Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Body Shame

"Sometimes we're more fit. Like, especially me. I'm such a creative person that I yo-yo. Sometimes I'm more fit and I get into kickboxing hardcore. And then sometimes I don't and I'm like, 'I'd rather have wine.'"
~Kelly Clarkson responding to body shaming.

I'm confused by this sudden outpouring of body shaming. Okay, maybe not sudden. It's been happening for awhile. And I'm not an angel when it comes to obesity. At least not inwardly. I try not to speak my thoughts, but I'll admit at times looking at someone and thinking "how do you let it get to that?"

That's extreme cases, for example recently my daughter and I were out to dinner and witnessed a man who actually, physically needed two chairs. But I don't know his story. So thus my question of 'how do you let it get to that?'

But body shaming a weight gain is just mean.

When I look at my daughter she is, of course, perfect. She has the best little physique. She has strong shoulders from 8 years of gymnastics, strong legs from track, riding, swimming and walking, and a great attitude about eating. She is the first to tell a friend who is body shaming themselves that they are fine and to freakin' eat something!

She is an advocate to eat to be healthy. In fact, at 12, she's probably the healthiest eater I know.

And that is where the issue often lies. Food and eating considered healthy. Too often, food is a taboo and eating is something to be agonized over and regretted. Food is the enemy. That seems only true if you have a terrible allergy or issue such as high blood pressure, diabetes or an eating disorder.
For these serious health issues, food can very readily be the enemy. It can also be the hero. It depends on the moment.

But as I go through a nutrition degree program I'm truly understanding what we need and why. Food is not the enemy, we are. We decide what to put into our bodies and how much.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for the occasional french fry or onion ring, I'm also for the desire to eat a salad (and by that I mean vegetables), go for a run, ride a horse or do anything that moves your body. I'm about living a healthy lifestyle full of everything delicious.

I am, at the moment, the heaviest I've been in three decades (not counting pregnancies) and that is to say I'd feel best if I lost about 5 pounds. Boo freakin' hoo right? I apologize that I have my dad's genetics and both of my parent's desire to stay fit (my mom is super fit and strong, but her side has to work twice as hard to stay that way). That's not to say every time I lace up my running shoes I don't secretly think maybe I could just skim the internet for an hour instead, find a blog topic or read a book. It's a struggle most of the time.

But I also know how I feel in my own skin, and that is how I can motivate me.

But overeating and staying sedentary are, of course, never the right choice. But as Miss Clarkson stated, we go through phases in our life that may derail us and that's okay. We are allowed and no one should shame us for it. We just need to figure out what motivates us to get stronger, healthier and run (no pun intended) with it.

After all, I'm sure we all have some part of us that may embarrass or shame us. It just might not be as openly obvious as an extra 50 pounds. If we all had to wear a sign as we see in pet shaming Facebook photos we may look at each other with more compassion and understanding.

I have two women in my neighborhood who walk for hours and hours every day of the week. I'm pretty sure their upper thigh is the size of my lower forearm. I'd like to often ask them to take a break with me and get a pizza. But even that thought is shaming them for what they are struggeling with.

We all have one body, one skin, and one chance. What we do with that chance is only and completely up to us. And no one, unless you are a true harm to yourself or others, has a right to judge you. So be creative, be dramatic, be energetic, be confident, drink wine, have a slice of cheesecake, have an adventure. Just be who you are to the best you know how to be and then no one has the right to say you're doing it wrong.

Be strong.

"Nothing was a more powerful compass of my mood or a better indication of my self-worth than the number on the scale."
~Betsy Lerner,  Food and Loathing: A Life Measured Out in Calories

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