03 January 2013 ~ 11 Comments

The Weighty Issue of “Fatism”

The world is becoming increasingly politically correct. Here in the US it is deemed unacceptable to discriminate against people because of things like gender, race and illness. However, apparently it’s still perfectly de rigueur to mock people who are fat or overweight.

What inspired me to write the poem below was the article I read today in the British press about how the British government is considering cutting benefits for obese people who refuse to exercise. In my personal experience, this is very short-sighted. Now that I’ve been there myself, I know only too well that a large proportion of obesity and weight issues are caused by metabolic illnesses such as thyroid disease, which is oftentimes hereditary and not usually something the patient has brought on themselves! In such cases, most patients (at least in the beginning) aren’t even able to exercise because their metabolic disorder can also cause extreme fatigue and joint pain.

If the British government wishes to save money, perhaps they should consider paying more attention to ensuring the many thyroid sufferers get proper treatment by a knowledgeable doctor who doesn’t diagnose and treat by a pituitary hormone alone (TSH) and is also open to trying all thyroid medications until the patient feels well again. Doesn’t a doctor, who strives to heal, owe this to his or her patients – to leave no stone unturned? If more thyroid patients received proper treatment, health insurance companies would have to shell out less for the treatment of accompanying conditions such as heart bypasses, cholesterol treatment, etc. etc. Treat the cause rather than the symptoms should be their adage. Furthermore, I believe it would make sense for health insurance to pay for people with metabolic diseases to see nutritionists and personal trainers to help them heal their bodies as obviously medication alone doesn’t cut it and not everyone has the money for the professional help they might need.

Whilst I do to some extent understand people’s outrage at having to fund people who are obese or overweight and who refuse to change their diets or work out (assuming they are even able!) I’d like to point out that not everyone with a weight problem has this attitude and not everyone can actually do anything about it until they get the right medical treatment, which is so often denied them.

This poem is written from my own personal perspective as someone who has been there and knows exactly what they are talking about. This illness caused me to balloon from a US Size 6/UK Size 10 to a US Size 14/UK Size 18 (now I’m back to a US Size 12/UK Size 16) and frankly it was heart-breaking. The treatment I received by those around me was utterly horrible and I don’t think I will ever forgive most of them (except my family who have since apologised). That said, it once again underlines what I said above – too many are ignorant as to what is often the true cause of overweight or obesity.

Whilst I never had problems finding a job, a very well presented and attractive voluptuous friend of mine recently remarked that she felt that as a result of this she had missed out on several job opportunities in her home country of Germany. This shocked me to say the least.

Another story I remember reading about repeatedly is how many airlines have begun charging overweight passengers for their extra weight, some of whom are crassly unprofessional in the treatment of this issue such as in this article. If you look around, you’ll see constant examples of people making fun of others who are overweight …

“I’m fat!” she said. “I’m overweight!
Can’t find a job; can’t get a date.
’Cause people snicker and people judge
And on their opinions they won’t budge
I wish they could see the person inside
And cease to mock and to deride
I never planned to look this way
But to my chagrin and dismay
The hours of workouts at the gym
Didn’t make me fit, didn’t make me slim
My body ballooned out of control
It hurt my heart, it hurt my soul
When friends and family launched their sharp words
There was no comfort to be heard
A pretty girl back in her teens
I don’t understand what this all means
I blame myself for this overweight
How did I ever get in this state?
And later on I come to see
It’s not my fault, it wasn’t me!
Because, you know, the family curse
Has made me go from bad to worse
Bed’s become my new best friend
My days of energy have come to an end
I’m not lazy and I’m not crazy
But my mind’s becoming hazy
All these symptoms are connected
By one gland they are affected
Still thyroid is the butt of jokes
Some even think it is a hoax
A silly excuse for lazy greed
But non-sufferers, please take heed:
1 in 5 in the USA are let down by their thyroids today
Walk a mile in my shoes!
Come on, try it! You’ve nothing to lose
See it from the other side
And you might cease to deride.”

Now, over to you! I’d like to hear about your experiences with this. Have you ever experienced discrimination due to your weight? What do you think should be done about it?

11 Responses to “The Weighty Issue of “Fatism””