Victim or Victor-Which Do You Choose?

October 17, 2012

Which Do You Choose?

I’m seeing a disturbing proliferation of victimhood these days. Every day the media broadcast reports about victims of crime – of scams, fraud, theft, murder – and victims of acts of God, like weather, fire, and floods. My heart goes out to those victims because I feel a kinship to them. I too have experienced violence, loss, trauma, and pain. But I am not a victim.

Before we get into the meat of this article, I want to ask you a question: are you a victim? Don’t tell me the answer yet, but keep it in your mind while you read the rest of this article.

Victimhood can be alluring. It garners attention, assistance, and pity that you can milk for the rest of your life if you play the role well. You don’t have to be responsible for rebuilding your life or restoring what you lost. That doesn’t appeal to me, though. It sounds boring and tiresome, and it discourages laughter, which I find even more healing than tears, so why does victimhood continue and even proliferate? Let’s take a closer look at how obese people like us become victims.

Every victim needs at least one villain. Who or what are your villains?

Me – I got a lousy genetic legacy. I inherited every strand of obesity DNA my mother’s gene pool had to offer (plus the ones for thin hair and crooked teeth). We won’t discuss the humor genes I also got from her, though. Humor doesn’t enhance my victimhood. But that’s okay because I’m actually not a victim.

While we’re blaming obesity on our ancestors, we need to look at the flip side of the nature versus nurture coin. I got a raw deal there, too. Neither of my parents encouraged exercise or sports. In fact, they ridiculed physical fitness programs and encourage scholarship and mental fitness instead, so I ended up being a very smart, very fat intellectual. And that’s fine because I have a college degree and an impressive resumé as a result. And anyway, I’m not a victim.

Another popular villain nowadays is addiction. Addicts will do anything to support a drug or other destructive habit. We need ever-increasing amounts of our substance just to prevent withdrawal, never mind to get high. For my brother, the substance is methadone. For me, it’s food, especially sweet or salty or fatty or otherwise nutritionally evil food, and it’s even easier (and cheaper) for me to score a hit of my substance than it is for my brother to score some of his. Baskin Robbins, McDonald’s, Lays, and Duncan Hines are just a few of the virtually inescapable pushers I know. It’s sad but true, but I can overcome it because I am not a victim.

Let’s not forget our celebrity-worshipping society and the flood of images of skinny women that wash over us every single day. The media and the likes of Victoria Beckham, Kate Moss, and Angelina Jolie constitute a vast and powerful band of villains. The siren song of “Thin Is In” sounds all around me, but it doesn’t matter because I can shut my eyes, turn down my hearing aids, and remember something important: I am not a victim.

In addition to obesity, I suffer from another incurable, chronic, debilitating disease that’s scientifically been linked to obesity. The pain and fatigue of fibromyalgia and myofascial pain syndrome haunt me every day, with villainy that threatens to suck all the joy out of my life. But I’m not going to let pain get the better of me because I am not a victim.

Now let’s go back to the beginning of this article, where I asked if you’re a victim. I want to hear your answer to that question now, after you’ve read the article. Think carefully before you speak.

Okay, here goes. Are you a victim? Really, truly, a victim? No? That’s great! Neither am I. Like you, I’ve chosen to win the weight-loss battle, conquer the villains, and emerge the victor. I’m not going to settle for anything less than that, and neither should you. So grab your swords, my friends, and fight back now!

Jean McMillan is the author of Bandwagon: Strategies for Success with the Adjustable Gastric Band and Bandwagon Cookery. She also publishes a free weekly e-newsletter, Bandwagon™ on the Road at


-Photo courtesy of Frank Bonilla