Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Fat Fur

We hear a lot of excuses for obesity - slow metabolism, big bones (covered in meat and gravy with a side order of chips/fries no doubt), genetic predisposition etc... Recently I have found out that obesity is a 'disease' and/or an 'unavoidable product of middle age'. However, the excuses have begun to push the envelope and indeed the boundaries of the believable.

The BBC has taday published a story (which you can read here), with a new take on obesity, but the bit you should read with interest is as follows:

"You see at your age the belly resembles a very old balloon which has been repeatedly blown up and now lacks all elasticity. It no longer springs back into shape after exercise or dieting. It displays a permanent droop."

What niggles about this article is that despite the osteopath's diagnosis that "All this accumulated fat. It's tipping you over as though you were wearing a heavy rucksack on the front of your body. Your back can't cope with all that weight pulling it forward. Mr Taylor, you have to face the fact - you are a fat man.", he then confuses obesity with a bariatric condition.

Anyone who has seen the belly of somebody who has lost weight will appreciate the ability of skin to stretch and grow to accommodate an expanding girth. But such a person will also appreciate how skin, once encouraged to perform such accommodation, then takes its time to retract (if at all). What remains is a certain 'baggyness'. But such a condition should not and cannot be mistaken for fat!

If your posture is being pulled forwards then it is because of excess weight applying posture-impairing forces. That crap about the 'balloon' is nothing to do with the problem - it is just a sugar pill to sweeten the criticism.

Worse than that is the sense of 'hopelessness' offered by the osteopath. He give the impression that the damage is done and there is nothing that can be done. With medical advice like this, who needs enemies?

This reminds me of my Gran's cat, Tiger. Tiger was a stray cat that my gran took in and was treated like a king - fed three times a day and offered a rich feast of food at every meal. The food on offer was both cat food (in all its guises) and left overs. Over time Tiger grew in to one fat pussy.

In Tiger's final year of life a family member commented that Tiger was looking a 'a bit big'. "Nonsense!", replied my gran, "It's simply fat fur!"

Gran has survived Tiger and is still going strong. I may well recommend she becomes an osteopath.

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