"But...people are like 400 pounds now! Epidemic! Epidemic!
My first reaction to this "but" is to say, "Are you one of them? No? Then it's none of your business." However, I know that isn't good enough for some people, because people who use "buts" are always but-ing in on other people's private lives. So, with apologies to those out there who ARE 400 pounds, and an invitation to you for input, I am going to kick this "but" right here and now.
First of all, the "obesity epidemic" does not, despite what the pictures next to the hysterical articles depict, mean that there is a majority of people who are, and I apologize for this, "super" sized. Yes, very large people exist, and they may or may not have problems because of their size, but the so-called epidemic is aimed at smaller people, while holding up images of 400 pound people (headless female ones, usually) to frighten us into thinking that we are all "doomed" to become that image if we don't toe* the thindustry line right away.
My friends (and foes), this is what we call a "straw man". People who bring up the subject of the very fat (and please, if anyone who fits this category can give me the most polite term, I would be grateful, and more than happy to edit this post to put it right) as a reason for 200-pound women to start eating in a disorderly fashion are being completely ridiculous. Yes, 400 pound people exist, but that does not mean that EVERYONE will become that large simply from eating too much--and the haters know it. They know perfectly well that there are thin people who eat huge volumes of food without gaining an ounce, and they are WELL AWARE that a moderately fat woman is not going to become 400 pounds just because she doesn't engage in calorie restriction.
But yet, they hold up those headless photos, wagging their fingers in our faces, and tell us that we'll sure be sorry when we LOOK LIKE THAT, because how else are they going to be able to claim that they're doing us a favor by being complete asswipes to us? How else are they going to excuse their hateful behavior without looking selfish (as with the "health care costs" argument, which IS a selfish argument)? It doesn't matter that they know it's not true, and that we know it's not true; as long as they can hold up the photos and be patronizing douchebags, they shut down the argument with hyperbole. I can say, "But I really don't eat Big Macs, I'm a vegetarian," and they can completely disregard what I just said, hold up the picture, and say, "DO YOU WANT TO LOOK LIKE THIS YOU FATTY FATTY MC FATTY? STOP EATING BIG MACS! AND IF YOU DON'T, YOU WILL DESERVE TO BE THE 400 POUND FATTY THAT YOU'RE GOING TO BE!" I mean, really, how do you respond to that, when the other side just keeps spraying spittle in your face, and refusing to engage in polite, meaningful discourse? You can't.
What you can do, though, is know the truth--that eating hamburgers isn't what makes a very fat person fat. There have to be other factors involved, including thyroid disease, insulin resistance, stuff like that. I mean, gosh, does anyone remember the woman who had a 900 pound (correct me if that's the wrong number; I don't have internet connection up here; just using the laptop) ovarian cyst removed? You don't diet away a cyst. Yet, because of the shaming and cruelty fat people have to endure, she did not get medical treatment to diagnose the cyst until it had grown to frightening proportions. Are you haters proud of yourselves for that one?
I'm a fat woman. I don't presume to speak for people who weigh significantly more than I do, but I do know that, unless a serious medical problem crops up, I am highly unlikely to become one of them, no matter how much cake I eat, no matter if I choose the real sour cream instead of the fat free stuff. If I eat more calories than usual, my metabolism rises to burn the extra energy so that I don't rise significantly above my setpoint. Trust me on this; I have had erratic eating behavior without a major change in weight beyond the normal fluctuations a woman's body goes through. So light a match and set that straw man aflame--and don't fall for the hysterical hand-wringing anymore.
Small addendum: I read on Sandy's blog that Celebrity Attention Whore Chef's goal in dissecting a 400-lb man on television is to show how bad the "average British diet" is. If that were true, he'd be dissecting an average British man--176 pounds. Using the gory spectacle of the 400-pound cadaver, however, is a very clear example of this ridiculous straw man that fatphobics are shoving in our faces. I, for one, am NOT fooled. How about you?
* "Toe the line" is the correct form of this phrase. People, please stop saying "tow the line", you aren't pulling it behind a boat, you're standing there with your toes along the line, all in a perfect row together, like good little soldiers.