Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Easy Keepers

Harriet over at Feed Me! is dealing with one of those "if-fat-people-just-ate-less-and-exercised-more-they'd-all-be-thin" trolls. No matter how many studies and statistics you pull out showing that weight is largely due to genetics and that weight loss dieting has a woeful success rate, they still insist that it's a simple manner of energy in/energy out. 90% of the people I've run into online and IRL who cling so tenaciously to this fallacy are people who have never really struggled with their weight beyond the "I-noticed-I-was-getting-a-paunch-so-I-cut-down-to-two-beers-a-night" level.

When I was a kid, we had horses (my dad still does). We kept Quarter Horses at the time, which are known for being "easy keepers." This means that they can maintain or even gain weight on less food than some other breeds of horses. This was considered desirable in the 19th century West, when and where the breed was developed, because food could be scarce in that arid climate, and having a horse that wouldn't starve to death easily was a plus. The fact that certain breeds of horses needed more or less food per pound of body weight to maintain their weight was commonly understood among horse people, and not disputed.

Being a chubby kid, I used to joke that I was an "easy keeper" too; I ate the same food as my slimmer sister, but gained weight more easily and had more trouble losing it. I don't know why it's so easy for some folks to accept that weight is genetic with horses (or different breeds of dogs or cats) but not with people, unless of course it's that thin person we've all known at one time, who force-feeds themselves pies or peanut butter sandwiches in a futile attempt to gain weight. When it comes to a fast metabolism, there's usually no problem getting people to acknowledge that the energy in/energy out "rule" doesn't apply. I don't know why it's so hard to get the same acknowledgement in the other direction.

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Blogger Maya's Granny said...

I don't know why either, but it really pisses me off. I sometimes feel like saying that I can't understand how they can be so ignorant, since being smart is just a matter of information in and information out. The problem with that is that you can see fat, you can't see dumb.

10:13 AM  
Blogger Deja Pseu said...

Heh, good one.

10:26 AM  
Blogger Harriet Brown said...

I like that one, Maya's Granny. I'm going to use it for sure. :-)

9:24 PM  

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