I was bullied at school. Not all the time, not constantly, but there was certainly an underlying sense it could happen. Until one day when I finally lost my temper and stuffed someone inside a bin; but that’s a different story. Needless to say, the bullying stopped after that.
I was overweight at school for sure, still am now, but less so. So why was I? Why am I? And is it a big deal? Why is there such a stigma attached to being overweight? Was that the reason I was bullied? Conversely, why should someone be fat? Who cares? Does it only affect them? Is it there choice and no one else’s? We have different names for it too; there is overweight, obese, and morbidly obese. Should it be OK to be either of these?
You can be bullied because you are fat, bullied because you are different. I was both, and the two are not necessarily interlinked at all. Being different to me, is such societies way of saying you don’t conform, you’re not like other children, you don’t think or act the same, and you constantly ask questions and be inquisitive. By the way, these traits have a habit of really annoying your school friends, and more so, the teachers. They can also really frustrate your bosses, when you finally do grow up and leave school. You can be bullied and then become fat, or bullied because you are, but there are underlying causes.
I was always fascinated at school by the fact we never saw colour or creed, which was wonderful, but children always knew who the fat child was, and they seemed constantly met with derision. I personally wasn’t picked on for being fat, there were children much bigger than me, and two of them were proper hard core, no nonsense bullies. Guess how I know that?
My susceptibility to being bullied went far deeper, and has really influenced how I see the whole picture of bullies and the bullied, and what makes one and the other.
If you look at nature, a few things stand out. Most species are lean, size does and doesn’t matter, nature generally takes a path of least resistance, nature can be brutal, symmetry is everywhere, if something is used it grows, if it doesn’t it goes. All these traits are geared towards survival and the ability to reproduce.
If a Cheetah can’t run fast, it can’t catch prey, it eventually will die. If a Cheetah damages its paw, and it’s overweight, the extra weight will exacerbate the healing process, it will take longer to heal. It may not even be able to heal, because of the extra weight, it will die.
Scientists have actually proved this and there is even some odd equation that states for every 1lb you are overweight your knee joint will count an extra 5lb in the healing process.
An ex girlfriend had a photo of me and 3 other guys on her wall at work. One of us was devilishly handsome. It wasn’t me. She worked at a girl’s school and 5 year olds would enter her office, then point at the person in the photo who wasn’t me and always say: – ‘who is that?’
Even at that age, they knew who was good looking and it seems symmetry makes us good looking. If you don’t believe me, look at a flower or a leaf.
In the same way an animal that limps is an animal that could die; a child or a person that is overweight must signal to everyone the same message. Fat = premature death or weakness which = death.
It’s shocking to say but it is true. We are animals after all. I think it is entirely plausible that the brain can decide we are to eat ourselves to death, and although that is an entirely exaggerated concept, I do believe it in principal to be possible. We can give a signal to say ‘I don’t want to live.’
Also, sugar and addiction etc, is caught up in all these permutations too. Of course, yet again, the opposite is true, we can starve ourselves to death, become anorexic you be the victim of a multitude of other eating disorders. I also think we must look at the element of metabolism. I don’t think our metabolism is predefined, predisposed to always be the same. Just as it changes with climate and exercise, I think we can change it too, in a small way, by the mood we are in etc. Obviously different metabolism rates exist, but I don’t think they can account for huge swings weight fluctuation. There must be studies where two people of the same height, sex, age, and weight have been given the same routine with the same diet and the results measured? I’d like to see the findings.
Studies have shown that if you are about 7lb’s overweight you are actually healthier. You have a slightly higher immune system and because of the slightly higher weight you are less susceptible to colds etc. Another thing I’ve noticed is, due to my excessive weight, I can go 24 hours without eating, quite comfortably, providing I do little exertion. A person that is at the correct weight; (according to science) when hungry, will really need to eat because there are no reserves, nothing for the body to fall back on, no resources to tap into. These people are also far more susceptible to catching cold’s etc at this precise point in time as their immune system is lower.
Another contrasting point is although we consider ‘fat’ and ‘obese’ to be incredibly unhealthy, people that are seem to hardly ever get colds. It just seems harder for any germs or bacteria to get through.
For centuries, being fat has been seen as a sign of wealth, it is nothing new. The big city executive getting out of his huge chauffer driven car, in an expensive tailored suit that still doesn’t quite fit, as it competes to retain the overwhelming belly that protrudes over the strained belt. This is how I imagine a fat cat to be now, but 100’s of years ago, a similar thing would be seen, but the relative paraphernalia that accompanies it would be different. Horses, goats, farmland, large sellers, more staff, etc. Is this living well?
Also, I mention being lean and size as in counting and not. In some circumstances it does, and in others it doesn’t. A cat can be scared of a spider; a bear could be scared of a small grass snake. A large elephant seal will dominate his territory and most of its bulk can be fat. A large cheetah, if too fat, will lose its territory and eventually die. So I guess it comes down to environment?
Just as the elephant seal can not only survive but thrive if huge and grotesque in its environment, so can a fat executive survive in his? If the environment changes, then how quick they adapt will make the difference. And size and intelligence will play a part in this.
In short, ask yourself this…..how many ‘obese’ people do you ever see escaping from a natural disaster?
Mark Scotchford ©28/06/2014