Fatspiration is just as bad as Thinspiraiton

One of the college classes I teach is called Drugs & Behavior. The entire term we talk about substance abuse, how it effects the individual, and the impact it has on families and society. Toward the end of the term we look interventions - when the addicts family and friends get together and plan to give the addict an ultimatum: either they go to rehab and get help, or they cut ties with them because they can't stand to support their self-destructive lifestyles anymore. Could it ever be appropriate to conduct an intervention on someone because of their weight?

At my hospital job I work in a clinic that specializes in veins and arteries. At least once a week I see a patient who has had their foot, or half of their leg, amputated because they spent years overweight, were a chain-smoker, or have diabetes (or all three!) The doctors will try to educate the patients and tell them: "you need to stop smoking and lose weight!" You'd think losing a limb would be a wake-up call but I saw a patient come in a few weeks ago who was here for his second leg amputation.

Granted, most of these patients are in their 50's and older, but they didn't get this way over night. I guarantee most of them have been overweight/smoking since they were in their 20's.

This is what saddens me when I see people, blogs, or quotes that promote fat acceptance. You know what I'm talking about:

fat3

It saddens me as much as it does when I see images of girls going out getting trashed and acting like idiots (yes, I was one of them at one point.) I've never understood why it was okay for total strangers to come up to me when I was a smoker and chastise me for doing that, but god forbid someone say's the "F" word ...

fat1Note: I don't actually condone the idea of regulating anyone's food choices with that above image - I just think it's summarizes the point I'm trying to make about society being okay with criticizing some choices, like drinking, but not others.

Am I promoting fat-shaming? Absolutely not. I would kick one of my students out of my class on the spot if I heard one of them say something derogatory about someones weight. I applaud men and women who are overweight and happy when themselves. I never reached that level of acceptance when I was at my heaviest. I hated the way I looked. I knew it wasn't 'me' and I never felt comfortable in that body.

fat2After doing a bit of research on fat-shaming and fat acceptance I found that people who were overweight and advocates for their decision to remain that way used similar arguments:

Diets don't work. I agree. Eating healthy foods when your hungry, and until your food, does.

Not all people who are overweight develop diabetes. True - being fat doesn't automatically give you diabetes. Research has found that obesity does correlate with heart disease, stroke,  high blood pressure, certain cancers, arthritis, and breathing problems. Not to mention the emotional toll that obesity can take on you (it certainly did with me.)

Just because your fat it doesn't mean your unhealthy. 100% agree! Just because your thin doesn't mean your healthy. However, if someone's BMI is over 30 I'd wager that they aren't eating an appropriate amount of calories in real food or exercising at a level to maintain good overall health.

Some people have "Fill-in-the-blank" medical issue that makes it hard to lose weight. I wish I could find the exact statistic but I read before that about 2% of people who are obese have actual medical conditions that makes it virtually impossible to lose weight. I had Hashimotos thyroiditis untreated for years (a thyroid condition known for excess weight gain) and I maintained a healthy weight because I was diligent about it. For 98% of people -  it's always possible. 

I know that BMI's are often criticized as being inaccurate, but since it's the most common tool used to assess weight in comparison to other's I'm going to use it to drive my final point home.

At 5'2" to maintain a healthy BMI my weight needs to be in the range of 102 to 136. I've been as low as 112 (took too much work and started to get the 'you look a bit to thin' comments!) and as high as 167. At 167 I never exercised, drank way to much, and ate shit foot. At the tail end of marathon training I'm at 122. I feel confident that after the marathon if I keep working out, and eating healthy foods whenever I'm  hungry, that I'll never have a problem staying in my BMI range.

I think the Dove Real Beauty women all look happy, healthy, and I would bet my favorite black cat that they all have a BMI within the normal range.

fat4Would you ever tell a loved one you were concerned about their weight?

Do you think obesity is as bad for your health as smoking or drinking ?