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Subject: Obesity, diet, and self-image (polls) rss

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I will begin by saying that I know that this a controversial subject. There are hundreds of these charts around and thousands of comments saying that it is all a bunch of B.S. However...

Taken with a grain of salt*, have a look at the chart below.
*not recommended unless approved by your doctor, especially if you have high blood pressure...
Yes, there are tall men and women who won’t be represented on the chart-- you can extrapolate somewhat if you're close to the end of the chart by adding 3 to 5 pounds per inch.
Yes, there are people who are extra muscular, and muscle weighs more than fat. Yes, you may have an above- or below-average build/ frame and bone weighs more than muscle. Yes, there are medical conditions that alter metabolism, and all the rest.
Have a look anyway.



Now answer a few questions that I’m curious about. And that is all that this is, by the way; curiosity.
No judgment. No using this info for nefarious purposes (would that I could even think of something that could be nefarious, as an example!). No using this info in a study, or a research paper.
Privacy issues? Unless you make a comment below, you will remain completely anonymous but even then your poll choices can’t be traced back to you.

Strictly speaking, when you reference your current weight and height using that chart, are you overweight? Underweight? Even if it is just by one pound (half a kilo)?
(Sorry in advance for the non-metric chart)

Poll
The following applies to my weight/ height ratio as per the chart:
I am female, and according to the chart I am underweight
I am female, and according to the chart I am the correct weight
I am female, and according to the chart I am overweight
.
I am male, and according to the chart I am underweight
I am male, and according to the chart I am the correct weight
I am male, and according to the chart I am overweight
      132 answers
Poll created by MABBY


Now this--ignore the chart results:

Poll
According to me, on the otherhand:
I am female, and according to my own standards I am underweight
I am female, and according to my own standards I am an acceptable weight
I am female, and according to my own standards I am overweight
.
I am male, and according to my own standards I am underweight
I am male, and according to my own standards I am an acceptable weight
I am male, and according to my own standards I am overweight
      133 answers
Poll created by MABBY


A comparison of those two poll results should tell us (generally) if many people think that the chart is bogus, or flawed in some way.
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Diet is a touchy subject, but one that I’m fascinated with. The word diet is not supposed to mean weight control, its actual intended meaning is simply the foods that you eat. As in, “your diet consists of...”
Personally, I believe that weight gain has as much to do with portion size as it does with the types of food that you eat. My wife eats far healthier than I do (more fruits/ vegetables/ vitamins & supplements) but she is always hungry and, thus, eats more often and in more quantity than I do.

The other part of weight control is, of course, the mental part. Your body can crave salt, sugar, and foods that are bad for you so if you are unable to resist temptation then you are likely struggling with your weight.

You are naturally disposed to believe that your situation is not all you own fault, either, and I feel that in 98% of cases that is true. It’s all very well for the government to tell you to eat more fruit and vegetables but have you seen the cost of produce these days? Money problems and stress will contribute to a poor diet pretty darned quickly. And so while you would like to make and cook your own burger, it is cheaper and easier (arguably) to go to a fast food place and get one that is not as nutritious.

The food industry, in general, is pumping their products full of extra salt, sugar, fats, and chemicals, although they will try to justify it in various ways. And who wouldn’t admit that a muffin with a bit of extra oil and sugar doesn’t taste better than one without? But the one that doesn’t taste as good, but is better for you, won’t sell (as well) if there is another company willing to provide an alternative.

Food advertisers make fraudulent health benefits and are allowed to make those misleading product claims.
No transfats, no sugar, could mean less than 1%, or no addedsugar/ fat. It’s what they don’t tell you that makes all the difference. If you compare your regular brand of cereal, for instance, to the same maker’s brand that is multi-grained, you will find that the sugar/ fat/ salt combinations are altered on the multi-grained version to make them more palatable. But the advertising is telling you that their new cereal is a healthy part of your day, or contains less of whatever people are most afraid of.
Other advertisers will use underweight models to promote their goods, even if they are not food related, in order to appeal to the human desire to look things that are beautiful. I don’t think that many people can truly believe that a female’s body image is not shaped by what they see in magazines, television, and movies.

Is it education and information that are lacking? Can you cook? Can you follow a recipe? Do you really know how bad a french-fried potato is for you (if you overdo it)? Would it shock you to find out that the supposedly healthy fish taco that you just ate had 1500 calories in it; not including the sugary drink that you bought with it? Do you know how many calories per day that you should be eating to maintain or lose weight?
Finally, do you even have a choice? If the head of your family buys a bucket of fried chicken & potato salad for supper, are your choices either eat it or starve?

So, if you do consider yourself or the general population to be overweight, choose as many of the following that you feel apply to the situation:

Poll
Part of the blame for weight problems and obesity should go to...
(Not applicable)
No one but the individual who chooses
The food industry (see above)
Advertisers (see above)
The low cost of processed foods
The high cost of fresh food alternatives
Lack of education (no cooking classes in schools, for instance)
Lack of information (not knowing what affects your diet)
Lack of viable choices (a personal situation that means you can’t get what you want)
Other
      85 answers
Poll created by MABBY


You could choose two (or more) items using the same ranking number; for instance assigning fat and sugar both #2 (tied), but then choose the next item as #4 (in this case), if you wouldn’t mind.

Poll
Rank the following items as to how much that you think that they affect weight gain:
  1 (most influential) 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 (least influential)
Calories (total combined, from all sources)
Complex carbohydrates (starches)
Simple carbohydrates (sugars)
Proteins (plants, meat, fish, eggs, dairy)
Fats (saturated, unsaturated, polyunsaturated)
Salt
Preservatives and other chemicals
Other
      68 answers
Poll created by MABBY


Poll
Just wondering... Could you explain to someone what part each of these plays in a diet?
  Yes Mostly yes Mostly no No
Calories
Complex carbohydrates
Simple carbohydrates
Proteins
Fats
Salt
Preservatives and other chemicals
      59 answers
Poll created by MABBY
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Do you know how to cook? I don’t mean opening a box of pasta and adding a packet of spice and some hamburger and leaving it on the heat for ten minutes. Can you make a cake, or a pie, from scratch (with a recipe, naturally)? If you had to prepare a sit-down family dinner for ten or twelve people, with meat, some kind of starch, and fresh vegetables and a dessert, would you be able to handle it without resorting to a pre-prepared (heat and serve) option? Has anyone ever told you that your version of a dish is better than one that they had at a restaurant?

Poll
Do you do any cooking at home?
I do cook at home (but rarely)
I do cook at home (sometimes)
I do cook at home (most times)
I do cook at home (always)
I don’t cook at home and no one else does, either
I don’t cook at home but someone else sometimes does
I don’t cook at home but someone else always does
Other
      79 answers
Poll created by MABBY


Poll
Choose the situation that applies best to you:
I lack the desire to cook at home
I lack the time to prepare a decent meal at home
I lack either the tools or the space needed to prepare food at home
I lack the confidence to attempt anything more than heat-and-serve
I cook one or two things, for myself mainly, but nothing more
I can cook some things, but I wouldn’t call myself a cook
I can cook many things but certain items I don’t bother with (too difficult)
I can cook anything but certain items aren’t worth doing (my time is more important)
I can cook anything and I sometimes (or always) make the so-called difficult items
Other
      80 answers
Poll created by MABBY
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Does it matter to you what other people think when they see you? Do you think that you have fat knees and everyone stares at them? Do you undereat because you don’t want to be obese but people tell you that you are too thin already?
So let’s say that you can find a diet that works for you, and you can lose (or gain) weight to make you more-or-less happy with the way that you look. Comfortable with your weight.

Poll
What do you think about your own body:
I’m female and I’m fine with how I look, generally
I’m female and I’d like to lose/ gain weight on my face
I’m female and I’d like to lose/ gain weight on my stomach
I’m female and I’d like to lose/ gain weight on my breasts
I’m female and I’d like to lose/ gain weight on my waist
I’m female and I’d like to lose/ gain weight on my hips
I’m female and I’d like to lose/ gain weight on my butt
I’m female and I’d like to lose/ gain weight on my arms
I’m female and I’d like to lose/ gain weight somewhere else
.
I’m male and I’m fine with how I look, generally
I’m male and I’d like to lose/ gain weight on my face
I’m male and I’d like to lose/ gain weight on my stomach
I’m male and I’d like to lose/ gain weight on my chest
I’m male and I’d like to lose/ gain weight on my waist
I’m male and I’d like to lose/ gain weight on my hips
I’m male and I’d like to lose/ gain weight on my butt
I’m male and I’d like to lose/ gain weight on my arms
I’m male and I’d like to lose/ gain weight somewhere else
      77 answers
Poll created by MABBY


Does any of this affect more than just you?

Poll
How many of these apply to you? ("Personal family member" means a brother/ sister/ mother/ father/ aunt/ grandparent/ etc, not your spouse or your kids)
One or more of my personal family members is underweight and I would like them to gain weight
One or more of my personal family members is overweight and I would like them to lose weight
My spouse/ partner is underweight and I would like them to gain weight
My spouse/ partner is overweight and I would like them to lose weight
One or more of my children is underweight and I would like them to gain weight
One or more of my children is overweight and I would like them to lose weight
One or more of my good friends is underweight and I would like them to gain weight
One or more of my good friends is overweight and I would like them to lose weight
None of the above
Other
      70 answers
Poll created by MABBY
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Billy McBoatface
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Your "do you cook" poll is hard to answer for some common cases. I went with "I cook at home (sometimes)," which is true, but seems to imply that I eat out or eat instant food or whatever the rest of the time. That isn't true, the rest of the time my wife will cook, but "I don't cook but someone else always does" didn't seem right either. I realize that there are a billion possible options here but I don't think our setup is unusual.

That height/weight change seems skewed heavy. I'm 5'9", 145lbs, and by the chart I'm on the low side by quite a bit, but I'd say I'm pretty moderate in weight. Plus I work out so for me to be this size and less active would put me even lighter. If I weighed up in the 160's, which the chart said is still average-ish, I'd have to have a lot of fat on me. Heck, I used to weigh 125lbs at this height! Admittedly I was skinny then, but still I couldn't put on 40lbs without becoming quite fat.
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BMI basically fails if you do weight training. I'm 6'4" and 210, but I'm nowhere near fat.
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Andy Andersen
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I weigh about 200 and the chart is incorrect. I am not 6'3". When I was in high school I was 6' 1 1/2" 180 pounds. I am now 5' 10"A combination of back surgeries and other stuff has contributed to the shrinkage and the weight gain. I'll lose about 20 pounds in the next three months as I am now able to work out once again.

But my wife thinks I'm the greatest. Love is so blind. cool
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Jacqui Bankler
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One problem with your chart is that it doesn't give a weight range. A target shouldn't be one number. There are BMI charts that show a range.

Here's one:

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Scott Russell
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I like the last chart, according to it, I am down to "only" overweight! (from extreme obesity a year and a half ago).
I do think that I won't ever be in "normal" range and I am ok with that. The people that I know that are in that range have no shoulders to speak of and I do.
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An adult male, at 6'4" and 213 lbs, is overweight? Are you kidding me?
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jbankler's chart looks reasonable to me. It puts me pretty much right in the middle of "normal," which seems right, while the first chart puts me on the low end.
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Ken Shogren
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I think BMI needs to be used very cautiously. Here's a note:

Quote:
A study at Michigan State University looked at BMI as a predictor of percentage fat in college athletes and nonathletes and found that two-thirds of male athletes and one-third of female athletes fell into the category for overweight. They concluded that "BMI should be used cautiously when classifying fatness in college athletes and nonathletes."
Another study looked at gold medal winners from the 2004 Olympics in Athens, and determined that based on published height and weight at least 15 athletes would be classified as overweight or even obese.
Others looked at professional athletes. LeBron James, 2009 NBA MVP, would be considered overweight based on the BMI scale. Peyton Manning, ten times selected to the Pro Bowl and MVP of Superbowl XLI would also be considered overweight. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) states that "highly trained athletes may have a high BMI because of increased muscularity rather than increased body fatness."


From LiveStrong.com -> Link
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Melissa
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According to that chart, weighing 148 is overweight for me.
I've never been 148 pounds in my life. The lowest I can ever remember is 160.

That being said, I plan to be 150 or less by next summer strictly by watching calories. I KNOW I CAN DO IT. Both because I have motivation and because a friend did the exact same thing (watching calories and low/zero exercise) in 10 months and lost 45 pounds.
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MABBY wrote:
I will begin by saying that I know that this a controversial subject...
Why is weight such a controversial subject for people?
This is a good question.
In America, I think it's easier for people to admit they have cancer than to admit they might be fat.



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I always think these type of charts are interesting. By the top chart, I'm 40 pounds over target weight. I've been that target weight (granted, a long time ago), and it took what I consider an unsustainable regimen: meals of a small amount of chicken and spinach, lots and lots of exercise, and no booze. I've recently seen some pics of myself at that "target" weight, and I look like I just got out of basic training. In a third world country.

But, yeah, I'm overweight. As someone with weight that's fluctuated over my adult life (target to plus 60 pounds apparently, and many many points in between), realistically I think I'm 20 to 25 pounds overweight. In other words, I think the top chart is at least 20 pounds too low for my height.
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Matt Riddle
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My mental picture of myself is much skinnier than my actual self and to date no health problems so motivation has been difficult to come by. With that said, I need to lose weight.
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puggeroni wrote:
According to that chart, weighing 148 is overweight for me.
I've never been 148 pounds in my life. The lowest I can ever remember is 160.

I hear ya. My doctor said that I should try to get to my weight when I was in high school. 150 pounds? Wow! OK, I'll give it a shot.
I got down to 168 for a few weeks but I could never get any lower. I felt much better and had fewer issues with snoring and acid reflux. But 150 is a pipe dream, in my opinion.

puggeroni wrote:
That being said, I plan to be 150 or less by next summer strictly by watching calories. I KNOW I CAN DO IT. Both because I have motivation and because a friend did the exact same thing (watching calories and low/zero exercise) in 10 months and lost 45 pounds.

I believe in you. thumbsup
I found one website in particular to be most helpful to me when I was losing weight: http://www.myfitnesspal.com/
They also have a phone app.
If you track all of the food that you eat (and all of the exercise) then this is a great calorie counting site. They have hundreds of name-brand items in their database. Things I never expected to be there.

You can also enter in your own recipes, by ingredient.
For instance, I make risotto fairly often and I was able to put in the values for arborio rice, soup stock, onions, butter, cheese, salt & spices, and then assign a number of servings to it. So it will do the math for you as well when you choose 1 serving.

I found that once I recorded a weeks worth of eating, I had a much better understanding of where I could improve.
If you don't lie and enter the correct data, you'll get truthful results. If you fudge things (perhaps a bad term to use...) then you're only fooling yourself.
When I stopped using it, my weight started creeping up again. So recording things is key.

You can also do fun things at that site like enter in a typical fast food meal. They're all there: McDonalds, Pizza Hut, Wendy's, KFC, Jack in the Box, Dairy Queen, whatever.
Do it and be absolutely shocked at the amount of sodium (salt) and calories that comes up. It terrified me.
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fightcitymayor wrote:
MABBY wrote:
I will begin by saying that I know that this a controversial subject...
Why is weight such a controversial subject for people?
This is a good question.
In America, I think it's easier for people to admit they have cancer than to admit they might be fat.


This is pretty much the reason that I made these polls up. We all need to start talking about diet and admitting that we are likely not the weight that is healthiest for us. Not everyone, of course, and that's why those charts--which are used by hospitals and doctors and dieticians--are good starting points. There are exceptions to every rule.

I heard on the radio today that 1 in 3 people in the US is expected to get type II diabetes. 1 in 2 if you are colored (probably because, statistically, you would be poorer and have less access to expensive healthy foods and would consume more processed foods).
I'm skeptical of that number (sounds like scare tactics to me) but it has just a hint of possibility to it, as scary as that is.

And the processed food industry has a whole lotta 'splaining to do.
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riddlen wrote:
My mental picture of myself is much skinnier than my actual self and to date no health problems so motivation has been difficult to come by. With that said, I need to lose weight.
Truer words were never spoken.
Motivation is hard, staying on course is even harder. But finding out that you've got health problems because of your diet, only after years of neglect and self-abuse is something that needs to be fixed.
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JoshBot wrote:
I always think these type of charts are interesting. By the top chart, I'm 40 pounds over target weight. I've been that target weight (granted, a long time ago), and it took what I consider an unsustainable regimen: meals of a small amount of chicken and spinach, lots and lots of exercise, and no booze. I've recently seen some pics of myself at that "target" weight, and I look like I just got out of basic training. In a third world country.

Good points! Why is it that the foods that are the best for you (or the method in which they are cooked) have to taste bland, or worse, like crap?
I know that I should eat cabbage and broccoli but tell that to my gag reflex.

Giving up pop and slurpees took an enormous amount of willpower but my body is thanking me for it. But I don't want to live in a world where I can't have a beer once in a while.
Moderation is key, like most things in life.
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Mark Hamzy
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I'm 6' 3" and weigh 200 pounds. Which is right on the fence of overweight. I would like to lose 10 or 20 pounds. But that would mean giving up desserts and beer. Something I am not willing to do. I guess I need to exercise even more.

I weighed 150 in high school which was pretty skinny.
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Jason Sadler
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According to this chart, while I was starving to death in Afghanistan and getting exercise about 20 hours a day, I was overweight. Now that I am not starving and only work out and run about 10 hours a week I am a disgusting fatbody.
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Michael Tagge
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MABBY wrote:
JoshBot wrote:
I always think these type of charts are interesting. By the top chart, I'm 40 pounds over target weight. I've been that target weight (granted, a long time ago), and it took what I consider an unsustainable regimen: meals of a small amount of chicken and spinach, lots and lots of exercise, and no booze. I've recently seen some pics of myself at that "target" weight, and I look like I just got out of basic training. In a third world country.

Good points! Why is it that the foods that are the best for you (or the method in which they are cooked) have to taste bland, or worse, like crap?
I know that I should eat cabbage and broccoli but tell that to my gag reflex.

Giving up pop and slurpees took an enormous amount of willpower but my body is thanking me for it. But I don't want to live in a world where I can't have a beer once in a while.
Moderation is key, like most things in life.
I disagree with this assertion (but then again I disagree with most conventional dietary advice). Although it is not my favorite term, I would consider myself a Paleo adherent. That is I don't eat foods that offer low nutrient density or plenty of anti-nutirents (grains and legumes).

To me bacon and eggs with vegetables (cooked in the bacon fat) are delicious and great for you. A huge salad with a dressing of olive oil and vinegar is fantastic, and dinner with a portion of meat and vegetables on the side is wonderful.

Oh and I lost all my excess weight and health problems.
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Peter Brichs
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I'm overwheight, but I'm not dieting. I've changed my way of living, but not dieting.

My wife has an autoimmune disease, that basically doesn't allow her to eat any carbohydrates - this means, no sugar (obviously), but also no bread, no potatoes or anything like that.

I feel much healthier, when I can actually get my shit together, and not eat "the bad" stuff - and I've no problem keeping my wheight; even losing wheight comes naturally, no matter how much I stuff my face. It' great.
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Luke Morris
England
Faversham
Kent
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6'1" and 176lbs. I would like to be a little skinnier although I am slim and with a reasonable six pack.

To be fair though, by most country standards I'm utterly fine. By Japanese standards I'm relatively large and my 32inch (proper fit), 34inch (relaxed fit) trousers are pretty much the biggest you can commonly get here...although the back of the waist is always too loose here and the crotch is far too small.

If I was 189lbs (my overweight weight for my height) I would feel like I was carrying too much weight around....unless I had been working out and was bulky and muscular.




A lot of rugby players these days are classified as morbidly obese despite having like 5% body fat. These charts are badly flawed because there are too many variables.
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