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Hitting Bottom
by Shaun Tobin | Contact   
Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Lip up, fatty...

From time to time I’m considered uncompassionate because upon hearing of a person’s same particular woe for the umpteenth time I not only gloss over but actively wish them ill. For me this is compassion. Staying the same, staying stuck in the same way, over and over forever is much worse than deteriorating to the point of hitting bottom. I’m a big fan of Nietzsche and his maxim ‘If you can’t teach them to fly then teach them to fall faster”, is one of my heartfelt favorites.

In Reno recently I bubbled a large number of tournaments. While the universe decided I was not to receive any monetary reward for my hard work it did often extend me a free buffet ticket having made it unfelted to the dinner break. It was sheer horror. People were literally dragging their bloated, distended, broken-down bodies back and forth to the pig troughs of excess food scraps. Our first family trip there was so disturbing to my wife that we had to leave even earlier than we would usually.

The family next to us was five in number and all of them were in various stages of eating themselves to death. The mother in her fifties was in a wheel chair and had a bandaged right leg from where her foot was recently removed due to diabetes complications. Her husband was obese to the point of having to be carted around and the slimmest of the two sons was a bit over 400 pounds. They gasped for air as they shoveled food down their throats. Their table was piled high with food and each person had two or three heaping plates of food in front of them. They grunted as they worked through it and actually asked their waiter to fetch more plates full of food for them as they were too “tired” to make it to the trough themselves.

Most unsettling of all was a two-hundred-pound twelve-year-old girl who was hooked up to a portable oxygen tank. She was suffering from gluttony induced type two diabetes and her mother warned her to “only eat a couple deserts” or she’d lose her own legs sooner rather than later. I had to cover my eyes eventually as she would often get the food she was shoveling into her mouth caught on the plastic oxygen tubes going into her nose and if the morsel was juicy enough she would pause, take the tube out of her nose and lick down it’s length to suck in the chocolate pudding etc, then running out of oxygen she would jam the thing back into her nose sometimes jamming the pudding laced tube into her nostril and forcing her to gasp for air and blow it back out onto the front of her “Eat, Skinny Bitch” T-shirt. From her family’s lack of reaction this behavior was deemed normal.

Hitting bottom seems to have little positive effect when people view it as “part of life.” With four out of five Americans now overweight and more people obese rather than merely overweight-- losing limbs, dying early, and eating oneself immobile seems to be an accepted part of life. It’s not so in other places of the world.

When my friends from Asia visit they are as shocked as I am at our complacency of our own self-inflicted demise. I often say in my training of people looking to lose weight that “you don’t work on losing the weight, you work on losing the consciousness that led to the weight gain.” Part of that consciousness that needs to be lost is the acceptance of being 40 to 80 pounds overweight and the realization that harboring that consciousness will not only ruin your own life but that of the ones you love also. That twelve-year-old girl never had a chance. It’s not funny. It’s not fair, and it’s not normal and it is abuse.

Thanks for reading.

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