I am in the last stages of finalizing my book, and I just found a glaring error about weight and starvation which shows my bias and assumptions about weight.
In the book I wrote that if a famine never ended, you would eventually become emaciated and die.
BUT THAT ISN’T TRUE.
If a famine never ended, you could still die in 8-12 weeks, even if you’re fat, because your body would break down your muscles to convert to ketones to keep your brain and body running, and in the absence of food, would weaken your heart so much that you’d die. If you still had some access to food, and were eating only a little, the same thing could happen, just slower.
You can also die just from not having the electrolytes to keep your heart working.
You will die from malnutrition whether you are skinny or fat.
And if you don’t need to be skinny to die of starvation, guess what the fuck that means about dieting? Still think weight and weight loss are fully within our control?!?!
Also, the fact that I had it wrong in my book (a book that talks a lot about how weight stigma affects our relationship with food) is scaryyyyyy to meeee. It also just goes to show how deep weight stigma and weight assumptions run.
(And yes, I just emailed my editor in a panic that this HAD TO BE CHANGED, even though it is VERY last minute.)
So while we are at it, let’s talk about some more weight facts:
You can have anorexia in a fat body.
Anorexia does not make everyone skinny.
You can still be fat even if you barely eat anything.
You will still experience the same effects of starvation and malnutrition, no matter what your external weight set point is.
A person’s weight does not give you any information about how they eat or their health.
Our weight is not really as easily manipulated and controlled as we think – we have weight set ranges that are set by genetics. The body does not want to be above or below our particular range.
Most (if not all) weight loss studies have only looked at the short term results. And the ones that have looked at long term results have seen weight regain and poorer health because of the diet and weight cycling and stress/stigma.
Every health problem under the sun seems to be blamed on a high weight, but weight is just a scapegoat. Sometimes weight gain is a symptom of other health issues, but blaming the issues on weight is not only missing the mark, but also may be causing the very health problems it claims to be fixing.
Yes, weight stigma is terrible for us, and the health problems blamed on weight (including increased mortality!) are more likely caused by the weight stigma itself.
Weight stigma is the real national health crisis, not “obesity”. “Obesity” being called a health crisis alone is weight stigma – see how cyclical this gets???
In addition, weight cycling and dieting are detrimental to our health. Especially yo-yo dieting or restrictive fad diets that are focused on weight loss.
People can and do improve their health without losing weight.
People also hurt their health by focusing on weight loss.
And I haven’t even touched on the MENTAL HEALTH ASPECT of weight focus, dieting, weight stigma, and body fixation.
I can’t believe that I got that tidbit about starvation so so so wrong, even with all of the other things that I know about weight, health, and weight stigma. So here is to doing better, here is to learning, and here is to listening.
The truth about weight stigma and fat phobia, is that it permeates the very air we breathe. None of us can avoid it. We all have it and can perpetuate it, even with good intentions, and we need to just be super aware of our assumptions.
I’ve probably missed some other essential facts too, so, message me on instagram and let me know what I’m forgetting about the BASIC PHYSICAL FACTS ABOUT WEIGHT AND WEIGHT STIGMA.
Oh and pre-order my book! I promise I’m fixing that mistake! The book tackles weight stigma and diet culture! It really does!