This is not to analyze a person’s personal worth or beauty. There are many overweight people who are good and who are beautiful. Alas, personality and charisma are not measures of Physical Health. Health is not subjective, but a very clearly defined subject.
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What is the definition of health? It is “The state of being free from illness or injury”. Knowing whether a person suffers from illness is between them and their doctor.
There is no gray area, a person is either healthy or they are not.
- If you are overweight but consider yourself “healthy”, ask yourself; Do you have knee or back pain? Do you suffer from sleep apnea? Do you have elevated blood pressure? Do you have type 2 diabetes? Does walking up a flight of stairs leave you winded?
Many people suffering from Obesity claim there is nothing wrong with them, yet they are sick… Obesity and Morbid Obesity are considered disease by the Medical Community. Obesity can also lead to other illnesses from chronic to acute, some very severe and deadly, such as Diabetes, High Blood Pressure, Coronary Artery Disease, Coronary Vascular Disease, Heart attack, stroke, and even cancer.
While there are many causes of obesity, it is the only disease that can be controlled or even cured by a modicum of self-control and dedication.
Illness is not limited to obesity, but is also found at the other end of the spectrum: malnourishment caused by eating disorders. These people are sick too, just in the opposite extreme.
It is healthy behavior to love yourself… it is fine to accept your body type… but a person should not lie to themselves and say that they are healthy when they are not.
BODY POSITIVE MOVEMENT
The Body Positive Movement is a social group that encourages society to hold positive attitudes towards their bodies no matter their features, body type, or fitness level, with the goal of improving overall mental health and leading to a better well-being. Some of the group’s main focuses is on anti-bullying and positive portrayal of all body types by the media and beauty industry.
The majority of those associated with body positive recognize that physical health is just as important as mental health, as they go hand-in-hand. A healthy body helps the mind and vice versa. Many advocates work towards spreading their message of acceptance and anti-discrimination while trying to help others attain a better body and mind.
There is a small minority within the movement that are on the fringe that advocate “Healthy at any size”. Unfortunately, whether from misinformation or emotional reasons they deny that they are unhealthy despite the medical community’s consensus.
THE MESSAGE SENT TO CHILDREN
Children see the adults in society and imitate the behaviors they see; whether good or bad. Body positivity is a wonderful idea to learn, teaching them to accept people for who they are and to respect their choices.
Children are bullied because of their height, weight, hair color, clothes, etc… and it isn’t acceptable behavior; however, the generations to come need to be able to know the difference between being harassed by bullies and what constructive criticism from medical professionals sound like.
There are some extremists who use the body positive movement as a “Fat Acceptance” movement. Anyone who criticizes them is chastised as a bully, even if it is a medical doctor telling their patient that being 400 pounds is what is killing them. It sounds like an extreme example, but reading internet forums turns up similar cases everywhere.
Whether overweight, skinny, athletic, or somewhere in-between… it is easy to find someone who will seek to shame it. Body Shaming is another form of bullying and like all bullies, the behavior is usually brought out by their own insecurities.
There is a fine line between acceptance of a lifestyle and promotion of a lifestyle. Whatever side of the argument you are on, most people agree [with the exception of the extremists] that Body Shaming is unacceptable behavior.
PLUS SIZE MODELS AND KINKS
There is a thriving industry on social media sites with thousands of people who call themselves “Professional Plus-Size Models”. There are many that are admirable and make their living posing in fashionable clothing build for the non-traditional “skinny” runway model. Looking over their personal sites, there are pictures of many of them in the gym and several speaking out how they are trying to live a healthier lifestyle.
For every professional, there are a thousand amateurs that don a skimpy bikini or lingerie to attract followers. They are not there to promote clothing, rather use the old “sex sells” philosophy. Many of these “models” seek to attract viewers who pay them for kinky photographs and videos. These models use their audience’s Fat Fetish to their advantage, but at the same time many get trapped in the cycle of being unhealthy for monetary gain.
Models of all shapes and sizes are meant to be examples of living art. Whatever their shape and size, their bodies are meant to be considered the pinnacle of beauty. As established earlier, beauty does not necessarily equal health.
There are some sports that have been displaying their athletes who carry some extra weight. Professional Powerlifters, Strongman, Weightlifters, Throwers, Football Players, and Martial Artists have been displayed as part of the body positive movement. There is a distinction between one’s Fitness and their Health. Physical Fitness is a person’s aptitude towards their sport or more accurately “the quality of being suitable to fulfill a particular role or task”. Some athletes just have to be bigger for their sport.
But being Physically Fit does not mean you are in good health. Many athletes sacrifice their health to compete in their chosen arena. This is why it is important to distinguish what health really is.
Many of these athletes work alongside the body positive movement to promote people to love themselves, and to work towards improving their lives through athletics.
Education and Empathy are both important to help people be physically and mentally healthy. We should embrace and promote a healthy acceptance while avoiding the pitfalls of insecurities. While this is an emotional subject and people are easily hurt, we can all accept that being healthy is better than the alternative.
Remember to Love yourself, and always seek to improve your life.