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Thursday, August 25, 2005

'Large And Lovely' Editor Labels My Comments About Obese Woman 'Frustrating'


M.E. Wood describes this blog post as "frustrating"

When I wrote a blog entry on Wednesday entitled "Get Over It Lady, You're Fat!," I knew I was going to spur some responses from my reader and boy did I ever!

Actually, most of it was SURPRISINGLY positive. From comments at the Big Fat Blog as well as Blog Critics, where this topic jumped into the Hot 5 under Culture and stayed there all day long, it seems everyone had an opinion in support of the doctor.
 
But not everyone was happy with what I wrote. A woman by the name of M.E. Wood (or "Moe" as she refers to herself at the Yahoo! Group called donttellmewhatsizeimustb was very upset with what I wrote at my blog. Wood just happens to be the editor of BellaOnline's Large and Lovely page, which advocates overweight and obese people to be content with the way they are because there is nothing wrong with them. As I looked around her web site for a few minutes, I came across this article by Wood about a 400+ pound guy like me who thought dieting was the pits. This gave me a precursor about the thought pattern of people like Wood and her readers.

Describing my blog post as "frustrating," Wood must have felt I was being too harsh on the woman taking action against a New Hampshire doctor for calling his patient obese. I can certainly understand having sensitivity about your weight as a former 410-pounder myself, but a doctor telling his patient the truth is not going to irreparably harm them. Sure, it may hurt our feelings or make us feel bad, but there are choices we need to be making for ourselves to begin accepting personal responsibility for our actions. That includes keeping ourselves from gaining an excessive amount of weight.

Here is an e-mail I wrote to "Moe" in response to her concerns about my blog post:

I am sorry you found my comments at my "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb" blog regarding the woman who is seeking action against her doctor for calling her obese "frustrating." As a former 400+ man, I can certainly understand how embarassing it may be to hear those words from the lips of a professional. But the truth sometimes hurts and people can use that to motivate themselves to finally do something about their weight and get it under control for their health. I am glad that you feel perfectly fine with the way you look and feel, but being overweight or obese is not the best thing for your health. Again, I meant no offense by the words I wrote at my blog on Wednesday. I would value any feedback that you may have for me regarding this subject.

If she responds to me, then I will post her comments here. However, I think something needs to be said regarding this notion that fat people should just accept the way they are as their lot in life. I obviously could not disagree more.

Before I lost 180 pounds on the low-carb lifestyle in 2004, I used to think the same thing. There's nothing wrong with me. I feel good for the most part and haven't been sick. Additionally, I stay active and don't mind carrying around a few extra pounds. I'm not hurting anyone. I'll be just fine living this way for the rest of my life.

WRONG!

That is such a sickening form of rationalization for overweight people who think this way that they ought to be ashamed of themselves for telling such lies to themselves. The truth of the matter is that being overweight or obese is NOT good for you and you know it. You don't want to admit you have a problem because then you will have to deal with it. That's not easy for me to say because I have been in your shoes and know how angry I would get hearing those kind of comments from a complete stranger when I was morbidly obese. But too many people are abdicating their personal responsibility to take care of themselves by allowing their obesity to continue. I've been there and know the pain you are going through physically, emotionally and spiritually.

The problem, as we learned this week, is only getting worse. With all due respect to people like Wood, nobody who is fat likes being that way. Yeah, they may put on a good face and tell you how happy they are, but they're not happy. Deep down inside they are wishing (begging!) for a way to get their weight under control. This is something that haunts you every moment of every day, especially if you are morbidly obese as I once was when I weighed 410 pounds. If you deny this fact, then you are simply lying. Stop the lies and begin the healing before it is too late to do anything about it.

My heart aches for people like Wood because they have reached a point where they have stopped caring about how they look and feel. This facade that everything is okay may last for a little while, but the reality of a very real weight problem will soon rear its ugly head in many ways. My hope and prayer is that people who feel like there is no hope for them to ever lose weight can be inspired by stories of triumph over obesity like mine to spur them on to their own success.

You can send M.E. Wood encouragement e-mailing her at largeandlovely@bellaonline.com.

8-25-05 UPDATE: Well, no sooner than I saved this post, I got a response from "Moe":

Hi Jimmy,

Thanks for your email. I've been trying to come up with a response for the last half hour. I don't seem to be having a good week with communicating with people but here I go anyway...

Embarrassing? You can't embarrass someone into doing something you want. Chances are they are just going to avoid you. I also think this doctor's lack of tact is a perfect example of why a lot of obese people avoid doctors. Fat people know they're
fat. If telling them so would help motivate them to lose weight then fat people everywhere who've grown up being called "Fat so!" and "Fat Pig!" would be slim by now. It's not the case.

When you go to the doctor for a specific ailment and get told you're fat and need to lose weight it's degrading. Many overweight people are not being examined for their ailments because the first thing the doctor seems to see is the fat. I'm sure
the doctor in question meant no harm and was seeing things as he saw them. I've worked with many doctors in that age bracket and what they lack is tact. Not to mention there's is the intimidation facter. Telling people they're fat and won't be able to find a mate is not the way to go about encouraging good health.

What bothered me about your blog entry was your support for the doctor and lack of support for the woman who was offended. Starting with the title, "Get Over It Lady, You're Fat!" For someone who says he's been in similar shoes I don't see
the support. You've lost the weight and now it seems you're showing the same disgust other thin people emit. I think it's wonderful that you've lost weight and are now perfectly happy. I'd like to talk to you again in 10 years to see if you've kept the weight off.

All the best,
Moe


Moe, I have no ill will towards this woman and her state of obesity. What I do have a problem with her about is the fact that she is causing so many problems for this doctor who did nothing more than his job to help his patient. I have a GREAT deal of support for people who are obese which is why I do what I do every single day at this blog. But it's time to stop the blame game and to start taking action to get this obesity problem under control. Am I happy now? You betcha! But I was a happy fat person, too. This is not about happiness per se, but about making good choices for the sake of your future.

Do I think I'll keep my weight off by the year 2015? No. By that time, I'll have lost another 30-50 pounds. Haven't you heard, I'm livin' la vida low-carb now and this permanent lifestyle change is the best thing I could have ever done for myself and my family. I highly encourage you and anyone else who wants to find a lasting way to lose weight to give the low-carb lifestyle a chance. You haven't got anything to lose except excess pounds and a depressing attitude. Thanks for writing and come back and see me soon!

9-01-05 UPDATE: The feedback on my comments about the obese woman and her doctor's remarks to her continue...

I can see both points of view.  At the end of 2002, I was seriously ill in hospital with a breast cyst.  Now this is not caused in any way by being obese (which I am), and did necessitate an operation to drain.

The resident Dr, however, completely ignored this surgery (which he was supposed to be checking on) and kept hassling me to have stomach stapling surgery.

This was as I was in bed recoving from the operation to drain and, quite frankly, was so muzzy that I couldn't even focus to look at a magazine, let alone discuss health issues!

It was compounded when, after being let out of hospital, I was booked to have the surgery wound checked by the Dr (normal procedure - to ensure it's healing OK, etc).

Same Dr.  He refused to even look at the wound - but again tried to get me to have stomach stapling surgery.

I know that I'm fat - I also know that cause (which, BTW, in my case isn't overeating or bad eating (I also live the lo-carb life) - I'm one of the thousands of people with an endocrine disorder)-BUT when I go to the Dr with a particular ailment - I want THAT treated.

The Dr has no right to refuse to treat the ailment I'm there for.

So I can see the point of view of the lady in question - the Dr had to treat her ailment, and then, as a good health professional, should have offered advice about healthy diet, lifestyle, etc.  It SHOULD have been done in a tactful way (there is no excuse for hurting somebody's feelings).

No - she should not be sueing the Dr (in my opinion, this is yet another example of USA sue-mentality gone crazy) for telling her the truth - but the Dr should have been a little less arrogant about it.. 

As a "former 410 pounder" you would be aware that people seem to think that larger people have no feelings, and that they are unaware of their size.

Perhaps Political Correctness should turn back into common politeness - it works better in the long run.

Negativity only breeds negativity - I wish in your original column you had supported both sides - the Dr's right to tell his patient and the patient's right to feel that the Dr was insensitive. 

Yes - she was fat - but she also has the right to be treated with courtesy.  If you look at how anorexia patients are treated by Dr's it is always with sensitivity (eg:  you have a serious illness and need help).  Obesity is always treated as "it's totally your fault and you have to do something about it".

Perhaps if the world treated Obesity as an illness, like it treats anorexia nervosa and bulemia, then the obesity problem would be a long way to being solved. 

Megan McConnell
(who is also a Bellaonline editor - and was once the Large and Lovely editor myself).


I never advocated that a patient be treated in a cruel manner. Instead, I simply stated that a doctor should have no qualms about telling his patient that he/she is obese. If that hurts their feelings, which it will to some sensitive folks, then they should use that energy to propel themselves to lose weight. Whatever it takes to get people to take their obesity problem seriously is absolutely needed.

In fact, I believe even MORE doctors should be telling their patients they are obese (if they truly are) to bring the reality of their health condition to the forefront. But those same doctors need to also stand ready to recommend viable weight loss methods which include livin' la vida low-carb. That's another obstacle that will need to be overcome if progress is going to be made with obesity.

And then I got this e-mail as well from another reader:

Hey, I think it's pretty ridiculous that she decided to go after the guy. If I was offended by my doc talking to me about being overweight, I'd go to a different doctor. I doubt that any other doctor worth his or her salt would totally ignore the fact that the woman is obese, but maybe they'd have a better bedside manner about it.

THAT SAID, I did find some of your comments offensive, Jimmy. First of all, your comment that "Was it Bennett's fault that she ate and ate and ate, likely with very little exercise, and put herself in a position to become obese?" This is perpetuating a stereotype that fat people are fat because they eat a whole lot more than skinny people. Now, as someone who's followed a LC WOL, you know darn well, a calorie is NOT a calorie is NOT a calorie, and the types of food you eat can (and do) affect people in different ways. Maybe this woman had been told to eat a "healthy low fat diet" (which means eat lots of carbs). I know from experience, that's a prescription for disaster. It is one of the reasons I got so big myself, until I started low carbing.

Yes, the woman was overly sensitive and it's stupid to make such a huge deal about this. The apology she got from her doc should have been enough. But blaming her for becoming obese is a little off the mark. YES there is personal responsibility, but if you've been told by all the "experts" for your whole life, that the way to lose weight and be healthy is in fact the way for YOU to get fatter and fatter... and perhaps is enough to make you simply throw your hands in the air and surrender to what's going to happen anyway. That's what happened to me until I learned about the low carb way of life.


True, eating a lot of food by itself is not necessarily going to make you gain weight. What I should have said that I just assumed people knew what I was referring to is consuming large amounts of SUGAR and other unnecessary carbs is what led her to becoming obese. I stand corrected. THANK YOU!

8 Comments:

Blogger DAVE (theendofdave.com) said...

Took the words out of my mouth... Nice work on your blog. I'll keep reading up on it. Hope your book does well.

8/26/2005 3:01 AM  
Blogger Blogging Blogging Queen said...

Hey Kiddo,

Here's Why it PAYS to be a JERK!

Kisses,
Tiffany

8/26/2005 3:08 AM  
Blogger Midknyt said...

Correction:

Of the 76 (so far) comments on the subject on Big Fat Blog, not a single one agreed with the doctor.

You can read that specific article here:
http://www.bigfatblog.com/archives/001698.php#comments

8/30/2005 2:26 AM  
Blogger Raven said...

Criticising people in this way about their weight can be very damaging. I work for Eating Disorders Association UK and am aware that many sufferers started out on their illness because they were unhappy about being overweight. Often the trigger is a tactless comment like this doctor made. As anorexia nervosa has one of the highest mortality rates of any mental illness I don't think this should be laughed off.
I think Moe should be congratulated for her work on supporting people's self esteem.

8/30/2005 4:35 AM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

Hey Raven,

Thank you for coming to my blog today to post your comments about the doctor who told his patient she was obese. However, I have not and never will advocate ANYONE to CRITICIZE others about their weight problem. As a former 410-pounder myself, that is the WORST thing you can do to try to help someone get their weight under control.

However, the role of your doctor is to give you his professional opinion regarding your health and welfare. If he believes your obesity is causing a decline in your health, then it is his RESPONSIBILITY to tell you. Otherwise, we'll be seeing lawsuits in the coming years from overweight patients who will try to sue their doctor for NOT warning them about the dangers of their condition.

I appreciate where you are coming from and the wonderful work that people like yourself are doing, If someone has an eating disorder, then that is serious business that must be handled quickly and appropriately. It's a shame the people can get to that point, but weight can literally weigh on your physically and emotionally. Again, I know because I was there. You're preaching to the choir on this one.

By the way, I'm not laughing at anyone who is suffering from obesity. I am simply pointing out that THEY are the ones who are in ultimate control of whether they do something about it or not. Nobody can lose weight for them. They have to invest the right kind of eating habits and exercise that will bring them closer to the point where they can LIVE again.

As for Moe, I do congratulate her for helping other overweight and obese people try to survive all the hate-filled tactics of people who would truly criticize them for their weight. But that's not what I did.

Rather, I noted that the mentality that you can't improve upon your health and weight problem is just wrong. Interestingly, I used to think the exact same way as Moe. I thought I was destined to be fat for the rest of my life and that no diet in the world was really helping me. I even gave up on caring about how I ate for a long time (obvious by my hefty weight). But I turned the corner when I decided to start livin' la vida low-carb.

The rest, they say, is history. And I'll never be the same again. THANKS for your comments and I hope this helps clarify some of the confusion about what I wrote. God bless you in your work in the UK and come back to see us again soon. Take care!

Jimmy Moore, "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb Man"
livinlowcarbman@charter.net
http://livinlavidalocarb.blogspot.com

8/30/2005 6:47 AM  
Blogger Melissa said...

Jimmy,

I wonder how you feel about anorexia and bulimia. You place the blame for fat people being fat on that person. Yet an anorexic or bulimic person makes the opposite choice of a fat person. However, anorexia and bulimia are considered mental disorders and are treated with respect, dignity and care. Overeating can be as much as mental disorder as not. However, we, as a nation, seem to think that people can just control that. If we can control that, then shouldn't anorexics and bulimics be able to conrol their choices too?? I am not criticizing anorexics or bulimics. I am merely making a comparison to the difference in how the people are treated.

9/14/2005 10:09 AM  
Blogger Gary Nitzkin said...

I am a fat guy 285 lbs. However, since being diagnosed with diabetes in March of 2006, I am now down 20 lbs and have my disease under control. However, Type II diabetes which is the direct result of years of self abuse at the meal table is now in epidemic propotions in the United States. Why?

One reason is that we fat people don't like to be called "fat." We are more than just a waist or dress size. We are people too, even if we don't look like the rest of the world. Putting a nice face on being fat with such self denying affirmations as "I may be heavy set, but I feel fine" or "I am a big guy with big heart" simply perpetuates our self destructive behavior. We are being poisoned by numerous segments of the food industry, but no one holds a gun to our head when we order the supersized french fries. We simply do not take responsibility for our own actions and eat indifferently in relation to our actual dietary needs. Lets face it; if we accepted responsibility for eating with such indifference, being fat would neither be a shock nor an insult. It would be as conscious a choice as asking for the butter and sour cream on our potatoes.

Suing one's physician for hurt feelings for holding up a mirror to the patient is just another lawsuit whose cost will eventually be borne by all of us in the form of higher insurance rates. The lady needs to take responsbility and own the fact that she eats carelessly and probably does little if any exercise.

My heart goes out to Melissa. She and I are both fat. However, my refusal to stay fat is now directly related to my decision to stay alive. Fat diabetics don't live long and usually get appendages amputated. I own that as I own the fact that it was my poor eating decisions that got me in this position.

Both the author of this blog and Melissa must own the fact that being fat and happy cannot co-exist unless one is also ignorant or stupid. I intend no disrepect to either of them. I simply wish to point out that we all just need to accept the consequences of all of our decision including our dietary choices.

7/05/2006 9:30 PM  
Blogger Jimmy Moore said...

I cannot and do not disagree with anything you said, Gary! Well-stated! Come back and visit again soon.

By the way, my name is Jimmy. :D

7/05/2006 10:02 PM  

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