Shame, Shame, Shame

I used to blog all the time, then I gave it up in pursuit of other interests. I am finding that as the world continues to spiral out of control, my opinions are finding fewer and fewer places to go. So, guess what I did? I started blogging again. Yahoo!

I had no intention on starting a blog again, but there are just some things I can’t seem to let go. Today I saw an article about a mom who said, essentially, that if you aren’t fit after having kids, you are lazy. After reading the comments I couldn’t help but start typing away. Why do we take things so personally these days? If I hear the word “shaming” (i.e. “body-shaming,” “slut-shaming,” “fat-shaming,” ect.) I think I am going to vomit.

For one, having a healthy, fit body is nothing to be ashamed of. Why do we, especially as Americans, find such an aversion to keeping fit and healthy? I definitely fell off the wagon a few years ago, but I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve fallen behind and could use some work. I don’t find it offensive if someone says I am overweight. I am. It says it on my medical chart. And guess what, I have been lazy! I’m trying to change that, and I’m not doing it because of anyone else’s opinion, but because I am totally uncomfortable. I can’t breathe when I climb the stairs too fast, I have developed asthma, and everything hurts, not to mention feeling tired all the time. Honestly, I don’t know how a mother can be a good mother if she is not at least in shape. I’m not talking about being a body builder, or spending hours in the gym, I’m saying having a healthy body, eating right, taking care of yourself, and exercising. How can you take care of someone else and raise them to be a healthy adult when you aren’t even attempting to be one yourself? I don’t have kids and I already find myself worn out. I couldn’t imagine chasing a child around. I wouldn’t have the energy–unless of course I was exercising and had a high fitness level.

Are some people hindered by medical conditions or mental health problems? Certainly. I’d be willing to bet these people are more the exception than the rule. Even with health problems, there are modifications one can do. Also, if you are seriously ill, I would bet that you are seeing a doctor regularly. Any doctor with a patient who actively wants to commit to a healthier diet and exercise plan would be ecstatic. Most of them will even help you figure out a plan to reach your goals (and if they won’t, maybe you need a new doctor!). Honestly, healthy eating and regular exercise might even release you from the burden of some chronic diseases such as asthma, high blood pressure, and diabetes.

You say you are in too much pain to exercise? I guarantee that if you continue to exercise, that pain will decrease. Losing a little extra weight will also eliminate some of the stress on your bones and joints. Sure it’s going to suck for a while, especially if you have been out of the game for a while. Try some modifications and go slow. In time, things will get easier.

You don’t have to be a total gym rat or ignore your family to be fit. Go outside and play with the kids, take walks, trade TV time for a tennis match, go play catch, try a new outdoor activity like kayaking, hiking, or rock climbing, take a kickboxing class, challenge your significant other to a game of 1 on 1, play an Xbox Kinect game, do SOMETHING. Don’t want to? Fine, then own it. Just because you don’t want to exercise and take time to be healthy doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with that way of life. And if you are happy being obese, that is fine too, but it doesn’t change the fact that you ARE OBESE. And if your obesity is causing you problems, but you don’t want to do anything to fix it, then the rest of us don’t want to hear how tired and awful you feel all the time.

The thing that bothers me the most is how people take things extremely personally and then want to throw out every excuse in the book. Don’t say someone is overweight, they might be sick. Don’t say someone’s child is unruly, they may be autistic. Don’t say someone is lazy, they may have mental illness. The lists go on and on. Are some people sick/autistic/mentally ill? Absolutely. Doesn’t change facts. We are so afraid of facts now on the basis that they might offend. What ever happened to critical thinking?

I learned some valuable lessons as a child. I was made fun of a lot. My parents taught me to love myself. If someone called me a name, I would think about it. If they called me overweight, I had a few choices: I could cry about it, which does nothing, I could use it as motivation to lose weight if I wanted to, or I could just simply say I’m happy with who I am and move on. There have been situations where bullying has helped me become a better individual. I also learned that most people who talk about others do it because they have issues with themselves. No sense in me taking that personally. Other people’s opinions do give you a chance to think though. Maybe you really didn’t notice that you were packing on some pounds. That person pointing it out might just be able to give you a little perspective on the situation. I love food, cupcakes make me happy, and my weight is none of your concern, moving on. Or, man, I really have let myself go lately, maybe I should try that new salad I’ve been eyeing instead of taking another trip through the McDonald’s drive-thru.

People are so afraid of facts. Words leave bruises and scars. What is happening to this world? How are we going to be good people if we are always happy with the status quo? I see nothing wrong with analyzing the opinions of others and ourselves to help us change for the better. Don’t like the way someone is doing something? Try leading by example. Teach your kids how to make healthy choices from a young age so it isn’t so hard on them to change their ways later. Maybe no one taught you the way, but it’s not too late to learn and pass it on.

No matter what you look like, how you act, what your family is like, ect. someone out there will like you for you. Believe me, people from all walks of life have managed to find love and companionship. The best love and companionship comes from within. Once you master that one, others will gravitate toward you. Loving yourself doesn’t mean ignoring health because “you’re ok just the way you are,” it means being able to recognize when something does, or does not need a change. It means being able to make healthy decisions for your body, your mental health, your family, your community, and beyond. If you are comfortable just the way you are, that is great, but don’t close yourself off from positive feedback, critical thinking, and change. What is good for you today may not be good for you in 20 years. Take a regular inventory of yourself. Is your job fulfilling? Are you lacking a skill you desire? Are you in tune with your family? Are you finding that your health is failing? Are you experiencing more stress than usual? All of these things can be clues to our own bodies and experiences, and shutting off because of “what ifs” will not make any kind of positive change.

It is not shaming to say that people who are overweight are hurting themselves. Those that are too skinny face the same issues. It is not wrong to distance yourself from people who choose not to live a healthy lifestyle when you are trying to maintain yours. No one would blame a recovering alcoholic for staying away from his old drunk friends. No one should blame you for saying you are trying to stay healthy and don’t want to hang around with unhealthy people because it is distracting you from your path. If you want  something, go get it and stop making excuses; if you don’t want it, let it go. I’m not recommending that you go point out everyone’s flaws, but some things and opinions are worth mentioning. Some random person’s opinion isn’t really all that important anyway, is it? Then again, you did just read this entire blog…

*~*MR*~*

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