I recently came across the trailer for this movie in the above video called Embrace. It is about a woman travelling the world seeking to understand the body shaming culture that holds women to near impossible standards of beauty and attractiveness when it comes to their bodies shape and size. This trailer got me thinking about the concept of body shaming, or fat shaming within our culture.
From Urban Dictionary
“Fat shaming is the act of poking fun of someone for being overweight, or telling someone they are worthless, useless, lazy, or disgusting because they are overweight. Like most terms, this has been adopted and twisted by Radical Neofeminists to mean something very different. Under the RNF definition, it means ” to make an overweight female feel in any way uncomfortable, usually by telling her anything is wrong with her weight.”
This unfortunately includes Doctors telling them to lose weight for their health and suggesting diets or friends saying that their clothes are too tight, even men very politely refusing dates because they just don’t find them attractive.”
I love the message this movie is out to spread and deliver. But I also want to say that there is such a thing as unhealthy fat and am concerned that healthy bodies message may be lost in translation. I want nothing more than my daughters and my wife to love their bodies and never be shamed or feel hate for them. HOWEVER I also want them to be healthy and understand that being over weight and losing weight when needed is not about body shaming but about looking after your self and disease and sickness prevention. Ignore all the images and glamour BS the media obsessively throws at you, but we also must take care of ourselves.
My wife knows that I love her and I do not care what shape her body is or how many curves she has, or how much fat but I do care if she becomes or is unhealthy because of weight and body fat related issues. I love my girls and especially my wife, their physical health is just as important as their mental and spiritual well-being. Everything is connected in one way or another. Our physical health effects our spirituality, and mental well-being not just physical condition.
In an effort to avoid body or fat shaming we tend to shy away from these issues and avoid talking about them, or encouraging active weight loss activities for fear of being perceived as fat shaming our sisters who need our support and love. I know for myself, I have a very difficult time knowing how to effectively approach this issue with my wife who is over weight. I want her to know that I love her and want what is best for her health and well-being. I fear that helping her to work towards a more ideal weight may cause her to feel unloved, unattractive or that I am comparing her to other, skinnier girls and women. I fear that she may feel that my love is dependent on an ideal body image or weight. All of which is not true at all but understandable conclusions and feelings, even if rationally she knows that is not true.
Obesity has become one of the largest major health epidemic in north America. The stats reflected by stats Canada in the above screen shot indicate that up wards of 60% of the population is overweight or obese. This is a serious health concern and needs to be taken seriously. By comparison, cancer, which is the single biggest killer, as reported by the Canadian cancer society (https://www.cancer.ca/~/media/cancer.ca/CW/cancer%20information/cancer%20101/Canadian%20cancer%20statistics/Canadian-Cancer-Statistics-2015-EN.pdf) shows infection rates at 40% while diabetes rates are 10-20% prevalence. Obesity is as much as a problem as diabetes and cancer combined.
In Canada we have a socialized public health care system. This system is supposed to ensure that everyone gets the health care they need when they need it. Every dollar spent on preventable illness is another tax dollar taken from hard-working Canadians. A Globe and Mail article shows that Obesity and weight related health problems are costing the Canadian economy over 7 billion a year. This is a massive burden and cost to Canadian tax payers. This is a very preventable cost for so many. I certainly do acknowledge that there are those with very real and valid uncontrollable health related problems; Many with genetic pre-dispositions to over weight and obesity. For those where health problems and genetics is not a factor this message is for you today.
Obesity leads to numerous health related problems including, but not limited to
Coronary heart disease
High blood pressure
Type 2 diabetes
Abnormal blood fats
Obesity hypoventilation syndrome
Getting back to the fat shaming issue. One must ask when is it ok to talk to someone about their weight problems? When someone has a drug problem, often their loved ones will stage an intervention. When someone is an alcoholic we will send them to AA meetings. When someones behavior becomes problematic we take measures to correct it through counselling and medical intervention if needed. When it comes to the obesity epidemic all to often we are silent. When we do speak up and say something we risk vilification, ridicule and hatred for speaking to the health risks and telling women that they should lose weight for their own good. This Problem does not just affect women, but men as well are just as prone and in some cases more likely to be prone to this problem. Despite this, it is only women we cannot speak to about their weight problems.
For those that smoke how many times has someone come up to you to tell you that you should not smoke because it is not healthy for you? How many times has someone told you that you should not be eating those chips, donuts, etc… I know from personal experience that when I have walked into work with pop, chips, and junk food, I get that look from people which says “OMG I can’t believe you are eating all the unhealthy junk food”
Our governments have taken the time, resources and money to educate the public about not smoking, drinking responsibly, to avoid and do not use illegal drugs etc… They claim to care so much for our health and well-being yet by comparison there is very little in the way of campaign for healthier bodies and working towards obesity elimination which is the cause of more health related problems than illegal drug use, smoking and drinking combined.
Given all of this, why is it “fat shaming” given all the problems and issues obesity contributes to as well as the plague that it has become upon our society. This is clearly a serious public health crisis and a issue that needs to be addressed. We are a fat, sick and nearly dead society that is so terrified of offending someone regarding their life choices that we fear to tell them “you are too fat, you need to lose weight, stop eating that junk and fattening food. Get more exercises and take care of yourself.” It does not matter what your genetics are, what your health conditions are, there is no genetics or health disease that makes it impossible to be anything but obese. It may be much more difficult for some, they may have to work harder at it, but it is not impossible.
It is time to become more active, eat better and focus on our health. By doing this we will not just improve our physical well-being but our mental and spiritual well-being as well. Don’t drive, leave the car at home. Bike to work as much as you can. Grow a garden. Cut out high sugar, fatty process foods. Become more active. Take a daily walk. Get exercise and stop spending so much time in front of the computer or the T.V. Take the bus and walk that last few blocks to work, home and play. It is time to Cut the.
Artificial sweeteners and colors
and eat more
Fruits and Vegetables
Organic lean proteins
Omega 3 fatty acids
Drink more water
It is time we start to recognize it for what it is, which is a plague on our health, a plague on our economy, a plague on our productivity and a plauge on our spirituality. I will leave this picture from a well-known Pixar movie and just let that sink in for what our future holds if we refuse to acknowledge this serious and dangerous health epidemic that plagues our culture and way of life.
The choice is yours. Unhealthy obesity and diets should be something worth shaming, just as drugs, alcoholism, smoking and other forms of unhealthy behaviors and ways of life are. Cut the C.R.A.P and eat more F.O.O.D
Taking care of ourselves is essential to our physical, mental and spiritual well-being. If you are to achieve all that your God, or Gods want from you then why would you ignore something so important as your own health. This is not what God intended for you. I believe that we are all spiritual beings with divine potential and our existence does not end at death. I also believe that how we treat our bodies in this life affects not just our physical reality but our spiritual health as well. If we are to obtain the highest levels of spiritual health, it starts with taking care of our physical health. Take care of yourselves. Live well, eat well, only then can you be well physically, mentally and spiritually. These are steps and things I am trying to do for myself and my family. Will you commit to making these changes in your life?
And if you are not a believer is any God or Gods it makes no difference, your physical and mental health are just as important. Period.
And that is the Gospel according to Andrew