Saturday, January 12, 2013

The fat on trying to sell skinny

I am sick to death of people trying to sell skinny.

People who sell the ideal of ‘skinny’ prey on a large segment of the population, desperate for a fix, perhaps a quick fix. Not all weight loss programs promote a healthy lifestyle, nor are many of the people in charge of running these programs certified to help others learn about nutrition and health.

Selling skinny is an over-saturated and lucrative business. 

Fat discrimination is one of the last acceptable forms of prejudice in our society. We see it in movies, on TV, we hear ads on the radio, on billboards, on magazine covers, and even in our daily rhetoric with others. In this day and age it is still acceptable to make fun of people who carry extra weight, because it’s their fault they’re fat. I call bull shit.

Why is it acceptable to comment or pass judgement on anyone’s appearance? I often compare the radical “Health/skinny-pushers” (we’ll call them ‘Fitness Extremists’) to the radical religious nuts: Just because they are doing something that they feel is right and they believe whole-heartedly in, they feel it is OK to pass judgement on others who may not do, or believe in the same regime. It’s the exact same religious cult, only a different god.

We’re appalled at the religious extremists who push their beliefs (often hurtful and hateful) on the rest of us because we deem them to be wrong and they instill hate. Yet we say nothing at the fitness extremists who do the exact same thing because they’re just trying to make the world a “healthier,” less fat place. 

Again, I call bull shit.

There is a fine, often marred, line when it comes to health and weight loss. There are definitely people who make it their career and their mission to help others become healthy, and as a result lose weight. But, there is another segment who is banking on the fact that we are a weight-obsessed society, willing to shell out money for the secret potion of weight loss. Some of these people have credentials that are deemed trustworthy, others don’t. Still, there is another segment who just don’t like overweight people. I can’t explain why, just as I can’t explain racism or sexism. 

The biggest obstacle many people with weight issues face is that they are made to feel inadequate and worthless because of the way they look. Whether it’s as blatant as someone calling someone else fat, or whether it’s in an ad preaching about how much better life is when you’re skinny, the messages are out there, and they are plenty. 

I am not certified to give nutritional advice, so I can’t and won’t say what might work for someone trying to lose weight. I don’t know what will work, we’re all different and our bodies respond to different things. That said, I do encourage people to look at themselves in love and kindness and appreciate the body they have. As cheesy as it might sound, loving yourself is the first step to a healthy lifestyle.

Please be leery about lifestyle changes, and please be leery about the countless people who want to “help” you.

The best way to decipher a person or business’ intentions is in how they promote a healthy lifestyle. 

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