Defining Healthy (the end of good and bad)

I thought of an illustration of my last post a little bit late, but I think its apt to show why defining ourselves as good or bad by the dictates of a fat hating society is a futile effort. Let me offer you two descriptions of a fat individual.

Person A is a classic "bad" fatty. They eat tons of cheese, never enough veggies, and always load up on dessert. They drink at least 24 oz of soda daily and often snack on candy or salted treats. They never go to the gym and haven't done organized exercise since high school. They've gained more than 100lbs in the last 10 years.

Person B is a classic "good" fatty. A vegetarian, they also enjoy healthy seafood like steamed white fish and salmon. They drink plenty of water all day. They don't own a car and walk to the subway. During the spring and summer, they try to go hiking as much as possible, often on challenging rock hiking trails. Though fat, their weight has remained mostly steady since college.

Forget about whether one is more deserving of fat rights over the other. Both are completely fair descriptions of myself. For all we are told about how "their" definitions of health are absolutes, they are still extremely subjective. I can be a "healthy" person and an "unhealthy" person all at once. In our culture, though, fat people are coached to magnify and concentrate at how we are unhealthy. For us, that's the only stuff that matters. Because this is such a powerful message, we've come to do it to ourselves.

We need to push past this. Look, there is no guilt that should be had for falling into these mindsets, but that doesn't mean we should justify or affirm them. It is a powerful message, and we'll fall into traps. We can't be perfect. We can only try. Its the trying that is important. It is what will allow us to look past our set-backs rather then letting them define the limits of our possibilities.

When we feel like we are being a bad fatty, we should remind ourselves to question the standards we are holding ourselves to. These are standards set out by a culture that despises us. We must not let them define us. This is not something that Fat Acceptance is causing. Its part of the culture of fat hatred. Accept that we will all have moments where fall prey to these dictates. Don't beat yourself up over that. But define yourself not by the moment of doubts, but the goal we are reaching towards. You can accept that you will have moments of self-negativity without accepting those moments of self-negativity.

We need to come with a new definition of healthy. One that lets everyone be as healthy as they can be in the bodies they have, instead of defining them by their failure to have a body they do not have. "Good" fatties are not offered as aspirations, but as refutations of a culture that says that this cannot be. We show this to be false not to move the fence of what is acceptably fat, but to tear down these suffocating barriers entirely.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.