Being Fat and Being Healthy
This is going to be a short version of what it could be, because if you really want to know the gritty details of being fat and being healthy, you need to sit your ass down and read a book. I'm going to give you a summary of what I've learned thus far.
The question of 'can you be fat and healthy?' was a huge sticking point for me. I was convinced that it was impossible. Society said it was. Doctor's all met up with each other and concluded that 'treat weight first' was their new motto. Every diet coach said that being obese lead to heart disease and type two diabetes and a sundry of other issues. They failed to tell us that being fat isn’t the cause of those issues. They let us believe that if you’re fat, you’re more likely to get all these diseases instead of treating what actually causes these diseases (and it also might cause fat). For instance, type 2 diabetes. Your body either over produces or resits insulin….no mention of fat in there. It’s about sugar. But we’re lead to believe that it’s being fat that causes you to be unhealthy.
Even now, some of you are reading this and getting a little uneasy and angry. Could you really have been mislead your whole life? Yeah, I felt that. I still feel that.
When I go to the doctor and everything in my body checks out (from blood pressure to thyroid to blood sugar to cholesterol to whatever else) and the doctor still says 'now, lets talk about your weight...' a chill runs down my spine, because I fear that I am wrong.
But my weight is not unhealthy. My fat is not an unhealthy part of me. It is not a disease in and of itself--unlike what all the doctors have agreed upon (and can I just say, not all doctors have agreed on it). Truth is, there are 'unhealthy' fat people AND there are 'unhealthy' skinny people.
So why do doctor’s still insist on treating your weight before they actually address the problem on hand? Why are people still following diets (that are PROVEN not to work)? Why are people still obsessed with being skinny?
What does being healthy even mean? Does it mean you're not dying, because I hate to break it to literally everyone, but once you hit a certain age, WE'RE ALL FUCKING DYING. Does being healthy mean that you don't have cancer? Does it mean you're able to walk? Does it mean you can eat gluten? Does it mean you're a compassionate person fighting for a good cause? Does it mean you have low blood pressure?
Because according to the media and doctors, you're healthy if you have a thigh gap.
We idolize health so much, that we had to turn it into something we could actually physically worship. So, why not create the idea of a perfect body that we could actually bow down to and give all our money, time, and energy to creating?
If you're thinking 'there's no way I idolize health', I want you to think about how often you do things in life not because you enjoy them, but because you think it's 'healthy' to do so. You may have even convinced yourself you do enjoy them. Like many do with religion. We even tithe to the diet gods and plastic surgeon angles. Oh, if that's not convincing enough, think about how much you use morality to talk about health.
We use terms like 'good' and 'bad' to talk about food all the time--terms that we use in conjunction with morals. This leafy green salad is good for me. This pasta is bad for me. Instead of saying, ‘this is something I have to put in my body to literally sustain me physically.’ You're thinking, 'okay but it's just shorter to say good'. Why do we talk about it at all?
We have developed a toxic relationship with food because of the use of moral words we associate with it. Suddenly, you're not just eating pasta, which is bad for you, but you're actually a bad person for eating pasta. See what happened there? Which is why we have guilt over eating certain things, because it's no longer about a food being bad, it's about us being bad, which then leads to the perpetuation of our toxic relationship with food.
That toxic relationship stems from us not believing our own brains. Our body says ‘i’m hungry’ and we say ‘here, have a hunger suppressant’. Our brain says, ‘I need energy’ and we give it sugar, even though it may make us feel shitty later. So then we don’t trust our brain, because we think it was asking for sugar, which doesn’t make me feel good (this is not the case for everyone, I’m giving an example, if you eat sugar and it doesn’t bother you, fucking eat that shit up), but what it really wanted was sustainable energy.
WE NEED TO TRUST OURSELVES and that means stop following stupid diets that worked for one human being because they spent their whole lives forcing their bodies to adapt to it. Those diets are about restricting, about not listening to our own instincts, and about constantly feeling guilty, which just leads to an even worse relationship with food and ourselves.
SO, we’ve figured out we can’t really define health. It’s defined by your current doctor, by the other women in your yoga class, by your partner, by your mother, by the whole of society in this present age, by humans limited scope of now.
We’ve also explored how much we link our health to morality.
Let’s talk about the ramifications of a society that worships health.
It further widens the gap in our economy. Speaking of morality, we’ve been told we’re healthy if we ‘eat clean’. What we often don’t think about is the implications of it’s opposite. Eating clean means that there are people who are eating dirty because they can’t afford the high price of your moral choice.
So, people who live in neighborhoods where there isn’t even access to something that isn’t processed, or offered in a bag, have a certain body type that leads us to believe as a society that they are lazy, unhealthy, and in-turn, immoral.
And, after all this, here’s the real kicker: you do not owe anyone anything, especially your health.
AND, you do not have the right to judge someone’s health EVER. Period. But especially not based on how they look from the outside—regardless of their size, shape, age, gender, shade, or otherwise.
When people talk about the “obesity crisis”, they often talk about how they’re ‘just looking out for their family members’ when they rail on them about their weight, about what they’re eating, about how much they exercise. Those same people are only concerned with how you look, and what our fatphobic society has sold to them. They are not concerned with bigger issues, like how companies continue to make food they know is poisoning us in order to make money, or the disparity of people who don’t have access to non-processed foods.
To sum up:
Health is not determined by weight.
We need to find non-moralistic words to talk about food—if we talk about it at all.
The bigger issue than weight-loss, is finding a way to make non- processed foods available to more people.
You don’t owe your supposed-health to anyone.
You do not have the right to judge anyone about their health.
WhyTF do we worship health?
Some references for those interested in learning more from experts and science:
Book: Health at Every Size
Website: Health at Every Size (good resource to find doctors, therapists etc in your area who are body positive)
Book: Intuitive Eating (this is a great book because it talks alot about learning to listen to your brain, trust your body etc, but beware because it can quickly become a lose-weight diet)