Monday, April 29, 2013

Get Real, Hollywood!

I hate Hollywood. Absolutely detest it. Not so much the people themselves, because I don't hate anyone. It's the image of Hollywood. And I'm not so thrilled with the media and the health industry, either.
Day after day in movies, print, television, billboards, internet, and even in person, we are told that we must worship image and hate self. Oh, that's not true at all!  Want to bet? Quick, think of a healthy, happy woman. What did you think of? A thin, tall woman with not an ounce of fat on her, I'm guessing. Most actors and models are impossibly thin and they show off that figure in skin tight and/or flesh revealing clothing. There are very few overweight actors or models, especially women. When you do see one, what's the first thing a reporter or writer says about them? Plus size. Even doctors and the media tell you that in order to be healthy, you have to weigh a certain amount and not an ounce over.
There is a certain amount of truth to that statement. As in, weight does have an impact on the body. People like myself who are overweight have a higher likelihood of being diabetic or have high blood pressure. It's harder to climb stairs without huffing and puffing sometimes. But you know what? it's not the end all be all final story of health. I've seen overweight people who could run faster and out exercise their thinner buddies because they actually took care of themselves a little better.
Am I advocating that no one should try to lose weight? Not at all. After all, I'm right here on My Fitness Pal, writing this blog post while my head is screaming at me to go outside and walk while I have a chance instead of sitting here writing and avoiding making lunch. I'm drinking my water. Getting myself to move. Bottom line? I want to be healthy so I can take care of my family. And let's face it, I want to see less of me in the mirror.
So what's the point, chica? The point is we are bombarded daily with negative body images. Everyone tells women that in order to be sexy or even "pretty" you have to be skinny. In order to be somebody you have to be thin. In order for anyone to even look at you without pity or disgust you have to be slender. The lie that skinny automatically equals superior health is perpetuated hourly.
 Yes, we as a nation do need to eat healthier and slim down some. A few less value meals and a few hours spent walking or playing outside in the fresh air would do wonders. But also remember that its only part of the story. Genetics plays a big part in a person's size and shape as well as the love for KFC.  Thyroid can be a friend or foe as well. I've seen some who could eat fast food all day and never get off the couch but would still be super thin. Healthy? No. They have an amazing metabolism but are still slowly killing themselves by not eating healthfully and exercising.
 I've talked with a friend who can only see what society tells her: overweight equals fat and ugly. Her words. She considers her old self to be fat and ugly. She chose to lose weight in a way I don't consider to be healthy but hey, I'm not a person with a degree and I'm still fat so what do I know.  I know she only sees worth in herself because she's close to her goal of being super skinny and I honestly don't think she will stop there. Because it's been drummed into her that she was worthless as a fat person.
I've talked with a beautiful young lady who has very low self esteem. She can't figure out how to like herself at this point. She's trying to lose weight but she sees only the negative side of things at this point.
And I have me. For nearly twenty years I didn't like myself because I was no longer the thin girl I was as a teenager. I bought into the myth that you have to be skinny to be pretty, to be count as a person. Clothing makers help perpetuate that myth as well.  You have to look long and hard to find clothing that looks flattering and cute for women built bigger than a twig. At least, that's how I sometimes see things. It takes confidence and a sense of style to rock fashions these days. It can be done, but hello under garment industry: even us fuller figured gals like wearing pretty undies. Dont write us off with utilitarian bras. And simply coloring them something other than black or white to throw us a bone is not helping. How about some lacy, femininie fabrics along with the support?
For years we've been fed this baloney that skinny equals beauty. You know what? Anyone can look fabulous with enough make up and lighting and air brushing.  But a size zero body does not always equal healthy. Not in body or in mind. Too often I'm seeing young girls who are still growing refusing more than a few bites of food because they are afraid of gaining weight. Or adult women who think the key to happiness is eliminating any trace of fat in their diets.
Fat or thin, or any other way we describe ourselves, our goal first and foremost should be healthy.  Are you eating a well balanced diet that includes good fats (Yes, you need some good fats in your diet for optimum health!)? Are you getting up and walking or running or playing catch with your children? Being active in some sort of way? Are you a good person with a good attitude for life and compassion for others? If you can say yes to those then in my opinion you have a great start on being healthy.
Bottom line folks, weight and any other number people come up with to define us is just that. A number. Work to change those numbers if needed. I am. Just don't let your happiness and well being and self worth be dictated by numbers. Learn what is best for you. Do some research if need be. Be real. If need be, re learn how to eat. But please don't fall for the line that only skinny people have lives worth living. It's okay to not like something about yourself and want to change for the better. It's not okay to hate yourself. 

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