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Amy Patterson – “My Thoughts”

Posted on Tuesday, August 5, 2014 at 2:43 pm

Let’s talk about fat people. No, really.

Editor’s note: Before we go any further, let’s put on our big boy pants for this one. Ok? Read the whole thing before you decide to make a ruling or start pouting. Hear me out.

In case you haven’t noticed, there’s a bit of an epidemic going around in America today… Obesity.

Everywhere you go you will see people considered “extremely overweight.” You will also see changes being made to our world to accommodate this “body type.”

Between Redbox movie machines, scooters at every store, and drive-thrus, I’m surprised people ever walk anywhere!

In addition to the extreme levels of “convenience” offered throughout our  country, American restaurants serve enormous portions and a very low priority is put on physical activity, even in our schools.

While I’m not in favor of treating someone differently just because of how they look, it’s amazing to me that we’ve allowed  more than half of our population to become obese. With that in mind, it’s hard to say that America is not accepting of fat people.

As a matter of fact, we go out of our way to make sure that people will be fat! We’re more than tolerant of the lifestyle choices that lead to obesity and don’t treat it like what it truly is – a disorder.

Other eating/image disorders, like bulimia and anorexia, are treated like any other issue or disease – with identification, acceptance, and treatment.

When someone is underweight, the world is quick to notice and condemn; why is it not the same with “fat” people?

If you saw a mother hand her child a lit cigarette, you’d explode; why is it not the same when you see the overweight middleschooler chowing down on Doritos and Mountain Dew while juggling their Xbox controller?

Our government recognizes that there’s a problem and is forcing our schools to change their meal plans and serving options, but here in the “real world” we turn the other cheek?

Another example: American businesses are required to have designated “handicap parking” areas and many offer other “handicap-friendly” services like power wheelchairs. Obese individuals frequently suffer from other medical maladies, some of which may prompt the issuance of a parking tag for use of the handicap spaces.

Wouldn’t it be killing two birds with one stone if those struggling to maintain a healthy weight were forced to walk more than five feet to the entrance of the store or the nearest scooter cart?

Not only is America as a whole accepting of its overweight inhabitants, but so are we as individuals. We encourage a positive body image and discourage low self esteem. One blogger, when addressing the same issue, questioned “How could you be positive about something when you are, at the same time, actively damaging it?”

Everyone has their own definition of “attractive,” but this goes way beyond that. This is not about feeling attractive or desirable; it’s about being healthy and stepping off the fast-track to heart disease and death.

It’s frustrating to me that no one addresses the “elephant in the room” when it comes to being obese (haha, see what I did there?–just kidding).

In the recent past, when I was well-beyond my healthy weight, despite my questioning nobody wanted to tell me that I was “overweight.” I knew it myself, but assumed I was having body image issues, because not a single person agreed with my view.

I finally started losing the extra weight I had packed on and began to feel good about myself again. People noticed. They would offer compliments on my appearance and question whether I had lost weight.

How is it that we can encourage someone once they begin losing the weight that they so obviously need to rid themselves of, but nobody wants to help them get the ball rolling? Are we that afraid of hurting each other’s feelings?

It’s not about feelings, people! It’s about not dying and about living a healthy life!

Now, I’m not suggesting that you head to Walmart and start pointing out people’s flaws, because I don’t think that would go over very well. However, we need to take it upon ourselves to encourage the ones we love and care about to be the healthiest and happiest them they can be.

Point blank, your chunky kid is no longer cute. To be honest, he should have lost that “baby weight” a long time ago. Stop feeding him brownies and french fries and instead buy him a bike. Put up the video games and tablets and make him go outside! For that matter, get off the couch yourself. Go for a walk! I promise whatever is going on with Wheel of Fortune is not worth your health.

I feel very strongly about this topic, but for your sanity I’ll stop here. Please, do yourself a favor and complete one healthy task today. Opt for the salad instead of the pizza slab. You’ll thank yourself later.