I have NO idea what to title this post. I could go for the shock value and title it “I have Never Been Fat” but shock is not my intent. I decided on the simple title “Drama” because I have already sat in front of my computer long enough trying to think of a catchy title without going overboard. Yesterday I posted this article on my personal Facebook page. Have you seen it or heard about it? I am guessing you have but if you live under a social media rock, I will give you a short recap. Joni Edelman wrote an essay on ravishly.com about how she is happier being fat (her words, not mine). I asked my Facebook friends for their opinions on the essay. Side note, I also posted the link on my personal twitter account saying this was BS. Weight loss, gaining weight, body image, whatever you want to call it is a hot topic in our society. People have a lot of opinions about the issue. So needless to say, I got a lot of responses on both social media accounts. My first thought after reading the essay was exactly what I said on twitter. This is BS.
I am bothered by a lot of things that Joni said in her essay. After reading her essay, I got the feeling that she could not be happy as a thin person. *Disclaimer: if I use the terms thin/skinny or fat, I am merely using them for simplicity. I am not using them as terms of judgement. I have no control over what makes Joni truly happy- only she has that power and responsibility. I will get back to the idea of happiness in a bit. One very obvious reason I was bothered by her essay is that she went about getting thin the wrong way. She did it in a way that no one should EVER try to lose weight. She had exercise bulimia. She was obsessed with her calorie intake and work outs. She was eating 1,000 calories a day. I am surprised she was able to run 35 miles a week, honestly. She was not fueling her body properly. She was exercising too much. I would never advocate either of those things for anyone. I have never suffered from an eating disorder but I have watched people close to me suffer. Eating disorders require professional help. It sounds like Joni receives professional help, which is great. I wish her only the best and hope she is able to heal from her struggles with food and body image.
Joni claims to be happier now that she is fat (again, HER words). This is where that little voice inside of me starts to say BS. Is she a happy person? I hope so. Do I believe she was unhappy running herself ragged and barely eating enough to function? You bet I do. Running 35 miles a week and barely eating enough for her body to survive does not sound like fun to me. I think it is safe to say most people would be unhappy in that situation. I totally understand how a person can be happier not obsessing over her food and work outs. However, again I will say SHE DID IT THE WRONG WAY. I got responses echoing Joni’s words. Some of my friends commented on how they have calorie counted and hated it. They feel guilty for eating certain foods. IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE THAT WAY. Want to enjoy a bowl of ice cream, slice of cake or whatever? Go for it. Just don’t do it everyday. Balance and moderation are key. I eat fairly clean but I still eat chips. In fact, I eat chips almost everyday. Here I am preaching moderation but I admit to eating chips almost everyday. I can see how you want want to say BS to me but when I say I eat chips, it is probably not even one serving. I get enough just for a taste of them except for when my husband buys Doritios. Dang it, I can’t have just a couple of Dortios. So do you know what I do? I rarely buy them. I do not want the temptation in my house and frankly, I do not like buying foods full of crap on a regular basis. But yes, I still buy them. Life is too short to not enjoy foods that you love. I would love to eat completely unprocessed but it isn’t going to happen and I am okay with that fact.
Life should not be about obsessing over food and work outs. Fitness boils down to a simple way of life. Eat well, treat yourself occasionally and be active in some way. That is it. Stop looking for the magic pill or quick fix to be bikini body ready. Summer is just around the corner, people! The magazines are already reminding us that we need to be bikini body ready! Get yo’ minds right! Quick! Buy the latest copy of some stupid fitness magazine that promises a toned tummy in just three simple moves! I am right with Joni on all of that and I hope you realize I am being sarcastic. I do not want this post to be about food and losing weight or not losing weight. Living a healthy lifestyle is really as simple as eating well and being active. Don’t buy those magazines promising something that will not happen because it is not possible. A “toned” (hate that word) tummy will never happen in three simple moves. I see a TON of companies playing into society’s body obsession. Stacy and I have already mentioned more than once that you will not see either of us advocating any of these companies. Again, there is no quick fix that is going to happen in 21 days. Yeah, I said it. Instead, Stacy and I eat REAL, wholesome food everyday.
Back to the happiness factor. I completely agree with Joni when she says thin does not mean happiness and fat does not mean sadness. Amen! I hate that today’s society views “skinny” as the goal of perfection. I have already expressed my thoughts on the term skinny. I am not going to go there again. I am also not going to touch the fact that being overweight is not healthy. Ok, I will for just a second. Here is what Joni does not realize (or at least she doesn’t seem to realize it but I guess I can’t make that judgement): thin does not equal healthy. Joni could be described as thin when she was a size four but she was NOT healthy. Why? SHE DID IT THE WRONG WAY. She may be happier that she is not counting every single thing that goes into her mouth. And I am SURE she is happy not having to run 35 miles in a week. Running 35 miles in a week definitely does not describe my happiness. However, I do not believe for a second that she is happy to be fat. Read her words here on that topic. I get what she is trying to say but I feel like her message has been garbled. I feel like she is glorifying the fact that she is no longer thin. She is being praised for gaining weight.
Body acceptance is hard. A lot of people struggle with it on some level. Let me be clear: body acceptance is important no matter what size or shape you are. You need to accept yourself and love yourself. YOU ARE ENOUGH. I am, in no way, saying you are less of a person if you are not thin. If you feel the need to treat food and exercise the way that Joni has, please seek professional help. It is NOT a healthy way to live. It will not make you happy.
One last thought to the response I got yesterday. I felt like I was not allowed to have an opinion on the issue because I am not overweight. Again, BS. Have I gained and lost weight? Yes. I get it. I get the frustration. Sure, it was on a completely different level than Joni as I have never been significantly overweight but I STILL GET IT. I still understand. I can still empathize. I felt like my thoughts as a thin person were of no value because I am “thin.” That is a load of CRAP. I never once judged Joni for being overweight. A lot of people are praising Joni for her words and yes, some words are meant to be praised. I agree that weight should not be a focus. Being thin should not mean someone has more value than an overweight person. I am NOT fat shaming. But as I saw yesterday, there is another side to this issue. Thin shaming is definitely prevalent today. In fact, someone privately messaged me with the same feelings- the whole “skinny bitch” attitude. Do not deny that it happens. So after all of these ramblings, I guess you could say I agree with Joni (some of her words, at least). I call BS on all of it. I am tired of size being such an important issue. Skinny is not the definition of health, happiness or perfection. Those who define skinny in those terms need help. If you are one of those people, please seek professional help.
I do not go to the gym more days than not because I want to be thin. I do it because I LOVE it. It makes me happy to sweat. I may complain while I am sprinting on the treadmill but I still love it. My trainer knows I love the crazy work outs that make me whine and complain. I really only whine and complain to bug him and pass the time. I have found that weight lifting is a great stress reliever and my time in the gym is the only time in the day I have for myself. I was going to end my post in the last paragraph but it reminds of another thing Joni said that really bothered me. She was constantly trying to find time to be in the gym rather than be with her family. She said that she spent hours a DAY working out. Again, SHE DID IT WRONG AND IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE THAT WAY. I think that is why her post bothered me so much. She approached fitness in the wrong way, the unhealthy way. Who has time to work out for multiple hours a day? No one! Who should work out for hours a day? Again, NO ONE. I do not feel guilty for spending time away from my family to go to the gym. In fact, most of my time spent in the gym is when my family is away from me. But if I do leave them, I do not feel guilty. I am not less of a mom because I go to the gym instead of being with my family. I do it the right way. I spend, on average, an hour at the gym. I NEED that time for myself. In fact, everyone NEEDS that time. We are all so busy. Life is hectic but you still need time nearly everyday to just do what YOU want to do. She stresses that she had to go to extremes to be thin. No. No, you do not have to go to extremes to be thin. You do not need to spend hours a day on the treadmill. You do not need to starve yourself. You do not need to deprive yourself of rest. She gave up that life and is being praised for it. That is why I call BS. She went from one extreme to the complete opposite extreme and claims to be happy. Bull shit.
Eat well, be active and treat yourself. It is that simple.