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Fat Curse -- a metaphor

Posted: Wed Jan 03, 2018 6:05 am UTC
by Pfhorrest
An interesting metaphor just occurred to me. I hope it doesn't need to be spelled out but let me know if anyone wants that.

Imagine that you have been magically afflicted with a curse that causes your body to mirror the body of some stranger half a world away. Whatever happens to their body happens to yours, but not vice versa; nothing you do to yourself can change your own body, or theirs, but everything they do affects their body and consequently yours.

That other person is overweight, and you would like not to be. They're half a world away so there's nothing you can actually do to them, physically, but the curse also gives you the ability to speak into their mind. All you can do is telepathically talk to this other person, to try to get them to lose weight, so that you will also lose weight.

What's the optimal strategy there? What can you say to this other person to get them to change their behavior so that they (and consequently you) will be more fit? Bearing in mind that, meanwhile, you've still got your own life to live, and can't be telepathically micromanaging this other person all the time (if that would even be the optimal strategy were it viable).

Re: Fat Curse -- a metaphor

Posted: Wed Jan 03, 2018 6:57 am UTC
by Ginger
Wow-Wow Pfhorrest. What a fun-fun thought game thingy! Let's see: I'd try to change their behavior primarily with loving motherly advice. Or rephrase things so that they think they're making the choice to lose weight on their own and I just helped them get there. Stuff like: "Just stop and think before you eat that piece of cheesecake, 'do I really wanna have cheesecake or am I substituting for something else/eating when bored/emotional eating?' Think about it, Miss Hypothetical Fat Cursed Lady. And by the way I love you regardless of your body shape because my love is not predicated on you being skinny." And hopefully being nice instead of shaming would make her stop eating so much. I wouldn't require her to exercise with abandon or even give up all the unhealthy unhealthy stuff she eats/drinks at first. I'd try to introduce lifestyle choices gradually and with sympathy to her difficulties. Because even fat people need loving motherly attentions and guidance even if it's just some woman a state away psychically mind talking lovey-dovey garbage to her ha-ha-ha-ha. <3

Re: Fat Curse -- a metaphor

Posted: Wed Jan 03, 2018 11:47 am UTC
by Peaceful Whale
Mind games, let her know what’s she doing to me, make her pay for it.
However if she goes insane and completely stops eating... hmmm. Maybe after she’s emotionally scarred she’ll be easier to control. Carefully placed words can make her do whatever I want to...

Also: If our body is her body, does this include light hitting the retina? Brain state?

At what point do we become her?

Re: Fat Curse -- a metaphor

Posted: Wed Jan 03, 2018 1:40 pm UTC
by PAstrychef
I get that you feel unconnected to the ability to change your behavior, and want a way to trick yourself into doing the “right” thing.
You would need to see what factors made this person overweight-physical disorders? Anti depressants are often associated with weight gain, so that could be an issue. Do they have access to a good diet? Not a minimalist stream of rice and beans and steamed chicken breast (enough to drive anyone to chocolate) but one with a nice variety of vegetables and proteins and treats and snacks. Are they under external stresses, like wildfires and job problems and car trouble? Those all trigger metabolic changes. Do they have access to some kind of calorie burning activity? Can they get a bike and go riding? Swim at the Y? Walk or jog or run around their neighborhood? Take martial arts classes or yoga or Zumba or cross-fit or watch YouTube channels of them?
What’s their motivation for staying on the couch? Depression, anxiety, exhaustion from stress, exhaustion from work/commute/caretaking tasks, embarrassment at being seen fat in public, fear of failure? Will finding someone to exercise with be a good thing or another stressor?
Being fat isn’t the worse health issue anyone can face. Thin people have all kinds of problems too. Feeling comfortable with yourself as you are for now can make changing things much easier-it makes the changes feel like positive steps instead of punishments you mete out for failing to be acceptable to society’s ideas about bodies.

Re: Fat Curse -- a metaphor

Posted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 11:37 am UTC
by Ginger
There's also the less nice-nice way to force a woman to stop overeating: Psychically call her fat and not pretty every time she reaches for a piece of cheesecake. Say that her eating habits are disgusting and She's Disgusting and Not Beautiful when she overeats. Total mind dominance and shaming sometimes works. It did for me. So much people were grossed out when I eat or drink that now I hide my eating and drinking from other people. Or they make comments about how, "Chocolate isn't good for a lady's hourglass figure!" So yes: Total shaming, calling a girl disgusting for being a pig/overeating and heavy social strictures like commenting on her body shape, denying her food or drinks to make her skinnier might Actually Change Her Life for the Better! <3

Re: Fat Curse -- a metaphor

Posted: Fri Jan 05, 2018 3:29 pm UTC
by SecondTalon
Yeah, I'm gonna have to go ahead and say that's the worst advice in the universe.

For every one person that'll help - and it doesn't at all sound like you're one of them as a healthy person doesn't hide their eating - it'll do actual harm to hundreds, maybe thousands.

So... could you not advocate calling people disgusting?

Re: Fat Curse -- a metaphor

Posted: Fri Jan 05, 2018 3:42 pm UTC
by Ginger
Yes. I'll stop. I'm done with the thread. But you should totes scold P. Whale he said THE EXACT SAME THING AS ME in less words. SO Please yell at him too?

Re: Fat Curse -- a metaphor

Posted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 4:44 am UTC
by Samik
I will interpret this thread in the same way as PAstrychef. Apologies if that's off-the-mark.

My advice is that the most important characteristic of any fitness regimen, diet, etc., is stick-to-it-ability. The best program in the world is worthless if you fall off after a week or two. A modest program you can keep up is better than an aggressive one you can't. i.e. small dietary adjustments you can sustain are better than a crash diet you can't, and a relatively light exercise load you can keep doing week after week is better than a heavy one you burn out on. If, once you've begun to form habits, you can slowly increase your workload/adjustments over time, great, but, start somewhere sustainable, and take your time figuring it out from there. Unless you have some reason to believe otherwise, you're in this for the long haul, so kick the idea that you need to solve all the problems in the first few months. If you're in a better spot a year from now than you are today, that's great. Rinse and repeat for year two!

Corollary to that is that it's a lot easier to keep up an exercise regimen if it's something you enjoy doing in its own right. There are a lot of ways to get exercise - it doesn't have to be going to the gym or pounding the pavement. If you have mountains, try hiking (or even photography or birding, which often entail hiking). If you have beaches, try throwing a frisbee around. Cycling can be done anywhere. Put some time into finding that thing that feels like fun first and exercise second, commit to getting somewhat good at it, and the fitness will come along the way.

Re: Fat Curse -- a metaphor

Posted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 5:11 am UTC
by Pfhorrest
Just to clarify, I didn't mean this thread to be me asking for fitness advice. Rather, it's just an interesting metaphor that struck me for framing how to think about one's own attitude toward fitness. To stop thinking about it as a matter of just exercising some kind of magical metaphysical willpower, mind over matter, and think about it more like you are trying to talk another person into getting fit. You have to use the ordinary kind of influence that people have over each other, not some magic power to want them into doing things differently. It's just that in this case, the other person in question is yourself.

(This is generally how I view a lot of psychology and philosophy of mind and will. There is one singular self, but it has reflexive awareness of and control of itself, but like... in the third person, if you follow. To physically analogize it: imagine you have a portal gun, like from the game Portal, and you put one end of the portal on one side of a room and one on the other side. You look in front of you, through one portal, and you see a human figure. Meanwhile, there is someone looking through the portal behind you, at you. The person in front of you is your id, you are your ego, and the person behind you is your superego. But you're all the same person, just looking at yourself, and being looked at by yourself, in the third person, reflexively. That ability to see yourself is self-awareness or consciousness. Whatever ability you have to reach through the portals and affect yourself, even if it's only with your voice, is your self-control or will. To really complete the picture, it's best to put a time delay on the portals, so that things you do to the person in front of you end up happening to you in the future: your present self-action shapes your future action, and your past self-action shapes your present action).