While much wailing and gnashing of teeth and anger and bad decisions are made in regards to fighting obesity and childhood obesity in particular, is anybody paying attention to what may be the biggest contributing factor?
You’d think the obesity problem is because our nation is a bunch of fat slobs who don’t care about anything except their various devices with screens, their fast food, their beer and their cake and cookies.
Of course, there are some people for whom that description fits, but many more people who are obese got that way by trying too hard! Yes, trying too hard to make their various body parts resemble what they learn from the media is perfection.
We can cut and color and style our hair, but why do we think we need to “cut” and style our body parts too?
A perfectly fine, healthy strong body isn’t appreciated as such. It’s taken apart piece-by-piece.
There’s no thigh gap.
The booty is wide and droopy.
The ankles are too thick (cankles)
The boobs are too small.
The waist isn’t small enough.
The shoulders slope too much.
The arms jiggles.
The jawline is weak.
There’s belly fat.
The abs aren’t defined.
So the owner of the body with the “imperfections” goes on a quest to fix what’s wrong. She follows a strict diet designed to get rid of belly fat. She turns to who and what she believes are trusted sources for guidance.
Self, Fitness, and Prevention magazines to name but a few.
She buys an expensive home gym hoping to achieve the fashionable thigh gap.
She’s determined. She’s faithful to both her diet and her exercises. No matter how hard she works her rotten body refuses to conform. The gap never gets gappy enough to satisfy her and the belly fat won’t go away. She hates her body.
The reality is the gap she’s trying to achieve isn’t real; it’s a photoshopped image in a magazine. No living human has the gap she thinks she needs for a “hot beach body.”
The belly fat she abhors is skin. She is not plastic like a barbie doll so any elastic in her clothing will cause her skin to depress where it makes contact with the elastic making it appear that there is a bulge on either side.
The flappy underarms are cordy and skinny on top but still jiggles on the underside. Nothing seems to fix it.
This intense preoccupation with specific body parts and extreme dieting to try to achieve perfection can pull the trigger on obesity.
- They hate their body.
- They lose touch with their ability to recognize hunger and satiety.
- They slow their metabolism with their extreme dieting.
- They are black and white thinkers so they go from extreme dieting to bingeing.
- They stop caring.
- Believe they deserve to be fat.
When you don’t care, and you hate your body it can have an extremely negative effect on your thoughts and subsequently your actions. Essentially you create more of what you hate.
In other words you get what you hate, you hate it more, you get more of what you hate.
Our bodies are not fashion accessories.
They don’t have to conform to a standard of perfection to be perfectly perfect.
We don’t need to spend time and money worrying about how our bodies look. We need to care for our bodies to keep them strong and well and alive well into our 80s and 90s.
I don’t think the food industry is by any means the greatest threat to our health or the future of our children. The bigger threat might be “the beauty industry” that encourages us to scrutinize our bodies part by part to discover how ugly and malformed we are.
Instead of counting every calorie let’s focus on good-tasting, nutritious food! Instead of exercising to “fix a trouble spot” let’s move our bodies in ways that make it strong and if not fun (i.e. dancing, playing, favorite sports or hobbies), at least productive (i.e. a nice yard, a clean house, a painted ceiling, a beautiful flower garden).
Forget about the “authorities who made us hate our bodies in order to sell us something. Let’s embrace the philosophy of the great, late Fred Rogers!.
Your body is fancy and so is mine.