Sunday, September 30, 2007

Fat Chance

“New York” magazine recently ran an article by Gary Taubes entitled “The Scientist and the Stairmaster,” which brings forth the notion that exercise does not make one thinner because exercise builds up an appetite, forcing the gym bunny to simply eat more, thus maintaining the weight. While this seems logical enough, the idea that fat people are merely genetically predisposed to obesity, not lacking in willpower, is moronic. Yes, I’m sure that their bodies tell them they’re starving after a workout – but Taubes ignores the fact that the obese have free will to ignore that hunger, to not fill their stomachs to the point of “full.” This is no different from athletes who push themselves beyond normal tolerance for exertion, who ignore the pain. Indeed this is most certainly an issue of willpower. Some people have a high tolerance for hunger, for pain, for masochism in a sense. At the very least this is an issue of taking responsibility for one’s actions, for putting fork to mouth a few times less, for not hiding behind science. Obese people may lack the “skinny gene” but they also lack the ability to be comfortable feeling uncomfortable. This is the very definition of willpower.

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