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.