I saw a friend of mine last night. Hadn’t seen him for about ten years. Long story short … he got huge.
We were walking around an open air mall, and it was a bit chilly. He had no jacket, whereas I’d brought mine. I commented that he must be cold, and he said, “Nah, I got enough body fat to keep me warm.” (Note, I did not bring up his excess fatness first. I may have, had he not mentioned it, but as it happens, I did not initiate the discussion.) He went on to tell me that his doctor had just checked his body fat percentage and it had come out to 33%.
“Wow,” I remarked, “you’ re morbidly obese.”
“What?” he asked, sounding shocked.
I admitted that I did not really know if 33% body fat made him morbidly obese, but he was definitely obese.
“I dunno,” he relaxed. “I don’t think I’m that big.”
“Dude,” I said, looking right at him, “you’re huge.”
My wife was with us. She thought my remarks were rude and said as much. Hmmmm…. I was just stating the facts, as I saw them. The guy is 5’8″ and 230. That’s dangerously huge. I should be polite? I should “support” my friend by telling him things are not so bad for him? NO!
Before I had my wake up call, I did not realize I was as huge as I was. I would remark about how huge other people were, without realizing I was that huge myself. It took some well-placed comments by people, as well as some photographs, to get me to see I needed to lose weight.
I aim to provide that same motivation for others.
Despite what many people think, supporting your friends and family is not hiding the truth from them. There is a word for that — it’s “enabling”. If you choose not to point out your friend’s self-destructive behavior, you are enabling that person to continue that behavior.
The problem is that we accept obesity in our society, and that’s probably because so many of us are obese. Of course, we all still make fun of the 400-pound guy taking up two seats at the theater, but being 230 at 5’8″ is just fine. Sorry, but I just don’t buy it.
Sometimes the truth is rude. But sometimes that rudeness can get someone you care about on the track to better health.