From fat shaming to fat glorification

Meyken Houppermans, PhD. CrossFit Level 3 Trainer.
Founder and Head Coach
Fat shaming is not ok, neither is fat glorification. Healthy living is actually really boring.

Thin is the standard

Being thin has been the standard for years. Millions of people have been following one after another diet massively, ever since World War II. At first, fat was our biggest enemy. Then carbs were the enemy, but fat was ok. Then it was the combination of products and we were no longer aloud to eat a potato with our steak. Not to mention crazy excesses such as the ‘ egg-wine ‘-diet where you eat almost exclusively those two products. Or the HcG diet where you inject hormones from urine of pregnant women in combination with a crash diet. (Are you on a Fad diet?)

Nowadays sugar, gluten and dairy seem to be the enemy and we need to eat vegan and natural and so- called superfoods (Superfoods are not that super), or we need to take supplements and vitamin shots (Do you need supplements?), or do Detox diets (Detox, non- sense). One trend is that we also need to be fit and muscular, because according to this trend, strong is the new skinny. Let’s see how we think about this in 20 years from now.

A healthy balance is a long way off

Obesity has become a world wide severe and growing health problem. At the same time, the diet industry has become a multimillion dollar business. People who want to lose weight are looking for a quick fix, whether this is a diet, pill, shot or surgical intervention. Key in quick fixes is that they only work for a short period of time, afterwhich people fall back into old habits and gain weight again. This is often the start of a vicious cycle of dieting and weight gain. In over 90% of the cases people are back at their start weight after a year.

Many have becomer cash-cows of the diet industry. Apparently many are ok with that because no one wants to  hear: “Listen, you just eat too much unhealthy food and you do not exercise enough". In most cases, there is no magic pill. It’s just thedead boring a fact of eating healthier and less and exercise more. (Assuming no underlying medical problems and severe obesity where eating less and exercising more are only a small part of the solution).

Alarming is that boundaries of what is acceptable to reach a certain weight or a certain look, seems to be fading. People are taking increasingly bigger risks to lose weight or look a certain way. Witness the fact that it is becoming more normal to have a gastric band. It is even being advertised on tv.

Counter movement

More than half of the Dutch population is overweight. We cannot expect this to change for the better the upcoming years. The consequence of this trend is not only the  growth of the diet industry focused on weight loss, but also the emerge of a counter movement:

A new industry focussed on accepting overweight/ obesity. From fat shaming to fat glorification. Being overweight has almost become the new standard. What used to be considered an overweight woman is now called a curvy woman.

Excessive body weight is increasingly being reframed. First is was mainly associated with being unhealthy. Today it is becoming more common in the media that people who are overweight also very healthy and that it is very important to accept the way we look.

And then I frown...

Because someone with obesity may have no health issues today, but does have an increased risk to develop chronic conditions later in life (More body fat increases risk of cancer). Of course it is very important to accept the way you look. But virtually no one is born with excessive body weight. It is a rather fatalistic mindset to think that you are overweight and will be for the rest of your life.

The solution is very boring

Fat shaming is not ok. Neither is fat glorification.

Trends are going a bit crazy, in both unhealthy ways: On the one hand the excessive focus on ‘healthy’ living and on the other hand the blurring of standards and the fatalism around being overweight. A healthy balance seems off.

Balance is the road to a healthy life. Exercising regularly, reducing stress and going to bed on time, eating healthy most of the time. Healthy living is very very boring. Not a quick fix, not something that sells.

Create your own health!©