Is it Okay to Judge a Person by His Weight?

This is for anybody who thinks minding my weight or anybody’s besides their own is their business. I won’t mince words here. I’m saying exactly what I think.
My weight is my business; your weight is your business. Neither of us have the right to make anybody else’s weight our business.

Okay, one exception: if you are a parent of an overweight child, that child’s weight is your business. You have a responsibility to offer nutritious food including a few treats, and inspire and encourage the child to get physical activity through play and other pleasurable activities (plus some unpleasurable household chores thrown in for good measure and to teach responsibility.)

Other than your own children, for whose well-being you are directly responsible, you have no business judging people because of how much they weigh. It’s a form of prejudice and no more reprehensible or defensible than any other kind of prejudice.

Oh! I can hear you shouting, “It is my business if some slob wants to sit on the couch and stuff down junk food, it’s my business because it’s making my health insurance costs go up.”

"...then it doesn't matter what I do!"

Health insurance is going to go up whether obesity rates go up or down in this country.

You can count on that. Moreover, if obesity rates drop dramatically your premiums won’t drop too, because as much as you like to think that metabolic disease will disappear with obesity, it won’t. There are many other “lifestyle” choices that undermine health and put people at risk of disease. There are also people who have genetic preposition towards metabolic diseases having children knowing they may pass on those traits to their offspring. Should they not be allowed to reproduce?

Using the cost of healthcare as a reason to justify your fatty-hating or fat-phobic tendencies is untenable.
Do you think you know everything about this guy and you have the right to judge?

Do you think you know everything about this guy and you have the right to judge?

It’s not masking your real reason for why you object to how much somebody weighs. You see an overweight person and you think you know all about that person. You judge obese people to be a lazy gluttons. You think you know exactly how they got so big and you find that disgusting. “They are people of poor character,” you probably are thinking.

Body weight is no reflection of character, morals, or value as a human being.

I’m not disputing that metabolic disease isn’t exacerbated by obesity. I’m not arguing that it’s healthy or wise to eat an unbalanced diet with too many calories and too few nutrients. I’m not arguing that a sedentary lifestyle is a healthy lifestyle that leads to a long and productive life.

I’m saying you don’t have the right to judge anybody because of weight. As far as I’m concerned we don’t have the right to pass judgement on anybody for any reason, including weight. We don’t know all of the circumstances.

Maybe you think you’re helping somebody who is obese by your obvious distaste or disgust of her or his size.

It’s not helpful. Successful weight management has to start (and end) with the owner/operator of the body. Your obvious distaste has no real influence over how somebody acts except, in many cases, to cause more of the negative behaviors that lead to more weight gain.

I know how it feels to make consistently poor food choices, live a mostly sedentary lifestyle and gain weight.

It didn’t feel good and strangely it didn’t even taste good! I would love to see all people have a healthy relationship with food and enjoy eating as suggested by US Dietary Guidelines. I would love to see everybody live an active lifestyle. There is so much fun and pleasure to be had in life that’s lived off of the couch or in front of a screen.dreamstime_s_40833019

I will help anybody make those changes if they want my help, but I will never condemn somebody for weighing too much and neither should you.

Jackie Conn

About Jackie Conn

Jackie Conn is married and has four grown daughters and four grandchildren. She is a Weight Watchers success story. She's a weight loss expert with 25 years of experience guiding women and men to their weight-related goals. Her articles on weight management have been published in health, family and women's magazines. She has been a regular guest on Channel 5 WABI news, FOX network morning program Good Day Maine and 207 on WCSH.