A family member, who I love very much, is not healthy. He is overweight and has had many health problems over the years as a result. His weight has been up and down and up and down, along with his health. When he is eating “healthy,” it’s the misguided conventional wisdom version of healthy eating (i.e. low-fat, calorie restriction), which might lead to some initial weight loss, but not actual health. It’s also not sustainable for this person, as he seems to always gain back the weight he loses.
I saw him over this past weekend. He made several jokes regarding his weight. I just didn’t find the jokes funny AT ALL. I am too concerned about his health. He has beautiful children that need and deserve to have their father around for the long haul. He’s a funny, smart, and caring person, and has the right to a healthy life like everyone else.
It’s also sad because he was a great athlete when he as younger, and was in great shape. Though it’s all too common these days, it’s just not normal for people to lose their health and vitality as they age. He should be running around, playing sports and enjoying life, without worrying about what health problems might be just around the corner.
As I was visiting with my family, I inquired publicly as to whether or not the tomatoes on the counter were organic (they looked delicious and I wanted one, but I really try to avoid conventional produce with pesticides for many reason, one being that I am still nursing my 17 month old son and don’t want to deliberately ingest toxins that might make their way into my milk). I also asked this question to get the rest of my family thinking about the importance of organic foods, without actually lecturing them on the topic. This family member sort of laughed at my question and then made fun of my remark for the rest of the visit.
I just don’t find this humor funny, and not because I was the butt of the joke. When he makes fun of his own weight, it makes me sad, because I feel like he’s not taking his health seriously. I feel like this is true of the public at large. When we laugh at obese people who make fun of themselves, we are almost condoning the behavior that caused their obesity. I’m not saying that it’s their fault, at all. The problem is primarily with a society that pushes unhealthy, processed foods on people, and actually convinces people that these foods are healthy.