Yes, it’s a strange juxtaposition, but as Dave Barry would say, “I am not making this up.” I recently received a postcard in the mail from Burger King advertising its new home-delivery service. About the same time, I heard talk about an 800-lb. bride-to-be named Susanne Eman whose goal (I kid you not) is to eventually weigh 1,600 lbs.—far exceeding the Guinness Book record for the world’s heaviest woman at 1,200 lbs.
But is that a world record you really want to beat?
Eman has a skinny-as-a-rail fiancé who happens to be a chef and prepares most of the 20,000 to 30,000 calories she eats daily. One run to a Carl’s Jr. for a snack cost her $50.
So do I blame Burger King and other fast-food chains for our nation’s sorry state of obesity? To Burger King’s credit, the front of the postcard I received looks like something from Whole Foods. In the foreground is a tasty- and nutritious-looking salad, flanked by two tall fruit smoothies. In the background are some chicken strips. No Whopper or fries in sight.
The flip side of the postcard tells a different story, though. Those smoothies aren’t available yet (hey, FTC, isn’t that deceptive advertising?). According to the card, they are “coming soon.” Hmm. Looking over the menu, as you might imagine, it’s heavy on burgers and chicken. But, okay, there are more salads and wraps than I would expect from a fast-food franchise.
Burger King says the D.C. area is a test market. Apparently Burger King already delivers in its Asian markets, so here in the States we’re just now getting this latest “convenience.”
Back to our 800-lb. bride—there may be a happy ending. Turns out she weighs a mere 541 lbs. Dr. Phil had her on his show last week and challenged her to weigh in (yes, your intrepid reporter subjected himself to this spectacle via the Internet, but only to ensure the veracity of his reporting). Eman was shocked (or feigned it) to discover that she was nowhere near her goal. Aw shucks.
Actually, it saddens me to see a morbidly obese person working hard to gain more weight. It’s all about choices. You don’t have to order Burger King take-out; or if you do, you can order a salad. You don’t have to smoke, take drugs or hang out with people you don’t think are a good influence. You don’t have to spend yourself into debt. You don’t have to stay in a dead-end job. You don’t have to chase someone else’s dreams.
I know, easier said than done. We’ve all made choices that we later regret. That’s part of growing up. The question is whether we have the maturity and courage to make better choices over time rather than repeating the same bad ones over and over.
Some people, like Eman, feel trapped in the cycle of choices they’ve made. That’s a hard rut to get out of.
I thought Dr. Phil said it well at the end of the episode when he called on Eman to end her quest to become the world’s largest woman and start losing weight: “You’re not defined by how much tissue you’re carrying around on your frame…Believe in yourself enough to know that everyone’s going to love you and value you if you’re not infamous. Do this for you; do this for the people who love you.”
Not everyone has her own pop psychologist, but we all have people—family, friends, co-workers—who can lend an ear. Or who can lend a hand. Sometimes asking for help is the first step to better choices.