Fat: are we just accepting it?


Earlier this year, I was traveling to Vancouver from Edmonton by airplane. I was irritated that I had to sit in a middle seat. The aisle seat was vacant but the plane was sold out.

As the passengers were boarding I noticed a very large man coming down the aisle. He must have been around five foot seven inches tall and 350 lbs. I am a pretty good judge of weight just by looking at someone. I can usually get it right give or take three pounds either way.

Of course I’m thinking, as is everyone else on the plane that have empty seats beside them, “Don’t sit by me, don’t sit by me.” I know it’s rude to think like this but it’s the truth. I am already relatively big myself — six foot one at 205 lbs. There was no way we could sit beside each other without our bodies touching the entire flight.

As you may very well have guessed, he sat right by me. I’m not sure how he squeezed into the seat. I thought it would have been impossible by the sight of him but somehow he managed. I guess fat is very pliable.

During the entire flight, I had to tilt my body weight onto my left butt cheek so that I would not be rubbing him. Thirty minutes into the flight my left glute muscle was numb. I felt glad I wasn’t flying to Toronto. The worst part was the overweight dude’s oblique fat is covering the television control panel on my armrest. I am not sure what the polite protocol is here. Can I just lift his fat off my armrest and change the channels? Do I ask him to stand up every time I want to look at a different station?

I chose not to do or say anything. I had to watch Animal Planet the whole time. I did not want to embarrass the man by making him aware of my discomfort. The sound of his breathing showed me he must have been uncomfortable too. There was a wheezing with every breath he took. That much fat around the lungs and throat must make it very difficult to take a normal breath. It was like the fat was trying to choke him. This situation made me think of a few questions:

  • Was I being too critical of this person?
  • Do people have a responsibility to others to keep a reasonable shape, health and fitness level?
  • As a society, have we just accepted that we are getting bigger and bigger?
  • Are we aware of how big we really are or is our perception distorted because everyone around us is big as well?
  • Should individuals change the amount of excess fat on their bodies or should we modify our world to fit the growing obese population?

I read some research that stated in 1978 the average weight of a women in North America was 17 lbs lighter than today. The average weight of a man was 19 lbs lighter. This statistic concerns me.

If the trend continues every thirty years, the average weight of a female by the end of this century will be over 200 lbs and a man will be closing in on 300 lbs. What will our world look like? Will everyone be driving around in electric scooters instead of walking? Will there be moving sidewalks like those currently in airports? Will we have to make cars and airplanes bigger?

Disneyland is already making all the seats on their rides bigger to accommodate overweight children. It seems they are accepting the obesity epidemic. They are certainly not helping by selling all the junk food and giving people golf-cart rides to and from their cars in the parking lot.

The big problem is the role obesity will play in our health care system. The combination of our aging population and the health complications in younger people from being overweight will cripple medical care for everyone. There is no way we will be able to pay for senior care in addition to the diabetes, cancers, liver disease and heart disease that younger people and children are now getting but should not be.

I believe everyone has the right to choose how to live their life. However, I also believe people who are grossly overweight have a responsibility to their family and the rest of society who must now have to take care of them. I’m not sure what the right answer is. Maybe we tax the hell out of unhealthy food products and use the money to treat obesity-related diseases. If you want to eat Eggo Waffles then its $25 a box. If you want a Big Mac, fries and a Coke then that’s a $50 hit.

Another option is to have everyone do an annual check-up with the family doctor. If you meet the standard for body fat levels, blood pressure, heart rate, cholesterol, etc for your age then you get a health tax benefit for not being a burden on the health care system. I know both these suggestions would be impossible to implement, but why not brainstorm some ideas?

Maybe the best answer is to make it easier for people to make smarter choices. Reducing the cost for healthy, nutritious, organic foods will make it easier to make a smarter choice. People may still not make the right choice but they won’t be able to use the “too expensive” excuse. Memberships for gyms, costs for a personal trainer, purchasing a treadmill; anything that is meant to enhance your fitness and reduce body fat should be tax deductible.

I found some interesting research by the school of nursing at the University of Nevada done in September 2007. The research was on parents’ perception of their child’s weight. The findings were that 94 per cent of overweight parents did not correctly classify their child as being overweight. Of all the mothers polled, 60 per cent did not have a concern that their overweight child had any current or future health implications.

The problem with this misconception of obesity is that if the parents do not recognize it, they’re less likely to intervene to help prevent the risk factors of diabetes, cancer and heart disease, and other related complications from occurring. Researchers determined many reasons why parents are reluctant to acknowledge their child as overweight:

  • A distrust of growth and weight percentage charts.
  • Did not know what constituted being overweight.
  • They feared being judged as bad parents.
  • They had optimistic bias.
  • They felt helpless to make changes.

The most prominent reason parents were reluctant to acknowledge their child as overweight was that many other children are the same size or bigger, so it was okay for their child to be heavy. I can understand this type of rationale but does that make it okay?

If you walk around most shopping malls, eat at any restaurants, or go to watch any sporting events at least half the people you encounter are overweight or obese. If this is the new norm, then our children see that it is okay to carry extra fat on their body. What a disservice we are doing to our youth. Just because our generation could not figure out how to deal with the obesity epidemic we have condemned the next generation. We have set an example that fighting fat is futile, so why even try? Everybody is doing it, so why not join in? It was probably the same situation back in the ’50s and ’60s where everyone thought smoking was cool and that it wasn’t really that bad for your lungs.

There is an organization called NAAFA (National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance). They exist to help overweight people fight discrimination against them. Their motto is “understand it, support it, accept it.” They justify their cause by stating that 95 per cent of all diets fail and that there are over 65 million people in North America classified as obese.

NAAFA wants people of every size to be accepted with dignity and equality. I firmly believe that no matter what the person’s size, respect and equality should be given to them. If you are the most qualified person for a job then you should get it no matter what your size.

The problem I have is the “accepting” part. I believe if you ask any obese person “Do you wish you had less fat on your body?” they would answer “Yes.” Being obese really has no advantage unless you want to be a professional Sumo wrestler, are stuck on a deserted island with no food, or enjoy the difficulty of moving your body around doing simple tasks.

I say DON’T accept it. It’s not easy, but don’t let fat be a prison that restricts what you do. The freedom of a lean, fit body is an amazing experience. Do not die before you realize the genetic potential you could have had.

It’s worth the effort.

30 replies
  1. Jennifer Richards says:

    Very well written blog, Paul. I had a similar experience a few years ago flying on a small Dash-8 flight from Timmins to Toronto. I’m only 5’4″ and weigh about 130 lbs, but I felt totally squished throughout the hour and half long flight. The guy that sat next to me was huge. I had all the same thoughts you did, then I thought “I’m being really critical here”. I’m sure he was uncomfortable, too. Not only physically, but I’m sure he must have felt everyone staring at him. That fact that a very healthy and fit person was sitting next to him, probably didn’t help his case any. Until I read your blog, I had no idea NAAFA even existed. I understand the equality issues, but where do we draw the line in terms of social acceptance? This is a big issue that needs to be addressed. Obese people don’t have an incurable disease that is beyond their control. People born with genetic defects have no choice about how they appear to the rest of society. People with a weight issue have control; it just needs to be tapped into within the individual person. Okay, now that I’ve blabbered on…
    Anyway, thanks for writing a blog that is controversial, yet very important. I love how you real, honest and open you are.

  2. Rebecca says:

    Good blog Paul!

    The other day I was thinking about this time I saw an overweight McD’s person eating her McChickens in the washroom at walmart (inside the stall). Of course at 17 years of age I thought that this was the funniest thing I’ve ever seen. Now a decade later I am thinking that I was wrong and why did that person feel it was necessary to eat in the washroom. I starting thinking that she must have been ashamed, embarrassed and probably had very low self-esteem. Does that mean it was OK to eat McDumps. No. But it made me realize I shouldn’t have laughed.

    My part-time job is a grocery store cashier. I see on a weekly basis the crap that people put in their carts. I see at least one family every shift that has loads of processed, frozen ‘food’ in their card. Most of them are not skinny at all. I saw one Mom who bought Hannah Montana Eggos (as I know you have a hate-on for Eggos) and said that the Eggos with Hannah Montana on it were the only things that her kid would eat for breakfast. How is this setting the child up for healthy eating?

    I have noticed while watching X-weighted that there seems to be an attitude issue with many people who struggle to lose the weight. Some (the more successful ones) embrace healthy eating and exercise and do well (ie. Casey is one of my faves). Some say ‘they are too busy’, ‘cooking food is time-consuming’, or ‘I hate cardio’. Their attitude is what is making them unsuccessful not their “fat genes”. I’m sorry but a massive heart attack doesn’t care if you are ‘too busy for excerise’.

    Also, do you think the fat guy on the plane knew you? I would poop my pants if I was a fat person sitting beside Paul Plakas, haha.

  3. paul says:

    Poop your pants? Wow that would make for one long uncomfortable flight for both of us. I also can’t help myself looking at people’s grocery carts. I need to know what they are eating for some reason. Even when I go to friends homes I have to look in their fridge just to see whats there. Most of them are used to it by now.

  4. Ria says:

    Excellent Blog post. As there are more and more obese people in our world, a lot of people in our society are starting to see a heavier weight as “normal”. Some people see it as a sign of a “healthy appetite” or affluence and some parents of boys will be very proud of what a big boy they raised, and see it as a badge of honor. But then I see some of these overweight people struggle with mundane tasks such as walking, and for obese children being able to run, jump and play is extremely difficult. But we are a society that demands convenience, we have bank drive thru, we have pharmacy drive thru, we have fast food drive thru, we have remote controls for all our entertainment purposes. We want that same convenience in our food and food manufacturers are filling that demand for quick and easy and too often forgoing proper nutrition to make these products have a longer “shelf life” even adding substances that make your body crave more and more and more. They advertise to make it seem your life will be much more simpler and complete if you eat their products, and more and more people are literally “eating it up”.

    Back in 2006 my family and I went to Walt Disney World, we were shocked by the number of grossly obese people there, WDW had motorized scooters readily available for these people so they could get around the park. The food was a lot of junk, and readily available in huge quantities. We joke that we were on the Disney Diet and needed a detox when we got home. For breakfast I would watch people with supersized mugs filling up on pop and/or hot chocolate, FOR BREAKFAST. And being in the States EVERYTHING was loaded with high fructose corn syrup, even their “healthy” cereals. Looking back at pictures of our trip you could see us ballooning as the days went on, and we tried getting healthy foods where we could. The thing is what we were eating there was normal eating for a lot of people, this was stuff they ate everyday while at home. All I could think of was no wonder obesity is on the rise, we have forgotten to eat real food.

    Yet with all the nutritional information out there here on the internet, books, TV etc. A lot of people still don’t get that what they put in their mouths plays a big role in how they look and feel. I have seen people go to the grocery store and fill their cart up with pop, prepackaged meals, a freezer full of M&M’s Meat Shop packages, buys prepackaged meals at Costco, then complain that they can’t loose weight, that they are falling apart, their diabetes is out of control, having another heart attack. Yet still think they eat fine.

    Another interesting note with the enlargement of our society, is that they have to make more extra large coffins now than 20 years ago and they are finding that our bodies aren’t decaying as quickly when we die because we are full of preservatives from our food.

  5. Laurie says:

    First of all, Paul, THANK YOU for putting it like it friggin’ is!!
    I see a lot of overweight and obese people at the grocery store with so much crap in their carts sometimes I wanna slap ’em senseless. Just yesterday, this couple(both of them obese) walked in at the same I did, got 6 2L of Pepsi(displayed right at the entrance…I don’t get that…), skipped the produce section and went straight over to the chips and dip aisle. I saw them again at the cash, I almost threw up. Sodas, more sodas, super sized bags of chips and big jars of creamy dips. And some frozen pizzas and big bags of fries.
    I agree junk food and SODAS should be taxed. There just as bad as cigarettes and booze.

  6. Jennifer says:

    Ria, I went to Disney World this past spring and was also really surprised at the lack of healthy food options. And the portion sizes were HUGE!!

    I’m glad to see I’m not the only one secretly eyeing other people’s grocery carts. I’m sure if anyone looked in my cart, they’d think I was pretty boring… nothing processed there.

    I agree about the attitude. There might some genetic link to obesity, but a lot of it has to do with your lifestyle and the attitude you take towards life in general. When you have a “can do” attitude, that makes all the difference in what you can accomplish.

  7. Jamie says:

    My husband and I are the healthiest people I know, and unfortunately we are very judgemental about people who are obese, or overweight…even my friends who aren’t but still eat badly. I feel like I can be this way because we used to be overweight, but we realized what we were doing to ourselves and we cleaned up. 20 pounds later I feel like a new woman, and I feel like so many public health problems could be solved just by passing on the chocolate bar, can(2L bottle more like)of pop, or chips….its not that hard really.

    The stupid thing is that it has become acceptable to be overweight, people always told me that I didn’t need to lose weight, that I looked good the way I was. When I cut my sandwich in half and had a salad in a restaurant people would roll their eyes. Its as if being healthy is taboo. My friends think I go overboard because I work out most days of the week, when that is what everyone should be doing….if only to maintain good health.

    Definately people’s thoughts on diet and exercise have changed for the worse…I will however try to convert as many people as possible.

    Great post Paul!

  8. Rebecca says:

    I see I am not the only one who noticed the Scooters the last time I went to Disney World.

    I love it (being sarcastic) when people saying they are on “a diet” yet I see way too much food on their plates and loads of processed foods. Something tells me that buying 20 boxes of Weight Watchers chocolate brownies is not going to magically make you lose weight.

    Paul: You can look at my fridge. I only have two containers of ice cream and one of them has been in there for a year. I do have a box of cookies too 🙂 A cashier at my work actually made a somewhat snarky comment about my “healthy groceries”….

  9. Erin says:

    Paul, I am so glad you shared your experience. I had a similar experience while flying home from Victoria (after finishing the RVM marathon! Fantastic and well-organized race – highly recommend it!). I was ‘lucky’ the severely obese person did not seat beside me, but I felt for the person when the flight attendant brought out the extension to the seat belt. It is a very tough topic to approach. Where do you draw the line? I read an article awhile ago regarding emergency services charging obese patient extra due to the extra cost of transporting the patient. Check out the article: https://www.foxtoledo.com/dpp/health/healthy_living/wwlp_ap_Obese_patients_being_charged_extra_2009102220431256259266940

    Obesity is a glaring reality and I completely agree with you regarding increasing the prices and adding extra taxes on fast and processed foods. Would it not be great to have a required nutritional and physical class in both middle and high schools again? Perhaps, if there was a tax on fast foods, that money can go back into learning and implementing healthy lifestyles?

  10. kim says:

    thank you for the article, I find myself being very judgemental of obese people this day in age as well. As a person who has struggled with weight issues for 20 or so years, I find myself getting angry at the grocery store, where yes, it would be easy and delicious to buy all that prepared food, however, i bypass it as I realize the consequences,i do notice many people don’t and it is reflected in their appearance. These people and the excuses of the ‘I have low self-esteem’ and ‘I’m too busy’ anger me, because why are they entitled to a ‘pass’ most families work full-time jobs, have children, activities, etc, why can so many of us take the time to be healthy. i have a one year old, a husband that works out of town and an average support system, I MAKE the time for fitness and activity, I know the consequences. My largest weight was 190 pounds and 5’6″ I have maintained a 140 pound weight for about 10 years now and it is has not been without effort or struggle. I agree about taxing junk food, the government taxes everything that is considered ‘bad’ for us and puts additional cost on health care (smoking, drinking) why not this? Why should i have to pay because someone couldn’t take care of themselves and lead a healthy lifestyle? something else i found interesting regarding us ‘accetpting’ obesity as part of life, the other day i was shopping and looking at a label from a clothing brand sold world-wide, i found it interesting that this one pair of pants is sold as a different size everywhere in the world; in the US, the size was 8, Canada 10, Europe 12, we are now adjusting our sizes to suit our size? Is that how we are going to deal with the problem, just keep changing clothing sizes so that someone who would be ‘plus’ size will no longer be because it will hurt their self esteem? Will that then mean that an average size person will be wearing a size 2? I don’t agree with this at all and i’ve noticed it more and more, with women getting into discussions about size and weight, the size thing throws me off, even when i’m clothes shopping i’m often thrown off by how sometimes i can be such a small size, i do know in my head that if i purchase this clothing size, it is not reflecting my true ‘body size’ it just confuses me? i’m not saying i’m perfect,in the back of my head i’m always thinking about losing 10 pounds, but i do try for myself and my family.
    I’m a big fan of the show and love that this season is about families, children should be a major concern, I do think it is wrong to let children grow up to be obese just because the parents don’t watch their diets, so funny because everyone forgets that little saying, ‘it’s okay in moderation’ i think we just forgot what ‘moderation’ is?

  11. James says:

    Paul, I am big fan of your new website and x-weighted, and I just wanted to say that your feelings on fibromyalgia are right on. I am in the medical field and I see this “problem” on a daily basis, and it is bogus. It is an excuse to be fat, and not a good one at that. My wife and I are half way through our “weight loss journey” and prior to the start of it I weighed 248 lbs and I had lots of joint pain. I could have gone to my family physician and been diagnosed with fibromyalgia and felt sorry for myself, but we both decided to stop eating the crappy foods and move our sore tired bodies. Our bodies are not supposed to weigh as much as we (as a society) do. I got fat because I ate all the foods that I shouldn’t even though I would take a salad to work and give the illusion to my co-workers that I was “healthy”. I was a closet eater and I was killing myself. The most exersise I would get was walking to my car in the morning!! We both decided that now was the time to do something about it. We started to eat clean and exercising 6 days a week. It is amazing that diet and exercise actually works. No fad diets or pills. I have had numerous people ask me what the “secret” is, and when I tell them they don’t believe it. I guess I technically had “fibromyalgia”, but I don’t believe in this condition, and the only solution in my eyes is to move your body and eat clean. This week I will be under 200 lbs for the first time since high school, and I thank you Paul as you had a lot to do with it and I haven’t even met you. I have to say that I agree that the government should give some tax benefits to a healthy lifestyle as I find that making the right choice is rarely that most cost effective. Thanks again!!!!

  12. Jo-Anne says:

    My overweight body is straddling the fence on this. I believe every human being merits common courtesy and respect regardless of age, race and size. Why is it politically correct to make rude comments to overweight people still but not to be racist? Being tolerant doesn’t mean approval and support if means being human. We are tolerant about cigarette use, alchol use and drug use? These tax the health system as much as obesity does. Do we deny medical treatment to those individuals if so then it might be fair to include obesity too.

    I think that tax deductions or credit should be given on gym memberships, sports costs, nutritionists and councellors. This would encourage healhty behaviour. Many low income families cannot afford to put their children in sports and how many low income single moms would choose a gym membership over school lunches?

    I agree with taxing the heck out of fast food and junk food and subsidising healthy foods. If healthy food was cheaper than crappy food more people would buy it.

    Public education for adult and children is needed for intervention and prevention. If a parent never learned about the food guide and portion sizes how do they teach their kids? My brother who went for a gastric by-pass and has had nothing but complications from it didn’t know much about food groups and I think he is a typical blue collar man.

    Educate, make healthy lifestyles affordable and things will turn around. In the mean time, don’t treat obese people as the “n” word of the 21st century.

  13. sandra says:

    Paul, i am a huge fan and have been following you on x-weighted.
    Recently i came across a TV talk show which featured overweight children from the ages of two to five years of age. I was shocked to hear about one kid weighting in about 90lbs and was only two and a half years old. The mom was locking up the fridge door at night beacuse this kid would get so hungry during the night and if he couldn’t get into the fridge he would eat soap, lotions, cream you name it he ate it. In all the cases were the child was obese of course was also the mother. Some had no problem giving their kids anything but others were at a crossroads. I just can’t get over a two and a half year old kid trying to break open a fridge door for food, when i was two and a half i sure was not thinking about food.
    Paul keep up the great work you are doing, YOU ROCK!

  14. Michelle says:

    Hey Paul. Just wanna say I love your outlook, and your show X-Weighted. I have a boyfriend who is about 6’1″ and weighs about 270 lbs, he’d like to be more fit. He currently plays rugby but still drinks beer during the week as well as constant visits to the drive thru. You guys are doing X-Weighted: Families right now, but I hope next season will go back to normal so I can nominate him! It’ll be a good wake-up call for him, I think! In any case, I think a lot of the reason why our average weight has increased 30 years later is because of not only our bone structure but also the fact that we are generally getting bigger, meaning taller and thicker naturally! But more often than not, you will see people dining out instead of planning their meals at home, believing certain things are healthy for them when they are so many preservatives, high sodium levels, too much sugar, carbs, etc. in their food choices. And people are neglecting the fact that they need to drink at least 2 L of water a day! Your body needs this important element! It’ll flush all the crap out!
    The women in my family have “thicker” body types, meaning, we have tiny tiny waists, but thick thighs, legs and hips. I am about 5’10” but I’m about 180 lbs. I’d like to be 160 but people still tell me I look 140! In any case, I still find that somewhat unhealthy (even though my waist is 30 inches)! I go to the gym lots, do a lot of cardio and some weigths, I find that my body type burns the fat more by cardio intervals.
    I have to say I agree that there needs to be a limit. If your weight is getting in the way of what you love to do, your job, your family, or whatever, get off your ass and make a change. That doesn’t mean you should treat them any differently; you’re not! Think of it as a lesson! Everyone needs to be taught something that will benefit them in the future. And a lot of losing weight is diet. Like you said, Paul, put things in your body that will do GOOD for it!
    I like your enthusiasm on the show and your “tough love” attitude. Keep kicking unhealthy people in the ass, they will thank you in the end! 🙂

  15. Reese says:

    Excellent blog!
    I see the same problem in the grocery store: the first thing that goes into the cart is the twelve-packs of sodas, the frozen dinners, ice cream and bags of chips. The produce section is virtually ignored, despite the huge year-round variety available to people.
    Despite the obesity epidemic, I don’t believe the answer is taxing junk food. It’s not sensible to punish someone for wanting soda for a party once a year, or fast food in a pinch. Also, butter, sugars, flour, and eggs would all have to be taxed as well. They’re the ingredients for many unhealthy homemade junk foods. At the same time, they’re the ingredients for many healthy choices as well. Taxation takes away freedom to choose, and takes away the personal responsibility that becoming fit and healthy requires.
    Healthy foods are actually cheaper than junk food. To get the same full feeling I get from my 3-cup salad (before dressing it’s less than 100 calories) from junk food I have to spend a lot more and eat probably ten times the calories.
    Organic foods will never be cheaper than traditionally grown foods, unless organic comes into mainstream, that is, every farm is organic. At this point, simply getting veggies onto plates is more important than insisting that the veggies be organic.
    I’m on my way to losing twenty pounds so that I can join the military. Salads and veggies are my new favorite foods!

  16. Julia says:

    Hi Paul,

    I enjoy reading your blogs. They motivate me & give me a good laugh at the same time. Looking forward to meeting you at the Saint John, NB event in January.


  17. Leah says:

    Paul, I love your ideas about charging more for junky food. I think part of the problem in the States and in Canada is that people perceive healthy food to be more expensive than junk food so they eat the junk, thinking they’re saving money on feeding a family. Look where it’s gotten us. In the long run, we will pay much more for health care and our poor kids!

    Another thing I’ve noticed is that there are a lot nicer clothes for fat people these days than there were 20 years ago. My mom has been overweight since I was a teenager and now she has nicer clothes than I do but you could fit three of me in one of her shirts! People are cashing in on North America’s fat problem, big time!

    James, I totally agree with you about fibromyalgia. I know one skinny person that claims to have it but she eats worse than any fat person I know, doesn’t exercise and I know it’s going to catch up to her one day. It boils down to this (IMO): If you don’t move your body, your joints, muscles, etc. are going to hurt. The end.

    Paul and x-weighted: Thanks so much for your blogs, this website and the show. I really find myself thinking of things you say during my workouts and it’s very motivating. I love reading the comments here too.

  18. new mom says:

    OMG, I don’t know if you were trying to be funny, Paul, but I frickin’ laughed my head off through most of this entry! So great, and so true, as usual.

    I do feel that there is value in being able to have the “junk” foods in the home, in small quantities, and teaching our children discipline and self control around it. Just because it’s there doesn’t mean you have to inhale it all immediately. I’d like to be able to teach my boys that they can have a waffle one Saturday morning a month as a treat, but that we don’t eat like this all the time because that’s how we get to be enormous. Just like I wouldn’t let my kids’ birthdays go by without a cake but we don’t have cake every night after dinner. They have to be able to govern themselves, because at some point, they will be out in the world without me there to lay down the law, and hopefully they can make good choices for themselves.

    Thanks, again, Paul, for all your wisdom!

  19. new mom says:

    Oh yeah, and I have to say that I was mortified during my last months of pregnancy when I was so big that when I took the subway and sat in the seats, my thighs would touch the person next to me…who was usually an overweight person!

  20. selina humnycki says:

    This is absolutely right on… obese people don’t want discrimination? Then that goes for the positive as well as the negative, as is happening now with the H1N1 vaccine… The first day of H1N1 availability coincided with my kids having a day off school so I lined up at Brentwood mall for 5 hrs with my 3,7 and 8 yr olds and got their first shot. As most people know, children under 9 require 2 shots to be fully immune so after immunisations were halted I started regularly checking the Alberta health updates on when I could get those done for them. My 3 yr old falls into 1 of the ‘high risk’ groups so can get his required booster, but not my other 2 as they are (thankfully!) perfectly healthy.
    So imagine my horror when I look today and find they are being denied full immunity from H1N1 in favour of… Obese people! You have got to be kidding me! In all but a tiny, tiny, tiny % of cases, obesity is totally self inflicted – people simply shove too much junk in their mouth while sitting on the couch. They deliberatly put their health at risk (yes – obesity WILL kill you – diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer etc etc – all increased by obesity) and obese people do this by CHOICE – they CHOOSE not to eat healthy food. They CHOOSE not to get sufficient exercise. They CHOOSE to eat too much – and now they are rewarded for that behavior?! They get to queue jump over children to get protection from a life-threatening disease?!
    Good grief – this is worse than the Flames queue jumping! I am absolutely outraged at the message this sends… go down the obesity path to poor health and death and we, the tax payers will protect you all we can, even if it means sacrificing children and others who have chosen to live a healthy lifestyle.
    Alberta ‘health’ endorses this approach – they should be ashamed!

  21. Valerie Staff says:

    Paul,just read the numerous comments from many people who commented your blog,I totally agree on what you said.I too am a fat-watcher;it’s sad to see every second person you come in contact with is obese.I come from a family who suffers from this socially acceptable disorder.It’s hard to get control of one’s bad habit,when you see it day to day,and having to live with it in your life.In order to deal with this growing problem,all junk-food I think should be taxed like alcohol and cigerettes,but will it help? Look at the problems alcohol and cigerettes have right now.It’s sad to say, but you know and I know obesity is here to stay.All we as a society can do is help ourselves and help those who also need help.Love your show.Keep the faith.

  22. april says:

    hi ya, i’ve been the fat person on the plane that had to tell the flight attendant the seat belt didn’t fit.
    it brought obesity to a new level of SUCK.

    i only watch x-weighted because you’re on it. i don’t know – something about watching a person who’s in shape makes me feel better about putting in all those hours at the gym.

    on the days that i’m tired and don’t want to go i remember the Nike logo “just do it”. usually gets me moving when all else fails.

    i don’t understand why people are fat either, i know I’D enjoy living in a body that’s in shape.
    i have food issues, meaning i have an intolerance to wheat, dairy and eggs. two of the many effects those foods have on me is it makes me exhausted and drives my appetite through the roof.
    i went up to 320 lbs before i figured out what the problem was.

    today my weight is 208 lbs and falling.
    it’s hard work, that’s a given, however, not having the insane appetite and getting my energy back has helped.
    i don’t mind putting in the time and doing the work.
    this is why i like watching the show – i get it.

    i played around with the idea of trying to get on the show but obesity has given me enough embarassment for one life time, i’m not sure i want more of it with the whole country watching.

    thanks for doing what you do.

  23. Paul says:

    Hi April thanks for the info from your point of view,I am glad you have figured things out. Great job on your weight loss.

  24. Divine says:


    Have you ever thought that you where giving a gift to help people?
    Do you ever get sick of giving peopel advice when you are not working? or do you love it?

    Maybe just maybe, you could have saved a life that day… Someones son, someones father… a friend… I think Honesty is the way to go…. I mean someone has to have loved that person you where sitting beside… and obvisously they where not being honest with him… or maybe they where and he needed to know who he was sitting beside to tell him… in a polite way… that he was Fat!!!!

    I only say this, becasue I rememebr my father has always went up and down in wieght since I could remember… and really there is no reason for it… he is a driver.. he steps in and out of a truck all day long… carring heavy boxes…. for 8 hours a day…. you would think he should be fit right… well he was… but when he changed his diet… he just got FAT!!!!

    nobosdy in my family said anything… until oneday I could not take it… he was sitting at the kitchen tabel and dropped a dime… he has asked my son to pick it up… and I said no let grandpa get it… Well My he was weizing just to pick up a dime of the floor…. Well that was it… I started in on him…

    To my suprise the very next day my father starting eating health… reading labels… and giving me advice on what to feed my children…. he is 5’7″ and weight 240 pounds… he is now 177 pounds 6 months later…. and looking good…

    I think Brutal honesty is the only way to go…. They may be mad.. but who cares, when your fat you are mad at the world… let someone tell you why…


  25. Paul says:

    Hi Divine

    Thanks for sharing your story. I like your approach. If it was a close family member I would say something too. In public you don’t know what kind of reaction you are going to get. In a plane where there is no escape I thought it would be inappropriate to say something.

  26. Teresa says:

    Love the show X Weighted. I spent 6 months living in Paris and when I came back to Canada it was a huge shock to my system. I went out for dinner with a friend my first night back and my jaw dropped open when we walked in the restaurant. There was obese people stuffed into every second booth. In France I had barely seen an overweight person. And then our meal came, I could not believe the size of it! Restaurants in Paris serve reasonably sized portions, the food is wonderful, but its also probably 1/4 the size of what you are served here. I was astounded at the amount of food we serve at one sitting. I am a healthy weight and when I was in France I felt large, its a matter of perspective.

  27. Gail says:

    HUGE fan of yours Paul! I’ve really enjoyed reading your blogs and I would say you are “right on”! I LOVE X-Weighted and X-Weighted:Families! Am looking forward to more X-Weighted shows in the New Year!

    I’m VERY excited that you will be in Saint John, NB next week and am looking forward to hearing you and meeting you! You are very inspirational! Keep up the good work! Cheers!

  28. Buffy says:

    This is funny and at the same time not so funny! I had the very same experience on a flight… It was a long flight from Montreal to Kelowna and I was so uncomfortable that I had to say something… “I paid for my whole seat and if you are gonna sit on half of it perhaps you should pay for half of it” I know this wasn’t very nice to say but I couldn’t stand his fat sweaty body touching me anymore… he then asked the stewardess for another seat. I do feel bad for being so rude but I probably not as bad as he felt for being obese which makes my comment even worse… I can’ t imagine feeling so helpless about my body. My mother is obese and diabetic and it scares the crap out of me… I never want to be the person that finds an excuse to not workout or eat properly. she also has arthritis which I know is the result of being obese. For her it hurts to workout but it hurts even more not to as she is trapped in a cycle that ensures the slow degradation of her body and health. Worse still, she knows all this but always finds an excuse to give in to the pain of exercise and she quits. I count my lucky stars that I am not depressed and I am able to find the internal motivation to be fit, happy, and healthy.

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