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Part of the Problem or the Solution

I’m giving you fair warning that I’m on a bit of a rant here about body image. How is it that so many of you bright, capable, clever, terrific folks won’t stop obsessing about your weight and keep choosing to make it the arbiter of your worth and lovability? If you must focus on weight, studies show that folks who shed pounds that stay shed do so through having fitness and health, not weight, as their goals.

I spend much of my professional life trying to convince clients, mostly women, not to devalue their bodies because of their weight/shape/size. I confess that I get frustrated; worse is how sad it makes me that so many of you insist on joining the mob mentality that you’ll have more fun, approval, romance, love, etc. if you only lose weight. Yes, weight discrimination in professional and social circles is alive and well and living in the USofA. But that’s about what other people may think. You can think differently.

Here’s the statistic that got me riled today: “In a new study, (CONSUMER REPORTS, Shopsmart, 10/11), 30% of women said they would give up at least a year of their life and 13% would pay over $8000 a year to be at their ideal weight and body shape.” Please reread that sentiment and let it sink it. While most of us are grateful for every moment we have on earth, nearly one-third of women want to throw away 365 precious days for a “better” body. Not a healthier one either. Even that would be a paradox—wanting to die sooner to have greater health!

I know all about the pressure to be thin. We live, as I’ve written repeatedly, in the most fat phobic, thin obsessed culture in the history of the world and, most certainly, women bear the brunt of weight-prejudice insanity. But, are you not a tiny bit ashamed (I warned you that this is a rant!) that you’ve bought into this claptrap? Where are your critical thinking skills when you believe that your life will be so much better at your “ideal weight and body shape” than it is now? If you want to be healthier and fitter, hats off to you—so work on those goals, not weight.

To quote familiar sayings. You have to be the change you want to see in the world. And If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. Believe me, I have sympathy for your belief in falsehoods and, as I’ve mentioned, sadness too. Right now, though, I’m filled with anger at what you’re doing to yourselves when you hold the power to turn around your thinking and get off your weight-watching merry go round. I hope that my ire will spark your pride and change your thinking—and beyond that, your lives.