“Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are!”
– Kurt Cobain
Like many other families, this year for Christmas my family received a wii fit. While I have had a fantastic time hula-hooping and ski jumping my way to a healthier “mii” this game has really gotten me thinking about body image in today’s society.While its great this even video-game companies are getting in on making people healthier – I’m not sure I like the message this game sends in the beginning when during its “body testing” it categorized many of my family members (and me) as either obsese or “in danger of being obese”. This bothers me especially since, as a woman who takes an interest in health, I have done research on nutrition -research that goes against what the wii is telling me. For instance, did you know that many “overweight” people are actually healtheir than some of their thinner counterparts? Or that people’s weights are less a result of excercise/dietary habits and more a result of their (most likely) genetically determined “set point”? I bet you won’t see that in any so-called “fitness” magazines.
This is not an attack on fashion magazines, fitness magazines, wii fit, or any other facet of the “thin culture” we seem to live in. This is also not an attack on people who are thin, be it through dieting (I admire your will power!) or genetics; I believe that people are beautiful, no matter what weight they are and the only thing people should be promoting in terms of diet and exercise is HEALTH – regardless of weight. However, the beauty industry and peddles their views to society with one goal in mind: sell products. People who love their bodies are not going to spend hundreds on weight loss programs, anti-wrinkle creams, makeup, and so on… so, this isn’t about those industries because the bottom line is; you can’t make them change.
Instead, as I have said several times on this blog: I want to change myself, and encourage others to change themselves.
Specifically, I want to change your minds. In order to truly be a loving person one has to love themselves first, there’s no way around it. If we focus on our own flaws we are only doing ourself and our world a disservice by limiting our capacity to be open and to accept others fully, flaws and all. After all, how can you love someone else, another flawed human being, if you can’t even love yourself? Most people are fond of their own personalitites, since they’re much easier to change than looks. However, studies done on body-image report increasing percentages of women (for some reason they don’t seem as iteresterd in studying men) who are discontent with their bodies.
As her New Year’s resolution my own mother is joining up with Oprah on her “Best Life” challenge, a series of shows that deals with issues concerning spirituality, finances, sex, and weight. However, I spent quite some time under the mistaken belief that the show was all about weight: why? Because this is the way it is presented even on Oprah’s website, the teaser for the series is literally, “Starting January 5th, Oprah’s Best Life week will cover issues like health and weight.” Not to mention the website itself; as you can see http://www.thebestlife.com says “The Best Life Diet” on the taskbar; regardless of what people may say it seems to me that the diet concept is very firmly tied into this program, if you want to find out about the other things you have to do some digging. While I commend Oprah on her constant efforts to better peoples’ lives I hope my readers, and my mother, will think for a minute and instead commit themselves to a different challenge; one that is not quite as weight-centric.
What I want to know is why should I have to lose weight to have the best life possible? Why does society assume I always want to lose weight? Won’t I already have the “best life” if I only continue being the best me I can possible be? Why does thin = best?? There are plenty of people who don’t agree with that sentiment and I am one of them, personally I would not change a pound of who I am and even though Oprah’s show does focus on many aspects of life I still do not appreciate the subtle message being sent by Oprah’s tying together of “weight” and “health”.
Instead of pushing yourself to lose weight just because you feel it will make yourself a “better” you; be the best you NOW at the weight that you are. There’s nothing wrong with self improvement, however, if you start that improvement on a solidly positive foundation I gaurentee you it can only be even more fulfilling.
This year I resolve to love myself exactly as I am; the way I look, the way I act, the way I think, and everything there is about me. I resolve to continue being the fantastic person that I am, and to continue striving to be an even better person both for myself and for the people around me.
Be the best you possible, right now!