Obese Man's Viral Plea Raises Concerns

Yahoo Contributor Network

COMMENTARY | An obese man's online plea for help from "The Biggest Loser" and Dr. Phil McGraw went viral recently. Robert Gibbs, 23, of Livermore, Calif., isn't sure how much he weighs, but it could be more than 700 pounds, WXER-FM reports. His request sparked public sympathy, concern and an offer for help from personal trainer Chris Powell, CBS 5 in San Francisco reports.

How does someone get so overweight? From my experience, I've found fat begets fat. It's like a magnet or a snowball rolling downhill. For the majority of my life, I was at normal weight. Several years ago, I lost two midterm babies. Because the pregnancies didn't progress normally, I wasn't able to take the weight off using normal postpartum methods.

Depression also caused me to put on weight as did the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor antidepressant Paxil I took. Everyday Health says the weight gain isn't an uncommon side effect. The more I put on, the easier it was to put on. I gained nearly 100 pounds and it would have continued to escalate had I not made some changes.

According to CBS 5, Gibbs says he hasn't left his house in years due to complications of excessive weight. He says he worries about not living much longer and feeling like a prisoner in his own body. Depression, lower self-esteem, shame -- I can sympathize with those.

I'm concerned about Gibbs' request for a personal trainer. It saddens me to hear him say he can't help himself. Personal trainers, weight-loss TV programs and doctors can guide and help jump-start weight loss. They can teach those of us who are overweight new skills. They cannot stop our eating or get us moving any more than smoking cessation classes can make people stop lighting up.

Most of all, I hope Gibbs discovers he is not an object of shame. I hope he finds his inner strength to effect personal positive changes and gets the satisfaction that comes from doing so.

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