I WAS Martin Kessman

{What I am about to write is based on the fact that there has been no report that Mr. Kessman has an underlying medical or genetic condition that IS the cause of his morbid obesity.  All what I write is intended to be about my experience and for those who do NOT have an underlying medical condition.}

I have read with interest, the very limited reporting on Martin Kessman and his lawsuit against Weight Castle, I mean White Castle. Not too long ago I weighed a ponderous, pachydermian 340 pounds. I was not overweight, nor heavy, nor big-boned, nor simply obese; I had morphed into the morbidly obese category.

I would belt my pants first because I couldn’t reach around to put it through the loops when I was wearing them.

I feared getting on an airplane, not because of flying, because I couldn’t fit into the seat.

I couldn’t walk a flight of stairs without stopping to deeply inhale much needed air.

I wore loafers or pre-tied my shoes, because I couldn’t bend over to tie them.

And YES, I could NOT fit into any BOOTH at a restaurant; fast food or other.

I have genuine issues with people who attempt to play the victim card for their own poor eating choices. I have genuine issues with people who expect the world to bow to their lack of self-control. And, I have genuine issues with people who attempt to exploit accommodations for those who have real disabilities, because of their lack of self-discipline. Much of what I write may be perceived as harsh, but when people don’t take responsibility for their own health and fitness, as I once did not, it get’s my Sicilian blood boiling.

The Americans with Disabilities Act, exists to make sure people, who through no fault of their own, who have a disability, have equal access to goods and services. What is astonishing, is that there are those who have true disabilities who do NOT allow their perceived disability to be an obstacle in their lives.

I wrote about a young women, Stephanie Jallen, who was born with congenital issues that left her with an underdeveloped arm and required one leg to be amputated. This young woman is pursuing her goal of competing in the 2014 Paralympics. When I interviewed her for a follow up column, I asked her how I should refer to her.  Should I say she is handicapped? A special needs person? — I wasn’t sure what term to use.

She told me I should refer to her as normal, she then added — HANDICAPPED IS A MENTAL STATE!  This young woman was only 13 years old when she made that statement, not an adult who is well aware that his or her limitations are their own cause.

Bethany Hamilton

Image by Kanaka Menehune via Flickr

Photo by Noah Hamilton

Photo by Noah Hamilton (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The other inspirational individual I wrote about is Bethany Hamilton.  Her story was captured in the film Soul Surfer. For those who don’t know who she is; at the age of 13, while surfing, Bethany had her arm bitten off by a shark.  Let me repeat that,  her arm was bitten off by a shark. Instead of crying to the world to feel sorry for her, young Bethany embarked on a training regiment and made modifications, so she could continue her dream of pursuing a pro surfing career.  By the way, today she is a pro surfer.

Neither of the above inspirational individual’s situation was caused because they overstuffed themselves with food.  Neither situation was the result of self-inflicted limitations.  So, what does it say about our society that people of age and maturity complain about being victims of circumstance, circumstance that they themselves created? Amazing!  More amazing is that  people as young as thirteen don’t want society to make accommodations for them?  They don’t want to be viewed as disabled.  They are so driven and so focused that they go on to achieve and fulfill their dreams; while other simply cry victim and want the world to change for them.

If Mr. Kessman does not have an underlying medical condition; then perhaps instead of eating obesity inducing food at White Castle since 1959, he should have been following a low carb, paleo or primal diet and exercising.  In his lawsuit he claims “his inability to fit into the “booth-style seating” was “extremely embarrassing … to have to experience in front of a restaurant full of customers,” yet, he has no problem posing his protruding abdomen for a picture to be spread all over the world.

He claims to just want to sit down like a normal person.  First off, what is normal?  I don’t strive to be normal; I strive for excellence, but with that said, if he wants to sit in a booth like a normal person, then push the plate away and, after medical clearance via a  thorough physical, start doing more exercise than simply lifting food to his mouth.

I can relate to Mr Kessman, I was him.  Hell, I was once even more obese than he.  If he would like to enjoy his remaining years and have a better physical quality of life, I will be more than willing to take him on as a client and get him in shape.

Finally, of what I have read, one claim of his did bring a knowing smile to my face.  He claims the he is not humongous, he is just a big guy.

Funny, I used to tell myself that  as well.


Physical Culturist and Chiropractor, Dr. Joe Leonardi is the author of the life changing book, “Obesity Undone” and a contributor to NaturallySavvy.com. He is available to appear on any talk radio, internet podcast or television outlet. His web site www.ObesityUndone.com is available to help you reach your goals.

He has appeared on 94.3FM’s The David Maderia Show, Bounce Back to Your Brilliance w/Angel Tyree, What’s Weighing You Downw/Dr. Marilyn Gansel on FTNS radio, Nurture and Nutrition on Blog Talk Radio, Low Carb Conversations with Jimmy Moore and Friends, BlogTalk Radio’s Toni Harris Speaks, Internet Radio: Cathie’s Talking, TV -35′s Storm Politics with Tiffany Cloud, WILK’s The Sue Henry Show, Magic 93′s Frankie In The Morning, WBRE’s PA Live, SSPTV’s News 13, Public Television WVIA’s State of Pennsylvania and Call the Doctor; Entercom’s Outlook on Northeast PA with Shadoe Steele, Citadel Broadcasting’s Sunday Magazine with Brian Hughes, Lisa Davis’ Your Health Radio; Hank Garner’s Podcast, Dr. Robert Su’s Carbohydrates Can Kill Podcast; and the one and only Jimmy Moore’s Livin’ La Vida Low Carb podcast.
Dr. Joe Leonardi also will come and speak to your group; to learn more about his motivational speaking fees and availability contact him at docjoeleonardi@betterlifeseminars.com and check out his website www.betterlifeseminars.com.
************The information contained herein is for information purposes only and is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease or disorder. The posting that I write do not apply to those with an underlying medical or hormonal condition. I advise anyone embarking on a weight loss and fitness plan to have a thorough medical evaluation. You want to be sure that you are physically able to exercise and you don’t have any underlying medical conditions.************


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9 thoughts on “I WAS Martin Kessman

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  2. These days, we are “kind and understanding,” so we’re supposed to pretend that conditions such as morbid obesity don’t exist. If you taunted a fat kid at school these days, by yelling, “Fatty, fatty two by four, can’t get through the bathroom door,” you’d probably get expelled or have to undergo “sensitivity” training. Yet humans are influenced by peer pressure, and might be more motivated to challenge their obesity if we maintained social disapproval. We could start by reducing the number of overweight actors we see in cinema: even the Disney kids are getting pudgy these days, making children think that it’s “normal.” Kessman’s case is yet another example of the attempt to normalize obesity: let’s look at obesity for what it is: a criminal attack on the body, an affront to all sensibility, an insult to God himself, if you believe, as do fundamentalists, that the body is the temple of the holy spirit. We don’t need Twiggyism either: what we need is a little sanity, a little balance. In my opinion, Kessman has a condition more severe than obesity–I believe that he has some kind of cognitive difficulty or emotional disorder, something or another that is causing him to think that the universe revolves around him.

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