I am one of those scary statistics. (Well, I’m a lot of scary statistics rolled all into one.) But, I’m obese. I’m not just big-boned, thick skinned, curvy, full-figured, I am obese. And I am sick to my stomach with all of the words that we use to pain being so unhealthy as beautiful. I see beauty in every person. I see that beauty because I know that God created everyone with unique, beautiful, distinctive personalities and traits. We aren’t alike. We are all different. But we’re doing something wrong, America, and I’m pointing my finger at you.
In high school I had food issues. Heck, I’ve had food issues all of my life. But, in high school (and probably even middle school), I disliked my weight and awkward puberty self and spent a lot of time in the bathroom wrestling with the food on which I had just gorged myself. I couldn’t work out because my heart rate was already double what it needed to be, at rest. So I just gained weight, and I hated myself. I hated myself.
I saw all of these magazines with these beautiful, stick thin women. And, now I understand that those women aren’t real. Photoshop is an amazing tool used to distort what we see, and to make us believe that people really are that flawless. That’s such a load of crap, though, really it is. I want someone to love me warts and all. Even if I am “beautiful” on the outside, I’ve still got ugly stuff on the inside too. If we’re conditioning ourselves to only be valued for what’s on the outside? What a pitiful way to live.
And then to put these unrealistic expectations on the daughters of this generation? Shame on us. I know that this isn’t anything new to any of my readers. It is disgusting how much our society shoves the “perfect” body into our brains. We plaster it on televisions, ads, movies, billboards, the internet. We are naturally competing with other women in our heads everyday, struggling to not play the comparison game, and yet we are conditioning ourselves to never feel good about ourselves.
But, then we started this whole campaign to love our bodies, no matter what they look like. In theory this sounds incredible! I want to love me! I want other people to love themselves! I love me already! Why shouldn’t I celebrate that?
Because, my body is incredibly unhealthy in the present state that it is. If I am constantly bombarded with photos of “regular” body types, that aren’t fit and healthy, but are being used as a means of counter-balancing the stick thin models, then we aren’t coming out on top. Instead, we’re encouraging a lethargy to an already incredibly under-educated society.
I think it is backbone building for me to see pictures of real people with healthy bodies that I don’t have yet. That leaves me with the cold reality that my body is unhealthy and I am obese and I have to change that. I don’t have to change it so that I look like a cookie-cutter mold. I have to change it because I am presently doubling my risks of life-threatening illnesses the longer I stay at this unhealthy weight.
I understand that I am inviting a lot of fire by making this post. I am not saying this to shame anyone who has a body that doesn’t fit the healthy BMI scale. Ultimately, it comes down to doing what is best for you, and loving you at the end of the day. But, what I do know, is that I cannot be contented with a media bent on portraying two opposite ends of the spectrum. We don’t need bodies that we can’t ever attain by healthy weight loss and exercise. We don’t need bodies that are out of shape constantly bombarding our senses either.
We need real women, with real bodies that are strong. We need to portray the importance of being good stewards of our bodies and honoring God with our temples. This isn’t about worshiping our bodies, it is about using our bodies as a means of worship.
Alright, let me have it. I can take it.