Thursday, June 17, 2010

Fat Head Phenotypes

This week can't die fast enough. I've been doing my best to keep myself busy and distracted. Fatigue helps and since I'm not getting much sleep, I'm pretty much in a fog all the time.

Tomorrow is Friday, I am contemplating throwing a party unlike any other to celebrate. Tonight should be my first Zumba class. *excitement*

Anyway, I now have living with me a relative of the ectomorph persuasion. Ectomorphs are stick people. The human version of those walking stick bugs. Thin doesn't begin to cover it.

Of course my relative, who I'll call Slim, is self-conscious. No one wants their weight to be the first thing people notice. Slim has worked hard to gain weight, stuffing himself full of junk food for the last several years, in an effort to gain weight. All to no avail.

I have often lectured Slim about the long term health effects of a fried food diet and he, being 20ish, could not care less.

This week, I trapped him in my family room and made him watch Fat Head, a documentary that follows a man who eats fast food for a month and loses weight as well as improves his cholesterol. This was mostly an educational exercise to expose Slim to nutritional ideas most people don't know exist. Plus, it is always helpful to understand exactly how political food is in this country.

Now Slim is confused. He eats fat and doesn't get fat. He eats sugar and doesn't get fat. He combines the two and doesn't get fat. He is impervious to fat (someone really ought to study his DNA). What gives? No one knows.

Right now, obesity science is rigidly black and white, constrained by its own prejudices. There are even 'camps' that voluntarily segregate themselves so they don't get each others' cooties. It stopped being about objective science a long time ago.

Frankly, as I told Slim, I believe there are distinct metabolic phenotypes that respond variably to different diets. Documentaries such as Fat Head or Super Size Me are not the end of the story, they are just anecdotes that point to a bigger problem...

The continued scientific myopia that there is only one way to get fat and only one way to get thin which is all fully supported by institutional fat prejudice and discrimination.

We will not even begin to touch the so-called obesity epidemic until this paradigm changes.

As for Slim, I don't know what he'll do but I hope he'll back off the processed foods because even thin people can have high blood pressure, heart attacks and cancer. Thin doesn't protect you if all you eat is mass produced chemical laden food deep fried in dirty week old oil.

And I talk to him a lot about accepting himself as he is. We do share that inability to make our bodies do what we want. Like Slim, I don't have a lot of control over my weight and the control I can exert requires such superhuman precision, I am always this " close to screwing up. At some point, I just decided that it's not my fault I'm fat --I did all the right things all along, I can't help what prednisone and medical science did to me-- and to love myself no matter what.

Everyone else can Suck It. If Slim can find his inner 'Suck It' place, he'll be fine.

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