Though I disagree with some parts of this, in the main I think it is correct about the self-delusion and general harm done by this sort of thinking about obesity.
But their overriding problem is that the attempt to uncouple obesity and health/well-being/longevity has the same goal as that of global warming deniers: to convince you that the vast majority of evidence, as well as the medical and scientific consensus, is wrong.
As the piece points out (and with which I fully agree), it is wrong still to persecute and discriminate against obese people. But ignoring evidence that is really quite clear and tossing aside well-established medical knowledge is not the path to wisdom and is harmful to everyone, obese people included.
Study after study confirms that obese people have worse health outcomes, and also that they are beset with more chronic health problems, even if they don’t turn deadly.
Some anecdotes (yeah, anecdotes aren’t data, yada yada….).
At work, two extremely obese people broke their ankles on the stairs at around the same time. One was out for weeks; one was out for months. This is not a normal recuperation period for a mild ankle break, and it’s far less likely either break would’ve occurred at all if BMI had been in the normal range.
If I’d broken my ankle at work, I likely would’ve been back the next day, or more typical of me, in about 10 minutes. “Uh, yeah, I think I broke my ankle on the stairs, I’ll go to the hospital after I finish building this server.” That seems a lot easier when you aren’t packing an extra 250 pounds.
Second, I used to be straddling the line of obesity. Over three years ago, I lost 27% of my body weight. I now feel much healthier, can hike much further and my knees have gone from barely-working to fine. I also seem to get sick less and in general just have had a great improvement in personal well-being.
Yes, losing weight is hard and I am an outlier, but it wasn’t even as hard as I expected, so it can be done and is very much worth it.
Also, this comment about losing weight made me chuckle.
So yes, it’s possible to lose weight by constantly monitoring yourself and enforcing caloric deficits by eating less and doing more. It’s also really goddamn hard to do because your body thinks it’s dying and will fight against you.
I was a paratrooper in the US Army. Who gives a shit what my body thinks about anything? When something is tough here’s what I do: I fucking deal. What do other people do?
Yeah, I know, it makes me sound like an asshole. I’m really concerned about it. Sometimes, that is life; you just have to toughen up and do it.
Or not, as the case may be.