“It is our responsibility to stop the cycle!”
Stop The Roller Coaster!
“What? Are you serious? A svelte body won’t get me that successful porno flick audition?”
“Thin is never going to lead to advanced career opportunities, happiness, or self-actualization?”
“Well, then, WHAT’S THE DAMN POINT?”
Weight loss ambitions are a great gateway into a healthier new life, that, if you stick with it, will lead to longevity, especially over the last ten years of life. However, if you can’t let go of your insanely, culturally defined, anorexic vision of your future body, not only will you quickly fall off your precarious path, you are likely to rebound into unhealthy living (ten fold)! This cycle is a hopeless roller coaster that will eventually suck every ounce of joy out of your life!
Our Cultural Obsession Body Image
Western culture if obsessed with thin. This is in stark contrast to Latin cultures that view extra weight as a sign of health. Sure, Latin cultures have health problems of their own, but can you honestly say that the western approach to body image is superior? Of course not!
I recently watched, for the second time, Fat To The Finish Line, a movie about weight loss through running. Nobody would disagree that athletics of any kind can, if executed correctly, lead to a decrease in weight and a boost in self-confidence.
However, several times in the movie, during the series of biographical interviews, participants became quite emotional when stating, “I will never be fat again.”
Something about this statement has bothered me ever since, and I can’t fully point my finger at exactly why. Part of me wants to say, “Come on guys, exercise is only one part of the answer.” But more than that, the statement is at very least, fat shaming. The statement misses the fact that “fat” is not the problem, it’s our approach to life.
The Problem With The Thin Obsessed
The problem with being thin obsessed, is that everything you do (a change in diet or activity level), quickly becomes either supportive, or prohibitive to weight loss, thus overshadowing the joy of any activity you participate in. A failure in joy is a failure in sustainability.
For example, running is a great weight loss strategy. I lost more than 40lbs in my first year of running! However, if I running becomes only about weight loss, disappointment will to come my way. I am sure to then just give up!
Understand that weight loss is a wonderful side effect to a healthy lifestyle. You are in this for the long game, not short-term payoffs. If you start from that point, you will be willing to incorporate the many benefits of clean eating and exercise. Diet and exercise will quickly become a part of your life long lifestyle plan, if and only if, you are not focused on just getting through.
Thus, find healthy foods you love, and eat lots of it! Find physical activities, especially done with others, that make you feel alive.
Our body will come and go, but our spirit lives on forever, either in the beyond (depending on what you believe), or through the joy that you pass on to others. It is our responsibility to provide a path for others. Incorporate a “body positive” message in your every day language. Model a positive example of physical and emotional health, especially for our youth. Weight obsession hurts everyone, especially future generations.