I think it is truly unfortunate that fat individuals are made to be a laughing stock. I think it is sad that certain individuals on this site (and probably others) go to the NAAFA discussion board and mock or otherwise insult the people there. Both my parents are overweight as is my sister. One of my best friends and my roommate from law school was very overweight. She died at a young age last August as a result of complications associated with diabetes. During the entire time we were roommates, she continually had problems which grew worse and worse as a result of her diabetes which (according to what she told me her doctors told her) was further complicated by her weight. Her name was Brenda and I miss her. She wasn’t lazy (she finished near the top of her class at a top 20 law school and also received an MBA). She ended up being employed by a top tier law firm and from all accounts was well thought of. My parents and my sister are some of the hardest working (and intelligent) people I have ever met. I work in a top law firm in Los Angeles along with other attorneys who finished highly ranked in their class at very good law schools. Many of these people have extremely bright minds and work hours many of you wouldn’t beleive under stress unimaginable to most. Many of these people are overweight, or heading there very quickly. So, no, fat people are not lazy, stupid and slothful.
That being said, my parents, sister and Brenda all would start and stop diets and exercise programs only to fail time after time, mostly because they did not want to work hard at that particular aspect of their lives. I tried over and over again to tell my mom that she had to perform serious compound movement resistance training if she wanted long-term results. My mother, a hard-working intelligent woman, never listened to me. Instead she would go from one diet to the next, and perform the same aerobics tapes 3 days per week. No progressive resistance. No use of Seyle’s law. At least my mother tries. My father (despite his PhD), sister (despite her double major with honors) and my friend (order of the coif) never really did exercise much for whatever reason. All four of them tried bizarre diet afer bizarre diet however, only to fail time and again. Or started and stopped exercise programs time and time again. No one listened to my cries that they do not starve themselves or give up the food they want, just eat slightly less of it. The one time my sister actually started taking my advice, she started to completely reshape herself. Then, inexplicably, after about three months, she just quit. Overweight people may not be slothful, stupid or lazy, and they may have tried lots of exercise and diets, that doesn’t mean that they are experts, even in their own bodies. IMHO it means that the cost-benefit ratio of waatchinbg what they eat day in and day out and making a commitment to regular strenuous and effective exercise is too great – this is assuming they genuinely know how to lose fat safely and effectively. By way of contrast, a man a met in bootcamp in the USMC was very overweight (almost embarrassingly so for the military) and extremely out of shape. By the time we finsihed infantry school some months later, he was lean-mean killing machine. Why? He was forced to eat right and exercise until (even after bootcamp) it became an ingrained habit.
Moreover, I ask again, what is the purpose of NAAFA? It appears to be more than a support group for overweight people sick of being teased. It seems to be more than a place for people who are happy with the way they look meeting other people similarly situated. It seems to me that it is, instead, trying to use lobbying and various legal or pressure means to redistribute the costs of their obesity to others. Why is it wrong for an airline to charge additional ticket costs for a passenger who takes up more than one seat? Why must a businesss selling fitness be forced to take an instructor who does not promote the image they wish to project? Why must car companies reconfigure their vehicles to accomodate individuals of extremely large physical size? Why is it wrong for collegiate cheer squads to put weight restrictions on cheerleaders who will be thrown into the air? Why should insurance rates not be higher for those in higher risk categories? Why must fashon magazines have models they wish to see rather than the disugustingly emaciated models that, for some inexplicable reason, women like to see? Why should the military, fire departments and police maintain weight (and/or bodyfat) standards? There seems to be an attitude at NAAFA (at least when I visited and posted a grand total of two messages there some time ago) that the world must be forced accomodate them, by legal action of necessary. It is one thing to decry demonization and humiliation… it is quite another to demand accomodations. As I said, I do not request special accomodations with the NBA due to my height (5’7"). Guess what, studies show that taller men get promoted faster than shorter men, so do good looking people – one outta two aint bad – but that’s just the way it is… I am not going to complain about it, I will just work harder. In the same vein, rather than say, “oh well, I am not attractive to the majority of men” NAAFA posters seem to think that men who are not attracted to them are shallow or that men like to women with an hourglass figure seek to control them. I guess the studies showing that men throughout history and across diferent cultures have always found the hourglass figure (albeit somewhat heavier than today) to be attractive can be completely discounted. I see, it is nature when it comes to obesity, but nurture when it comes to attraction.
Additionally, as I stated above, an organization that is probably populated mostly by people who are unhappy about their appearance is subtly performing a disservice to the people who seek affirmation by refusing to admit that diets and exercise work in most all cases when properly performed. It would be different if the website stated that the purpose was moral support (not diet and exercise) and took no stand on the issue. Instead, the very rules of the site take a position, a mantra, of you will, that is oft repeated (or at least was) by the members – “diets don’t work, you were born to be whatever size you are.” This is a lie. French adults have obesity rates of about 8%. Among children, the rates have magically climbed to about 33%. This has nothing to do with genetics (“nature”), it has to do with behavior (“nurture”). It is probably because French children eat calorie dense food like McDonalds and spend their free time in front of a computer instead of outside. One generation’s genetic code did not magically become altered.
This is not an excuse for people to antagonize or ridicule or troll NAAFA members, but that doesn’t mean we can question the truth of their statements, the apparent or perceived goals of the organization and the incorrect message they are disseminating. I think the tone of NAAFA from the brief time I read the posts there was not about support, but more about being bitter and angry at “thin” people and encouraging complacency with an issue that is clearly causing pain to their members lives. I am Jewish and grew up in an entirely WASP neighborhood of Seattle (I knew no other Jews growing up). I was teased because I was different. However, I do not feel the need to be on a Jewish support groups, discussing Jewish issues vis-a-vis how the country is not made for us. Why not? Because being a Jew does not define me and it is something I am proud of. By way of contrast, by sole virtue of their prenence on the NAAFA boards, size does define many of the fat people there and it is not something they are pround of. If they were, they wouldn’t be posting on the NAAFA – it wouldn’t matter to them. Since it clearly does matter to them and is a source of pain for many, to be blunt, how dare the NAAFA lie to them?