If you look at any magazine in your local grocery checkout line, you’re bombarded with messages of instant weight loss, celebrity weight loss, and images of thin models and celebrities. I don’t have to tell you that our culture is very weight obsessed. Add in the health crisis related to the obesity epidemic and the results are a society where weight discrimination is the only acceptable form discrimination.
Recently, Time magazine ran a cover story about New Jersey governor Chris Christie with a picture of his profile and the headline, “The Elephant In the Room”. I’m sure the headline refers to his political party. However, isn’t it ironic that an obese politician is compared to an elephant? Time magazine would never run a cover story hinting insults at someone’s race, gender, or sexuality. Weight is an area that isn’t off limits to late night comedians or jabs by the media.
We all have heard the saying, “You can never be too rich or too thin”. I completely disagree with that. This type of thinking is why the diet industry is a billion dollar industry and the number of women and men with eating disorders continues to rise. None of this is new in 2013. It’s been ingrained in all of us for years that thin is better. That message is heard more than messages about lowering blood pressure, cholesterol, or controlling blood sugar. It’s not about health. It’s about appearance.
Here’s some news….thin doesn’t equal healthy and fit. Studies have shown that overweight individuals with high aerobic fitness levels are much healthier than thin individuals with low levels of aerobic fitness. In fact, thin individuals with low levels of fitness have twice the risk of death than their fit but overweight counterparts. Should a person who is considered by appearance to be overweight, but has healthy joints, normal blood pressure, cholesterol, and glucose levels be encouraged by their doctor to lose weight? I have relatives who were thin, but were heavy smokers and died at a young age. They never exercised a day in their life. So thin doesn’t mean a person is healthy!
What is healthy? Eating a well balanced diet, getting physical activity every day by moving more, reducing stress, being positive, not smoking, controlling blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugars. Will that result in weight loss? Possibly. Not all of us are supposed to be thin but we should and can be healthy. Don’t compare yourself to the magazine cover or even the person next to you at the gym. Be proud of your strong thighs and broad shoulders. Be healthy!