I believe in obesity

Mykaela - Snohomish, Washington
Entered on April 16, 2009
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe in obesity. When I speak of obesity, I don’t just mean the people who are morbidly overweight; I also am speaking about the people that are just a little chubby. What people don’t realize about obesity is that anyone over 30% body fat is considered “obese.” My family has a long history of low to no metabolisms. I’ve seen the ugly side of obesity, and for the longest time I thought you were only obese if you resembled large marine life – I didn’t so I was never concerned.

A lot of my younger years, I thought that large people were some of the most beautiful people; I wanted to look just like them when I grew up – I didn’t think they were “fat.” Fat is a cruel word. I’ve heard it so much over my life, and mostly it’s used in jokes degrading people, and some of the time those people were me. It hurt. My mom tells a story about when I came home from school in 1st grade, crying, because a boy told me I was fat. I wasn’t fat then, but around 4th grade I finally got my childhood wish. I was five feet-even, and weighed 180-plus pounds. That whole year I was shunned, picked on, and even beat upon because I was fat. Children don’t realize how that stigma carries with a person.

My whole life since then, I’ve always thought of myself as fat. Even though I grew five inches and lost twenty pounds, I thought I was fat. I would even make remarks about how I was fat, and people would constantly tell me I wasn’t – I thought they were just being modest. Finally, I was able to adapt the state of mind that I wasn’t fat. Then I decided to join the army.

I was basically told I was too fat to enlist. I was at 36% body fat, and the maximum percentage allowed was 32%. I was so close, but I began vigorously working out and watching my eating habits; I lost twenty pounds in two months, but that only brought me down to 33% body fat. At that point I was allowed to do an Arms Test to waiver my body fat so I could enlist. I had to step up and down in cadence for five minutes at 120 beats per minute, the step being twelve inches tall, followed by one minute of pushups. I knew I was capable. I passed it, proving that I am perfectly capable, even though I was still considered “obese.”

I believe that no one should ever be denied something simply because of their weight. In a way, it’s a prejudice. I believe in those people of all weights and body types. I believe in obesity.