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American Fat v. Beauty

stevejobs

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Americans seem to me to be the most obsessed with caring about attractiveness and looking youthful (see diet regimes and Botox). Yet, one of the principle ways of becoming a good-looking, fit person is through proper dieting and regular exercise. However, we are by most accounts the most overweight population in the industrialized world. Instead of following this sensible advice, Americans look for the miracle cure in fad diets and exercise gadgets like ab crunchers which promise effortless weight loss and rock hard muscles.

Why do we continually fall for this sort of quick fix pitch? It is well known that there is a beauty premium when it comes to earning higher salaries, receiving promotions, expanding social networks, and finding and keeping intimate relationships. Like attracts like. Beauty attracts beauty. Unlike tv sitcoms like "King of Queens," beautiful women rarely fall for overweight slobs unless there is a compeling reason (like he's a billionaire). Men are genetically wired to seek out youthful, fit ladies and instinctively reject fat women.

How difficult is it to change our habits that make us the way we are today? Is it as simple as following Jared the Subway pitchman? Or do you need an external directive in order to get in shape? Is that why so many who need to be in shape for their livelihood like actors, models, and athletes find it necessary to have a personal trainer to keep them disciplined in the way they eat and exercise?
 

Philosoph

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This could be answered in so many ways, but one of the major factors seems to be the overwhelming sense of entitlement most Americans have. They think they somehow deserve to have that tub of ice cream on top of a piece of pie, because, you know, they've been working hard all day. Then there's the sentiment that they're also entitled to be healthy. As if they could eat whatever they want or feel they deserve but still maintain optimal health and not get fat. Most people simply can't accept that health or beauty is achieved through the accumulation of small choices, and they refuse to take responsibility for those choices. It's too late for me to be thinking about stuff like this...
 

Neo_Version 7

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I agree with the sense of entitlement concept above.

Lack of discipline, willpower, etc. most definitely play a role as well.
 

Tck13

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I think people would rather try to pay for a solution than actually do a minimal amount of work to change. One of the downfalls of being a money focused society.
 

BYucko

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Men are genetically wired to seek out youthful, fit ladies and instinctively reject fat women.


OP:

I remember hearing something about men being attracted to heavy ladies back in the Middle Ages because fat exemplified wealth, or something like that. There are also a lot of men who get turned on by womens' ankles, as they aren't allowed to see them (due to their religion). Just something I'd like to point out.
 

65535

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Has a lot to do with genetics too.

Look at a young woman, who is not fat (ie, bangable)

Look at her arms.... do they seem kind of soft and chunky... almost disproportionately so compared to the body?

If yes, chances are she'll be a big fat mess when her metabolism slows down. It's pretty common around these parts.

Of course, 'bad' genes means you have to work to keep in shape, not just use em as an excuse and do nothing.... which I guess ties in to tyhe above posts about entitlement.
 

Fat-Elvis

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Originally Posted by 65535
Has a lot to do with genetics too.

Look at a young woman, who is not fat (ie, bangable)

Look at her arms.... do they seem kind of soft and chunky... almost disproportionately so compared to the body?

If yes, chances are she'll be a big fat mess when her metabolism slows down. It's pretty common around these parts.

Of course, 'bad' genes means you have to work to keep in shape, not just use em as an excuse and do nothing.... which I guess ties in to tyhe above posts about entitlement.

Is there really truth to that, about a girl's arms? Do you mean when a girl's arms just have a little flab to them?
 

iridium7777

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i think the problem is with suburban america. if you look at any major city either in us or europe i doubt you'll find masses of fat people in the american city when compared to a european one.

in central parts of europe people congregate towards the cities, they can't drive their cars, they walk, they use up energy. in america people get out of the cities. there are no side walks, no public transportation, they now have to drive everywhere. the energy used consists by walking from the car to the place of work. suburban america, i bet in general, is a lot wealthier than suburbia in europe, and probably not even a contest if you look at asia/India: suburbia is plain poor there, people work all day for very little food.

people in american suburbia already set themselves up to be fatter than their city counterparts. yet when you watch tv, i'm sure their favorite pass time, they get their "be thin/healthy shpeal", all the reality shows with glorified figures. what easier way for a fat mom with a house full of kids out in the suburbia somewhere to get skinny than to buy a bunch of diet pills as opposed to taking the time and going to the gym 5 days a week, spending more time cooking healthier meals and what not. gym takes time, walking anywhere takes time, they're not used to that, hop in your car and go. also, some people are just plain uneducated when it comes to diet.
 

life_interrupts

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Originally Posted by iridium7777
i think the problem is with suburban america. if you look at any major city either in us or europe i doubt you'll find masses of fat people in the american city when compared to a european one. in central parts of europe people congregate towards the cities, they can't drive their cars, they walk, they use up energy. in america people get out of the cities. there are no side walks, no public transportation, they now have to drive everywhere. the energy used consists by walking from the car to the place of work. suburban america, i bet in general, is a lot wealthier than suburbia in europe, and probably not even a contest if you look at asia/India: suburbia is plain poor there, people work all day for very little food. people in american suburbia already set themselves up to be fatter than their city counterparts. yet when you watch tv, i'm sure their favorite pass time, they get their "be thin/healthy shpeal", all the reality shows with glorified figures. what easier way for a fat mom with a house full of kids out in the suburbia somewhere to get skinny than to buy a bunch of diet pills as opposed to taking the time and going to the gym 5 days a week, spending more time cooking healthier meals and what not. gym takes time, walking anywhere takes time, they're not used to that, hop in your car and go. also, some people are just plain uneducated when it comes to diet.
+1. Our dependence on cars and modern conveniences has much to do with our fat state of affairs. In the 'burbs, many places don't even have sidewalks. Schools have junk machines and don't require kids to eat lunch on school premises. Some level of physical activity isn't mandatory. The idea of using stairs in malls or other public spaces is anathema. So many families don't cook regularly and TV tells us that we don't need to, just stop by Chicken Out or Boston Market and grab a meal. The whole while, we get bombarded with images of sexy bodies and quick fixes to life-long bad habits.
 

Philosoph

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Originally Posted by iridium7777
i think the problem is with suburban america. if you look at any major city either in us or europe i doubt you'll find masses of fat people in the american city when compared to a european one.

in central parts of europe people congregate towards the cities, they can't drive their cars, they walk, they use up energy. in america people get out of the cities. there are no side walks, no public transportation, they now have to drive everywhere. the energy used consists by walking from the car to the place of work. suburban america, i bet in general, is a lot wealthier than suburbia in europe, and probably not even a contest if you look at asia/India: suburbia is plain poor there, people work all day for very little food.

people in american suburbia already set themselves up to be fatter than their city counterparts. yet when you watch tv, i'm sure their favorite pass time, they get their "be thin/healthy shpeal", all the reality shows with glorified figures. what easier way for a fat mom with a house full of kids out in the suburbia somewhere to get skinny than to buy a bunch of diet pills as opposed to taking the time and going to the gym 5 days a week, spending more time cooking healthier meals and what not. gym takes time, walking anywhere takes time, they're not used to that, hop in your car and go. also, some people are just plain uneducated when it comes to diet.


+1 as well. While I wouldn't say this is the only reason, it's certainly an important one. I spent a semester in Europe and of course, walked everywhere. When I got home, it was depressing that even though I was perfectly willing and able to walk anywhere, it was just not logistically possible. Damn suburbs.
 

mensimageconsultant

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Originally Posted by life_interrupts
+1. Our dependence on cars and modern conveniences has much to do with our fat state of affairs. In the 'burbs, many places don't even have sidewalks. Schools have junk machines and don't require kids to eat lunch on school premises. Some level of physical activity isn't mandatory. The idea of using stairs in malls or other public spaces is anathema. So many families don't cook regularly and TV tells us that we don't need to, just stop by Chicken Out or Boston Market and grab a meal.

The whole while, we get bombarded with images of sexy bodies and quick fixes to life-long bad habits.


True. Also, most people don't realize how much work (not counting cosmetic surgery) goes into those "sexy bodies." Via slowed metabolism, sleep deprivation in the hectic USA is another factor. The one factor everyone forgets is the use of food as an escape from negative emotions. Many people who would like to look good are afraid to let go of that security blanket.
 

imageWIS

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Originally Posted by mensimageconsultant
True. Also, most people don't realize how much work (not counting cosmetic surgery) goes into those "sexy bodies." Via slowed metabolism, sleep deprivation in the hectic USA is another factor. The one factor everyone forgets is the use of food as an escape from negative emotions. Many people who would like to look good are afraid to let go of that security blanket.

So I've been going to the gym, lifting heavy weights, plus eating a very, very healthy diet for the last 3 months and while people can see a difference, the difference is miniscule for the amount of work I put into it. I think people are frankly over-expecting what they will achieve in a short period of time.

Jon.
 

mensimageconsultant

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Originally Posted by BYucko
Men are genetically wired to seek out youthful, fit ladies and instinctively reject fat women.


OP:

I remember hearing something about men being attracted to heavy ladies back in the Middle Ages because fat exemplified wealth, or something like that. There are also a lot of men who get turned on by womens' ankles, as they aren't allowed to see them (due to their religion). Just something I'd like to point out.


Probably it was more about thinness being strongly linked to illness and death in those unhealthy times. Even so, plenty of artwork from the Middle Age glorifies slender beauties. The art celebrating fat probably gets more attention because it's unusual and for reasons of social protest.
 

Viktri

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Originally Posted by imageWIS
So I've been going to the gym, lifting heavy weights, plus eating a very, very healthy diet for the last 3 months and while people can see a difference, the difference is miniscule for the amount of work I put into it. I think people are frankly over-expecting what they will achieve in a short period of time.

Jon.


Indeed.

(Of course, I don't share your experience; for tiny people like me any change is immediately noticeable although not always for the good!)
 

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