Saturday, April 13, 2013

Day Ten: What Popular Notion Does the World Have Wrong?

Look!  No list today!  An actual blog post, with actual explanations and thoughts and feelings....and a topic that kinda makes me think pretty deeply about the world around me.


So, when I saw that this was my blog topic for today, I kinda panicked.  The first thought I had was to list the top five...and then I thought NO!  Not another list.  There has to be something I can come up with to talk about... cause Lord knows there's so many to choose from.  Am I right?

The first thing that popped in to my head was the absolute obsession with body image.  And, in all honesty, it really has become an obsession.  As long as I can remember, there's always been this notion that beautiful people are thin... but the journey to achieve "the perfect body" has become more and more of a formality.  A basis for success and happiness.  If I'm not skinny then I can't be happy.  I can't have a good job.  I can't have nice things.  If I don't conform to the ideal of the perfect body image, I'm not the best person I can be.

Now, I understand I'm a little of a hypocrite here.  Since getting out of high school - and even before - I've been convinced that I didn't fit in to the model body image club.  I've cussed and cursed clothes shopping.  I've fallen in to abysmal depressions about how much happier I'd be if I was just skinnier...which has then led to diet after diet after program after program to reach that sweet body I should have.

And, I've failed just as many times as I've tried.  I'm still not anywhere near "skinny"... if anything I'm further away than I've been in several years.

Every time I've fallen off the wagon, I've realized it's because something else has taken over the obsession.  It was the pursuit to my degree.  Then the pursuit to finding a job.  And this year the pursuit to finding a new house.  And it dawned on me.... I managed to finish school being a large woman.  I managed to find a job being a large woman.  I'm in the process of finding a house, and I haven't met a realtor that's said to me "oh, you can't buy this house... you're much too overweight".

Realization:  My body image doesn't define who I am....except to those people that judge me based on it.  And those people are the people that are suffering, really.  If they look at me and see an overweight woman that has to be terribly miserable because her body is so out of the realm of "normal", then I'd have a harsh truth for them.  I still have a very happy life despite my body image.  In fact, the only time it makes me unhappy is when I have to buy clothes for it - and that's because I'm having to conform to society's ideal of the perfect shape and size.

Now, I have had one time in my life where I had MAJOR success with my weight loss.  That was just a couple of years ago.  But, my focus was different.  I wasn't focused on being thinner - I was focused on being fitter.  Totally different.  I wanted to run and do exercise and be able to perform crazy hard yoga poses.  In that pursuit, I became successful with changing my body image.  I felt better about myself not only by the way I looked, but the way I felt.  I felt strong and powerful.  Yes, I had lost a lot of weight, but I had gained so much more in my abilities to push my body to do feats I never thought I could.

Even today, as I sit weighing closer to the highest weight I've ever been, it's not the returned fat that's upset me... it's my lack of stamina and athletic ability that upsets me.  I've tried a couple of diets this year - missing one special focus:  The exercise.

Which leads to another notion the world - mostly this country - has wrong.  By forcing laws and restrictions on people about what they can eat isn't going to fix the problem of obesity.  States are popping up new laws all the time about posting nutrition information, providing healthier choices, even stopping the sale of "excessive" soda amounts in convenient stores.  Just like the drug laws don't stop drug users, and the gun laws won't stop shooters... food laws aren't going to suddenly make everyone get thin.

I have had several comments from my students this past year about my ability to play dodge ball with them, or do a push-up, or just last week I ran down the hallway to retrieve a student's coat she'd left in the classroom and needed before getting on the bus.  I returned to a group of students standing at the end of the hall that had watched me run there and back with looks of utter shock on their faces.  They have been astounded that a woman my size is able to do those things.  No, I can't do any of those things as well as I could a few years ago... but my returned weight hasn't stopped me from believing I can.

It all goes with another popular notion that fat people are unhealthy, stagnant, and are eating up the healthcare system.

Guess what?  This fat woman hasn't been to the doctor for any form of illness since... well... I can't even remember.  My blood pressure is normal.  My heart is healthy.  My cholesterol is high, but not high enough to require medication. My blood sugar is normal and I have no signs of pre-diabetes.  I am, in the words of my doctor "healthy as a horse...a normal sized horse".  HA!

Yes, I know I need to lose some weight.  I know that in the long run, my weight may catch up to me and cause some medical problems.  But, it doesn't define who I am... I am NOT one of those nasty statistics that has caused this country to get in an uproar.

I know that losing weight isn't going to be about what I eat... it's going to be about how I move.  I know that I need to move more.. I long to move more.  Time has affected that a little too much for my liking - but summer is almost here, folks.

But, regardless... this wasn't a post about when I'm going to start losing weight again, it's about my belief on the notions of losing weight.  And that I've explained.

Now, I've got lots of important weekend stuff to take care of... which does, actually, include some physical labor.  FUN FUN!


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