Dad at 40

Fitness, Nutrition, Parenting, and Life

Healthy is the New Skinny

exercise

Society has done a number on all of us. We are constantly inundated with images of beautiful, skinny, handsome, fit people in just about everything we see. Heck, just right now I finished a few hours of mentor training (required by my job) so that I can help mentor veteran’s in my organization. While taking this training, I saw nothing but what I would consider to be handsome or beautiful people. Blonde hair. Blue eyes. Skinny. Muscular. Etc. Etc. Etc. It is just a part of the world we live in.

Just the other day, I read a story about Amy Schumer. Say what you will about her comedy or her views, but I consider her an attractive woman. She is not this tiny, waif-like figure either. She has a nice womanly body. However, someone tried to shame her about her body. This lady said the following:

“I can have my opinion and you can have yours. I’m tired of the media and publications trying to push the FAT agenda. It’s not healthy and it’s not pretty. What is wrong with featuring healthy and fit cover models?”

Read the entire article for a taste of what this lady really thinks.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/amy-schumer-in-style_us_58e5030be4b03a26a3684695

But here is the thing, Amy Schumer is not fat. Not even close. And hold on, what part of her looks unhealthy? And what part of her is not pretty? Maybe she is not some supermodel on the runway, but where is she not fit or healthy? Again, disliking her politics or opinions is a far different thing than saying she is unfit, unhealthy, or not pretty. What message does that send to women out there?

Marilyn Monroe, who some considered to be the epitome of a beautiful woman, was the same size as Amy Schumer. A 14 back in the 50s is the same as a 6-8 in modern clothing sizes. But, the important thing here is something she said:

I don’t want to be bone thin, and I make it a point to stay the way I want to be.” Movieland Magazine July, 1952

She was happy whatever her weight happened to be. It was her choice. So, I just find it disheartening that people have this perception that fat (as subjectively defined) is not healthy or pretty. Let’s be really honest here, pretty is in the eye of the beholder. And healthy is determined not by a look, but by medical tests. A doctor tells you that you are healthy, not some silly swimsuit designer.

Now, is there such a thing as too heavy? Yes. There is. When your weight starts to affect your joints or your mobility, you may need to do something about it. When your weight starts to impact other people, say for example sitting in an airplane seat (and yes, I get that airplane seats have become smaller over the years), then you may want to consider changing something. When your weight starts to impact your ability to participate in life, then you may want to look at modifying your dietary and exercise habits. But, if your doctor determines you are healthy, your life is not seriously impacted by your weight, and you are genuinely happy in what you do and how you look, then more power to you. Do not let societal expectations dictate to you how to live your life.

But Rod, you post pictures of your abs and talk about working out. Yes, but that is my personal journey and decision. It is a test of my own mental fortitude to hit a goal and maintain it. I am not saying every guy out there should be going for flat, defined abs or lifting weights like I do. That is my personal choice. I want people to find their zen place. I want people to exercise for the sake of exercising. I want people to breathe easier and walk comfortably. I want you to be able to lift your children or grandchildren. I do not care if you look jacked or normal or even a bit overweight. Sweet sassy molassey….life happens. We have jobs, families, children, responsibilities, and a list too long to mention that demands our attention on a daily basis. So, we do the best we can. If the best you can do is cut our soda, then awesome for you. Perhaps you give up eating chips. Great job. Maybe you give up sugars for six months. Amazing. Maybe you start walking around the block. Or doing jumping jacks. Or something to get your heart pumping.

This is all it takes. Getting healthy can be a challenge for some, as diabetes and other ailments can be a challenge. But, it is not impossible to make small gains. What you should never, ever believe is that skinny is always healthy. Don’t believe me? Read this:

http://www.foodmatters.com/article/why-skinny-doesn-t-always-mean-healthy

or this:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/oz-garcia/thin-health_b_918942.html

or this:

http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/diet-fitness/weight-loss/5-health-problems-caused-by-being-thin5.htm

Now, I am not saying that you should not want to be thin. I am saying that being thin at the exclusion of properly achieving it is dangerous. People think that thin is just eating way less and losing weight. There is a science to being thing just like there is a science to getting fit and muscular. You have to do your homework. It is a lot of work to main the proper nutrition in small enough amounts to stay health while nourishing your body.

So, the moral of this story is focus on being healthy. Focus on exercising to add some variety and mobility and enhance your muscle tone. You do not need to work out at the levels that some people do (such as myself and countless others). You just need to find a balance in your life where you enjoy some moderate exercise and a good, healthy diet. If at the end of all that, your body naturally gravitates to a size 10 or better for women….then so be it. If you are a hefty guy, but you can run and walk and do all the other things everyone else does, then be happy. Ignore the magazines. Ignore the media. Ignore the bullshit message shoved down your throats. If you are happy with yourself when you look in the mirror, then that is what matters most. If you are unhappy at the person looking back, then ask yourself how to use good science to help you with your goals.

Healthy is the new skinny – to me that simply means that being healthy is really the new ideal that we should all strive for. We should all be monitoring our specific biological needs and getting the proper medical testing to determine our overall health. Then, and only then, do we create a game plan to address the challenges we face medically.

For now, if you take nothing else away from this, take this – learn to love yourself and be happy with yourself. Only you know if you are unhealthy. If so, try to change it, one bad habit at a time. One inch at a time. Good luck out there. And know this, you always have support here…….

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