Weighing in America

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I had a great time this weekend with Becca and L. This was my first race to fly up and quickly fly back-less than 24 hours in the race state.  I don’t know how those two do it.  It’s impressive.  I really enjoy taking “vacation” when I visit each state but I have been to NJ several times and didn’t really care to do so this time around (no offense NJ).  So, out of my 24 hour trip, 7 hours or so were spent in the airport or on the plane.

I am not a huge flyer.  Depending on my race and work schedule I usually end up on a plane 5-8 times a year.  I have had my fair share of screaming children and seats being kicked but yesterday was a first for me.

I approached my row and seat (window) to see two very large women already in the seats (technically there were 3 in the row).  They asked if I had the window seat.  I said yes but in my mind I had no idea how I would fit.  These two women took up all three seats.  How in the hell am I going to fit.  I am not exaggerating when I tell you they easily weighed 300-400 lbs each.  Both women had to ask for seat belt extensions and complained that airlines make seats too small.  Now, I will agree, leg space is tight and it can be cramped, but come on.

I was squished against the window.  The woman next to me was half way in my seat and we couldn’t put the armrest down.  When it came time for beverages/snacks she went to put her tray down and she was so large the tray wouldn’t go down.  I could hear here breathing and it was short and struggled.


I’m not going to lie, I was angry.  I was angry at Delta for not moving me (I didn’t ask to move because I was stuck in my seat and couldn’t get out to ask, and I didn’t want to be rude and ask so that the ladies would hear me but it was very obvious that I didn’t fit).  For not making them purchase a third seat for the two of them (Delta policy here).  I was angry that these women let themselves get that big.  I was angry that I was squished (don’t forget I had just pounded the pavement for 13.1 miles) and couldn’t sit comfortably because these women choose to be overweight.

Then I was sad.  How in the world do you get to that size?  I do like to enjoy burgers, pizza, chocolate, etc. but in moderation or in a healthy adapted version.  They must eat TERRIBLY each and every day.  How do you not know what is good for you?  That you need to exercise?  Or do they not care? Or do they not know?  I read my Fitness Magazine on the plane and wanted to leave it with them.  I wanted to tell them about eating right and exercise.

As we exited the plane, both women couldn’t even walk up the ramp to the airport.  They had to have airport employees take them in wheelchairs.  I truly can’t imagine being so big that I wouldn’t be able to walk.

The whole experience really sparked a lot of emotion for me.  This country is in a sad, sad place.  After “googling” ‘airlines and overweight passengers’ many different links came up.  This one was the most interesting, offering up reasons to charge more for your weight, just like you would baggage (side note the bill didn’t pass).  And of course there was the lawsuit that involved Air Canada.  And all of that is just about the airline industry-there is plenty more obesity controversy out there I’m sure.

I’ve been dying to watch the HBO special on obesity in our nation.  I’m sure it goes into much more about the hows, whys, wheres, etc. of this epidemic.  I love that the First Lady has made childhood obesity her key focus with Let’s Move.  I hope that programs, specials, and even shows like the Biggest Loser, continue to raise awareness.  The issues on the quality of food and costs to eat healthy are really a problem too but that would take an entire post to discuss those as well.

It is all really sad.  I’m proud to say that I work every day to stay healthy and take care of myself.  On that note…

Monday: 2-3 mile run walk/new to me cross training
Tuesday: 4-6 mile run
Wednesday: pilates
Thursday: 4-6 mile run
Friday: new to me cross training
Saturday: 3-6 mile run
Sunday: rest

Would you have said something about your seat?  Or to the women? Would you have been annoyed, or not?  Should overweight people have to pay more to fly? Have you seen the HBO special?  Thoughts on the obesity crisis in America?

*side note again. this post was not meant to hurt or offend anyone.  I have loved ones that are overweight and I am not judging those that struggle with their weight. as many of you know, I still struggle with mine. those that I know though are by no means the extreme weight mentioned above, and I understand there may be other health circumstances involved, but this post in general is meant for those that make no effort to improve or care.

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  • I would have demanded another seat. Delta refused??? I've sat next to my fair share of those needing seatbelt extensions, but never quite to that level of being uncomfortable. In my opinion, if you need an extender, you need to buy 2 seats. Period.

  • I will be honest, I have felt the same way as you and been mad and annoyed and angry all at the same time…then felt guilty because I understand that it is possible that they have some kind of illness (mental or physical) that causes them to be so big. But that still doesn't make me feel like I should be the one to suffer because of them. I immediately put down the arm rest when I sit down just in case this happen. But if they are there first, there isn't much you can do. Either way, this sucks and it really is a sad situation that so many people are obese in this country!

  • I would've been very angry, and would've asked for a new seat as well. I try not to judge but in that sitatuion, I would've been extremely upset like you were. It is motivating though to keep on keeping yourself healthy…I can't imagine ever letting myself get like that.

  • I would have been angry (and sad) about the situation too. I doubt I would have said anything but definitely would have wanted to. I definitely think they should have to pay for 2 seats. I've seen parts of the HBO specials but haven't gotten through the whole thing yet. It is really sad when you hear the statistics.

  • I agree, with all of that. It boggles my mind that people cannot grasp something as simple as basic nutrition. I don't buy the nonsense that some people just "don't know". That's BS, and laziness. It doesn't take a genius to understand that spinach is better for you than a bag of cheetos.

    I would have asked for another seat. If they got offended, too bad. I sure as hell wouldn't sit smashed up next to the window and uncomfortable because someone else made dumb choices. Beck's right – if they have to get an extender, they need an extra seat. I don't even know how you let yourself get that size. Does not compute.


  • ugh i would be so pissed. Personally I would have asked to be switched, but I would have said something about to give them more room to 'lighten the blow'.

    Being in the industry I'm in, everyday is a wakeup call on how lazy people are. I hear every excuse in the book, but at the end of the day the answer is quite simple – "it isn't their priority" Unfortunately until they make the decision to change, nothing will work.

  • Flying is my worst nightmare. I'm so scared that I'm going to be that person that doesn't fit I could probably hyperventilate right now thinking about it. I've also gone through a lot trying to lose weight so I hope all of you don't judge every fat person you sit next to on a plane. Some of us really are trying I promise.

    In all honesty those women know that they aren't eating right and that they need to exercise. But no amount of anyone telling them will change their attitude.

  • I would have demanded for another seat. The whole experience would have taken me exactly where you went with it. The state of unhealthiness of our country. You would think I would be immune to it by now but it continually shocks me.

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