No Excuses, Obesity is the Individual’s Responsibility

Dear Editor,
Several weeks ago Elise Ogle, a 13-year-old Gilroy middle school
student, wrote an article entitled,

Parents Deserve Blame for Obese Kids in Gilroy.

Her article was published on the opinion page and received the
esteemed Golden Quill Award. I commend her excellent writing
skills, constructive criticism, and her bravery for speaking up on
a very serious issue.
Dear Editor,

Several weeks ago Elise Ogle, a 13-year-old Gilroy middle school student, wrote an article entitled, “Parents Deserve Blame for Obese Kids in Gilroy.” Her article was published on the opinion page and received the esteemed Golden Quill Award. I commend her excellent writing skills, constructive criticism, and her bravery for speaking up on a very serious issue. I also commend her mother for taking the time to bring this very important health issue to her daughter’s attention.

I can relate to what she meant about “bigger” kids constantly being teased, laughed at and called cruel names. Back in the ’60s I was one of those “overweight” kids by 50 pounds. Not many kids were obese in the ’60s compared to today’s kids, so I stood out among the average student. I was constantly called cruel names, teased and always picked last in PE to be on a team (except football). I never blamed my parents for my fatness; it was my fault. I was obese simply because I was obsessed with food, called pigging out.

As a substitute teacher for the school district every day I see hundreds of obese kids on campus, especially at the middle schools and high school. The boys try to hide their weight by wearing oversized jeans and shirts that hang out over their jeans. Since girls carry their extra weight in their hips and thighs they have a harder time hiding their weight. Usually they wear very tight jeans and large bulky sweaters. It’s hard to say if they are embarrassed or not because during the warmer months many of them wear clothing at school that exposes their midsection. Let it all hang out.

The last day of school before the holiday break, I was subbing at a local middle school. The subject was life skills in a 4th period class of 6th graders. A very loud mouthed girl came into the classroom bragging to several of her friends that she had eaten every last candy and cookie. I assumed she was talking about some Christmas goodies she consumed during her 3rd period class. She was extremely overweight. Whose fault is it that she is overweight? Who do we blame: the girl, her parents, or teachers that provide unnecessary treats? Hey, let’s blame Mother Nature for providing an abundance of irresistible foods.

There is only one person that can be blamed for being over weight: you. If you are overweight it’s because you want to be overweight, unless you have a medical condition. Please don’t use the excuse that you are big boned or have the fat gene on your X or Y chromosome.

If you decide you want to lose weight, lose it because you want too. Don’t do it for anyone else. You need to treat losing weight like a job. The same type of job your parents have, but your job is to lose weight. I suggest you make a game out of it and work with a friend that is also overweight. It is very important that you inform your parents and family doctor about your weight loss plan.

One last bit of information, do not put yourself on a diet. Don’t ever use the word diet. You are on a self-weight loss program that you monitor. Diets are for people that just want to go around telling everyone they are on a diet. People rarely lose weight on a diet and keep it off. Your program involves eating only as much food as energy loss. That simply means the more you exercise, the more you can eat. Last week on a radio talk show I heard a women taking about how she lost 250 pounds. She said, “I kept my mouth shut and got off my butt.”

Once again thank you Elise Ogle for writing a great article and for bringing to light your concerns about your fellow classmates. It’s unfortunate more kids don’t have the same insight and concerns as Elise. The day after Elise’s article was published in the Dispatch, I ran into Mr. Ogle on the high school campus. He was so proud of her.

Alan L. Johnson, Gilroy

Leave your comments