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  1. Well he’s ignored now. I banned Ron’s IP from posting comments yesterday. He has crossed over the line of civility once too often.

  2. Yes indeed Theora, people can be really stupid. Can you point out a policy I supported here? Duh. Rhetoric 101.
    Since you are apparently an ArtSci type, let’s see whether you passed Ethics 101. How exactly do you decide which actions are good?
    Then you can move into applications. Who should pay to transplant a third liver into a 70 year-old alcoholic? Or pay for yet another round of weight-loss counseling for someone who’s gained 50 kg since the last go `round a year ago? What is a “disease”? What is “health care”? If you think you can answer that one, then what is “basic health care”? Should a public budget grow to accomodate an intervention for every condition and behavior that might possibly lead to any impairment whatever? Why or why not? If not, how will you decide who shall benefit from which interventions? If so, to what extent will you coerce people to fund it? Is compassion ever shown with other people’s resources? Whose suffering and what sacrifice counts? Given all the problems that might be solved with public funds, should transplantation (say) be done at all? Why fund that and not fund (say) reductions in particulate emissions, or more public housing, or shelters for abused women and kids?

  3. Matthew,
    I agree with Tom Leith’s comment. Dr. Salber’s post does not speak against personal responsibility.
    Personal responsibility does works best when encouraged and supported. Personal responsibility and community commitment would be good health policy.

  4. Oy, people can be really stupid.
    “we can agree it may require more effort for some people versus others to do what they know they ought to do, it seems to…that difficulty does not relieve one of responsibility.”
    No one thinks it does. And I’d like to add that once you realize that it requires more effort from others than it does from you, you have a responsibility to show compassion. And it seems to me common sense that if showing compassion causes you difficulty, you are not relieved of that responsibility…
    Perhaps if you had a better understanding of the human condition, you’d realize that not everyone responds to the threat of punishment by taking the action you desire them to take. At a certain point, when their behavior does not change, making life more difficult for them in order to make them take responsibility goes from “behavior modification” to “blatant sadism.”
    People who are facing diabetes as a result of their obesity won’t suddenly become responsible because you’re threatening to do something wretched to them–newsflash, they already know something far more wretched is going to happen if they don’t get control of their obesity. But then again, maybe they believe something wretched is going to happen no matter what they do. How do you change their behavior under those circumstances? Here’s a hint: punishing them more will probably get you nowhere.
    If you support policies that inflict suffering as part of an effort to make people “take responsibility,” then you are morally responsible to make sure those policies actually change people’s behavior. You cannot relieve yourself of responsibility for the consequences of the policies you support by saying, “well it would change MY behavior,” for the simple reason that THE PERSON SUFFERING IS NOT YOU.
    Duh. Ethics 101.

  5. If Ron’s post wasn’t so hurtful and harmful, my gut reaction would be to laugh at the poor soul who “just doesn’t get it.”
    I am a close friend of Pat Salber and have tremendous respect and admiration for her dedication and passion to help improve health and quality of life.
    Up to 2001, I had been severely overweight all of my life. I lost 205 pounds in 13 months, hence I have a personal understanding of the difficulty we all face to lose weight and keeping the weight off.
    In my opinion, Ron’s most detrimental and inaccurate statement is “These fat women are fat because it’s just a bad habit.” He erroneously suggests that people who are severely overweight are so due to a lack of will power. A bit habit. Society uses that stereotype to oppress over weight people which makes us feel even more self conscious about our weight and health.
    Bottom line, Ron is hurtful and wrong and I think the discussion about him should end and change the focus to what we can to lose weight and improve our health.
    There is no question that proper diet and exercise are necessary to lose weight, but there needs to be a process. This was how I did it:
    1) I went to the doctor and received a comprehensive checkup. This checkup diagnosed serious health problems as well as identified exercise limitations and specific diet factors that needed to be considered. For example, I was diagnosed with diabetes; thus, I needed to focus on reducing carbs in my diet.
    2) I went to a nutritionist (and diabetes educator) who educated me on food, required nutrition, and disease specific diets. Three invaluable things that my nutritionist said to me in the first 5 minutes of our meeting were
    a) This is not about dieting, it is about life style change
    b) If it is in your home, you will eat it
    c) Do not beat yourself up when you fall off your diet. Dust yourself off and get back on the horse.
    3) I started to exercise slowly. My first exercise was parking my car 100 yards further away from the office door. It is important though to increase your exercise as you get in better shape but start slowly. I now ride my bicycle 200 miles a week up and down steep hills. The starting point though was walking 100 yards. Once I started losing weight, I joined a gym and worked with a personal trainer.
    4) The HARDEST part of this process was dealing with the emotional elements. Getting started was most difficult since I believed (as many of us do) that profound weight loss was not a possibility. To emotionally believe that “change was POSSIBLE” was the toughest part of the process. Also, I went through therapy to understand my relationship to food with my emotions. I also tried overeaters anonymous but I responded better to one on one therapy.
    My bottom line is that I want to encourage all of you who are struggling to lose weight. Feel free to email me at dariow@comcast.net if you would like to chat about this topic.

  6. Ron, thank you for the apology.
    Re: workouts and goal for people significantly overweight. Everyone has to start somewhere, most start with walking. The key is to increase the effort and increase the amount of time spent every day. There are lots of folks participating in the PEERtrainer (www.peertrainer.com) who were much more than 40 lbs overweight who have successfully lost lots of weight…through diet and exercise and peer support and family support. This isn’t just about taking responsibility…it is hard work.

  7. OK Matthew, I forgot about the 10 line rule, sorry. I will do better.
    I’m sorry Pat.
    Stop these other people for being really mean too Matthew. Fair is fair.

  8. Pat, ask Laura if she had a talk with the guy who ran the Richard Simmons Fat Farms? She says she is a good person for getting your stuff on ABC and USA Today. I asked her if there was anyplace on your website that explained what type of workouts that you recommend. She said to read your blogs, which I had already done. I can’t see anywhere what kind of workout you think is best for a woman 40lbs over-weight. Maybe you could give us an idea and what kind of results one could expect. Because Laura had no idea, sorry.
    I was fired because I worked directly for the Wildmans who sold Health and Tennis Corporation of America to Bally. We owned all the big clubs coast to coast. We used Cher, Heather Locklear, The Terminator and others with J. Walter Thompsen. Actually, we sold those Richard Simmons locations to some Calfornia schmuck, then ran them out of business. Sometimes competition is like messing with T-Rex.
    PS: My 6 locations for Richard Simmons were the only profitable ones out of 80 in the US. So when Richard lipped off to Mrs. Wildman she terminated all salespeople the next day in Denver. I would tell you what I think about Richard Simmons but Matthew would get mad. Please tell us about 40lb over-weight women hitting goal. I have a few thoughts so I’m sure you do too Pat.

  9. Ron — 10 lines max AND an apology NOW, or you are banned for good. Matthew

  10. The ad hominum attack was not what bothered me about Ron’s post. It betrays some deeper issues he probably should work on.
    Rather it is the astonishing ignorance about the overweight/obesity coming from someone who used to work in the field. Ron, I was going to ask you if you left Richard Simmons voluntarily…seems like my intuition was correct.

  11. Ron- it is very interesting– You clearly see nothing wrong with your behavior. Luckily for you there are MD’s on this board and I bet they’d point you in the right direction to get some help. It can only help you.

  12. Habib, I tell women who are so over-weight that they have no feelings in their legs anymore, “This is a bad sign. You better try just a bit or you will soon be dead.”
    Also Habib, I went to the #1 University in America in wrestling, ISU, in Ames. So yes I did spend too much time losing weight. Also, I ran the #1 club in America for Bally in “Dollars over quota.” This isn’t because I can really sell fat women, but it does help. 20% of all new members were for rehab. After a car wreck or heart attack they think, “Now I better try and get healthy again.”
    Also Habib, Richard Simmons’ fired me 2 times. Both times my wife was pregnant with no COBRA extensions on our health insurance. Richard was mean to his own sales staff and people who have pregnant wifes. I felt better when our Holiday Clubs (Now Bally) ran those Richard Simmons out of business.
    I suppose you like employer-based health insurance terminating their sick cancer patients after a short COBRA, Habib. President Bush wants Americans on PORTABLE low cost individual HSA insurance so Americans will be safe. Remember, security is job one.

  13. Ron:
    “Fat cheeks?!?” Where are you coming from? I know Dr. Salber in real life and she is neither fat, chubby, or obese. Her excerise regime would serve us all well. But that is besides the point.
    Your obviously have a drum to beat and her article was mistaken by you as a launching pad.
    Your point about responsibilty is well taken. But it’s not the whole story. To paraphrase the addiction doctors speaking to their patients: “It’s not your fault that you have an addiction, but it is your responsibility to deal with it, now that you have it.”
    If you haven’t done so yet, please take a minute to check out: http://www.acestudy.org
    Be well.

  14. Ron,
    It’s difficult to know how to respond to a lout like you. Its a shame that just because this forum exists, all its readers have to put up with the self-important nonsense you regularly spew forth (with grammar and spelling that nicely matches your reasoning).
    I’ll tell you this, Pal. Based on what we know from your offerings here, you couldn’t shine Dr. Salber’s shoes, much less walk in them. She is among the most thoughtful, most socially conscious, grounded and selfless individuals I’ve ever had the honor to know. She certainly doesn’t deserve the abuse of clowns like you, though all the readers on this forum will consider the source and give your comments the short shrift they deserve.
    If you’re sobered at all by this, a public apology would be in order. If you’re not, do us all a favor and go peddle your idiocy somewhere else. To my mind at least, your unwillingness to adhere to the basic rules of courtesy, and the cavalier way that you openly and personally attack a colleague with such flimsy cause, provides sufficient reason for the rest of us to discount and ignore anything else you might have to say.
    In other words, Ron, I’m sure your presence would be appreciated more on other blogs. Please take this opportunity to give them the pleasure of your insights.

  15. No, in Ron’s case I think nature and nurture just made him a rude git. (I would have deleted his comment but I know Pat’s already read it).
    Ron, if there is one more rude comment from you about ANYONE on this site, you are banned FOR GOOD. Got it?

  16. Hi Ron,
    You sound angry at these women. And also unsympathetic. I’d be curious what adverse experiences you might have had as a child to foster such a well of anger. Empathy is often a trait developed in children raised in a good environment. My guess is that you don’t consider yourself a victim, and that’s good. We’d all love to hear how you have “just gotten over” your problems.

  17. > a direct link […] certainly puts the “personal
    > responsibility” crowd into a tight intellectual
    > corner.
    How do you figure? Although we can agree it may require more effort for some people versus others to do what they know they ought to do, it seems to me the common-sense attitude expressed by Don Henley and Glenn Frey is that difficulty does not relieve one of responsibility. Dr. Salber did not contradict this notion at all. But by your reasoning, nobody is responsible for anything…

  18. Ah Ron,
    The voice of diplomacy speaks again!!! Your impressive trend of winning over the rest of us with your clever commentary and razor sharp insights continues …

  19. Boy, did Pat “Fat Cheeks” hit the nail on the head when she listed “Obesity” as her biggest problem. She is a doctor, someone should tell her to exercize. I ran 6 Richard Simmons Fat Farms with 30,000 over-weight women members and 350 employees. These fat women are fat because it’s just a bad habit. Pat needs to stop all this stinkin’-thinkin’ and start thinkin’ proper. If you called her obese she would scream, “Abuse.” But it’s not me callin’ Pat obese, it’s the US Surgeon General.
    Medicare News: Medicare will pay for old fat women to have Obesity Surgery. In England they won’t do surgery if you get too fat. So is the USA and their free fat surgery correct or are the Brits correct with their, No Surgery for Fat People Rule?