For several years, I have been absolutely hooked on what I refer to as “fat people shows,” the documentary-style episodes of My 600 Lb Life, The Half Ton Man, and the like that follow an individual morbidly obese person through their successes and failures to improve their lives by losing weight.
One of the things I find most fascinating about this show is the outsider perspective of the featured person’s internal struggle. The excuses, enablers, and willing self-destructive behavior keeping them stuck, both figuratively and literally, are presented in such a way that I’ve come to the conclusion that not even the obese patient believes what they are saying.
As an atheist, I find the stories absolutely infuriating because these people are choosing every single day to live in their self-imposed prison. Their lives are miserable and short, and there is no silver lining.
In my day to day life interacting with people in my age group (I’m 35) I see an amazing difference among us in regards to our visual age. Those of us who smoke, eat fast food, drink too much, and don’t move very much appear decades older than those who have been caring for themselves. More than once I have stepped away from a gathering to look at my face in the bathroom mirror to assure myself that I do not look nearly as old. The next day typically finds me either at the gym or at Sephora for a new moisturizer. I do not want to grow old before my time due to my own actions.
The folks on my fat people shows are allowing their lives to slip away quickly, one meal at a time, losing their teeth to sugary sodas and their hair to malnutrition. It makes me desperately sad for them and motivating for me.
You only have one life. It is precious and fragile.