Weight and Health – The Dehumanization and Degradation of Those Who are “Overweight”

I don’t know about you, but I want to be healthy, and I want my friends and family to be healthy!  It’s super important to me.  More and more I find myself reading labels on food packaging, trying to find the products with the fewest, simplest ingredients.  I find myself trying to cut back on fatty foods while eating more nutrient-dense foods (Yeah Kale!).  I find myself thinking a lot more about the amount of exercise I am getting.  I also find myself encouraging those I love to keep an eye out for their health as well.

As I have conversations with friends about healthy living, though, so often I find that the conversation comes back to one thing: lbs lost or gained.  When the conversation turns to weight, I definitely start to feel uncomfortable.  After all, I have always been taught and felt that health has a lot more to do with how you feel and how you live than how much you weigh, yet our society seems to focus almost exclusively on dropping those pesky pounds.  I had never paid much attention to the array of weight-loss television shows (The Biggest Loser, Dance Your Ass Off, Weighing In, Celebrity Fit Club, etc) until I received an email from a family member, asking if I would like to join a local version of “The Biggest Loser” where we would weigh in at the beginning, commit to working out and eating regularly, and then win prizes for those that lost the most weight.  I thought this weird, so I started to look around, and I started to notice it everywhere!  My apartment complex is even hosting its own version of “The Biggest Loser!”

Now, this is troubling to me on the base level that weight loss can, in most cases, be a really crappy way of measuring healthy living, especially as different people gain or lose weight differently in ways that can be both healthy and unhealthy based on their lifestyle choices, their body type, and their family histories.  In fact, someone can be making an amazing transition to a healthy lifestyle (eating really well and exercising regularly), but their weight may not change – as they build muscle which weighs significantly more than fat or because they have a genetic constitution that does not lend to weight loss.

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