A reader writes:
This is ridiculous. I am a mildly overweight person. I am 5’10 and about 190 lbs. My BMI is about 27. I could stand to lose about 15-20 pounds. I am the only person in my extended family who is not obese. I have obesity on both sides for generations. Morbid obesity.
Why am I the only member of my family who is not obese? Because I am the only member of my family who walks 15 miles a week. And runs 20 miles a week. And works out several times a week with weights. And eats carefully.
I do all that and I’m still about 20 pounds overweight. So I get that genetics has a lot to do with it. I would have to starve to be truly normal weight. But barring injuries that prevent people from being physically active, no one has to be morbidly obese. You just have to do what you have to do.
In my case, I have to run like hell to maintain my body weight at simply “overweight”. I have family history of hypertension, obesity, diabetes – you name it. But I don’t have any of those things. Because I work incredibly hard at not having them.
I don’t hate, or discriminate, against people for being overweight. I love my family and I know how hard it is to stay even reasonably trim, because I have to do it. But the fact is, if you don’t want to be fat, and your legs work, you don’t have to be.
Another is even more blunt:
I am fat.
I have lost 25 pounds since April 1 and I still, according to all the charts, have about 50 to lose before my BMI becomes the high end of normal. I have lost this weight by working out six days a week, watching every calorie and all but eliminating soda and alcohol. The next 25 pounds will be harder and the final 25 pounds will be the hardest yet.
This is genetics. My mother was 5 feet tall and 215 pounds and died two years ago of heart and diabetes issues. My maternal grandmother died at 55 of diabetes. Two maternal uncles, massively obese men, died before their 50th birthdays of heart attacks. I will turn 42 later this month.
This is difficult. I’ve yo-yoed in the past. I could yo-yo again. But here’s the difference: It is physically possible for me to make a massive lifestyle change and lose weight. Unless you are willing to argue that a gay person, through Herculean effort and willpower, can NOT be gay.
I am working too hard to be put into a group where someone else – my ancestors – takes the blame. Fuck you. I am fat and I’m going to not be fat.
To all the fat people out there: Work harder. There are too many people out there who are like what I used to do – donuts for breakfast; pizza buffet for lunch and McDonald’s for dinner. Figure it out. And stop expecting Fat Acceptance. Support? Yes. Encouragement? Yes. Education? Yes.
But never acceptance.
Update from a reader:
I don’t think “FA” is an ideal fit with LGBT, but geez … I’m rolling my eyes pretty hard at the “suck it up, fat people” direction this thread has gone. Yeah, I’m fat too. About 40 lbs more than I should but 60 lbs less than I weighed two years ago. An uncomfortable balancing point between being pretty proud of myself for the work I’ve done but also beating myself up every day that I don’t have the time or will to push for that last 40 yet. And you know what? I don’t need other people, fat or thin, thinking it’s OK to excoriate me for my failure to achieve this!
The poor: suck it up and get a better job!
Addicts: suck it up and kick the habit!
Blacks: suck it up, the Civil War was 150 years ago!
Gays: suck it up – my fancy book says you are an abomination!
So fucking lazy, this argument. Even lazier than my 40 lb overweight fat ass.
Life is a struggle for everyone. We are all in a mind-numbingly difficult spiral of self-improvement and defeat. It’s about treating people with dignity. Is having formal recognition of this a step too far? I don’t know. Have I felt harassed and lessened my entire life for being “fat” even when I was in no danger of poor health but was merely “fat” by beauty standard norms? A bit.
I wonder if people offended by the concept of a formalized “fat acceptance” movement would otherwise agree with the assertion that all people should be treated with dignity across race, class, gender, religion, sexuality, AND appearance. I certainly don’t want people’s tastes to be policed. I may be less than perfect for my inability to fully “suck it up” but I’m certainly not less a person.