Are we obsessed with our weight?

A number of a scale shouldn’t define anyone, but health should be a factor

By Kelly Hockenberry, Columnist, The Times

UTKellyColumn copyJoni Edelman is a blogger and mother of five who recently created a firestorm of controversy when she wrote about her experience of gaining weight and finding happiness as a result. Click here to read her post:

I read it and it bothers me. Why does our country obsess over the idea that your weight defines who you are? On BOTH ends of the spectrum (heavy or thin), it is simply untrue. Although, I do think that an easier argument can be made that losing weight, if done in a healthy way, improves quality of life. If you feel better, can move around more easily, have better stamina and energy, it is a safe bet that you will be happier, overall. This is a matter of physiology, not vanity.

Edelman’s position is that at 123 pounds she was “obsessive” about her weight. Logging miles on the treadmill, counting every calorie, self-loathing about her reflection in the mirror, she was consumed by her thinness. Understandable. I think it is apparent that this lifestyle choice would make a person rather miserable.

The article goes on to say that after being treated for bipolar depression (a SIGNIFICANT point, in my opinion), Joni gained weight. She postulates that the additional pounds to her frame released her from the stigma society has created regarding body image. She was finally “fat and happy.”

Hold on a minute.

While I would NEVER suggest that the regime Joni relied upon to stay at 123 pounds was a healthy one, I believe it to be equally unhealthy to espouse the belief that letting weight creep on is a good thing. The backlash against people who work hard to stay fit and fight the aging process is relentless. It is considered shallow to be concerned with your appearance or to actively take steps to retain a youthful approach to life. Yet, ironically, our nation is more than half full of people with significant weight to lose. It has a devastating impact on our healthcare system and our economy. So, while it may be a shame that advertisers embrace an airbrushed philosophy to sell their products, it obviously is not causing many to put down their Big Macs.

How about instead of suggesting that we just “let go” and eat what we want, drink what we want and exercise when the mood strikes, we encourage people to educate themselves about the power of a healthy lifestyle? If we can do that, perhaps we WILL end up happy. Happy to have control over our bodies and the quality of food we put into it.

What do YOU think? Please leave your thoughts in the comment section below!

Happy Weekend!

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