Why Does THis Habit Seem To Get By?


#1

I am single and a lot of women my age drink or smoke or both. It seems that both of these bad habits, especially smoking is recognized as dangerous if not deadly.

How is it then that over eating and overweight is overlooked. We fool ourselves about how fat is fat until problems such as one I am having with my spine react to weight. The thing I feel bad about is I am constantly the recipient of having people push grossly obese women in my direction. I must point out here I have lost sixty pounds and must lose fory more.

I never did smoke. I gradually quit drinking to where it has been over fifteen years since I had so much as a sniff of booze. People seem to understand if you need to stop drinking you need to be away from people who socialize with drinks. Why is it then that I am being invited to sit sedately on couches and subject myself to the temptation of severe over consumption of food? All too often from women so obese that they cannot move or exercise. I can see where it can be said it is not fair to judge someone. However, it comes back to my analogy over giving up drinking. It seems understood that somone wanting to get away from this pattern of destruction doesn’t go to parties where alcohol is featured or someone who drinks every evening after work.

I saw overeating and diabetes kill my mother. I do not want to be around it. I am tired of seeing gluttony get off so easy when we talk to young folks about taking care of themselves too. I can pray that somone who is fighting this battle have sucess. They simply need to understand I spent over twenty five yeards near a hundred pund over weight. I am even in the process of giving up meat do to ts fat and calories. I would rather help a woman over drinking, it would be an easier fight. I cannot fight somone else battle with weight at the same time I fight my own.

Sincerely,

Sadowa


#2

well I for one receive a constant barrage of criticism from family members who smoke and drink, and are suffereing ill effects from their habits, because of my weight, and cannot pick up a magazine or watch more than 15 minutes of TV without some anti-fat message or product being “thrust in my face”. Believe me there is nothing about obesity you can tell me that I have not already heard, and gluttony is not the reason for all obesity. Since you are not privy to my medical records please do not make assumptions about my weight and the reasons for it, thank you very much.


#3

Puzzleanie seems to have missed the part of my post about my having been 100 pounds over weight. I have lost a lot of weight, but must lose more as I am trying to stay out of a wheel chair. Also on the heartache level, my mother died from stroke brought on by diabetes. Of course I have her diabetes prone genes too.

I do not know why anyone else is overweight. I hope anyone with this problem is not overwhelmed by weight related health concerns. I’m sure there are many reasons this happens. I do know excess weight is a horrible influence on me. More so than alcohol which I gave up. I never did smoke.

I am sorrying if somone feels picked on or made fun of for being overweight. I was just pointing out that obesity is dangerous if not deadly situation. I used the word habit because in my case it was the desire to feel filled with rich, high caloric, fatty foods. Yet how much does this get pointed out? Think of the do not drink or smoke ads directed towards teens. Doesn’t it seem when the TV message regarding food and teens is a plastic clown in front of a burger stand?

Sincerely,
AC


#4

A person can stop smoking. A person can stop drinking alcohol. But a person just can’t stop eating.

And sometimes obesity is due to medical conditions, and not just overeating. Many critical factors relating to one’s metabolism are determined within the first year of life.


#5

It is a wonderful thing that you were able to lose the weight and are wise enough to learn from the experience of others, but you posed the question of why people are not criticized for overeating, and I merely pointed out that there is plenty of criticism floating around out there. If you intended to warn people of the hazards of obesity, you could do so, but perhaps your hypercritical tone might not be the most helpful or productive way to encourage others.


#6

Originally I was talking of my social life. In much the same manner that an excessive drinker wnats to avoid the company of drinkers in his social life, I do not want to be around rich fatty high caloric foods. I disagree it is not about wha people eat. I will grant there are a few conditions that have metabolic problems. However, I suspect eating a mostly vegetable, fruit, whole grains, with a hint of skim only dairy, and no meat diet would find it impossible for most people to keep weight on. There is a reason this is to a large extent an American problem.

As far as me Puzzleannie, I am not a nice or good person. In that you are quite observant. Am I sorry about that, not especially. That is not to say I like starting fights of a personal sort. No my mother tried to do a good job raising me. So I try to avoid problems. I am one to simply disdain the contact of others. In fact it was the intervention of " do gooders" at my job who try to “hook me up.” who brought this subject of dealing with somone overweight to my mind. These same ladies also constantly disregard my belief about divorce too.

I do not like to be around people that will pull me down with regards to following health rules. Society,including the Church, would certainly be all for what I say, if I said “booze” every time I mentioned “weight”


#7

You may be pleased to know the Church does not overlook it:

2290 The virtue of temperance disposes us to avoid every kind of excess: the abuse of food, alcohol, tobacco, or medicine. Those incur grave guilt who, by drunkenness or a love of speed, endanger their own and others’ safety on the road, at sea, or in the air.


#8

[quote=Catholic2003]A person can stop smoking. A person can stop drinking alcohol. But a person just can’t stop eating.
[/quote]

It’s definitely more difficult to beat an addiction to food when you can’t quit cold turkey and food is within reach if have a family that you have to sit down and eat with.

I was underweight until I was 40 years old. At four months away from 50, I’ve finally learned what I can and cannot eat as I get older. I lost 15 pounds a year ago and plan on losing the last 15 during Lent.

I’m not sure that I agree that overweight people seem to get by. Society is very negative toward overweight and obese people especially in the work place.


#9

First, I hardly think that obesity is overlooked in our culture. Everything from WebMD updates to news specials to diet commercials to various restaurants offering low fat/low carb entrees to elementary schools insisting upon fitness to corporations offering free gym memberships…awareness seems to be everywhere.

As for why you are being “invited to sit sedentary and be subjected to the temptation to over-consume food”…well, don’t attend if you can’t control yourself. Instead of blaming the person who invited you, why not take responsibility for putting yourself in a position that is dangerous for you? And just because it’s dangerous for you does not mean you need to take other individual’s inventories about whether they should be there and how much they should and should not be eating. Personally I don’t think overweight people need to be excluded from family parties, awards banquets, holiday gatherings, etc., just because it doesn’t offer an opportunity to capitalize upon their fitness program! If you want to go take a walk, then take a walk, or fit in a gym visit before the invitation’s event. Eat a full and healthy meal before attending and don’t partake in food that isn’t good to your body. Emotional support is key for any healthy person, and interacting with friends and family is very important. Sitting isolated at home but away from tempting food is not a healthy alternative.

As for women being thrown at you, MOST people have well-meaning friends who simply want everyone to know the happiness of love. If you aren’t interested, be kind in deflecting the perceived interest.

Furthermore, of the recovering alcoholics I happen to know, each of them is capable of attending parties and restaurants and mass where alcohol will be served and partaken. As another poster pointed out, the difference between an addiction to alcohol and an addiction to food is the reality that no one can remove eating from their daily list of activities. Alcohol is something which they can choose to never consume again; food is something in a multitude of varieties that must be managed and juggled at minimum three times a day.

As other posters have pointed out, excess weight is NOT solely attributed to gluttony. Yes, plenty of people overeat, but plenty of people have metabolic or medical issues that make weight a struggle.

Imposing your diet choices (which while they sound healthy are mainly carbs and would be deathly for some people–we ALL need healthy fats and lean protein for various body functioning) upon others is not realistic nor fair. What works for you is great, but that does not need to be the answer for everyone else.


#10

I do not think that the media is encouraging obesity. Ever read the book Reviving Ophelia? I don’t agree with everything in it, but it is eye-opening as to what our young daughters are being taught through society, peer pressure, and even ourselves. Time and again, the message is re-enforced to them that they must be attractive. Attractive means “sexy” and skinny. What they are willing to put their bodies through in order to attain this status leads some to sickness and death, if not physically then emotionally. I assure you, the message of obesity is not one overlooked in our society. An obese person often finds himself on the receiving end of a lecture about healthy eating habits anytime they are seen in a restaurant or eating anything other than an apple. They hear snide comments behind their backs. They definitely feel the societal message that they will not be accepted unless they are thinner. Ironically, many in Hollywood take up tobacco usage in order to get thinner. Many do not quit smoking in order to stay thinner. I read an article the other day which said a Hollywood pre-nup required the wife to stay under 120 pounds or forfeit $100,000 of property. Obviously, the message of obesity gets more than its fair share of publicity.

The problem, however, is that it doesn’t get the right kind of publicity. It is not effective to berate a person and tell him that he must conform to a certain list of criteria, and if not he is an outcast. It is not effective to present only another unhealthy choice (being underweight). The answer that Catholicism gives is quite wise. All things in moderation. And to know a person’s virtues by his fruits–not by his pants size.

It is rather presumptuous to believe that an individual is in a certain spiritual state, and just as presumptuous to believe you know why he is in a certain physical state. Many obese people actually starve themselves in an attempt to just be “normal” (or what they are told normal is). I do not recall the name offhand, but there is a rather well-known morbidly obese man who was otherwise healthy and became so fraught with worry after another obese person died that he would suffer the same fate that he literally starved himself to death.

The problem, for those who are obese due to poor nutrition and lack of exercise, is that our society is one which pushes productivity and convenience. There is no appreciation for doing things the “right way” but for doing them the fastest. Because of this, unhealthy surgeries, exercise regimens, pills, supplements, procedures, and starvation take the place of a healthy and balanced life. Again, this is something that is foreign to the Catholic worldview but prevalent in the American one.

(continued)


#11

I think, first of all, we have to have a good definition of what “overweight” is. As a woman, looking at magazines and television shows with super-skinny women, a “normal” sized woman would be considered to be “overweight”.

Morbid obesity is a person a hundred pounds or more over thier optimal weight.

When we can get a good standard of what weight is optimal for a person’s height, the arguments can start to get really hurtful.

Most women have learned from a very young age that their bodies/weight are something that will always be judged, so the arguement that we are “getting by” is really not valid. Since men really have no concept of this kind of “brainwashing”, you wouldn’t be able to understand. So please, try not to be so harsh (however unintentional) with your judgement.

If you find yourself uncomfortable with the social situations with the rich/fatty foods, why not try to throw your own party with foods that are more healthy. This way, you will be able to return the generosity of your friends and will be able to show them that your new healthy lifestyle is fun too!. :slight_smile:

If this is not possible, ask your hosts if they would like you to bring something, and bring some healthful foods for you and others to enjoy.

As for obese women being thrown your way, I have to agree with a previous poster that your hosts/friends only want to see their friends to be happy and in love. Right now, they probably know the struggles you have been through with weight. These women have been struggling also, so your friends think you are starting off with something in common.

Good luck with tying to give up meat, it can be very difficult to do this, so I wish you success. Please don’t forget, if starting a vegetarian diet, make certain that you are doing that healthfully as well. Just becoming a vegetarian doesn’t automatically make you healthy, you have to make sure you are getting all of your nutrients and it will be harder for your body to get some of these nutrients by elimanting all meat, fish and poultry.


#12

Well… it WAS continued, but it doesn’t look like the second half posted correctly. I suppose we’ll have to go on the quick synopsis version.

I had said something to the effect that our society pushes this mentality of being rich and successful and attractive and skinny at such a high cost that it pervades entire social circles.

The answer, then, is not to chastise individuals, but to change the group mentality. I believe that a return to the balance found within the Catholic church would benefit our society at large. For instance, our current culture maintains the feast days but does not seem to have days of fasting. By first fasting, one is able to discipline the body to conform to the will and able to properly enjoy the luxuries of life in moderation. Our society is not one where luxuries are seen as such, though. We live in a very rich society where food and shelter are mostly taken for granted. By returning to a spiritual poverty, just like baby Jesus in the manger, we will be hungry for truth and justice, we will thirst for righteousness, and we will fill ourselves up with Christ. This is only possible when in a state of spiritual strength, which needs to be fostered at the community level. Instead of sizing up what your overweight friends are eating or chastising them for their girth, perhaps you would do better to channel your passion into social justice and spiritual renewal, which would not have an immediate effect but would foster long-term community imporvement by changing the peer pressure to a positive one and the group mentality to one of moderation and balance.


#13

[quote=sadowa]Originally I was talking of my social life. In much the same manner that an excessive drinker wnats to avoid
As far as me Puzzleannie, I am not a nice or good person. In that you are quite observant.

I do not like to be around people that will pull me down with regards to following health rules. Society,including the Church, would certainly be all for what I say, if I said “booze” every time I mentioned “weight”
[/quote]

I am understanding you more now that you have explained where your comments are coming from. I would disagree, you must be both nice and good to feel compassion for those you see destroying themselves by bad habits. OP sounded like an accusation to others who appear to be overeating, so people like me (porky and fighting it) might tend to over-react. I see now that you are speaking of people you associate with making it difficult to keep your own good resolutions about diet etc.

It think you are exactly on the mark in avoiding people and situations that work against you. We have laws against second hand smoke, and we have designated drivers for drunks, it sure would be nice if we had laws against second-hand calories. There are several active threads for us combatting the constant temptation of food shoved in our face by others, come in and join us.


#14

At 8-15, I was my mother’s smallest of 7 babies. My ENTIRE life has been one of a struggle…weight not being the only area. It, for me, has been a roller coaster ride. I have been “fat”…I have been “skinnier” but never “gee…don’t you look nice”. I have decided that I will do the best I can for me. Oh, don’t get me wrong…when I feel “skinny” I look at others and say “rather them than me” if they are heavy. I can be as self righteous as the next person. But in the end, I have the Lord to answer to. So, with His help, the last three years( post breast reduction) have been an overall losing ones for me…30 lbs down and 40 to go. I have only myself to count on. Others can be “there for me” but only I can “put the fork down”

                  ~ Kathy ~

#15

[quote=puzzleannie]well I for one receive a constant barrage of criticism from family members who smoke and drink, and are suffereing ill effects from their habits, because of my weight, and cannot pick up a magazine or watch more than 15 minutes of TV without some anti-fat message or product being “thrust in my face”. Believe me there is nothing about obesity you can tell me that I have not already heard, and gluttony is not the reason for all obesity. Since you are not privy to my medical records please do not make assumptions about my weight and the reasons for it, thank you very much.
[/quote]

Bravissima, Annie!!!

Also, [size=4]IF there is an addiction to food, or smoking, or drinking, then the sin is mitigated (not excused, not given some sort of automatic absolution, but placed in the venial class). Mortal sin requires three prongs to be mortal: Grave matter, sufficient reflection, and full consent of the will. [/size]

I, too, think culture does not look at women realistically, esp. as promoted by the press and by advertising. As a person who has had a weight problem since 30, and has some reason for it beyond just stuffing my face with food to be a glutton, it is one of my “crosses”. I try to offer it up, do the best I can with a low-carb diet that works for me, and like myself for more than the skinny figure I had before I was 30.


#16

[quote=OutinChgoburbs]Bravissima, Annie!!!

Also, [size=4]IF[/size] there is an addiction to food, or smoking, or drinking, then the sin is mitigated (not excused, not given some sort of automatic absolution, but placed in the venial class). Mortal sin requires three prongs to be mortal: Grave matter, sufficient reflection, and full consent of the will. .
[/quote]

we already had the “is being overweight a mortal sin” thread, in fact, a few of them, and I have already had my say there, so if you imagine that every overweight person you see has a food addiction, do a search on those threads so you can reinforce your prejudices with all the other ill-informed people who believe this.


#17

[quote=puzzleannie]we already had the “is being overweight a mortal sin” thread, in fact, a few of them, and I have already had my say there, so if you imagine that every overweight person you see has a food addiction, do a search on those threads so you can reinforce your prejudices with all the other ill-informed people who believe this.
[/quote]

Not me- size 16/18, used to be 22/24 and that took a lot of work and protein.


#18

I would even say that there is more criticism for being overweight than for drinking and smoking. Perhaps there aren’t as many ad campaigns as for smoking, but I have seen countless television programs about obesity. Also, it is possible to hide the fact that you smoke or drink from people, but you can’t hide being obese. Therefore, those who are overweight are subjected much more ridicule, judgment, and criticism. Moreover, the criticism can be more harsh and more directed to a person’s character.

However, I have to say that I agree with you that there should be more warnings about the dangers of eating too many processed foods, especially fast foods. Processed foods combined with low excerise habits have been the culprits for much of the obesity in the USA.


#19

I did not necessarily look at this from a woman’s point of view. There is a lot of social pressure that is not useful, and it obscures the dangerous heath problem of an an potential early death from obesity. My mother’s demise due to diabetes has not made me open minded about this.

It must be noted that we are fooling ourselves about how much we should weigh. The insurance company standards have been revised way downward very recently.

About general social things, first an aside, I work shift work now over five years, it pays better than anything I have had. However, my friendships, few that they were, are gone. It is not easy for me to go get a daytime job due to what I know how to do. Which is run a large public facility after hours. It did enable me to consider eating on my own, and face cllosed fast food restaurants after work and the need to feed myself. Losing my Gall bladder was illustative too in terms of fat intake.

If I did get invited to a bi-annual social outing I do not want to be expected to sit down and chow down on fatty meats, sauces,etc. I can bring my own vegetable or fruit based meal, which I do not mind. However, I have found on the occasion of my few outings that people get offended if you come over and only eat what you bring.

This business about others is problematic.Mostly because of my work schedule, I go to bed a 5AM, I have an oatmeal breakfast at
1:15PM. One can imagine if I tend to eat dinnner at midnight and a light soup at seven PM that I am not the ideal dinner guest due to schedule, let alone what I choose to eat. Almost always alone due to work.

Then there is exercise. This was gone for years after I let myself get fatter and fatter out of the Marines. I am walking again. I am getting my bike together. I plan to get to work early and swim as our university has a pool. On my Friday and Saturday days off I want to hike for recreation. In my area there are many history sites. I want to extend this to parking my car and heading up or down history trails twenty five or thirty miles. This part of my life has become greatly signicant.

The benefit of diet is therefore, exercise and activity. These blend together in my definition of health and recreation. While it wuld be wrong to judge a woman for being overweight, forming a relationship involves sharing your greatest interests. I cannot see a couple coming together for Mass, but spending none of their free time together. Nor can I see a man going here and there to the things and events his girlfriend/wife wants and enjoys, only to discover this woman cannot or will not follow along in a major part of your free time interests because she can’t or won’t. If she says, “oh you go ahead and go biking.” Or “Go ahead and go hiking.” How long will it be until youn are asked to give up the active part of your life under the guise of unity in matrimony. It is tragic when things happen to people and handicap cuts into, as is my case or eliminates the active life. However, why enter into a situation when a person is likely to resent you diet, resent your exercise, resent your activties. What is the anwser on the front end when still aquaintances? Should one dive in only to find out these resenments are real, pathological, and deep. I think a “hello good evening” with a turn to walk away is in order. It would certainly be this way for smoking, this is absolute. Similiarly if I encountered a woman with too many drinks in her. This does not sing"get to know me" it says “unstable” With food it is more subtle. However, if I can see my life saving physical activities as some percieved threat to a lady I would by far rather be alone than enter into a situation where my increasing physical actvity level might be perceived as a factor of alienation even a threat.

I do not want to be disingenious. Thisprevious conversation involves a woman I never met, also divorced, who was be directed towards me by two women I work with.

These two women do not like the fact that the Catholic woman I do deal with is 25, much younger than me, from Venezuela and is quite lithe and dancer like. My main thing with her is getting her more involved with the Church again an past Chavez’ “sieze and sell the Churches” in her home country. So My one thing about dealing with somone older and sedentary is speculation. That is alas, another letter.
AC


#20

All these stories and excuses would make sense IF people were not obviously so much fatter now than they were 30 years ago. If there are non-gluttonous reasons for being fat now, they should apply in 1970 as well, but you never saw the huge butts, bellies dropped down around the knees. Something crazy is going on.

AND if it weren’t so painfully obvious, just from looking at their shopping carts at WalMart, that they really do eat diffferently. It’s all fatty processed foods and stacks of frozen dinners.

Like today, someone left a bowl of taffy in the lunch room. I stared at it for awhile and realized there was nothing in there I wanted or needed. Then a morbidly obese lady came and punched in, and then grabbed at handful of candy on her way to her desk. I mean, that said it all.

I think people’s moral lives are completely out of whack, expecially in terms of temperance and gluttony. That’s exactly where we are failing. Sex, indebtedness, sloth–all are different aspects of the same problem–sin, which our culture encourages through guilt-free therapy and excuse-mongering.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.