In 1961, journalist John Howard Griffin wrote the book, “Black Like Me“, from the diary he kept while posing as a black man travelling in racially segrated Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia. I started to write an article, which will follow, about the risks of being overweight and obese, but those physical consequences pale in comparison to the emotional pain that the individuals in this story experienced. I wrote, “So much is written about being overweight and the risks of being overweight and everyone has a solution. But is it really a health problem? If you are overweight, only you really know how you feel. Doctors can tell you what the consequences are and list things such as hypertension, high total cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, stroke, gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea and having some forms of cancer.
You can either take the risk and find out if the researchers, statisticians and doctors are right or not or you can do something about it. Russian roulette is a game of risk with potentially lethal consequences. Being overweight or obese is also a game of risk that can have potentially lethal consequences from heart disease, diabetes, stroke and cancer. Who really knows why the loser in Russion roulette chose to play the game (since they are dead and you can’t ask them) and who really knows why someone would choose to be overweight if they had a means to lose weight that was both fun and rewarding.
But who am I to attempt to explain why you shouldn’t be overweight or obese. At the end of the day, John Howard Griffith could blend back into the white south. I will never know if the challenges and risks of obesity are real because I will never experience them. Only you, if you are overweight or obese, know the joys and sorrows. But reading from the story, “Incredible Shrinking Couple Loses 580 Pounds“, I gained some insight –
“Obesity took an emotional and physical toll on the couple.
Andy says people constantly teased him about his weight and he eventually withdrew. He battled depression and took anti-depressants for seven years.
Maggie, on the other hand, tried to conceal her misery by making other people laugh.
‘I was so depressed and so miserable. I was always the funny fat girl, but on the inside I was miserable,” recalls Maggie. “It held me back in many ways and I started to accept it as being genetic and felt this was just the way I was going to be.’”
Life is about choices and Maggie and Andy decided to make a change. If your life is anything like their’s was and you want it to change, I hope that you make the decision sooner rather than later.