Tab Clearing

Some interesting stories or columns that I'll never get around to writing full posts on.

  • David Brooks‘ column “Why Is It OK to Be Mean to the Ugly?” doesn’t seem to have a point beyond that we outlaw discrimination on the basis of race and sex but not beauty. He does not, thankfully, advocate for outlawing discrimination against ugly people.
  • Conversely, Dave Schuler argues that the growing stigmatization of “fat shaming” is actually damaging in that the obese are prone to all manner of additional health risks, including susceptibility to COVID, and social pressure is a powerful tool.
  • Sally Jenkins is displeased with the NFL’s whitewashing of the Dan Snyder/Washington RedFootball Team’s sexual assault investigation.
  • BBC has an interesting report about a real-life “flying car” that’s really just a crappy private airplane that’s for some reason made from a car. It’s not exactly the Jetsons.
  • WaPo gave some of its precious oped space to a woman who wants “kink” to be welcomed at Pride parades so that her children can be exposed to the full spectrum of LGBTQ experience. The readership is not sold.
  • An Alabama wide receiver of whom I have never heard despite being a huge fan of the team is the first Tide player to take advantage of the new “name, image, and likeness” rules.
  • An excellent defense of the much-derided movie “Armageddon,” which turns 23 today, by one of Michael Bay’s film professors.
  • Megan McArdle laments the loss of American pie-making acumen.
FILED UNDER: Tab Clearing
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. grumpy realist says:

    Doesn’t Megan McArdle have something more useful to do with her time, like counting dust motes or something?

    The woman is a brat.

    (P.S. The reason I don’t make pies is because I make fruit crisps and cobblers instead. Much easier. But then, this is an article from a woman who once wrote an entire article about Himalayan pink salt.)

    4
  2. grumpy realist says:

    P.P.S. Sorry, that article on Armageddon wasn’t convincing. The author writes it up as a “good ol’ working boys save hand-wringing science elites” trope. He doesn’t realise how much of an insult that movie is to both populations.

    5
  3. If you run across a little pamphlet called “Aunt Chick’s Pies”, grab it. I’ve never found a better collection of pie recipes.

    1
  4. gVOR08 says:

    David Brooks‘ column (insert title of any recent column) doesn’t seem to have a point

    1
  5. Mu Yixiao says:

    @David Schuler:

    I have my grandma’s (hand-written) cookbook. It includes her recipe for homemade butterscotch pie. MMMmmmmmm!

    2
  6. MarkedMan says:

    The Redskins settlement isn’t just inadequate, it is a slap in the face. It is ridiculous.
    – During the investigation, long before it was complete, the league authorized Snyder to significantly up his ownership stake in the team. Talk about telegraphing that you consider the harassments claims a PR annoyance.
    – They fined the team $10M, which is essentially nothing.
    – And sure they “suspended” Snyder from some day to day operations, but gave control to his wife and another family member

    These sanctions are a joke and it feels like they were meant to be a joke

    2
  7. MarkedMan says:

    @grumpy realist: I stopped reading McCardle back in her days at The Atlantic. She always tried to present herself as savvy but whenever she pontificated about something I happened to know about it was obvious she had skimmed the surface of the subject and then immediately started blaring on about how it all proved her half assed libertarian theories. She always, and I mean always, quickly demonstrated she had no real understanding of her subject, in the “I base my entire argument on the fact that that penny is worth more than the dime because it’s bigger” vein.

    8
  8. DrDaveT says:

    Conversely, Dave Schuler argues that the growing stigmatization of “fat shaming” is actually damaging in that the obese are prone to all manner of additional health risks, including susceptibility to COVID, and social pressure is a powerful tool.

    Dave Schuler assumes that being obese is a moral failure, something that ordinary people could avoid or reverse simply by being less lazy/self-indulgent/whatever. The science on that is still very much unresolved; it may be that obesity is something that you contract, like hepatitis, as a function of your environment during your developmental years. And that you are much more likely to contract if you grew up poor. That would make it more like lead poisoning than like smoking.

    9
  9. Jay L Gischer says:

    And just to pile on Dave Schuler, two more points:

    1. Shaming does not result in weight loss. Ever. Not once. So you can drop the pretense of “I’m helpng”

    2. There’s this thing called the “obesity paradox’. Learn about it. It’s important. That fat may be keeping you alive, not killing you.

    I think it’s quite likely that our national obsession with losing weight is, in the long run, making us fatter. Because each time you lose a bunch, you gain it all back plus some more. This is more predictable than the effectiveness of several drugs approved for use in treating mood disorders, for instance. We need to start taking this seriously.

    11
  10. Mikey says:

    Conversely, Dave Schuler argues that the growing stigmatization of “fat shaming” is actually damaging in that the obese are prone to all manner of additional health risks, including susceptibility to COVID, and social pressure is a powerful tool.

    Fat shaming doesn’t work to get obese people to lose weight. In fact, it is actually counterproductive–those so “shamed” generally respond by eating even more, in addition to increased anxiety and even elevated risk of suicide.

    There are approaches to weight loss that center the person’s relationship with food and employ more holistic measures that avoid shaming and put the person in control, and those work. Shaming does not.

    8
  11. MarkedMan says:

    @DrDaveT: I didn’t read the article but after working with people researching obesity and diabetes can tell you that a) being obese is NOT a moral failure and we have absolutely no certainty about why some people become fat and others don’t, although there is no shortage of theories, and b) being obese has terrible health consequences.

    I’m fortunate that I am able to control my weight with constant and daily discipline within the range of what I am able to muster, but that speaks more to my bodies proclivities than my iron will. But if I found myself morbidly obese I would get the full bypass without hesitation.

    6
  12. Michael Reynolds says:

    We’ve been fat-shaming since at least the 1950’s, during which time we’ve gotten fatter and fatter. The Brits ditto. The Europeans not far behind. People are fat because we’re monkeys who grab anything sweet and colorful. We did not evolve to reject available food, all our survival instincts incline us to eat, and in a world where calories are cheap and available 24/7/365, people are going to get fat.

    There is no analogous situation that I know of, where we are required to do something (eat) in order to live, but must constantly resist that same urge. Imagine if you told people that they could only inhale a certain number of times in a day – breathe, just don’t breathe too much. Got that h. sapiens?

    If there’s a real solution it will be through medical innovation not fat-shaming.

    7
  13. gVOR08 says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    If there’s a real solution it will be through medical innovation not fat-shaming.

    Or regulation of prepared foods. Like Rupert Murdoch telling the rubes what they want to hear, packaging salt and fat is very profitable. And I expect they can buy umami in 55 gallon drums. And sugary soft drinks will make you fat and kill you. (Apparently sugar substitutes will kill you faster.)

    But people who can’t be persuaded to wear masks or get vaccinated in an epidemic aren’t likely to put up with a bunch of commies restricting their Mountain Dew.

    4
  14. Kathy says:

    I wonder is Tab is still on the market.

  15. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @gVOR08:

    I saw an excellent presentation by a pediatric endocrinologist (his name escapes me at the moment. I’ll post a link to it if I can find it. ) centered on the biochemical basis for fructose being a physiological poison. He explained all of the chemistry behind why that was the case. It was very eye opening.

    I couldn’t help but be reminded that, here in Europe, those fizzy drinks are (and have to be) sweetened with glucose. HFCS is verboten here, while being ubiquitous in the US. I have to wonder how much of the current metabolic disaster being played out there is due to the stuff.

    3
  16. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I think a lot of the blame has to fall on processed foods (which as far as I can tell are basically designed to entice people to consume more of them). I look at photos from the past (50’s / 60’s) and I’m struck by how thin just about everybody is. Start looking at more recent photos of the same people / their children, and going forward in time you can see the weight progressively begin to pile on. How we accept policy which encourages, even incentivizes, such an outcome instead of regarding it as a public health emergency escapes me.

    6
  17. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @gVOR08:

    Found it. Titled “Sugar: The Bitter Truth”.

    The guys name is Dr. Robert Lustig, MD. Professor of Pediatric Endocrinology at UCSF.

    VIDEO

  18. MarkedMan says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    People are fat because we’re monkeys who grab anything sweet and colorful. We did not evolve to reject available food, all our survival instincts incline us to eat, and in a world where calories are cheap and available 24/7/365, people are going to get fat.

    This is the conventional wisdom, but according to the metabolic researchers I worked with it is almost certainly not correct. Rather than point out the reams of research developed over the decade, I’ll just suggest taking a walk through the Louvre the next time you are in Paris. After all, it is basically a collection of portraits of the obscenely wealthy from past centuries. Then read some descriptions on how their daily meals were served. From breakfast to dinner and beyond, sideboards groaning with all manners of meats and treats, often prepared with an amount of fat and oil we would consider obscene. Read about the “sugar parties” which became all the rage to the point where teeth blackened from decay was considered fashionable. But look at the portraits again, and how few of them were even heavy, much less obese.

    The bottom line is that almost all weight gain is associated with a disconnect between satiation and calories consumed. If you don’t feel sated until you’ve consumed as little as 50 calories more than you need (basically, a few cashews), then you will continue to gain weight until you are morbidly obese. There is something that has caused a disconnect between feeling sated and the amount of calories we need. Everyone has a theory, but nothing so far has been nailed down.

    This anecdotal, so FWIW. When I joined the Peace Corps I was about 25 pounds overweight. During my two years there I lived in a village with no electricity, so no refrigeration, and only difficult access to a town that would sell supplies. All food was cooked fresh for every meal, and completely unprocessed. The only seasonings were salt and fresh peppers. I had money and could get as much food as I wanted. I rarely felt hungry or thought much about what I was eating. I lost 55 pounds. It was actually an unhealthy loss, with a fair amount of that being muscle mass. When I returned to the US, I gained almost all of it back and struggled to keep from gaining more. Then I moved to China. I had less prepared foods than in the US, but certainly more than in Africa. I gradually got down to within a couple of pounds of my ideal weight and had little trouble staying there. Then I returned to the US again. It’s been a constant battle. I weigh myself nearly every day and usually skip breakfast and have a couple of pieces of fruit for lunch. If anything I have more discipline than at any other time in my life. If the difference between weight gain and loss had to do with will power and discipline, most of us would get skinnier with age.

    1
  19. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @David Schuler: Pie recipes? Make a crust. Put stuff in it. Bake. You need multiple recipes for that?

  20. Gustopher says:

    @DrDaveT:

    Dave Schuler assumes that being obese is a moral failure, something that ordinary people could avoid or reverse simply by being less lazy/self-indulgent/whatever.

    There’s a reason I stopped reading his blog. The dude’s implicit biases are a bit too explicit.

    The science on that is still very much unresolved; it may be that obesity is something that you contract, like hepatitis, as a function of your environment during your developmental years.

    I think there are a lot of different reasons, from diet to gut biome to genetics to mobility problems. It’s likely as much a symptom of myriad other issues as a problem in its own right — and finding the underlying issue is key to changing it.

    1
  21. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @HarvardLaw92: While I was in Korea, I happened across an article that investigated obesity and access to food. The conclusion of that study was that there was a correlation between the degree to which people ate food prepared outside of their homes (therefore mostly of the fast food/food cart variety) and obesity. I suspect that in the first world, convenience products play a similar role.

    A man that I taught in Korea who was a professor of physiology was part of a team studying obesity in Korean children (which is occurring at a rate similar to that of the US) and found the correlation combined what he termed “street food” and needing to go from hagwon to hagwon–taking tutoring in math, English, science, whatnot (mostly math and English, though) most of the hours between when school ends and (usually) midnight. They’re eating what you can get at a convenience store or noodle/snack stand and sitting for several more hours. I made money off them until I got my university gigs.

    2
  22. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: As I think about it, the amazing part of it was that they weren’t more obese than they are. Imagine 60 or 70% of your diet coming from what you might buy at a 7/11 (provided it has a “hot case”).

  23. Mikey says:

    @MarkedMan:

    The bottom line is that almost all weight gain is associated with a disconnect between satiation and calories consumed.

    Add to that the current prevalence of hyperpalatable foods. People will eat more of something that tastes really good, obviously. But hyperpalatable foods also affect the perception of satiety in that one will want to eat more of such foods before feeling sated.

    1
  24. Michael Reynolds says:

    I’m on Trulicity (great fun for a guy with a needle phobia) off-label* as I am not diabetic. But my endocrinologist suggested it was a counter to metabolic syndrome. It worked in that it basically restored the laws of thermodynamics – eat less, lose weight, without inexplicable gyrations. But it still all rises or falls on my self-control. I still have to eat less.

    As for satiation, this is a mistake thin people make. Overeating is about blowing right past satiation. You think if I’m eating a quart of ice cream it’s because I’m hungry? I eat it because it’s delicious. Same reason I drink whiskey. Same reason I smoke cigars. I’m a hedonist, I enjoy food and drink. When I walk through the grocery store and gaze longingly at the donuts or cookies it’s got nothing to do with hunger.

    *200 bucks a week.

  25. Modulo Myself says:

    It’s hard to imagine the stigma against fat-shaming putting a dent in the billions of messages of finding happiness through beauty and fitness that our culture produces. The idea that we need to be more mean to overweight people and then they’ll stop losing weight is delusional.

    2
  26. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    I think you’re definitely on target there. While food in general is basically a religion here, the customs and practices surrounding it are vastly different than what you’d find in the US. To call it a culture shock is honestly downplaying it. Kids are taught from an early age about almost ritualized mealtimes and the importance of a well-balanced diet. More importantly, they’re taught that there are specific, defined times to eat, and the portion sizes are much smaller.

    I had to drop by a day-care here a while back, to meet a friend to go to lunch, and the kids – we’re talking 2 and 3 year olds – were sitting around tables, napkins at their little necks, being taught the proper use of cutlery. The menu? Grilled leg of lamb and cauliflower au gratin, small portions of both. It’s just an entirely different attitude about food. We also walk just about everywhere here (even I, having come from NYC, where I thought I walked a great deal, was struck by how much more I walk now.) Part of that certainly has to stem from the horror of driving in Paris, which nobody really wants to do, but it’s somehow just easier and more pleasant to walk. In the earlier days, when we first arrived, I’d been provided with a driver (partly due to my own terror of driving here, partly as a perk). I got rid of that a few years ago. Most days I’ll bike to work (now there’s a mental image 😀 ). On lighter days or those when I just want to decompress, walking to work is actually pleasant. That activity level makes a big difference, I’m convinced, but mostly I think it’s just a different attitude about food. Few people snack here – it’s just not in their psyche. They sit down to pretty structured mealtimes, and they take their time eating, but that’s it. No noshing in between. In a city where you are literally surrounded by food – there are shops brimming with pastries, meats, cheeses, etc. literally everywhere – these people pretty much only eat when it’s “time to eat”. Anecdotally, it seems that access to fresh produce, etc. is a good deal cheaper than in the US as well.

    When I arrived, I wasn’t what I’d call obese, but I was definitely carrying more pounds around than I needed to be / what would be considered healthy. I weigh now about what I did in college, which still amazes me, and didn’t really even realize that was happening. It wasn’t a conscious “I need to lose weight” thing so much as just adapting to and adopting the local ways of approaching food & life. I totally get where you’re coming from.

    * to be fair, some kids these days have been rejecting the traditional French attitudes about / approach to food, and obesity is increasing, but the government quickly recognized the problem and is actively, vigorously addressing it. The ads encouraging people to eat the right foods, take the stairs, not snack between meals, etc. are pretty hip / addressed to young people with a youth vibe about them, and they are just about everywhere. It’s an active push to nip the problem in the bud before it gets out of control. I’d also have to admit that the French are a good deal more blunt about expressing their disapproval about pretty much anything, and fat = bad is definitely one of those things. Culturally, they’re very anti-obesity, so that risk of being ostracized / criticized may play some sort of role in the generally lower obesity rates here. I think it’s much more what I’ve described above though.

    2
  27. Mikey says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    We also walk just about everywhere here (even I, having come from NYC, where I thought I walked a great deal, was struck by how much more I walk now.)

    When we visit my wife’s family in Germany, we eat like pigs (and eat lots of pig, it’s Germany after all) and drink copious amounts of wonderful beer (it’s Germany after all) and we still drop a couple pounds because we are walking constantly.

    And of course even as much as we think we’re eating, it’s still probably less than at home because German portion sizes are reasonable.

    1
  28. Gustopher says:

    @Modulo Myself: Fat shaming has led to the countervailing body positivity for obesity.

    I’m not sure that communities popping up online that tell each other that it’s good and beautiful to be overweight and that the health consequences are massively overblown is particularly good. Like, it’s clearly better than wallowing in shame and getting depressed and eating more, but there’s a lot of medical misinformation going around too.

    It’s like Q, or Climate Change Denialism, but for fat people.

    And I place the blame for this clearly on the people who are fat shaming. Fat people have plenty of shame without some idiot punching down. It’s a medical condition. We don’t have torn-ACL shaming.

    “What were you doing when you tore your ACL? Why didn’t you take better care of yourself?…”

    5
  29. Mu Yixiao says:

    I have an odd history with weight.

    Up until university, I was drastically underweight (in uni, I could still wear a belt I got in the 3rd grade). In Uni, I started doing construction and gained about 7kg–all muscle. After uni, working as a stagehand, I gained another 7–all muscle (pulling counterweight system is a great workout!).

    The latter of those changes happened in about 2 weeks–not all at once, but there was some sort of “trigger”, where my pants fit one week, and not the next.

    According to the insurance graphs that were popular before BMI became a thing, I was still underweight for my height, by about 10kg.

    Then I got an office job and got soft. Gained another 20kg and got “soft”.

    When I moved to China, I shot up to 100kg. I came home and dropped down to 85 (which is a good weight for me). Then the pandemic hit, and I gained it back.

    My diet when I was young was “eat everything–and lots of it”. During Uni, it was “have a few nibbles during the week, eat like a Wendigo on the weekends”.

    Since then, I’ve had more stable eating habits. I cook my own food or get vegi wraps from the deli, don’t use salt, lots of veg and ultra-lean meats. And I’m still fat. 😛

    Michael is right about satiation, though. One thing I’ve found is that I eat what’s in front of me. I don’t hit a satiation point; it’s “stop when it’s gone”. One habit I need to get back into is taking whatever is on the plate, cutting it in half, and immediately setting it aside for tomorrow.

    2
  30. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Mikey:

    Absolutely. My heritage is German (Jewish, but we’d been in Germany for several hundred years by the time of the Shoah). My Bubbe refused to speak (or hear) another word of German for the rest of her life, but the food she kept / I grew up with. Totally get where you’re coming from. You’ve got me craving Sauerbraten and Schweinshaxe right now 🙂

    First impression here, eating French food (sauces on everything, butter, butter, and more butter, etc.) was “I will be dead of a coronary within a year. How are any of these people still alive?” Exact opposite. Just about every single test result has improved, some of them dramatically, since moving here. Healthier than I’d been for a long time in the US. Some of that is portion control, but I’m with you – I think most of it is the constant walking everywhere. Totally life changing.

    1
  31. Modulo Myself says:

    @Gustopher:

    I don’t think those are great either. But given how much pressure there is on people (and it’s mostly women who face this) to be unrealistically thin, it’s not a surprise.

    Overall, I think American food culture is to blame. Soda/fast food/frozen food are not exactly real food. There’s nothing wrong with eating/drinking crap. But soda is not necessary for any human being, and by and large, if you stop drinking it you don’t miss it. I had McDonald’s french fries a year ago. They were great, but also awful. In no way did my body that this was actual nourishment.

    Where I grew up–farm country PA–there were roadside farm stands selling what had just been picked. As a kid I loved fresh corn, tomatoes, sugar peas, and fruit. Not once in my childhood was it reinforced by any adult that local produce in season tastes good for a reason, and the stuff from the supermarket available year-round tastes bland and rubbery for a reason. It was not a lesson I learned until I moved to actual cities, where there are no farms, but foodies. I’m not an Alice Waters food nazi. It’s fine to eat stuff from the market out of season brought in from California or Florida or wherever. But not knowing that about food–and plenty of Americans do not know that the ‘fresh’ stuff in supermarkets is not fresh at all–is like not knowing how to add or multiply as a life skill.

    1
  32. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Modulo Myself:

    I had McDonald’s french fries a year ago. They were great, but also awful. In no way did my body that this was actual nourishment.

    My annual craving for McDonald’s fries is a signal that I’m getting low on sodium (I don’t use any when cooking, and typically don’t buy products with much salt in them). The fact that I haven’t craved them in a couple years tells me I should probably rethink having the breakfast bagels from the deli. 🙂

  33. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    We also walk just about everywhere here (even I, having come from NYC, where I thought I walked a great deal, was struck by how much more I walk now.)

    Reminds me of another great story of research I happened across. This time, somebody from, IIRC, Johns Hopkins was looking at the correlation between consumption of fat and heart disease. He was doing well until he got to Ireland and France, where he found disproportionally low incidence of heart disease relative to a significantly higher consumption of fats. He started searching for other correlations and eventually found one that matched heart disease rates–per capita ownership of automobiles.

    1
  34. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    I’d love to read that. Sounds very interesting.

    It also brings to mind something I forgot to mention before – while obesity in general is much lower here, it’s consistently higher in more rural areas relative to places like Paris, despite the diet being essentially the same. The difference (IIRC, going on memory of what I read) they found was that people (more or less unavoidably) have to drive more in their daily life out there than they do here.

  35. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mu Yixiao: It may depend on what you have on the bagel. If you keep it to an egg and a slice of swiss, your probably okay. If you’re like me, you probably have the equivalent of my breakfast burrito this morning–egg, potato, sausage, bacon and country gravy. It was delicious, but not a smart choice.

    (On a more positive note, I probably won’t eat again until dinner and then I’ll have steamed cauliflower. I have cantaloupe, Rainier cherries, grapes and nectarines if I need a snack, supplement. No, I don’t always eat this way. My eating is becoming more capricious as I get older.)

    2
  36. dazedandconfused says:

    @MarkedMan:

    As someone with Samoan ancestry (50%) I’m always about two extra biscuits a night away from 300+. I’m damn proud of my 248 at 6-5. It is a constant battle, but one that fell into a pretty easy one to manage.

    Here the deal: One, expect it to take 20 minutes for the food you eat to kill the hunger feeling. When you eat until you are “full” you have eaten until you are literally sick of eating. Don’t do that except on the occasional feast. And two, it’s really this simple: Eat less, exercise more. Deal with it. Eschew the urge to pretend different, have yourself a good cry…and embrace the suck. With time your stomach capacity will shrink and a normal meal (btw, that Phad Thai plate they serve in a US restaurant would be enough for two-three people in the average Asian household) will fill you up. Three: No soft drinks. Even the diet ones, which trigger a craving for that which they did not provide. Like cigarettes, after a time you will not miss them. At all.

    I’ll add one other bit: Look up the early photos of Samoans. They are nearly all skinny or close to it. Fact is isolated island living frequently involves periodic famine. Samoans developed the ability to really pack it on in the good times. A case for genetics being a factor but not the determining one.

    3
  37. @DrDaveT:

    Actually, no. I assume that behavior is one among many factors and the one that is probably the easiest to control. If you have proof otherwise I’d welcome it.

  38. Neil J Hudelson says:

    @David Schuler:

    Behavior is likely one of the many factors, and one that is easier to control. But why do you think fat shaming would help. I can see two scenarios. An obese person is having difficulty controlling their behavior, probably not for lack of trying. How does saying “Hey fatty fatso, why you so fat?” (or some other fat-shaming) help?

    Or, that person is controlling their behavior well, yet the multitude of other factors still contributes to their obesity. How does shaming help in this scenario?

    I don’t think there’s been a single moment during the half-century long rise in obesity where fat people weren’t both shamed and ashamed. And yet, they are still fat, and obesity still rises.

    2
  39. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @dazedandconfused:

    Three: No soft drinks. Even the diet ones, which trigger a craving for that which they did not provide.

    Absolutely. One of the things I learned from that video I posted above was that soft drinks are loaded with salt and caffeine. Caffeine is a diuretic, so you’re losing free water and loading up with salt. That equals thirsty – the more you drink of it, the thirstier you’re going to get. Vicious cycle. There is no good soft drink.

  40. gVOR08 says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    We also walk just about everywhere here

    I saw an article years ago about a study of diets in the post Civil War 1800s. They’d studied menus, recipe books, household records, quartermaster records, and whatever else they could find. I forget the numbers beyond that it was incredible. They estimated average adult intake at something like 10,000 calories a day. But they walked everywhere, in all weathers. Homes and buildings were barely heated. Work was often physical labor. And none of the food was processed.

    2
  41. inhumans99 says:

    @HarvardLaw92: My Mother is Italian (Sicilian) who grew up in Turkey, and I have some cousins who are French, and yeah…between eating less processed (note I said less processed, not less fattening, as cheese is still loaded w/tasty fats) foods, a Mediterranean Diet, and smaller portions, there is less of a chance for you to become obese in many countries overseas.

    Not to mention all of the walking/biking you can do that also is a much more efficient way to get from point A to point B in most countries and you give your body and mind a fighting chance to restrain your urges to eat like there is no tomorrow.

    1
  42. mattbernius says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    Shaming does not result in weight loss. Ever.

    All just note that current psychological research suggests that shame doesn’t actually lead to long-term behavioral change. At best it can lead to temporary suppression of some behaviors. However, the depression and anxiety it produces usually lead to the reemergence of those behaviors–often as bad (if not worse) than at the time of suppression.

    And 100% that daily physical activity really helps! Though, genetics can sometimes trump exercise as in this case:
    https://www.runnersworld.com/runners-stories/a21070665/ultra/

    2
  43. Teve says:

    I’ve got a friend named Sarah. she showed me a photo of her and four friends and I couldn’t pick her out because all I saw were five women in their twenties who weren’t a pound over 130. Then she got in a car wreck and as part of her rehab she was put on steroids for a few months. Over the next year she gained over a hundred pounds and now weighs about 300. She thinks about her diet all the time. She goes to the gym with me all the time. Nothing she can do has been able to take the weight off. Her metabolism fundamentally changed. If you think shaming her is going to improve anything, I think you’re a shitty person.

    4
  44. CSK says:

    @Mikey:
    A few years ago. I made pork roast, stuffing (mine includes sliced sausage, dried cranberries, and chopped pecans as well as the bread cubes), mashed sweet potatoes, and haricots vert for some German friends, and they had three helpings each. Well, they had been living in the U.S. for a year, so perhaps they picked up our habit of shoveling it in. Or maybe they hadn’t eaten anything all that day.

    2
  45. Mikey says:

    @CSK: Last time we were in Germany, my wife made tacos for her family. No kidding Tex-Mex tacos with ground beef and crunchy shells–it is possible to get Old El Paso taco shells there if one is willing to fork over the Euros. And holy crap, they couldn’t get enough. I have never seen my mother-in-law eat so much at one meal. And the next week they invited neighbors over and had my wife make tacos again. And everyone gorged themselves again.

    I’m pretty sure next time we go, tacos will be demanded…

    2
  46. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Neil J Hudelson: Behavior is probably one of the factors and MAY be easier to control, but behaviorism still keeps showing that the most rewarding stimulus wins out over time. When people have difficulty losing weight, it’s probably as much because finding a diet that will be more rewarding than your current one AND result in tangible weight loss is a pretty tough row to hoe. Incremental changes of the sort HL92 talks about with walking most places probably make as much change as one can get, but won’t lose you 10 or 15 percent of your body mass (and my BMI says that 20-25% would be better in my case).

    I’m still working on losing the 2o kilos that my Korean endocrinologist suggested that I lose back in 2008, and I’ve only got 25 kilos of it left to lose. 😉

    2
  47. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve: Yeah. Prednisone/Prednisolone (among others) will do that to you. Indeed. Part of it is that one of the side effects is eating binges. I have amazing stories that I could tell. (Took 3 or 4 or 5 series of Prednisone/-olone every year for 25 years. Maybe more, I lost count. And did I mention that I have metabolic syndrome, too?)

  48. gVOR08 says:

    @mattbernius:

    All just note that current psychological research suggests that shame doesn’t actually lead to long-term behavioral change.

    That’s what keeps me from actually writing the scathing, but honest, replies I mentally compose to some of the RW political letters in my local semi-pro newspaper.

    1
  49. CSK says:

    @Mikey:
    It’s so funny what Europeans crave in terms of “American” food. When I lived in Scotland, all the locals wanted…hamburgers. I’m not sure why they couldn’t make them themselves (how hard is it?), but they adored and demanded hamburgers from Americans and Canadians.

    The next time you visit your wife’s relatives, maybe stick a few boxes of Old El Paso in your luggage.

  50. DrDaveT says:

    @David Schuler:

    I assume that behavior is one among many factors and the one that is probably the easiest to control.

    Do you feel the same way about unwanted pregnancy? The idea that behavior is the easiest variable to control, when talking about a basic human drive, strikes me as something no educated person should believe for more than about five minutes. It’s a Puritan religious dogma, not a science-based position.

    5
  51. Stormy Dragon says:

    About 2.5 years ago, I started an IFD diet where one day a week I limit myself to 500 calories or less, and otherwise I eat like I used to. Since I started doing that, I’ve lost 37 pounds.

    3
  52. Beth says:

    I also wonder what the effect of loading all the animals we eat with all sorts of steroids and antibiotics.

    For me, second puberty is hell on my eating and my ability to lose any weight. I have the appetite of a 14 year old and the metabolism of a 43 year old.

    About the only thing I miss about testosterone was the ability to lose weight. Cut out pop, lose 5 pounds. Cut out chips, lose 5 pounds. Think about getting on the bike, lose 5 pounds. Not so much any more. Still worth it though. I just wish that was in the brochure.

    1
  53. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @gVOR08: 10,000?? OMG. I can’t even imagine. On the other hand, I imagine they probably needed all that. I’d be dead in a week.

  54. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Teve:

    Indeed. Ridiculing someone that both has no control over the situation and wants to fix it but can’t is the worst sort of cruel.

    1
  55. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Admittedly, being in an environment where everybody else models a different behavior makes it a lot easier to change your own, I think. Left to my own devices I have my doubts that I’d have changed my eating behaviors. I’d probably still be walking, but I’d still be eating like I did in NY too and undoubtedly heavier. It’s easier I think when you have that (in an odd sort of way) support system backing you up.

    1
  56. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @inhumans99:

    Not to mention all of the walking/biking you can do that also is a much more efficient way to get from point A to point B in most countries and you give your body and mind a fighting chance to restrain your urges to eat like there is no tomorrow.

    Very true. I’ve come to regard it as my sanctuary time, where I can be at peace with the world and just drink in the sights and feel of this amazing city, but you’re right on target. If I tried to drive to work, 1) it would probably take longer and 2) there is a better than average chance I’d end up in hospital or worse. It terrifies me, and I spent a good part of my life fighting my way into and around Manhattan every day. Paris is far worse.

    Parisians can not drive. Traffic signals are just suggestions to them. The lane markings here are an indecipherable mess that still escapes me, and they ignore them anyway. You’d be safer sitting underneath a rocket that’s about to launch.

    2
  57. Kurtz says:

    @DrDaveT:

    Puritan religious dogma

    Are you referencing this in terms of Puritan dogma woven into American political structure and culture?

    1
  58. Sleeping Dog says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Parisians can not drive. Traffic signals are just suggestions to them. The lane markings here are an indecipherable mess that still escapes me, and they ignore them anyway. You’d be safer sitting underneath a rocket that’s about to launch.

    You sure you’re not living in Boston?

    5
  59. dazedandconfused says:

    @HarvardLaw92:
    I freely admit have no science whatsoever to back up my assertion on soft drinks. It’s merely my opinion there may be some connection between tasting something sweet and the digestive system. I discovered that, for me, drinking a diet cola caused shortly thereafter an urge to get something to eat. Like my body expected something it didn’t get…and off I’d go for the candy bar vending machine. I replaced that work-break routine with an apple or a pear and discovered I felt better overall for it. No doubt in my mind that crap was doing something bad to me.

  60. gVOR08 says:

    @Sleeping Dog: I haven’t traveled all that much, but Boston is the worst I’ve ever seen, and I now live in Florida. The one that almost got me killed was discovering that at a four way stop, there’s no need for the second guy to stop if I already have. Massholes indeed.

    1
  61. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    LOL, Boston with even worse drivers. I wouldn’t have thought it possible, but they’re worse. Hausmann designed this city for walking and carriages and nice views, not cars. The one-ways alone make Manhattan look easy. There isn’t a single stop sign in this entire city, and any intersection without a traffic light, which is most anything that isn’t a major thoroughfare – nobody stops. I can’t even talk about Place Charles de Gaulle. Don’t go there in a car if you value your life.

    1
  62. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @dazedandconfused:

    I didn’t have any idea about it, not in the slightest, until I’d watched that video. Coke to me = too sweet. I’d never have associated it with salt. A 20 oz Coke has like 75mg of sodium – it’s akin to drinking french fries. All that sweetness is there, I’m told, to hide the salt.

  63. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    This will give you an idea. This is what I’d call a good day on the PCdG. You’re more likely to see gigantic jams and at least a few crashes at any given time.

  64. Jax says:

    @HarvardLaw92: The most primal memory I have from Paris is how crazy the traffic was, and how much more fun it was to just walk. I will admit to noshing on the food in all the little stores waaayyyy outside of “eating times”, but I was a tourist, that’s what I was there for!

    Also, how horrified my travel mates were at the topless beaches. I guess they needed a warning or something, I thought it did some good to let them see that not everybody was so….puritan.

    1
  65. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jax:

    I’ve tried driving like three times since we got here. Every time I did I ended up an anxiety ridden mess, and I drove in Manhattan every day for years. You have to experience it to really grasp just how bad it is. I’ve sworn I won’t do it again. If I can’t walk, which is mainly the occasional business meetings far elsewhere in the city or serious rain, I’ll arrange transport. Mostly though, I walk or bike. You get to where you’re going actually refreshed and happy (at least I do anyway) and that’s priceless.

    I absolutely know what you mean. We’d visited before, but living here is a different experience. You notice all those shops filled with goodies and such that we never paid that much attention to when you’re a tourist. For a few weeks at least (probably longer if I’m honest), it felt like living in an amazing supermarket with streets instead of aisles. Oh, I have to stop in here (and there, and there, and…) 🙂

    I always tell folks “yes, they’re topless. That means that Granny is topless too. Prepare yourselves “

    2
  66. mattbernius says:

    @HarvardLaw92:
    Just out of curiosity, can you compare Paris to Rome in particular. Because that was the most fearful I have been as a pedestrian. I cannot imagine driving in that city.

    Honestly we opted for the defensive tactic of finding a group of mind and crossing with them. And man even those Sisters knew how to move!

    1
  67. DrDaveT says:

    @Kurtz:

    Are you referencing this in terms of Puritan dogma woven into American political structure and culture?

    Pretty much, yeah. One of the principal cleavage planes between classical liberal and conservative approaches to governance is the split between caring about outcomes and caring about morality. Liberals tend to favor whatever social mechanisms lead to better outcomes — more health, security, prosperity, self-actualization, etc. Conservatives can’t stomach that approach if it looks like it rewards — or even fails to punish — behaviors they consider immoral. Which is why they oppose needle exchanges, and publicly subsidized abortion, and unemployment compensation, and a thousand other policies that make everyone better off but fail to punish immoral behavior.

    American conservatives inherit a lot of their notions of what is moral and immoral from early Puritan refugees from Europe, who had a disproportionate influence on the Founders.

  68. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @mattbernius:

    I’ve never driven in Rome, and I never will if I can help it, but if I had to pin it down, I’d almost certainly believe that Rome is probably worse. Italians are a special breed of crazy when combined with internal combustion (and I say that with the utmost respect and awe. They’ll do things with a car that would make G-d nervous enough to say pull over and get out).

    1
  69. de stijl says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    If you pre-think portion control you do not have to worry about satiety. You’re done when there is no more.

    Between meal snacking and sweetened beverages are the bugbears for me.

    I quit smoking this spring and reflexively snacked like a fiend as compensatory, and super crazy amounts of coffee. Unregulated for a 6 weeks. Okay, because brain chemistry was was deprived and looking for substitutes.

    Once brain settles into the new norm establish a regimen. Then, it was portion control and walking more.

    Btw, those of you not wired like me, please ignore my advice. I am wired to 150 to 160 and revert to mean fairly easily and quickly with concentrated effort. YMMV.

    New weight goes to love handles first than to gut. Easily visible. Don’t even own a scale – I know my state by eyeballing my body in the mirror.

    What, for me, is eminently correctable, is a hard path for many and extremely difficult.

  70. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    While conceding that IFD doesn’t work for everyone, and there’s disagreement if it provides benefits beyond the purely caloric restriction aspects, we’re increasingly finding that the processes that occur when our body break down fat do a lot more than just releasing stored energy.

    The theory is that since we evolved in an environment where we alternated between periods of too much food and not enough food, we actually have a biological need to starve some of the time and that always having enough food can mess up your metabolism because there’s certain necessary processes that never get a chance to kick in.

  71. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Gustopher:

    It’s like Q, or Climate Change Denialism, but for fat people.

    Related note: it’s not just humans getting fatter. Most animals are getting fatter, including wild animals that don’t have sudden access to more foor and animals in situations like laboratories getting highly controlled diets are getting heavier.

    One theory is that this is because global warming. If the average temp increases 1 degree, that’s thousands of calories over the course of a year that a person no longer needs to keep their body temperature at 98.6 degrees.