Thursday, July 1, 2010

Discussion Anyone?

So I know I promised that today would be a really great post since I have been forgetting Thursdays...and I really did think about a lot of topics to post on, but nothing felt uber great. So here it is instead...

I feel like this week (even more than others) I have consistently been a witness to a battle- it shows up on tv shows, talk shows, with friends...everywhere! So I wanted to get your thoughts on it because, quite frankly, I can't make up my mind about it!

When do you love and accept your body and when is it okay to try and change it?

I hear about some overweight actress that has come to terms with her not-size-zero body and loves herself; should I feel happy for her, proud of her, point her out to be some kind of role model? Or do I feel concerned because certainly obesity isn't healthy and now people who need to make a change are going to have someone to point to as their "reason" for staying unhealthy? I want to cheer with those that say "you are beautiful just the way you are" but I also don't think we should be teaching our tiny ones that it is okay to be fat even though it is isn't the being different part that is wrong, it is that obesity is a serious health problem...for everyone! (Even if you aren't obese yourself, you pay for it...can you say health care?)

But then on the other hand you have a tiny, seemingly "perfect" looking woman that will stop at nothing to feed an obsession to be skinnier, prettier, curvier, etc. Why can't she be satisfied? Is it because for too long we have brainwashed girls into thinking that have to look a certain way? I definitely don't want to endorse that either!

At the end of the day, I guess I am confused with how to reconcile these different extremes. I don't think that a person's self-image should be based solely on outward appearances, however is it really okay, healthy, right, etc. to completely disregard your physical looks from how you feel about your self? I mean, didn't Heavenly Father give us a body?

Do you see my conundrum? Is there such a thing as being too pleased/acceptant of your body??? Is it possible to worry about your appearance yet not be vain???

What are your thoughts?


Kathy Haynie said...

Good thoughtful points, Alex. Thanks for bringing them up on The Skinny. I, too, go back and forth on this one. But I think it boils down to the motivation for trying to make change.

If we're only trying to make changes so we can look good - society's bad message to too many girls/women - that's not a healthy motivation. Not only can it lead to health problems like eating disorders, but it won't lead to long-term change, because it's a superficial motivation.

If we're trying to make changes so we can be healthy and strong, then our changes are far more likely to lead to health (versus disorders), and they are more likely to be life long changes.

I do appreciate the message that our society tends to unfairly pre-judge overweight individuals, and that's another problem. I am grateful for reminders to come to know people for who they are on the inside, not for how they look.

But sometimes that message gets used as a cop-out, to avoid taking a hard look at the food industry, which is churning out way too many unhealthy foods.

Ok, that's enough blathering from me! Someone else can take over now. :)

Katie said...

I would go so far as to say that I definitely have this figured out for myself. Which I know is making quite a claim, but I honestly feel like I do. Not that I have it figured out for anybody else, but at least for myself.

Basically what I think is this: Heavenly Father loves me. And because He loves me He wants me to be happy. And because he wants me to be happy he also wants me to be healthy. It was out of love that He gave me a physical body. And because I love Him back, I want to serve Him. And how can I serve Him if I'm sick when I don't need to be? I want to have a healthy body so I can be able to serve other people. I want to get rid of my pudgy tummy so that I won't feel self-conscious about it so that I can spend more time focusing on others than on myself. I know that Heavenly Father will always love me, but I am not always obedient. We've been given heavenly rules to live by and to eat by and all too often I break or way over-bend those rules. That's not obedience. That's not giving my will over to Heavenly Father. That's me eating as much ice cream as I want, regardless of the consequences. But, oh!, how those consequences are always, always there!

I definitely agree that the difference in healthy and unhealthy living lies in the motivation. If all I want is to be accepted, then I feel confident that I can achieve that no matter my weight. But if I want to be obedient and serve Heavenly Father, then healthy, balanced living will be the goal... and the result.

I hope this doesn't sound all preachy or vain or condescending. I definitely don't mean it in any of those ways.

Dorothy said...

I've pondered this for a couple days and don't have any great answer to satisfy any of us.

In my life I've been at both extremes of the weight issue. Up until about 30 my issues were with being "underweight" (except when I was pregnant). I hated my thin thighs and flat chest and tried to dress in ways that didn't accentuate my thin-ness.

Then suddenly (or so it seemed) I wasn't thin anymore and I started worrying about my tummy and all the other areas that had accumulated extra padding. Now I have to think about dressing to camoflage or hide the pudginess.

I'm actually very tired of thinking about it! And for me, that's the answer, I think. For the past six months or so I have tried to shift my focus from how I look to what I need to do to keep my body healthy. I don't count calories or time spent exercising, or any of those kinds of things. I tried to stay active and eat good whole foods. I consider this mortal body of mine to be a blessing to achieve goals in my life and it's my responsibility to take care of it to the best of my knowledge.

However, being mortal also means that we have weaknesses and will make mistakes, and some of us are stronger in one area than another. Some are VERY GOOD with the discipline necessary to maintain a completely fit body. Others find that their strengths lie in magnifying their spirituality or various talents.

For me the answer is to stop focusing on the way my body looks and change the focus to "what can I do to maintain my health?"

Okay, done rambling now. It's a tough subject and one we could all ponder for a long time and still wonder what is best. :)

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Want to write a guest post for The Skinny? E-mail Katie at kathleenann08 (at) gmail (dot) com.