Buckminster Skeeter: Wanna buy a watch?

Thursday, May 18, 2006

The Obese

So much media time has been spent on the rising problem of obesity in America. So much time. I've seen everything from claiming genetics cause it to people trying to sue McDonald's for producing unhealthy food. I never really thought to much about it until my brother called me the other day and unleashed one hell of a rant about it. My brother rants like few people on this planet. When he gets all worked up his voice rises, the veins in his head throb, spittle flies from his mouth like Bill Cower chewing out a side line judge who made an obviously bad call, he takes an aggressive finger pointing posture like a coked up trial lawyer grilling a lying witness. He was ranting to me on the phone but I could still feel his body language. To set this up you have to understand that he rarely wants anything from anybody. About a month ago he hurts his back very badly. It was one of those things that happen to men when they've been working hard manual labor most of their lives then they hit a certain age and the discs in their spine decide to start shifting around. Maybe a pinched nerve, slipped disc or the likes. The rant went something like this:

" I went down to the Wal-Mart this morning. I was barely able to push the pedals on the car to get there - when I did it took me about 10 minutes to walk from the parking lot to the door. When I got in there I asked the greeter if I could get one of those scooter things because I was seriously injured. He tells me that they are all out. Meanwhile I can look around and see at least 3 of them scooting by with some behemoth, whale looking women on them. These were the kind of people who are morbidly obese and yet you see them at the Pizza Hut buffet piling 12 pieces of pizza on their plates. I said 'look fella you got all your scooters, which are supposedly meant for people with disabilities, and there's nothing but overweight people using them.' He told me that obesity is a disability. I about lost it. I started in on him 'why the hell should these doughnut eating slobs get all the hand-holding in here when I have a legitimate problem which prevents me from walking your isles, to buy your merchandise? These fat asses can walk. They walked from the car to the store didn't they? I bet it didn't take them 10 minutes like it did me. Look at them. That lady has nothing but shit piled in her little grocery basket. Does it look like she gives a damn that she's overweight? Should I do some jumping jacks to see if I can worsen my condition? Then will you give me a fuckin' cart?' (to Bucky) this just pisses me off - I hope one of those lard butts has a heart attack right there on isle 9 and careens into a stack of Bush's Baked Beans."

It took me a few minutes to stop laughing and I applauded my brother for using such visual word-pictures. That's the way to rant.

But it made me think about obesity. Even with all the talk about it being a 'genetic' disorder I don't really buy it. I know these simple truths - If you take in a high volume of calories (especially from fat and sugars) you will be overweight - your degree of obesity is directly proportional to this volume and the amount of physical exercise you undertake. Sure some people are genetically predisposed to packing on the weight - all those 'big boned' people we all knew - but there is a limit where genetics stop and sensibility begins. I believe that society has attempted to make excuses for obesity.

And suing fast food chains is just completely absurd. How can it possibly be the fault of McDonald's that someone eats there 7 times per week and puts down 3 Big Macs with each trip? Are they at fault for making tasty food? Should Mars Co. Be put out of business because they make chocolate candies? Should the makers of Beenie Weinees and Twinkees be held liable for someone who eats them a box per sitting? I think not. It pisses me off that my tax dollars are wasted when our courts are burdened with such nonsense.

I've known several people who were fat. They took some responsibility, exercised some self control, and worked their asses off to shed the weight. A lot of weight. It can be done. Just because some lazy shithead wants to sit on a couch all day eating buckets of KFC and Klondike bars doesn't make it a disease. I don't care what the 'scientists' say. Have a little self respect and wipe that cream filling off your third chin.

I ran across the website for the American Obesity Association - the 'Leading Organization for Advocacy and Education on Obesity'. I was going to peruse the website and try to become educated on the issue but I decided otherwise - the first item under 'News' reads: "Lifespan may be cut short by obesity." How fucking profound! How many scientists and researchers did they employee to reach this ground breaking conclusion? What reasonably educated person doesn't know that being a mammoth will increase your chances for dozens of diseases, conditions, and health problems. Has anyone ever seen a 300+ pound person over the age of 75? I haven't. Take a trip up to the local old folks home and take a random weight sample. There's nary a fat one to be found. Needless to say I assumed the rest of the site was filled with other such fluff and decided to look elsewhere for material.

I found several sites, articles, and essays on what I believe is the real culprit - it's a scam. Politicians, big business, pharmaceutical companies, and activists want everyone to think there's an epidemic. Most of the 'overweight' people they cite are just barely over the 'accepted' ratio of weight to height. For example - I am 6' 1''. If I weighed 230 pounds my BMI (Body Mass Index) would be a 30 - the defining line for 'obesity'. I am well under at 185 - but 230 would certainly be heavy - fat even - but nothing like the 300+ pounders people think of when you say "obese". I've hit 205 once in my life. I looked bigger - okay, kinda chubby, but an extra 25 pounds would make a huge difference - nothing like the difference of an extra 100 pounds. Not to mention the fact that alot of guys have above average muscle mass. Muscle weighs more than fat - for any guy who works out on a regular basis weighing above average would certainly NOT be an indicator of obesity. If I worked out hard over the last 5 years I may weigh around 220 - it'd be all lean muscle but I'd be classified by a BMI which says I'm 'overweight'. Do you think a 245 pound linebacker would be 'obese' or even 'overweight'? I think not. So for the most part the studies lump in 'fat' people and 'built' people with 'seriously, morbidly obese people'. That way they can make it sound like some sort of raging epidemic and therefore boost the sales of diet aids, drugs, various organizations, and help give the government one more thing to try and take control of in your life.


Blogger mugwump said...

You made some good points, however, I'm convinced that genetics plays a part. I have a sister that is 15 months younger than me. She is only a few inches shorter than me, but weighs much more. And we both eat pure crap. I'm just now starting to change my eating habits because eating crap has finally led me to feeling like crap and I have to feel good to take on 3 kids every day. My grandfather's sisters were all tall and thin. I look more like them. My sister looks more like my mother and her sisters. All of them were overweight - all but one have had the surgery procedure that makes your stomach smaller. whatever that's called. I forgot. The point is, my sister has always hated me, because up until now, I could eat anything I wanted and remain thin and feel great. She is constantly struggling to lose weight.

1:17 PM  
Blogger Buckminster Skeeter said...

Struggling? And yet you admit she eats 'pure crap". That's a choice.

6:42 PM  
Blogger mugwump said...

What I meant is that she and I eat about the same amount of food and growing up we both ate lots of junk food and still do. She has always weighed more, though. I find it impossible to gain weight by just eating. I tried once to gain weight by drinking an 1100 calorie chocolate malt (I worked at DQ) every day I worked along with my regular diet. Didn't work.

4:24 AM  
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5:55 PM  

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