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23 February 2008 @ 01:32 pm
ronald mcdonald ... he's a devil in disguise  
Once upon a time, there was a poll on the med forums asking if anyone’s religious beliefs had changed since starting med. Apparently, the sight of dead people and venous ulcers forces lots of people to admit there must be a higher force floating around in the ether.

Me, I don’t go in for major belief systems. Or minor ones, for that matter. One thing that has changed, however, is my attitude to health in general and eating in particular. For three years I was famous as the girl who’d eat anything so long as it was chocolate, and who refused to eat anything that vegetables had touched.

I recently had to write an essay (an essay! In med! The cruelty, it never ends) on obesity. That was six weeks ago. Since then I’ve not eaten anything except cereal, fruit, crackers with cheese and whatever my mother cooks for dinner – the statistics scared me that badly.

The first three weeks were torture as my stomach got smaller, but it’s actually lovely to live without cravings. Also, I went shopping last week and had to buy trousers in size 12 and tops in size 8. It’s like being twelve all over again.

Still won’t touch carrots, though.
Current Mood: productiveproductive
Current Music: thriller (fob)
karadin on February 23rd, 2008 01:45 pm (UTC)
Good for you, maybe you should post some of those stats! For inspiration, I put a pic of Gackt on my treadmill. ;D
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Marui: kissscoradh on February 24th, 2008 08:01 pm (UTC)
There were only two, but they were a big two.

The first is that if you ate nothing but a three-meal-a-day, healthy diet, and added one soda every day to it, the soda would make you gain 50 kg in 10 years. That's, like, two-thirds of my current weight.

The other was that the average meal from a fast food joint contains so many calories you'd have to run a marathon to burn them off.

I love my treadmill. My best plot ideas come from zoning out on it.
naggawikka: booksnaggawikka on February 23rd, 2008 04:04 pm (UTC)
This might seem quite random but... I've always thought that JKR chose either Ron's name or hair color because of Ronald MrDonald (I mean, really, could I be the only one to have this theory? Friendly red head in gold and red and all that?)
So now I'm mentally picturing an obese Ron Weasley with little horns, and that kind of scare me ...
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Art: Keller spermscoradh on February 24th, 2008 08:04 pm (UTC)
I doubt it was a conscious thing, unless she really did want all those DE!Ron stories. Ronald McDonald is the personification of evil!
naggawikkanaggawikka on February 24th, 2008 08:17 pm (UTC)
Of course he is! He even managed to influence JKR's subconscious!
Riakessie on February 23rd, 2008 04:37 pm (UTC)
I realised last Thursday that my healthy eating plan for the last few months had actually worked when I went to Wagamama's with my ex-flatmates and actually couldn't finish a bowl of the chicken ramen. I had one piece of chicken left and before I would have been able to finish it - this time, even trying to wrap my brain around the idea of picking it up made me want to vomit.

That, and if you'd told me this time last year I would have cut fizzy drinks completely out of my life, I would have choked laughing.

I mean, I still eat chocolate and stuff, just in moderation. Now all I have to do is cut down on caffeine and I'll be all set...

Edited at 2008-02-23 04:38 pm (UTC)
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Sleeping Beautyscoradh on February 24th, 2008 08:07 pm (UTC)
I spent four hours in a cardiology outpatients once, where - in between pretending to strangle people with his stethoscope - the cardiologist explained that the secret of dieting is always feeling a bit peckish, and not doing anything about it.

Oddly enough nothing untoward has been proved about caffienated drinks. It's odd - they gave me wild moodswings on top of the addiction and calories.
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every Starbucks should have a polar bear: SGA: whales made us do itscoradh on February 24th, 2008 08:17 pm (UTC)
They were from the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, one of JAMA's offshoots, as far as I recall. Or it may have been the BMJ. I'm not sure. They're the journals our lecturers tell us to research, so I did.

You're not going to get sick because you're fat

In fact, you are. Anyone with a BMI over 25 runs the risk of: congestive cardiac failure, hypertension leading to CVAs and MIs, atheromatous plaque formation due to high LDL and vessel occlusion, type 2 diabetes mellitus (which is directly caused by being 'fat') and respiratory compromise.

don't join the fat-paranoia raging in the cascade of ill-informed medical professionals at the moment. It's really not cool.

I don't know who you mean when you say 'ill informed medical professionals.' Do you mean dieticians or something? Doctors treat people on evidence-based medicine. Until the evidence suggests that being overweight is awesomely great for your health, we'll continue to advise people to eat less and well. If we're paranoid, maybe it's because people come in after eating themselves into morbid obesity for twenty years and expect miracle cures for their COPD, CCF and DM.

Which I guess is more indicative of the privilege backgrounds of most med students than anything else.

Half the students in my class are on grants. My dad's a builder. My best friends' parents work in a florist's and a clothes shop, respectively. Most of the privilege we get, we earn.

Edited at 2008-02-24 08:19 pm (UTC)
(Anonymous) on February 24th, 2008 09:42 pm (UTC)
In fact, you are.

No, you're not. Everything you listed occurs in non-over-BMI (and don't even make me go to the place where I explain the complete unobjective arbitraryness of the BMI system) individuals, and again, the epidemiology studies still have not proven whether this occurs because you are fat, or whether you are unhealthy. They especially haven't been proven correct when the peer-reviewed and published "weight-loss" studies show that the risk of these diseases drops dramatically when a healthier lifestyle occurs within the individual even if they lose no weight at all during the course of the study. So in fact, what we know from both the BMJ and the JAMA evidence you're so fond of tells us that's bullshit, and being fat doesn't turn you into a "walking time bomb" or whatever new paranoia-bullshit they're trotting out about fatties now.

I don't know who you mean when you say 'ill informed medical professionals.'

Not every doctor has time to read every journal article on every medical condition. God knows, most only have the time and inclination to read very little. They rely on the general consensus which at many times, can be completely wrong because they're being led by supposed "experts" who are nothing but pharmaceutical-company pansies spouting whatever will sell their supporters more drugs. Do I really need to go over each and every great mistake this has caused in the history of medicine? God knows if they actually bothered to read some more material I wouldn't have so many fucking problems at work.

Half the students in my class are on grants.

Privilege isn't always about money.
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on a yellow spaceship: milkmaid faceo_glorianna on April 12th, 2008 06:38 pm (UTC)
OK. As a student in Epidemiology, I feel obligated to defend my field. Lol.

First, you've basically said that epidemiology can't/doesn't prove anything. Well, that's sort of the state of knowledge in general, isn't it? One can never actually prove anything; just disprove things, or show that there is overwhelming evidence that exposure A and outcome B are linked.

Second, what you've said about unhealthy lifestyles, fat and negative health outcomes makes the assumption that there is ONE cause of each outcome and ONE CAUSE ONLY, which is patently untrue. There are many things that lead to outcomes such as cardiovascular disease, but why it is untrue to say that obesity is one of the causes? The fact that an unhealthy lifestyle increases your risk of developing cardiovascular disease does not negate the fact that obesity does too, and the fact that obesity increases your risk of develping cardiovascular disease doesn't negate the fact that unhealthy lifestyles do too. Furthermore, we're talking about risks of developing diseases. Not absolute certainty. scoradh hasn't said that if someone is obesity, they absolutely, 100% will develop heart disease or whatever else. The stats show that at the population level, cardiovascular disease is more common in individuals who are heavier, etc.

Third, I think, in your response, you're doing exactly what you've accused "ill informed medical professions" of doing—namely, not reading things properly. The data itself probably can be improved, as is the case with everything in life, but the interpretation of data is equally important. So you're conflating problems in the design and analysis of epidemiology research with interpretations of those results in clinical medicine.

I welcome your thoughts. :)
on a yellow spaceship: milkmaid faceo_glorianna on April 12th, 2008 06:41 pm (UTC)
*Ack. Medical "professionals."
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on a yellow spaceshipo_glorianna on April 13th, 2008 12:41 am (UTC)
Ah. Well, I guess I deserve what you've just said for wading in unprepared, without any actual knowledge of the fat/cardiovascular disease research that is out there. Your comments seem very pointed and direct. Which articles (the bad ones that you seem to be referring to) are you thinking of in particular? As well, what do you have to support your insistence that obesity does not, at all, lead to negative outcomes?
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on a yellow spaceshipo_glorianna on April 13th, 2008 04:22 am (UTC)
LOL! I'm going to have to very selfishly disagree with your first bit about going back to academia for spare time. I'm doing graduate work and there is no spare time. Reading for leisure? Watching TV? What are those things again? So I too tend to make the :/ face more often than I would like to.

No rush with the articles. But if you send along, I'd definitely like to take a look, if only to satisfy my own curiosity about this or to point and laugh at them.

As for the arbitrariness of BMI as a measure of "obesity", I completely agree with you there. The only problem is (and my own followup question is): What should we use instead? If we were to use "healthy lifestyle", for example, how should we measure that? By percentage intake of fats, carbs, proteins in daily diet? But that changes with, well, the day. By hours of exercise per day? By type of activity the individual undertakes? Any time we try to stick a number to something, the process is going to be complicated. We can certainly do better than BMI, but at the moment (mostly out of laziness), I can't readily think of a sure-fire measure to replace BMI with...

Well, "overweight" (which is a word I'm not too happy about either) is more about being over the population norm rather than your individual ideal weight. But, again, I think you're fixating on the fact that because individuals who fall within the 'normal' BMI range are also susceptible to the same diseases, there is no association between being heavier and said diseases. It's like arguing that, I dunno, eating nutritiously doesn't affect your growth because some people who don't eat nutritiously still are tall. Well, other reasons might have allowed the latter individuals to be tall regardless. Likewise, not everyone who eats nutritiously are going to > 6 ft...I don't know if I've made myself clear at least in this regard.

I agree that this 'fat is bad' mentality justifies/is itself part of the perpetuation of social prejudice...But now my brain has shut down and I need to go away and think this more carefully. Haha. And hi! I'm on the larger end of the spectrum, too, so my first reaction when these things come up is defensiveness, but I haven't thought about this as carefully as you seem to have. So this is good for me.

I only mentioned the 'pointed and directed' business because you seemed to have very specific points/articles/research in mind that you hadn't mentioned explicitly in your comments so I was curious what they were. It wasn't a disparaging remark about you—sorry if it came across that way. I don't mind having someone speak his/her mind, because it means that someone's got one. And is using it. Which I like.
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(no subject) - o_glorianna on April 19th, 2008 05:45 pm (UTC) (Expand)
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every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Cooler than youscoradh on February 24th, 2008 08:22 pm (UTC)
The first is that if you ate nothing but a three-meal-a-day, healthy diet, and added one soda every day to it, the soda would make you gain 50 kg in 10 years. That's, like, two-thirds of my current weight.

The other was that the average meal from a fast food joint contains so many calories you'd have to run a marathon to burn them off.

Those are the two stats that scared me. When I read back over the essay in forty million years' time, I'll look up the reference for you.
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every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Cinderellascoradh on February 25th, 2008 08:32 am (UTC)
You're mentioning it now, so all is forgiven. Till you sleep with the fishies...
daybreaqdaybreaq on February 24th, 2008 12:38 am (UTC)
As a dentist, I don't deal with life and death situations in my job. However, I think the study of science in general has made me more firmly agnostic particularly when you see people totally reject science when it contradicts their belief system.

In my home state of Florida, they only just approved that they can use the word "evolution" in science classes in our public (government run) schools. They did have to make a last minute change that the word must be prefaced by "the scientific theory of" just to get this approved.

An article I read reporting this development also cites a poll that found that "50% of Florida voters wanted creationism or intelligent design to be taught exclusively in schools." Another poll cited claimed that in 2005 only 48% of all Americans believed in some form of evolution.

So as a product of the Florida public school system, I didn't really learn about how evolution works until I started taking University level science courses. It boggles my mind today because I don't think it's possible to truly understand any form of biology without understanding evolution. And yeah, stuff like that kinda turns me off religion in general.

I looked up the Wiki article of Galileo in preparation to responding here. Did you know it was 1992 that the Pope finally officially conceded that the earth was not stationary?
every Starbucks should have a polar bearscoradh on February 24th, 2008 08:30 pm (UTC)
Oh, you Americans and your craziness.

I remember reading Dinotopia as a child. When I was in grade one, we had a whole term on dinosaurs (and spiders, I think to rid people of the fear or something). It was taken for granted that duh, they existed, and T Rex is SCARY and triceratops is THE BOMB. And you can feel really proud, at six, of knowing the word pterodactyl.

This is one of the many reasons I distance myself from the Catholic Church. Aside from being subjugative and child-abusing, it's so damn stupid, too.

daybreaqdaybreaq on February 24th, 2008 12:57 am (UTC)
Oh, and to respond a little to your intended topic. There's this reality show in the US called "The Biggest Loser." It's one it's fouth season I believe; but I've only recently got into it. It features morbidly obese people who compete with each other losing weight. I had previously avoided the show because I expected it to be stupendously exploitive. There is a bit of that is inherent of all reality shows; but truly less than most. There's also a bit of corniness and melodrama and super duper blatent product placement that I find "unintentionally" hilarious.

Still, I find the show is surpisingly pretty awesome. And that show really makes me want to eat healthy and exercise. The belief system of the show includes stuff like teaching the evils of french fries.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: ASS: mangascoradh on February 24th, 2008 08:33 pm (UTC)
There's actually something like that running here, too, on one of the daytime talk shows. (Ironically, I tuned in while I was lifting weights.) I think it's a good idea. Anything that scares people into being healthy is a good idea. A lot of students - and doctors! - are leery of bringing up the f-word, because everyone knows calling people fat is mean. But there's a difference between not being the size of Victoria Beckham and your weight giving you a blood pressure of 170/110. Like smoking, this is not an area where I think the softly, softly technique is appropriate.
Cait: Idahocoralia13 on February 24th, 2008 02:09 am (UTC)
That is AWESOME. You should publish your essay as a weight-loss program! Stranger things have happened. Especially in the States.

Message to come! Good god, I am a mess.
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Art: Keller spermscoradh on February 24th, 2008 07:58 pm (UTC)
God, I haven't even looked at the blasted thing since I wrote it ... it's not due till May. I think I set out to prove that obesity is a public health problem, because it's a public health essay. I don't believe that, which has nothing whatsoever to do with it. Science.

Me too, but! I haven't been on Facebook in how long? *facepalm*
on a yellow spaceshipo_glorianna on April 13th, 2008 04:26 am (UTC)
Hello. Just wanted to drop by and apologize for hijacking your journal up there! But I'm also going to warn you that it will probably continue... :)
every Starbucks should have a polar bear: Reality has its own middle fingerscoradh on April 13th, 2008 07:45 pm (UTC)
No worries. I've got into the BMI etc issue with a guy in my class and, you know, I just don't care enough to debate it myself. His BMI is 35, mine is 22, that probably explains it.