Tag Archives: fat

when it’s cool to be fat

Standard

I watched Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer the other day, which is an awesome show.  It’s part of my Christmas tradition.  I used to feel like a misfit, so I can relate.  Now I’m awesome, just like the show works out for our misfit friends.

One part of the show that always amuses me is Mrs. Claus telling Santa Claus, “Eat! Eat!  Whoever heard of a skinny Santa?”  Now that’s the kind of job I need! Of course Santa has other major responsibilities, like overseeing toy production and delivering toys, but that wouldn’t take up too much time.  The rest of his time is devoted to being fat.

What would you think if part of your job requirement was being overweight?  Could you handle that?

With Santa, it’s cool that he’s fat.  (Yet he’s in good shape, since he has the endurance to travel the world in one night and deliver billions of toys.)  With Santa, people like it that he’s overweight.  Think about the poem “Twas the Night Before Christmas”, where it says:

He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly!

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!

For most of us, if our belly shakes when we laugh, people look down on that.  But with Santa, it’s cool.

So with all that in mind, I’ve decided I want to be Santa Claus when I grow up.

Advertisements

getting fat the right way

Standard

I ate at Chili’s tonight with a couple of guys, and as we were examining the menu, one guy noticed some mini burgers and asked about them.  None of us had tried them, but judging by the picture it looked like these had more bread than meat.  I said I prefer my burgers to have more meat than bread, and this prompted one guy to say:

I like to get fat the right way. ~ Matt B.

That’s classic…  And he is of robust size, a meat-and-taters type of guy.  And he did make a valid point — if you’re gonna be overweight, you should enjoy it.  You don’t want to get fat from salads (which can happen if you use salad dressing).

Is it fun to be fat?

Standard

Apparently some people really enjoy being fat.  There are a number of bloggers who call themselves “gainers” and document their quest to get fatter.  One blogger named Peter is 5’8″ and 250 pounds, and he is trying to gain more weight.  He has said:

“I love how my weight feels when I run, falling and shaking my body shortly after each step… The only thing I love more than being fat, is getting fatter.”

Uhh… He has also explained that “it feels natural to be fat”.  I don’t know about that, but I have experienced weight gain myself, and it was all natural.  I didn’t have to take any supplements or follow any special non-workout routines.  It just happened.

Peter has also said:

“I talk with many men who are much larger than I am, about their bodies and why they grew so large. They talk about the satisfaction of being full like some people talk about how good they feel after a hard workout or something. Being fat is just what makes them happy.”

Here’s where I think he’s confused (among other things) — I can understand the satisfaction of being full.  When I demolish a pizza buffet and then sit around talking with my friends, it feels good.  That feeling does make you happy.  But being fat doesn’t make me happy.  That’s the difference.  I’m slightly overweight because I love to eat, but I don’t like being fat.  I enjoy playing sports, and hiking, and being able to go places that require walking, without being out of breath all the time.

It’s possible to eat a lot and not be fat, if you maintain a high metabolism.  Then you get to enjoy eating AND enjoy physical activities.  I realize some people may not care about physical activities, so being in good health may not matter so much to them.   But when people get to the point that they get out of breath from tying their shoes, I don’t see how that’s enjoyable.  And then there’s the added health issues of being obese, which aren’t fun at all.

So my conclusion (not that you asked, but you’re still reading), is that it’s not fun to be fat.   But it is very enjoyable to eat, as evidenced by the numerous food conversations we have had here on this blog, particularly our Buffet o’ Bacon series.

it can be healthy to be fat

Standard

According to cutting-edge research, it is actually healthy to have a fat butt.  That sounds like something crazier than I would ever even make up, but it’s the gist of an article I happened to find on a news website.

For all the people with fat around their stomach, that’s totally unhealthy, unfortunately.  I’ll have to keep looking for some cutting-edge research that finds a way to explain how that’s somehow healthy…

(BTW, I’ve heard blogging professionals say you should include pictures with your posts, to increase interest.  I try to do that sometimes.  But I think this post is an exception.  You should be thankful I realized that…)

being fat burns calories

Standard

In our recent post on how exercising may not make you thin, the (self-proclaimed) “Important Doctor” mentioned that muscles burn calories even while you’re not working out, including while you sleep.  And that’s true.  But there’s a lesser known fact that goes along with this — fat also burns calories while resting.  I’m not making this up!  Check it out:

The muscle-fat relationship is often misunderstood. According to calculations published in the journal Obesity Research by a Columbia University team in 2001, a pound of muscle burns approximately six calories a day in a resting body, compared with the two calories that a pound of fat burns.

So while muscles will burn more calories than fat, at least fat does burn some calories, even while resting.  So if you apply some basic arithmetic principles, you can deduce that the more fat you have, the more calories you are burning while resting.   You heard it here first!

some say exercise won’t make you thin

Standard

The blogosphere has been abuzz lately about an article in TIME magazine called Why Exercise Won’t Make You Thin.  It is interesting, because we’ve joked about such things before, yet here’s an article in a credible magazine suggesting it.  But before we dig into it, let me mention that the author of this article exercises regularly and talks about how he isn’t losing fat, yet he weighs only 163 pounds.  Unless he’s abnormally short, that’s not a bad weight for an adult male to be at.   I don’t see how he could be considered fat or obese.  Actually, my “ideal weight” is supposedly 190-200 for my height, so 163 seems too skinny to me.  Anyway, let’s get to the article.

First, let’s start with the author’s premise for his hypothesis:

Like many other people, I get hungry after I exercise, so I often eat more on the days I work out than on the days I don’t.  Could exercise actually be keeping me from losing weight? ~ John Cloud

He also quotes some other experts who back his claim: “In general, for weight loss, exercise is pretty useless,” says Eric Ravussin, chair in diabetes and metabolism at Louisiana State University and a prominent exercise researcher.  That sounds extreme to me, but I’ll keep reading.

The notion that we eat more because exercise makes us more hungry and thus exercise makes it harder to lose weight sure sounds like something the “Important Doctor” came up with.  The article also mentions the idea that intense sessions of exercise may cause people to reward themselves by eating what they want.  I can see that — it’s much easier to justify a milkshake or snack if you’ve worked out.

Some scientists imply that it’s evolution’s fault that humans can easily get fat.  We don’t have much “brown fat”.  Rats, among other species, have a lot of it, which turns off their mitochondria (which are the cells’ power plants), so they don’t get an energy boost from eating too much — they just get warmer, which helps the calories burn effortlessly.  So for animals like that, it’s really difficult for them to get fat, even if they overeat.  In contrast, humans can barely overeat and yet gain weight, because unused calories get stored in regular “white fat” cells.

One example cited in the article explains why our compensation for exercise keeps us from losing weight:

A standard 20-oz. bottle of Gatorade contains 130 calories.  If you’re hot and thirsty after a 20-minute run in summer heat, it’s easy to guzzle that bottle in 20 seconds, in which case the caloric expenditure and the caloric intake are probably a wash.  From a weight-loss perspective, you would have been better off sitting on the sofa knitting.

Well, few people knit these days, but I think it would be fair to replace that part of the example with sitting on the sofa playing video games.  So there’s your proof that playing video games can help you lose more weight than running! (That definitely sounds like something from the “Important Doctor”.)

The article also says that self-control is like a muscle, that it gets weaker when you use it too much.  So if you force yourself to jog for an hour, your capacity for self-control becomes weakened, and you’re more likely to eat pizza than a salad.  (Although I’m always more likely to eat pizza than a salad, given those choices.)

Steven Gortmaker, who heads Harvard’s Prevention Research Center on Nutrition and Physical Activity, agrees that exercising makes you more hungry, therefore he’s suspicious of the playgrounds at fast-food restaurants: “Why would they build those?  I know it sounds kind of like conspiracy theory, but you have to think, if a kid plays five minutes and burns 50 calories, he might then go inside and consume 500 calories or even 1,000.”   One study has shown that exercise causes kids to eat an average of 100 calories more than they had just burned.

Of course, some sites have countered the TIME article, with one even saying it is an “Epic Fail”.  The TIME article makes some points, but we don’t have to give in to overeating because we exercise.  And I don’t think self-control is like a muscle from a physiological sense, but the analogy may work if you carry it out further.  The more you resist something, the stronger you get, instead of weaker — after a while.  For example, if you give up cokes, it may be hard for a few days, but eventually you don’t even miss them anymore.  (I know, because I gave them up.)

I reckon what all this debate results in is that you can find a study that backs up whatever lifestyle you want to live.   If you don’t want to exercise, then you shouldn’t, because it makes you gain weight.   But if you want to lose weight, well, it’s hopeless.  (Of course the last one isn’t true — but if you want to blame it on evolution or misinformation or whatever, there’s an excuse.)  To me, it still seems really simple — if you burn more calories than you take in, you will lose weight.  Maybe that seems too-good-to-be-true, but it adds up, if you do the math.

viewer mail, issue #15

Standard

It is time for another issue of viewer mail.  (I really should do these more often; they’re fun.)  As always, these are actual search terms that brought people to this website, followed by my own leading brand of analysis, commentary, and rambling.

* buffets make people fat — Buffets don’t make people fat — people make people fat.   Actually, you make yourself fat.  But that’s not meant in a derogatory way.  I mean, if you want to be fat, then you have that option.  But let’s not blame buffets, or the “politically correct” crowd will try to ban them.  Besides, even if all-you-can-eat buffets went away, there would still be fat people.  It’s just a matter of semantics or somethin’…

pickles are evil* pickles diarrhea — I haven’t heard of such things, but I also don’t research it in any way, because pickles are evil.  Some have posited that eating pickles will turn you into a zombie (which probably could lead to diarrhea as your body tries to reject that).  I don’t think that’s completely proven yet, but some important people are working on it.  We’ll keep you updated.  But in the meantime, avoid pickles at all costs, unless you’re throwing them into the sun to destroy them.  That would be okay.  (FYI, there’s a very funny discussion on pickles at that link.)

* shampoo fraud conspiracy — I have no idea about this one…  Does anyone have any clue what this could be referring to?

* potassium nitrate side effects — Potassium nitrate is an interesting compound.  It is used in fertilizer, amateur rocket propellant, smoke bombs, food preservation (in old days), cigarettes, tree stump remover, the heat treatment of metals as a short-term rust inhibitor, the manufacturing of ice cream, toothpaste, and it’s one of the three ingredients in black powder.  So if you were to eat it, who knows what the side effects could be?  There’s a lot to choose from among that list.  But given those options, I don’t recommend eating it.

* burn calories poop — Well, just about any activity burns calories, even tapping your finger on your desk, so I reckon pooping would, too.  I did a quick search, and someone estimated the process burns between 19 and 70 calories.  I don’t know how scientific and accurate that is, but that site claims to be the #1 source for #2.

* can the sun be dangerous — Certainly!  In case you weren’t paying attention in science class, here’s a brief recap.  The sun has constant fusion, where hydrogen atoms fuse together to form helium atoms and release energy.  Or in other words, it’s a constant explosion.  So you don’t play with it!  IT IS NOT A TOY!  You wouldn’t want to put the sun in your pocket, because it would burn your butt.  Fortunately we’re 93 million miles from the sun, and Earth’s atmosphere refracts the direct sunbeams so it’s not instantly lethal.   But using a magnifying glass you can refocus the beams of sunlight and see just how dangerous it is — it creates fire.  So obviously it’s quite dangerous — sunlight plus curved glass creates fire.

That’s all the time we have for today.  I hope you learned something, or at least laughed.  (Laughing burns calories, y’know.  I’m not sure about learning, but it’s still good for you.)