Thursday, March 31, 2011

Obesity: My Experience and Thoughts

This blog is a little more personal. In recent weeks I have been accused of being "obsessed with fat people" "mean to big people" among other things. Let me be clear. I have nothing against a human being that happens to be big. Many big people are healthy and live productive lives. My issue is with obesity and for lack of a better word "sloppy fat people."

Why am I engaging in this blog? As many of my readers know, I was always big as a kid...well chubby. I went to college and lost the "freshman 15" Only to put it back on. In March of last year I decided I was going to lose it and keep it off. Its April and I have been pretty successful in doing so. Therefore to help others, I created a few blog entries on here as tips to readers. I was more so inspired by the direct messages and private Facebook messages I received with all kind of diet and fitness questions.

The United States is the fattest nation in the world. An estimated 300,000 people die each year from obesity related issues. In low income communities its a never ending battle with carry outs, fast food and bodegas ( corner stores) on every block. Obesity is an epidemic that I am in the fight against. I applaud DC councilmember Mary Cheh who proposed the "Healthy Foods Act" last year that brings healthy food choices to DC Public Schools.

Obese people have it bad though. Obesity now requires fatter crash test dummies, limits to the number of obese people who can ride a bus in New York and having to pay for two seats to ride a plane. No one WANTS to be obese. Understandably losing weight is hard and requires a LIFESTYLE change. It requires dedication, patience, and a little inspiration.


Will said...

Did you hear about the 400 pound passenger on a flight the other day whose excess weight invaded the seat of the man sitting next to him? It forced the average-sized man to have to stand for a 7 hour flight. I empathize with everyone, both sides. But I think it is unfair of someone’s problems to interfere with the life of others. Some people who are chronically obese are not much different than drug addicts or alcoholics, or any other people who make choices that detract from their quality of life.

Some psychiatrists believe that many people who are depressed or psychologically troubled have a propensity to develop a metabolic syndrome that is associated with excess weight. I guess food has power, and they probably try to console themselves with these foods that are almost always high in sugar, fat, cholesterol, sodium, and calories. But no matter how we look at it, some people CHOOSE to respond to their life’s anxiety with food, just like other people choose to respond to their anxiety by hopping on their bicycle or by going for a walk or doing push-ups or aerobics.

I was chubby when I was younger so I speak from experience when I say I know it’s not easy to keep the weight off. Most of the chubby and obese kids I knew in elementary and high school grew up into obese adults, and most of them have obese kids. But like you said Keith, it does take commitment and dedication and patience. I think that the best way to stop it systemically is to start with young children and teach them about food choices and nutrition, how to cope with stress and sadness, and increasing physical activity, and the school is the place to do this. Educating kids is more than teaching them how to read or adding 2+2. Many people aren’t disciplined enough as they get older, and their bad eating/lifestyle habits continue and unfortunately they teach those habits to their kids. If parents are failing at teaching their kids about diet and nutrition, then let’s take it to school.

Anyhow, here is a link to the story I mentioned earlier:

Keith Jones said...

Very true Will. I did read about that poor passenger that had to stand during an entire flight. In that case, the airline clearly should have done more to handle that situation. I see everyday riding the trains and buses of DC where larger people take up extra space by pretty much needing two seats. I have also seen that it is prevalent in poor communities, rather it be due to the lack of healthy food options or just plan greed. We also see this as you said with children. It is must cheaper to buy a bag of chips and candy than it is to buy something healthy. I applaud my D.C. council for enacting a healthy foods law for school kids, limiting and taking away soda machines in schools among other things. With many things, we have to start with children as they have not developed habits and maybe, hopefully, can encourage their parents as well.