My contention today is that the two words in the title of this post represent concepts that aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive. It’s a controversial thought. Today’s rampant and destructive fat-shaming trend originates, I’m sure, in something anthropological, but it has been propogated by American medical professionals (well-paid by producers of chemically-produced, low-fat nonsense) for decades and the media has extended it throughout culture – and now health is equated with thinness.
As a woman who buys half her clothing in the plus-sized section; as a woman who spent years obsessed with the inadequacy and the “otherness” of her appearance – an obsession reinforced by some of the most influential people in her life; as a woman who has overcome illnesses caused by food, and overcome them USING food, I’m here to tell you that weight and health are not always directly proportional.
Here’s the deal: I spent years dieting, and even now my weight fluctuates, because I am still in the process of healing a metabolism overwrought by those years of starving myself of nutrients, of aquiescence to societal pressure and to a binge eating disorder that no one noticed because it didn’t make me skinny.
In recent years I changed my dietary ways, after a series of neurological and digestive disorders which, on bad days, left me unable to leave my house or my bed. I’ll detail that process another time, but along with it, I embarked on a journey of emotional recovery that continues to this day. Healing from the wounds inflicted by well-meaning folks close to me, and by my never fitting into a society that loves thigh gaps and iceberg lettuce, is quite the awful and beautiful adventure. It’s been years coming, and it’ll likely be years more, but it is so worth the uphill slog through metaphorical mud. I will unapologetically admit it helps a great deal to have a partner who is totally into my looks. In another way, though, the presence of a cheerleader and encourager is a minor crutch because when I’m faced with self-doubt, I have the option of looking for solace externally instead of the more difficult learning-to-love-myself thing. Works in progress are just that, though, and I’m letting it happen slowly.
Here’s some more of the deal: I healed my gluten and dairy intolerances this year, and have done some major celebrating, food-wise. You can guess what happens when a food lover learns she now can go out for things like, say, Italian food, without immediate consequence, after three years of lasagna abstinence. Also Twix bars. Those happened a few times. So, guess what? I have celebratory-Twix-handles now. And guess what else is going on inside?
– Excellent blood sugar
– Perfect blood pressure
– The cholesterol levels of a champ
– A great heart rate
– Neurological normalcy
– Happy vitamin D, potassium, and all those other boring but important blood-panel results
– The ability to go for a run without having to be picked up a mile away (hey, it’s an accomplishment for us non-runners)
– A healthy reproductive system
– Less frequent colds than at any other time in my life
Clinically proven, yo. So what if my place on the BMI chart says I must need to be turned twice a day to prevent bed sores? The above stats are those of a healthy lady. I know this is only my story, but it’s real.
I’m “overweight.” I’m healthy. I have worked my tail off to get here.
I’m happy, and I hope you can be, too.