Thursday, February 19, 2015

Response Post to "I'm Fat and I'm Happy" Article

Anyone else read this article today? The article is headlined "I'm fat and I'm happy" and is written by a mom of 5 who says that being a size 4 did  not make her happy. 

The premise of the article is that the stereotype "thin = happy" is not true. 

While that sounds like an admirable topic, reading the article more closely, it sounded to me like she wanted to bring women into her "camp"-- give them an excuse for being overweight, not exercising, not eating healthy. All under the premise that you can be fat and happy. As Joni tells Today Health in an interview, "..I'm hearing from women all over the world who are saying, thank you for giving me a voice I can relate to.."

Yes, that is true-- you can absolutely be overweight and happy. But the truly sad part of this article is that she is saying it is ok to be unhealthy. Maybe the author doesn't come straight out and say those exact words; but it is implied. 

I apologize if this offends someone, that is not my intent, but there is no way you can be healthy and fat.  I'm not even referring to "healthy" in the sense of health-nut, crossfit, distance runner types-- I mean just plain-old 30 min of exercise 3-5 days a week and a well-balanced diet type of healthy. Just do the math-- calories in vs calories out. If you are consuming a well-balanced diet and exercising regularly, your body will balance out. 

Maybe this woman doesn't care if she can't run around with her young kids; or that she could become pre-diabetic; or could die young because of health issues related to weight. She might be ok with encouraging other women to throw caution to the wind-- forget regular exercise and a healthy well-balanced diet, it's too  much work, just be happy!

She might be ok with spreading that encouragement across the internet, but I am not. Our society as a whole is down-right unhealthy. We need more people out there saying yes to organic fruits and vegetables; yes to group fitness classes and bike rides with their kids; yes to exercising as a couple.     

There is way too much junk on the internet about both "fat shaming" and "thin shaming"; and even now "fit shaming". I don't generally get involved in these debates because it can ruffle a lot of feathers. But I can't sit back let someone say it's ok to be unhealthy because they are happy being fat. There are too many impressionable, or maybe insecure is a better word, people out there who would take this article as gospel and say, "Well if it's ok for her, than it's ok for me."

Yes Joni, you're right. There are entire industries built upon insecurities that we aren't thin enough, good enough, pretty enough. And you're also right that it's bullshit. But your viral article is giving people a reason to say "it's ok that I'm fat", and I'm sorry, but I just don't agree with you. 

It's not healthy to be overly skinny because you are living on a restrictive 1,000 calorie diet-- just as it's not healthy to fall into the opposite extreme. There is a balance out there. For some women that balance might result in a size 4; for others it might be a size 10. Anyone can find time in their day for a 30 min workout. It comes down to making health a priority. Happiness will follow. 

Let's focus on being healthy and happy. Let's encourage each other. Let's not allow those we care about to settle for less.  

What's your take?