What would you do if you saw someone committing suicide? If they were putting a gun to their head, about to take a potentially lethal dose of pills or jump a bridge, building or killer ledge, you do everything within your power to try to stop them. You’d beg, plead, or pray. Or perhaps even put yourself in harm’s way by trying to physically stop them. But what do you do if their weapon of choice is food?
Let’s face it. Many of us see it happening every day. We see people gorging themselves with gross, heart-and-artery disintegrating foods, and we simply say nothing. Even if they’re already obese. Not our place. It’s their choice.
To a degree, that’s right. Unhealthy eating is a choice. Yes, often there are genetic and environmental forces at work, but ask anyone who’s carried those excuses around in their pocket for years before tossing them aside and deciding to make better choices. They’ll tell you that anything can be overcome — especially when it comes what (and how much) you put in your mouth.
But it’s not our place to tell them so. Or is it?
I really had to stop myself today. I was at a diner for breakfast and, full disclosure, not having my healthiest meal of the week, either! But I’d just come from the gym (my sixth straight day of working out) and, well, dammit, I earned a bit of a splurge: catfish (1 piece), scrambled egg whites, whole wheat toast and a small bowl of grits. And I enjoyed it!
Sitting not far from me were three women, each of them clearly overweight, perhaps even obese. A waiter initially brought a plate piled with something that didn’t look healthy, though I could not distinguish what it was–I just knew it wasn’t fruit! I thought: Okay, whatever it is, they’re sharing it. That helps reduce calories, so what the heck.
A few minutes later, though, breakfast came – and I mean breakfast came! Two plates were piled with eggs, bacon and enough hash browns to launch a potato famine. The third plate was filled with a waffle smothered in bacon. Whatever had been on that first plate was just an appetizer, a warm up. This was the main event! I was never really tempted to say anything, of course. Though the Fit! Live! Win inside of me certainly wanted to.
To me, these women were committing suicide. And from the looks of them (sorry, obesity is harsh) they do it every day.
Is it really not our place? Is there a polite way to approach people and share thoughts about healthy alternatives without risking getting cursed out the door?
Why is it not acceptable to stand by and watch people kill themselves if they’re doing it with a gun, but totally acceptable to sit idly by while people do it with food?
I don’t have an answer. Maybe you can help me find one.