This story is almost not worth posting on given the media attention it received across Canada. And yet, as I was widely quoted on this, I feel obliged to bring it up.

As Canadian readers probably know by now, there is a new French-Canadian group called MEGARS (a French acronym for “elegant male who enjoys social recognition”) launched by Daniel Lafond and François Provost (two elegant big guys who obviously enjoy social recognition) to promote self-esteem and ensure that large, “overweight” men live their lives to the fullest. They coined the term “megasexual” as an oversized analogy to “metrosexual” – I guess it’s what some women out there apparently do find attractive.

I was quoted as saying,

There’s no question that many people who are obese have self-esteem issues. A lot of the bias and discrimination that obese people face in their daily lives makes living in a large body quite difficult.
(on the other hand) This does not mean that when you are large and have significant medical problems related to your size, you don’t worry about your size and just take tablets to treat no matter what complication you have.

Just to rule out any misunderstanding, I’d like to reemphasize my take on this – yes, you certainly can be big AND healthy (in our Edmonton Obesity Staging System, we call this Stage 0 Obesity).

If you happen to be big and REALLY have no health issues whatsoever, there is certainly nothing to stop you from having fun and living your life to the fullest – don’t let poor self-esteem stop you. In fact, if it is only your poor self-esteem that makes you worry about your weight – get over it – you don’t have a weight problem, you have a body-image problem!

On the other hand, even Lafond and Provost agree that they are not out to promote obesity. Provost is quoted as saying:

Surely, if someone has excess weight to the point it’s unhealthy, something has to be done about it.

It all comes down to the simple fact: don’t judge someone’s health (or lifestyle) by their weight.

If your weight is not affecting your health or well-being – eat healthy, be active and please don’t smoke – losing a few pounds (or obsessing about losing them) is unlikely to make you much healthier.

Unfortunately, however, many of the risk factors associated with excess weight (especially in men with big waistlines) are “silent”, i.e. unless you actually regularly do the measurements, you may not know that your blood pressure or blood cholesterol and glucose levels are not where they should be.

If all’s fine, then that’s great!

If not, perhaps treating your obesity may be a good idea – after all there is nothing sexy or elegant about getting a stroke, heart attack or even just erectile dysfunction.

Edmonton, Alberta