Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Why is this a thing? Pages dedicated to ridiculing overweight and obese people. There was just an incident in the local news about a "fatties" page. Wtf? In my part of the north state, in my county, I believe the statistic is 25%of our population is overweight or obese. I have no idea what the percentage was a decade ago, but I have observed many of the people I know gaining a good deal of excess body fat during the time I was shedding mine. I imagine the local percentage was smaller ten years ago. It's clearly a public health issue. The negative side effects of excess fat cannot be disputed. And while relatively good health can be achieved while still young, for the majority of overweight and obese people, the negative health effects do catch up. It does concern me when I see people I know growing older and fatter. Age and fat are not great friends. Higher health risks. Diabetes. And while it wasn't so hard to go through pregnancy while obese and not in great shape in my late twenties, I couldn't fathom inching closer to forty and putting my unhealthy body through that. High blood pressure, gestational diabetes, an increased risk for complications. I was lucky. I didn't develop high blood pressure or diabetes. How much longer could my body have withstood those diseases though? My skin was stretched. My joints were taxed. I didn't actually walk way with nothing to show for years of obesity. As we age, we must do what we can to become stronger and leaner. I'm not suggesting one become obsessed with being that granny with a six pack. Falling somewhere in the healthy body fat percent range, and having a strong core........these are the things that matter. Flexibility is nice, too.
But, back to the idea of these pages. Are they meant to shame? Cruel. One girl who was picked on, through this site, was very pretty. She was even taking steps to get healthy. Bravo! It seemed as though most locals were disgusted by what this page creator had done. May he get slapped with many civil suits. May those whose photos were posted not allow this type of behavior to hurt their spirit. I really appreciate the whole love thyself movement. You have fat, you are not fat.....etc. it's empowering to feel beautiful, even when you know your body does not look the way you have been told it needs to look in order for you to truly feel beautiful. It's not delusional. You know, I had someone tell me, when I was big, that I couldn't really be happy. I was deluded. That same person is now obese. Man, I hope they've learned to be happy in their skin. It's a great feeling. Once you have that feeling then you can appreciate the true reasons for being healthy and having a basic level of fitness. Jumping, climbing, running, stretching.......these things lift our spirits. We want to be able to do these things for many years.
We live in a different world. Our cultural attitudes towards size, beauty, health....they are shifting.....in both positive and negative ways. We have false prophets in the world of diet and exercise. It's hard to figure out who is authentic, who sends the positive message, and who is misguided and dishonest. Who just wants you to buy their shake, or workout DVD package. Who knows what it is to be overweight or obese and go through the journey of fat loss. Who is all about ab selfies. I've had to unfollow pages for fear that my seven year old daughter would catch a glimpse of grown women posting bikini selfies, asking virtual strangers on social media for validation of their physical appearance. I don't want to expose her to that. I don't want to be exposed to that.
I wonder, as I've seen this shift in attitude, just how far it will go.....what turns will it take? Fat is the new curvy. Fit is the new skinny. A lot is thrown around about "real" women. So, we now question the definition of a real women....,and apparently it has something to do with being overweight.....only women with curves are real. What?! It all sounds absurd. I went from being a REAL woman with "curves" at 250lbs to being what? I'm not curvy now. Just thick. Omg. For real. Lame. And now it's okay to shame thigh gaps. Laughable. We shouldn't shame at all, but let's be pragmatic for a moment, shaming natural body types is just stupid. Bodies come in many shapes, and in general there is a 30lb range for any given height to be considered healthy. Let's learn to celebrate healthy and the diversity of how healthy can appear....if we have to give our energy to appearance, let's be real about it.