I am grateful for a response to a post I made on Facebook the other day (another Eat Breathe Thrive gem) because it stirred up every ounce of indignation I possess – and then I got over myself and figured it’d make a heck of a blog post.
My friend said there’s nothing wrong with extra podgy bits here and there but obesity is not ok and you need to fuel yourself better. Her point, that obesity cost NZ taxpayers $NZ847 million (2006 – it’s bound to be more now) and unhealthy obesity is not ok.
She did admit that it’s a huge can of worms – well, that’s an understatement but here are some thoughts…
What is obesity – or for that matter, unhealthy obesity?
If you measure obesity by the official standard then I’d be considered obese. I say this knowing around-about what my weight probably is but given I haven’t stood on a set of scales for over a year, it is an estimate.
I’m fit – relatively speaking. I walk over the hills on our family farm about four days a week and it’s around 5km. I practice yoga most days as well. My hubby and I climb high mountain passes when we go on holiday. We also climb the odd mountain and I can walk with a pack on my back for six or so days without really training to do so.
As far as the statistics are concerned however I am obese and I take umbrage at that. Yeah I’ve got some glorious cellulite and curves to die for. I thank the lord for the cellulite as it stores all the toxins my body can’t deal with at the moment in a place where it’s not doing my major organs any harm at all. It will probably be there forever. Yay, thanks heaps you brilliant body. (As for the curves – skinny gals eat ya heart out!)
Yes, there are health risks associated with being excessively overweight long-term but you can be overweight – obese or even morbidly obese (there are few things I hate more in this world than that term, but I digress) – and still be healthy.
However, the terms ‘overweight’ and ‘obese’ are bandied about and those who are seen as such are castigated, stereotyped and made to feel as though they are a disgrace because they don’t conform to a warped ‘norm’.
Excuse the language but I say, fuck you! I weighed well over 100kgs (on a 172cm tall, medium frame) when I did my first four-day trek with a high mountain pass (two-thirds of the way up NZ’s highest mountain). I was classified (labelled) morbidly obese at the time.
The same FU comes to mind. It ain’t about the weight you idiots!
There are so many reasons why people carry excess stored body fat other than what they put in their mouths. Yes, the crap some people eat is astonishing (and yet some are the skinniest people I know). Yes, we need to move our butts because our bodies were made to move.
But labelling people and making them feel horrible about themselves as a way of shaming them into doing something about it, isn’t going to help. It’ll just make the situation worse. And it’s making the next generation so fat-phobic that girls as young as four are making comments about being fat as if it’s the most horrific thing you can possibly be!
It’s really scary because not only have we lost our compassion, society seems to have adopted this warped ideal about how we ‘should’ look, what it means if you don’t and how it’s costing us all (so righteous indignation is perfectly fine – bollocks).
There are also huge health costs associated with alcohol but there are no specific figures about its impact because it’s a bit more difficult to calculate. Let’s see. There are the costs of alcohol-related traffic accidents (human and infrastructure – including all the additional safety measures and personnel required to minimise and deal with these); the societal costs (broken relationships, domestic violence, and civil unrest etc.); and the personal costs, which can include again broken relationships, violence, bankruptcy, diabetes, liver failure, amputated limbs, stroke and heart attack etc.
Interestingly, you can be an alcoholic and not be marginalised by society (be on the butt end of nasty comments, piss-taking or have your image plastered all over social media – ok, so that happens when you’re doing something really dumb when you’re off your face) because it’s not something that is physically evident when you’re not actually drunk to the point of passing out (not until you’re in very deep trouble).
You can drink however many bottles of wine a day and no one says anything (which is a bit sad but that’s a whole other topic). It’s just as damaging as being supposedly obese and in the long-term will cost just as much to the good ol’ tax payer.
And my point?
There is one. Yes, there are risks associated with being overweight long-term as there is with drinking too much alcohol, smoking cigarettes, indulging in unsafe sex etc. But fat-bashing seems to have become an accepted sport and the ideal body weight and ‘look’, more and more starved and ‘pumped’. Meanwhile more children have eating disorders and more are heavier than ever before.
Fat bashing isn’t working.
Focussing on loving the skin you’re in is far more important because then you are more likely to do the things that are best for you, including making the right food choices for your body and moving it.
There are so many reasons why people carry stored excess body fat than purely what they are eating. It’s complex and being made to feel unworthy and unlovable because you are overweight does not help the situation.
I know because I’ve been there most of my life and it wasn’t until I recognised my inner beauty that I finally stopped beating myself up about being overweight and naturally started eating more healthily.
When we encourage people to focus on their qualities, their skills and talents, the genuine goodness that’s within us all, then we’ll begin to change the way we look at our bodies and to look after them in the way that best suits each individual.
I’m unique, gaddamit, and I refuse to think of myself as anything less than beautiful because I don’t fit into society’s stereotype. Helping others to find joy and contentment in the skin they’re in is my mission! Let’s quit the fat-bashing people because it isn’t helping and it is damaging our children.
If you’re interested in one-on-one coaching with me, email firstname.lastname@example.org I specialise in helping you discover your inner beauty, to find joy and contentment in every day regardless of what life throws at you.