During the many years of dadams.co.uk I don’t think I have never used this site to launch an attack on someone… but now I’m suitably annoyed enough. I should also mention that I wrote most of this two months ago and have only just got around to finishing it, so the furor over the issue has now somewhat dwindled.
First of all, you need to be aware of who Katie Hopkins is. Her Wikipedia page should do it, but it doesn’t really capture her attention-seeking nature or her requirement to be continually controversial in order to maintain public attention. Hopkins recently had a go at Kelly Clarkson for being overweight, which only served to remind me of Winston Churchill’s retort to Lady Astor (you know the one). Ms Clarkson is attractive and talented. You may draw your own conclusions on whether Hopkins is attractive and talented – I have.
A few months ago I was flicking through the channels late at night, and stumbled upon ‘Katie Hopkins: Journey to Fat and Back’. Having lost some weight myself over the past year (35 lbs) I was intrigued. The idea of the show was that Hopkins believed that ‘fat’ people are fat because they are lazy – and she could prove this by putting on a load of weight and then losing it again. Hopkins assured us that the equation is simple – if you burn more calories than you consume you will lose weight, but in order for that to happen you need to stop stuffing cake into your face and get off your fat arse. Not the exact words she used, but it sums up the sentiment.
Hopkins piled on the weight by doing the things that fat people indulge in (i.e. stuffing their faces with food), increasing her weight from 120 lbs to 168 lbs. She then (in part 2) showed how you could lose 48 lbs by exercising and eating properly… simple as that. And because Hopkins could do it, that just demonstrated how lazy and stupid you are with your own inability to lose weight.
At this point, it’s probably worth noting that Hopkins’ Twitter profile reads:
Gained & lost 3.5 stones to prove fat people are lazy
Now, let me continue by stating that I do agree with Hopkins on one basic statement… in general, if you consume more calories than you burn off you will, in time, gain weight. If you burn off more calories than you consume over a continued period of time, you will lose weight. Note that I said “in general” because it’s not necessarily true for absolutely everyone – people are different, their metabolisms are different, and their circumstances are different.
I also recently saw a program about two obese people (‘obese’ being a term I’m more comfortable using than ‘fat’ because obese is a recognised medical state) who had reached the point where they were housebound. They were locked into a cycle of being too overweight to get up and exercise, and didn’t know how to remedy the situation. The man, who weighed about 560 lbs, did eventually lose weight with some help – and although he was still obese when the program ended, he was up and about, exercising and losing weight. The woman on the other hand, who was around 630 lbs, complained to her husband that he hadn’t cut up her cake properly. She was also able to get out of the house at the end of the program – on a mobility scooter. That was her idea of progress. She was still too obese to get around, but she could get out of the house with the aid of a mobility scooter. When you look at these two people with similar starting points, it was evident that one had the desire and the backbone to take on the challenge… and yes, I would certainly say that wanting to lose weight and having the character to see it through is a huge factor.
So, I would seem to agree with Hopkins on two fronts:
- The basic calories in / calories out equation
- If you are lazy and can’t take on the challenge you will fail
But I still have a major problem with her attitude and her statement… “fat people are lazy”. That’s a disgraceful thing to say. Does she know all of these people? Does she understand all of their circumstances? I don’t think anyone reading this would look at a homeless person begging on the street and think “lazy sponger”. Circumstances have put that person there – we don’t know what those circumstances are and therefore we have no right to judge. Hopkins has no right to judge overweight people and no right to believe that her oh-so-simple solution would be just what they need. It’s hugely patronising.
There are things that I learned when I went through the process of losing weight…
- Exercise hurts when you haven’t done it for a while
- It’s not fun – I’d prefer to spend my evening sitting on the sofa watching t.v. and eating chocolates
- When I go to the gym and Mrs Adams says “have fun” I have to remind her, I’m not going because it’s fun
- The smiling people on the gym posters are just paid models, or they’re doing it wrong
- Every day is a struggle to stay off the bad stuff (crisps, chocolate, cake, etc)
- There is no reward system other than achieving a weight / fitness / shape goal and the associated benefits of that goal (what I mean is, if you’ve burned 400 calories in the gym, a muffin and a cappuccino is not a deserved reward)
- Losing weight takes time
Out of all of these, #7 requires the explanation. Losing weight takes time, and requires time. You need spare time, or you need to make time. Time to go to the gym, time to go for a run, or even a walk. If your daily routine doesn’t allow you that time, through no fault of your own, that’s a difficult one to fix. Hopkins I’m sure has time, while the hired-help is doing her ironing and gardening, she can go to the gym. A working mother of three children will struggle for spare time. You need time to think about what you’re eating, often time to prepare something that’s good for you. Busy people often have to grab the nearest and easiest thing to eat, and that’s not often the healthiest choice.
I’m no expert, but I can tell you what worked for me (but bear in mind I was overweight and not in the obese category)…
- Set yourself realistic goals, and make them things that seem like an achievement – for example, if today you can’t run 2 km, make that a goal… and then improve the time and increase the distance
- Keep a log of everything you eat for one week, and identify the things that you really didn’t need
- Get a fitness tracker (e.g. Fitbit, Microsoft Band) – set a realistic goal based on steps or distance, and try to exceed it every day
- Join a gym, and don’t feel disheartened by the sculpted specimens who are in there every day – focus on yourself