Saturday, January 30, 2016

Is Healthy the New Skinny? or What Are They Selling Now?

I feel like the pressure is mounting, as if there is both a weight pressing down and an ever-tightening
coil about to spring free...and not in a good way. What am I talking about?

The constant frantic media blitz about "getting healthy."

I'm talking about all of it: the blog posts (yes, I see the irony), the social media buzz, the articles, the advertisements, the books, the new "get healthy" products and systems that come out year after nauseating year.

Scroll through your Facebook feed and you'll see a ton of posts and advertisements about weight loss, eating clean, getting healthy, blah blah blah. I'm over it. Sooooooo over it. Everyone's publishing her "memoirs" on body image and healthy living.

I confess. I've been working on a book, too, but I am chucking the idea...for now.

It's like this: "Healthy" has become the new "skinny". And this new wave of advice, products, and systems is no more healthy than the ridiculous crash diets and the painfully skewed beauty ideals of the last fifty years. Why? Because it's feeding a mental state of unease.

Come on. You know it's true. My friends in the fitness biz have argued, heatedly I might add, against this, but then we'll sit next to each other at a conference where the speaker is preaching about the obesity epidemic in this country and how we must reach them and save them from their plight.


We, and I mean American women, have been obsessing over our bodies for decades and this has LED to obesity not away from it, in my humble opinion. Seriously, you can blame the processed food and the rise of fast-food and restaurants in general, but we cannot discount the surge of beauty and weight loss systems and the repugnant advertising that came along with it.

Check out Women's Body Image and BMI: A Look at the Evolution of the Female Figure Over 100 Years

Why are eating disorders and body dysmorphia getting worse, not better? How much of our precious time, energy, money, and resources have we sacrificed in pursuit of an impossible IMPOSSIBLE, phony ideal? And how has that contributed to our mental dis-ease with our bodies and our health?

And we're doing it with the so-called "healthy lifestyle" pursuit as well. Did you read this about antioxidants encouraging cancer cells to grow? We buy all this research because it's, well, research, and then 10 years later..."Oops! We didn't know. Sorry. Heh heh." Remember the demonization of eggs? Yeah.

What are we trying to accomplish with the healthy living pursuit? To be healthy, right? Fine. But when I see heated, rabid arguments on facebook about whether to eat vegan or Paleo, I have to think we've lost our way...or our minds.

Look, the same thing is happening to the healthy living ideal that happened with body image: We've gone to extremes. Grant it, product pushers take us there, but we go along for the ride, don't we?

Let me say it plainly: There's no such thing as perfect health and you are going to DIE one day no matter what you do. And frankly I find it downright cruel to accuse people of causing their cancer when we don't have any definitive proof of what actually, directly causes cancer, okay? Okay.

Let's put this healthy living thing into perspective shall we?

Let's ask ourselves some questions: If we weren't expending so much energy on the supposed healthy lifestyle (including weight loss), what would we be doing with all that brain power and time?

What if we switched our focus? What if we turned inward and asked ourselves what our passions are? What if we set aside some limited time for exercise, learning to cook tasty, nourishing meals, and to decompress?

What if we gave more of our time and energy to nurturing our relationships, including the one with ourselves?

What if we took the time to get to know ourselves?

What if we walked away from the idea of perfect anything, including health, and focused on ... hell, anything else?

Just something I've been thinking about.

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