Obesity is a hot-button issue, with millions in the developed world literally eating themselves to death. While the poor masses starve, the west is making itself too plump to play. This fit young lad takes you through the macro issue along with his personal transition from juicy to rail thin to healthful.

Entering high school I was clinically obese: a young male with jelly rolls hanging from my hips, struggling to waddle the 4 laps required in our physical education classes. My father and I wore the same pant size. My mother and I consumed equal portions of fast food, especially McDonalds. Soda, burgers, and fries composed the majority of my diet. I was ashamed of my body and women were never attracted to me. Depression crept into my young life like a dark cloud over an already gloomy horizon. But I vowed to change that.

Certainly society has a number of unrealistic standards of beauty that are exercised especially perniciously against women. Women are expected to be rail thin, starving, vomiting and smoking themselves into the illusion of health. But like all societal prejudices, there are tangible reasons for discriminating against obese individuals and whether it’s moral or not these standards will continue to exist.

Societal pressure pushed me to change my habits substantially. As I came to understand that my obesity was preventing me from female and physical pursuits, I started eating fruits, vegetables and exercising like mad. I lifted weights, rode a bicycle, walked everywhere, and played golf every day. It doesn’t take long to shape up one’s body if you are thoughtful about what and how much you’re consuming and you push yourself to find exercise that is fun. The last piece is especially key: find forms of exertion that are not a chore, but rather a pleasure. Exiting high school I had lost the jelly rolls and entered college confident and healthy, albeit on the thin side of the spectrum.

Obesity is straight up unattractive. It indicates to the rest of the world that you do not care enough about your own life enough to care for your body. And yes, we resent it. My health insurance is much higher than it would be if so many of you weren’t fat. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, medical costs for the obese totaled $147 billion in 2008 and annual medical costs for them were $1,429 higher than those of healthful weight. Not only do we have to squeeze next to your rolls on planes and trains, but your extra weight slows our travel and the extra fuel it requires to drag your ass across the country adds to my ticket price.

Don’t think we don’t notice.

Entering college as an adult male I then felt the opposite pressure exercised on me – I needed to bulk up. So I started lifting weights and eating large quantities of food – Although it was very different from high school because I was calculating calories, protein grams, carbohydrate ratios, to gain muscle weight. At points it was extreme, and the absurd way men are expected to grunt their way into the perfect body type can be unhealthful, but compared to the average person, I was exercising 3 hours a day, eating large, but carefully balanced quantities of healthful food and sleeping better than at any point in my life. Women were attracted to me for the first time and my sex life flourished healthfully.

There exist myriad body types that are, in fact, healthful. But it is truly rare for clinically obese people to actually be fully healthy. The problems associated with obesity are literally life-threatening: high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, poor circulation, hypertension, reproductive disorders, cancer, and diabetes. Type II Diabetes rates are skyrocketing around the western world with the proliferation of fast food. Societies retaining traditional diets are not gaining weight because they eat local food grown and prepared in ways that have evolutionarily developed as mechanisms to promote health in their society.

With 35.7% of Americans clinically obese, and the rate expanding for youth, healthful individuals are presented with ever more limited options in acceptable partners. I could never date a fat person. Point blank. I’m sexually attracted to thin, healthful people because I know implicitly that their habits will influence mine, their body will turn me on, and if the relationship ever develops further I won’t be stuck with someone experiencing premature health complications.

So here’s my advice, stop complaining about society’s standards and recognize them for what they are: fucking twisted, perverse, unrealistic expectations that despite all of that contain an element of truth about the way the world must function. Don’t lose weight to fit the mold, but rather because you care about your own health and happiness. You want to have sex with attractive people and you want to be able to take a run in the park, ride your bike through the city, play sports with friends. And please, dear fucking God, stop making us pay for your social services.

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