per bottle and the price would vary depending on the kind of insulin used and the dose required. Most Type 2 diabetics use oral hypoglycemic agents and from what I could find, the cost to the insurance company would be less than $1300 annually -- and most seem to be significantly less than half that cost.

The insurance company has already paid out thousands for the testing to diagnose Type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, gastric reflux and other obesity-related problems. Let's say that they're paying $2500 annually (just a guess) for the treatment of these things. It would be more cost-effective for them to continue paying for the treatment than to pay for the cure.

I'm in no way siding with the insurance companies. I probably wouldn't have thought of this had I just not received my statement from my insurance company showing how much they're paying for my medications.
"That which we persist in doing becomes easier for us to do. Not that the nature of the thing itself has changed but our power to do it is increased." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"You are what you eat -- so don't be Fast, Easy, Cheap or Fake."

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Post by ThomsonsPier » Fri May 07, 2010 3:00 pm

Graham wrote:Without asking ThompsonsPier we can't know whether he judges fat people or not
I try not to judge anyone, with varying degrees of success. The reason for the somewhat strangled English in my last post was thanks to an attempt to frame my argument without relating it to anyone specifically.

Your earlier points highlight a number of real problems with societal norms, namely those of the lack of availability of good food sources and the prevalence of advertising over education, both of which I agree are problems; the latter is, I think, more so because places that sell food tend to sell the food for which there's a demand. Habitual behaviour is instilled prior to learned functioning, meaning that children are more at risk, especially as the current generation are among the first being raised by parents who were themselves brought up in the convenience age. The way out of this can't simply be a reversal of the way in, but I don't know what the answer is beyond education.

In response to your third point, I don't believe that there's any physiological process which manifests solely from eating which allows a permanent alteration of the human metabolism resulting in an inability to build good dietary habits.
Graham wrote:I think you over-estimate the power of conscious choice in our daily lives
I think you underestimate the power of wilful decision making in our daily lives. I see no reason that making the best of oneself, including being healthy, shouldn't be a struggle in part. All of the required information to make good choices is available. The only things required are the awareness that a change needs to be made and the will to do so.
ThomsonsPier

It's a trick. Get an axe.

Graham
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Post by Graham » Fri May 07, 2010 3:45 pm

ThomsonsPier wrote:In response to your third point, I don't believe that there's any physiological process which manifests solely from eating which allows a permanent alteration of the human metabolism resulting in an inability to build good dietary habits.
Nor do I - but then, that's not what I said. There is accumulating evidence for neurological changes brought on by fat/sugar combinations in fast food creating addictive responses. Like you, I'm hoping they aren't irreversible.
ThomsonsPier wrote:
Graham wrote:I think you over-estimate the power of conscious choice in our daily lives
I think you underestimate the power of wilful decision making in our daily lives.
Quoting me here, without the context referred to, makes little sense. If I had no belief in consciously striving for change, why would I try No S? As I said in the earlier post you quoted from, check the work of Benjamin Libet to see what I'm saying about conscious choice.


It doesn't mean we can't plan anything, it does mean there's far more unconscious processing playing a part in our "conscious" decision making than we used to believe - it's not just Dr. Freud & Co. saying it any more, it's neurophysiologists measuring the processes as well.
ThomsonsPier wrote:All of the required information to make good choices is available. The only things required are the awareness that a change needs to be made and the will to do so.
Are you sure you aren't judging people? :wink:

RJLupin
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Post by RJLupin » Sat May 08, 2010 12:42 pm

I think it's a combination. Certainly there's lots of fast food advertising out there, and an overabundance of cheap, highly processed, caloric food follows us no matter where we go. However, I do not think that lets us off the hook when it comes to our choice to eat it. As soon as we say "oh, well, it's my environment making me fat....not my choice to eat a box of cookies every night" then we've made ourselves powerless, and no diet we try will work. There's a really good book called "The Beck Diet Solution" where the author, a psychologist, points out the various excuses people make when trying to lose weight, and the mistakes they fall prey to that keep them from losing it. One of the major ones is, "It's not my fault! I ate the cookies because I had a bad day/was sick/in a hurry/etc." That takes away your own power to choose, and gives it to the cookies AND to the bad day, not a good thing.

There are people out there who never eat fast food. Everybody in the US knows eating junk food, fast food, and too much in general will make us fat, and yet we do it anyway. It doesn't make us "BAD" people, but it does makes us responsible for out own weight. As I have pointed out repeatedly, I've never know a fat person, myself included, who made good food choices. Is that "judging" them? You tell me. Is it reality? You bet. I'm not saying it's easy or fun, but it is possible to eat better and not eat too much; it just takes hard, persistent work. Since starting No S, I have struggled daily with cravings. "Oh, I had a terrible day! Maybe I should run through the drive through and get a burger and a milkshake." I usually stop myself, though, because I have come to realize that a burger won't make a bad day better, and will probably make it worse. I have the ability to choose, I don't go ahead and eat it and then blame the fast food people or advertising or whatever for "making" me eat it.

Graham
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Post by Graham » Sat May 08, 2010 2:51 pm

This seems such a tricky topic to discuss, I'm beginning to feel that talking about choice is carrying a lot more emotion than it ought to - almost as though it were, for some people, an article of faith that we are free choosing beings, and no-one can make us do anything we don't agree to without some form of threat.

There are a lot of experiments which demonstrate the opposite to be the case - anyone remember Milgram's experiments getting ordinary folks to shock someone else "to death"?

We have, according to what our culture tells us, certain beliefs about ourselves, which may or may not be true, but are widely accepted and perhaps socially serviceable.

I'm thinking that having a certain view on the power of choice is such a belief - and, if I'm correct, it will be futile to pursue a "rational" discussion without generating much heat and offence.

I know I'm experiencing some emotion discussing the topic, a sense of frustration - I'm basically persuaded by the rightness of the author of the Atlantic article, I agree with his perspective, I'm just much angrier than he seems to be about the way vested interests subvert the political processes which might prevent the needless misery of widespread obesity, and how those same interests are able to exploit the support of their victims in the name of "freedom".

Admitting that you are affected by your environment is NOT determinism, defeatism or surrendering your power. Knowing what affects you can help you make smarter choices.

A very simple example - if you have trouble controlling your urge to eat cookies the simplest strategy is not to have them around, but if you do have them, keep them out of sight - it really is effective (for me at any rate).

It isn't a "willpower" thing, or a choice thing, it's an effective environmental strategy - what I'd call acknowledging the power of the environment over me and working with it instead of denying it - it's not defeatism or nihilism.

This position between determinism and free will suits me, but I see it is not universally acceptable. What to do? It is a bit like discussing religion - I mostly don't discuss religion with people unless they share my enquiring perspective - makes people (including me) too upset otherwise.

We can all agree that No S is a worthy pursuit.

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