Ragen’s argument that smoking is not equal to being fat…

I have smoked for over 20 years.  The longest I have stopped was because I had to – cross country flights and what not.  Never more than 8 hours.  I am on day three of breaking my addiction.  It is a bitch.  But so far, so good.

Smoking is an addiction.  Just like food.  If I listened to ‘my body’ and ‘intuitively’ smoked cigarettes, I would smoke for the rest of my life. Right now, it sucks.  But it will get better and I will get past it.  ‘My body’ is not addicted to cigarettes.  This is my responsibility, my problem.  And one that I am going to fix.

Ragen doesn’t see the parallels between smoking and overeating.  So I am here to dissect her arguments.

Let’s get started, no?

First, Ragen says:

Smoking in a behavior – every smoker smokes. Being fat is a body size, being listed as “overweight” or “obese” in current medial science is a ratio of weight and height and it’s been changed over time, including at the request of companies that sell dieting. Fat people are as varied in their habits and behaviors as any group of people who share one physical characteristic.

‘Smoking in a behavior – every smoker smokes.’  Let’s just assume that Ragen didn’t proofread her blog and that is a typo.  Otherwise, I have no fucking clue what she is saying. Agree?   Me too.   Next, she goes on to say:

‘fat people are as varied in their habits and behaviors as any group of people who share one physical characteristic.’

So according to Ragen, every smoker is exactly the same.  They smoke. The pack a day smoker.  The two pack a day smoker.  And the social smoker.  All the same.  But fat people are ‘varied in their habits and behaviors?  Is she kidding?

And the money shot:

In order for  fat people to become not fat, they must change their body size.  There are no studies where more than a tiny fraction of fat people are able to become thin in the long term, with the behavioral solutions of “eat less and exercise more” failing just as often as what are considered fad diets.  Because being fat is a body size, not a behavior, there’s not a clear behavioral intervention.

This is clearly over Ragen’s little head.   Because in order for fat people to become not fat, they don’t need to change their body size.  They need to stop overeating.  Just like a smoker needs to stop smoking.   And a heroin addict needs to stop shooting up.   And an alcoholic needs to stop drinking.  They all boil down to the same damn thing – breaking an addiction.

The success rates for beating an addiction are pretty much the same all across the board – for smokers, alcoholics, drug addicts and, shockingly enough, dieters.  Addiction is addiction is addiction.   Overeating is no different.   Ragen needs to stop listening to ‘her body’.  And start taking responsibility for her actions.   Just like the rest of us.


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