My first point today is that obesity is not a disease.
Disease can cause obesity, but to me, obesity is not a disease but a condition — a result of heredity, behaviors, and often of choices (though not always).
The disease I’m thinking of in that last sentence is, of course, food addiction, which also goes to “... choices (but not always).” Food addicts do engage in behaviors that often result in obesity, but untreated, they (we) don’t have the same power of choice that you have — and that you probably think we should have.
As a condition, obesity offers no certainties. People who are obese have dozens of other characteristics, just as thin people do, and no two sets are the same. Some obese people are incredibly vital, healthy, and athletic, which is a big point of the fat-acceptance movement.
But as a recovering fat person, maintaining a 155-pound loss for 20 years and counting, I think I have credibility to say that, in just about every circumstance, not being fat is better than being fat.
On the matter of health, I’ve done pretty well — when I was 300-plus, I experienced very few of the effects statistically tied to obesity, and have experienced few hangovers from it beyond some stretch marks and sagging skin. I have nothing to explain my good fortune — I put extra pressure on my joints, extra stress on my cardiovascular system, extra abuse in all sorts of ways — and would have no valid complaint if my body were breaking down prematurely. Maybe it still will.
A principle defense of the fat condition — or rather, a principle critique of those who say obesity is unhealthy — is that it is regarded as a matter of fashion: "There’s nothing wrong with us that changing your mind won’t fix."
I did experience the fashionism, but my experience of obesity was larger than only health and fashion.
I was less comfortable when I was fat — more sweaty, more chafing, more tired. I couldn’t keep up with others physically — even walking, or swimming, never mind hiking or climbing. I was lonelier, which could be blamed partly on my inner demons, but not totally.
My bottom line is this: Escaping my obesity, which, for me, was far more than a solely physical experience, has been one of the most beneficial developments of my life. Based on my experience, I'd be pained and disappointed if a child of mine became obese, and I would not wish the condition on anyone.
Obesity isn't a disease, it isn't right or wrong, but it wasn't good in any way, for me.