Part of my “philosophy” is, that under normal and not-crazy eating habits, the body knows what to do: how to crave food, how to eat food, and how to metabolize food. And for many people, the body also knows “how to not be fat”, without the use of any extra manipulation.
Then there is Health at Every Size, which I also subscribe to, where it’s said that because of various factors, your body is your body and your body size if your body size. And dieting won’t do anything but stress it out and make you insane and unhappy. So no matter what your weight set point is, you have access to all the health and happiness you could ever want and need, regardless of size.
I agree with both of these philosophies and they have the potential to go hand in hand. Especially if, when I say: the body knowing “how to not be fat” it means “how to be a reasonable, healthy body size”, and not skewed with a disordered ulterior motive for extreme tininess, if that tininess is not your body’s reality. So Health at Every Size literally means Health at Every Size, whatever that inherently means for your body: Skinny, Thin, Curvy, Big, Fat, or WhatHaveYou.
And if this was as easily done as it is for me to type, then there would be no issue. “Great! I can be happy and healthy no matter what size I am? Fabulous! Awesome!!!”
But it IS true. It is.
But socially it is not so simple…
Why do we feel, as a culture, that being fat is the worst thing ever.
Because, generally, we do. Worse than being cruel or sick or poor or depressed- underneath it all, we culturally villainize and try to avoid fatness most of all. More than just an aesthetic issue, it is seen as a moral failing, and something to apologize for. It is now a scapegoat for all our other problems. And we do it to ourselves, and we do it to other people, and the cycle continues.
So much so, that it is practically common knowledge that being fat is bad. Even though it is a false simplification, it is common knowledge, like the sky being blue. Why?
(By the way, the sky being blue is an illusion, so…. yea)
Sure, there are some big and “simple” reasons:
The Diet Industry, the studies they have paid for and cling to that support the idea that body fat is the death of us all, and the way they use media and advertising to twist into your fragile mind by showing you how much better your life could be if you were thin like you want to be. And tied to that is Big Pharma making diet pills for the diet industry, and all the other drugs to combat obesity and all obesity’s horrors. And then connected closely to that is the Medical Community Dogma that is funded by big pharma and the diet industry, and if doctors say being fat is bad, then being fat must be bad. So let’s look to the diet industry for the answers, and let’s take some pills.
How Hollywood and the Fashion Industry factor into this is a whole other issue. Because the fact that you can “know” that body fat is not our biggest health or moral flaw, doesn’t change the fact that there is still a deep seated, mean little part of us that sees thin as beautiful and glamorous and good- and fat as bad.
As if being fat is the worst thing.
But as long as we buy into it, and believe it, we are perpetuating it.
Look, I don’t think that being overweight is the natural state for everybody. I think that with normal eating, people will eventually settle at a good and healthy size for them. I’m not telling everyone to gain weight to stick it to the man. Or that if you don’t have any extra fat you must be disordered or living in fear. I am also not saying that skinny is bad and fat is good- or fat is bad and somewhere in between is good. The thing is that there should be no good or bad.
What is my point? My point is, that the cultural idea that being fat is the worst thing that could happen to us is flawed, body-fearing, and having us focus on the wrong things. It is pushing us towards diets that either focus on calorie restriction and fake foods, or diets that are absurdly obsessed with real foods and purity, and lead us into restrictive mindsets that ruin our ability to listen to our bodies and honor our bodies. It keeps our worth set on how we look instead of how we act and how we feel, which screws us up metabolically, it screws us up psychologically, and misses the point.
So? Live like being fat is not the worst thing.
Because it absolutely is not.