Is it OK to be Fat?

This is sort of ironic. I wrote about the judgey stares at the mall, and when I was halfway watching Nightline last night, I heard the anchor ask “Is it OK to be Fat?” I was glued from then on.

They had 4 panelists debating this issue. Kim Bensen, who has lost over 200 lbs. and MeMe Roth, who I had never heard of before (and don’t ever care to hear of again…you’ll see why), were on the side saying it’s NOT OK to be fat. Crystal Renn, who is a plus size supermodel, and Marianne Kirby, who has written a book on fat acceptance, were advocating that it is OK to be fat.

Both sides had solid arguments, but sometimes MeMe and Kim had my blood boiling. First of all, Marianne Kirby is a big girl like me. You could literally see some moments in the debate where MeMe and KIM (Hello?! Weren’t you “fat” before? Stop being judgey..)had a face of disgust looking at this girl.

MeMe kept making comments that being fat is not acceptable. You can control it…she kept pushing that anyone could be the ideal weight.

I don’t know about that. Her definition of ideal was just plain wrong to me.

“There’s a lot of studies looking at staying at a lower end of BMI [body mass index] perhaps giving us longevity and healthier longevity,” said Roth.

BMI…one of the most unreliable measurements of ideals, to this woman, is the ideal. SERIOUSLY?

After watching this debate, I wanted to seriously become BFF’s with Crystal Renn. I agree, that while being unhealthy is a bad thing, fat is not a bad thing. Fat to society is SO broad, and like she mentioned in the interview, she’s a size 12, in the best shape of her life. The size 0 she once was, was UNHEALTHY! I’m sure a lot of society considers Crystal Renn to be fat, but hey, she’s making mega bucks being a gorgeous, confident woman with curves. You go girl!

I’m sure some of you might not agree with me, so what say you? Is it OK to be fat?

Comments

  1. For one, I don’t consider a size 12 “fat”. I’m a size 6-8, but some people (like my brother, my ex-boyfriend’s roommate, etc etc) would consider me fat. So the definition of fat is definitely up in the air. However, some of the things that my husband encounters as a doctor working in a hospital HORRIFY me. People who can’t even move because they’re so large, having to tape up someone’s fat to access their femoral vein. People are literally dying because of their size. I think, if you’re going to use BMI terms, anything in the normal and overweight categories is okay as long as you’re healthy in other ways (cardiovascular fitness, blood pressure, cholesterol, don’t smoke). But when you venture into “obese” territory, people can really do some damage to their health.

    • I agree with that Kira. A 12 is not fat, but society considers it that. I know I am fat (size 22) and unhealthy (don’t eat as well as I should, need to exercise more), but there are people who are plus size, who exercise, eat well and to me, that’s OK. Why kill yourself over it? :)

      As for the morbidly obese, yes, they are unhealthy and in that state, if your life is on the line because of size, then that’s not OK. I’m not going to give you judgey stares, but I know I could never let myself get to that point.

  2. To me, that’s kind of putting the cart before the horse. I think a better question is how to have a healthy relationship with food, exercise, and body overall. For instance, eating food only when you are truly enjoying it (not starving/eating out of boredom/emotion). Another example might be making sure that I am not obsessing over my body, whether I’m overweight, underweight, or somewhere inbetween. Most women have food/body issues, whether or not they are fat – to me, it has the same negative affect on a woman’s life, however that’s manifested (whether by being under or overweight, or just all-around stressed.) I hope this makes sense!

  3. Hmm…this is a tough one (requires me to really think before I type ;))

    I don’t think that it’s okay to be fat, but I also think it depends on what a person considers to be fat. I am 5’7″, weigh 185 and wear a size 10. I carry my weight very well, it’s evenly distributed and my body frame has always been on the larger side, even when I wasn’t overweight. Most people guess that I weigh 20-30 pounds LESS than I actually do, so I really don’t look fat, just slightly overweight.

    However, I am fat. Not extremely fat, but still fat. I am working my booty off (literally) to shed some weight and get down to 150, which is an optimal weight for someone with my frame and height.

    I agree with you in that the BMI calculator is not a good measure of health. In my research I’ve learned that the waist-to-height ratio is what everyone should really be focusing on, because abdominal fat is thought to be the most harmful type of fat
    Go here to learn more: http://www.realage.com/WorkoutCenter/bmi.aspx

    So basically…I think it comes down to the person’s overall fitness level, not just their weight alone. However, I don’t agree with the Fat Acceptance movement…while some fat people may be “healthy” (no diabetes, good cholesterol, good stamina for exercise, etc.) even though they are overweight, I personally don’t think that anyone can be truly happy when they are very overweight (that’s just my opinion). It’s not natural to be overweight, and I don’t think that a person can be truly 100% satisfied with themselves when they are fat.

    • I also just wanted to add — it’s possible to be skinny and unhealthy as well. A person can be “skinny fat” or just thin in general but still in poor health, still have bad habits, etc. So it’s not totally about the weight :)

      • Thanks for commenting! I know I’m not healthy at my weight at this moment, and I’ll admit, I’m not making the best food choices right now. I’ve gained all of my weight back since the wedding and I am really unhappy with myself. However, before the wedding, I was a size 20, working out 4 times/week, losing weight and felt SO wonderful.

        I don’t like how people automatically assume that fat person = unhealthy. You never know who is changing their lifestyle and for that, no larger person should be judged IMO.

  4. I think it’s OK to be whatever size you are – people come in different shapes and sizes). But it’s not OK to have an addiction to food or to live an unhealthy lifestyle. I kind of think of it like this – I will not judge someone for enjoying a drink, but if I see them ordering shot after shot after shot, day after day, then I will judge that person for having a drinking problem and all the negative consequences that come with that…that person is abusing his/her body. Maybe a better example is someone who chain smokes…that addiction has very obvious physical manifestations – gross teeth, bad breath, etc. I will judge that person for choosing to overindulge in an activity that is obviously bad for him/her and a drain on our health system…I just want to scream at them to stop.

    Similarly, I will not judge someone for eating dessert, junk food, fast food (everyone enjoys these treats!), but if I see that person eating bad food all the time, day after day (and not working it off at a physically demanding job or through exercise) then I will judge that person for having a problem controlling what they eat and all the negative consequences that come with that – not being able to climb a flight of stairs or take a walk and then eventually needing a wheelchair to get around the grocery store…just like the bad effects from smoking/drinking, this could all have been prevented.

    I don’t want to be mean or offensive in any way so I hope my rambling thoughts do not come across that way.

    • Nah, not offensive at all. You would probably heavily judge me. I have an addiction to ice cream! :

      In all seriousness, though, I agree. Watching someone hurt their body does make me a little judgey inside, but I try not to give side eye stares since I get those sometimes and they make me feel awful.

  5. Oh man, that show sounds kind of horrifying!

    I don’t consider myself fat, but compared to my mother, who is absolutely tiny, I’m large. Growing up (when I was about 15 lbs heavier than I am now) she would always make comments about my weight, etc., and one thing she never believed–and still does not to this day, I don’t think–was that genetics have a huge impact in your weight and body type. My mother is, like I said, really small (she also walks 3 miles a day and is in great shape, but still) and everyone in her family, though they certainly don’t restrict themselves too much with food, is also pretty small. My dad’s family, on the other hand, while they do have less healthy eating habits, are naturally larger (and a few are morbidly obese). I know that lifestyle etc goes a LONG way in determining one’s shape, but my mother never really believed that I had a harder time keeping weight off than her just because her genes are different than mine, or that sometimes people are heavier, in part, because of the metabolism/whatever they’ve inherited genetically. And my husband works closely with genetics–but he still can’t quite convince her!

    Anyway, this doesn’t totally answer your question, haha, but I did want to say that I think there’s a lot of misperception about how much of a role genetic background plays in weight. I think a lot of people who are naturally very thin don’t necessarily realize that in some cases, their weight is due to factors outside their control as much as lifestyle choices.

    • Yes, I totally agree! Genetics do play a role in your body type/weight! My sister and I are built the same…tall/plus size. My other brother/sister grew up pretty lanky. We each took on different sides of the family’s body type!

  6. Growing up, I was good friends with her girl who was obese. Her younger brother too, was obese and their parents (who were skinny people) would constantly berate them for eating too much, not exercising enough, etc.

    A few years later, they found out that both my friend and her brother had medical reasons for being obese.

    I saw how much both kids hurt from their parents’ lack of support and hurtful comments over the years….it drove my friend to have a severely low self-esteem and it drove her brother to act out in inappropriate ways (fights, bullying, etc). And after seeing that there are people out there who really can’t control their weights, as well as some people who can stand to lose a few but are still healthy, I’ve learned that yes, it IS okay to be fat.

    P.S. — I too agree that BMI is a totally inaccurate measure of one’s health. I still can’t believe it’s so widely used!

  7. Like others, I don’t think a size 12 is fat. If someone is comfortable with their body, they eat a balanced diet, and they’re active enough, but they’re still a larger size? I guess I really don’t see a problem with that! I think it’s only when someone is endangering their health by being sedentary, having a bad diet and/or just eating much too much – or those who have a disorder that causes their weight gain – that they need to look at how to fix that. I would hate for a loved one’s life to be shortened by something that could have been changed. kNow what I mean?

  8. I think it should be a lot less about the numbers on the scale and a lot more focus on eating right-cutting out the junk and processed foods and drink, maintaining a good fitness routine, getting enough sleep, taking nutritional supplements when needed and having an over all well-balanced lifestyle. My parents are very athletic and fit and I’m sure their good genes have played a role in my size & shape over the years, but I also have a medical condition that incredibly slows my metabolism and *should* have me gaining a lot of weight. I say should because as long as I do all of the above, I stay within a very health range (for my body).

    • Yes, this is very true. I don’t like how America focuses on a number (weight, size, etc.) at all. It makes the ideal so skewed, when the ideals should be just as you listed.

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