Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Let Me Clear This Up…

Kelly posted a comment about the 'Fat Bastard' post I wrote a few days ago, and I found my response was a whole new post in itself…so here goes.

Let me start by saying I think Kelly made my point for me.

The problem with writing about weight is that it's a real hot-button topic for a lot of people and most people automatically jump to he conclusion that I'm saying that losing weight is easy and that ANYONE who is overweight is greedy or lazy. I've got to be honest here, me calling someone else fat would be like a fat-assed pot calling the kettle black

No, what I have a problem with are the people who eat literally ridiculous types and quantities of food (The guy on Oprah ate ten whole fried chickens every single day), get zero exercise…and then refuse to take any responsibility for the way they end up.

Yes, I understand how difficult it is to eat healthy and get regular exercise, and that's why I'm overweight and why we don't all look like models...but I have a VERY hard time looking at the extreme cases like this guy and his enabler mother and seeing 'victims'. Like I said in the post, this guy cries into the camera about how he doesn't want to die and how hard life is for him…and he eats ten whole fried chickens every day.

Forget the 'Go eat a salad' thing, but are you telling me it would be impossible or even unreasonable for this guy to make an effort by eating nine fried chickens a day, or swapping fried chicken for broiled or grilled instead?

Kelly asked in her comment whether I'd tell someone suffering from depression to just 'cheer the fuck up'. The answer is no, I wouldn't. However, I also wouldn't offer any sympathy to someone complaining of terrible headaches while they continually bang their head against a wall.

Let me end by asking an honest question.

Exactly how much sympathy do you think would I get if I went on TV and cried into the camera about how terrified I was of getting lung cancer and dying if I chain smoked through the whole interview? If I was on TV sobbing about how I wanted to see my kids grow up while smoking five cigarettes at once?

The answer is very little.

That's my point. Just because diet and exercise is difficult does not automatically absolve you from responsibility and make you a victim. You choose what you put into your mouth and, therefore, that guy chose to be 800lbs. I'm not saying he should have the self control to only eat green salads and water, but he should have the self control not to eat ten whole fried chickens every single day.

To close, let me clear something up:

People take offense when I talk like this because, as I said earlier, they assume that I'm calling anyone who's overweight greedy or lazy. I know how hard it is to lose weight. I know how hard it is to exercise and eat right…but the thing those people miss is that they're complaining about what I say because they've made the effort themselves and know how hard it is. Here's the bit you need to understand: The people I'm actually talking about and have a problem with are the people who refuse to make any effort at all.




Kelly said...

I thought this might happen. I know how you like to clarify.........

Ok, I understand the point you are making, and I saw a TV show not so long ago on Discovery Health (or something like that) about a woman who weighed so much she couldn't walk, and when she laid down on the bed, her stomach was so fat and hung so low she bruised herself by kneeling on it. I'm not saying I didn't screw my face up and say "gross" because I did.

This was a grown woman though, there was no 'enabler'. The essence of what i was trying to get across in my lasst comment was that if this boy is still a teenager then he eats what he is given. He has learned his eating behaviours from his mother, and it's safe to assume that he didn't wake up one day weighing 600lbs. He had to have been an overweight child, as his mother basically fed him to death.
After an entire childhood of this, he probably doesn't know any different, and as you pointed out - his mother was on the show, cooking him a friend chicken while sobbing about how it was killing him. I'd be mad as hell with her. That dumb bitch has a lot to answer for!

The kid? He can relearn new eating habits, but it'll take time and counselling. I also think stomach stapling was the fastest way for him not to have that awful gut churning hunger that we all experience when we diet. Our stomachs have stretched so much that they expect a certain volume of food, and they growl in anger when they don't get it.
if thiss kid is used to 10 whole fried chickens and his over stretched stomach is given a salad - willpower be damned that kid WILL find something to assuage the hunger.

I also think that even for adults who eat and eat and eat and then cry about it....they need to be given therapy. Compulsive overeating is a recognised psychological disorder, just as much as Anorexia or Bulimia.

I'm not trying to be awkward, and I genuinely do see what point you are trying to make, I just think this is a loaded issue.

Fat people have always (for as long as I can remember) been lauded for it. From the playground to the boardroom, fat jokes are always acceptable. If there's a fat person in the office it's ok to pick on them. If there's a person sufferiing with Anorexia, then picking on her/him would be considered cruel and thoughtless.

Double standards perhaps?

If overeating is a choice made by some, and not an illness, then isn't refusal to eat also the same. Both can kill you. It's just two sides of the same coin.

Evan 08 said...

Thanks. You gave me enough fodder for my own post.

Paulius said...

Kelly, I hink we're still arguing at cross purposes.

I got pissed off because this kid was complaining about his 'disease' while doing nothing about it. I'm not saying it wouldn't be extremely hard...but this kid refused to even try.

Here's where I think we're getting our wires crossed:

I saw a similar show back in England years ago about a woman who was as big as the kid from the Oprah show, but when she was interviewed she said (I'm paraphrasing):

"I made a lot of stupid choices and let my weight get totally out of hand, I'm tired of being stuck at home and being such a burden on my family so I'm going to see the doctor to discuss my options."

Then, over the next six months she tried to diet, tried to exercise and managed to lose some he end she got her stomach stapled...but I can respect that woman because she actually TRIED and TOOK RESPONSIBILITY.

I know this kid probably grew up in a fucked up household but "You're eating too much and it will kill you." is a concept anyone can grasp. This kid was told that and didn't even ATTEMPT to change his lifestyle.

As I said in the post, that's like expecting me to have sympathy for someone who has already lost a lung to cancer and talks about how terrified they are of dying while refusing to even cut back on their carton a day habit.

I grew up in a family of smokers, everything about my childhood said smoking was just fine...but when I started to get pains in my chest I quit, even though it was hard and I really love smoking.

Again, I'm not saying that in a 'I can do it, so can anyone else' way...but this kid didn't even TRY.

Basically, is it honestly wrong of me to be disgusted with someone, not because they're fat, but because they've been told they're GOING TO DIE and they flat out refuse to do anything that involves effort?