There are a few reactions that people seem to have to obesity. Not just people in general, not just society at large, but also the obese themselves. And most of those reactions are destructive: even, or perhaps especially, the ones meant to help the obese. I’ve touched on this briefly, but I wanted to explore a little more here and bring in some other things I had been thinking. This may seem like an odd followup to the last post about dreaming bigger, but it’s been on my mind lately for several reasons.
The other day I was talking with someone and the subject of our conversation turned toward fitness – happens a lot when you’re a fitness professional. Specifically he brought up my work here in Chicago and how he thought I’d never want for more clients in the city because of how fat the city seemed to be. The sentiment has been expressed before to me – that Chicago is just a fat city and needs more health professionals – but then he went on to describe how fat and disgusting specific people were at the grocery store, buying Dr. Pepper and Oreo cookies with food stamps then shuffling toward the bus to take up two seats. It boggled his mind that in a city where you have to walk everywhere, there are still obese people in such numbers. The problem was that fat disgusting people just refused to eat healthy. “I just don’t understand how they can do that to themselves!” he exclaimed.
“No. You don’t…” I said.