By then he was truly fat, weighting 202 pounds...he was only 5 feet 5 inches tall..."I have been compelled to go down stairs slowly backwards, to save the jar of increased weight upon the ankle and knee joints, and been obliged to puff and blow with every slight exertion, particularly that of going up stairs."
I am fatter than that. I am shorter than that. I HAVE ARTHRITIS! And I do not have to "go down stairs slowly backwards to save the jar of increased weight" blah blah blah. If the guy quoted was having those issues, it wasn't his weight causing it. It's said that he changed his diet, and "began to feel better immediately". Well, he cut out starches and sugars. He probably had diabetes (this was in the 1860s, so no insulin or blood sugar testing), and once his diet change got that under control, the symptoms of joint pain and shortness of breath went away.
I love how people talk about fat people's joints getting so much damage from omg fat. Your joints are MORE at risk if you're engaging in a lot of athletic activity; doctors started seeing a huge increase in sports-related injuries, and I've seen some say that they are seeing 70-year-old joints in 30-year-old people because of our national obsession with vigorous exercise. (I am sorry that I don't have a link for that; I thought I did, but can't find it now). It's funny, too, because when I look up information about this, they talk about how "All of that running, jumping, and pounding can easily damage tendons, cartilage, or bone", then, invariably, add "but omg don't be fat too, because fat is bad" as almost an afterthought.
(But wait, I thought we were all supposed to exercise ourselves to death so we didn't get fat, because fat is bad? It looks like you're doomed either way, and, honestly, I'd rather take the less painful route to bad knees.)
I have a better idea than all of these dire warnings: How about, in each individual case, we determine the actual cause of the joint pain, and deal with it that way? And, by actual cause, I mean, the doctor doesn't look at a fat person and say, "Your joint pain is because you are disgustingly fat. Eat less and exercise more. Goodbye," without so much as an x-ray or even looking at the joints in question. I wonder if my aunt could have been spared knee replacements if the doctors had caught her rheumatoid arthritis before she entered Stage IV, and had the cartilage in her knees completely destroyed--not by her being too heavy, but by her immune system going haywire and eating up the cartilage. I am just thankful that they caught it when they did, before the RA caused her organs to fail, but still.
As for being out of breath? I had asthma when I was a skinny child and teen. Because it was unmanaged, I had to deal with asshole gym teachers screaming insults at me for not being able to run a mile without wheezing and coughing. Now that I'm fat, of course, people will tell me I'm "out of shape". No, dumbasses, my airways are inflamed, and I need medicine to open them up. Asthma affects people of all sizes. If someone makes a dietary change, and their breathing is improved, don't be so quick to assume it's fat-related. My asthma improved remarkably when I cut certain allergens out of my diet (and I haven't had a major emergency since I eliminated peanuts from my life).
It just annoys the hell out of me when people assume that TEH FAT is causing the problem, when it isn't the only factor involved.