As I trawled through my Facebook feed the other day, I saw a picture of this guy, standing in his jocks ready to trial a new weight loss system in a quest to lose his muffin top.
Now this style of ‘before’ picture is nothing new or out of the ordinary (except this guy is my boss – who I may never look at the same way again!), but what this picture didn’t show is the weight loss journey this guy has already been on.
From 150- odd kg down 51+ kg, with a few residual centimetres around the middle. This guy is no spring chicken, let’s call him middle aged-ish, and his weight loss efforts are no small feat, in fact they are nothing short of inspirational in terms of the commitment, dedication and focus this guy has given to turning his life around. He has transformed his diet, his lifestyle and consequently his body and his health.
He is fit, strong, energetic and importantly functional and enjoying life… which brings me back to the picture that confronted me so bright and early in the morning (my boss in his jocks, just what I want to wake up to), and leaves me wondering – why?
Why is it important for him to lose his ‘muffin’ top? Why did he feel the need to broadcast himself so vulnerable, seek approval publically, and subject himself to this scrutiny? – He has achieved so much and regained his quality of life – why does he feel the need to put his body through this rigour to shed what is simply considered an ‘imperfection?’
What is this preoccupation we all seem to have with our weight, our body image and these imperfections?
For god sakes man, commend your achievements, embrace your journey and rejoice in the vitality you have gained along the way – don’t be consumed by the idealistic misconceptions of the ‘perfect’ body, a mass media produced, consumer driven, vision of ‘health!’
But of course ‘health’ is the reason we all striving to walk around like stick figures isn’t it?
The idea that being ‘overweight’ is unhealthy is long standing and of course has much merit. We know the risk of many diseases, like cancer, diabetes, and CVD increases with increasing weight, but has the emphasis on our figure as the holy grail of health indicators been overstated and misrepresented? – Is this just another ‘health’ message taken to the extreme by the media, another good intention exploited by mass marketing and global corporations because there was a big buck to be made?
My confession is: I am a nutritionist and a personal trainer and I am NOT obsessed with my body, I am NOT obsessed with my weight or the weight of my clients. I have flabby bits and bits that jiggle, but I am healthy. I am healthy not because of the size pants I wear, I am healthy because I exercise regularly for the vitality and strength to function efficiently, to run and play with my children, and to age gracefully and with dignity. I am healthy because I eat a nutritious diet that nurtures my body physically, socially and emotionally, because I am not guilty of enjoying chocolate but privileged to, because I appreciate my food, where it comes from and the resources it took to produce it.
The un-diet, health at every size movement is upon us, lets embrace mindful eating, a diet designed to enhance our self-worth not judge it, a diet designed to care for our planet, not our egos or corporate profits.