Most obese people think they eat well and exercise enough

No wonder the problem isn’t going to go away soon:

About 40% of obese people also said they do vigorous exercise at least three times a week, the telephone survey found.

“There is, perhaps, some denial going on. Or there is a lack of understanding of what does it mean to be eating healthy, and what is vigorous exercise,” said Dr. David Schutt of Thomson Medstat, the Ann Arbor-based health-care research company that did the survey.

The survey also found that 28% of obese people reported snacking two or more times a day, only slightly more than 24% of the people with normal weight who said they did.

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  • The Grand Wazoo

    It’s pervasive. We have come to accept obesity and there is no longer the stigmatism associated with it. There is less incentive to change it. I’m sure there are many people with a BMI over 30 who don’t even think that they are obese. Parents don’t want to accept that they’re children are obese and will often turn a blind eye to it.

  • Anonymous

    Like when the CT or ultrasound report done for whatever reason comments on “fatty liver” and the patient asks what that is from and then you just have to say it, “Well, you are too fat”

  • hyperechogenicity

    I had an ultrasound that showed fatty liver. And I am 5’7 and about 120 odd pounds. I wear a misses size 4 generally and lot of “vanity” 2′s.

    I never had more than the odd glass of wine . 8 or seven in a years time, and drink no alcohol at all now – non since the elevated LFT’s that prompted the ultrasound.

    I have no sign of autoimmune attack of the liver. My liver was damaged by meds I took for arthritis.

    Thin people can have fatty liver. Weight loss as a “cure” for it is actually pretty controversial…it doesn’t always help.

    Be careful you don’t overlook other reasons for fatty liver in some overweight patients.

  • Anonymous

    Yes there are other cause of fatty liver other than obesity. This is not a doctor-patient consultation on a blog site. The majority of fatty liver are because the body is looking for anyplace extra to store extra fat cells in people that are already stuffed.

  • hyperechogenicity

    “This is not a doctor-patient consultation on a blog site.”

    Of course not. But as pointed out elsewhere, fat patients sometimes get shortchanged on the history and workup. Obviously they have fatty liver because they are fat…
    well, no, not really.

    And losing weight may not only not help, it may make the situation worse if weight loss is rapid.

  • Anonymous

    Just for accuracy, the most common cause of fatty liver in the United States is alcoholism.

  • Anonymous

    “We have come to accept obesity and there is no longer the stigmatism associated with it.”

    Walk in my shoes, and you will find that the stigmatism still exists. In fact, I believe it is even more pervasive because there are some who use “health” concerns now as a mechanism for stigmatising fat people.

    I’m fat, and I have diabetes. I walk one hour five to six times per week. I have days where I eat healthy (e.g., whole grains (1 to 2 servings), olive oil, non-starchy vegetables, and fresh fruit) and days where I don’t–much like thin people.

    I spent most of my life being fat and every harsh word slung my way tore through my self-esteem like a knife. It is only after 51 years on this earth that I have finally accepted myself, including my fat.

    We all talk about the concerns of obesity on health, but stress is also a big factor. A stigmatised group, such as fat people, often are under a great deal of stress. That can’t be good for health.

    For those of you who believe shame is a great way of motivating someone into dieting, you’re right. I don’t have any idea how many times I lost weight (and lots of weigh) for just that reason, but I was never able to keep the weight off.

    Under all that fat some of you find so repulsive, is a human being who finds you equally repugnant.

  • Diora

    I’m fat, and I have diabetes. I walk one hour five to six times per week. I have days where I eat healthy (e.g., whole grains (1 to 2 servings), olive oil, non-starchy vegetables, and fresh fruit) and days where I don’t–much like thin people.
    You do have some good points about stress and stigma – and your weight is really your own business – but I have to comment on this point. The issue here is the amount of calories consumed vs amount of calories used not whether you eat healthy on some days or unhealthy on others. What kind of unhealthy food you eat and how much of it is important. How many of these “unhealthy” days you have. Walking is great but walking for an hour is not enough to use up half of calories contained in one pastry for example or a slice of cake. Also when you eat a whole day only fruit and vegetables you may be really hungry the next day and consume lots of calories.

    By the way, there are very few thin people over 35 with sedentary jobs and your level of activity who can eat much of “unhealthy” food even a day every week and stay thin. I am normal – BMI of 22, but at some point I was somewhat overweight. Since then I lost 18 pounds and for a couple of years now managed to keep it off. If I were to indulge myself a few days a week I’d gain weight. Sure I indulge occasionally, but I am always mindful of calories and the amount. And I weight in almost every day. Whenever I gain even a couple of pounds I make sure I loose them either by spending more time in the gym or eating less for a few days. Because otherwise these pounds will add up over time. And loosing even 2 pounds is much more difficult than gaining them.

    As far as fat people eating the same as thin people are concerned: I’ve been on a cruise some time ago and cruises usually attract a fair number of overweight people. The amount of food they ate was clearly several times as much as what thin people ate. I know that I would feel sick if I tried to eat as much, even once. Also, there was an all-you-can-eat place there and a couple of restaurants with fixed (and relatively small) portions. One thing that was obvious was that fat people clearly preferred the all-you-can eat place. The “fattest” person I’ve ever seen in a restaurant with fixed portion was mildly overweight whereas way over half of the patrons of the all-you-can-eat buffet were obese. Where there thin people in there, sure, but they haven’t put nearly as much on their plates.

  • Anonymous

    6:16 That is a riot! Give me a break. You mean to tell me you have never seen an obese, really obese person, in a one plate serve restaurant? You need to get out alot more than you do.

    Also why in hell would anyone take a cruise and spend time counting how many servings others have at dinnertime? We use to take alot of cruises and neither myself or husband is overweight and I couldn’t begin to tell you what others were eating or how much they cared to eat. I was there to have fun not critisize. I do know those people paid for that cruise the same as you. You had no business sticking your nose in their business. Get a life!

  • Diora

    Anon at 8:06
    First of all I specifically mentioned restaurants on this one cruise ship. This was a European company (NCL) and the portions in fixed portion restaurants were much smaller than they normally are in the US. I was specifically talking about my experience. This was the only cruise I went on, if your experience had been different, great. And the difference between guests in these restaurants was indeed striking. Not to mention that I went on this cruise shortly after I lost weight and trying to keep it off was pretty much on my mind, so yes, food was something I noticed.

    As far as counting how many portions people eat, if you are having breakfast in a buffet restaurants and an obese woman and her obese teenage or pre-teen looking daughter sit right next to you with plates that have enough food to feed 6 people; you can’t help not to notice.

    As far as sticking my nose into their business, I don’t think this is what I am doing. If I were to tell this woman what she should or shouldn’t eat – yes this would be sticking my nose into her business. She has a right to eat whatever she wants. But I have a right to gossip about anybody I happen to see, just like you have a right to gossip about me and my companions. You want to say you never discuss anything about anyone you happen to see, be it inappropriate clothing, someone with strikingly good looks, a particularly ugly dress or topless women on Martinique?

  • Anonymous

    I do know those people paid for that cruise the same as you.
    What are your feelings about the planes? If I pay the same for my seat as the fat guy next to me how come he feels he has a right to lift the separator and occupy half of my seat? Do you think normal-size people enjoy having half of somebody’s gut on top of them?

    Yet whenever an airline attempts to charge them double, they scream discrimination and we are supposed to just quietly suffer as
    this article says

  • Anonymous

    “I have to comment on this point. The issue here is the amount of calories consumed vs amount of calories used not whether you eat healthy on some days or unhealthy on others.”

    I think your view is simplistic. It is not a simple matter of calories in/calories out. For some that may be the case, especially if you have just a few pounds to lose, say about 18 pounds. However, there are many factors involved in losing great amounts of weight.

  • Diora

    Anon at 9:50 – it is as simple. Try to eat 1200 calories a day and see if you loose weight. Maybe more if you are active. And stick to it. Don’t just stop because you achieved some intermidiate target or reached a plateau, and don’t make exceptions for “just this one occasions”. One such “special occasion” and your last 3 weeks of dieting goes down the drain. By the way, if you are only 10 pounds overweight loosing these “last” 10 pounds is difficult too.

    Ever watched “The biggest looser” show? Everyone there ends up loosing weight, maybe except for one guy and that during several seasons. And they appear to stick with it after the show is over, at least from the looks of it. Eat less exercise more.

    Really, why don’t you just try counting the number of calories you consume during the day. You’d be surprised.

  • Anonymous

    One other thing. Talking about fighting weight gain. Figure skater Irina Slutskaya is on prednisone for her vasculitis. Prednisone causes weight gain. Yet, she manages to fight it and stay in shape. If she can do it while being sick and taking a drug that causes her to gain weight, why can’t you?

  • Anonymous

    All this makes me sick at heart. I’ve lost weight so many times only to fail to keep it off. I even lost weight on a medical liquid fast of 800 calories (try that for months). I’m the classic yo-yo dieter. I have hurt myself more with my dieting than I have helped myself because I have never been able to keep it off for any real length of time, and I’m not alone.

    But, it really doesn’t matter what I say here. When I said I walked an hour a day, someone commented that that wasn’t sufficient to lose weight, even though I said I was not trying to lose weight. This thread started based on the assumption that obese people do not know what they eat and do not excercise enough. I’m hear to tell you that at least this fat person does.

    I am no longer trying to lose weight. I’m trying to be as healthy as I can at the weight I am at.

    But, it really doesn’t matter what I say. If you choose to believe that I’m fat because of some personal failing on my part, that is certainly your perogative.

  • Anonymous

    All this makes me sick at heart. I’ve lost weight so many times only to fail to keep it off.
    Why did you fail to keep it off? Did you gain it back while staying on the same diet or did you fail to keep it off because you stopped dieting and started eating again? Oh maybe just took one 600-calories slice of a cheesecake on a “special occasion” and failed to loose it. If you had just lost weight, it doesn’t mean you can go back to eating anything and as much as you used to or stop weighting yourself. Your gaining your weight back didn’t happen in one week, right? Didn’t you see that you were gaining it back?

    And maybe going on a crash diet is not a way to loose weight long term. Maybe if instead of going on a crash diet to loose a lot of weight fast, you should’ve just made your portions a little bit smaller permanently, stopped eating as much sugar and high-calory food permanently, and only lost 1 or even half a pound a week. Maybe then you’d manage to keep your weight loss.
    Loosing weight and keeping it off is not a short-term thing – I diet, I loose weight, now I can go back and eat all I want. It is a life-style change. It’s not, now that I lost weight, I can have this slice of cake on a friend’s wedding because well, it is this huge special occasion. Keeping weight off requires just as much commitment as loosing it. From personal experience.

  • Anonymous


    Loose = not tight, as in… The knot is loose.

    Lose = as in… to lose weight.

    These words are not substitutes for each other.

  • Malishka31

    Unless you have been obese and then lost the weight, i suggest none of you people post with your ingenious advice on how easy it is to do it.

    For one, the “eat 1200 calories” is bullshit and does not work for everyone. It is not as simple as calories. If it was only about consuming less, it would be easy.

    There is a lot of “fat people” hatred on here and it just makes me really mad because unless you can walk a mile in that persons shoes and really know what it is like to have that all consuming thought of “i am fat” hanging over yourself 24/7 i think you should just SHUT UP!

    I have lost a lot of weight, and when people ask me for opinions and etc, i always tell people that its HARD as HELL, it is the hardest thing you will do in your entire life. It isnt just eat less exercise more, its your entire life, it takes hours and hours a day to plan it, to execute it, to motivate yourself, there is no magical diet plan, or exercise plan, its all very very individual. … and when obviously skinny people go advising on how easy it is to just eat 1200 calories and lose weight i want to just slap them.

    1200 calories did not work for me at all… i had to go down to 800, my metablism sucked back then, so it was eat something, have a protein shake, every 2-3 hours……. well when people have work, families, school, responsabilities, you can not devout always the 3+ hours a day it takes to plan and excute your weight loss plan.

    Unless your obese, and lost weight, dont advise obese people on how to loose weight.

    People that are average do not face the same problems by a long shot, people who want to drop 30 pounds or less, and who spend their entire lives being normal, have no idea whatsoever what it is like to drop 50+, its NOT the same, not the same at ALL. … or consider the people who say “if i lost 10 pounds you can drop 100″… its not like that…… your dealing with bodies that are condioned diffrently.

  • Anonymous

    I recommend a cocaine habit and chronic gastrointestinal distress. A bit more expensive than weight watchers, but more effective and doesn’t have to be fine tuned to an individual’s metabolism. The key to keeping the weight off is that when you fall off the diet, instead of gaining the weight back they stick you in re-hab where the food sucks anyway.

  • wise

    If you see food you’ll eat it,don’t leave food out in front of small portions of for the doctors,telling people they’re fat or whatever else is NOT going to boost their self confidence.If you’re depressed you’ll eat. Think about it!!

  • FreeAtLast

    I am 26 years old, I finally feel as though I have beaten my food demons. I’m now at the point where I don’t wake up every morning thinking about what I’m going to eat but rather I wake up thinking about what I’m going to accomplish. I’m 5’7″ and used to weigh 292lbs, the thought of being at 300 was unsettling, so I joined a new gym and asked my doctor to refer me to the nutritionist at my city hospital. Those were the first two steps I took in changing my life. I learned how to exercise and stayed committed to it. The biggest battle with the exercise was getting myself to the gym but once I was there, it became easier and over time, I was challenging myself each day and feeling so full of energy, my motivation to keep working out, I never wanted to lose this new burst of life I found. I was essentially carrying a grown man around. The bigger battle was taking the title away that I had given to food as my best friend and comfort in life. I started to build a social network and was honest with everyone about my weight loss goals. I didn’t keep my dissatisfaction with my weight a secret anymore. I start to feel better emotionally when I cried and let out my dark depression I was in. Food wasn’t ruling my life and when I did feel weak, I called a friend, who reminded me how hard I had worked and was working and reminded me of what I wanted to achieve, that was enough for me to toss the pizza flyer out into the trash. I learned to cook healthy with my mom and instead of hating her for making me feel so unloved for so many years. Instead I made her one of my new best friends and let her finally help me in my weight loss journey instead of being bitter.

  • FreeAtLast

    I learned to cook healthy. I’m not a fan of meat much, so it was easy to eat a lot more veggies but my biggest battle was the fast food, processed food and desserts. I love chocolate and still indulge occasionally but now I feel wonderful because I never eat a piece of chocolate and feel guilty anymore. Instead of eating a box of Turtles, I’ll now only buy a small 3 pk and have one once every two days or something, or if I buy a big box, instead of hiding it in my room, I put it out on the coffee table to share with others. Oh and that was another thing, I had to stop hiding food! Bad habit that I finally achieved. I never brought food into my room. My one huge tip for everyone is ALWAYS EAT AT YOUR TABLE. The worst thing that I used to do that some of you might do is eating in front of the tv, or eating while I studied, or eating while I was at the computer. Take your meal time and your food, savour it and enjoy it and don’t come back to the table until your next scheduled meal. You can eat mindless calories if you try to do two things at once. Give it a try to train yourself for a few weeks, even a week to stick to the kitchen or dining table. The only thing I ever leave the kitchen with is a glass of water. I gave up diet sodas, and I occasionally do have a cola but it’s without guilt! Anyway, I just thought I would share my story. I lost over 158lbs and I feel great and I hope that everyone consults professionals instead of just reading these blogs because some of us need a team of people behind us and it’s wonderful to have:) Best of Luck to all of you trying to lose weight, it’s tough, believe me, I know but I hope you all love yourselves enough to want to give yourself the best life you can possibly give yourself. Cheers!

  • Anonymous

    Some of the things I’ve read here frustrate me to no end. I know people assume I over eat, or am unaware, or in denial, of how much I eat, or how “little” I exercise .. because I am one of those people who says, “I eat well, exercise a lot, and I am still obese.” The truth is, I am very educated about nutrition, write down all the food I eat in a daily journal to keep acurate tabs on myself, and I exercise almost EVERY day for a miniumum of one hour. This includes running on a treadmil, playing sports, hiking, and weight trianing (daily.) As far as food intake, I limit my calories, but also I have completely eliminated soda (reg and diet), coffee, alcohol, high fructose corn syrup, white breads and pastas, not to mention the fact that I am vegan – so there is no splurging on cheeses, milky products, meats/poultry/fish either. My snacks include nuts, fruit, dried fruit (with no added sugar) and the like. BUT, for some odd reason, I am still considered to be in the obese range at 185 pounds. It’s just not fair that people assume I simply “don’t realize” how much I’m eating. For those of you in situations like mine, I sympathise with you, and send you my love.

  • Anonymous

    I’m 14 and obese. Since i was 8 i have been playing softball, field hockey, basketball, swim team, and i do dance. I love being active any chance i have i love to go outside. At home we hardly ever eat fastfood, my mom never brings junk food home or anything. Don’t try in sell me that well maybe your depressed or you don’t exercise enough or eat well. I love my body, i can probably out run everyone in my grade, some people for some reason just can’t get it into their minds that some people are just fat and i dont have any intention of changing.

  • Anonymous

    I agree with the above two posters.

    Some people are built of brick and while the BMI tells them they are clinically obese, they are active, healthy and full of energy.

    I am overweight because of my lifestyle, but when I was in peak shape, I was at 210 and had a 6-pack. I was also considered obese by the BMI.

  • ufa

    fat is fat know matter how you look at it. loose the weight or shut the hell up.

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