You’re fat? Does that mean you’re ugly? Says who?

Have you ever been called fat and felt like it ruined your life? Like the very word fat just slapped you in the face like a punch you couldn’t duck away from and left a target on your back the size of Texas and decreased your sense of self-worth by 50%. If you don’t care for the word fat you could substitute it with fluffy, more-to-love, plump, or rubenesque perhaps. Whichever word you pick, the meaning is similar: a person who is considered to be overweight based on a pre-determined bmi who may or may not have muffin tops or visible rolls of adipose tissue. It says nothing about personality or character or what the person “is made of.” It says nothing about beauty. It is simply a body morph description. I am one of those fat people. I am a solid size 16-18, whatever the hell that means depending on the store I am shopping in at the moment. I say that not as an insult to myself. It is just a descriptive adjective. It defines my body weight, not me. It is something that I have struggle with at least since the birth of my children thanks to genes, hormone changes, the lack of time to devote to myself, and let’s not forget emotional eating. It is what it is and I do not plan to ever give up on trying to change it, but again, it does not define me. Overall, I think that I have the ability to be fabulous just like everyone else dang it! All I need is one good trip to a goodwill or salvation army thrift store in a nice area and bam! I get to walk out of there with some fabulous Ralph Lauren or Ann Taylor because we fat people tend to give away better stuff! There’s a point for the fluffy right there.

People always talk about how terrible it is to be fat. We look at a person who is overweight either with disgust or a sympathetic head tilt. We sometimes uncomfortably shrink within ourselves and think “How could they let themselves get like that? or “That would never happen to me.” I know. I used to do the same thing…..but then life happened, children happened, my free time disappeared, my time to carefully shop, never eat out, and specifically cook only healthy things good for my body type went….well I don’t know where it went. You get where I am going with this. Don’t judge. You never know where life may lead you.

True, there are a lot of disadvantages to being overweight. There are a lot of increased health risks. There are tough stereotypes. There are exclusions from social groups, amusement park rides, and life insurance. It seems like it touches every part of your life. It kind of smacks you in the face like some sort of accusation or punishment, as if every case is preventable. If only that were the truth. Last time I checked, there were still necessary medications out there that have weight gain side effects, your genetics still play a role, some people still have the metabolism of a sloth, and it is still far cheaper to eat crappy processed and fast food than it is to buy a grocery cart full of fruits and vegetables. These things have not changed and we need to be mindful of that. Hey now, I am not saying that we should all give up and that we are doomed to be overweight, but there are certain situations that definitely add to the challenge of trying to stay healthy. I help patients every day with weight loss that cannot seem to do it themselves and I am happy to do it. I am able to look from the outside and give them some new directions that maybe they did not think before. A lot of the time, I am able to help them lose weight and be successful….and maybe even help them to think of themselves as beautiful, even if they don’t lose a pound.

So, with the understanding that it is undeniable that having a healthy bmi is good for you, I am going to play devil’s advocate for a minute, at least in terms of body type and beauty ideal. For those of you thinking that increased body fat equals ugliness, I say take heart. It is just not true. Not every culture out there covets the “skinny.” United Kingdom online pharmacy Superdrug Online Doctors recently created a project called Perceptions of Perfection that featured 18 photoshopped images of the same woman. This company then hired designers from countries all over the world to photoshop this stock image to reflect the current beauty ideal in their specific countries. The makeup of the designers was 14 women and 4 men. The results went something like this: China and Italy dramatically photoshopped the image to have very thin legs and arms. Columbia, Mexico, and Peru favored tiny waists, large breasts and curvy hips. Romania and Spain and Venezuela actually preferred a much more voluptuous curvy woman( YAY!) Then there was the good old United States who preferred almost a Barbie-type physique. When I worked in Jamaica years ago, ironically when I was much thinner, the men did not even give women a side glance unless they were a solid size 14-16 or bigger with large backsides and breasts. The idea that women should have curves and some meat on them goes back even as far as the image of the earth mother goddess Gaia. Gaia was always depicted as having large breasts, thighs, and a large abdomen, all indications of her fertility and beauty. Those were the good old days. I would have fit right in…lol Have a fantastic day everyone!

Dr. Katz

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