I just saw something on Instagram written by a young woman with thousands of followers.
Does being overweight have to make you unhealthy?
She was a beautiful girl who seemed happy and confident. She was very overweight but embracing her curves, loving herself and spreading body positivity. All great and amazing things to do right? However something she said really concerned me. I can’t remember the exact words (can’t remember who she was either – she isn’t someone I follow) but in essence she was saying that being overweight doesn’t mean you are unhealthy. That might be true for her and lots of other people (including me), but many other people will testify to health problems that they have as a result of carrying a lot of extra weight. She isn’t a doctor and she shouldn’t be saying things like that to her thousands of followers – many of whom may be impressionable young girls – as we all know that obesity can sometimes LEAD to health problems and it is not ideal to be overweight.
*** PLEASE BE CLEAR – I’m talking about being very overweight or even obese. I’m NOT talking about people who are carrying a extra few kg and may be a couple of dress sizes bigger than they want to be, I’m talking about people who weigh a lot more than they should for their frame and height to be within a healthy weight range.
I wasn’t unhealthy….
However, in saying that, my personal experience is that being overweight HASN’T caused me to be unhealthy. Being 46kg overweight I was confident, happy, had heaps of energy and wasn’t sick. I took pride in my appearance, dressed well for my body shape and didn’t let my obesity stop me from living life to the max. I was happy and fulfilled in both my personal life and my career, and life was good.
Prevention rather than cure…., I chose to do something about it before it affected my health
So why do I say that my motivation for weightloss was health related and not driven by vanity? It’s because, although I was healthy, I was finding as I was getting further into my 50’s things were just starting to get harder and I knew that if carried on down this road things would start to deteriorate and I ran the risk of health and mobility problems being in my future. For example – in the year before weightloss I was finding it harder to get up out of a chair, my back was sore, my knees were starting to hurt, I would run around up and down the stairs at work all day like an young energised person and then nearly die puffing when I got to the top of the stairs and it was only a matter of time before I turned into an obese old lady struggling to keep up with “the young ones”. Stuff that!
I think she is spreading a dangerous message…
So back to the happy and confident young lady spouting to her thousands of followers that being overweight doesn’t mean you have health problems – maybe not yet hun! Might have something to do with the fact that she is young and, yes, she may not have health problems, it may be years before she does, or she may never have health problems at all. But to be spreading this sort of message to other young people, many of whom are very obese, that it’s ok to keep getting bigger and don’t worry about your health is a dangerous game. Some of them may have health problems, or may not and will believe her and keep eating and then get health problems. It’s a fact – people die from obesity related illnesses!
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for body positivity and good self esteem! Remember – I was the big, confident, happy girl too, living life to the full. But I was still obese and probably just lucky that I didn’t have any associated health problems (a lifetime of not smoking and barely drinking probably probably helped).
I’m not talking about people who are a bit chubby – I’m talking about obesity….
Sure you can be a solid build or a bit chubby and still be within a healthy weight range. That’s not what I’m talking about. I think it’s great that women these days are getting body confident and loving themselves – even at my goal weight I won’t be stick thin but I will be a healthy weight for my height. And that’s all I want .I will always be a curvy, big boned girl and that’s ok!
Body positivity is a great message!
The message of body positivity and embracing your curves is so much better than the other end of the spectrum with extreme weight loss and eating disorders and girls trying to look like stick thin models when their bodies just weren’t made that way – and 100% we are in a better time now with body positivity and acceptance. A lot of girls who got eating disorders were never obese – they were a normal weight but thought they were fat. This is the other extreme and needs professional help.
Please hear me – I am not talking about girls who are a little bit overweight, I’m talking about those who are obese and are listening to unqualified people saying that it is not a health risk.
Please don’t wait until you’re old to get your eating under control…
It concerns me when I see young girls that are obese that are so confident and happy in themselves that they just keep eating and abusing their bodies thus getting bigger and bigger. That was me for the past 30 years. Don’t wait until you’re old – do something about it now. I’ve lost 30kg and am 70% of the way to being in a healthy weight range and everything is so much easier now I’m lighter. I have more energy, I jump up out of chairs, I could go on but you get the picture. And although vanity wasn’t my motivation it is so amazing fitting into smaller clothes, getting my waistline back and being able to tuck tops in etc etc.
I wish someone had said to me years ago – “girl, you’re beautiful but you do need to lose some weight”. But I can’t blame anyone – I should have said that to myself. I accepted myself just a little TOO much.
Life has been good…
I’ve loved life and accepted myself at all sizes. But it’s even better now I’m well on my way to a healthy weight.