By Angela and Hannah Love
My daughter’s week is usually filled with her doing her studies until about 2:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, attending a one and half hour swim practice four days a week, and going to church on Sunday. We run errands and do house chores on Saturdays. She eats about a 1,500-calorie diet, which consists of eating fruits, veggies, carbs, and protein. She loves watermelon and blueberries! At swim practice, she usually passes most of the kids in her group when they are swimming laps. Hannah is three inches shorter than me. She wears Women’s size 11 shoes, and I wear a size 7 ½. What makes her different and why I am writing about her? In my mind, nothing, but in Michele Obama’s mind, she is overweight and I need assistance in helping her slim down.
Like most women, I am concerned about my weight, and interestingly, when I talk about dropping 20 pounds, everyone panics and says, “From where?” When my daughter discusses losing weight, the ‘knowing’ looks abound. What makes three inches so different in how our weight looks on each of us? The answer is our bone structure! Has Michele Obama factored bone density into her idea of the ‘perfect’ size? My daughter, bless her heart, inherited her 6’3” father’s big boned features. She is not tall—yet–but her bones are thicker, and mine are small. Hannah realizes she will never be small boned like me. She also realizes that with a size 11 women’s shoe, she will most likely be tall, which I unfortunately will never be. Hannah understands our bodies are made differently and we carry weight differently, but the FLOTUS doesn’t seem to get it.
In a day and age when New York fashion runways and Los Angeles television shows are beginning to embrace the “plus size” woman, it’s disheartening for the First Lady to bring divisiveness and discrimination back to the topic. Does she understand she is directing a negative focus toward overweight kids? Kids in the schools are revolting against the new “healthy” lunches and who is to blame? Michele Obama, right? That is who the kids are blaming now, but what about four months from now? Remember P.E. in school when one person didn’t give as much effort or was talking when they weren’t supposed to be, and the teacher made ‘everyone’ run laps? All of the kids sneered and made comments at the kid who got all of them in trouble. The idea was to use all of the well-behaved kids to straighten out the one, misbehaving kid. Is Michele Obama trying that logic with school lunches? At some point, thinner kids will begin to blame bigger, overweight kids for their lunchroom blight. Ridicule and peer pressure will be at an all-time high for kids like my daughter to lose weight. I liked Michelle Obama’s “Get Up & Get Moving” initiative until she decided she knew better than Hannah’s doctor and I about how to help Hannah, and other kids, get thinner.
My daughter’s weight issue should be between her, her doctor, her father, and me. Hannah’s doctor (and we have talked to several over the years) says, “Don’t put her on a diet. Once her hormones kick in, she should sprout, her metabolism should speed up, and she should slim right down.” With that being the goal, why is it any of the government’s business to tell us how to deal with her weight? It’s not! With Michele Obama using her power to get government bureaucrats to regulate calories counts in school lunches, she is only bringing more attention to kids like Hannah.
When I asked Hannah how she felt about the news about limited calories in school lunches with foods like hummus and black beans, she had a lot to say. I asked Hannah to put her perspective in writing; here is her side of the story:
“I am overweight and I am not lazy. Not all overweight kids are lazy. I am on a swim team and go to swimming practice four days a week, play in the back yard with my dogs, and help with chores around the house. A lot of people are saying that all overweight kids are lazy, sit on the couch all day, and eat junk food and drink soda. My parents do not keep junk food and soda in the house.
It is sad to see the direction our country is headed with the government now trying to control what I can and cannot eat as a kid or what adults can and cannot eat. People in New York cannot buy large sodas anymore and Michele Obama is deciding kid’s lunches at schools. This creates an intense focus on overweight kids like me and it feels like we live under a microscope. News reports are getting bolder in their statements about overweight people.
The other day I watched a news report on television. They showed a picture of the military with the caption that read, “Fat kids can’t serve.” I imagined, for a moment, that some kid somewhere, named Billy, was sitting at home watching the same news program as me. Billy is probably bigger than most of his friends and has dreamed of going into the military. Then Billy sees the news where “fat kids” can’t serve. His dreams are crushed! I found the statement to be mean, rude, and very upsetting, especially since I am working so hard to be healthy with what I eat and in doing exercise. Kids, like my fictitious Billy, do not want to be told what they cannot do, but what they have to do to accomplish their dreams.
I would appreciate if Michele Obama would get out of my kitchen cupboard and let my parents and I work on my weight issues…. privately.”