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January 25, 2011

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My husband and I joined Weight Watchers Online 3 weeks ago just to get some extra pounds off our bones...we're only in our late 20s but already started having some aches and pains. It's been 20 days and Mr. BFS is down 12 pounds and I am down 8. Woot for a better diet!

It is the one goal I am working since I graduated college. Even though my vital signs are normal, my doctor recommended me to count my calories for two weeks in addition to my workout regiment that I had. Just seeing what you eat in that time span is surprising. I didn't know that I was literally stuffing myself silly.

For instance, I used to eat a Costco Muffin and a glass of milk for a morning breakfast. I didn't know that a Muffin contained 600ish calories and with milk I basically had a huge 800 calories breakfast every morning. Ever since, I've switched to eating a Costco Bagel (260-280 cals) or two eggo waffles (180 cals) and kept my milk and that alone has dropped my daily intake by 300-400 calories a day. Since there is 3500 cals = 1lb fat, I've dropped from 215lbs to 200lbs in the last 4 months by just switching one eating habit.

Ah, the Bullshit Mass Index-- causing insurance companies to cancel people's health insurance without warning since 1998.

This article is awful, by the way. I'm never reading your blog again (and I've been a faithful if lurkful reader since 2007.)

I'm going to go ahead and blame the Disney meal plan....

Seriously, when I was reading that post all I could think about was, "OMG, does anyone really need to eat that much food for days on end?"

People have got to stop thinking that getting the most quantity of food for the money is the greatest deal.

Instead, think: quality, think: reasonable portion sizes, think: I only need to eat one meal a day, especially if all I'm doing is sitting on a plane/at a desk all day. Moderation, moderation, moderation.

I am not sure I understand this article. Is this to save my life or my pocket book? Has this author been fat and understands the condition, or is just a person that has never struggled, and not with that last "10 pounds" that could really only be hiding in the marrow of their bones, with weight?

I understand what is trying to be said, but this article only works with a connection to the reader. Naturally (and continually) skinny readers may connect. The rest, you know, the people you are trying to speak down too, don't identify with your message.

I am overweight and have no physical reason to be so. Still it is a struggle. Don't talk down to us as if it is a simple calculation on a spreadsheet,act human and try first to understand.

@Jacinda,

What is your evidence that the article is awful? The numbers it cites are from completely reputable sources.

The fact is that obesity is one of the biggest health risks in the country because it dramatically increases the probability of having bigger health issues.

If Americans spent half of their TV time actually exercising, we would have a much healthier and "cheaper" country.

If this blog has taught you anything it's to spend less than you earn, same thing with calories. It's not rocket science, it's simple math.

So before you go off and say how awful this article is and how you'll never read this blog because of it, take a good hard look around you. These figures are not difficult to believe.

BMI is just a number, and only a number, it doesn't give a whole picture of someones physical health.

If you go by it my hubby is obese , yet his body fat % is acceptable, and he's in good health... I think the taller you are the less accurate it is (He's 6'5")

The BMI guidlines also says that I should weight 10 lbs less than I ever have, I'm guessing since it doesn't compensate for G cup breasts.

As far as clothes being more expensive for larger folks, I don't see a correlation unless we're talking amazing huge clothes. I regularly am frustrated since my step sister who is a 2X can find inexpensive clothes all the time at sales, while I cant find medium or large sizes in any sale or clearance racks.

Ironically the only people I know in my family with chronic health conditions are my father-in-law who has hypertension (and is extremely fit, eats only organic, and is a black belt who works out daily), and my grandfather who has diabetes (who eats well, follows a strict diet, and has never been overweight)

You want to start talking about uncontrolled healthcare cost, please include smokers/drinkers, unneccessary c-sections, and the doctors who drive up costs by practicing defensive medicine.

@KP While I think you have a good point about the other factors, I think you sound a bit hostile. Like, you're probably have elevated blood pressure. I think you probably need a Complete Blood Count, x-ray, ekg, etc. What is your insurance number ;) j/k

@Jacinda, i hope you do come back. I have read FMF for years and i think he is just looking for some new angles; dont judge the whole site by one article.

changing habits are difficult, especially food related ones. Perhaps the content is a bit controversial as is the tone But the spirit of the article is good.

Wow, so many hostile responses.

Yes, we all know that you can't only go by someone's BMI. However, obesity is a huge problem and it WILL end up costing you in the long run, not only in money, but enjoyment of your life.

Of course, one could argue that being obese does allow you to not save as much for retirement, because chances are high that you probably won't live as long as someone who is physically fit. Sadly, my obese generation may be one reason that Social Security doesn't fail because a good portion of them will die before 65 of obese-related issues.

The hostile comments are just plain silly. Look around. Most of America is fat. We sit around and wonder why health care costs are going up and the answer is right in front of us. Take a look at the rising rate if diabetes. It is becoming an epidemic.

An excellent post! It may provide great awareness for objective critical readers, but not for the ones who just react. This is one of the best posts in FMF, IMO.

Yes, BMI has its flaws, we know. But for the least, it is a very simple (and free) measurement that helps us to track our health. It is a good indicator which is effective for majority of people. You want more? Yes, you can always take measurements, or measure fat% or whatever else (which I do). Then, it becomes harder to track, interpert and follow up. Not for the average Joe.

Obesity is not just only about money. It is about life. It affects everything: Self respect, energy, psychology, work performance, leisure activities, your love life, everything! And the sad thing is, such simple and small habit changes may change profoundly not only the lives of millions of people but also the future of an entire country (or countries). Still, very few people do those.

Just change one small habit at a time, until you become a person who moves gently 15-30 minutes 5 days/week and eats clean 80% of the time(only vegetables, fruits, beans, eggs and a little bit of meat). You can be lazy the other 2 days and eat whatever crap you want the other 20% of the time. At the end, you will have a happy retirement with an additional million dollar, and an extra 30 years to live healthy. That's just it.

Really, there's a connection between money and health, no doubt. I have regularly preached that if you improve your health, you put yourself in a better position to preserve and create wealth. Keeping weight off and losing excess weight is important to the financial aspect but most importantly to overall quality of life. What does all the money one saves and invests mean if we aren't around for any enjoyment of it?

Another cost ... the possibility of having to buy 2 airline tickets. This happened to film director Kevin Smith.

All of the facts cited in this article are from reputable sources and I'm sure are 100% true. It shouldn't be a shock to anyone that being obese could cost you in many ways. However, let's not turn this into a discussion of why obese people are obese, i.e. laziness, ignorance, etc. In light of recent research that shows that the food industry is doing whatever it can to keep people hooked on unhealthy foods, the energy spent criticizing obese people for being obese would be better spent on educating people about the dangers of getting hooked on these foods in the first place. I highly recommend David Kessler's book "The End of Overeating". Obesity is a very complicated problem that actually isn't solved just by "calories in-calories out".

KP, FMF has written several times about smoking and its costs. Check out the articles:

Stop Smoking, It's Killing the Nation's Finances
Smoking is Costing You a Fortune
Stop Smoking -- It's Killing Your Finances
Money Saving Tip: Stop Smoking
Don't Just Quit Smoking, Take the Next Step
Quit Smoking and Save Almost $6000 a Year
Saving on College Costs and Quit Smoking
The Five Most Expensive Addictions
How to Save 42% on Healthcare Costs

I think the hostility is a defense mechanism. Obesity and excess weight ARE problems for this country. Just take a look at the mall. And take a look at school kids these days. Just look around to see how everyone has "grown" since our childhoods. If the hostile posters are overweight and want to ignore it fine, but what about the children who will innocently enter adulthood with a problem not of their own making.

From someone who dropped their BMI (and yes it is not the holly grail, but it is a useful guideline as are weight and % body fat) from 28 to 21 after 30 years of struggling with weight I can honestly say that eating healthy can cost LESS. And the key to that is home cooking. We eat gourmet meals almost every night in our kitchen for less than $10 for 2. That’s much less than our dinners out in the past. Our home-cooked meals are well balanced, nutrition-rich totaling about 1500 calories for me and 2200 calories for DH each day. High quality protein, healthy-oils, whole grains and organic vegetables. Last night it was grass-fed steaks ($5.50), organic-greens salad (~2.00) and roasted winter squash ($1.50). You just can't get that eating out! Oh yeah, no wine or beer saved about $10 and 600 calories.

FMF, I think this was a great article, thanks for posting it.

This is article is spot on and I agree most of the hostility is just a defense mechanism.

Yes, there are a few medical conditions beyond people's control but the vast majority of people that are overweight are just making excuses, or trying to find an excuse when they only have themselves to blame.

Agreed, hostility is a defense mechanism. People inherently don't want to think they've done anything wrong and/or are living a poor lifestyle. They blame it on a series of factors outside of their control. Take it from someone who was formerly the "fat kid" all through school turned Army Infantry soldier turned personal trainer. There are very few obese people who cannot lose weight.

I was normal weight until about age 14. I had been in a bad fire & was hospitalized. I began overeating as a nervous habit. But, the doctor once told me, now that the nerves were settled, the habit remained. It was hard to break because you cannot go cold turkey like smokers and drinkers. You have constant temptation.

I am still overweight and still working on it. I am down about 40-45 lbs. from my highest weight. Still have about 60-70 to go. But, since retirement, my main problem is exercise. I was never extremely active and now I must put effort into. In the summer it is fine because, in my small town, you could walk to the other side of town in 1 mile. If I go for coffee, I walk .7 mile and the same back home. I can walk wherever I need to go - coffee, groceries, church, etc.

But - the problem is in winter. I now have a treadmill and am trying to get used to using it. Wish me luck. Good article.

After reading countless articles on the subject it is clear that the author has done their due diligence. Though in our hyper sensitive politically correct society we are more worried about hurting ones feeling than actually dealing with realities.
As individuals we must start to take accountability for our actions and our position in life, If I am without money, its my fault, bad marriage, my fault, don't like my job, my fault, over weight, my fault. For some who commented on this article, if you think this is aggressively attacking the issue pickup a copy of Steve Seibolds book "Die Fat or get Tough"
I just spent a week in Disney World and was horrified by the number of young families, Dad's, Mom's and their children who are were over weight and worse obese.
Siebold so much to the point addresses the mind set of people and boldly states; "That diets work, but people often don't"
The issue that the author addressed in the piece is the cost of being overweight, funny how some people lives their lives always wanting to take someone or something down with them "but he did it to" 'or its not my fault"
People its time to stand in front of the mirror buck naked and despite your BMI number be honest with yourself. We must take full and total responsibility for our eating and our health, stop blaming the government and food companies and media and look stop looking for a diet messiah to come from out the streets.
Education is the key, but action is the response to the new found knowledge.

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