A Weighty Issue

Posted on 23 April 2010

Recently, while in channel flipping mode, I was flabbergasted to stumble across a show featuring a woman whose fantasy is to weigh 1,000 pounds.   You read that correctly: not 100 pounds, but 1,000 pounds!  It turned out that this woman hails from our neck of the woods, Old Bridge, New Jersey.  Her name is Donna Simpson.  This forty-two year old mother of two is currently engaged to be married and now tips the scales at 604 pounds.  Her fiancé found her on the Internet, where some inner demon caused her to pose in a bikini (a sight that the program allowed its viewers to see, and one that I am not likely to forget any time soon). The fiance apparently has fantasies of his own, for he prefers his ladies super-sized.

Ms. Simpson’s motivation for racking up those pounds seems to have little to do with wanting to stake a claim to fame.  The current record for the largest woman in the world is held by another New Jersey native who weighed 1,800 pounds when she died, at age 49, in 2008.  However, Donna Simpson does hold the Guinness Book World Record for giving birth to her daughter at 532 pounds in 2007.  This accomplishment ranks her as the most obese woman in the world to give birth to a healthy child.

Donna revealed that she consumes 12,000 calories a day toward her goal of weighing half a ton.  This is approximately six times the AMA guidelines for a non-nursing woman’s intake; if you’re a woman who is dieting, it’s approximately 800 calories less than that.  Although she claims to eat healthy meals, her two favorite foods are sushi and doughnuts — not exactly neighbors on the food pyramid!  Donna also stated that her grocery bill is a whopping $750.00 a week.  Knowing that all the world’s a stage, she is using the Internet as a forum to allow visitors to observe her as she eats.  With a food bill like hers, I am flying under the assumption that she demands payment for this privilege, but since I won’t visit her website, I’ll never know.

When she’s navigating her neighborhood and not the Internet, Donna is constrained to get around in a scooter; because of her tremendous weight, she has a terrible time rising from a sedentary position and walking.  None of this, and more, seems to phase the woman looking to add another 396 pounds to her already overtaxed frame.  Beyond grabbing her proverbial fifteen minutes of fame, it’s been rumored that Donna was offered a book deal and a crack at a reality show, perhaps to be titled The Biggest Winner(?).  Oprah is also allegedly reaching out to her … whether for an interview or to get Dr. Oz on her tail, it wasn’t made clear.

While I hesitate to judge this woman, I do have to wonder about and feel sorry for her children. What will this way of life cost them?  At three years old, her youngest child’s life must be far from normal.  Her mother has prevented herself from doing all of the normal things that a mom does with her children, such as playing tag or T-ball or even taking a stroll through the park.  And then, of course, there is the inevitability of other children taunting this little girl mercilessly, as children are wont to do.  As much as we may try to breed cruelty out of children, it seems to be a genetic flaw in Homo sapiens, and is particularly acute in young children.

There are also the very real health issues to be considered.  What is this woman to do when — as seems inevitable — she falls ill?  What if her boyfriend dumps her?  Her astronomical grocery bills will, no doubt, generate horrific medical bills, and if her boyfriend decides to run off, Ms. Simpson will seek other means of paying those bills.  Under Obama’s new law, we taxpayers could be footing those bills for adverse cardiovascular conditions, diabetes, or embolisms, which are all byproducts of obsiety.  It’s not fair for hard working taxpayers to be saddled with the medical bills of one who has consciously done this to herself!

In the Land of Plenty, obesity is a long-standing problem.  The Obama administration has put a new focus on improving children’s health. Concerted efforts are now in place nationwide to wean the little ones off the junk food traditionally found on school menus and in soda machines.  The President is even revoking the once all-American privilege of having bake sales!  More locally, New York City recently found itself on the thorny horns of a dilemma when Mayor Bloomberg pushed an act that would remove salt from every recipe in every restaurant in Manhattan.  And for years, even fast food chains have made the calorie contents of their items available to consumers, in an effort to promote the sale of healthier menu choices.

Not even the U.S. military is exempt, for they are being forced to turn away potential enlistees  because of their obesity.  Since our armed forces have to ensure that soldiers are fit to fight, hike for miles, and carry large backpacks, for starters, they must utilize a specific test to determine an individual’s body fat.   Against standards long deemed healthy by the AMA, an person’s weight and height are used to measure body fat.  These standards were introduced after World War II, because of underweight soldiers suffering from tuberculosis.  Ironically, the standard is now used in reverse, to knock overweight people out of the running for jobs in the military.  Approximately three out of every ten people attempting to enlist are rejected due to their body weight, as the economy pours more and more hopefuls into the military pool.

Weight is a major factor in the quality of our lives.  A vast body of medical evidence collected over decades proves that obesity limits our choices and ruins our health. Those who are seriously overweight cannot perform well, either in sports, just getting around to do daily chores, or to pursue simple pleasures such as horseback riding or hiking.  There is also the issue of finding stylish clothes to wear, which can impact a person’s self image.   And perhaps the last prejudice in this nation is not color or religion but obesity.  Employers are not keen to hire hefty  people, period, particularly now with so many applicants from which to choose.

In a way, I applaud Donna Simpson for being comfortable in her own skin.  But mostly, I feel sorry for her, her children, and anyone like her who makes a conscious decision to live such an unhealthy life style. 

This post was written by:

- who has written 82 posts on Write On New Jersey.

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15 Responses to “A Weighty Issue”

  1. Clarinda Y. says:

    I guess it must be true: truth is sranger than fiction. Why anyone would want to look or feel like this is so beyond me, I am at a loss for words! I don’t know whether or not to even feel sorry for her. Surely is making some money off this, as the author suggests. And here I am, still looking for employment! I think I’ll investigate that resume site you are highlighting on the home page of this blog.

  2. Zachary Parm says:

    How often do you write your blogs? I enjoy them a lot.

  3. Newmyer says:

    I found this post while searching google. Quite impressive too, since google tends to display relatively old results but this one is very recent! Anyway, pretty informative, especially since this is not an issue many people are able to write about. Take care…

  4. Nurse says:

    great post! I really love your nice blog! I also commented at your other post that I thought was awesome.

  5. Jack S. Fogbound says:

    My question is why stop at 1000lbs? Why not go for the full ton, Barnum & Baikey could have a new attraction, next to the Bearded Lady and the Geek who eats live chickens or maybe she can be put on a seesaw made of steel I-beams and see how many elephants it would take to lift her off the ground, two or more would surely put her in the world book of records

  6. McNeese says:

    Great post, will be back soon.

  7. Eddie Briggs says:

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  8. Susan says:

    This woman is an extreme example of the increasing manifestation of American excess in the form of obesity. Unfortunately she lives during a time & in a location that enables her to pursue this questionable goal. Guess she hasn’t heard or doesn’t care about all the hungry people resulting from our current economic woes. Placed in that context, her consumption of 12,000 calories a day is a conscious criminal act. A portion of her excessive weekly grocery bill would go a long way toward helping out at her local shelter or food bank.

  9. jak szybko schudnac says:

    You have it right, I completely agree with that.

  10. Gail Saulsbery says:

    There is obviously a lot to know about his, I think you made some good points. Anyhow keep up the good work.

  11. Angelo Koslow says:

    love the blog, thanks for sharing your thoughts

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  15. Subera says:

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