Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Weight Discrimination

Today I visited a new messageboard on ivillage. It was the Weight Discrimination board. The description of the board basically led me to believe that it was a board where you could go and vent about the discrimination you may feel as a person who is overweight.

What I actually came to find out on this board is that it is meant to be a place for those who are overweight to glorify being overweight.

The first post I stumbled across was "Is child obesity abuse". I thought it was an interesting post as a mother detailed a recital she attended where parents were talking about how overweight the children were. However a person posted "obesity doesnt kill you". This of course caught my eye and I immediately had to respond because I couldnt believe that someone would be that ignorant! Sure, obesity doesnt kill you in that once you are obese you cant stop yourself from downward spiraling, however the effects of obesity range from just being out of breath to heart attacks. Needless to say, this person didnt like me telling them that obesity kills and said that she had never heard of anyone obese dying from heart attacks, blood clots, stroke, inability to clean themselves and their skin, etc.

The next post I came across was labeled "Diets do not improve health" or something like that. Now yes, I dont really believe in a "diet" per say, rather a lifestyle change, however I do think that someone who is using a "diet" such as WW or LAWL, or whatever, should be commended for making that change. That was all I stated and I got attacked! All these people started commented on how diets always fail and doctors dont recommend people eating healthy, etc. WHAT?!?!? It was like they were defending why they shouldnt diet or eat healthy. One poster found all these statistics and manipulated them (and being a semi statistician I know quite well how people use statistics in any way to sell their pt) to back her up in saying that what is the point in dieting or eating healthy when you will just fail? Well of course you will, if that is what you believe before even trying!

And finally, another post was about how overweight people are not always unhealthy. This I agreed with fully because I think a lot of circumstances, if you an overweight person and you eat right and exercise, you probably are a lot healthier than someone who is of moderate weight and sedentary and eats like crap. I have better blood pressure than my boyfriend does and he is of normal weight for a man (160-165). Plus I see people like my sister who weigh 100 pounds if that and she will certainly be dead before me (and she is younger than me). However, once again, a poster criticized and attacked someone who stated that yes while you can be overweight and healthy, it never hurts to still work out and exercise and lose some weight to lower the BMI.

My point with all of this is that I was deeply disturbed that there are people who are comfortable being not just overweight, but unhealthy. That they can actually tell themselves that they are ok, that they wont get any diseases/conditions associated with obesity. Im all for pride of ones self. Even at my highest weight, I still thought I was pretty, and I still dressed myself the best that I could. However, I would LISTEN when someone told me, such as a dr, that I needed to lose weight, etc for my health. One poster on the board said that drs are just discriminatory and I know drs make overweight people feel like crap sometimes because they are honest. But that honesty can save a life. I guess some people are just in denial and dont want to believe that what they are doing isnt healthy and isnt going to help their life any.

I guess most of all it just saddens me because I feel lucky that I found the willpower to change my behaviors. Regardless of what these people beleive, I know the effects of obesity. I have seen them with my grandparents. I have seen obese people all around me struggling to do things that everyone should and DESERVES to do. I guess I dont see why someone would rather live in the dark and in denial. I know I probably sound like a know it all, and believe me I dont. I realize that a lot of these people probably are scared and dont know where to start. Or they are not ready to make a change and commit to it. But obesity is not like AIDS, you can stop it, you can win the battle and I guess its hard for me to see why someone would not choose a healthy life over one thats not. I guess thats the choice that people make every day with other vices such as drugs and alcohol. This board just really opened my eyes to people who walk around with hatred towards anything that may help them or benefit them in becoming healthy. I am sure a lot of people have been hurt by discrimination due to their weight and carry that hurt with them. But they have to realize that a lot of the literature and their drs are right...they arent being discriminatory, they are just trying to save a life.


Christina said...

I agree with you. I understand and encourage self-acceptance no matter what your size, but to be obese AND inactive AND eat junk most of the time IS unhealthy and will lead you down a bad road. I have a cousin who is 350+ pounds and she is in very grave danger of leaving this earth early if she doesn't do something soon. She's barely into her 40s and already she needs a scooter to get herself around because her knees just can't handle the weight anymore.

I say if you are a big person but active and your size doesn't hold you back, good for you. If not, changes need to be made and no amount of rationalizing it is going to make it any better.

Just my two cents.

Teale said...

Wow, this board just sounds ridiculous, and I'm not sure that I'd continue to visit it! It's one thing to be overweight and not do anything about it b/c you're just lazy (even though you know losing weight would better your health)... but another thing to be overweight and not do anything about it b/c you don't think you should.

I agree that everyone should be proud of who they are, regardless of their weight.... but you should also have self-worth and know that staying obese is not increasing your quality of life.

Scale Junkie said...

Wow, what a sad bunch of people :-(

I think that its one thing to stand up for your rights and not want to be discriminated against because of your weight, epecially if you are trying to fix the problem but to want glorification for your weight? To think that its okay to have an overweight child? I WAS an overweight child who became an overweight adult. I've missed out on opportunities in life because of my weight. I've let my weight hold me back in every aspect, career, social, personal. Have these people not seen Honey We're Killing The Kids? Even if you are overweight and healthy, you must know in your heart of hearts that your body would be healthier if you were closer to a normal weight. And before anyone flames me for my opinion, I'm currently weighing in at 360 pounds, formerly 425 pounds...I don't want to be this size, its not fun and its certainly not healthy!

Leigh said...

It's sad when people want to find a reason not to change bad habits and lifestyles.

When I was pregnant, I heard a lot on message boards, etc. that you should not DIET or restrict your intake of food... yeah, same kind of thing. After gaining 60+ pounds during my pregnancy, I wondered why nobody was saying you need to be eating healthy, exercising, and taking care of your body more than ever!!!

Weight loss is hard work... and I think a lot of people don't want to have to make the change.