WHY LOVING THE SKIN YOU’RE IN IS KILLING YOU

 

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I’m about to embark on a fairly controversial topic. That topic is loving yourself and being overweight. It’s a fairly complicated topic so I’m only going to touch on a few main points. First of all I want to make it clear, I’m overweight and I don’t intend on offending anyone. I apologise in advance if I do that.

 

IS YOUR HEAD IN THE SAND?

 

 

SELF ESTEEM

 

I think the general population has their head in the sand about obesity. At the very least they’re getting confused between trying to be a healthy weight and not having a healthy body image.

For a start we need to get clear on what obesity is and why it’s unhealthy. We need to be clear that being able to do a 5km hike, marathon, lift weight etc does not cancel out being overweight or obese. Smoking whilst you don’t have lung cancer is never considered ok so why is being able to do exercise whilst being obese ok? Same goes with being an alcoholic or drug user. Many of those people can function reasonably well too. But the facts remain, all these things are not considered healthy.

 

There seems to be an assumption that being overweight or obese is something we can do nothing about. As a result we should ‘love the skin you’re in’ and get on with life! Quitting smoking is hard, quitting alcohol and drugs is hard too but no-one tells those people to just ‘love the skin you’re in’.  It gets delegated to some image/beauty section of a magazine and disregarded as a serious health issue for society as a whole

 

 

HEALTH CAMPAIGNS

 

 

My belief is that the consequences of obesity aren’t always as clear or well marketed as the other conditions I’ve mentioned. Anti-smoking campaigns and laws have been around for years now. Campaigns against drunk driving and ‘say no to drugs’ campaigns have also been around for a long time.

 

I don’t recall any ‘in your face’ campaigns against obesity. Even safe sex campaigns are more prominent in society.

 

Why are we so scared to face this issue of obesity as a serious problem? Why do we insist on tip toeing around it and treating it as a discrimination issue? I don’t doubt obese people are discriminated against but I think we’ve taken it a little too far.

 

Everyone needs to remove their heads from the sand, grow up a little and see how it’s a little bit more than image orientated. You know what? Obesity is not beautiful. The risks are well-known but we still hide behind the mantras of obese people NOT being lazy or slobs, obese people being fit and healthy, obese people being smart and funny and obese people can be sexy!

 

self esteem

 

 

Is everyone just hiding behind the truth because it’s easier and more politically correct? My problem is not whether you’re lazy, smart or sexy. My problem is the belief that people can be overweight and healthy is contributing to the problem. Is society/media confusing obese people? They don’t know whether they should ‘fix’ their self-esteem/body image issues or really try to lose weight? The industries for both are enormous but who really focuses on the health aspect. Anti-smoking campaigns are not about bad smoker’s breath or nicotine stained fingers! Just look at the pictures on a current cigarette pack!  It’s  about hard-core health issues. Obesity should be treated the same.

 

People are dying directly because of their obesity or related diseases. Let’s not be fooled by the minority of obese people who are glamourised because they can run a marathon and have better blood pressures than a skinny person. If you believe you can be obese and healthy then you are deflecting from the truth. Thin doesn’t always mean healthy but obesity most definitely ALWAYS means  not healthy.

 

TOO MUCH SELF ESTEEM?

 

I don’t need to know peoples personal circumstance or mental health history. It’s not a judgement on their character or ability. But I’m also not going to kid myself and believe they are healthy.

 

I’m about 30 kilos overweight right now. I can climb 3 flights of stairs with minimal puffing. My blood pressure and cholesterol are perfectly normal and I don’t have diabetes. I’m not healthy.

 

 

The simple question you need to ask yourself is ‘how does one become obese?’ Newsflash! It’s not from eating unprocessed food and running every morning. The best an obese person may be doing is maintaining their weight by eating well and exercising. Bets are they didn’t become obese in the first place with that lifestyle.
This way they don’t put on any more weight. But think about it people. The strain on your ligaments and joints. The strain on your heart, lungs and digestive system alone should convince you that being overweight is not healthy.

 

And I speak from experience. And I also see firsthand some of the issues related to obesity in patients I look after.

 

We should focus on the health issue and not hide behind the discrimination/self-esteem issue.

 

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photo credits;

  • colros via visualhunt cc by sa
  • faint sanity via visualhunt cc by
  • visualhunt.com
  • kevin dooley via visualhunt cc by

 

 

 

 

 

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