June 19, 2015

Fat Skinny Pretty Healthy; Nix the Mixed Signals?

We try  to teach our children healthy habits: eat right, exercise etc.   We also try to teach our children to accept themselves for who they are and not worry about any other "standards of beauty" placed by an arbitrary society.

But are our signals mixed?  On the one hand we encourage more carrots and less cupcakes but on the other we tell ourselves that "fat shaming" is bad and that chubby is in, it's cool, it's beautiful and it's all about that bass.

"Just accept yourself for who you are." Is truly a healthy message for a young teen who is finding their place in the world and trying to figure out who they are in the first place.   Do we consider however, that the food we consume can be toxic and that that toxicity can manifest as weight gain?

I don't think we are supposed to blend the two ideas together.  I think that there is room for variation, of course and a size 00 is a ridiculous standard.  But why do we jump from one end of the dichotomy to the other?  There is absolutely a healthy medium in health and it's usually a size medium.   Sometimes it is a size small and sometimes it's a size large - the variations do depend on the uniqueness of the individual.  I do however, think that we do ourselves and our children a disservice when we ignore our body's natural function and make up reasons to contradict and legitimize unhealthy habits.   We do this when we make it all about appearance.  "Love yourself the way you are" is a statement about appearance.   We are egocentric and aesthetic creatures that rely on visual and audio stimulation to make decisions about the world.  It is simply who we are.  It takes deliberate thought to go deeper than that and say "Love yourself - so treat yourself well".  When we think about it that way, it's not about size, or poundage, but very simply about loving ourselves enough to treat this magnificent machine with the respect we deserve.

That comes in all shapes and sizes, for sure!  Let us not kid ourselves though as often times we do. 
I think the following article  is important. 

Americans have changed in a big way since the 1960's

As for me, I'm not a skinny girl, but I've been skinny and I've been thicker than I am now.  I grew up as a chubby girl (back then my size 10 was 'fat') and I spent time as skinny, unhealthy adult.  I've been in balance, and I know I am not in balance right at this moment.  So I can see it from both perspectives. 

Is the girl on the left "beautiful"? Yes, but so is the girl on the right and dang it, it's more important than that!  We think we're deep when we celebrate variation but we are still being so shallow because we are still making it about looks.
It's not about fashion, it's about health. It's not about "fat shaming" it's about celebrating and encouraging good health.  Can a person be healthy, heavier? Yes.  But weight gain is often a sign that something in the body is amiss.  We can absolutely choose to address it or not, but the point is that we as a society see the fat/skinny paradigm as an aesthetic thing, when it's really more important than that.

I am thicker now than I was a few years ago and am I rockin it? Hellz yeah! And "society" accepts me just fine at this size.   But I also know that I'm not as healthy as I was at another point in my life and I only have myself to face about it.   So while my world is telling me not worry bout that bass,  my body is sending  me frequent signals that I need to start worryin' bout that steak.  

I think it's important that we start looking beyond the shallow depth of our ego and paying attention to what it really means to love ourselves, respect ourselves, and care for ourselves, beyond the size tag.

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