There I am. Bikini waxing*, knowing what Beyonce was on about when she said pretty hurts. What hurts more are society’s expectations about women’s body hair, to the point where women in razor commercials are already completely hairless, but I digress. In an attempt to ease my pain, the esthetician tries to distract me with small talk and surprisingly, it’s working. Then she happily states I’ve lost some weight eh? I freeze for a nanosecond, say “yeah”. A similar exchange’s been happening quite a few times recently and you usually wonder, but you’re there, naked and vulnerable and all, you might as well go deeper while you’re at it (no pun intended). Why do people assume I should be happy I’ve lost weight? I never told my esthetician- or anyone else for that matter- that I wanted to lose weight. So? I’m not obese, so it can’t really be a health related concern. Since we’re at it, that’s actually a common misconception. You know what they say- and with they, I mean stat professors all around the world, all day, every day- correlation doesn’t imply causation.
Because some overweight people are unhealthy that doesn’t mean being overweight equals bad health.
Shocking, I know. People who are overweight have a fifty-fifty chance of having high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or elevated blood sugar levels.¹
This other study that examined data from 43,265 people for a duration of 24 years, found that nearly half of the obese participants qualified as “metabolically fit”, they didn’t suffer from insulin resistance, diabetes, low levels of good cholesterol, high triglycerides or high blood pressure.²
In other words, healthy. Hear this one out: among people already diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, those who were obese lived longer than their thinner peers.³ Or this one,
65,000 patients with heart disease and found that overweight and obese people had the lowest risk of early death, compared with normal-weight or underweight patients;
those who were underweight had the highest death risk.⑷ Also, doctors having less respect for patients with higher body-mass indexes 5 can lower the quality of care those patients receive. This article is a must read. Anywayyyy, can we all agree now that weight isn’t in and of itself a marker of health? I feel like I need a ~disclaimer~. Please do your own research and don’t take my word (and 65000+43,265 participants’ results) for it. Maybe I’ve been fooled. I try my best for everything I state to be highly researched and from trustworthy sources, but I’m only human, after allll, I’m only human…
So my esthetician thinks weight loss is inherently a good thing, no big deal. It is a big deal, though ~plot twist~.
A report by the American Association of University Women indicated that for girls, “the way I look” is the most important indicator of self-worth .6 What the hell? Research showed how more than half of girls and one-third of boys as young as 6 to 8 think their ideal weight is thinner than their current size. By age 7, one in four kids has engaged in some kind of dieting behavior.
Age 15 to 17, more than 90 percent of girls want to change at least one aspect of their physical appearance, with body weight ranking the highest.
I repeat, what the hell? Girls as young as 6 worrying about their physique should be a big deal. With so many young girls developing eating disorders and having fucked up relationships with food and their bodies, it is. I walked here, I’m surrounded by plants- they smell like spring, I’m enjoying the sunshine on my face, the warmth of my laptop keyboard from said sunshine, a cup of coffee (and the fact that the waiter remembered how I take it), the birds are singing. I walked here, I’m surrounded by plants- they smell like spring, I’m enjoying the sunshine on my face, the warmth of my laptop keyboard from said sunshine, a cup of coffee (and the fact that the waiter remembered how I take it), the birds are singing. My senses work, my legs work, my fine motor skills are fine AF… To me, that’s proof my body loves me and it’s doing the best it can to keep me here, while I enjoy the little and big things this world has to offer. Start a revolution: love your body. It’s been in love with you for so long and always will be. Thanks for reading.
*A literal pain in the ass
**Editing this, I realize it sounds slightly ableist. I’m not saying your body doesn’t love you if you can’t walk, I’m just trying to put things in perspective in regard to body image issues. Still sounds ableist. Can you just take my word for it, that I stand up to all kinds of ableism and ableist slurs IRL & try to educate as many people as humanly possible, in a country where most don’t know what the word means? You’re still fine AF, regardless of your motor skills!
¹R.P. Wildman, Ph.D.; P. Muntner, Ph.D.; K. Reynolds, Ph.D.; A. P. McGinn, Ph.D.; S. Rajpathak, MD, DrPH; Ju. Wylie-Rosett, EdD; M. R. Sowers, Ph.D.; “The Obese Without Cardiometabolic Risk Factor Clustering and the Normal Weight With Cardiometabolic Risk Factor Clustering.” Arch Intern Med. 2008;168(15):1617-1624.
²Ortega FB, Lee D, Katzmarzyk PT, et al. The intriguing metabolically healthy but obese phenotype: cardiovascular prognosis and role of fitness. European Heart Journal. Published online September 4, 2012.
³Florez H, Castillo-Florez S. Beyond the Obesity Paradox in DiabetesFitness, Fatness, and Mortality. JAMA. 2012;308(6):619-620. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.9776
4Oskar Angerås, Per Albertsson, Kristjan Karason, Truls Råmunddal, Göran Matejka, Stefan James, Bo Lagerqvist, Annika Rosengren, Elmir Omerovic; Evidence for the obesity paradox in patients with acute coronary syndromes: a report from the Swedish Coronary Angiography and Angioplasty Registry. Eur Heart J 2013; 34 (5): 345-353. doi: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehs217
5J Gen Intern Med. 2009 Nov;24(11):1236-9. doi: 10.1007/s11606-009-1104-8. Epub 2009 Sep 18.
6How schools shortchange girls: The AAUW report. A study of major findings in education. Washington, DC: American Association of University Women Educational Foundation.