Last week I noticed several posts about the little boy in the UK who is over 200 lbs and his mother, who faced losing custody of him over the issue. My first thought on reading about the case was, "Well, she should have known better. She should have done something."
I refrained from commenting on the posts and gave the issue some thought. Along with the sentiment that this mother was being neglectful I saw several posts and resulting comments that echoed the same thought. People with weight problems lack self-control, are somehow less intelligent or simply don't care about themselves. Over and over I saw comments like, "Put the cheeseburger down and get some excersise." What I read began to trouble me.
As a woman who has struggled with weight issues most of her life for a variety of reasons I can tell you first hand how the comments of people who don't stuggle with weight can hurt. When you're overweight, it's all anyone sees. Take right now for instance. I'm pregnant, on restricted activity and adding to this, I tend to gain weight...a lot of weight...when I'm pregnant. People look at me and they don't see a college educated, intelligent woman. They see a fat woman. Their assessment of me ends there.
The next time you see someone that is overweight, stop and think a moment before you start damning them. You don't know that person, you don't know what led to thier weight gain or the inability to lose that weight. There are medications that cause severe weight gain. The people who take them face the choice of using a life saving medicine and being large or being sick and possibly dying. There are medical conditions, both mental and physical, that lead to weight gain. Bulimia and Anorexia are not the only eating disorders. Sever emotional or physical abuse can lead to the use of food as a substitute for emotion. Even income bracket and education level can contribute to these problems.
While it is easy to view someone with a morbid obesity problem as sloppy and stupid, it is usually far from the truth. The next time you find yourself tempted to make generalizations regarding someone based on their appearence, stop and remember this: You are only as good as your treatment of the people you encounter on a daily basis.
Get off your high horse and learn to value people for who they are. If you really want to make a difference and help stop the obesity problem in this country, volunteer for an educational program at the local health department. Volunteer to help with activities at the local community center or Boys and Girls Club. The people you ridicule are still people and don't deserve your scorn.