Everywhere you look, someone is talking about weight loss and obesity: the newest weight loss product, the latest obesity epidemic statistic, miracle diets, fitness equipment, etc., etc., etc. It’s impossible for anyone to not know there is a weight problem in this country since it’s all we ever talk about it and 2/3 of adults are over weight themselves.
I had a new client come in the other day, with the goal to drop weight. We did his full assessment and he was is generally good health aside from being completely sedentary, but it’s safe to say he was over 100 pounds overweight. We did a few exercises to find out his fitness level and called it a day, with his homework being to go for a 30 minute walk. The next time he came in, he pulled me aside. He informed me that his knees were killing him. I told him that his knees were probably barking because he was overweight and it puts a lot of stress on the joints, but we would be careful during his session not to aggravate them.
He went up front to warm up on one of our cardio machines. After 5 minutes, I went out to grab him so we could begin, and he was gone. He left. Walked out without a word and drove home.
I was shocked, called him immediately, and he answered from his car, livid. He said he was insulted by my comments and had left, unable to work with someone who was so rude. I asked what I had said to offend him, honestly still confused, and he said I called him ‘overweight.’
Rude? Because I told him being overweight was doing damage to his body. Because I called a spade a spade. Because I did my job as a trainer and directly referenced his excess body fat and the negative effect it was having on his health.
I’m beginning to understand why doctors don’t talk with their overweight patients about diet and exercise.
People aren’t used to being talked to directly about the dangers of their weight. Big, abstract ideas of ‘overweight is unhealthy’, people are used to, but hearing it in reference to YOU somehow turns offensive.
Weight is a sensitive subject. Overweight people get judged and discriminated against every day, and it’s not fair. Being told you are overweight by a medical or fitness professional, however, isn’t a personal attack. It’s a fact, and it need to be addressed so it can be solved.
This denial is what is keeping America overweight. Joint pain, high blood pressure, diabetes, premature death: if you are overweight, these are very real risks for you. It’s time to get real. In order to make a change, you have to get real. That extra weight that is ensnaring your vital organs is dangerous. Don’t be offended by it, do something about it.
In Good Health,
Kelly Turner is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer and health and fitness writer from Seattle, WA. To contact Kelly with any questions, you email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.