A friend once weighed 550 pounds. When he had a heart attack, he almost died because no local NJ hospitals had a large enough operating table to fit his body – the ambulance had to drive him into Manhattan for him to be saved.
Another formerly fat friend talks about needing to two seats on an airplane to accommodate her girth. Unfortunately, the airline didn’t understand the request and booked two seats an aisle apart. My friend experienced serious humiliation as other passengers were relocated, just so she could fit on the plane.
When I was really heavy, I took the bus to work every day and worried that no one would want to sit next to me because I took up too much space. I’d try to squeeze myself into the corner and cover as little territory as possible. Each time, a new passenger walked past me and sat with someone slimmer, I’d cringe inside and hate myself more than I already did.
Currently, I work at an all-you-can-eat restaurant, where many of our guests are quite heavy. Too heavy to fit into our booths. I know this, and always ask if they’d prefer a table or a booth, but sometimes they get it in first – they need a booth. Often, they say it’s because they’re too fat to fit in a booth. They pat their big tummies and say, “not enough room for this.” (Often times, they’re leaning on a cane to help them walk to that table.)
Of course as a confirmed compulsive eater in recovery, this gets to me. Others may see fat; I just see pain. And perhaps that’s a judgment, but in my experience, if I want enough food to get me that obese, something’s not right.
Normal people – those not addicted to food- could never stomach enough to get that big. Maybe on Thanksgiving? Maybe. It’s just not conceivable. Sure, lots of folks carry some extra weight. But not enough that they can’t fit on a hospital bed or airplane.
AND, yes it is uncomfortable and impossible to find a seat or clothes that fit. And of course, obesity is so detrimental to health. BUT think about the stigma in our society around being fat. Heavy folks are fodder for all sorts negativity. Often, the opinions of others hurt more than the physical pain. One has to be pretty brave to be obese.
And pretty addicted to food.