Fat-is-Normal-CoverWho cares that I am obese? That is how I felt. I said it publically, “I want to be a little fat. Then, you get to enjoy the cherry cheese cake and key lime pie.” Then I buried a guy ten years younger than me. More on that in another chapter. I started reading on the high price of obesity. If you choose to be normal, and live the normal American lifestyle, and eat the Standard American Diet, this is what you have to look forward to:

Early death. Being obese is like aging 20 years. Obesity will shorten your life by five to ten years. Your chances of dying in any given year goes up by 50 – 100%.[1] Obesity is more deadly than smoking or drinking. Obesity normally does not kill directly. You don’t read about obesity being the cause of death. You should. It kills by causing other diseases—heart disease and diabetes being the big two. Diabetes is an especially nasty disease. Thickened blood (think about a sugary syrup) doesn’t make it to the extremities of your body. This lack of blood flow can cause blindness because the blood cannot circulate through the small vessels in the eyes. Toes and fingers are sometimes amputated. Nasty.

Chronic health issues. If it doesn’t kill you, it might make you wish you were dead. Most of us know there are health risks from drinking too much. Heavy drinkers are 12% more likely to have any kind of chronic health condition when compared with normal-weight individuals. Smokers are twice as likely to have chronic health issues at 25%. The obese? 67%.[2]

Brain function. Obesity decreases brain function. You don’t think as well. You forget stuff. There was one more thing I was going to say but I can’t remember what it is.

Social ostracism. It is not fair. It is not right. But it is true. We are a strange culture. We do everything imaginable to poke unhealthy sweets and carbs down your throat. We kid you if you won’t go along with the crowd and eat that dessert. But, if you succumb to the inevitable result of being fat, we look down on you. We make fun of you. We talk about you behind your back. I have heard people say it of Chris Christie: “He might make a good president, except he is too fat.”

Money. Obese people make less money. The fatter you are, the less money you are likely to make.[3]

Depression. One recent study found that overall, obese individuals have a 20 percent elevated risk of depression, and specifically for Caucasian college-educated people with obesity, the depression risk rises to as high as 44 percent.[4]

Lack of confidence. Obese people tend to suffer from a low self-esteem. Who feels good about being fat? This lack of confidence drives a number of other relational and personal problems.

When I read these things, I came to a conclusion. There was too high of a price to pay for the fleeting pleasure of a Krispy Kreme donut. It tastes great for a moment, but the price is too high to pay. I don’t want to be normal. I want to be fit. I want to be weird.

How about you?