Remembering Kevin Moore

When Does Being Fat Become Your Fault?

There’s been a rather peculiar trend happening regarding the discussion about excess body fat in recent years that totally abdicates any responsibility for obesity that could fall on the individual. With the ruthless blame and shame culture we live in about body weight and image, it’s refreshing to see a different approach that perhaps could encourage some frustrated overweight and obese people to reconsider other alternatives before simply throwing in the towel on pursuing optimally healthy nutrition. I first noticed this new strategy for reaching those who are carrying around a few extra pounds in 2009 when I was preparing to interview a naturopathic physician named Dr. Bryan Walsh on my podcast to discuss his “Fat Is Not Your Fault” concept. I remember thinking, “wait a minute, do you mean to tell me that all those years of guilt-tripping myself into thinking I was fat because I just ate too much and didn’t exercise enough was wrong–and more importantly, NOT my fault?” That’s the line of thinking Dr. Walsh is putting out there. But he’s not alone.

Fitness expert Alwyn Cosgrove has bought into the concept as has his fellow fitness guru John Benson. In fact, this really isn’t a new idea at all as I found a book from 1998 on the subject entitled (what else?!) Your Fat Is Not Your Fault by nutritionist Carol Simontacchi. Even the mainstream health media is getting in on the act by writing about research examining various “obesegens” that could be contributing to our relentless battle with the bulge that go far beyond our dinner plates and miles trekked on the treadmill.

While this is all well and good, the problem is our culture still mocks (and even shows abject hatred for) fat people as just a bunch of lazy, slothful slobs who have no willpower to control their impulse to overeat, lie around on the couch all day watching television eating bon bons, never even making an effort to go to the gym to run on the treadmill, are so stupid to even know how horrific they look, and gorge on fatty foods that make them fatter and fatter with every bite of bacon cheeseburger and pizza they can shove in their mouths. There was even a disparaging column in the Winter 2012 issue of Gastronomica by food writer Josh Ozersky that calls for the creation of customized restaurants to accommodate the unique eating habits of “fat people.” Wow! Now you and I realize just how incredibly lame and misguided most of these stereotypes about overweight and obese people are. But unfortunately far too many people who have not been properly educated about weight management still think it’s just about calories in, calories out and nothing more. I’m looking forward to having research biochemist Mat Lalonde take on this issue of calories in my upcoming March 8, 2012 episode of “Ask The Low-Carb Experts” because there is more at work here than meets the eye.

Here are 10 (probably) surprising truths about many fat people:
1. They don’t really gorge on a lot of food.
2. They know they’re fat and really want to do something about it.
3. They dutifully attempt to lose weight by cutting calories.
4. They are real people who have feelings and emotions, too.
5. They can be extremely smart, motivated people.
6. They may have health markers better than thin people.
7. They don’t appreciate being told they are overweight.
8. They are frustrated that weight loss isn’t happening for them.
9. They can be some of the hardest-working people you know.
10. They are quite active despite carrying around extra weight.

Some of these might be shocking to people who have fallen into the trap of believing the mischaracterizations about overweight and obese people and pointing fingers at them for being something that they’re not. Society as a whole could really stand to benefit from embracing Dr. Walsh’s “Fat Is Not Your Fault” idea and realize that there is a hormonal connection at work that goes well beyond calories consumed and hours of cardio exercise notched. Things like high blood sugar and insulin levels, cortisol, gut bacteria, thyroid, environmental toxins, autoimmune issues, out of whack brain health, and more are contributing to this problem. Unfortunately, when people have a gut and see a number on the scale that doesn’t make them happy, they immediately start changing their diet and exercise as the first line of defense before having a full hormonal panel check-up to see what’s happening under the hood so to speak. It would be like your car starting to have acceleration issues and you simply changed grades of gas (changing your diet) without getting to the root cause of what was giving you the problems to begin with.

All of this leads me to the main point of my column today. If fat is not my fault as Dr. Walsh and others have claimed, then when does being fat become my fault? I’m a big believer in personal responsibility for the individual to make appropriate changes in their life when there is an issue that needs to be addressed. And obesity is no different. No, I don’t think cutting calories and exercising for hours in the gym everyday is the answer but there should be some action taken that produces results. And here’s a newsflash for all of those people who think the “results” is limited to just some arbitrary number on the scale. NOPE! It could mean steady blood sugar control, stellar cholesterol numbers like high-HDL over 50 and triglycerides under 100, heart scan scores near zero, the pursuit of eating well (organic, grass-fed, pastured and other foods), and a desire to make your body stronger and fit than it has ever been. This is exactly where I find myself in 2012 despite weighing more than I’d like to right now.

One of the issues that I’ve personally discovered on my quest for weight and health management lately is low testosterone levels. As of today I’ve been taking a very low-dose testosterone cream for 60 days under the watchful eye of a physician I trust in an effort to deal with a variety of issues. One thing it has done for me is I’m recovering from weight lifting a whole lot faster than I was before. My delayed onset muscle soreness was lasting upwards of 7-10 days after workouts for most of 2011. That was frustrating to say the least. But in 2012, it has been consistently about 3 days between lifting sessions and I’m noticing some huge immediate results in the growth of my muscles and strength. No doubt some of my recent weight gain has been muscle, but it has also been fat in my abdomen area which is driving me crazy considering I’m doing a lot of good things for my body. I’ll be retesting soon to see if there’s any impact being made on increasing my testosterone or if adjustments need to be made to the dosage. More details coming as they unfold.

So the question remains, is it MY fault that my weight is currently 295 pounds? Some would say “yes” and I hear from them quite a bit in the comments section of my blog and in my e-mail box. In fact, here’s an example of one I just received today that is indicative of everything I’ve been sharing:

You are such a liar and a fraud. Yes, a FRAUD. You and your pals have made fun of other people for blocking and not allowing criticism on their websites and blogs, which I agree with. But you have done the same. I have been blocked by you for a critical comment against you.

And before you chalk this up to a crazy vegan, I in fact am not. I actually did Atkins for many years, Paleo for the last few, but in the end, I realized you have to have SELF control no matter what you are eating. Life is too short to talk about food all the damn time. Just eat less. You cannot practice GLUTTONY like you and your pals do. You cannot over eat anything including fat and protein. Protein does not drift off to some magical place. It still gets stored as fat.

My issue with you is that you are FAT and out of shape. Your wife is FAT and out of shape. So how dare you preach on how to conduct you life, when obviously you cannot control your own body. I would not take the advice of an accountant who is bankrupt and I would not take the advice of a nobody without any training in nutrition who is fat, flabby and out of shape. And I did not seek you out, but come across you and your arrogant comments and have felt the need to reply. But I am blocked because like the rest of the frauds and charlatans you live in fear of being called out for being an ignorant know nothing.

Do your followers know this about you? That you cannot control your own obesity or you life? Guess since you will not allow any negative comments that perhaps some don’t. Or maybe they are so morbidly obese that you look slim to them. The sad state of this over gluttonous country that we live in. But karma is a beotch. You will not be allowed to make a living off of giving bad advice that has not worked. The world works in strange ways. When you see strange and bad things happening to you, you will realize you cant keep sucking your lively hood off this lie.

You need to talk stock of your own life and your own condition and stop extolling advice that has not worked for your own self. Before you die of diabetes. Or have a heart attack. Or someone sues you for misinformation…

Whenever I see something vicious and personal like this (much worse than the “hate mail” a fellow health blogger claimed she was receiving) said about me from someone who obviously doesn’t even know me personally, I can’t help but laugh hysterically. I wonder if this person has some super-secret hidden camera looking into my house to see exactly what I’m eating so they can “expose” my dastardly plan to the world. If they did, then they’d be taken aback by the quality of my diet with a focus on healthy real foods that nourish my body. Additionally, if this person could see me at the gym 2-3 times weekly pumping iron at the age of 40 and loving it for the first time in my life, I wonder if they would have the same opinions about me. The funniest part of this e-mail was when my wife Christine was called “fat and out of shape.” Anyone who has met my lovely bride knows she is anything but that. Again, this is part and parcel of the culture we live in obsessed with weight. Unfortunately, we mere mortals aren’t the only ones dealing with it, though.

Check out this brief list of celebrities that are being made fun of for having a few more pounds on their body lately: pop superstar singing divas Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera Jessica Simpson, Mariah Carey, Kelly Clarkson as well as Hollywood actresses Jennifer Love Hewitt (“Ghost Whisperer”), Nicole Eggert (“Baywatch”), Octavia Spencer (The Help), Megan Fox (Transformers, and most famously Kirstie Alley (“Cheers”). It’s sad that the entertainment industry mantra of “image is everything” forces otherwise beautiful women like these to feel inadequate and ashamed. How much worse is it for average, everyday people to try to live up to this unattainable expectation? This is the point in the conversation when a lot of people truly give up trying to do anything at all.

And that right there is when being fat becomes your fault. Giving up is simply not an option. As long as you are on a path to eating well (hopefully one that fits with the hormonal and other issues that got you that way to begin with), getting adequate sleep, reducing stress in your life, and exercising appropriately (resistance and interval training), then whatever happens to your body happens. Some will scoff at this and say that’s ludicrous and that you should keep lowering your calories and increasing your cardio exercise until weight loss happens (as if weight loss is the primary goal). I’m happy if that works for you, but it is not a universal plan for success for all of us. Quite frankly, people like that person who wrote to me above are probably so frustrated by their own inability to shed the pounds that they lash out at anyone that they think they are better than. If that makes them happy, then so be it. But in the meantime, I’ll keep pursuing being healthier and healthier each day in the hopes that getting to the root cause of the problem that plagues me makes itself known sooner rather than later. Staying in the game and doing your part to strive for being the best YOU you can be is all that really matters.

  • Wow that was a mean email! You are very correct Jimmy that it is more about the journey. My brother and I always tell our patients that it’s on the inside that counts – which means you can still be healthy even if you don’t look like Adonis (or muscle mag model, etc). I do think there is needs to be both mindful eating (eating slowly etc) as well as focusing on quality (with more emphasis on quality) – but when does it become your fault? That’s a good question! I think that if you are complying 100% with an optimal diet and exercise plan and you are still not losing weight…. then it’s not your fault… but what entails YOUR optimal plan? That is a whole different topic.  Good post Jimmy!

    • Anonymous

      Welcome to my world Spencer. That was actually one of the nicer emails. 😀

      • Sandragillanders

        The e-mail you posted is, in my opinion, from a very miserable person who takes their pleasure writing those vicious posts.  He obviously doesn’t know anything about your wife, lol. She is lovely and NOT overweight by what I’ve observed. I have been overweight most of my life and tried so many unsuccessful diets. I was hungry most all the time trying to low-fat, calorie restrict my diet. Now on a low carb lifestyle without sugar I have never felt better and I am finally losing the weight at about 5 lbs a month which is just fine with me. I feel so happy and good, strong and clear headed without CRAVINGS! I’m not going to let anyone get in the way of eating whole healthy foods and enjoying the remainder of my life feeling great!

        • Anonymous

          WAY TO GO, Sandra! Keep at it my friend…I’m so proud of you.

  • Christine

    This person is obviously struggling with some issues of their own and the only way to make them feel better about themself is to lash out at others and personally attack them.  I feel sorry for this person.  It’s a shame that people think they know you just based on what they’ve heard or read on the internet.  Jimmy, I am so proud to be your wife and I know the struggles you face are very difficult.  You have been open and honest about that from the beginning and you are far from being a liar.  Keep up the great work.  

    • Anonymous

      Wow, look what it took to get my wife to comment…hey everyone, keep sending me hate mail so my wife will read and comment more often. LOL! 😉

      • Solshine

         HA!  Love it!  You two are wonderful people! Thanks for putting up with and handling the unwarranted attacks so well so that we can continue to learn and grow through you!

        • Anonymous

          If I let stuff like this bother me, Sonya, I would have quit a long time ago. But you’re stuck with me for a LONG time. 😀

  • Georgene Harkness

    The e-mailer’s comments are really, really tacky and lacking in class.  Even if someone IS fat, that doesn’t make them less of a human being.  While I don’t agree with the emailer’s comments about you, you definitely put yourself out there, so I suppose you’re fair game 🙂 and you can legitimately consider it an occupational hazard.

    But what I really want to take exception to here (and  you know I don’t comment a lot, Jimmy; only when I really get ruffled) is the e-mailer’s characterization of Christine.  Clearly, this is someone who has not met Christine.  To take potshots like that immediately shows the writer to be lacking in character, as well as lacking in their factual knowledge.  Only could a wildly delusional person consider Christine to have even the tiniest bit of excess fat on her body.  If ONLY I were as “FAT and out of shape” as she is!

    • Anonymous

      Like I said, Georgene, I’ve gotten much worse than that one…I do realize it comes with the territory and I’ve done this long enough to know it’s really not about me at the end of the day. The comment about Christine alone was enough to know that there wasn’t much to this person’s e-mail than a bunch of hot air based on a whole lotta nuthin’.

  • Anonymous

    LOL! I hear ya.

  • Jonathan Duncan

    No, I probably wouldn’t take advice from a bankrupt accountant (but I would at least listen because they know better than anyone how they ended up in that position).  But I also wouldn’t want the advice from a wealthy accountant either if they had their wealth handed to them at birth and never had to work for it.
    Jimmy, I’d say you’ve been “bankrupt” but you got yourself out of it.  You’re not rich and famous (at least by your own self measure) but you are very well off and working hard.  I’d follow you before anyone else because you are studying hard, open minded to try anything that has merit, and honest.  Sure, you’re not completely happy with your current weight but that only makes you real.  Weight loss is not an easy road for any of us (save a select few who hormonally respond well to some changes) and it is nice to have someone to look up to that is just as human as the rest of us.

    • Anonymous

      THANKS buddy! I tell people all the time I’m just like everyone else. Just living life the best I know how.

    • Denis Kucharski

      If I went to the cardiologist and he was a smoker and told me to not smoke, I wouldn’t assume that his advice was wrong.  Whether or not he smokes has nothing to do with whether or not smoking is good or bad.  We know that Jimmy does follow his own advice.  That’s why he has kept off over 100 pounds.  But what if he didn’t?  His message would still be valid on its own merit.  The A to Z Stanford Study shows that low carb diets are healthier and work better than high carb, low fat diets.  Science has a validity of its own regardless of the messenger.

      • Anonymous

        Great point, Denis. Although I’d be delighted to be the “perfect” (if there is such a thing) example of everything about low-carb living. There is nobody who fits that bill.

  • Tim Conway – Lo Carb Fat Camp

    Jimmy doesn’t have to be alone, people. You too can have hate mail using two easy steps!

    1. Express an opinion online.

    2. Wait.

    Knowing what I know now, I realize finally that it wasn’t my fault I was fat all my life. I’ve been lied to by the low-fat diet fad hysteria proponents. Now that I know better, if I were to choose to do nothing about it, THAT would be my fault.

    Keep on keeping on.

    • Anonymous

      HAHAHA! Love it!

  • Anonymous

    Great advice, Galina!

  • Excellent blog today Jimmy. Your emotions ring loud and clear.

    I take exception to your commentor’s automatic assumption that bankrupt accountants cannot be trusted. It’s like saying you shouldn’t take baking advice from a bankrupt baker or carpentry advice from a bankrupt home builder. People and businesses of all kinds go bankrupt every day for reasons not in their control.

    The treatment for ignorance is knowledge, and your show is at the top of my list for gaining knowledge.

    • Anonymous

      THANKS John! I’m not deterred from continuing on with the work I’ve been called to do.

  • I’ve always heard the expression that the more successful you become, the bigger the target symbol is on your back.  As nasty as some of those e-mails can be, I hope somehow, you’ll find an element of flattery in the fact that you’ve grown this succesful, Jimmy 🙂
    Regarding the responsibility topic, I’m actually fascinated by the top list of traits regarding overweight people, and appreciate you bringing those to light.  Since I’m actually in the process of writing my next blog about the topic of responsibilty, it’s of particular interest to me.  Some things I keep thinking of, Jimmy, and what have helped formulate my opinions, are that:

    If no one ever showed someone the path to actual fresh food, naturally low carb, healthy eating, I have a tough time believing that it’s that person’s fault for being overweight—they may eat their corn flakes, lean cuisine meals, and low fat cookies, thinking they’re actually doing the responsible action of eating healthy.  In that person’s case, I have a tough time faulting them due to the fact that they think they’re being healthy.

    However, once they have been shown how to be healthy, and now posess the tools to maintain thier weight, I believe it becomes thier fault if they don’t. 

    Do you have thoughts on this?  The more I approach the topic, the more solid my opinion becomes regarding this topic.

    • Anonymous

      Oh I do Mike. And I counsel newbie bloggers all the time to expect the criticism to come, warranted or otherwise. When that happens you know you are making an impact. I really don’t let it bother me and I am all for dissenting points of view from what I believe. But there is a certain decorum people should adhere to when sharing such opinions. Personal attacks are not the way to get your point across.

      And you’re exactly right about the responsibility issue. That’s why I work hard to get the word out to people to give them ALL the information so they can make the best decision for themselves. If we take the onus off of the individual and on the information then a lot of this discussion becomes rather moot. Sadly, too many are still mired in conventional wisdom regarding nutrition.

  • Roxanne

    I’m a follower and believer in the “Health at Every Size” movement. You cannot tell the health of a person from their weight. The two are separate issues. I follow Ragen Chastain’s blog “Dances With Fat” (she’s a 285# National Dance Champion), and a big part of her work is fighting fat stigma. She just finished raising $10,000 to combat those stupid billboards in Atlanta, Georgia that clearly shame fat kids. She’s also featured in the new documentary “America the Beautiful.” 

    • Anonymous

      I agree you can be healthy while overweight but it is important to keep pursuing health despite the extra weight. Too many people think the added weight gives them license to eat whatever.

  • Volleyballgranny

    Nice blog, Jimmy.  Thanks for posting the link on the Fat Camp (facebook) group page.  The ‘No-Fault Fat’ fad has really disturbed me.  I have never been thin, but I’ve been healthy for more years than not.  I make choices–those choices determine how healthy I remain…or the level of health I achieve.  Genetics will determine my shape, but my own actions will determine the SIZE of that shape.  Could I be thinner?  Yes.  Will I ever be thin?  No.  I have curves–even at a low weight.  Curves are NOT my fault; the weight is not always my fault.  The fat?  I own up to some of it.  LOL 

    • Anonymous

      We should strive to be the size we were meant to be.

  • Janknitz

    Great post, Jimmy. I think so many people give up because they follow the conventional wisdom and for them Eating less and moving more does NOT WORK. if the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, sane people eventually give up.

    Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to find one’s way to a low carb/Paleo approach in the face of overwhelming conventional advice. Those who do find hope again and a renewed sense of purpose that ends their obese thinking.

    • Anonymous

      That is who I’m constantly trying to reach.

  • Denis Kucharski

    Congratulations, Jimmy.  Gary Taubes has his crazed hater and now you have one, too.  It just goes to show that the more effective and successful you become, the more jealous some people become.  Your low carb message has saved the lives of many people, including my wife, who has type 1 diabetes and controls her blood sugar eating low carb.  Low carb has helped me to keep off unhealthy weight gained by taking corticosteroids for an immune condition.  My trigylcerides were 295 before eating low carb and 64 afterwards.  My HDL went up 30 points.  Just like Gary says in his book, “Why We Get Fat and What to Do About It,” everyone has different genetics.  Even if we eat low carb all the time, we may not be as thin as we prefer to be, but we are far better off in terms of health than we might otherwise be.  Some people are metabolically damaged from years of eating a high carb diet.  This is just reality.  Your poor brother is not with us anymore.  Your father had heart attacks.  Yet your heart scans are perfect.  Faced with a genetic uphill battle, you have really done enormous things for your health.  Don’t listen to the haters.  You are a resource and blessing to all of us in the low carb community.

    • Anonymous

      Oh, I’ve got my fair share of critics, but they can’t argue with the truth. THANK YOU for your support of my work. I’m not going anywhere.

  • Denis Kucharski

    I guess losing 180 pounds and keeping off over 100 for the last 7 years doesn’t count for anything.  After all, only 95% of people keep off their weight loss.  Being in the top 5% and saving your own life doesn’t count for anything in this hater’s mind.  If you don’t look like David Beckham, you are worthless.  

    • Anonymous

      Even worse, I’d probably be weighing nearly 600 pounds by now, diabetic, had at least a heart attack and may be dead like my brother. Thank God for livin’ la vida low-carb!

  • Saskia

    Interesting Jimmy, thanks for sharing.
    The mail you got is disgusting. It still amazes me that there are so many people that when they get successfull in losing weight, stopping smoking or achieving any other major accomplishment in their life, seem to lose empathie on the way there.
    They know how it is but still they feel the need and that they even have the right or obligation to be judgemental to others.
    I do not understand why they need to put others down to show how ‘good’ they are.
    Having à lot of knowlage doesnt always go together with being able to apply it on yourself just as being able to apply doesnt always go together with knowlage.
    Even with all the knowlage its still à matter of every single body working à bit different.
    I am happy that you can laugh about it but I bet you have had some practice.
    I shared the article.

    • Anonymous

      Saskia, it certainly comes with the territory and shows I’m doing something right to elicit THAT kind of a response. 🙂

  • Anonymous

    Indeed. And finding that plan that will make you healthy first and hopefully make you leaner in the process is the goal.

  • Molly

    Jimmy is not alone.  We are all united.  I’m so tired of everyone thinking I’m a crazy person just for trying to eat better.
    I am type 2 diabetic who has had two heart attacks and a small stroke before quitting smoking (finally) and now eating better.
    I follow these people because they have been where I am now.  I appreciate all I can learn.  Thanks, Jimmy.

    • Anonymous

      It is a journey that may not mean body perfection. But stellar health awaits.

  • Anonymous

    I’m not having that long DOMS anymore. I’m lifting full-body every three days…sometimes two. 🙂

  • Anonymous

    I’d rather be healthy (as I am) than the perfect body.

  • Anonymous

    I’m so proud of you Margie!

    • Lowcarbcjsmom

       Thank you so much, Jimmy. You are so sweet!  I am very proud of you too!

  • Anonymous

    Wow, great points!

  • Anonymous

    It bothers Christine a lot still, but she’s learning there are people like that out there. You just gotta keep going.

    • PJ

      I think stuff like this does bother women more than men (usually).  We’re kinda’ sensitive to how people perceive us.  But, Christine, darlin’, just remember that there are thousands of us out here that adore you.  (And we’d still adore you if you really were fat!)

      Christine, I had a perfect example happen just yesterday that fits in with this theme so I know it’s all related to the nasty comment/nasty person with issues origin. 

      Yesterday morning I heard someone in my office make a nasting comment about all the fat I eat because I’m “such a tub of lard”.  Though I know it’s not true, it still hurt and kind of bothered me all day.  But, then . . .

      In conversation with another coworker last evening I mentioned I’d still like to lose another 5-15 pounds, and her response was “From where?! You don’t have any excess to lose!”  Another chimed in and said “But, PJ, you’re perfect!  You really shouldn’t lose any more!” 

      The nasty person is low fat/grain eating morbidly obese.  The two that said I am “perfect” are slim, athletic women.   Now who’s perspective should I be paying attention to? 

      (And yeah, the obese person’s comment still hurts but I have to consider the source and understand that it may be coming from envy.)  Still would like to scratch her eyes out, tho.   ; )

      • Anonymous

        LOL! I know the feeling. Good for you getting the right perspective…it can still hurt sometimes though.

  • Anonymous

    I’m not going anywhere. I may not have the perfect body, but I’m doing my darndest to hel others become optimally healthy.

  • Paula – LivingLovingLCHF

    Wow! I’ve been following your blog for a long time & this is my first time posting or commenting (is that called lurking in the online world?).  I was really glad to read that you laugh hysterically when you read the negative things people feel compelled to write.  It’s rather sad to consider the emotional state people must be in in order to say such nasty things to others. 

    Well, since I’m out of the lurking closet I want to thank you for everything you have done & continue to do!  You shine a great light on the field of nutrition.  I found Atkins years ago when it was “just a diet” for me.  I lost weight and regained it!  However, I quickly learned that it was the way I needed to eat in order to feel good, even if the weight-loss is agonizingly slow for me. I found Gary Taubes, Paleo & Primal through your site & greatly appreciate all the information you make available.

    Great job Jimmy & thank you again for everything you do!

    • Anonymous

      Paula, hang in there! Think of how much worse you’d be but for low-carb living.

  • Nell

    Jimmy, I am so glad you wrote this. It reminded me that health is the goal and not the number on the scale. When I start focusing on the last 10 pounds, I get obsessed and start the all or nothing thinking (if I am not at my perfect weight, then what’s the point of healthful eating?). When I focus on how food I feel, I am happier and in balance with my eating.
    There is so much complexity when someone has a weight problem. As you have shown above, a lot can be going on. Our culture does not handle complexity well. You can’t sum up all the complexity in a sound bite or an ad for a diet plan. Also, it would be hard to vilify fat people if it were accepted that it is a complex problem with often complex solutions.
    Thank you for writing this post! It made me feel less alone.


    • Anonymous

      Thanks Nell! We are not alone.

  • Thanks for all you do, Jimmy. Thanks for maintaining your patience and positivity amidst attempts to discourage or disparage you!

    • Anonymous

      Appreciate it buddy!

  • Anonymous

    LOL! We’ll go with that Kevin. 😀

  • Anonymous

    THANKS Ricardo! I think Christine is pretty hot stuff. 😀

  • Andy H

    It’s not as simple as calories in, calories out, but calories certainly play a role (as does the hormonal role of the body). If you stuff your face with calories (of any macronutrient type), you will get (or remain) fat. The reason LC/HF works is because fat promotes satiety, and it’s easier to maintain a caloric deficit, thus losing weight. It’s not magic.

    • Anonymous

      Quality of calories is much more important than the quantity. Unfortunately, people only hear calories and pay no attention to the source.

  • Anonymous

     This is so, so true. I have a doctor nagging me to try Jenny Craig or Weight Watchers or see a nutritionist because  he doesn’t think my low-carb diet is healthy. One of my friends threatened an intervention when I commented about how I was eating around 800 calories a day. She has a sister who was anorexic as a teenager and freaks out at the idea of eating fewer than 1500 calories a day. Other friends tell me that “all that butter” is unhealthy. It can be tough to stick it out when it seems like everyone else thinks you’re nuts. But I do it anyway, since I’m far too stubborn to let their opinions deter me from doing what I know is right for me.

    • Anonymous

      Way to go!

  • Anonymous

    I’m not surprised at your reaction to such hate mail. One of the things I’ve always like about your blog is your even-handed treatment of people. You’re always willing to hear both sides of an issue and give everyone the benefit of the doubt. That’s admirable, especially in the face of such anonymous nastiness.

    Keep up the good work and continue to have a laugh at the silly rants people may throw at you.

    • Anonymous

      Thank you! Life’s too short to let stuff like this bother me. 🙂

  • Just because someone is not at an ideal weight does not mean that the information they present is wrong. It means that they are a human being struggling with the same issues that many of us are dealing with on a daily basis. Anyone who has lost any amount of weight knows that keeping it off forever is difficult. I’d rather listen to someone who has lost weight, even if they regained some or all of it, then the thin person who has never dealt with the issue and is trying to tell you where your going wrong. I’m not at an ideal weight either but I’m a hell of alot better off now than I was 7 or 8 years ago. And I have the great labs to prove it too! Better than many thinner people half my age! Keep up the good work Jimmy. Don’t let the trolls get to you! We should take up a collection for troll glasses because if they think your wife is fat they need them LOL.

    • Anonymous

      Ha! True dat!

  • Anonymous

    Don, I don’t disagree that my current weight is not ideal. I have been actively lifting weights pretty hard on a regular basis growing muscles bigger than I’ve ever had in my life. Now that doesn’t account for all the weight gain, but it does some of it.

    I have noticed on days that I lift I tend to be hungrier and eat more. I’m sure if I ditched the weight training, then I could probably drop 25-30 pounds in a snap. But I’m not interested in that.
    I want to be healthy, strong and as lean as my body can be.

    I wouldn’t say that I “overeat” anything. Even on the lift days, I’m eating a lot less than I used to because the foods I’m consuming are so satisfying and I don’t need as much. Again, that’s why I put in the list of 10 truths about fat people that they don’t eat a lot of food. The same goes for me. I’m doing all the right things for me at this time and constantly tweaking to see if anything makes a difference in my weight. Thanks for your comments!

  • Jimmy,   I’m so glad you posted this.  It is an issue that comes up frequently in my classes and I’m never sure of how to address it without going off on people.  My professors back me up when I say that obese people do not necessarily eat a large number of calories, but that doesn’t seem to stop many of my classmates from categorically describing overweight/obese people as “lazy gluttons.”  I felt so strongly about this, I provided some additional information in a blog post on epigenetics:  http://wp.me/p29Lnc-R.  People need to know that there is more to the story than simply “willing” yourself to eat less/move more.  Thanks for continuing to tell the story for all us.

    • Anonymous

      Thanks Adele. Low-carb is a great starting for most people…but there may be more that needs to be done for some.

  • Jimmy

    The person who wrote that email is a perfect example of the low intelligence so common on the Internet that I deal with myself. That person has not spent a single second reading the obesity literature.

    That email was not even worth a reply. That person’s piddly mind is truly what is laughable.

    What the best quality science has recently discovered about severe obesity is more than sufficient to end the opprobrium of obese people.

    You have done well. You have lost over 100 pounds and kept it off for over 5 years. That IS SUCCESS ! In fact that puts you in the top 1 % ofpeople anywhere- ELITE STATUS

    And lastly if you you simply do not gain anymore ( trying your best)  and stay at what you are at, THAT will be a SUCCESS too.

    Stay at your current weight for another 6 months. That is SUCCESS.

    You are facing a HELLISH battle with biology. Any scientist would understand this.

    Try and deterimne your natural set point is – then try to stay about 10 or 15 pounds less. That is all anybody can ask of you.

    take care,


    • Anonymous

      But their email made a great point for me…I had already written this post when that email came in and it just fit perfectly into what I was attempting to communicate. 🙂 Trust me, I’m working hard on it Raz…I really am. And it’s been over seven years since the end of my weight loss. 😀