An acquaintance of mine, who knows what I do for a living and partially understands it, likes to tell me what he knows about the study of weight, food, etc. It is his way of bonding with me and supporting me. I appreciate it.
Yet because he only partially understands, I often tense a little when he brings up the topic. It can be difficult to listen to people share mainstream ideas and negative judgments that reveal that they really don’t understand. I hear this from my clients all the time and I feel it myself.
Therefore, I tense up a bit and move into a position of preparation for possible confrontation. I usually weigh the options. Am I in the mood to confront his beliefs? Is he open to it? Where might it lead and am I open to that? These are all considerations I take when dealing with this issue. After all, there are many varied opinions out there, a lot of incorrect information and it isn’t my job to confront everyone about it. Nor do I want it to be.
One day he was telling me of a study he read to which results showed that just by sampling the inside of someone’s mouth, they could tell if a person is fat “even when the person sampling is blindfolded.” Of course my first reaction was who cares if a person is fat! But I took a breath and inquired further. He explained that they could tell from a certain bacteria in the mouth that pointed to this person eating fat-causing foods (whatever that means).
“What?” I asked. “So what they are saying is that all fat people eat the same food?” Now I was irritated. Not only at the absurdity of this type of study but also at the assumption that only fat people eat these foods and that all fat people do.
I could tell that he heard my question and also realized the conflict. However, instead of acknowledging that I had a point, he back peddled and defended this study. Of course he did, I thought. We are so prone to believe what we are told especially when it fits into our already established way of thinking that it must be true.
This is so common. Until about 5 years ago, I too believed that being fat was unhealthy. I thought that the goal should be to be thin. Yet, deep down inside, I knew that wasn’t true but only what I had always been told, even by my mentor.
One day I found the book Fat?So! and realized that I had been fed a line of BS and all this time I believed it. I was mad. I realized what I knew deep down inside. Something was wrong with the picture I had been given and I set out to correct it.
I went to work. I started my research. I found a lot of really great information: research, books, articles, loads of stuff that reported that the concept that to be thin is healthy and to be fat is unhealthy is just not true.
This fit. It just made sense. Of course you can be healthy and happy and wonderful no matter what size your body. After all, don’t we all look different? We are tall and short, blonde and brunette, white and black, small feet and big feet (I always like to include this one because I have big feet), fat and thin, and everywhere in between.
Now it is your turn. Do your own research. Get out of your current way of thinking. Become a critical thinker.
So much information you hear is false. I know, it is crazy to image that we are being lied to. How can it be? Who would spread lies that actually cause harm to people?
So many people do and will. There is a lot of money to be made in the business of convincing people to diet. What better way than to make you believe that you will die if you don’t. They know that you don’t have time to inspect every piece of research they put out. So they lie about their findings. They really do.
You can become a critical thinker and go below the surface.
Think about who will gain from this study. Think about how it fits for you, your reality; your intuition. Think about who paid for the study or information. Think about how little time your doctor has to research all the different diseases. Think about how easy it has been to blame food and weight on all the problems of the world and realize that it can’t be that simple. Think critically.
In my quest to find the truth, or at least to give me a different perspective, I found books, articles, blogs, websites that I like. Here are some of my favorites:
• Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight by Linda Bacon, Ph.D.
• Fat?So!: Because You Don’t Have to Apologize for Your Size by Marilyn Wann
• The Obesity Myth: Why America’s Obsession with Weight is Hazardous to Your Health by Paul Campos
Websites and Blogs:
There are so many others. Check these out. Find your own.
Fill yourself with the possibility that you are wonderful just the way you are, no matter what your size, shape, appearance. …because you are!