Today I was nearly crushed to death by an immensely large woman at Quiktrip. It was only my quick reflexes and a shot of adrenalin that saved me as she tripped and crashed towards me, all 550 pounds of unwashed fat rolls flying towards me at the speed of gravity. I dove out of her trajectory and managed to save myself. The floor of the Quiktrip was not so lucky. After she tripped, 17 people attempted to help her up, to no avail. Fortunately she had the leg strength of an Olympic weight lifter and managed to get back to her feet.
My brush with death made me choose to once again broach the topic of obesity, despite the fact that last time it resulted in death threats. And don’t even THINK about giving me a hard time about writing this. Every last one of you thinks the same things. Most of you just have the good sense not to say it.
How does one get to the point where they say “screw it, I’m just gonna go for broke?” Most Americans have some chub. That’s a fact, and I’d be lying if I said I was exempt from that classification. I have a good 20 pounds of excess weight. I have that extra weight for two very good reasons. 1) I eat too much fast food and 2) I don’t exercise enough. I know this because when I eat well and exercise my weight goes down, and when I do the opposite, it goes up.
About the time I get to be 20 pounds heavy, I think “dang, I’m getting fat.” And at 25 pounds over, I go “ok, fine, I need to fix this.” Thus my lifelong cycle of fluctuating between 195 and 215.
It would be silly of me to claim some sort of special insight into the mind of the morbidly obese. There are undoubtedly many factors both physical and psychological that play a part. What I can do is point out the observations I’ve made first hand.
First, I’ve never met a morbidly obese person that actually eats well or manages their intake. I’ve met LOTS of morbidly obese folks that SAY they eat well and manage intake. They have “tried every diet there is.” Eating a salad in public isn’t fooling anyone. I know better, because I saw that same person go home and eat a tub of ice cream and a bag of chips in front of the TV. Every. Day. That is, to use the colloquialism, a crapload of calories.
To put it into perspective, a 5’3″ woman who weighs 160 pounds needs 1,440 calories a day to MAINTAIN her weight. If she eats less, she’ll lose weight. If she eats more, she’ll gain weight. A half gallon of ice cream is 1,200 calories. A bag of potato chips is 2,240 calories. Now let’s add the typical McDonalds lunch, roughly 1,400 calories. And to be conservative, let’s say dinner is 1,000 calories. Now throw in another large Coke for 280 calories. That person has now had 6,120 calories. Per day. That’s an overage of 4,680 calories. Per day. One pound is about 3,500 calories.
Just a few months is all it takes to gain 100+ pounds.
There is no health problem in the world that would “make” you eat 6,000 calories a day. That’s just making excuses. Ok, fine… Prader-Willi Syndrome can make you eat and never feel full. It’s exceedingly rare, and YOU don’t have it.
My second major observation is this. Morbidly obese people are almost always lumped (no pun intended) into the “lazy” category. Let’s face it, you can’t get to 500 pounds by being super active. There’s some science behind that stereotype. I used to watch people in this “super sized” category and think… I’m sure they work hard at something, just clearly not their health. But then I got to know several scale-busters, and I realized that that lack of effort in fact did permeate their entire lifestyle.
To be fair, I’ve only personally gotten to know 4-5 people that fall into this category, and I realize that’s not a very big sample. But let’s just say my hope that one of them would prove the stereotypes incorrect were soundly dashed.
Fat is not a handicap anymore than being short of breath from smoking is a handicap. It’s a self-inflicted “disease” that you literally have the power to change at any time you so choose. Watch Discovery Health. That channel is basically a 24/7 network dedicated to showing the light bulb come on for morbidly obese people and I’ll be darned, when they change their habits, they lose the weight.
If you can’t walk without assistance because of your weight… if you can’t fit in a shower (GROSS) or bathroom stall… if you can’t wipe your own rear end properly because you can’t reach it… step away from the sheet cake. Only you can save you.