Tag Archives: fat

Fat Shaming: Not My Problem, Not Yours Either

fat shaming meal

This week my fellow Canadian Nicole Arbour, started a YouTube fight with all the fat people in the world. I guess that includes me! She made women, and probably some men, really angry. She was labelled a Fat Shamer.

If you don’t know what “Fat Shaming” is, here’s a definition from PsychologyToday.com, where they define it as, “An act of bullying, singling out, discriminating, or making fun of a fat person. The shaming may be performed under the guise of helping the person who is overweight/obese realize they need to lose weight or they will die, become ill, and/or never succeed in life or relationships. Fat shaming is an individual bias against people who are considered unattractive, stupid, lazy, or lacking self-control.”

Well, if that’s the definition, then I’ve certainly been fat shamed my entire life, except for the few short years I maintained a healthy weight and of course during that time many people thought I had an eating disorder, was on drugs, or perpetually dieting. None of their assumptions and concerns had any truth to it.

body care

Dear fellow overweight and obese persons, this world is full of a lot of mean and cruel people. If mean people aren’t shaming you for one thing, they’ll shame you for another. Are you short, skinny, red haired, blonde, White, Black, Asian? Are you a human being? Then guess what, someone at some point in your life will shame you for something.

Is shaming ever alright? No.

Shame: “A painful emotion caused by consciousness of guilt, shortcoming, or impropriety; b) the susceptibility to such emotion”(Webster’s Dictionary).

shame Brene Brown

I don’t give into so-called fat shaming because 1) I know I’m fat. No one is telling me something I don’t already know; 2) I and only I am to blame for having become obese many different times in my life; 3) I’m the only one who keeps me overweight; 4) If I have a problem with being fat, then I am responsible for doing something about it in a healthy way.

It’s important to learn how to process and manage our emotions. Whether or not you give into fat shaming depends on you and how you handle uncomfortable emotions. You could lose 10 or 100 pounds, but that won’t change how you deal with guilt, blame, bullying, discrimination, or any other negative behaviour society’s meanies throw at you.

Regardless of what you weigh and the percentage of body fat you carry on your body, it’s important to know your identity in Christ.

Colossians 3: 1-2 “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.

Maintaining a healthy body fat percentage is important, but it doesn’t define who you are as a person. God doesn’t want our body shape and weight to determine our value on this earth.

It’s also important to realize that not everyone who is concerned about your weight is fat shaming you. If someone’s weight becomes an issue of life or death, any caring or concerned person will speak up and encourage you to seek help. I would never let a loved one become so obese they could no longer stand, go to the bathroom, or became bed ridden. There are also those who have let their unhealthy habits worsen their diabetes, cause high blood pressure, or ruined their immune system. No one is trying to guilt you into health, those around you are simply stating the facts out of concern and love.

Proverbs 20:15 “There is gold and abundance of costly stones, but the lips of knowledge are a precious jewel.”

Instead of taking truth filled health advice as bitter poison; look at it instead as something precious.

QUESTION: How do you handle your emotions when people confront you about your habits? Do you “shoot the messenger” or do you give thought and prayer to their words?

ACTION: Ask God to reveal any sensitive areas in your life where you are resistant to help. Ask God to help you confront habits that need to be changed. Ask God to help you address those who give you wanted or unsolicited advice or information.

 

Fat Holiday Photos: Have Fun!

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Smile! Cheese! One more photo x4, because everyone has to have that group picture on their own phone. We are a society that loves to take pictures and these days less than a minute later those pictures are posted somewhere on social media. The winter holiday season has already started and we will intentionally and accidentally be part of many pictures. For those who are in the process of losing weight or have dislike their body, these pictures can feel like torture.

This evening I took some pictures of a group of acquaintances as we filled a bunch of Samaritan’s Shoeboxes. I decided that I should probably be in one of the pictures, and that is when all the self imposed mind games began. I asked someone to take a picture of me and my friend posing with our shoe box, and after looking at the pictures I was horrified. How many chins do I have? Is my waist really that wide? Gross, I really need to head to the hair dresser because my hair is uneven and beyond the point of overgrown! I made the person take several more pictures, none of which I was satisfied with. I finally asked another person to take the pictures and after three attempts I was marginally o.k. with how it turned out.

Upon returning home I realized that worrying about how “badly” I looked in those pictures nearly ruined my evening. Hanging out with your friends and capturing good times on camera should be filled with happiness instead of worrying about how “fat” you look in a picture. I can’t help but notice that men who do strength training don’t usually complain about how they hate looking slim instead of muscular in pictures.

puppy smile

Of course we want to look good in pictures, but the issue isn’t whether or not you actually look good. What people are worried about is looking fat and out of shape; this is not the same as looking bad. If you wait until you are at your ideal weight and size, you’ll be missing out on a lot of pictures. I realized there are missing years of my life where I have zero pictures because I didn’t want to take pictures that would capture how heavy I was. Not only do I not have pictures, I also don’t have visual reminders of a lot of people I care about and a lot of the activities I have participated in, all because I didn’t want my fat self to be in a picture.

Love and enjoy who you are right now. Don’t wait weeks, months, or years to “like” the person who you are. Your body shape, size, and fitness level shouldn’t determine whether or not you want to capture fun or important moments in your life. Say cheese, and have fun!

 

Save Me From Food Foolishness!

skeptical-cow

As someone who has been taking the slow and healthy approach at learning to make healthy eating a part of my lifestyle, I have become increasingly annoyed by people who try to convince me that certain foods are “super foods” or “nutritionally superior”.

I’ve listed the 5 most common food myths or exaggerations that annoy me. I often encourage people to use caution when basing their food knowledge on news headlines about nutrition. Often times news reports don’t explain the important details about food research and when this happens we, the public, end up with only partial facts about foods that are considered healthy, unhealthy or even dangerous.

The foods on my annoyance list are foods that I consume, but I’ve trained myself not to tout these foods as far superior to other foods. I eat these foods because I either enjoy them or for health reasons I have to eat them as alternatives to other healthy foods that make me ill.

I encourage you to make your own list of foods you commonly consume under misguided health assumptions. It doesn’t mean you have to stop eating these foods (I certainly haven’t), I only give you this challenge so that you can be made more aware of misleading food advertisements, poor journalism about the healthiness of certain foods, and cultural hype. The only way this can be achieved is to take the initiative to do some research on your own.

Me too Jess Connell, me too...
Me too Jess Connell, me too…

My Personal List

Yogurt (specifically Greek yogurt):

So what makes Greek yogurt so special? “….But since use of the term “Greek” is unregulated, and because the straining process can require costly equipment, some yogurt brands are pumping out “Greek” yogurts that haven’t been made the traditional way. Instead, thickening agents like corn starch and milk-protein concentrate are added to mimic the rich texture of strained yogurt.” (Source: Prevention Magazine)

I love yogurt, and I pay a ridiculous amount of money for something labelled “Greek Yogurt” because I like the thick texture. I purchase these products with the knowledge that I am not eating a product that is nutritionally superior to other yogurts in the dairy section.

As for the other type of healthy yogurt known as Balkan Yogurt (contains probiotics Lactobacillus Bulgaricus and Streptococcus Thermophilus) , I have the same view as I do with Greek yogurt.

Number 2: Soy products

Soy products are readily available at any grocery store, there are: tofu, soy milk, soy nuts, veggie (hot dogs, sausages, burgers, etc.), protein shakes, and countless other items contain soy products. I continuously read about how healthy soy is, however, I refuse to consume so many soy products on a daily basis. I don’t believe in consuming large amounts of the exact same product throughout the day. I’ve been told that soy products are harmless, but again, I’m not confident that eating so much of one item creates a diet of healthy diversity. I have to agree with the following quote from clinical nutritionist Ed Bauman and Kaayla Daniel, “Daniel and Bauman agree on the benefits of variety.’ My experience as a clinical nutritionist is that people who have a varied diet tend not to get into trouble,’ says Daniel. ‘We like to demonize certain foods in this society,’ says Bauman. ‘If you want to find a fault, you’ll find it. The bottom line is: What is a healthy diet?’” (Source: Utne Reader July / August 2007, The Dark Side Of Soy)

Number 3: Chocolate

I laugh every time I hear a group of women justifying the chocolate junk food they are indulging in by stating that chocolate is good for you.

Dark chocolate has no milk and is made by adding both fat and sugar to cocoa. White chocolate is not chocolate because it doesn’t have any cocoa solids. Health benefits are found in quality dark chocolate containing high percentages of cocoa; not regular candy bars.

I do treat myself to quality dark chocolate that is not sold in regular grocery chains. I have one square only because any more than that, it becomes too overwhelming. Chocolate candy bars (Mr. Big is my weakness) have no health benefits and I won’t deny it.

Number 4: Red Wine

What do they have in common? Guess!
What do they have in common? Guess!

If you want to drink wine, just drink it.

“Simply eating grapes, or drinking grape juice, has been suggested as one way to get resveratrol without drinking alcohol. Red and purple grape juices may have some of the same heart-healthy benefits of red wine. Other foods that contain some resveratrol include peanuts, blueberries and cranberries. It’s not yet known how beneficial eating grapes or other foods might be compared with drinking red wine when it comes to promoting heart health. The amount of resveratrol in food and red wine can vary widely.” (Source: Mayo Clinic)

The Mayo Clinic also confirms, “There’s still no clear evidence that red wine is better than other forms of alcohol when it comes to possible heart-healthy benefits.”

So folks, you’re drinking red wine because you like it, there is no proof that it is doing anything different for your body than a handful of peanuts!

Hmm, does grape jelly and peanut butter have the same health benefits?
Hmm, does grape jelly and peanut butter have the same health benefits?

Number 5: Healthy Fats

fat lie

These fats have been labeled as “healthy fats” by many health food advocates. This list includes foods such as: coconut oil, avocado, extra-virgin olive oil, and Omega 3 fatty acids. I’ve watched people consume nearly an entire container of guacamole with whole grain chips because it is made of avocado (actually, it’s a small bit of avocado and a whole lot of mayonnaise). The assumption seems to be, ‘if it’s a healthy fat, I can eat as much as I want because it’s healthy fat’. Eating too much fat for your body is still too much fat, no matter if it’s considered a healthy fat or not.

 

I’ve surpassed my personal limit for word counts on my blog, but here are the other items on my annoyance list:

Sports drinks (e.g. Gatorade)

Frozen yogurt vs real ice cream

Artificial sweeteners

Smoothies (Those that contain no vegetables, or those from Fast Food chains)

Red meat vs White meat (I eat both in moderation)