I can only speak about my experience as an American, but I am very interested in hearing comments from readers in other countries. I'm not sure yet, as I am new to blogging, but I think you have to sign up to follow the blog to leave a comment.
This prejudice against weight I think keeps a lot of heavy people from either accepting themselves as they are or to decide they want to reduce their size. There is a lot of evidence a person can be overweight and healthy. Being morbidly obese and "healthy" in terms of medical criteria, I think isn't possible. However, there is an entire "fat acceptance" movement that seeks to let people live as they choose. What I want more then anything for anybody, is for that person to like and accept themselves. Why? Because, that is what matters in life and life is too short to hate oneself. However, I also want to raise awareness about obesity and it's costs both in terms of mental and physical health. I want people to live in the bodies they have while they strive for better health and happiness. And, who am I to say that someone isn't happy when they are large. They may be and if this works for them and this is their choice and their on free will. Well, that's that. I however don't think this is possible deep down in the psyche because of this hate of fat.
Here is something to think about. I only touch briefly on my weight in my dissertation six years ago and I did it before I was aware of my eating disorder. I talked about it more in terms of how I felt about myself and not my relationship with food. I didn't realize until I became a professor at the New England Culinary Institute that I had an eating disorder.
It was impossible to ignore my unhealthy relationship with food which centered on either starving myself or overeating, nothing in between, when I was surrounded by folks who were passionate about food. That is a post for another time, but you know if you've been reading my blog that my entire relationship with food, myself and my body changed.
I used a stat in my dissertation from a study that surveyed American Adolescent girls, it was quite a large study. The teens were asked, "If you had to choose between being fat and having a limb amputated what would you choose." Eighty Eight percent said they would choose to have a limb amputated. That is a very telling statistic. It says a great deal about the focus on body weight in America.
As a daughter of a mother who had two legs amputated this is grotesque to me. I had diabetes for 16 years before my gastric bypass and I often worried about this as a fate I'd face. I no longer have to worry about that. However, I do worry about this hate of fat and the lengths it drives people to which includes falling into eating disorders and disordered eating in the quest to avoid being fat.