In Weight-Loss Maintenance on May 2, 2011 at 11:44 am

Jimmy Buffet in Concert in Kansas City, April 30, 2011

I really wanted to share with you, my blog friends, my fun weekend, but was at a loss as to how to tie it to the core subject of this site.  Then, once again, Dr. Sharma came to my rescue (that later).

Not only was my weekend fun, but it was steeped in irony.  I had floor tickets for the Jimmy Buffet concert in Kansas City.  Here I am with my husband. 

Fashion Faux Pas: no parrot hats.

 Here are our dear old friends, who came from Columbia, Missouri, to join us.

Randy and Nanci at Jimmy Buffet

The event was ironic in that NO ONE who could afford floor tickets could have possibly been the drunken, deadbeat, pothead losers that we were all celebrating ourselves to be.  It was all a stinking ruse.  We were, in fact, middle aged (or upper middle aged) mostly professional types, many sporting Hawaiian shirts.  Here are some pictures from the crowd. 

Rockin' the shark-head look


The Yacht Club has arrived!


A subtle single "fin" look

Actually, Jimmy Buffet himself has probably long ago shed the Jimmy Buffet lifestyle.  He now owns a restaurant empire and sails boats and they showed him on the big screen participating in some kind of sport that appeared to be a cross between surfing and kayaking where he skimmed waves standing atop a large banana-shaped vessel wielding a long-handled paddle.  (Anyone know the name of this sport?  It doesn’t happen as inland as Kansas City.  Looks fun.)  The guy is actually pretty buff and youthful for his age; his face shows the lines of someone who smiles too much, but it’s not the face of someone who introduces massive amounts of smoke into his lungs.

In the row ahead of us, three seats remained empty until about 15 minutes into the show.  Then three, er, gentlemen who actually DO practice the Jimmy Buffet lifestyle showed up.  They were late to the show, obviously, because the leader needed additional time to marinate his shirt in beer.  The other two stumbled after him.  After about five minutes, the one in the middle fired up a tobacco cigarette.  Many of us started groaning, my husband told him to put it out.  Giving the fellow some credit, he tried to mitigate the smoke exposure for us, the innocent bystanders, by placing his mouth an inch away from his marinated partner’s scalp and blowing into his hair.  (We are all grateful, too, that the smoker kept the fire end of his cigarette pointed skyward, so the marinated shirt didn’t ignite.)  Security showed up before the cigarette was ready for snuffing, and no fewer than ten hands shot into the air, our pointer fingers helpfully extended, to identify the offender.  Some fingers (not mine) even poked dangerously close to the man’s ear canal.  Security, with all due politeness, handily evicted our smoking miscreant, his two friends following in reluctant solidarity. Then the rest of us continued our singing, bemoaning flip flops that blow out, pop tops that disturb our peaceful stupor when we step on them and tattoos that show up on our bodies without a clue.

It was a hoot.  But how was I to find the example of blatant irony that would connect obesity science to Jimmy Buffet?  I LOVE DR. ARYA SHARMA!  Here’s his post from Saturday. Click on the video if you want, but it isn’t too exciting.  One talking head after another expresses that it is important to “build trust” among the stakeholders trying to solve/end/reverse the “obesity epidemic.”  No one broaches any specific area of mistrust.  No one says anything much at all, other than, “It’s important to be friends and discuss this politely.”  One of them said it was important that “all the different sectors and subsectors” be involved in what another calls “a societal sea change.”   All the subsectors?  Here’s the list of sponsors at the end:

Canadian Obesity Network, Canadian Partnership Against Cancer, Coca-Cola Canada, Corus Entertainment, General Mills Canada, Health Canada, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada’s Health Check Program, International Life Sciences Institute of North America, Clear shift (formerly Ipicus), Kellogg’s Canada, Kraft, McCain Foods, McDonald’s Restaurants of Canada, National Institute of Child Health, Pepsico and the Public Health Agency of Canada.

Dr. Sharma received one emotion-packed response from a fellow who obviously had had his fill of being treated like an object by the obesity establishment.  He started by calling the video “huey.”  (I would have spelled it “hooey,” but that’s probably a US spelling, as opposed to British/Canadian.)  

I left a response to the effect that the foxes (Big Food) are building trust with the farmers (Health Care agencies and nonprofits) to decide what to do about the chickens (fat people).  The chickens have no voice.  One important interest that clearly lacks the credibility to be included in this big trust-building party is the Health At Every Size (HAES) movement.  There is no evidence of representation from the International Size Acceptance Association (ISAA), the Association for Size Diversity and Health (ASDAH), NAAFA or other groups who might have an important opinion to contribute to this discussion.  (Maybe they came, but one of them lit a cigarette and they all got expelled.)  There wasn’t even someone representing the interests of health agencies that address eating disorders.  What a crock, and an irony.

  1. I knew there was another reason I like you! Jimmy Buffett rocks!!!!! I’ve been a fan of his for the last 35 years, and have probably 40 albums of his in various formats (vinyl/cassette/CD). I even got to see him in concert in Chicago on his Coconut Telegraph Tour in 1981 (or was it ’82?).
    Anyway, I read that post of Sharma’s, and I’m fast becoming disillusioned with him. He says that long-term weight loss isn’t sustainable for most people, but he’s still advocating for weight loss and WLS to control obesity in some instances. Does he have some crystal ball that tells him weight loss/WLS is going to work, long-term, for certain people and that, therefore, it’s okay to recommend it to them? Somehow, I don’t think so, but the fact that he’s still recommending diets/exercise/WLS as a way to “fix” obesity bothers me. I don’t think there’s a “fix” out there, not one that will get rid of fat permanently, especially after reading about that study done on women who’ve had liposuction. The one that said women who had liposuction had their fat come back, it just didn’t come back where it was removed, it came back in other places (yeah, not something I would want to happen). Researchers said that the body tends to “defend” its fat, and even if it’s surgically removed, the body will replace it, one way or another. Fat cells live, on average, about 7 years, and as one dies, another is created to replace it. What that tells me is that you can’t ever decrease the number of fat cells you have, all you can do is decrease the size of those fat cells. And I’m betting that the size of those fat cells is damned hard to change when you’ve yo-yo dieted for years because of the damage done to metabolism, etc.
    All this talk of “controlling” obesity is so much hot air, as far as I’m concerned. The more they try to “control” it, the less success they’re going to have in actually improving the health of fat people, because health isn’t what they’re looking at, bottom line (they say it is, but it isn’t, not really, not when you follow the money).

    • Ya’ see, you prove my point. “Pothead boozer” is not the first thought that comes to my mind when I think of you, Vesta. We Buffet fans are all a bunch of pretenders.

      I think that with regards to Dr. Sharma, having his “voice” challenged may be a rare thing. He may be feelin’ prickly that we’ve found him and aren’t just accepting his thoughts with gratitude. I don’t know what to make of him. He does, however, seem capable of original thought, and some of his posts have been brilliant. But recently, not so much so, and he’s been busy, it seems, with conference after conference, topped by engagements and obligations. Having time to stop and cogitate may not be a luxery he feels he can afford now, but perhaps in the future.

      • I doubt he writes his own posts. He has a post in government and is a researcher, right? If so, his posts are being written by either policy advisors, grad students, or both. He just signs off on them. Some of his aids will be more HAES-friendly than others. (I know; I’ve worked in government)

  2. I too was profoundly disappointed by Sharma’s post and that utterly stupid video. It was full of “hooey”, as you spelled it (which I think would be the correct spelling of a word you can’t find in the dictionary–at least the one I consulted).

    I so wish I could have been at that conference. The next one is in Vancouver, which is only a slightly shorter flight away from my home than London, so I’m definitely not going to try to get there.

    However…I might have a secret weapon to get to one of these shindigs one day…I’ll say no more for the time being.

    I must say, I’m feeling really exhausted by the whole issue right now: the societal panic, the self-hate oozing from some of the most popular weight-loss bloggers currently out there. It might be giving me a touch of the old PTS(D)D (that’s “post-traumatic stress about dieting disorder”–I just invented the term, do y<all like it?).

  3. @NewMe: Brilliant! You should see how the DSM is actually created and especially its origins and ongoing history. The New Yorker did a piece on it a couple years or so ago. Frightening how much we assume about professionalism…your diagnostic category is probably more valid than many of the ACTUAL ones in use. Not kidding.

    I’m so bummed, DebraSY, to hear you aren’t a pothead. Sad state of affairs. LOL. Sounds like a fun night, but that video? Ugh. After watching part of it, and feeling SUPER annoyed, I shut it off and thought, “Well that’s 3 minutes I’ll never get back…” Grrrr. What a bunch of doublespeak about nothing. So typical of health care conference stuff. Honestly, the worst part is they don’t even see through their own blah blah blah, just keep supporting each other’s bull. It goes waaaaay beyond incompetance re: obesity science. Argh. Sigh. Triple sigh.

    • @ DeeLeigh: That explains so much. Some days I’ve thought, “Wow, he’s really tired.” On those days the careless misspellings and grammatical errors run rampant. And other days he’s quite precise. If he’s not a he, but a they, that kind of explains it all.

      Dr. Freedhoff seems to have a very consistent voice, however. I bet he’s himself. (And, with Dr. Sharma, has recently been treading into dangerous, fat-hate waters. The whole “costs of obesity” argument seems to derail many otherwise sane people. They don’t look at the methodology of those calculators and they think the argument will give them credibility with social conservatives. They are surprised or in denial that it just supports a fat-hate agenda.)

      Hey, Hopeful, did you get my email a couple of weeks back? I was asking permission to put your blog on my blogroll. This is a protocol I decided to establish, since I am not always the happy-talk blogger that might reflect well on all.

      • LOL. Thanks so much for asking! I’m terrible about checking mail, returning phone calls promptly, etc. I apologize. I’ll check it…but, in the meantime, YES to your question re blogroll.

        I would be honored. At first I didn’t want readers. Too weird, this new fangled internets thingie, all criss-crossed around the globe like a creepy spider’s web. 🙂 But. Now I’m getting to feel okay, mostly, with people peeking at the often disturbing (to me) stuff my brain comes up with. You are a sweetheart, btw.

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