On one of the blogs I frequent, the following question was posed:
“What do you think… what do you *honestly* think… when you see a very obese mother with her very obese young child? What do you think? Do you make any assumptions? How do you feel towards the mother? Towards the child?
What if they are at a buffet eating loads of fried chicken and French fries, or at McDonald’s having Big Macs?” ~Lynn’s Post~
I started writing a comment on her blog and I had just way too much to say about it. Thank you for prompting me and others to think about these questions.
If I saw an obese mom and child at the buffet a year ago, I probably would have been worried about the fried chicken being gone than I did about the health of the 2 people.
People who get angry or upset or feel like it’s child abuse … not judging… but have YOU ever been morbidly obese? I would guess not by your resentment and disassociation with those people. It’s impossible to see a situation for what it REALLY is until you have walked a mile in those people’s shoes. I used to be 524 pounds and even though I couldn’t walk a mile a year ago in anyone’s shoes, I do know what it’s like.
Why would you be angry? I don’t get mad, I want to give that person a hug and tell them there is something better for them, that they deserve it and that it IS achievable. I speaking as one who is running away from the 524 pound man I used to be. a person who has never been obese giving me advice or telling me “you can do it” is like someone who has never had children giving advice on how to raise your kids. Sorry people, but all you can give me is a theoretical point of view.
That is why I feel inclined obligated to blog about a very private issue so the world can see it. Maybe someone will read my story. Someone who doesn’t have a friend who knows what it’s like. I used to use the excuse that no one understood what I was going through or how hard it was for me to change.
How can you REALLY speak to me from a place of understanding unless you:
- have become worried, even anxious getting fast food because you are not sure you got enough food to make me full.
- go into every social event worrying about the structural integrity of the furniture
- eat before you go to a dinner party, which you also eat at, because you don’t want others to know how much you really eat.
- have been told by a Disney Land employee (who was very classy about it BTW) that you are just to big to ride Space Mountain safely
- had to ask for a seatbelt extender on an airplane
- had to worry about your ability to ride in a friends vehicle
You may have an opinion, and that is fine, but please don’t pretend to know how hard it is to be me. That doesn’t mean you can’t help me, it just means that you must realize that there are some things you just aren’t going to understand. Also, you have to realize that it doesn’t matter how much YOU want me to change, I have to want it for myself. It’s not the mechanics I lack at times, it’s the motivation.
Show me someone who is just as fat (or fatter) than me who actually did it. Don’t push me a trendy product or a fad diet. Putting ON this weight wasn’t a fad nor was it because of a trendy fattening meal. It was a long history of destructive habits and unhealthy choices. It’s ridiculous to think that doing anything but dealing with those habits and choices that got me into this mess will get me out.
I cannot force you to change nor can you me. If you want to really help someone make a change in their life for the better, it needs to start from a place of compassion. Ask yourself:
“Why do I want that person to change?”
“ Is it because they are different than me? “
“Is it because I believe I am right and they are wrong?”
“Is it because I think these people are a drain on healthcare?”
“Do I feel less respect for them as a person because the respect themselves less?”
If you answered yes, your motivation to help me are self centered.
Do you care about ME? Are you going to help me if I fail again?
Will you care enough to know when to NOT give advice and just listen to me figure things out?
Do you value the qualities that I DO possess even though I am fat?
When I cheer, will you cheer with me? When I cry, will you cry with me?
Will you remind me that the person I am now is not the best that I have to offer?
If so, you can make a difference in my life. You are ready to help someone like me. If not, it’s best not to bother trying to help me.
To those that have been that friend to me through my weight struggles, thank you. You have made all the difference my life. As I have seen people like this stand out in my life, I am overwhelmed.