The misuse and misinterpretation of the media is as consistent as time.
At a time where the media seems flooded with self-confessed “social influencers” using their “powers of persuasion” to promote cosmetics, clothing and other products devoid of any social or humanitarian benefit, it seems odd that as a society, we are so indignantly opinionated and compelled to comment on all social media updates with our 2cents worth. Empathy, compassion, kindness and general human decency seem to be out of most people’s price range in the interpersonal skills department.
Instead of investing any time or energy into attempting to convert the masses or force feed my beliefs to those who have others, I enjoy open conversations to unravel the layers of motivation. Whatever the belief is, I am more interested in the process and inner workings of the mind that got there. I have noticed an increase in the presence of keyboard dictators, (the term “warriors” sounds somewhat courageous and I feel that is not warranted, even if meant sarcastically.) I am intrigued to try and understand the mind of an “influencer” who demands control through aggression, criticism, and abuse. In my experience, when questions pertaining to their approach are asked, a typical response is a personal attack completely off topic designed to shut down the discussion. (Unpeterbing for myself but I can see how this behavior would intimidate others, for that reason I choose to challenge this approach)
There is a lot to support the benefits of the schooling curriculum assessing peoples social intelligence in addition to their math, science and English capabilities.
“Body Image”… whether you insert the words “positive” or “issue” on either side of it, this term has been completely exploited to the extent that should someone be so bold or brazen as to even utter these words as a spectator, they will be verbally crucified for “body shaming” (which I interpret as the person accusing you of “body shaming” feeling shame and projecting that shame or guilt into you.)
This is the elephant in the room of most social scenarios and I think it is healthy to have an open, non-judgemental discussion about the deteriorating health of the nation, mentally and physically. As an athlete, fitness professional, health ambassador, and mum of a young boy and girl “I WILL NOT SUPPORT THE CURRENT BODY POSITIVE MOVEMENT” That shouldn’t be an issue for anyone else. That is my opinion. Founded on facts and the future I want for my children.
It is important for everyone to feel happy and healthy. Being healthy does not mean conforming to the trending shape or size for any given season. It does mean having a healthy lifestyle and quality of life that is enjoyable, without ongoing health complications, organ failure and dependency on medical equipment such as dialysis, to live.
I want to believe that the motivation behind the body positive movement, also referred to as “fat activism” was well-intentioned to empower people, women specifically, to resist social pressures to be “supermodels” or achieve an unrealistic existence as fantasied by fashion magazines. Thankfully the extreme skinniness of the “cocaine and cigarettes” diet for models of the best coat hanger impersonations era is no longer “in vogue” (no “skinny shaming” is intended.) The point I want to make very clear is that ANY extreme is unhealthy. Showcasing being overweight and even obese as a “positive body image” is irresponsible at best and genuinely harmful to the public who embrace this as an opportunity to continue to eat and drink themselves into their graves. Please note: Being super-sized and telling people you feel comfortable with that is not a superpower. It shows the strength of character and a strong mindset but it does not change the fact that anyone holding excessive weight poses serious health risks. The following are listed on the Australian kidney website stating that; “The greater the waist size the greater the risk” of the following health problems:
High blood pressure
Certain types of cancer
Kidney disease and kidney failure
For those who are particularly committed to their “body positive movement” and are heavily overweight or obese, I encourage you to read some more about the extent of the health problems your body is facing. How you feel and what you think mentally about your body and how your body feels physically, can evidently be two very different things. https://www.niddk.nih.
Everyone deserves to be comfortable in their body. Everyone also has a responsibility to maintain a healthy existence so as not to cause harm to themselves and others, including the domino effect of the financial strain the economy bares in the medical sector, inflating as quickly as the general population’s weight gain. It is the paradigm of our time to acknowledge the paradox of extreme famine in some parts of the world while others are literally eating themselves into an obesity epidemic. While this is due to a combination of factors, our convenient lifestyle now delivering fast food and exercise equipment that sends electronic shocks to make our muscles involuntarily contract, could we get any more static (or lazy) if we wanted to? At this rate, I forecast for the future that we will be consuming our fast food in liquid form through tubes to save on chewing… instead of getting to that vegetated state, now is a pivotal time to separate body image from actual health and well being.
How you see yourself is important, your emotional and mental wellbeing is important. As is you exercising kindness towards yourself and others. My concern is less superficially based and more focused on the actual health aspects. How you are physically on the health scale is not a judgment, it is a health warning that should be taken seriously and incorporated in your lifestyle choices.
The standard suggestions list on several sites advising “weight loss” is:
1. See a doctor
2. Get medication (presumably Duromine or other appetite suppressants)
3. Start exercising.
This widely available advice is as concerning for me like the problem of promoting obesity. It is my firm belief as a health professional that: YOU DO NOT NEED TO BE MEDICATED TO CONTROL YOUR HABITS (*except in extreme cases, as per the discretion of the doctor.) You need to work with people who are trained to help people establish healthy sustainable lifestyle choices. In extreme cases of excessive weight, more extreme measures may need to be taken however prescriptions should not be a stock standard process for every patient wanting to lose weight.
Shake diets are not the answer, neither is binge eating or fasting. You need to work through why you have the current relationship that you do with food and what little steps, through substitution (and then elimination) you can take to improve your lifestyle. I am 100 percent in support of healthy body image however I feel that has been misplaced and misused to make a serious health issue sweeping the nation, socially acceptable- if not “the new black” (trending) FAT IS NOT THE NEW BLACK. Celebrate curves, celebrate your shape but don’t abuse your body or the media hype to conceal the harm you are causing to yourself and your body. I am pleading with the body positive movement activists to please stop using your bodies as billboards to express your anger, protesting against other movements. Instead of putting your body on the line, consider using your passion in other forms of communication to have your voice heard. Happiness and health go hand in hand, it is hard to be happy when you are hurting but when you are healthy your happiness is often a byproduct. Neither can exist without the other for long. Instead of being a martyr be a trailblazer and create your own trend, dedicated to achieving optimal health and happiness. That is the body positive movement I want to see for my children~
If anything in this article has triggered thoughts or feeling please speak to a professional regarding your response and view this link,m: *https://www.psychologytoday.
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Tazs' passion for health and fitness has seen her diversify her specialties from athletics and rowing to scuba diving, rock climbing, functional training and mountaineering. Despite several achievements, including summitting Mt Acongagua, in Argentina, in 2018, her greatest achievement is being a strong role model for her children and empowering people to empower themselves to establish sustainable lifestyle choices.
Above all Taz wants to impart a strong message that everyone should own their choices and have a cause greater than themselves.
"If you have the ability to help someone, do it!" Taz Dunstan.
Latest posts by Taz Dunstan
- Training harder is not smarter – a fitness professionals insight into the endocrine system - March 4, 2019
- Fat is not the new black - January 21, 2019