Man loses 30 pounds, climbs Kilimanjaro, probably strangles puppies

Please read this CNN story. It’s about a father of two in his forties who was overweight because he ate whatever he felt like eating and in poor general health because of a lack of exercise and excessive drinking; after he took up running and strength work and modified his diet, he was able to accomplish a goal he and his 12-year-old daughter had selected together — going to Africa and climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. Now, father and daughter, bonded and transformed by the experience, got their best mountaineering crampons and plan to climb the highest mountains on the other six continents.
There’s nothing earth-shattering, nothing complicated, nothing revolutionary about any of this. It’s a feel-good blurb that champions the mental and physical benefits of exercise and provides one example of how it can open doors. It’s seemingly trivial to point out that there is also nothing contemptuous about it, but try telling this bunch that. I don’t dare read the comments.
Seriously, if you read a story about a former ne’er-do-well who gets a GED at age 25, then goes on to complete college and support his or her child or children, is that a swipe at everyone without a high-school diploma? Better yet, is this a potshot at shiftless homeless people?
The CNN article specifically says Bill McGahan was a good husband, father, and employee when he was still overweight and sedentary. It also says that being “healthy enough to play baseball and spend quality time with his kid” was more important to McGahan than losing weight. Shame on this man, I guess, for taking charge of himself and enjoying his life and his relationships at no expense to those who happen to not follow suit.
It’s amazing. This McAleer guy, now officially a crank per post categorization, needs a new act or something. If the BFB site were the complete face of “fat activism,” it would be a uniquely counterproductive movement. How these people can even crack a newspaper, any newspaper, without losing their squash is a mystery.

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  1. #1 by Patrick on March 11, 2008 - 6:50 am

    There’s an anti-fat discrimination movement? Really? How did I miss that? I mean, I’m larger than the guy in the article and I certainly haven’t experienced any discrimination because of it… Neither has anyone I can think of outside of jobs that are based purely on appearance.
    I am choking on the irony of the commenter complaining about CNN “wasting news space when there are women being raped.” Clearly the last thing we need is a positive news story about a person accomplishing something important (climbing a freaking mountain) for a good reason (spending time with his family). I missed where the article said that losing 30 pounds made the man into a superhero because he “stopped being fat.” Climbing a mountain isn’t mandatory and at no point does the article claim that he is a better person because he lost weight or that overweight people are not normal.

  2. #2 by Richard Eis on March 11, 2008 - 7:49 am

    I read the comments. Basically the general feel is:
    I refuse to change my life regardless of what i am missing out on because that would mean admitting I am wrong. Because of this and to keep up my facade to myself i must also berate other people that do change and pick out pointless arguments against what they do. I like playing victim. It gets me attention. He should have bought bigger pants, that’s what i did.
    As far as i’m concerned the news is crying out for positive, life affirming stories.

  3. #3 by Hael on March 11, 2008 - 2:04 pm

    Don’t forget that the commenters also claim the article is sexist and classist. I bet they’re pissed they couldn’t find anyway to accuse it of racism as well.

  4. #4 by Kevin Beck on March 11, 2008 - 2:58 pm

    I guess anyone who picks up a one-year sobriety chip in AA is only out to mock those who never quit drinking and are dying of alcoholic liver cirrhosis.
    The sad thing is that these “pro-fat” noisemakers give a completely warped impression of how most overweight people view the world. The people writing those comments may have weight issues, but fundamentally they appear to have serious mental issues. If they weren’t angry about being fat, they’d be angry at something else.

  5. #5 by Kevin Beck on March 11, 2008 - 2:58 pm

    I guess anyone who picks up a one-year sobriety chip in AA is only out to mock those who never quit drinking and are dying of alcoholic liver cirrhosis.
    The sad thing is that these “pro-fat” noisemakers give a completely warped impression of how most overweight people view the world. The people writing those comments may have weight issues, but fundamentally they appear to have serious mental issues. If they weren’t angry about being fat, they’d be angry at something else.

  6. #6 by vesta44 on March 11, 2008 - 7:57 pm

    I can’t speak for others in the FA movement, only for myself, and I’m not mad because I’m fat. It’s a fact of my life, despite dieting and weight loss surgery (that failed, like it does in about 40% of cases). While it’s nice that he decided to change the way he eats and get more exercise, that doesn’t lead to weight loss for everyone (if it did, there would be a lot fewer fat people).
    He could have spent quality time with his daughter without climbing a mountain and having to hire a trainer, etc. I spent quality time with my dad when I was a kid (he was a mechanic and I talked to him while he was working on the family cars, and I learned a lot from him about cars and maintenance). We went fishing, and trap-shooting (yeah, I know, those aren’t traditional things dads do with daughters, but I was a tomboy then and still am, at the age of 54). When I was a teenager, I bought my first car and helped my dad overhaul the engine on it (and neither one of us had to change the way we ate or hire a trainer to get fit or lose weight to do it, and both of us would have been considered overweight at the time).
    So what is so special about a man who lost 30 pounds? Big fricking deal. He had to do that to spend quality time with his family? Give me a break. I’m fat, and I do all the things I want to do, and I’m not putting my life on hold until that magical day that I miraculously lose weight to live my life and do everything I want to do. I spend quality time with my husband, my son, and my grandkids NOW because not one of us knows when our last day is, and today is all we have.

  7. #7 by Kevin Beck on March 11, 2008 - 9:11 pm

    Vesta, answer me one thing, please. Do you think the CNN article maligned fat people in any way? And do you really think it emphasized the weight-loss angle and not the feat of climbing the highest mountain in Africa?
    You wrote:
    “He could have spent quality time with his daughter without climbing a mountain and having to hire a trainer, etc. I spent quality time with my dad when I was a kid…We went fishing, and trap-shooting…”
    and
    “[W]hat is so special about a man who lost 30 pounds? Big fricking deal. He had to do that to spend quality time with his family? Give me a break. I’m fat, and I do all the things I want to do…”
    So twice in one comment, you go out of your way to argue for the superiority of your ways of spending time with dad, or with yourself, as compared to the McGahan’s ways. Why?
    And what would you say if you happened to become the subject of a fluff news article and people dismissed you and you father’s forms of recreation like you do this guy’s? I mean, anyone can run around monkeying with cars and killing animals for fun like a couple of real rednecks, right?

  8. #8 by T. Bruce McNeely on March 12, 2008 - 2:15 am

    Vesta, did you read the article? It stated that this guy didn’t have the energy to enjoy quality time with his kids. He was able to correct that situation by losing weight and getting fit.
    I really can’t understand your objection.

  9. #9 by mxracer652 on March 12, 2008 - 10:35 am

    Holy shit, BFB is worth some good laughs.

  10. #10 by mxracer652 on March 12, 2008 - 10:35 am

    Holy shit, BFB is worth some good laughs.

  11. #11 by Dr Eye on March 16, 2008 - 5:22 am

    Hael wrote:
    Don’t forget that the commenters also claim the article is sexist and classist. I bet they’re pissed they couldn’t find anyway to accuse it of racism as well.
    ————-
    If he weren’t racist, wouldn’t he have chosen to dominate a mountain somewhere other than Africa? Hmmmmm?

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