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“The Sacred American Right to Overeat”

The title of this article is misleading (article published on CBC’s online news site). I thought I was about to read about how being obese/overweight is a choice and that we have the right to that choice. Instead, the article is yet another attack on the fatness of Americans, especially those residing in the South (of course, no comment was made on the increasing size of Canadians).

To me, the purpose of the article is to shame and scare – to elicit a visceral response to fat. The way in which Neil MacDonald describes and writes about it demonstrates a number of his own issues with weight/fat/etc. But that is beside the point. I blogged about fat shaming a while ago and I think Macdonald crosses over into fat shaming territory a number of times throughout the article.

I do agree with his sentiments about the increased strain on the health care system and the economy as increases in weight can affect health and influence one’s ability to work. Not good, no. Yet, what Neil failed to mention or discuss is that weight isn’t always an indicator of health. Furthermore it is important to point out that many skinny/slender people are unhealthy as well. I feel that this point is always missed when discussing the fatness of Canadians/Americans.

Yet, I have to wonder about the number of Americans/Canadians who are fat and fit. Other than sports players (who often classify as being obese due to large amount of muscle mass) and a small proportion who eat well and exercise (but not to lose weight), I don’t think the numbers will be staggering. I need to do more investigation into this.

I think the point of this article will be purposely ignored by those that it is trying to target. And rightfully so. No one likes to be bullied. No one likes to be shamed into doing something. Guilting people into action is not the answer. What is? I don’t know yet. If I can answer that question, I know I will secure my spot in the health industry for years to come.

No two bodies are alike. No two minds are alike. We each work the way we work. We eat the way we want. We move the way we feel is right. But sometimes we get out of sync with the needs of our mind and body and this can result in a number of health consequences. I think a large proportion of Canadians and Americans (fat or skinny) are out of sync with their respective minds and bodies.

Only when we check in with ourselves can we determine what it is that we need/crave/want to be healthy in our own way. I think the more self-aware we become as a whole, the better able we will be in moving in a more healthful direction. Or perhaps not. I really don’t have the answer. I just know that getting more in tune with my mind and body as resulted in a number of wonderful health consequences. And by wonderful, I mean truly life altering.

Let me know what you think of Macdonald’s article. I’d love to know.

M

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