Does Skinny = Healthy?
I submit to you that all skinny people are not healthy, therefore all fat people are not unhealthy! In the course of my life I have known many people who fit both categories and every size in between. We have been taught, in our society that tall, thin, and tan is not only beautiful but also healthy and they are probably going to live to a ripe old age! On the flip side of that “indoctrination” if you are fat you are unhealthy and going to die a horrible death, at a young age. I must admit for the most part that does apply, but like all “rules” this one doesn’t always apply!!
I know many couples, as a matter of fact, where one is overweight with practically no health issues while the other is thin and a high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, you name it. It just seem backwards and it baffled me. I come from an extremely heavy family, if I set down and look at pictures everyone, bar a couple is significantly overweight. As a child growing up in the 70’s and 80’s nothing but thin was in. I “saw” the family of origination as big fat unhealthy people and all the people I saw in magazines, in movies, and on television as thin, attractive, athletic, and healthy. Therefore, when I looked at my family I saw a bunch of fat, unhealthy, and yes unattractive people, however everywhere else I looked I saw thin, healthy, beautiful people I sat out to be like. Because I was young and naive I thought I can be like those people if I just work out hard, eat extremely healthy, and want it bad enough, of course since I was young, I didn’t take into consideration that there is more to it than the work you put in.
I grew up in a dysfunctional family and a lot of “body shaming” went on. I was the recipient of this more times than I can count. See I take after (take after, have you ever thought about that saying?) my mother’s side of the family, well I guessed I did cause that’s the only side I had ever known. My biological father took off shortly after I came to be and I was never told anything about him or his family (more on that in my Father’s Day article). So I only have half siblings and one of those is a sister, always naturally thin, I was often told don’t you wish you were like your sister, you could just get close off the rack in the store and it looks fantastic on you? Now, looking back I was never heavy, I was always a healthy weight, but like I said, took after mom’s family, so I was a little shorter and way curvier!! However, what I heard was your fat, your not beautiful, and you are less than your sister. I now know so many people that buy this load of crap and spend the rest of their life trying to overcome those words. I will tell you I spent more than half my life not only believing it but living out my life accordingly.
Now way past grown, I still struggle, but I know heavy and thin don’t add up that way and I wish we Americans would finally stop body shaming people, who may be healthy and happier than those doing the fat shaming! See when
they see people who are not their “ideal” weight” and they feel they are doing them a service by informing them they are unhealthy, and going to die! I believe people do this most of the time, because they mean well. But aren’t we all going to die?? Last time I checked we all do! However, don’t you know every time we go to the doctor, to family reunions, and flat out leave the house we are bombarded with people telling us these things! We know! Alright already!!
I also as a Nutritionist and Naturopath, know that we are all different, I don’t mean just hair color, height, personality, our DNA and our life experiences are too. Next time you see someone who is not skinny don’t just assume they don’t care, they are lazy, or that they are unhealthy. See most of the time just the opposite is true! Life is life and stuff happens and sometimes some extra weight is just a fact of life.
For me this is the case. Like I said, my thinking about health, beauty, and weight has always been skewed. I spent 25 years believing those lies wholeheartedly and living my life accordingly. I always dieted, exercised fanatically, and weighed myself multiple times a day, obsessively. For the most part I maintained my spot on the “charts” and “everyone” was happy. My doctors, family, and friends were happy; my mother was never happy, but that’s just the way it is. But I was miserable, constantly thinking I was fat, unhealthy, and ugly even though I wasn’t. Yes, I was in the right place on the “chart”, the scale, and in the minds of others, but in my mind I was fat, unhealthy, and ugly! But I was in Control, right where I liked to be, in control of what most other people thought and control of the numbers!
Then in 2005 I was hit by something that there was no way to control and in the beginning I didn’t care. My family and I were in a serious car accident that left me with disabling injuries, more pain than I knew was possible, and unable to even bathe myself, OUT OF CONTROL! I could no longer exercise like a crazy person, going to the bathroom was a major undertaking, I wasn’t in control of my diet, I eat what was brought to me, and so out of it on pain meds out of control of my thinking. Let me tell you after a lifetime of exercising, when you suddenly stop your weight climbs and I mean climbs fast! Due to the injuries, the extreme trauma, a year and a half of therapies, multiple surgeries, and medication, my body went all out of balance (there was no homeostasis; hormones, enzymes, every system in my body was effected). I was fighting a loosing battle and boy did I give myself hell about it! All those childhood messages came right back.
It’s been 12 years now and I’ve managed to come back, somewhat. My body will never be the same, I will never get back to where I was. I’m almost okay with that, almost. However, even with the extra weight I now carry my health hasn’t suffered in the area of other numbers that matter just as much as weight and BMI. I don’t have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or high blood sugars, by those measures I am healthy. All those years of eating right and exercising are still paying off in that way. It’s also DNA at some level. I have found my biological father and his family. As I look at pictures of my ancestors, on both sides, I realize I was never intended to be tall, thin, and blond. My DNA dictates some of these things and my choices dictate others. I do my best daily to be as healthy as possible, all things considered and I also do my best to cut myself some slack and all I ask is you do the same, not just for me, but for everyone you come in contact with. When you look at someone, anyone remember there is so much more there than what you see.
Those people have heeled that conditions, injuries physical and mental that effect everything in their life. Remember those words and messages are hard to erase, at best you can learn those messages are lies and you replace them with the truth, but they never stop, at least for me. A great therapist was vital to learning this, I would still be killing myself and trying to fit into those “norms” if not for her help. Separation from those people, be they friends or family, is also vital for me. So if I could just tell the doctors, the strangers and all those who in an effort to be helpful tell me how bad my health is and how I should do this and that and the other thing and it will all be better. That’s just not always the case, some are just doing their job and some are trying to be helpful, but if you don’t know the whole story and aren’t going to take the time to learn, please keep it to yourself! When you see someone who is overweight and seems unhealthy try to remember there are often other factors besides diet and exercise! That person has lived a whole life you know nothing about and looks can be deceiving! Think before you speak, please!!!!!!