Before you try to sell me diet products....

Below are samples of the responses that I send to people who try to sell me diet products after reading my home page, or worse--Try to solicit my help in selling diet products! Perhaps you should read these before you try the same thing.

Of course, the names of the correspondents have been removed.

First message

Mr. Diet said:

I am not trying to "push" anything nor do I intend to inslt your intelg.

On the contrary. You have made an unsolicited sales pitch for a diet product through my home page dedicated to fat acceptance. If the sheer irony of that sentence doesn't strike you, I would nonetheless expect you to read my home page before trying to use it's presence as an excuse to sell me something.

Since you clearly did not do this, let me spell it out for you. Diet companies are the enemy of fat people. First, they create an atmosphere of fear and self-loathing among fat people, then they use that atmosphere to sell fat people products that *NEVER* work, and never will. The great thing from the profiteer's standpoint is that the victim, after having been taken by the shister, will give up on this latest diet gimmick. But, he will most likely go on to the next snake oil salesman. In the atmosphere that the diet companies have created, he believes he has no choice--he must become thin at any cost. So, the fact that your product doesn't work has nothing to do with how much money you will make, since the diet people just pass victims between them.

Guess what? I've figured it out. There are alot of fat people who have figured it out. And I spend a huge amount of energy and my own money telling every fat person who I can reach. That is what my web page is about.

If you want to have a conversation with me, you better be willing to listen to what I have to say. I'm sorry, but I can't help but be insulted by the fact that you haven't done that.
------+------->>>>Joe Obrin

Second Message

Here we go again:

 Went to see your home page - looks very good, thus thought I would send along our preliminary product information. As I mentioned, it is in the process of being launched in the United States and I will have information in a little better form in a few days.

Have a look. We are talking about fat intake reduction - definitely not eliminating all the fat we eat. This is a weight management system that includes exercise, low fat diet and supplements to ensure optimum health and disease prevention.

What I find most insulting is the fact that you pretend to have read my home page, and clearly have not. If you had, then you would know that my one Christmas wish is to put vultures like you out of business for good. This isn't about to happen, of course, but the point of LLLI, the fat acceptance movement, and my home page is to reach as many people as we can. The point is to make these people aware of the simple facts of this situation:

Attempting to loose weight is bad. Not only is it futile, but the attempt does permanent and serious damgage to a person's health and well being. Every few months, some new mumbo-jumbo comes along, which promises to be different. But, nothing ever has worked, and nothing ever will. Simply put, the weight of serious scientific evidence indicates that a person's weight is set by their genetic makeup, and is completely unrelated to exercise, diet, or eating out of the refuse bin at Long John Silver's. Your body's weight, just like your body's height, is written in your genetic code. Short term perturbations, like a change in diet or exercise, will cause that weight to fluctuate, but it will always return to normal. Long-term attempts at keeping your weight at an unnatural level will kill you.

Everything I just said was already said on my home page, and is backed up by the links there. But, you see the word "fat" and you assume it means "trying to loose weight". You think to yourself "ah another customer..." and don't bother to read any further.

There really are fat people who are more concerned with their health than with the fashion trend of the day. There really are fat people who can figure out that if the last 300 diet breakthroughs didn't work (couldn't work), this one won't either. There really are fat people who are tired of seeing their friends and families being taken by shisters.

Of course, I am certain that your product will make alot of money. Enterprises with a low to marginal moral character often do. But, be aware that coming into a fat acceptance area and trying to sell diet products is like pimping in a church, and expect to get the same reaction. You deserve it.
------+------->>>>Joe Obrin

Third message

Another diet pusher said:

I have a product which is proven to help. When you eliminate fat from your system, you create a healthier life style. Which means ( A LONGER LIFE ). You Lower your cholesteral,extend the life of the heart, Cleaner arteries, less weight on your joints. These are all PROVEN MEDICAL FACTS.

I will give you the benefit of the doubt for a moment, and assume that you believe what you just said. If you do believe it, then it is probably because the company you represent told you it was true. Asking a diet company if weight loss is a safe and healthy is like asking a tobacco company if smoking is safe and healthy. Let's consider, instead, the 1993 survey of weight loss and control conducted by the National Institute of Health (NIH).

The study points out that there are many health problems which fat people have. It is quick to point out, however, that it has never been established that loosing weight makes a person healthier. That is, since being fat is something that you are born with, and the effects of being fat have been integrated over a lifetime, it is not a given that a temporary weight loss will result in improved long-term health.

And all weight loss is temporary. Turning again to the study, there was no combination of drugs, caloric restriction, behavior modification, dietary supplements, or exercise which has ever been proven effective over a five year period. If your product was around before 1993, it was included in this study, and it *HAS NOT BEEN PROVEN TO HELP*. If it was not around in 1993, and you have a five-year study which demonstrates effectiveness (even if it is effective in one out of two cases, which no other product has ever achieved), we'd all love to see it.

In addition, the assumption that being fat causes certain health problems is a simple ad hoc fallacy. Sickle cell disorder strikes Black people. But, that doesn't mean that dying your skin would prevent the disease. Just because fat people are more prone to some conditions does not imply that becoming thin (even permanently, if such a thing were possible) would alleviate or even improve those conditions.

At no point am I suggesting that people should not exercise, monitor their diet, or take any other actions which have been shown to improve health. It's just that weight loss has nothing to do with these other actions. e.g. Exercise has myriad health benefits, but a consistent program of exercise will make no more than a 10% difference in a person's overall body weight, and even that figure is optimistic over a five year period (NIH study).

BTW, eliminating dietary fat is not the same as eliminating body fat, but neither is a healthy goal. Fat is a nutrient. You need a certain amount of fat in your diet, or your body disintegrates. The health hazards of a diet too low in fat are as real as those of a diet too high in fat. They are simply not screamed at us on TV every night. These hazards include an inability to absorb certain nutrients (notably calcium), and permanent damage to the gall bladder. A balanced diet means a healthy amount of fat and everything else you need. This is needlessly and often hopelessly complicated by anyone restricting their calories in a vain attempt at weight loss.

One other extremely important point from the NIH study. Loosing weight has never been shown to extend a person's life span. In fact, the study points out, the only correlation ever shown between weight loss and life span is in a few studies which show an increase in morbidity correlated to weight loss. That is, loosing weight has, in some cases been demonstrated to shorten life!!! No study has ever demonstrated that weight loss, in any case, lengthens life.

Now, if you are trying to make money by selling a diet potion, you don't want to hear or believe what I have just said. But, don't bother to argue with me. Read the NIH study for yourself. It is pointed to from my home page.

Yet Another Message

OK, this person was ostensibly not selling anything. Well, except for an idea. A very dangerous and destructive idea that we fat people have all heard before...

A dedicated dieter wrote:

 Using what I have learned, I have managed to lose 50 lbs while at the same time increasing my lean body mass considerably. My actual fat loss has been over 60 lbs. I still need to lose about another 30 lbs, but I feel so much better: I have stopped snoring, controlled my sleep apnea, been getting more positive job interviews, and am enjoying the comments of my friends and family. This change has taken about 4 months. I have used no gimmics or dangerous tactics(medications or severe diets), just a lot of hard work and education. It is possible for others to do also--I am coaching several people that go to the same gym that I do, and they are starting to show positive results too. I would be happy to share this information with you or anyone else who is interested in improving their health.

I did this too. Several times. So has every fat person I know, whether or not they are involved now with fat acceptance, and whether or not they are trying to lose weight at this time.

The point that you are missing is that it is trivial to lose weight. Anyone can do it. I believe my record for intentional weight loss was a little over a hundred pounds in six months.

The reality is that this weight will return to you. You don't want to hear this now. But, do yourself a favor. As angry as you are at me for saying this to you, save this e-mail to a floppy or an out-of-the-way corner of your hard drive. When your weight returns, and you are angry at yourself, dissapointed, and crushed that this new self image was based upon something that you couldn't maintain, dig out this e-mail and read it. It will give you some relief.

There is no proven method for permanent weight loss. The results that you describe are very typical of someone attempting to lose weight, but only about 2% of the people who make this attempt keep the weight off for more than five years.

Basically, you have admitted that you just now lost this weight. Your experience will not become significant until five years from now. If you have not regained your weight, consider yourself triumphant! Only one out of fifty people can achieve this.

If you are one of the other 49 out of 50 people--well, keep this e-mail until you are certain (2002). If you are still 60 pounds thinner by then, I'd be delighted to hear from you. I only know one person who has ever done this (and I know a *LOT* of fat people).

What I am saying is confirmed by all of the alogorical evidence I have ever found, as well as all of the scientific evidence that is available. You especially need to return to my web page, and reference the study by the National Institute of Health (NIH) and the Rockefeller University study.

Fundamentaly, this unrealistic belief that you can maintain an artificially-low weight results from a lack of understanding of how the body maintains it's weight. The body's weight is one of many variables which the body controls through a closed-loop feedback system. Somewhere in your genetic code is stored the weight which is natural for you (refered to as your "set point"). Although you can disturb the system and alter your weight, this disturbance is refered to by control engineers as a "transient". Your body will again seek your natural weight. The entire time that you are at an unnatural weight, your internal systems will maintain pressure to attempt to force you back to your natural weight. This pressure is not healthy. Just as being too hot or too cold for a long period of time stresses your temperature control system, maintaining an unnatural weight stresses your weight control system. There are some researchers who think that this will damage your system, and cause your setpoint to be adjusted *UPWARDS*!

The real point here is that losing weight--perturbing the system--is easy. Keeping the weight off means a constant struggle against ever-increasing pressure by your body to return to normal. Very few people can win that struggle (and many fail the attempt with permanent damage to their health as a result of the fight).
------+------->>>>Joe Obrin

A Related Topic

This one came to me by way of e-mail, but actually talks about a new diet book, and an on-line interview with the author. Here is my review of the interview article, and a response, on behalf of the fat-acceptance community (though I am certain I shan't be the only one ;).
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