I often hear or read comments about the weight of American people. Many non-American bloggers and commenters who have visited the U.S. or met Americans in their home countries talk about how disgusted they are to see all of the wobble bottoms hugging each other in greeting at airports. They mention how massive and unhealthy everyone looks. They express disgust that these people don't "do something about" their weight or look after their health.
One fellow in particular, a professional writer, wrote about how he lived abroad, and during a year-long stay, he effortlessly lost 10 lbs. He said that this loss was due to working long hours of overtime and not having any time to eat. In the same piece, he wrote that he felt irritated with American folks who were overweight (like himself) that he saw walking around this foreign country. He reiterated the oft-stated notion that his disdain for them stemmed from the fact that they didn't "try" to lose weight. Never mind that he wrote by the end of the post that he regained the weight he lost after going back to the U.S. and not having to work 12-hour days.
I'm sure one thing that all fat people find very frustrating is the pat judgment of strangers who decide with a glance that they aren't "trying" or "doing something about" their situation. Many people are "trying" and many are having various levels of success. You can't tell with a glance that someone has been losing weight or living a healthier lifestyle if they are in the process of getting fitter. Here I am, a bit under 245 lbs., down from 380 lbs., and the judgmental jerk who wrote the post in the aforementioned post would dismiss me as another American fatty who couldn't be bothered to improve her lot.
All of this is actually beside the point. The truth of the matter is that fat people don't have to do anything about their bodies. It's nobody's business how they live their lives. They are not obliged in any way to "do something about" their weight or even their health. Just because society is currently in the throes of a zeitgeist which puts a big stamp which has huge red "A-P-P-R-O-V-A-L" letters on it when it comes to fat prejudice doesn't mean everyone has the right to decide how we should live our lives. I choose to lose weight because it's what I need to do for myself. I shouldn't be pressured to do it because others have decided I'm "bad."
The interesting aspect to me about this is that America is supposed to be built on the ideas of personal freedom and individuality, yet these seem to be tossed aside when the topic comes to weight. Rather than respect a person's right to live, look, and eat the way they choose, immense pressure comes to bear on them from all sides. The government wants you to lose weight. Your family and friends want you to. Random strangers definitely want you to.
The thing that makes me angriest about all of the arguments about the "obesity epidemic" is that a plethora of arguments are made to make my problem (being fat) your problem. This ranges from ridiculous (correlation, not causation) studies which suggest becoming fat is contagious to bitter arguments about health costs which are utterly inaccurate. The truth is that fatties save money for society on the whole as they die earlier and therefore do not require as much in the way of long-term care expenses or pension payments. The extent to which people will go to rationalize and validate fat prejudice is impressive, and it's also just a big cover-up for their inability to simply see themselves for what they are, shallow, small-minded, judgmental bigots who judge people based solely on appearance.