Monday, November 28, 2011

First They Come for the Children

I walked into the living room yesterday morning where Mom was listening to the news about another kidnapping.
When Annamarie was removed from her home it was big news. Her parents were grilled by supercilious morning talk show hosts. A few months later she was returned. She had not lost weight and there was NO coverage. Years later she is still fat. The (cough) experts have never figured out why. Her diet and exercise are strictly monitored.
Not a great way to start the day.
Yesterday afternoon I noticed that Glen Glaesser was going to be on Dr Oz. Wow. Just amazing. Glaesser is so informed and so grounded. But informed and grounded isn't usually sexy enough for the Oprah All Stars.
I've hear Glaesser in person and read him. He does not say that it's "OK to be fat". He says it's easier to get a fat person fit than it is to get them thin. And that a fit fat person is healthier than an unfit thin person. And he has the data to back it up. Dr Oz didn't hear any of that. He is vested in fat hatred. He says it's out of his experience of the suffering of fat people but he is so hyper and vigorous in his manner that it just sounds like zealotry. I don't think he's a liar I just think he has lost perspective. I admire him for having Glaesser on his show.
The articulation of whether or not it's OK to be fat is not at all useful. What does it mean? It's mildly useful for me to feel "OK" about being fat but really it's like feeling OK about any aspect of your appearance. Some days you feel better than OK and other days OK is a quantum leap. In conversations about health it's more complicated.
Annamarie's weight gain has slowed a bit after she started being treated for insulin resistance. She'd be getting much better health care if the focus was not on her weight. Her weight is part of her health profile and may be a sign of an imbalance of some kind. But why not start with a different perspective? Something more whole.
Dr Oz is big on demonstrations, some of which are interesting. He had Dr Glaesser run up and down a flight of steps and then do it again wearing a thirty pound vest. Dr Oz was making the point that the extra weight made the running harder. Dr Glaesser said something like yeah but that doesn't mean that fat people shouldn't run. Weight loss zealots never think in terms of process. It's all about the goal.
In my last post I longed for common sense in the public conversation about weight and health. And then there was Dr Glaesser. Didn't make me feel better about the kidnapping but gave me a moment of sanity. Not deep sanity. It was still the Dr Oz show.
I posted a comment on the show and was surprised by the positive reaction. There's a bit of a dust up but so far it's been pretty good.