One of my New Year's resolutions is to print letters I didn't get around to in 2011. Here's a start: a sampling of views on the issue of obesity. It all started with a column called "Don't Hate Us Because We're Fat" (10/7/2011), in which an overweight man who called himself Heavy But Human deplored the fat jokes directed at Gov. Chris Christie. In a follow-up called "Fatty Brought It Upon Himself" (11/18/2011), a reader argued that Heavy But Human was responsible for his own weight problem.
Dear Tell All: My dad died of diabetes-related heart disease. He was overweight. He didn't exercise, eat right or sleep well. He worked six days a week when he didn't have to. He died at 68, the day after he retired. I love my dad, but I still resent his behavior and the fact that he left my mom stranded and alone. Isn't that the best reason to get on a bike and ride your ass off?
Dear Tell All: Instead of blaming heredity, addiction or lack of discipline for America's obesity epidemic, let's blame the corporations, shall we? The typical food corporation turns out "frankenfoods" that are so pumped with added sugars and fats that no one who bases their diet on such foods could remain in the range of "normal weight," even if they did bike 30 miles a day.
Dear Tell All: I was one of those people who got teased for being fat - everything that Heavy But Human is talking about. I blamed other people's meanness for my own misery and ate more in response to being treated poorly.
When I was 26 and had just had my second child, I was told by my physician that I was borderline diabetic and could only battle it by losing weight. I completely changed my shopping and eating habits and, over the next year and a half, lost 90 pounds.
So I say to Heavy But Human, if you put your mind into getting healthy, you can do it. You'll come to realize how much energy it takes to excuse yourself for being fat.