Friday, January 15, 2010
Fat: Finding the Balance in America
Americans are fat.
If they aren't fat, they're very skinny. Hollywood skinny. Anorexic.
And then, there are people like me. I'm not skinny, thank you very much. But I'm not fat either, even though there are days I'm convinced otherwise.
Diet 'experts' (the skinny people on TV) tell you that you need to lose your belly fat, hip fat, butt fat, thigh fat, neck fat...all of it. It's almost as if we shouldn't have any fat on our bodies whatsoever. And if we do, then we should buy their product, try their diet, or do their 'exercises'. I'm tired of listening to those people. I'm tired of hearing people fall for diet fads.
Americans, in general, use magazine covers and Hollywood stars as their guide for what is beautiful, what is popular, hot new trends and next season's line of lip gloss. Fortunately for me, I know better. I know Lindsay Lohan is unhealthy-even though most think she's beautiful. I also know Christina Aguilera will never be a size 2 (and she knows that too!) because that isn't how her body was made-she's got hips! But most of the population just sees skinny girls and rock hard guys walking down the red carpet and think, "that is what I need to look like to be beautiful and happy."
Where do we draw the line when it comes to our bodies?
Two years ago I went on a vegetarian diet for about 6 months. I also started running around that time. I lost 10 pounds. I thought I looked great! But once I moved in with my boyfriend and started to eat more, I started to gain weight. Even though I ate healthy and still went to the gym. It wasn't until I trained with someone this fall that I realized my 'healthy lifestyle' wasn't so healthy. Not eating enough protein and running, without lifting weights caused my body to eat my muscle. Not my fat. So then, once I started to eat better and more often, my body couldn't burn the extra calories. Now I've gained about 10 pounds of muscle, I may not be as 'small' as I was before, but I'm healthy. And I look like what my body wants to be-I have hips and they want to be shone off!
There is a general rule that skinny is beautiful. When in reality, being healthy is beautiful. It comes in many shapes and sizes!
Two-thirds of American Adults are overweight. One-third of children are overweight. This is finally starting to level off. But we are still a long way from being a healthy nation. Losing weight is incredibly difficult. It takes determination, motivation, desire, will, a lot of sweating and a lot of convincing your mind to think that you just don't need that donut.
Most Americans will die overweight. Losing the extra weight is just impossible when there are fast food restaurants everywhere. Every social gathering is surrounded by half-price deep-fried apps, high calorie alcoholic drinks...Food galore! Resisting the urge is excruciatingly difficult.
Then there are those that believe the quick weight-loss diet plans will work. Unfortunately, weight doesn't stay gone forever. Most people gain one-third of their weight loss weight back within a year of losing it.
Let's face it, change is tough.
There is only one way to lose weight. Intake vs. output. Healthy eating and exercise. Muscle gain and fat loss. ...Get my drift?? But this is also hard to do!
Most people who need to lose 50 pounds or more don't just go on a diet. They go on a weight-loss journey. They need to be educated about what they need to change, about what needs to happen in order to lose the weight. Then, they need to work their asses off (literally). In the end, they change their complete lifestyle. It's quite the challenge. I've been following my good friend, Tralle, in his blog about his journey to lose 100 Pounds. He's in the early stages and has seen success, but struggles every day to stay focused on the end goal. You can join him on his journey here.
In the end, it will take decades to reverse the damage fast food has done to our nation, our arteries and our way of living. It will take even longer for people to realize that beauty is not about being the smallest, or having stick-straight hips. It is about being healthy-allowing your body to look the way it was meant to. For some that means being stick thin and still being able to eat a burger everyday. For others, that means we just might need to enjoy our curves a little more.