Getting along

We’re not as kind as we think we are

Two weeks ago I was informed that though my pre-employment medical exam has been cleared, I still have to go back to the clinic for a suggested consultation with an endochrinologist regarding my 41.5 body mass index. According to my med results, I am “morbidly obese”, which means there’s a huge probability that I’d just drop dead – literally – because I’m a 38-year old guy who stands 5’9″ and weighs 292 lbs.

Hey, guess what. I spend at least 1.5 hours every other day in the gym and the first 60 minutes is spent on cardio exercises. My blood pressure is a steady 120/80 which gradually goes up to 130/90 by the end of the day (which is normal), and a personal trainer said I only need to lose about 40 lbs. That should bring my weight down to around 250, which is still too much by popular standards. But I have big bones, says he. I have a body structure that would have qualified me to the NFL.

This post is not a ‘I’m healthier than most less-than-thirty people’ boast – I wouldn’t know the stats of those who are less healthy than me anyway. But let me ask you this question: how many times have you seen a fat person walk into a fastfood store, shaken your head (in either pity or disgust) and thought in psuedo-concern that ‘Kawawa naman siya’? Be honest.

How many times have you refused to invite a fat friend to a hiking trip because you think you might need to be wary of him/her suffering a heart attack? How many times have you thought that you’re better or luckier than someone just because that person wears a size 46 pants?

Should I consider myself lucky that I am not as ‘overweight’ as other people think (because I only need to lose 40 lbs instead of 100 lbs)?

Hell no.

My mom is 64 years old and weighs 250 lbs, and yet she could still give me a run for my money on the elliptical cross-trainer machine.

Notwithstanding this, how many fat people do you think shy away from school homecomings and family reunions just because they’re worried that they’d get the kind of reaction they’d been getting from everyone else they interact with? How many people get less opportunities for better jobs, positions and social recognition just because they’d rip the seams out of a size medium dress shirt? How many people are denied or given very limited medical and life insurance packages because of being “high-risk” individuals just because they’re fat?

Are fat people ‘lesser’ just because they seem to lack commitment, discipline, and endorsement-billboard-on-city-streets-worthy lean bods and washboard abs?

Whether we admit to this or not, our attitude towards the oversized are fast becoming the ‘New Bigotry’, on the same level of the notorious racial discriminations of the past. Today’s society has rapidly formed negative stereotypes against fat people e.g. lazy, stupid, smelly – the same stereotypes given to black people during the 1950s. Test yourself. When you look at an overweight person, what do you see? Chances are it’s a good-for-nothing couch potato. A witless sloth who could think of nothing but eating and sitting in front of the TV/Playstation/gossip magazine whenever he or she got the chance. A detestable wretch who – even though you consciously insist otherwise – deserve no respect or equal treatment.

“Oh, we’re just concerned that’s why we always get the urge to drill into this person’s head that he’s an unsightly swine.” Don’t you think Mr. Hungry Hippo don’t already know that? Don’t you think that the constant berating he/she gets from people who supposedly care hasn’t already given the person a hopeless sense of being unworthy to be counted as human just for the crime of overworking weighing scales and elevators? The way its appearing right now, there are two kinds of overweight people who don’t go swimming: those who don’t like it, and those who fear ridicule for being called ‘flab that sprang to life’.

Modern medical science states that the chances of a fatal illness increases by 1% for every pound a person gains in excess. Whoever said this didn’t take into account people like my mom, Shaquille O’Neal, and that guy that was featured in the April 1998 issue of Men’s Health magazine, in the article titled The World’s Fittest Fat Man. Of course, they’re unlikely to make considerations for exceptions – medical science, especially the branch that deals with obesity, always is. They like making sweeping statements that appeal to the mass media because this is one branch of science that tends to propagate its trade through the media.  And as exceptionally obedient media lemmings that we are, we buy into all of this, hook, line and sinker. As a result, fat people have been discriminated as a burden to society because of a) being insecure, unhappy and unproductive dweebs who couldn’t possibly contribute much to society, and b) being social services parasites who bleed public health services more severely than any other individual.

Here’s an article that discusses why obesity is being considered as a new race that is being discriminated against. It’s a bit long, but I would advise the open-minded to read all the way through. It’s very enlightening.

So we think the aboriginals are equal under God and deserve every right and privilege we enjoy? Good. We think that gay people should not be considered social diseases? I agree. Having said this, let’s pause and consider the slowly growing ramifications of this ‘New Bigotry’ and think about what we could do on a personal level, if we honestly think we’re not bigots.

(Just a reminder: this is not a call to lead a sedentary lifestyle. I’ve always believed that for someone to avoid bitter regret later in life, that person has to exercise and eat right (which means EAT YOU VEGGIES, BOYS AND GIRLS). But if you ask me, I would shift my focus on fitness instead of weight loss. It’s better to be big and fit than to be thin and be rushed to the hospital because of an alarmingly high cholesterol level, like the 16-year old daughter of a neighbor of mine)

By quistian

An incorrigible Gen-X cynic who writes too damn much