If you’re someone who spends as much time as I do (hopefully you don’t) reading articles about diet, nutrition, weigh loss, and the like, then you’ve noticed the trend of “fat shaming”. It’s a truly horrible thing. Women are being made to feel like they are less than human for the size of their bodies. It’s leading to unhealthy desires for a “thigh gap”, and an overall feeling of shame for the women who are victims of it. It’s never OK. As someone who has battled my weight for most of my life, I can tell you that putting me down about it is never going to make me do something about it. It’s going to send me further in my spiral of self-loathing and emotional eating.
But a new trend is emerging in response to this, which this author calls “fat applauding”. It’s not the same as loving your body at the size it is. I want everyone to do that. I want to feel that myself. I want to look in the mirror and be happy with what I see no matter what size or shape it is. I want that for every woman, at every weight. “Fat applauding” takes the self love up a notch and says, don’t change a thing. It ignores the reality of obesity, and almost goes to the point of encouraging women to stay overweight.
Now, you might be saying, “but what if they’re healthy”? Well, as Foy states it in the above linked article, you’re healthy right up until you’re not. When I first started Weight Watchers I weighed in at 213. Stupidly I told myself that as long as I was healthy my weight didn’t matter. Then I developed a pretty constant case of heartburn, which turned into a chronic cough, and boom…no longer healthy. So, I lost 60 pounds. I’ve regained nearly 50 of that. Having done that I can tell you that I wasn’t healthy before the heartburn showed up. I rarely got sick when everyone around me was fighting off something. I felt good overall, no aches or pains. But no, I was not healthy. The reality is that while you hear stories of people who ate lard every day and never exercised, then passed away at the ripe age of 100, they are not the rule. They are the exception.
The reality of obesity is that is killing you from the inside out. For every extra pound you have on your frame, you’re putting four pounds of extra pressure on your joints. That’s fine when you’re young, but come back when you’re not so young anymore and it hurts to get out of bed in the morning. You’re doing slow damage to every organ in your body that will some day catch up with you. Heart disease, cancer, diabetes…those are just a few of the big ticket items you may be facing. Of course, thin people get those things too. People who do everything right get sick as well. There are anomalies in everything. But, with the chances of it happening to a healthy person already existing…why would we want to increase those chances by remaining obese?
I’m currently at least 40-50 pounds overweight. My knees hurt after exercise. My heartburn and cough have returned. Last Friday I asked to have my cholesterol checked and found that it is not only high, it is higher than my mother’s who is 64. I’m 33-years-old, and I have a family history of heart disease. I can find a way to love my body at this weight, I am sure of it. I can dance around naked and shout it from the rooftops. And I can dance right into an early grave loving myself. Or, I can love myself enough to make choices that are better for this one body I get to live in. I can love myself at every meal, and opt for the vegetables over the processed food. I can love myself enough to want to be alive to see my children grow.
I want you to love yourself in every shape and form. I don’t want you to strive for some unrealistic picture in a magazine. I just want you to love yourself enough to see that you deserve a healthy body that is free from diseases that you have the power to prevent.