Leftist commentary from a mouthy bitch
I had gotten mixed reviews on America the Beautiful 2 from other folks in the Body Acceptance movement who watched it when it first aired, and then I kind of forgot it existed until it popped up on on my “You might like…” listings on Netflix. So I sent the husband off to gaming and settled down to watch.
Darryl Roberts decided to tackle the question of the obesity epidemic, and on finding himself clinically obese, decided to try various diet regimens and talk to people with eating disorders, weight loss doctors etc… He tries a raw food diet, which he can’t stick to because he hates the food. He eventually decides to just eat a bit healthier overall and exercise several times a week.
While he’s trying various things, he interviews doctors who run weight loss clinics, people who’ve had gastric bypass surgery and experienced all the negative side effects they never warn you about. He talks to teens and adults with eating disorders, girls and boys, because boys with eating disorders are sadly on the rise. He talks to a plus size model who had at one time been a “regular” size model, and the health issues her disordered eating from that time left her with.
I think the hardest part of the movie for me to watch is when he tries to stage an intervention with a good friend of his who is engaging in disordered eating and compulsive exercising. Because that is the form my eating disorder took, and I cried because I had at some point said everything she said in denying that she had a problem. From exercising through illness (trust me, everyone else at the gym hates you when you do that*), to skipping meals and going back to smoking because it suppressed her appetite.
Roberts talks about how the BMI categories were shifted in the 1990s, which made millions of people “obese” overnight. He talks about the fact that 95% of all diets fail. This includes “lifestyle changes.” He talks about the prevalence of eating disorders in our young adults.
In the end the changes he made, more exercise and eating more vegetables, did help lower his cholesterol and blood pressure, but didn’t result in any significant weight loss. This pretty much bears out what Health At Every Size advocates have been saying for a while now.
Also, recent research explores what many people call the “obesity paradox” wherein while many life-threatening conditions can be correlated with weighing more, you also have a better chance of surviving them if you’re obese than “normal.” Something that the weight loss industry hates talking about.
Really, just try to eat a well-rounded diet that you enjoy, move in any way you can that brings you happiness, and avoid people who treat you like you’re subhuman for your weight.
And I would recommend this documentary for anyone interested in seeing how society distorts and twists our relationships with our bodies.
*No, really, we fucking HATE you when you do that. Because when you’re working out you’re A. touching everything B. typically breathing hard which is going to expel more germs into the air and onto everything and C. no one wants to listen to you cough or barf. STAY HOME, TYPHOID MARY!