Wednesday, June 30, 2010


World View

This is a very sensitive topic for me since I am what some people would call "morbidly obese." I am 255 lbs at 5 feet 2 inches.  Dear God, I can't believe I'm posting this but I really want people to understand what it is like for an individual who is overweight in a world that accommodates everyone from people with disabilities to people with different sexual orientations.  On the sidewalks, in New York City, there are bumps to let a blind person know that they are at the curb.  On the corners, the sidewalk declines into the street area to accommodate wheelchairs or the elderly who have difficulty walking.  The traffic lights accommodate those who have dyslexia, cannot read or do not know the English language by using pictures to indicate when to walk or when to wait.

Please do not misunderstand me.  As a special education teacher, I am happy that the world is finally accommodating those with disabilities.  It's been a long time coming.  Thirty years, that is.  I am only stating that I can't think of one accommodation that is made for people with a weight problem.

How We See Obesity

What I really find amazing is that people see obesity as something that can be easily cured.   "Just exercise and eat right, the weight will come right off!"  This is true for most of us who are overweight but not for all of us.  There are some individuals with thyroid conditions.  These people can exercise until their limbs fall off and they will still overweight.

There are others who react differently to all the processed foods available in supermarkets.  These items contain preservatives, excessive amounts of salt and some of the meat in our supermarket freezers contain hormones which are used to add bulk to the animal before consumption.  Genetics also play a part in obesity.  If your parents and grandparents are obese, chances are that you will be too.

Other comments made are at the expense of a good laugh.  What comedian wouldn't pass up a prime opportunity to get a guaranteed laugh?  As someone who loves comedies, I often find myself wondering, "Is this really how people see me? Do they smile in my face and laugh behind my back?" 

How I See Myself

Do you know how embarrassing it is to get on an airplane and the seat belt doesn't quite fit?  It is even more embarrassing when asking the flight attendant for a seat belt extender.  And of course, thanks to the economic crisis, no seat belt extenders are available.  You must purchase them online I suppose.

Have you ever been to an amusement park like Six Flags Great Adventure with your children and you go to get on the ride but the safety bar doesn't reach all the way to your lap?  This is what it is like for me.  I had to ask my friend to ride with my daughter. I had to watch from the ground with tears in my eyes because not only was I ashamed but was deprived of a precious memory with my little one. 

I have considered getting a gastric bypass or the Lap Band.  The jury is still out on that one.  I am really not sure of the after effects, plus the costs of upkeep.   That is another post altogether.

So next time, you pass an individual who is overweight, please don't judge.  That person just might be me.


  1. Compassion and empathy are often sadly lacking in our world today. We really need to think about other people rather than making judgments quickly.

  2. Bull bloody shit. Nothing gets my goat as much as those genetically blessed people who eat what they want, never exercise, and then pass judgement on someone who is not as thin as them.
    You can diet and exercise, but if your genes are against you, there is very little you can do about your weight. And yet, it is so often treated as something that is your fault.

    I will judge, Chary, but not the person who is overweight. I will judge the person who judges the person who is overweight. Because lack of sensitivity is something I cannot stand.

  3. You're so right about people judging--they see this as controllable, but the fact of the matter is, in addition to the things you mentioned--this is also a disparities issue. Exercise for a person in a city (where going for a jog may not be safe) costs money. Eating healthy costs a lot more and takes more time. Policies have made all those additives create a CHEAPER product, at the expense of the health of the people who HAVE TO choose cheaper food.

    I grew up with a huge complex about my size, so a PART OF ME is thankful for this epidemic, as my daughter, who is even curvier than I was, has never felt fat--she has friends bigger than her. That HOPEFULLY means the psychology of it won't be as damaging.

    This was a really great 'make-you-think' post, and I thank you for putting yourself out there like that. I know it's scary.

  4. I'm sorry this world seems at times so unfriendly. My sister struggles with her weight and I know I get impatient with her by times and am scared for the health problems that are quite real for her as she ages. It is good to be reminded of our deeply ingrained prejudices so we can do our best to root them out. thank you.

  5. *hi-fives Chary* Brilliant & thought provoking post Chary. I was around the same weight as you a few short months ago, and while I have 4 inches over you, I was still classed as morbidly obese. A 40 odd lbs weight loss and I am still too near the 'obese' classification for my liking, but I have been stuck there for more than tow months now. My parents are NOT thin, and neither are my siblings, so I know I will never conform to what society terms as a desirable weight level. And the looks that people gave me will stay with me no matter how much weight I lose.

    Being overwight IS bad for you, no question, but people's reactions to your size can be far more damaging.

    Chin up, Sweetie, we love every last pound of you. *hugs*

  6. @Jemi- I agree. Perhaps if we would imagine what it's like to "walk in someone else's shoes" the world would seem a better place.

    @Rayna- Thank you Rayna. I think sensitivity training is something that needs to be taught at home and at school. Perhaps then, we as a global community will be more tolerant of those different from us. Thanks again.

    @Hart- I was so afraid to post, but am happy I did. I do have a weight problem and I can handle it better now as a woman than I did as a teenager. I hope Natalie will never have a complex. She is a very beautiful young lady. Thanks.

    @Jan- I fear for my health also, but something that my husband did touched my heart. He knew I was feeling real down about my weight and he suggested we work out together. Perhaps you and your sister can exercise together on occasion. It showed me that my husband was concerned but also willing to help. Thanks, Jan.

    @Tundiel- *hi fives Tara* You are beautiful and don't let anyone tell you differently. I have started to exercise a little more, some yoga here and aerobics there. However, my food intake is horrible. I really need to plan my meals a little better. Perhaps then I won't be so tempted to eat the bad stuff on the go. Thanks, hon!

  7. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.