A friend of mine shared the post below on Facebook this morning and I felt it was absolutely worth a blog topic. It resonated with me in a strong way - especially since I just got cleared this week to run again after an injury. After that doc visit, I got to thinking about how it is that I'm able to get injured, follow orders, and be back on the trails a lot sooner than others' seem to recover from a cold.
"Recently I have been thinking about media, and image. It appears to me that the majority of Americans are under the "we accept everyone just as they are" state of being. Which I think is a slippery slope. Specifically as it applies to weight (I will not touch on any of the other topics... because who needs that backlash) So as someone who is fat... er I mean overweight... I feel maybe I have a right to speak on this. Because after all. I live the life of someone who is categorized as perfect the way that you are. That statement troubles me a bit. Because I am not perfect the way that I am, not physically at least (we can touch on my other perfections later as there is a great number of them).
A little background: I wasn't always fat, but I did gain weight at an early age, because metabolism and being picky does that to a girl. My parents weren't overly healthy, as we did not have Wholefoods, Trader Joes, all the healthy options. We had King Soopers and Safeway, and no real sense of what it meant to eat healthy, because let's be real: middle America eats tacos and spaghetti on a regular basis for dinner because it is cheap and kids are picky.. also canned beans... yum. I was extremely picky as a child, compared to now - where I love all the veggies and all the good stuff, I was also not a smart child and felt that holding the food I hated in my mouth for a long time somehow made it not taste at all. I have since learned that throwing food I don't like on the floor, swift like a ninja, is a much better option.
So we get to the fun part, when I became a teenager and didn't have the total education to eat healthy and also control my cravings. I was in basketball and volleyball and all the things, but that did not stop me from eating the way I did. I made the choice to not care about my body. I made the choice to eat Cheetos (arguably the single demise to my weight... still love them).
I had the choice to look at what I was eating and think.. hey maybe this isn't that great for me. It wasn't until college really that I started eating a regular normal diet. Ya I slip up and I eat like shit sometimes, but since college I have stayed pretty much the same weight... maybe a little gained. So here in lies the problem. If someone tells me that I am perfect the way that I am in regards to my physical appearance I would tend to disagree. I need to loose weight. No question about it. Now on the other hand, I am pretty damn comfortable where I am at right now because I love myself enough to tell myself that even though I am overweight I still am pretty awesome.
Life gets in the way.. I work 60+ hours a week and I hate the gym. I just find myself judging people because I am jealous of their ability to run on an elliptical for 30 minutes without loosing their mind... because God knows I cannot do that! But do you know what! I eat pretty freakin' healthy.. except for Tuesdays because trivia is at a pizza joint and they trade me food for pottery (the struggle is real). I don't think I have bought a loaf of bread in over a year...
So when you tell your child that they are perfect the way they are while they are shoving chocolate cake in their mouths there is an issue here. It isn't healthy. Same with telling your friends, or your spouse. I have a friend that I have great conversations with about my weight. Its like oh hey ya.. I am fat, I could loose weight, but hey thats what my life is like right now. thats ok, I accept it, but I always strive to be better... I am not perfect the way I am, I will always have something to strive for. That is the way it should be! The idea that we don't need to change ourselves to be better is ridiculous. Overweight literally means you are over the weight that science proves to be healthy. That is it... don't change the scale! Change yourself, if you have an issue with it.
Now on the benefiting side to being a little hefty growing up. I have a bomb sense of humor and can laugh at myself if something happens. Im not sure that would be the case if I was extra skinny. So I am so grateful for that.
Just food for thought.. I think a little tough love is needed nowadays... sometimes I dont like hearing it myself because sometimes I struggle when I look in the mirror, but thats my I do 10 stair pushups every time I go up the stairs and 10 squats before I go down the stairs. Every little bit helps... especially on Tuesdays... those twisty's at sahara pizza are to die for... I resisted for a long time and finally gave in a couple weeks ago... man!"
In my opinion, my friend is on point. There are exceptions to every rule, there are illnesses that create a weight battle and make it difficult to move more and eat less, but at the end of the day...are you being the best and trying to be the healthiest that you can? I know when I was heavier, I may have said "I don't care how I look, I'm happy" but deep down inside, I knew I wasn't.
I'm all about being comfortable in your own skin. About loving the curves, the soft spots and the quirks. I'm all for the knowledge that most of us will never look like the airbrushed magazine covers we're force-fed in the grocery line, we aren't perfect, nobody is despite what you see there. (I truly hate those covers by the way and felt a hell of a lot better about myself as soon as I stopped purchasing them years ago.) But I do know that eating healthy, getting regular exercise and challenging myself when things get boring is going to pay off in the long run. I recover faster from injuries. I feel 100% more often and get sick infrequently. I am simply able to DO more of the things I want to.
Has the "accepting yourself" movement given us, as a culture, an excuse to treat your body poorly? Are we, as a self-love cultured society, just stating that anything goes and presenting ourselves as-is to the world? I see it when I go out in public and people dress as if they simply just don't care. "Ath-leisure" wear has become o-k in the eyes of many. Stretchy, expandable sized leggings are a staple in many closets and often paired with hoodies, Uggs and the like. While many would state "who cares, it's what makes them happy," I disagree. Are they really, truly happy if they don't feel beautiful enough to showcase their own beauty? We've all had "those days" when a quick trip to the store simply does not warrant putting real pants on. That's not what I'm talking about.
I'm talking about a society where an astronomical percentage of our country is considered obese. I'm talking about a world where every fad-diet promises to "get you to your goal weight" with varying degrees of giving things up to not having to change a thing about what you do/eat. How are we, the culture that "accepts themselves for who they are" SO happy when we have all of these multi-million dollar industries continue to line their pockets with our money, year after year?
I'm not telling you to run out there and compare yourself or go start an exercise program you have no business in doing. I'm not saying to wallow in self-loathing to the point that you starve yourself skinny. I'm also not stating that it's ok to judge others because you really have no idea where they are in their battle.
What I am saying is that maybe it's finally time for some tough love, like the friend notes above.