And then out of left field, she said one of those things you never want to hear from a fitness professional: "I don't know, I've never been big and I don't have any obese clients. Are obese people that way because they're just that weak?"
(I'm going to pause here to let you either think about that or hit your head into a wall.)
I've maintained over the past few years that you do not become obese (i.e., over a BMI of 30, but especially for those in the morbid obesity categories of a BMI of 40 and over) without having some sort of trauma in your life (mental, physical, sexual, etc.) that creates a disconnect with how you relate to food. The magnitude of the trauma is different for every person as everyone has their own threshold. In some cases (e.g., childhood obesity) it's not the person of the individual, but the trauma of someone close to them being acted out with food. Sometimes the traumas are very serious -- the kind where people are intentionally slowly eating themselves to death and they don't give two craps about it.
Now I want you all to think about yourself, or put yourself in someone else's shoes, and think about the strength required not to just live your life with that kind of burden, but think about the strength required to overcome it. Think about the strength required to walk out of your house every day to face a world that thinks you're lazy, weak, and ultimately unworthy.
You know, I don't want to give her that much crap -- I know there wasn't malice in what she was saying, especially in the context that she said it -- but I did stop to explain this all to her. I hope that if an obese client ever hires her, that she meets them with compassion instead of alienation.
I hope she walked away understanding that anything over being a few pounds overweight isn't just a physical issue, but it's a psychological issue. The fear of dealing with what made them obese in the first place outweighs the fear of being overweight.
I think about being 16 and 240lbs, and how miserable I was, how alone I felt. But even if someone had said "Lose all the weight and you will be popular!" it wouldn't have erased what made me fat in the first place -- the feelings of abandonment from losing my Nana at 8, and then losing my mother at 13. It was only until I addressed those issues that I didn't feel the need to wear my protective fat suit. Now that I've addressed those issues and are strong enough as is, I don't need the fat suit anymore and it can't come off quick enough.
If you had asked me if I was strong when I first started going to the gym, I probably would have said that I'm not. But now? I'm still technically obese and I'm one of the strongest fucking people you'll ever meet (pardon the French).