web analytics
October 23, 2014 / 29 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



On The Topic of Weight – My Response

Last week I shared a letter from a gentleman who felt it was appropriate to comment on people’s weight.  He felt that not doing so facilitated the problem. “In our effort to spare the feelings of the fatsos, we have become facilitators of their irresponsibility.”  He felt that commenting on weight would help people take responsibility for how their over- weight condition effects those around them. “But if, indeed, one cannot even so much as allude to the issue of weight when conversing with a fat person, what then might induce fat people to take responsibility for the effects of their physical conditions upon other people?


He cited overweight houseguests who could not care for their personal hygiene as one example. Overweight passengers in cars and on airlines were another. “And then there is the problem of the person in the back seat of my car, who is too fat to buckle him/herself into the seatbelt.  If he/she doesn’t buckle up, then, in the event of a crash, he/she becomes a projectile in motion (and a very heavy one, at that, which would crash into the front seat occupants (including me) and cause grievous if not lethal damage.


“On a more individual level, if I cannot even obliquely mention weight, how am I to deal with the big, fat woman sitting next to me on the airplane, whose flab protrudes out into my own seat so I cannot comfortable sit in it? Which wouldn’t be so bad, except that it’s a night flight, and the cabin lights have been switched off, but I cannot stay up and read because her big size obstructs the reading light. 


“Can I say anything to my fellow passenger without hurting her feelings?  Am I supposed to complain to the flight attendant?  And yet, the fatso lobby whines that it is discriminatory for the airlines to require people who cannot fit into one airline seat to purchase two seats to accommodate their big size.”


Rising insurance costs, which he attributes to the “obesity epidemic” was another way in which he sees people’s weight impinging on others. For these reasons he feels that there is merit in making comments to overweight people.

Dear TVQ,


Thank you for your comments. I appreciate hearing from someone with the opposite point of view. I think you raise some valid issues. Obesity does impact on more than the overweight person.  It can make others uncomfortable.  But are there other ways of dealing with the problem that may be more effective than making the negative comments, which, I am told, have no positive effect on weight loss at all.


If a houseguest makes you uncomfortable for any reason, you do not have to invite them into your home. If you feel transporting someone in your car is a safety hazard for you or them, you do not need to give them a lift. And if your seat on the airline is not comfortable, you can quietly talk to the stewardess about changing it. 


There is no question that any health issue impacts on us as a society and affects our health costs. It is as true of smoking, drug addiction, mental illness, chronic illness, hypertension, etc., as it is for obesity. The impact of almost all illnesses would be reduced if we as a society would strive for normal weight by eating better, exercising more, learning to react better to stress and in general, were more mindful of our bodies and took better care of them. 


Shall we only insure those with no ill health potential or those that pass a criterion designed to cost the insurance company the least amount of money? Or do we have a commitment to help everyone with their health needs − even those that may not be able to foster optimum health for themselves at the moment?


Further, I think you may have missed the point of my column. It appears that these hurtful comments do not help the person deal with their weight problem. Often they can do just the opposite. If that is the case, then why make the comments in the first place? It is not facilitating a problem to keep quiet when the comments serve no constructive purpose and just exacerbate the issue.


If, indeed, comments on a person’s weight contributed to them becoming healthier and starting a program of weight loss I would advocate doing so in a kindly and effective manner. But they do not. These comments accomplish nothing, and as I have said, often make the situation worse. That is why I am so against them.


A dialogue on any topic is always constructive when it is presented in a respectful manner without name-calling. Different points of view are always challenging and enlightening and can often change a person’s opinion. Using derogatory words and descriptions often serves to lessen an argument instead of bolstering it. But I thank you for contributing to the discussion and always welcome a difference of opinion.


Ann


You can reach me at annnovick@hotmail.com

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “On The Topic of Weight – My Response”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Canadian policeman at scene of terrorist attack in Ottawa on Wednesday.
Terror: US Pledges Support for Canada but Tells Israel to Stay Calm
Latest Sections Stories

It is important for a therapist to focus on a person’s strengths as a way of overcoming his or her difficulties.

Sadly, there are mothers who, due to severe depression are unable or unwilling to prepare nourishing food for their children.

Michal had never been away from home. And now, she was going so far away, for so long – an entire year!

Though if you do have a schach mat, you’ll realize that it cannot actually support the weight of the water.

Social disabilities occur at many levels, but experts identify three different areas of learning and behavior that are most common for children who struggle to create lasting social connections.

Sukkot is an eternal time of joy, and if we are worthy, of plenty.

Two of our brothers, Jonathan Pollard and Alan Gross, sit in the pit of captivity. We have a mandate to see that they are freed.

Chabad of South Broward has 15 Chabad Houses in ten cities.

Victor Center works in partnership with healthcare professionals, clergy, and the community to sponsor education programs and college campus out reach.

So just in case you’re stuck in the house this Chol HaMoed – because there’s a new baby or because someone has a cold – not because of anything worse, here are six ideas for family fun at home.

We are told that someone who says that God’s mercy extends to a bird’s nest should be silenced.

More Articles from Ann Novick

When one is blind one learns to use Braille to read. When one cannot walk, a wheelchair gives mobility. Sign language allows a mute person to speak and ocular implants assist in hearing when one is deaf. These are all compensatory strategies that help a person function despite his disability. But compensatory strategies are not just for physical problems. Understanding our psychological weaknesses and setting up our lives to ensure that we are not tempted to repeat our past mistakes, is as necessary as any aid to the disabled.

Well spouses have often discovered that their friends and relatives, despite their closeness to the situation, often don’t realize the tremendous emotional impact living with chronic illness has on the family. With the best intentions, suggestions, ideas and criticism are offered, based on the non-experience of those with healthy families. Even when the good intentioned get a taste of the difficulties, it is sometimes not enough for them to then identify and understand what the family of the chronically ill must face on a constant basis.

Over the past two weeks I have shared letters from a therapist and a well spouse. Both of the letters gave personal insights into the process of losing hope, how we react when that happens and some ways of coping when test scores, diagnosis and just simple repetitive behavior indicate that change for the better is impossible.

Dear Ann,

I’ve read your last few articles on psycho-neurological testing (Oct.8-22) with interest. As a therapist who has counseled couples dealing with chronic illness, I’d like to give you another perspective.

Dear Ann,

Your articles on the Neuro-Psychological Testing were right on (October 8-22). My husband underwent testing twice and your articles explained it things exactly the way they were. Besides the test, we also tried therapy.

Very often when we can’t face our big hurts or big loses we focus on the little ones. We can discuss those. We can cry over the small loses, be angry at the smaller hurts even though it may look trite and sound ridiculous to others.

Over the last two weeks we have been discussing one way in which well spouses can determine whether behavior displayed by their ill partners is caused by their illness or is a way they have chosen to act. We have focused on Psycho-Neurological testing, what it can tell us, as well as its pros and cons.

Last week I discussed a question that haunts many well spouses: not knowing if the difficult and often inappropriate behavior frequently displayed by their partners are caused by the disease and therefore not-controllable, or if the behavior is a choice the spouse makes and can therefore be changed. This doubt can be the source of much frustration and many marital disagreements. One way of alleviating this doubt is by having a psycho- neurological work up done. But that path is not so simple.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/on-the-topic-of-weight-my-response/2008/07/09/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: