Obesity Debates

So, here’s the deal. I read up a lot about the health benefits of working out and eating healthy. It mainly keeps me motivated and working towards my goals. On the other hand, I thought I might want to share it with people.

See, a lot of people think going to the gym or eating healthy is purely about losing weight. Okay, I’m a bad example because I am trying to lose weight. But I also plan to maintain the healthy lifestyle even at my goal weight. It’s more about feeling good than looking good.

Today, I found the article “Better Sleep, Prettier Skin And 8 Other Unexpected Side Benefits of Working Out”. Though it isn’t very detailed and specific, it goes over a few of the best benefits from working out–proving that exercise should be important regardless of size, weight, or goals. I want to focus on one of them.

2) Changes in Gene Expression

The one that really blew my mind away was number 2. The fact that research has found a correlation between exercising and reducing chances of passing along the obesity gene is a big deal. I’m not sure that society is convinced there is something genetic about obesity and weight.

There have been these billboards that say “Obesity is a Disease. Not a Choice.” Naturally, the people of facebook have been discussing this. Most people have posted how ridiculous it is and that obesity is all about making the wrong choices.

It took me a while to decide where I stood on the topic. The first thing I’ll say, two sentences cannot represent a diverse group of people’s experience with something like obesity. Then another thing dawned on me. According to the BMI scale, I am obese and these things people are saying are also about me (though I recognize not directly).

A lot of the posts were from ‘skinny’ people who have never been in a store and realized none of the sizes will fit because you are too big. They’ve never feared going to a doctor because the doctor will scold you for not eating healthy and having an unhealthy weight (yes, that’s happened). A lot of them I’ve seen eat plates and plates of unhealthy food and say, oh I’ll feel so fat. And I always think, but do you see that when you look in the mirror or catch a glimpse of your reflection.

I began to think about how unfair it was for people to make judgments or assume to know the stories behind an obese person’s unhealthiness. And I thought about it a lot. Most of the people making comments never exercise or eat healthy–they just have the metabolism and body type that never gains excessive amounts of fat. I ran 3.54 miles last week with my friend and now I’m listening to people make assumptions about obesity and what it’s like?

How about this, let’s cut a deal. I won’t assume and judge you for anything if you keep your opinions about something you know nothing about to yourself. Don’t assume my body looks this way because I made bad choices. The truth is, weight loss is a scary and long journey. And it’s even scarier when you have the thought of failure looming in the future.

But judging someone or making them feel bad about themselves just reinforces their hatred of their body (something people of all sizes do and shouldn’t be doing). My theme of the year is Focus. Today, I would like people to start focusing on themselves and stop assuming they understand something they haven’t experienced.

I can’t speak for all obese people, but I can say that most people hate being judged on a category they have been placed in based on appearances. So remember that before you mindlessly call fat people lazy on facebook.



One thought on “Obesity Debates

  1. You have the appropriate attitude and please remain stubbornly committed to this humble sincere approach.

    Let me also add the true stakes we face when tackling the subject of obesity/health, and that is death. With that context in mind, any notion of vanity, judgement or facing humiliating circumstances like clothes shopping, is pretty mute.

    Life is a battle against death, not a beauty pageant or popularity contest.

    I’m proud of you Colleen!

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