Do you engage in social media, such as Twitter or Facebook?
If so, then odds are you have seen the explosive debates over “fat shaming.”
If not, it is the debate of: should people be publicly shamed for being overweight?
Well… should people be shamed for their weight?
On one side, people adamantly express that overweight people should be ridiculed into losing their weight.
At the other end, people insist that some are “just born that way,” “have big bones,” and are genetically predisposed to obesity. “They cannot help being that big.”
In the middle, there are people who understand the health risks of obesity. They would not encourage obesity. They also do not feel that any good will come by shaming.
And what began as fat acceptance and body positive is now a bulging market trend.
These phrases have been heralded as loving support for those battling obesity. But it is also a clever marketing ploy; all salesmen understand that big sales come from people who want the easy solution.
The easiest solution is to not do anything. So some of the marketers behind body positive encourage people to not do anything about their weight, and to feel good about that.
“You go girl! You don’t have to change for ANYONE!”
What I would love to see, are companies that support people of all sizes – but actively encourage them to shed excess weight.
Back to the subject at hand. Is there any merit to fat shaming?
Should we foster fat acceptance?
You should know, my perspective was skewed by cancer
When I was blindsided by cancer, I had to change a lot of things. Diet, lifestyle, all re-arranged.
In a life-threatening situation like that, everything gets put into a different perspective. You’ve got to do what it takes to survive. Nothing is off the table for examination. Everything that’s harming you must go, otherwise you’ll die.
So, you’ll have to forgive me for being blunt about a few things.
It was my poor decisions that led to my development of cancer at such a young age. It was wise decisions that pulled me off my deathbed and into a brighter world.
A tough thing to admit. It’s our choices that put us in the current situation we’re in.
Genetic expression is a fascinating field of science. In short, the food we eat, environment we live in, what we expose to our bodies, flips a myriad of genetic switches on or off.
Every person’s state of health is sculpted by this process, for better or worse. For instance, my cancer was 100% self-inflicted.
It’s real hard, for me at least, to admit that you are (or were) killing yourself. So much easier to point and blame something else.
Coming so close to death, you cannot afford to play the blame game. There is not enough time. You will die, still pointing at others, instead of yourself.
Could my cancer scare have been prevented by shaming? Should I have been “cancer shamed?”
A very provocative question.
Obesity and chronic degenerative diseases like cancer are proven to be largely preventable. People should be motivated to make the right choices.
But… I don’t think you can be shamed, by others, into making those changes. It has to come from within. You have to want it truly and deeply. Way down in the deepest chambers of your existence.
It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks or says. They can’t change your life for you. If somebody would have tried to cancer shame me, I’d probably have punched them in the face. And continued to give myself cancer.
(Ironically… the self-shame I harbored about cancer was fierce. Nobody could have shamed me more than I was already ashamed. That’s why I became obsessed with reversing my health into the positive.)
Trust me, you’d much rather be fit than fat
Here’s the real problem: obesity kills. And it makes life miserable in the meantime. Unfortunately, the majority of Americans are struggling with this.
According to the National Institutes of Health…
Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2009–2010 2, 3
- More than 2 in 3 adults are considered to be overweight or obese.
- More than 1 in 3 adults are considered to be obese.
- More than 1 in 20 adults are considered to have extreme obesity.
- About one-third of children and adolescents ages 6 to 19 are considered to be overweight or obese.
- More than 1 in 6 children and adolescents ages 6 to 19 are considered to be obese.
Overweight and obesity are risk factors for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and other health problems such as those listed below.
- type 2 diabetes
- heart disease
- high blood pressure
- nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (excess fat and inflammation in the liver of people who drink little or no alcohol)
- osteoarthritis (a health problem causing pain, swelling, and stiffness in one or more joints)
- some types of cancer: breast, colon, endometrial (related to the uterine lining), and kidney
Other research shows that over 300,000 deaths a year are due to obesity. It earned a position as the second leading cause of preventable death in the US. Tobacco still reigns supreme in the top spot.
1 in 5 deaths in the US are related to excess weight.
And have you seen the exploding incidence of childhood diabetes? Adult-onset diabetes in children!
Several decades ago, type-2 diabetes was extremely rare in kids.
But, now 1 in 3 of our kids are overweight. And that fuels type-2 diabetes in children.
I am not entertained in shaming. But I sure as hell don’t support the extreme poles of body positive, the ones who insist that no weight needs to be lost.
This is for the same reason I don’t support cancer positive.
Or support the blatant use of cigarettes.
Remember when cigarette ads were targeted towards children? Who, exactly did that benefit?
Nobody should be encouraged to get cancer.
Nobody should be encouraged to be fat. It is not glamorous.
Every day that someone chooses to contribute to their cancer, or obesity, they could instead take steps in the other direction. Remember, genetic expression.
The vast majority of people who are overweight are choosing to miss out. They are missing out on the opportunity to be healthier, more active and happier.
Obesity is not an unwanted inheritance – it’s built on daily choices
Have you seen this controversial, thought-provoking obesity PSA? It’s emotionally charged and guaranteed to shake up thoughts on fat acceptance.
This short, powerful obesity PSA will stir up your thoughts and feelings.
I won’t be shaming anyone for being obese.
But I sure as hell won’t encourage people to get obese or stay obese.
First off, I hope people find happiness and confidence with their current state of health and fitness. The You that’s here right now.
What comes second is equally important – start moving from your current state to your ideal state.
Whether it’s to shed excess weight, build muscle, jump higher, excel at a sport, build a business, raise a family, or any other goal, we should always be encouraged to make ourselves better. Each and every day.
Who knows how long you, me, or anyone else will be here.
Do you want to be miserable, like the obese man in the PSA?
Or vibrant, healthy, and happy?
The choice is yours.
– Derek Wolf
PS. If you’re looking to lose some weight, there are two things I highly recommend. This comes after deliberately manipulating my weight between 190lbs and 245lbs, over the years.
#1 Intermittent fasting – Only eating during a set window of time. Such as eating during 11am – 7pm only and “fasting” during the rest of the day, which includes your sleeping hours. This boosts your metabolism, helps balance insulin resistance, and especially when combined with the next tip, makes fat-loss a lot easier.
#2 Eat a “paleo” diet – a fancy way of saying eat wholesome foods that grow from the ground or are raised wild or pastured, eliminate processed foods and grains and refined sugars, cut way back on starchy carbs (breads, pastas), eat a moderate amount of healthy fats and proteins. Go big on fresh and cooked vegetables. Fruit and nuts make great snacks.