Why that TED talk is not so bad

Living400lbs has more on why it is so bad. And I respect her enough to make me question my own [lack of a strong] reaction. (I think part of the explanation may be that I don’t have an opinion one way or the other on public apologies in general.)

There were three things that I did like about Peter Attia’s talk

–He admits that if his way of eating is “right”, and mainstream medical advice about healthy eating was wrong, the failure is with mainstream medical advice, not individuals. He doesn’t say that people who don’t adopt his way of eating are stupid or weak-willed. (Unlike some people we could mention.)

–He says, “I don’t have all the answers.” He admits that his way of eating may not be right. Unlike many people who are converted to a particular style of eating and have success with it, he doesn’t say that he knows it will work for everyone. Really, this alone was enough to raise my opinion of him a lot, living in a country where we have a $60+ billion industry saying, “We DO have all the answers!” (Which they clearly don’t, given long-term weight maintenance rates.)

–It seems to me that he does not really believe that he deserves forgiveness from the patient he mentioned in his talk. Maybe the reason I have this impression is because I watched the TED talk before reading any articles about it and maybe his meaning came through better there, but OTOH, I’m not particularly good at reading people, so my impressions may not count for much.

That said, I wasn’t sure whether to roll my eyes or laugh with schadenfreude [laugh schadenfreudically?] when he talked about how surprised he was when, for a period of time, he wasn’t able to control how much fat his body put on. And people who aren’t too skeptical about fat are often nonetheless able to recognize that being judgmental about fat people isn’t helpful–something Attia seemed to have had trouble with as a young and arrogant physician.


I’m still not entirely sure if my reaction to the talk is “this was pretty good” or “it was less bad than most non-FA discussions of weight and health.” In other words, maybe I just have really low expectations. Kind of like Eeyore‘s “We haven’t had an earthquake lately.”

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