August 12, 2011

Fearing Obesity is Making Us Sick (in the head)!

FAAAAAAAT! ohmygod, ohmygod, ohmygod.......
Here's one for ya......

A week ago I talked with an individual who, after lap band surgery, lost a ton of weight. Pre op, there was not a lot of work on diet or exercise behaviour, but post op "Ben" became very active and chiseled his way down to what would medically be determined as "healthy".  Unfortunately, for Ben, and only 1% of those who opt for this type of operation, there was an accumulation of scar tissue around the small opening into his stomach and at this point, he was slowly wasting away to nothing. It was hard to keep anything down, he could hardly drink water, and there was no telling how his body would react to was a crap shoot at every meal.  And here's where it gets absolutely, jaw dropping, make me almost want to cry, shocking....his surgeon didn't want to reverse the procedure because "Ben" had become a "success" story. Ben had gone from what is medically determined as "obese" to almost emaciated. The sick part of this story is "Ben's" success was all because he wasn't eating.

When we look at pictures like this
we tend to jump to the conclusion
that this woman is unhealthy and
needs to loose fat for good reason.
The truth is, she could be walking
everyday and eating a wide range
of fruits and veggies and be
healthier than you or I.
Our fear of fat and shaming of obesity is making us sick. Not only in the head, but in the stomach.

Here's another for ya....

In San Antonio, Texas an elementary school has become a part of a study looking at the "real life" eating habits of kids as it relates to their childhood obesity rate of 40%.  The kids are given a bar code and are required to have their cafeteria trays photographed before and after their meal to assess their food choices and how much they eat. With a US $2million dollar grant, this study will hope to affect the food choices of the kids..........does anyone else think this is the stupidest waste of money since Oprah bought everyone a car on her show?  Dontcha think that that $2million dollars might be better spent educating kids and parents on healthy eating choices or funding a school cafeteria program based upon healthy eating or a physical activity program that may lead to life long fitness?? Really? Anyone? Not to mention the potential for shaming and embarrassment for the kids. Eating disorder and self loathing......table 2!

From people risking their lives, to schools outlawing soda and junk food in the name of fatty fears...I think we have lossed all sense of reality and what's right and wrong. Instead of placing this fear in our children, focus on the positives of activity and eating well. Instead of suiting up a school with high tech equipment meant to observe and study (not unlike something George Orwell might write about) include an education program for parents on the importance of role modeling and healthy lifestyle choices. I'm telling ya, if you get the buy in from parents (through their own healthy lifestyle change) the chances are pretty good the kids will follow.  Of course I do have to attend to the fact that where you live, how much education and money you have do make a difference.

Fat kids in the media are usually stereotyped as overweight adults are.  It is assumed they are overeaters with a penchant for chocolate, chips, or hamburgers (mmmmmmm......hamburgers) as was the case in the movie, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
I'm just saying the "simplicity" (although I realize I have dedicated most of this blog touting the challenges of behaviour change - I am aware it is harder than just making the change) of eating a balanced diet full of veggies and fruit while maintaining a daily physical activity program is being completely overshadowed by studies, extreme programs, and surgeries.  The stigma and shame that is attached to the obese person is too much to would rather be stupid, blind, or be missing a limb than be fat (a study done in the UK). I'm not even going to get into the fact that more studies show that you can be obese ( yes, obese) and healthier than a naturally thin person if you are physically active and eat well.  Fat does not mean ill. Fat does not mean death. Fat does not mean you are a sloth, glutton, or a useless member of our society. Unfortunately, these beliefs run rampant, free, and continue to permeate the brains of the young influencing more eating disorders, body image issues, plastic surgery, and self hate than ever.

I absolutely love the show Glee for placing a large girl in a romantic role. This character has the eye of the most popular boy in school. Although it may not be perfect, she isn't really noted for her weight but her talent and her charm. Way to go Glee! This show has challenged almost every stereotype there is.

I tip my hat off to all the anti-obesity campaigns everywhere.  You sure have had an influence.

Besides a headache and a broken heart, that's all I have for now.

Studies suggest if you are an overweight individual you have less of a chance landing that job over a slim and trim candidate.  If we saw people pointing and laughing at a man in a wheel chair we would be horrified, yet, the media (and perhaps people you know or witness on the street) continue to point, laugh, judge, and bully those with more weight on their bodies that the "ideal".  I don't blame anyone for feeling so desperate that they risk their life to loose weight or get a little weird with your kid for fear they experience such cruelty. But instead of  focusing on ridding the fat, why not focus on the real problem...the nonsense, stigma, and ignorance that continues to surround fat.

just a suggestion.

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