Different choices, different places
I read a blog by someone I really like and every time she writes about body image or fat acceptance or weight issues in general I feel defensive. I don’t know what it is, if I am totally misinterpreting things or being weirdly sensitive or zeroing in on the wrong things or what. I know I have a tendency towards taking things personally when they have absolutely nothing to do with me, so I am trying to take a mental step back and figure out why I’m reacting in the way I am . . . rather than just stopping at “I’m irritated by this”.
What I am slowly learning about the entire complicated issue of fitness and body size and health is that, well, it’s complicated. We all have different feelings and opinions and levels of interest in these subjects. We all have different situations and genetic makeups and metabolisms.
What seems most relevant to the entire issue, however, is that we all have different beliefs. Anyone can back up their opinions with facts, because there is a study that supports almost anything you want to believe healthwise. This became more apparent than ever to me during the nutrition class I just finished—as an example, I did my final paper on saturated fats and how they don’t really cause heart disease like people think. There is a TON of evidence that supports this. I could rail at you all day long about how foolish you’re being for avoiding fatty meats and how it’s actually good for you and how new research is coming out that indicates carbohydrates are actually the culprit for heart disease and how your dietary choices are WRONG, because this is a FACT.
Of course, I could also find a shitload of research that says saturated fats raise bad cholesterol levels and will kill you stone cold dead. So put down the steak, dickweed, you’re digging your own grave.
My point is that we all believe what we believe. Some of us believe our bodies were designed to be a certain size and that any effort to change that is going to consume our every waking thought and diets will always fail and that fighting a losing battle against body changes is a pursuit devoid of value.
Some of us believe that exercising discipline over our eating and workout habits—and yes, investing continual effort in this department—makes us happier, healthier people.
I fall into the second camp and that’s why I often feel defensive when I feel like my choices are being discounted. I choose for it to be a lifelong goal to maintain my weight, and it does take work and focus for me to do so. I manage to work on this stuff and also have a job and enjoy my kids and go to school and play outside and read books and watch bad TV, so I guess there seem to be enough hours in the day for me to live my life in this manner.
I don’t see this as shallow or meaningless or sending the wrong message to society or anything like that. I think it’s my choice and that if someone else chooses something different, cool. Whatever our size, our lifestyle shouldn’t be judged. There’s what’s right for me and there’s what’s right for you, and those things may be miles apart, and that should be okay.
This is my feeling, but I recognize I may be arguing against something that was never there in the first place. Since this topic is so important to me, I need to be able to listen without feeling knee-jerky and shutting down. So I plan to give it some time, and re-read with fresh eyes. And if I still disagree, I’ll chalk it up to mileage between opinions and call that good.