Sunday, April 06, 2008

The Me I See

When you look in the mirror, do you like what you see?

"The body is a big sagacity, a plurality with one sense, a war and a peace, a flock and a shepherd."

--Friedrich Nietzsche

"Wisdom begins at the end."
--Daniel Webster

Body image is an interesting thing. I was reading a friend's blog and it struck me how so much value and worth, pain and dread, effort and money are afforded to a subjective, insubstantial thing. Body image is, after all, just a perception. Most people's opinion of their own body is not aligned with the reality of their actual figure. That being said (or typed), much of our self-worth is wrapped up in that perception.

I have never been fat (or to use the preferred term, obese). In fact, I have always been the antithesis of fat. And whereas it is all but taboo to call someone fat, it is perfectly alright to call someone skinny. Being thin used to bother me. I "topped out" at 135lbs as a freshman in high school and did not gain another pound - despite every effort to do so - until I was in my 30's. I don't pretend that my flip-side-of-the-weight-coin makes me good at understanding people trying to loose weight, but body image is body image. And most people need to take a step back.

As my friend pointed out in her blog,
various measurements are routinely taken at health clinics and then certain labels are often (arbitrarily) assigned - underweight, healthy weight, overweight, obese - without regard to eating and exercise habits or consideration of a level of fitness or a myriad of other factors.

If anything, the "obesity epidemic" is one of too much emphasis on
weight and numbers without regard to eating habits, exercise patterns and other lifestyle choices. It is a belief that there is such thing as an “ideal body weight” based on height. The “ideal” of what our body looks like is based on body type, bone structure, muscle mass, genetics, what weight at which we feel our best and what weight our body tends to want to maintain.

We should all stop weighing ourselves and spend more time celebrating the miracle of our bodies and the marvelous things we can do with them. Let's MOVE and enjoy. Walk. Swim. Climb. Dance. Bike. Run. Not because it something we have to do, but because it is fun and makes us feel great!
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