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Fall Out Less Than Expected!

Apparently, many readers of this blog took the time yesterday to visit the Globe & Mail site to read my opinion piece on obesity.

As I mentioned in yesterday’s blog posting, I was very much prepared for the usual tirade of self-righteous, finger-pointing, ask-me-I-have-the-solution, send-everyone-to-fat-camp, tax-fast-food, obesity-is-a-myth-invented-by-big-pharma-type comments, which illustrate exactly the point I was making in the article: most people do not understand the complexity and heterogeneity of obesity and have no qualms about displaying their bias and discrimination against anyone with excess weight.

Interestingly, the public response was relatively mild with over half the responses (at the time of writing this post) being positive in that they either agreed with me or added an additional valuable insight.

For e.g., Ed Long notes, “The nuclear family is almost disintegrated, friendships are often superficial because we don’t have the time nor ability to empathize and act, and lifestyles today mean huge pressure to earn, consume and the resultant frenzied activity that leads to stress, poor eating habits, lack of leisure, and alienation from simple natural healers of fresh air, sunlight and natural sounds.”

Similarly, Keating Gun comments, “Teach empathy to all. End bullying in the workplace and at school. End child abuse and neglect. Then obesity will recede into the past.”

These are clearly comments from folks, who realize the close link between obesity and mental health, the importance of family, and the need for work-life balance.

I also received countless personal e-mails from friends, colleagues, and readers of my blog, who thought my commentary was “on the spot” – thanks to all of you for writing. One particularly enthusiastic reader even wants to discuss my article in a course she teaches at the university.

So what can an article like this hope to achieve?

One reader put it as follows: “Changing attitudes and beliefs will take a lot of repetition of the right messages through many channels. Every message is like a pebble dropped into a pitcher of water – with time, the pebbles will displace the water.”

Thanks to all the responders – I will certainly do my best to keep those pebbles coming.

Edmonton, Alberta


  1. Arya,
    Obese individuals struggling with weight management especially benefit from hearing your message. Many of them have internallized the blame messages and completely blame themselves. Perhaps thinking about how some of these causes are external to them and how some are routed in biology, will allow them to look for the most effective methods to deal with weight issues.

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  2. Thank you for such a great article in the G&M. Due to stress at work I fell back into the cycle of gain-hate self-eat-gain more-hate self more pattern and went to the Cdn Mental Health Association pleading for help or some kind of program to assist me in my desire to stop the gain. I was told (very kindly and with much compassion) that there were no “emotional eating” assistance programs. If I had anorexia, bullimia or depression they were able to help. Not so for something tagged emotional. I was lost, sad and felt totally hopeless to the point of looking into lapband surgery. I chose not to go this route when I realized I was going to use a physical tool for an emotional problem. Instead I joined TOPS. It’s not perfect but I have to start where I can.

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  3. I found your blog via “Big Fat Blog” who had mostly good things to say about you. Changing opinions and attitudes is a repetitive process as mentioned above, it’s just too bad that there are not more voices from the medical field following your cue or willing to think outside the box they have put themselves and fat people in. I look forward to reading more.

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