Yard Sale Mandoline

“Overweight” and healthy


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.

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This entry was published on October 18, 2014 at 7:03 pm. It’s filed under Collection and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

5 thoughts on ““Overweight” and healthy

  1. Mektah on said:

    I think that’s great, but what about as you get older. You’re relatively young. I’m guessing mid to late 20’s. As you get older your body’s metabolism will change. The danger between obesity and health grows the older you get.

    Your heart works harder, and now it’s easy to compensate, you can exercise, be active. As you grow older it’ll be hard to be as active. Just because that’s what happens when you get older.

    If you search around you’ll find many adults in their 20’s that are overweight and healthy. If you search for their 30’s you’ll find less. If you search for their 40’s even less.

    I understand the pressures from the media to be ‘thin’, but don’t confuse thin with being healthy and vice versa don’t confuse being overweight and healthy now to mean that being overweight and healthy can be sustainable. Medically healthy isn’t about right now, it’s about sustainability.

    Either way good luck on your journey.

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    • You make some great points, Mektah, and I thank you for what I can only assume is some version of concern for the scope of my choices and the message contained herein. Thanks, also, for the well wishes. Just as your comment shows a relatively small bit of the whole of who you are, this post was written to address one aspect of my views on culture and health. It’s far from the whole picture. Sustainable health, as you put it, is a huge part of my journey, and i am always glad to meet others who are passionate enough to comment on a little ol’ blog post.

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  2. Dang. What a great thought well written. I hadn’t thought much about the history of the fat craze or it’s biased in truthfulness. Thank you for being vulnerable and sharing your story while giving a much needed insight into today’s culture. You certainly gave me a lot to think about. I’m a little proud knowing I have this information you have armed me with to turn this wrong into a right wherever I go.

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  3. Kimberly Steele on said:

    Well put! I appreciate a perspective that negates the constant promotion of “thigh gaps”, as you put it.

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  4. So well-said. Great post!

    Like

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