Bobbie’s post made me think about how I became obese and why. Me response was that I’ve always been overweight, so I have to think back to being an overweight child. This makes me a little uncomfortable because if you criticise your childhood you’re going to be pointing the finger at your parents. Oh well, here goes!
I think my childhood was pretty great, certainly no catholic priests in the closet or any other major traumas. I’d call it normal, whatever that is. My immediate family consists of 2 loving parents and 5 of us kids: Myself (27) and my sister Louise (25) were followed by Emily (19), Sam (18) and Tom (18). There is an age gap between the two eldest and the “little ones”, but also a weight difference. Myself, Lou and my parents are all obese, but Emily, Sam and Tom are not. This is not a subtle difference either. I do wonder if there was a conscious effort or conversations about raising the younger 3 different, something I’ll inevitably end up asking my parents at some stage.
My earliest memory of being overweight was school swimming and I’m sure that must have put me around 10yrs old. I have a vague recollection of being an 8-stone (112lb) 8yr old (although I’m not sure about this memory) and knowing then that I wanted to lose weight – I think the doctor told my mum that I shouldn’t try to lose weight, but just to make sure that I didn’t put any more on. Anyway, I was overweight as a child and it was downhill from there.
I do “blame” my parents. That 10yr old child didn’t make his own meals or go down McDonalds and buy buckets of fast food, yet he was still fat. Once a child gets to a certain age then I accept that a parent can’t really “control” their weight, but I think it’s reasonable to say that at that age, it is a parent’s responsibility.
What’s interesting is that love2eatinpa just made a post about how her father’s teasing about her weight contributed to her obesity. I don’t really understand this, if you get teased about the size of your ass wouldn’t that make you conscious about it in a good way, as in you’d want to stop the teasing by losing weight? I see myself as being on the other side of that coin: I don’t remember my parents ever talking to me about my weight, certainly never in a “Son, we think you have a serious problem” way. Perhaps if my parents had teased me, bringing it to my attention, then I would have felt more pressured to do something about it?
My thoughts on this extend into the general debate about obesity in our society. There are increasingly stories in the newspapers about how fat people have issues on aeroplanes, or people complaining about sitting next to them on a bus, or how they are a burden on the health service etc. As one of those overweight people in the crosshairs, I’m actually in support of the people doing the “discriminating”.
Not being able to fit in an aeroplane sit or having to face the humiliation of having to pay for two seats is a huge motivation to me. I can’t buy skiing gear, or snorkelling gear, or hell, even “gear”! If I want to do these fun things then I have to lose weight. I don’t want to live in an accepting society! I mean I don’t want to be abused or anything, but the more pressure there is to lose weight the better in my opinion.
The government over here faced a similar issue with smokers. Whilst they bring in loads of money in tax, they undoubtedly cost the health service loads of money (as well as it being disgusting for us non-smokers). There is so much support now for helping people to quit smoking: government TV/print advertising, programmes, commercial products etc. The govt. even made it law that you cannot smoke inside in a public place. That’s the way things should be going for our “obesity epidemic”, increased pressure and scrutiny on the obese, balanced by loads more support and education.
If the govt. banned me from eating in a public place until I slimmed down… 😉