What do these people have in common?
* Jackie Gleason -- actor & comedian
* Kate Smith -- singer
* Minnesota Fats -- professional pool player
* Robert James Keeshan -- TV's Captain Kangaroo
* William Conrad -- actor
* Rodney Dangerfield -- actor & comedian
* Santa Claus -- Christmas star
* Cass Elliott -- singer
* John Candy -- actor
* Roseanne Barr -- actress
* Luciano Pavarotti -- opera singer
* Pillsbury Doughboy -- product pitchman
They are or were (some have passed on) overweight!
But do we think of these real people and fictional characters as fatties or do we perceive them as accomplished professionals and lovable imaginary creations?
When I think of Jackie Gleason, for example, I readily think of the Honeymooners TV sit-com, the Smokey and the Bandit movies and his dramatic portrayal as the famous Minnesota Fats.
When I think of Kate Smith and Cass Elliott I think of their beautiful voices raised in song.
And can we ever forget the antics of Captain Kangaroo who provided so much laughter when we were kids?
It is a shame that some overweight people are the harshest critics of others like themselves. But I believe that most overweight people have more respect for others in a similar situation, walking and having walked the proverbial mile in their shoes. Most of us know the frustration, embarrassment and insecurity of being overweight and I believe most of us do not think someone has to be famous for us to understand their plight and to look past their weight to the person they truly are.
So why do people look at some other people and see a person who is overweight and yet look at others and see past their weight? Is it the familiarization they have with those from the list above and others? Is it because of the power of the personalities of the famous people that causes these critics to see them merely as people?
Don't we each want to be judged by who we are and not what we look like? Don't we all want to be respected and treated with dignity despite our weight?
Then let's make it a point not to be one of those critics who find joy in poking fun of others who are heavy but who can not see that they are exactly like those they judge. Let's support others who are trying or who would like to lose weight. Let's show them this site and offer suggestions, if they want them, on healthy eating and exercise. Let's show them the many inspiring stories of people who have lost 25 or 60 or 200 pounds or more. Let's build up their confidence that they, too, can succeed if they try.
In other words, let's apply the Golden Rule and treat others as we would like to be treated. For in lifting up others we gain so much more for ourselves than we can ever give away. If we can help one person who is crying on the inside because of their weight
, we will have accomplished something far greater than anything else in the entire world.
We will have given them hope.