In the media, we are seeing more and more of people with varying shapes and sizes. The fat acceptance movement¹ is an ongoing movement trying to decrease the anti-fat bias held by much of society, as well as by many media companies. While it is a very criticized campaign, it is also widely praised; it is supposed to decrease stress around body image, and, because stress is a prominent factor in obesity, has proven effective. Even with this happening, we are also seeing a lot of “healthier” food and dieting options aimed towards losing weight. The contradicting developments both seem very positive in all senses, but in actuality neither are improving things. Instead, they have created two completely opposite poles while simultaneously focusing on exactly the wrong topics. Fat acceptance and “health” promotions are both about weight, when in actuality they should simply be about health.
Health is a complicated topic. Most people, when they think of health, will think of exercise, dieting, muscle and weight loss. The problem with this is that health is not about weight or muscle. Those are often effects of proper execution of physical health, however health is simply about treating your body correctly and with care. The fat acceptance movement is about accepting your curves and your weight if it is something you are not in control of, but a lot of people are taking it as an excuse to let go of their physical health priorities and stop worrying about whether or not what they eat is going to give them a heart attack. Michelle Obama’s campaign Let’s Move began in the right way: promoting the activity of children and the nutrients in the foods that they are consuming. Slowly, however, it has shifted more and more into focusing on calorie consumption and weight loss. This is where so many campaigns and businesses have gone wrong in the past. Dieting using fake, processed foods meant to decrease calorie intake isn’t helping the person get healthier. Neither is just drinking juice. People need fiber, they need fat, they need carbohydrates, they even need sugar. Working yourself to bone with a physical trainer is doing more harm than good if you become obsessed or aren’t getting enough good food. Accepting your weight is great, as long as the person is making an effort to stay health as well.
There is a difficult balance between letting go and trying your best. There is a difficult balance between maintaining a healthy lifestyle and falling into a health craze. Connecting the two is what needs to happen. We need to wipe away the two extremes and combine the good ideas from both in order to create a new, better balance between this day’s health craze and fat acceptance movement. Size-acceptance and self-acceptance are perfect examples. Accepting your size while still working to become healthy, and accepting who you are inside.
¹Visit this site for more information on this movement.
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