I’m very healthy, except for my weight.
It all started because of the interactive at the science museum. It was in an exhibit promoting healthy nutrition and physical activity, and it used proportioned weights to help indicate what sorts and durations of physical exertion would be enough to “burn off” particular food choices. You know, a reproduction of the old fiction about calories in/calories out.
And I tried to keep quiet — I really did. I was with someone I didn’t know all that well, and, for better or for worse, I’m a wimpy enough “activist” that there are lots of times when I choose not to say the many many feminist or fat acceptance-y things that cross my mind in any given moment.
But I just couldn’t stop myself. Because to have that kind of destructive fiction presented as if it were Truth in a goddamn science museum was just beyond the beyond as far as what I could take.
In some of my earlier FA/HAES rants, I’ve talked about the ways that dietary and exercise choices can make a positive impact on your health. (Am rushed now, so will provide citations at appropriate places throughout this post in an update sometime this weekend.) I’m not foolish enough to say that it works for everyone all the time (see the bouquet of sidebars/disclaimers I put down below the dividing line), but I know from my HCG journey that changing my dietary habits has positively impacted my own health. And my individual experience has been corroborated by some of the studies I linked in those earlier rants.
However. The calories in/calories out bullshit and the cultural weight obsession are just so damn destructive. Because they keep people’s focus on the wrong damn thing!
Let’s say you want to improve your health so you decide to shake up your diet and activity routine in whatever way works for you. Eat more fruits and veggies. Eliminate/lessen added sugars. Train for a marathon. Start biking for some of your errand-running. Here’s the not-often-enough-acknowledged truth of one’s genetic set point: those lifestyle changes could be having all kinds of positive impact on your health without making much (if any) alteration in the number on the scale. So, because of all the false conflation between weight and health, because of all the ways we’ve been lied to about how certain calorie/food/exercise equations are unshakeable, it is entirely possible that someone who’s making great and positive changes in their health will instead feel like an absolute and utter failure because the number on the scale isn’t moving.
And so they might give up, or turn towards drastic weight loss methods that are undeniably detrimental to one’s health. And that’s just heartbreaking to me.
“I’m very healthy, except for my weight,” she said to me.
“Then I’d say you’re healthy. End of sentence,” I replied.
Here’s the small bouquet of sidebars/disclaimers.
- No one owes the world to have “health” as their top priority, or anywhere in the top 10 list.
- People who have chosen to prioritize health (to whatever degree) can set their own definitions for what’s healthy “enough” — whether that’s five servings of produce per day, or five servings of produce per month.
- Diet and exercise choices often make a positive impact on health, but there are lots of factors outside our control, so don’t you dare getting all snooty and superior about anyone who faces health challenges you have been spared.
Another catch up post for Writing 101, done in place of Day 20. (Day 20 is supposed to be a long post — which for me is rather a scary prospect — and so the “due date” is Monday.) Any how, here’s the Day 12 prompt:
Today, write a post with roots in a real-world conversation. For a twist, include foreshadowing.