I was reading an article recently in which the writer was talking about how dieting was such a negative way to live, she never dieted, she ate what she wanted and that people who were pro-body-image should be just like her and never deny themselves whatever food they wanted, and just be happy and healthy. She was, of course, naturally thin.
I don’t expect such people to ever be reading my little blog here, but I think it’s important to point out for the record that anybody who is naturally thin without working too hard at it is the exception, not the rule, in this sedentary culture. If you lucked out and won the metabolic lottery, it is a little bit disingenuous and insulting to give weight management “advice” to people who have spent their entire lives struggling with weight.
Let me be clear – I have spent my entire life struggling with weight issues. The decades I spent just eating whatever I wanted, I ended up so overweight I couldn’t even function normally. If I don’t work at it every single day, my weight will spiral out of control immediately. I’m not working at it every single day so that I can be thin and pretty and wear the latest fashions, I work at it every single day just so that I can maintain my health. My alternative isn’t being a little bit chubby if I don’t fight tooth and nail against obesity, my alternative is morbid obesity. I hang on to my health, some days it seems by my fingernails, working every day to maintain the weight I’ve lost, only to be lectured regularly by people who are naturally thin who tell me that I should not diet because it’s an “unhealthy, negative outlook.” Let me tell you what is an unhealthy outlook: Telling people how to manage their own health.
Here’s something that people who are new to exercising or weight maintenance, people who have never had to work at it might not realize: It’s not fun, mostly it’s hard work, and there’s usually other stuff I’d rather be doing, but I do it because it needs to be done. That’s how I honor myself and my body. I wish I didn’t have to do it. I wish I could just eat what I wanted when I wanted, I wish I could adopt a laissez-faire attitude about food and exercise. I can’t. Just like coming to work every morning, or doing the dishes, I do it because it needs to be done. I don’t get a choice. If it were fun and exciting and interesting it wouldn’t be called a workout, it’d be called a funout. It’s not awful, it’s generally not painful, it’s just that all things being equal, I’d rather be doing something else. But I certainly don’t need somebody who has never had to actively manage their weight telling me how to do it.