General Question

pleiades's avatar

Why are people so defensive when others share how they want to lose weight?

Asked by pleiades (6576points) July 2nd, 2014

I might happen to be in the minority, but as a slightly overweight person, I know the repercussions of holding this extra baggage. I have bounced around from pre-hypertension to hypertension back down to pre-hypertension and weight issues are nothing to take lightly in my opinion. So why do people defend the overweight? Factually it’s potentially more detrimental that someone who is average weight.

What point am I missing here? I’m trying to keep an open mind about things? I truly don’t understand the message that is saying, “Sending a message that thin is good, is actually bad.”

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14 Answers

zenvelo's avatar

It’s a self defense mechanism. People don’t want to be taken out of their comfort zone, and losing weight takes work and effort

I had to lose weight because I was becoming a time-bomb and wanted to improve the quality of my life and maintain it into my old age. But I know that the steps I took applied to me and not to people in general.

Michael_Huntington's avatar

Not enough people are reading Nietzsche, I tell you what.

livelaughlove21's avatar

So, is your question, “Why are people so defensive when others share how they want to lose weight?” or “So why do people defend the overweight?” I’m confused as to what you’re actually asking. The first question doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense to me.

Are you asking why an overweight person will get defensive if someone tells them they should lose weight? Or why someone will defend an overweight person if someone else says something bad about them? Or why an overweight person would get defensive if you’re talking about how you lost weight or plan to lose weight? Or why someone will tell you not to lose weight even though you want to?

The answers to those questions are very different.

Skaggfacemutt's avatar

Do you mean, like when you say you’re going to lose weight, and they say, “why, you’re not fat!”

Because it sounds like you want to lose weight.

hominid's avatar

Like @livelaughlove21, I’m not entirely sure what you’re asking.

If you are asking “So why do people defend the overweight?”….

I think this is clearly a good impulse. The urge to protect people’s feelings – and the pain that can come from being bullied for your weight as a kid is quite unpleasant (I know this first hand). But I do see that we have a problem. Many people seem to think that any discussion of health problems with being overweight or problems with the food industry constitute “fat shaming”. This is a problem.

We have a legitimate health crisis (obesity) – but many people feel that honest discussions about obesity need to be tempered (in some environments) so as to avoid “shaming” people who are overweight.
Is this what you meant?

Coloma's avatar

I’ve gained and lost the same 30–40 lbs. several times in my adult life and have to work really hard to maintain a good weight. I am naturally a foodie, cook well, like to eat, enjoy sensual pleasures. While overweight is a health issue, personally, it is none of my business what other people do with their bodies. I understand the struggle to stay fit and don’t judge others.

People that need to lose weight KNOW they need to lose weight and don’t need that fact pointed out to them. Everyone does what they do when they are damn good and ready and not before they turn some sort of mental/emotional corner.
I do find it shaming to address someones weight unless they ask for your opinion or advice.

CWOTUS's avatar

What the hell do you mean “defensive”? Who said I’m defensive? I never…

Some people just can’t feel “right” except by making others “wrong”. The topic hardly matters: overweight; how to tie knots; raising children; training a pet, you name it. Whatever advice you try to give (which they haven’t already heard OR have heard but been unable to apply), “You’re wrong.”

Of course, you will have to accept this as the honest-to-gods truth, and acknowledge that you’ve been wrong all along for not having already known it.

canidmajor's avatar

I also don’t understand the question. Please clarify.

jca's avatar

I agree that the question is not clear. You mean people defend themselves about their weight? Or people defend the fact that others are overweight?

rory's avatar

People have every right to make choices about their own bodies. But when folks who want to lose weight are really aggressive about it to other people, it’s immensely irritating, not to mention insulting. You have no idea how a person’s body works, if maybe they’er on a medication that has caused them to gain weight, or it’s just their body type. The pointed, “I’m working on dieting. It’s really helped me…” and then a pause and a significant look is incredibly passive aggressive. Your body is yours, my body is mine, we have no right to tell each other in an unsolicited way how bodies SHOULD be.

cookieman's avatar

Why do porky people (such as myself) get defensive when someone discusses their weight loss plans?

Because I know I should be doing more to lose weight and hearing your plans makes me feel guilty, not motivated — as you had hoped.

Why do people defend porky people?
Because we live in a world of not wanting anyone to feel bad.

Mind you, I’m typing this while eating plain turkey breast, a cucumber, and a bottle of water. So I’m trying dammit. Back off you skinny vultures.

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
tedibear's avatar

Maybe these people know that diets (by whatever name) don’t work and they are sick to death of hearing about it.

“You can initially lose 5 to 10 percent of your weight on any number of diets, but then the weight comes back. We found that the majority of people regained all the weight, plus more. Sustained weight loss was found only in a small minority of participants, while complete weight regain was found in the majority. Diets do not lead to sustained weight loss or health benefits for the majority of people…In addition, the studies do not provide consistent evidence that dieting results in significant health improvements, regardless of weight change. In sum, there is little support for the notion that diets lead to lasting weight loss or health benefits.” Link to study here

Or this: “We believe the ultimate goal of diets is to improve people’s long-term health, rather than to reduce their weight. Our review of randomized controlled trials of the effects of dieting on health finds very little evidence of success in achieving this goal. If diets do not lead to long-term weight loss or long-term health benetfis, it is difficult to justify encouraging individuals to endure them” Link

“Consider the Women’s Health Initiative, the largest and longest randomized, controlled dietary intervention clinical trial, designed to test the current recommendations. More than 20,000 women maintained a low-fat diet, reportedly reducing their calorie intake by an average of 360 calories per day and significantly increasing their activity. After almost eight years on this diet, there was almost no change in weight from starting point (a loss of 0.1 kg), and average waist circumference, which is a measure of abdominal fat, had increased (0.3 cm)” Link

And, because they know that healthy habits are good for anyone of any size

Or maybe they’re tired of people who are lipophobic

So, factually, it isn’t more detrimental. It’s entirely possible to be fat and fit and healthy, but no one ever wants to hear that.

As for me, I used to subscribe to “eat less, move more,” to lose weight. Unfortunately, bodies are far more complicated than that.

IMHO, if someone wants to lose weight, it is not my business. If they ask for my thoughts, I will direct them to this information with the caveat that this is what I think is right. They have minds of their own and it is not up to me to police their thoughts or beliefs any more than it is up to someone to be my food or exercise police.

After that, what @rory and @CWOTUS said.

jca's avatar

If the OP could come clarify what he was really asking, to clear up the confusion expressed by several here, that would be wonderful.

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