Before you condemn me for this blog post, please know that I am in the same boat. I am one of those women who used to be *skinny.* I used to be *in shape*… but after childbirth and several years of putting others first … er, okay, truthfully, after several years of putting my food and drink first … I am now one of those who practices self-shame.
Like so many women, I am guilty of negative self-talk and body shaming.
There… I said it and it’s true. (Just read my rather lengthy post about Why I’m Glad I m Not Raising a Girl Today.)
So this is why I loved this video of a burlesque dancer stripping to Katy Perry’s Roar:
Jezebel.com said this will inspire the hell out of us and encourage us to celebrate this “body positive” video!
And at first I did celebrate, but then I said, “Um, wait…”
You see, I am also one who watched an obese parent suffer for many years and then die from weight-related issues. My father was morbidly overweight for most of my life. In fact, I have trouble remembering a time when he was not overweight. Add in Parkinson’s and emphysema and you can get the picture that my father was in terrible health for years before he finally passed. I watched the way his lifestyle affected his whole outlook. As family members, we spent decades begging my father to lose weight, watch his diet, exercise… but then it was beyond his control. Type II Diabetes took away the feeling in his toes, fingers, and then the final nasty things like loss of control over bowel movements, and it was easy to see why my father was terribly depressed that last few years of his life.
So why am I sharing this personal aspect of my life? To explain why I have had a change in attitude toward body shaming…
I am NO LONGER body shaming…at least not because of my looks. But I have decided I am now “behavior shaming” in order to save my future health.
I am now mad at myself when I don’t get up and go for a walk, or when I devour a package of chips. I have reached an age when I must start doing some regular exercise and should reach for the bowl of freshly washed baby bell peppers instead.
Jezebel.com claims the above video is “body positive” and celebrates the burlesque dancer. And while I do celebrate her – she is far sexier than I am (nothing jiggles on her!) and she does represent the average woman, maybe even looking a little better in lingerie than most of the rest of us do, I still have major concerns. “Body positive” does not always equate to “health positive.”
Just because she *looks* like the average woman, does that excuse us as average women from watching our health? Can’t Type II Diabetes still find us whether we practice negative body-talk or not? Won’t high blood sugar seize us whether we celebrate the layer of the cellulite on our bodies or not?
Being proud of my average-sized, skinny-challenged body will not do anything to extend the quality of my life when I reach old age.
While we may secretly hate the perfect abs on “No Excuses Mom of Three” maybe we are hating her for the wrong reasons. Research shows she probably won’t suffer from the long-term, debilitating health issues of obesity. Even those slightly overweight are at risk for issues like Type II Diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
And what is slightly overweight? I started working out again (after two decades off) and my body fat measured in at 29%. I am a “skinny fat” as they say. Guess what – that 29% has me only 1 percentage away from being in the “obese” category medically.
And those recent studies that show slightly overweight people may live longer? Well, that’s only if they don’t have high blood pressure, high blood sugar or trouble with cholesterol, all of which are extremely difficult to avoid if overweight. So, basically, even if you live a bit longer overweight, the quality of your life may really suck!
Take Tom Hanks for example. He’s never been accused of being obese but yet he has recently been diagnosed with Type II Diabetes. Many experts blame his yo-yo weight for different acting roles. Yeah… I can relate to yo-yoing weight!
So, while I celebrate women being beautiful in all shapes and sizes, I do not celebrate a life hurling towards the dangers of weight-related issues. So, to all my sisters out there who are struggling with their weight… don’t worry about the looks on the outside! But do worry about the health on the inside!
I know it’s tough. And lord knows I am old enough to know enough not to hate myself because of my looks… or to dislike my skinnier, sexier sisters… But, having seen where the road of obesity ends, I am fighting to take the lighter, healthier road.
Will you join me?