So, you are overweight, you have a high BMI, and you are simply not bothered. You love the way you look and feel.
You totally approve of the Fat Acceptance Movement. Being body positive is good news, but that should not become your excuse to avoid doing the right thing by your body.
Yes, we are talking about the fact that in all this Fat Acceptance Movement (which is a great thing by the way), many are missing out the fact that excess weight may not be good for your heart and your overall health.
The Why of the Fat Acceptance Movement
The Movement became popular because of the notions that we developed towards a fat person – she or he may be lazy, has an unhealthy lifestyle, does not care about grooming and looking good; or simply that the fat person does not value herself, so we shouldn’t either. But the reality is most likely to be very different.
But now we are seeing a backlash to being called fat – with overweight women (and often men) starting their own social media channels to showcase their pride in their body shape and type.
There are many who are supporting this movement which is encouraging overweight and fat people to love the way they look and get over the ‘Fat Stigma’.
The fat acceptance movement is successful because people are getting tired of the media’s obsession with ultra-thin models and ideals of glamour girls.
These movements empowered women of different shapes and sizes to feel good about themselves.
However, when even modeling agencies and celebrities are banning stick thinness, there are groups who are taking the body acceptance movement too far by professing that it is good to be obese, fine to be fat.
Research shows that positive self-image is very important for mental health, and being able to love oneself helps one deal with many lifestyle issues and lifestyle-induced diseases, of which obesity is one
It is a positive thing to be able to accept one’s body type and shape. Being fat is not a crime, that you should feel ashamed about it. It is more about a health issue, which needs to be handled in a different manner.
Good For Self Confidence But Not For Health
It is a good thing to accept that fact, and not being depressed over excess body weight, but that should not stop you from being fit, and following a healthy lifestyle.
There are many reasons why one might be overweight. It could be due to your genetic predisposition, or issues like PCOD, mal-functioning thyroid or even diabetic conditions. These might stop you from losing weight.
In fact, there are several health conditions that rise because of excess weight, including:
- Type 2 diabetes
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease and strokes
- Certain types of cancer
- Sleep apnea/Sleep disorder
- Osteoarthritis/ Back pain
- Fatty liver disease
- Kidney disease
- Problems during pregnancy
Fat acceptance to being fit
While, many are no longer celebrating being very thin (We find many raised eyebrows at a girl or boy whose clothes hang off her or his body – it’s unhealthy too, you see!), but being obese, where movement or regular activities are restricted are not fun either.
Happy losing post-pregnancy weight
Take the case of Bangalore-based software professional and new mom Bandana Dash.“Due to pregnancy, I had put on a lot of weight, and I had a very high BMI. Despite all efforts, I was unable to shed excess weight. I actually tried everything that I could think of, including exercising, going on regular walks, even diet control.
I also tried some weight loss diet. But that was of no use. My hectic lifestyle and caring for a new baby just left me tired. Added to this was the worry that my sugar levels were increasing. I had started feeling depressed because of the ungainly changes in me – none of my clothes were fitting me and I had low self-esteem.”
So Bandana accepted when her husband put her in touch with a weight loss diet program. Dash was able to lose over 10 kgs in 3 months. “I am so happy now that I am able to fit into my old clothes. I did it by following a healthy eating plan and light exercises,” explains Dash, who is not thin, but looks fit and healthy.
Improved self-esteem post weight loss
In the case of Bangalore-based software professional Praveen Kumar, it was a catch 22 situation. He was overweight because of diabetes and high cholesterol, which in turn did not let him be fit, shed excess weight and be healthy. More than being worried about his fat body image, Kumar, at 35, wanted to shed fat because it was hampering his lifestyle.
“Today, after losing a considerable amount of weight, I feel very confident. My self-esteem and body image has become very positive. I now have higher levels of energy and can work long hours. This was not possible earlier. Today I am able to work for 12 hours without feeling exhausted.
I now have more energy with less food – I eat a lot less than the amount I used to eat earlier. I really love my new self,” he says.
What the experts say about healthy weight
Encouraging healthy weight loss, fitness expert and lifestyle consultant, Namita Jain says, “It is important to be fit, and not necessarily thin.
You should do that by eating right and lots of activity instead of mindless dieting. It is important that you remain active and conscious about your fitness levels.”
Adding to that Dr. Shunmukha Priya. S, Scientific Research Officer, Possible, Bangalore says, “It is important to establish an optimal weight to be fit and healthy.
Being fat is not really healthy for your heart, and spine. A balanced diet with the right food groups like salads, or whole grains should be your aim. You should be able to feel healthy at all times.”
Do you believe that the fat acceptance movement is good or does it stop you from maintaining a healthy weight? Share your viewpoints with us.