Anyway, my conclusions from the discussion are pretty tentative. It seems clear that trying to lose weight is lower-risk than I thought. On the other hand, I've seen enough accounts from the fat acceptance community which include saying that the writer was kidding themself  about being better off when their weight was lower. This doesn't mean I suspect any of my commenters in particular, but I'm left wondering. Applying what I consider to be a reasonable level of doubt still means that trying to lose weight is safer than I thought.
It's notable that the success stories are mostly roll-your-own diet/exercise approaches. Not only not using commercial products like Weight Watchers or Nutrisystem, but not even buying books. osewalrus got good results from a Dr. Kahan (sp?) who helped him optimize habits, with each step producing a gain in quality of life-- a more sophisticated version of benign roll your own.
The reason I say benign roll your own is that anorexics also seem to invent their own diet/exercise regimes. The attitude people start out with is a crucial factor.
It also looks as though the people with the success stories pretty much started out as adults. This is interesting because from what I've read from people with eating disorders (anorexia and bulimia-- I don't know much about binge eating disorder), it seems common to start out with dieting fairly young-- say, before age 15, and (again, casual impression) it doesn't especially matter whether the diet was chosen by the young person or imposed by parents in terms of progression to an eating disorder. Anyone know of research on the subject?
Success stories were typically some sort of low carb.
There was a higher proportion of people with bad outcomes from attempted weight loss on the dreamwidth side of the comments. I have no idea whether there's an actual difference between the dreamwidth and livejournal communities, a statistical anomaly, or whether there was a founder effect so that the two threads seemed more welcoming to different sorts of account.
I'd appreciate it if commenters don't try to give advice to people in general. I think this is an area where there's a lot of human variation, and not a lot of knowledge of the range or percentages of variation.
I consider that to be the most livable non-gendered third person pronoun. I can either look at it with my science fiction fan linguistic flexibility, in which case it looks quite normal, or access my model of people who care about keeping the language stable, in which case it looks very odd.
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