Tuesday, September 1, 2015

"Fat Chic" Reactions

I know it isn't politically correct to even use the word "fat". Just like you can't say that you don't believe in same-sex "marriage" without being called a homophobic or gay hater. Just like you can't say that you are against abortion without being accused of conspiring with the "war on women". People, there was also a time when you didn't dare say cancer out loud. It had to be whispered. Folks didn't talk about it in polite society.

Now it has been suggested that I'm not being a good, humble Catholic because I called the media out on the carpet for glorifying and glamorizing obesity, and that I am "fat shaming". I pointed out that children are helpless victims of the unhealthy and alarmingly growing trend in American society of being grossly overweight. I shamed the media, not fat people. Magazines and runways feature mostly models who are a size 0, but recently a size 22 model has been celebrated, and such examples of portraying obesity as sexy have become more prevalent. Where are the examples of real women with imperfect bodies who are not at either end of the extremes? What we need are models who are of various ages and body types, who are all beautiful in their own, unique ways.

Anorexia is an eating disorder which leads to death. So are the disorders that lead to obesity. As I wrote in "Toxic Accumulation", I am exploring those areas of life in which we tend to have too much. In which we desire to pare down and simplify our lives. In which we want to be more joyful and purposeful in the way we spend our time. Being overweight drags me down. It adds to the pain of my torn spinal disk. It makes it almost impossible to be comfortable in a bra, or without one. My belly fat is the most dangerous kind. As long as you are not underweight and eat a nutritious diet and get adequate exercise, don't smoke, etc., it is always healthier to be slimmer rather than fatter. That's just the truth, dear readers.

I'm not shaming myself or anyone else for the state their bodies are in. But I do want to encourage all of us to treat our bodies well, like the temples of the Holy Spirit that they are. To stop the toxic accumulation of junk food. To learn what real food is, to move our bodies creatively, to take good care of our children, to tell the media that we are tired of the way it makes an idol out of the body.

So to Hades with political correctness. If you are offended by what I wrote, it's because you choose to be. Take a closer look at your reaction. I was writing about me and about the worldly temptation to allow myself to lead a lifestyle that ends in sickness and an early death. I can't be the person God has created me to be if I have no energy to serve him. Being fat weighs us down, in more ways than one. I choose to celebrate life and health. I will not say, "Good for you for proudly being a size 22." I will ask instead, "Is this really how you want to live?" And I will ask, "What can I do to help?" The first thing I can do to help is to get rid of my own toxic accumulation. I will love myself enough to clear my clutter, including the excess inches around my waistline. The bird with it's head stuck in the sand will never fly. I say, let's fly!