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I'm getting interviewed! - Input Junkie
February 1st, 2014
05:57 am


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I'm getting interviewed!
This Sunday, 5PM, by Cat Pause (paws-ay), from New Zealand, about my casual survey of the effects of trying to lose weight. I don't know when the interview is going to be online.

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 [1] 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.

[1]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.

This entry was posted at http://nancylebov.dreamwidth.org/1032553.html. Comments are welcome here or there. comment count unavailable comments so far on that entry.


(8 comments | Leave a comment)

[User Picture]
Date:February 1st, 2014 01:25 pm (UTC)
As a non-gendered pronoun, I tend to use "one" and "oneself", or "you" if being less formal. AS for losing weight, I'll wait for a way to finance a tummy tuck, or get it covered by Medicare. These days, they'll only pay for bariatric surgeries, which I think are much higher risk in the long-term.
[User Picture]
Date:February 1st, 2014 03:52 pm (UTC)
Seconding the vote for the perfectly good, preexisting, gender-neutral and numerically appropriate one and oneself and one's.
(The use of them/themselves/their in reference to a single individual is like nails on the blackboard, to me.)

Best wishes for the interview! Sounds like an interesting project.

Edited at 2014-02-01 03:55 pm (UTC)
[User Picture]
Date:February 1st, 2014 07:59 pm (UTC)
The use of "they/them/their/theirs/themself" as a third person common gender singular pronoun is also preexisting (my OED traces it back to the middle ages) and is more natural than "one" or "you"—as can be seen by its regular reinvention by small children. I think it makes perfect sense to legitimize it grammatically. Yes, I've seen the arguments from people who think it's illogical to use a plural form to refer to a single person, but they are largely people who think it's logical to use a masculine form to refer to a female person; or, in this case, to use the second person to refer to a person who is not being addressed by the speaker. I don't see any daylight between them as far as logic is concerned. But singular "they" is reinvented so often that I think it obviously is suited to the genius of the English language.
Date:February 1st, 2014 04:09 pm (UTC)
I did a sort of head-scratching pause the first time I noticed myself using "themself" in this sense, but got over the reflex immediately.

Only just added you to my f-list so I hadn't participated in your survey, but if it's still live I may go back and add my two cents. (I definitely fall in the "roll your own and successful at it" camp.)
[User Picture]
Date:February 1st, 2014 04:35 pm (UTC)
The previous discussion is still open, and I've got a manage recent comments page so it's convenient for me to find recent comments-- by all means, thanks in advance for posting your story.

Edited at 2014-02-01 04:36 pm (UTC)
Date:February 2nd, 2014 07:18 pm (UTC)
I wonder if the reason for adults having more luck losing weight than teens is because adults have more control over their lives, both their external circumstances and their internal life. In general, anyway.
[User Picture]
Date:February 2nd, 2014 07:45 pm (UTC)
Teenagers are quite capable of losing weight-- it's just that I also believe they're more likely to develop life-damaging habits in the process than adults are.

Your point about adults having more control of their own lives might be relevant. Not only is it important to be able to choose your own food and exercise, it's easier to be sensible when you're not living with parents who might be heavily invested in what your weight is.

On yet another hand, some eating disorders get started when normal weight teenagers try to lose weight. I hope it's less common for diets to be forced on such teenagers.
[User Picture]
Date:February 3rd, 2014 11:25 am (UTC)
"Some eating disorders get started when normal weight teenagers try to lose weight"

I would agree that it's a 'red flag' when a normal weight teenager tries to lose weight, but the new research indicates that people who develop eating disorders have characteristic differences in their brains even before they begin restricting.. It appears that rather than dieting causing anorexia, it's anorexia that causes dieting:

Is Anorexia An Eating Disorder?

Oxford Brain-Body Research into Eating Disorders

Study shows certain brain cells play critical role in anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating disorder

Edited at 2014-02-03 11:34 am (UTC)
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