Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Blogging every day

I thought it might be a good idea, even though I'm sure I won't keep it up for long. Apathy is my defining characteristic, after all. But even if some of the entries are lameish, the totality of product will build up so quickly, that it's got to be worth it. At least I'll get that warm feeling of accomplishment.

Conveniently, today I have something to talk about. Yesterday, I watched the Biggest Loser, and those people are gross. I know there's always a story behind any particular person's obesity (stress, bad genes, sedentary lifestyle, metabolism issues). But you know what else is behind every obesity? Lots of eating. Eating too much. Eating when you're full, and what I find nastiest: eating when you're full and you're already fat. All of these people, for at least a year, have been really fat, really overweight, and chosen to keep getting fatter! And now, they're all a sad bunch, with no motivation, no sense of self.

And here's the thought: more and more lately, we hear that everyone's self-esteem needs to be boosted, that the worst thing about the "obesity epidemic" is the low self-esteem and feelings of guilt that all the fat people harbor. But we don't hear enough about self-control. The two can't be separated! Only when you esteem and respect yourself and your body can you be expected to work at taking care of yourself. True. But most people never think about the converse, which is also true: if you don't work to take care of yourself and your body, you will inevitably lose self-respect. (and understandably so... take the Mean Girls exchange:
Gretchen: "In the United States and England, 7 out of 10 girls have a negative body image."
Regina George: "Who cares? 6 of those girls are right!")
Well, yes, you're basically right, Regina. We can't just go around convincing people that they look great and healthy if they don't.

Here's the deal: feeling good helps you work hard, and working hard helps you feel good. Everybody agree? Good. The reality is that we can't just spontaneously feel better whether we're in good shape (in my experience). But you CAN start to work hard without feeling better.

So spread the word. Don't worry about your self-esteem, worry about losing weight, and as soon as you've lost just a little, you've started yourself on a nice little cycle. Soon you'll be Lance Armstrong (I don't know anyone else who is so in shape and so knows it-- I think he's kind of a bitch, actually).

The four-hundred pound kid who works with us (I say kid; he's less than a year younger than I) is nicknamed Darth because his breathing is so heavy he sounds like Darth Vader. Only a very very few people know this nickname, and I never felt guilty about it. I think probably I still don't. But this morning, after watching Biggest Loser last night, I hear that he spends almost all his day playing video games and looking at pictures of fit/buff young men. I don't know what to make of it. I just have no idea.

The thing that I don't like-- I know everyone has his vices to struggle with, and a lot of times, everyone fails-- but people whose vice is overeating look markedly different from everyone else with every other vice. And they look gross. And I'm sure they know it, and it's not anyone's job to tell anyone else about his vices. But I think we should stop going out of our way to tell them to be happy with themselves.

Smokers are just as unhealthy, but no-one ever runs ad campaigns to tell smokers they're beautiful just as they are, or they should love themselves, and we accept you for who you are, or if you can't quit, we know how hard it is, and the most important thing is to feel good about yourself.

No. If you smoke too much, stop. If you're fat, lose weight. And get back to me about your feelings when you're done.

Can you imagine a series of anti-obesity commercials like the anti-smoking ads out now, showing how many people die, what a fat person's arteries look like, the cost of triple bypass surgery, or (sick) gastric bypass surgery? Show a bunch of orphans whose parents ate themselves to death? What kind of hue and cry would that trigger? Maybe I should start one.


crysOakleee said...

I love The Biggest Loser. I think it is such a great show, and I always get really involved with all the characters. Those people know they have a problem and they are there to do something about it.

You know why confession is so great? Because you can admit that you made a mistake, and you're going to try to do better, but you'll probably keep making the same stupid, stupid mistakes over and over again, but God loves you anyway really, really much. And so even when you are a complete self-indulgent sinner (whether your weakness be gluttany or something else) it's ok. I mean, you have to try to do better, you really do. But also, you probably wont be that good at doing better. And it's ok.

People that are huge and wear bikinis and insist that their weight is just as unchangeable as their skin color, should be shot. But people that admit they have a problem and want to get help (like Biggest Loser contestants) make me want to cry.

And the fact that their struggle with their concupiscent tendancies is more visible to the world than the rest of ours, probably makes it all the harder and is all the more humiliating.

fort knocks said...

I like the Biggest Loser too. I watch it, and I like it. But (1)those people are unpleasant to see at first, and (2) I think fat people, compared to smokers for example, are encouraged in the wrong way too often. I don't think they're encouraged too much; I think people who are trying to encourage them are actually just blowing smoke up their butts.