Obesity epidemic, painfully thin, too fat. They are just descriptions with a judgment attached. It’s just like any other assumption that you make by looking at someone (ditzy blonde, dumb jock) Judgments about body size aren’t where the true conversation is at. Here’s why:
First, let’s agree that health is not a moral, societal or personal obligation. People are allowed to smoke, drink, cross the street without looking both ways, bungee jump, paraglide, jump their motorcycle over a series of busses, compete in skeleton and luge, lead incredibly stressful lives, not get enough sleep, cliff dive, eat a diet of fast food, and be sedentary. People are allowed to prioritize things other than their health. If you’re about to make an argument that includes the phrase “my tax dollars”, head over here.
Now, consider that health is multi-dimensional and includes genetics, access to healthcare (including money, distance, time, hours of operation, and the ability to get a doctor who will give you appropriate care etc.), stress, environment, and behaviors (which also includes the ability to acquire, store and afford the kinds of foods that you want, as well as access to safe movement options that you enjoy).
Once I wrapped my head around all of that, and made the decision that health was a priority for me, I looked at my options for health:
a. practice healthy habits
b. try to increase my access to health care
c. Try to reduce my stress
d. Try to improve my environment
e. Try to make my body smaller
You get to decide for you, but in my case I went with “all but e.”
Once I really looked at health it became crystal clear the the old adage is, at least in this case, true: Size doesn’t matter. There are people who practice healthy habits who are fat. There are people who eat poorly and are sedentary and thin. In my experience weight loss and thinness are simply a possible, but definitely not guaranteed, often short-term, side effect of healthy habits. Due to the multi-dimensional nature of health, healthy habits are not guaranteed to produce health, but I think that they have a much better chance of leading to health then doing the unhealthy things that the diet industry recommends to make my body smaller.
Somewhat inexplicably, some cannot accept that this is the plan at which I arrived after extensive research and they speak to me about it in a way that is completely disrespectful which I find unacceptable.
I suggest a three step plan:
1. Stop trying to figure out anything about someone’s size except what size they are
2. Make choices for yourself
3. Respect other people’s choices, even if they aren’t the choices that you would make
Voila – Healthy Respect!