As I’ve mentioned in previous blogs, this year I’ve made some significant changes in my day to day routine, all with the end goal of preserving my health and quality of life. These were largely inspired by having to watch my grandmother’s deterioration from a spunky, silver-tressed diva to a bedridden invalid. I’ve made the decision to eat conscientiously, taking consideration for what I put into my body and how it will benefit me. I’m exploring exercise options that go beyond stomping around at the gym. In fact, as of a few months ago, I cancelled my gym membership entirely. I’ve found that I actually prefer taking a stroll alone with my thoughts, or exercising in the comfort of my own home, without someone peeking over my shoulder to offer critique. Along the way it seems I have lost some of the weight I put on from the depression and monotony of convalescing a dying family member. Over the course of four months, I’ve shed thirty pounds. It’s hardly the kind of metamorphosis that would warrant inviting a television crew into my home, or a sit down interview to discuss just how I pulled it off. Still, it’s enough weight to where friends I meet while out and about take notice, and their reaction, for the most part, has been decidedly negative.
I think this roots from the fact that I run a blog promoting the mantra “healthy at every size.” People see weight loss as a betrayal of this edict. While I can certainly understand that, I feel that this mentality is radically against size acceptance, let me explain. For too long we’ve used weight as a barometer of health, when there is so much more that plays into the equation! Still, people like things made simple, you’re fat so you’re unhealthy, you’re thin so you’re okay. This kind of thinking allows people to feel justified in their criticism of people based on their physical appearance. It’s okay to call fat people gross and disgusting, because they’re unhealthy, they’re costing us money with their endless stream of obesity induced medical conditions, the list goes on. While there certainly are people who are fat and unhealthy, the two do not inextricably go hand in hand. A body that might be judged to be fat or gross isn’t necessarily indicative of an unhealthy person. Likewise, there are plenty of slim, sleek bodied people out there who are struggling with poor health, and I’m not referring to eating disorders, I think that’s a crutch too often used in this argument. My point being that appearance alone does not determine health.
While I am a big advocate for size acceptance, respecting all human beings regardless of their waistline, I feel the pendulum may have swung too far for some people. Too often, we are taught to think of things in terms of “us against them.” Ladies, please line up in accordance to size and we’ll decide if you’re on Team Fatty or Team Skinny. If we ever want to progress to a society where fat people are not ostracized, we need to stop this kind of self-imposed segregation and start thinking. You have control over your body, and yours alone. No one should feel entitled to tell someone what they should be, or how they should live. At the end of the day, whether or not I decide to have dessert will not disrupt the order of your life.
We present information on health, and offer recipes you can try, but whether you choose to modify your behavior based on the information presented is all up to you. In our previous article, we addressed the show Super Size vs. Super Skinny, where two individuals on the polar extreme ends of the weight spectrum team up to learn from one anothers mistakes. These people were not taken from their homes by force, or abducted in the night for not adhering to regulation body standards, they asked for help, and they got it. In truth, if someone decides to live a life of pure hedonism, lounging about all day and partaking of a veritable feast for every meal, it is their choice to live that way. Conversely, if someone chooses to restrict their caloric consumption to the bare minimum and exercise like a thing possessed, they have that right. However, should those lifestyle choices lead to ill health and debilitation, it is also the choice of those around you (who are not bound by the Hippocratic oath) whether or not they will step up to the plate and tend to your needs.
That may sound harsh but we need to give people the freedom to accept responsibility of their body for themselves. At any rate, screaming “FAT ASS!” from a moving car as you pass a plump girl on the move inspires nothing but shame and humiliation. Sneering at people thinner than you who dare to walk into your line of site in no way fosters acceptance. It’s easy to be critical and judgmental, let’s challenge ourselves to something greater.