The H.A.T. (Health Assessment Test)

Sometimes I just need to put into perspective the whackadoodle stuff that people tell me would make me healthier.  For today’s blog I thought we would play a little game of “what’s really healthier”. It’s sort of like the S.A.T.s…maybe we should call it the H.A.Ts:  two choices, you decide which one is truly unhealthy:

Seeking out movement that I love doing or thinking of exercise as a punishment for not being thin

Mindful eating based on internal cues or eating 500 calories a day and being injected with hormones extracted from urine

Feeling like a success because I did my healthy habits or feeling like a failure because those habits didn’t lead to weight loss

Eating whole foods or eating low-fat and non-fat versions that are full of a chemical shitstorm of replacements for whole foods

Eating to nourish my body or eating to starve it in the hope that it eats itself and becomes smaller

Doing the best I can with the body that I have now or getting my stomach amputated in an effort to make my body do what it will not do naturally

Appreciating my body for how amazing it is or hating my body because it doesn’t meet a culturally arbitrary standard of beauty

Here’s my perspective: Health is not a moral, social, or personal obligation.  People can choose to prioritize and pursue health at whatever level they want but that neither guarantees it nor makes them better than people who don’t choose to prioritize or pursue health. Health has both physical and mental components.  Hating ourselves is not healthy.  Most of what gets sold to us by the diet industry is the exact opposite of healthy. Weight loss isn’t the same as healthy habits, thin isn’t the same as healthy, and appreciating your body is never a bad thing.

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Published in: on July 17, 2013 at 10:16 am  Comments (24)  

24 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Love it. I think you’ve invented a new game we can play endlessly, to highlight lots of things we’re expected to do so that somebody else will offer us approval on their terms.

    • A new bingo perhaps?

  2. It is so hard to keep these FACTS in mind, as the day(s) go by. This constant barrage of message & pressure to look ONLY like a diet ad! This country has SO drunk the Kool Aid, on this issue! We need to pause & remember what happened to the first group of mass Kool Aid drinkers! Lets start our own country! We can call it HASEonia! No diet commercials or ads on the penalty of death!!!

    • I was going to buy some Kool Aid, you know, those singles ones. I looked at the ingredients and there was sugar and sucralose (aka Splenda). I’m like, no thanks, I did Splenda for 20 yrs since I was a kid and it did only bad to me. So I put it back.

  3. If I were a PhD candidate, I would do a giant, planet-sized thesis on the history of fat–where this “fat is soooo bad” mindset came from and the way it’s poisoned so many (mostly) female minds. I can think of so many little rabbit holes I could go down, as is usually the case with hugely twisted social issues.

    I am still reeling in shock over something I read yesterday. Charles Dickens, he of “Oliver Twist”, “David Copperfield”, and “The Pickwick Papers”, etc., divorced one of his wives, Catherine Hogarth, because she “grew too fat” after giving him 10 children. Not only that, but he smeared here name in public as much as he could to make it look as though she deserved her fate.

    I’ve never been a fan of old Chuckie D, but now I think that at least half of his last name is accurate. Calling her fat and unhealthy in a time when Victorian medicine espoused bleeding and leeching, surgery without anesthesia, regular amputation, and where women by and large died in childbirth is highly hypocritical and ridiculous at best!

    • Yeah, ol’ Chuck was not what one might call an enlightened feminist kind of guy. On top of everything else, he got all ten kids on his side and they further smeared their mother’s name, mostly with the hideous crimes of being fat and not particularly intellectual in nature.

      He wrote some interesting stuff, and added some highly useful phrases to the English language, but I’m afraid I don’t have that much use for him as a human being.

      Anthony Trollope is much more my speed, both literarily and personally. Not, mind you, that he would be considered a feminist, either, but his woman characters read like actual people and he didn’t cast off his wife once she got middle-aged and then blame her for being middle-aged.

      What? I’m big into Victorian literature.

      • This is the second time I’ve come across Anthony Trollope’s name this reference to women characters who are three dimensional. Apologies for going on a tangent but do you have a suggestion for one of his books to start with (for someone who generally reads contemporary writers)?

        • I always suggest people start with The Warden. It’s the first in the Barchester series, but it stands quite well on its own, is short, has a lot of humor, and is pretty accessible as Victorian literature goes. It’s also one of his easier works to find. And if you find you enjoy it, there are several more books in the series dealing with a lot of the same characters.

          There was also an excellent BBC series done in about 1980 of the first two Barchester books featuring Donald Pleasance and a very young Alan Rickman. And a few years back there was a BBC series of The Way We Live Now (not Barchester, but considered one of Trollope’s greatest works) starring David Suchet that’s also a good, accessible way to try out some Trollope. That one can be found on Netflix Streaming, too.

          I hope that gives you something to start on. If you discover you enjoy him, he wrote some forty-odd novels, several travelogs, a couple collections of short stories, and quite a few essays, as well.

          Just be aware that he was hugely into fox hunting, so there’s often a fox hunting scene in his novels, and he’s really big on plot twists that hinge on a letter that does or doesn’t arrive on time. The latter is probably because before he turned to novel writing, he worked for the post office in Ireland for some twenty years and is, in fact, the inventor of the public mailbox.

          • Thank you!!!! I’m looking forward to checking out The Warden.

      • Twistie, ever read George Gissing? He certainly had some interesting perspectives on Victorian relationships.

        • No, I haven’t. I’ll have to seek him out. Thanks for the tip!

        • Apparently Elizabeth Gaskell was an extremely popular writer, and ridiculed/criticized women’s empty lives in the early 1800s. I’m going to read a few of her books.

          • Elizabeth Gaskell is wonderful! I prefer her to George Eliot — Gaskell is so humane. She was a bit naïve about class relations, being middle class herself. Her best-known book is Cranford, a study of a town she visited when a young woman, and it is hilarious.

      • That reminds me of when I saw the term “Pickwickian” recently as in Pickwickian syndrome and had no clue what it meant but thought of Charlie’s book. Anyway it is used to describe a condition called obesity hypoventilation syndrome which has to do with not breathing in enough oxygen or something when you are obese. It kind of pissed me off after looking it up on line! I never really thought about Charles Dickens and his views on fat women before so I may avoid him from now on and am delighted in checking out some movies based on books by Anthony Trollope so thanks for that!

        • And to think my take on ‘Pickwickian’ would be more along the lines of a term for genial cluelessness! Mr. Pickwick was always portrayed as rotund, but hardly unable to breathe.

          • The character in the novel who showed signs of that syndrome (constantly falling asleep in the middle of talking or doing something, being extremely fat) was not Pickwick himself, incidentally, but a young man who worked for him.

  4. I wish there was a “love” button option here. This post is so timely and is just what I needed to hear. Just the right words at just the right time.

  5. Your health assessment comments are so powerful to read. I too read them at just the right time. Thanks

  6. A couple more questions for the game:

    Which is healthier?

    Moving your body and feeding it fully or underfeeding your body and putting it through paces that would make Olympic athletes quiver in horror?

    Dressing yourself in the colors and styles you enjoy wearing and adorning yourself as you please, or wearing what articles about covering up your ‘problem areas’ demand until you’re thin whether you like them or not?

    Going out and living your life complete with your fat ass, or hiding in a corner waiting until you’re thin for your life to begin?

    Me? I’m going to feed myself, do what feels good for my body, wear what I damn well please, and engage in whatever new adventures (or old ones) fit my fancy. I’m not waiting until I’m thin (which just ain’t gonna happen, anyway) to dance, to march, to bake, to write, and to laugh.

    THIS, right here, right now, is my life, and I intend to live it.

  7. I have been nursing an injury. And this morning as I was doing stretches, I gave my legs and the rest of me lots of nurturing, encouraging thoughts. And I realized it was in part from reading this blog for several months now. The messages have seeped in. I get it. I get the benefits of giving my own body positive messages. Thanks for this, it’s very nice and very positive.

  8. What is quite sad and shocking is that as absurd as the second options are for each of those questions, a vast majority of people would consider the second option the more appropriate.

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