Tuesday, May 24, 2011

What Thin People Don't Know . . .

Some of us were born into obesity. 
Maybe not directly, but some of us have a link that ties us there, something that almost guarantee's our fate into being overweight. 
A pre-dispositioning if you will. 
Whether it be genetic or environmental, no one can say, but the fact is, there are over 60 million obese Americans with medical costs of over $140 billion annually, and that statistic is growing year by year.

Even so, it's very common for "thin" people to look down on obese people. 
They look at the "fat" as though they are lesser humans. 
They look at us as though we are bad people. 
They point. They stare. They laugh. 
They shout cat calls when they see a fat person walking or jogging or working out. 
They giggle when a fat person can't fit into a restaurant booth. 
They gasp when they see a larger person out dancing or riding a bike. 

For a thin person, it's easy. 
They look at an obese person and say "why don't you just put down the fork" or "why don't you just exercise". 
They will never understand that it's just not that simple. 

You see, we obese people have a lot to deal with. 
Of course there's the physical aspects of just being obese - the health problems such as shortness of breath or swollen joints and ankles; the fact that it's difficult to fit into small spaces or sometimes to maneuver around obstacles. 
But there's also some very deep psychological and emotional issues as well. 
First we deal every day with societies views of the obese. 
Second we deal with the reasons we are obese to begin with (for many of us, it stems from some form of trauma). 
Third, we deal with an addiction that is stronger and more powerful than any drug or cigarette could ever be.

Yes. I said addiction.

See, this is my point - thin people don't understand the addiction, and they probably never will. 
For a thin person, it's about 
"eat when you're hungry, stop when you're not". 
For a food addict it's about 
"eat everything that tastes good until you feel sick to your stomach then eat a little bit more" 
and then there's 
"I'm sad . . . let's eat" 
"I'm pissed . . . Let's eat" 
"I'm happy! Let's eat!"
You see the pattern here?
This is not the way thin people think.
For thin people, celebrations include things like shopping, dancing, driving, swimming, fishing, etc.
For obese people, celebrations are all about the food.

So here's what thin people will never know:

Weight loss is a daily struggle against an addiction that many people either don't realize they have or can not control. 
There is a lot more than just "putting down the fork" or "getting up off your butt" to it. 
Each and every day is a struggle, sometimes to just get out of bed and face the sizest world we live in. 
It is a struggle to make the choice to eat that piece of fruit, rather than that chocolate bar. 
It is a struggle to NOT pick up the phone and call Pizza Hut, no matter what our bank account is. 
It's a struggle to cook every healthy meal, to look at the scale, to just look in the mirror.

So, for my thin friends, I ask this favor.
When I am struggling, be supportive.
When I am hurting, be a shoulder.
When I am crying because I can't have chocolate, offer me a hug, and an apple.
When I'm whining about having to get on that stupid eliptical again, offer to go for a walk with me.
Don't look at me like I'm crazy.
Don't assume I'm being melodramatic.
And please, don't tell me to "just do it"
Because you will never know that it's just. not. that. easy.


Laura The Great said...

Unlike other addicts we can't simply abstain from our addiction. Alcoholics can't drink in moderation...Food addicts need food to live, and we have to face our addiction multiple times per day when we have to feed our family.
The ridicule while exercising is the worst. If I go jog, I get people laughing at me and making comments like my infamous incident with "Run, Fatty, Run!" I wish those same people could see that when I am out there running I am trying to make changes, I know I am fat. I don't need a reminder, I feel it all over my body when I exercise. Eating right isn't easy on a budget either! So instead of judgement, people need to throw out some encouragement when they see someone trying.

Nena said...

That was one of the best blog posts I have ever read in my entire life.

Thank you.

Nena said...

Oh, and one other thing. Your post made me realize how very happy and very lucky I am to have found my boot camp and not be stuck with only the gym for an option. I hate the looks I get from the gym rats; it's like they think I can't possibly be serious.

If anyone were to be anything less than 100% supportive and motivating at START, Sgt. Ken would undoubtedly make them very, very sorry.

courtney said...

Fantastic post, Jen. FANTASTIC. I love you!

Beyond Willpower said...

This is all so true, just posted a smidge about food addiction in my blog too, seems we're on the same wavelength today.


Anne said...

Great post! Visiting from SITS. have a wonderful day!

Anonymous said...

Great post, I can so relate. It's a struggle and I want to be healthier for my son. Stopping byfrom SITS.

Dez said...

Beautifully said, Jen. Emotional eating has sabotaged nearly every attempt at weight loss I have ever undertaken.

It is possible to overcome though. And that is why as soon as I am doing typing this sentence, I will be standing up to applaud you. xo

Laura Wells said...

Thanks for the post. It is interesting. It can be hard to relate to each others struggles. It helps me to remember that every person, thin or obese, had struggles of varying degree and at some point we all have huge struggles that are are difficult to overcome. We need to give each other grace.

Emily Guthrie said...

Amen! I experienced some very disturbing public fat shaming at work this week that had me feeling outraged...and alone. Thank you for sharing the truth for so many people! Happy SITS Day!

Emily Guthrie said...

Amen! I experienced some very disturbing public fat shaming at work this week that had me feeling outraged...and alone. Thank you for sharing the truth for so many people! Happy SITS Day!

doseofreality said...

This is simply beautiful. And so well said. My mother died from the complications of being morbidly obese, and I think about my family history a lot. I related to much of what you said here. Thank you and best wishes for a wonderful SITS day.:)-Ashley

doseofreality said...

This is simply beautiful. And so well said. My mother died from the complications of being morbidly obese, and I think about my family history a lot. I related to much of what you said here. Thank you and best wishes for a wonderful SITS day.:)-Ashley

stephaniegiese said...

Happy SITS day. I really feel for you. This is a struggle for my mom and it is so difficult in her daily life. thank you for having the courage to write about it!

misssrobin said...

Beautifully said and something everyone should hear.

I hope you find kindness and peace along your journey.

Kathy Penney said...

It is something I've been struggling with the last 10 years and it's the hardest thing I've ever done. I've been on both sides of the fence and I can tell you day to day it's way harder when you're heavier and once you've discovered that addiction it is a monkey on your back. I have picked myself up and dusted myself off so many times I can't count...but I will continue to do so until I get it right. Not for society or the media, not for a pair of jeans, partly for my husband who has loved me literally through thin and thick, partly for me because I am finally GETTING that I deserve it, but completely for a baby and a toddler who deserve a healthy example and a mom who will be there for college and weddings and grandkids because she didn't give up the fight. I am praying for you and your fight against your addiction- because you are right that's what it is. Congrats on what you've accomplished so far! Stopping by from SITS.

Sheila Skillingstead said...

Visiting on your SITS Day. Nicely said. I enjoyed your three posts today. I will come back. Again, thanks. PS love your page edges.

Speed Chic said...

Well, we all have our challenges, congrats for tackling yours!

Stephanie Kneese said...

I feel like I wrote this, it is an addiction. It's sad. Visiting from Sits. :)

Christine said...

This is truly a fantastic post. I really appreciate your honesty and candor. It's so easy to judge and make assumptions but we are all more than that. Thank you for sharing this. (and Happy SITS Day!)

OMG! Yummy said...

It's great that you are so open and honest - that's how education happens. Hope you are having a fantastic SITS day!

OMG! Yummy said...

It's great that you are so open and honest - that's how education happens. Hope you are having a fantastic SITS day!

Just Me said...

I am a recovering anorectic. I can totally relate to the addiction process-- it is an addiction that is just as insidious as any other addiction.

Kristin Leamy said...

Beautifully said. I can't believe people openly ridicule others in any scenario, and it seems during exercise is the ultimate double standard. People always think others should fit their visual version of healthy, but Heaven forbid you get out and work toward it - they'll just laugh openly at you. You are a rockstar, and I love reading your posts.

hilljean said...

Hi, I'm over here from SITS. I am so glad I read this post first. You really illuminated the struggles for everyone to see.

I am not obese, but I have heard people ridicule overweight women at the gym. I can't stand to hear it. I don't even like to go to the gym because of self consciousness around all the rats. I am sorry for the stigma and pain that goes along with being overweight. It is a disease and people need to be compassionate!

Tracy Larson said...

What a great blog post. Very open, honest and hopefully eye opening for people to again treat each other with kindness. I never have understood why overweight people are ridiculed. Everyone struggles with something, I hope someday we can support each other in our struggles. Your blog is a great way to continue to educate people and remind them of how to treat everyone, no matter what!

Chris Carter said...

I am so so sorry that ANYONE has to go through the kind of sick de-humanization that you and so many others go through. It makes me want to cry. This was beautiful. I pray you are empowered by your own will and encouraged by your own spirit. :)

Lyza May said...

Wow, this was very powerful and I am truly sorry fro any ridicule you have ever endured. I know your point, but you know not every thin person feels that way and there are many, many thin people that are thin because of poor self-esteem, an eating disorder, or illness. Society puts a lot of pressure on a small model of what is accepted and a lot of people don't fit into that.

The fact that obesity is an epidemic in this country is terrible and emotional trauma aside, the american diet is toxic and is making us sick.

I applaude you for trying to make a difference for yourself, to improve your health and heal your wounds and your addiction.

I would encourage you to look at traditional foods for the way to eat. Modern food is poison. if you're interested, i write a lot about nutrition.

Good luck to you.



Lyza May said...

By the way, happy SITS day!

Jeannie-JB said...

For every 'thin' person who has ever ridiculed you, I apologize.

I'm not thin, I try every day to be thin, but I'm probably a little above average weight (I mean the real average and not the 125 lbs. is 'heavy' average).

Your so right - eating healthy is way more expensive. Some of us were raised to include food (great, high calorie, food) in every celebration - Food is an expression of love in my family.

Some people have thyroid issues that make staying thin next to impossible.

Some people have had multiple surgeries and diseases like degenerative arthritis that make it very hard to walk - even slowly - much less exercise.

My point is, you don't know why that person is heavy. You should smile and say hello and maybe say a prayer for that person. Never Ridicule anybody - you have not walked in their shoes.

I'm sorry for 'mean' people - Happy SITS Day!

Jean said...

Very true. Especially the addiction part. I've never been extremely overweight but have always been overweight by at least a moderate amount, all my life. At least until I found out about "low carb" eating. With LC eating I finally shook the sugar addiction/cravings and lost. I'm now very healthy and feel wonderful. But I'll never forget what it was like, and would never make fun of someone who is battling that demon. Best luck to you! And happy SITS day, too!

DJrelAt7 said...

That is sad to hear that people can be like that towards others :(

Stopping by from SITS

Dorothy Gottfredson said...

And unlike other addiction(like alcohol, nicotine, etc) food is not looked upon as something that is dangerous and we should all watch out for. So nobody takes it seriously as something we can actually struggle with and could need help from. Happy SITS Day and thanks for sharing! - Dorothy

You can find me at: http://www.PowderRoomPlayground.com

Kimberly Gauthier, The Fur Mom said...

I wasn't certain what to expect from this post and I'm glad that I read it, because it helped me understand a few women I know. I figured that it was more than just putting down the fork, but never understood why it was worth it to continue down an unhealthy path.

It's not worth it. It's an addiction and having known addicts, I can understand that it just becomes a tangled mess of emotions and it's a vicious cycle.

So now I know. Thanks.