Friday, April 2, 2010
Came across this article in the NY times today and I have to say I have some real problems with some of it. The basic point of the article seems to be that we as a society are unfairly treating overweight people as if the fa=ct that they are overweight is their own fault and we should not be doing that. The author says "I’ve sat in meetings with colleagues who wouldn’t dream of disparaging anyone’s color, sex, economic status or general attractiveness, yet feel free to comment witheringly on a person’s weight." Well I am sorry but the only one of these other things that is even close to analogous is the economic status one. To somehow compare someone being overweight to them being Black or Hispanic or female or even ugly is ridiculous.
I don't totally disagree with the writer and I try to give people the benefit of the doubt in most cases but when I see some grossly obese person ordering a burger with a diet coke it doesn't exactly make me think they are not responsible. I also see every day at my work overweight people taking the elevator up the 3 floors to our offices instead of the stairs that I am taking, I had a woman at one office that would not take the stairs up one floor and would sit there and wait for the elevator. We also have a shuttle bus at my work to take you between buildings and the same overweight people consistently take it as opposed to walking the 500 yards to the building they are going to so I am sorry but I don't feel as if they are somehow not responsible for their situation.
Perhaps the most ridiculous thing in this article is the assertion by the author that somehow the stress caused by peoples "lack of understanding" is somehow to blame for the health problems associated with being overweight. "Over time, such chronic stress can lead to high blood pressure, diabetes and other medical ills, many of them (surprise!) associated with obesity." Give me a break! I understand that we are not all genetically wired to be really thin but we also are all responsible for our own lives and our own health and more importantly for setting a good example for our kids as far as healthy eating and exercise. If you are comfortable being a few pounds overweight I think that is fine as long as you generally eat healthy and remain active but there is no such thing as a healthy obese person, sorry. All it takes is for you to lose the weight and feel how much less stressed your heart and lungs are walking up and down steps to realize that even a 30 pound difference, what I was carrying around, is huge and can really stress your system.
The problem is people don't want to hear that it is real hard work, like an hour or more a day of pretty high intensity exercise, to really get yourself in shape. Once you get there you can usually maintain with less than this but it is very hard work to lose the weight once you have put it on. This makes perfect sense if you consider the kind of lifestyle we lead today compared with what it would have been through most of our evolution. We evolved to work best with lots of exercise and today we spend most of our time siting on our fat asses eating junk and we wonder why we are getting fatter. Get up and get moving and start eating right. Take control of those portion sizes and skip the junk, that includes diet soda. But whatever you do don't try to say that me not understanding your weight is somehow the reason for the health problems you are having or are going to have because that is just a cop out.