Over the last few years there's been an explosion of television programs about obese people all over the world. The latest one to crop up in the UK is channel 4's 'Embarrassing Fat Bodies', a spin-off from the very popular program 'Embarrassing Bodies'. If you're from the UK then please bear with me for a second because I know that most of you will be familiar with the show, however I'm not too sure if my US readers will know what the hell I'm on about! 'Embarrassing Bodies' pretty much does what it says on the tin - people go into a studio/clinic and show their embarrassing and unpleasant ailments to the doctors/presenters. Why on earth you would rather go on national television to get treatment for your hemorrhoids than just go to your own doctor...well, its beyond me. Despite that, I still watch it - while loudly telling anyone who will listen that the people who go on there must be completely mad, and how will they ever look anyone in the eye again knowing that their bumhole or boobs or lady bits have been on the television for everyone to see!? Sometimes the human race just astounds me.
The new spin-off, 'Embarrassing Fat Bodies', is again pretty much self-explanatory. People go in for treatment for their weight-induced (and therefore for the most part self-induced) illnesses. Cue lots of post-weight loss patients who need excess skin removed, vaginal and anal prolapses caused by obesity (one word - GRIM) and all other manner of icky stuff which nobody needs to be seeing on a Monday evening when they're eating their dinner.
Another type of patient that Doctors Christian, Pixie and Dawn see a lot of are those who are morbidly obese and 'can't lose weight' on their own and therefore require 'lifesaving' gastric surgery on the NHS. Surgery that they often seem to get with very few questions asked. All that appears to be required is a BMI of 40 or above.
Am I the only that gets really pissed off about this??
These surgeries are being paid for by my taxes (yes, mine...I might be a student, but I still work!), my parents taxes, my friends taxes...and are being performed on people who 'can't' lose weight on their own. Bullshit. I'm the first to admit that losing weight isn't easy, and I've spoken on here before about changing your relationship with food - its not something you can just go cold-turkey on, like you can with other 'addictions'. But that doesn't mean you can't lose weight by traditional means. If I can do it, if thousands of people all over the world can lose weight through eating healthily and exercising, then why can't everyone? Because they haven't tried. They lack the commitment and willpower to do it by themselves...so why should the rest of us have to pay for it? The NHS won't perform liver transplants on alcoholics unless they've been sober for a certain amount of time, so why should people who are continuing to put tens of thousands of calories into their body be offered surgery? The food they're consuming is no less potent than alcohol or drugs, its no less dangerous and has exactly the same potential to kill them in the long run.
The thing that makes me even angrier about the whole situation is the people that get the surgery and proceed to carry on filling their bodies with junk even after they've had their stomachs stapled. A case of particular note in this area is a woman who had surgery in the UK last year. After the surgery her husband brought her in a KFC bucket - while she was still in post-op. Unsurprisingly, she died a few days later because she refused to alter her eating habits, resulting in her newly eggcup-sized stomach perforating and killing her. A £10,000 operation just for her to die a few days later. Disgusting, don't you think? And even worse that gastric surgery seems to be incredibly easy to get on the NHS, whereas its next to impossible to have post-weight loss cosmetic surgery unless you pay for it privately. So after losing 8st, my chances of getting help when it comes to fixing my stomach and boobs will be nil. And I will tell you this for nothing - if my chest and belly aren't 'embarrassing', then I don't know what is. Every person has a part of their body that they hate, and for me its my boobs. The only time the bra comes off is when I'm showering or in bed. And when I say 'in bed', I mean 'asleep'. It doesn't even come off for the other thing that people do in bed. That is how much I hate them - and they're just getting worse and worse as the weight comes off, meaning that by the time I've got my my goal weigh there really will just be nothing left. They will continue to make me miserable unless I pay for them to be fixed. I've chosen to get healthy and will receive no help to rectify the damage that being overweight has caused (I am aware that I have nobody but myself to blame, before anyone gets on their high horse. I don't expect help - I know its my responsibility), but everyone seems willing to bend over backwards for those who can't or won't put down the doughnut?! I think that speaks volumes.
Despite my anger about this situation, that is not to say that I disapprove of the concept of these shows. I understand that they are intended to highlight the dangers of overeating and show people the effect it can have on their lives. Its also very inspiring when you see a person who has lost a huge amount of weight off of their own initiative. It reminds me that it can be done - and how can I moan about 8st when other people out there have lost upwards of 20st? It just infuriates me that so much coverage is given to those who turn to surgery. The doctors always talk about the operations as a 'last resort'. They talk about the dangers of surgery, the limitations of your diet afterwards, and all the other things that are intended to put across the message that surgery = bad. And yet every week they show somebody who has had, or will have, the operation. Why!? By giving it so much airtime its not demonstrating the dangers. If anything, its glamorizing the concept. It sends the message that actually its ok to get fat, because look how easy it is to have your stomach stapled on the NHS. There are no programs out there showing people who are undergoing complex and expensive cancer treatments. I struggle to believe that there will ever be a school of thought that says 'its ok to smoke, because you can get chemo for FREE'. Why is the relationship between overeating and weight loss surgery not treated the same way?
I would never, ever have considered having my stomach stapled. Even before Weight Watchers, when I thought that there was no way I could lose weight, it just wasn't an option for me. Honestly, its just because I love food too much to be restricted to eating an eggcup-full at a time. I can't imagine anything worse. I know that a lot of people who follow this blog are in the process of losing weight - was surgery ever an option for you people? And am I the only one who believes that this surgery is too readily available on the NHS? I have a feeling I may be slightly biased and could be missing the issue, so I'd love to know what your thoughts are as people who are also trying to lose weight the 'old-fashioned' way! I have definitely come to be in possession of an 'if I can do it anybody can' mindset - maybe I'm just being too narrow?? What do you think?
Hope everyone is having a good week so far!
Love to you all
P.S Just noticed I've hit 50 followers!! You guys are amazing, thank you all so much for being so supportive!!