Obesity,Diets#Eating Disorders#Bullying#Fat Acceptance#Please Share
Thunder Bay man still working to open dialogue on obesity By Duane Hicks Staff writerA Thunder Bay man is making
headway in his mission to create dialogue about building healthy food relationships through education,awareness, and advocacy.
Touting the message “Against Obesity, Not Against Obese People,” Paul Murphy, a recovering binge-eater, is continuing to try and raise awareness of obesity-related issues through the group, Obesity ThunderBay.So far this year, he’s been interviewed by the Lakehead University radio station, which also is running public service announcements promoting Obesity Thunder Bay.He’s also been interviewed by the Aboriginal Peoples TelevisionNetwork (APTN) and has been busy networking every chance he can get,especially via the Internet.
“Our web presence is very, very strong,” noted Murphy, adding theObesity Thunder Bay website (www.obesitythunderbay.ning.com) has seen2,704 visits since February, with visitors hailing from Canada and theU.S., as well as the Philippines, Brazil, England, New Zealand, andeven Ukraine.As of last week, the site had 156 registered members “from all walks of life,” Murphy said.They range from health-care professionals to individuals who have feltthe stigma of being overweight.“They’re tired. Tired of the messages,” he said of the members.One recent member posted her feelings abut the group:“I wanted to be a member of this site so much because it feels at homehere,” she wrote. “There are people that understand here how much ithurts to be obese.“I have been diagnosed with compulsive eating disorder. I have unhealthy issues with food, and I have to learn to be in charge of the food and not the food in control of me.“I would not want the worst person in the world to go [through] this.“Thank you, Paul, for letting me be a part of this.”Those interested also will find a wealth of topical videos clips andarticles on YouTube (type in “Obesity Thunder Bay”), as well as can“friend” Murphy on Facebook.Murphy said he’s hopeful continued online networking, as well as mediacoverage and direct contact with area leaders and politicians, willfoster relationships with larger agencies that will band together tobuild working platforms and dialogue.“The best-case scenario would be, in the next year, to raise awarenesswhile lowering ‘fat hatred,’” he remarked.“We want people to create healthy food relationships, but they need to know what that is,” he stressed.Murphy said obesity is definitely a hot topic right now, whether it’s in relation to the health-care reform debate in the United States,controversial ads like PETA’s recent “Save The Whales. Lose Blubber.Go Vegetarian” campaign, articles like Newsweek’s “America’s War onthe Overweight,” or the number-one trending topic on Twitter back onAug. 25: “Fatpeoplearesexier. ”As such, he feels the time is right to get a dialogue going in Northwestern Ontario—and further abroad if possible—to work towards change.A major part of that is altering the blame-based model of obesity,which links it to lack of willpower and laziness.Citing one example, Murphy said too much emphasis is put on the“activity model,” which pushes physical activity as the solution to eliminating obesity.Murphy noted that, suspiciously, this same “activity model” often is funded by major industry, including soft drink companies, who benefit from shifting the blame for obesity away from their junk food products and towards activities like television viewing and computer use, which supposedly result in people becoming overweight.
While exercise certainly can be beneficial, Murphy feels building abetter relationship with food is even more important.He added the oft-heard mantra of eating healthy and exercise as the key to weight control is “a nice message, but it misses a step, and that step is the food relationship,” he argued.“For children who are using sugar and salt to self-medicate, how much is a pair of runners going to make a change?” he asked.“You know there’s people that go to the gym five or six times a week.Not to say it’s bad, but sometimes you go from one extreme to another,” Murphy continued.“For a person who is three-, four-, or five hundred pounds, that’s really not an option because they’re beaten down,” he reasoned.“We need to create dialogue,” he urged. “The key here is we want people to be in charge of their health. We want them to play a role.”Murphy said the door for discussion is opening more all the time, and hopefully public perceptions will begin to change and that the “blame game” will turn into something more constructive.“When 90 percent of people believe obesity is caused by laziness,unhealthy lifestyles, no willpower, that feeds the diet industry, that feeds the ‘try harder,’” he remarked.“What we’re saying is, ‘Sit down. Relax. Enjoy your food, but be mindful of what you’re eating.’”Murphy again stressed he’s not looking for personal recognition—he just wants to get a dialogue going regarding what he feels is a very important topic.And it’s a message he promotes 24/7, everywhere he goes, while wearing his www.obesitythunderbay.ca shirts (the official home page of ObesityThunder Bay is www.obesitythunderbay.ca, but the blog site www.obesitythunderbay.ning.com currently is the site to use since the former is “under construction”).
“First people ignore me, the second part is they laugh at me, and thethird step is they engage with me, and once they engage with me, Iwin,” Murphy said of the reception he receives out in public.“The whole point is promoting that conversation,” he added. “We don’thave a product to sell.”Obesity Thunder Bay will be holding a general meeting there Sept. 25.For more information, visit www.obesitythunderbay.ning.com On 16-Sep-09, at 7:28 AM, Paul Murphy wrote: Hi Duane , I know I have been a real pain at times. But I feel thisinformation needs to be given to all communities. Can you send me acopy of the story ? Thanks for all of your help. Paul--www.obesitythunderbay.ca This is the main site .www.obesitythunderbay.ning.comhttp://obesitythunderbay.ning.com/not...">http://obesitythunderbay.ning.com/video/obesity-discrimination-and-...www.obesitythunderbay.ning.comhttp://obesitythunderbay.ning.com/not... /Obesity_Bullying Is food our next tobacco? Duane HicksFort Frances TimesPhone: 807-274-5373, ext. 233Fax: email@example.com -- www.obesitythunderbay.ca This is the main site .