Thursday, October 4, 2012

bullying & being overweight .

Several things were brought to my attention today; the first being a news woman who received a dose of cyberbullying, and the second that October is National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month. Bullying is a strange subject to talk about and as social media options increase and the percentage of population that has a social media outlet increases, bullying seems to be positively related. One of my favourite rappers, Macklemore, retweeted this video:

Now, I think to some extent that it is true that public people set an example for people that are viewers (whether they want to believe that or not). I think that it's true that some news stations may be reluctant to put people on the the air because of the reaction by the public. For example, they'd never put someone missing teeth or who had all kinds of dirty wrinkled clothes on the the air, right?

Now, for someone to email in, someone who doesn't even know this woman, may have been a bit harsh. But, as is the saying, the road to Hell is paved with good intentions, which I think and hope the writer of the letter had.

I'd like to pose two questions to my readers:
1. Have you ever heard anyone say, "Ah, yeah, I'd love to be overweight!"?
2. If you yourself were overweight, would it bother you if someone pointed it out?

The answer to the first question should be an overwhelming no. There are lots of self-esteem issues that go along with being overweight, not to mention a great many more potential health problems. Even more a problem I think is that if the habits are cemented in a person, and they have kids, these habits are passed on to their kids whether they know it or think it or not. Kids have a tendency to become very similar to their parents; that's just the way it is. They may not be thick yet, but it's very possible they won't care about it because their parents were like that, and so they assume it's okay. I think that it's important to be comfortable in your own skin, but I think that has more to do with physical attributes you can't change -- things like skin, eye and hair color, birth marks, freckles etc. I don't think that it's a free pass to just accept being overweight.

For me, I can't stand the thought of ever not being able to see my toes. I'm a fitness freak, and I think that we as a society don't put enough emphasis on staying healthy and fit, and I'm fully expecting some people to be offended reading this. But personally, I don't think there's any reason that any of us should being overweight is just a part of life. It's one of the few things that we have complete control over. And it's certainly not as black and white as the cliché phrase "eat to live or live to eat".

If I had to take a guess, the people that are fit are the ones more motivated. The hardest part is starting -- once you get into a routine, it gets easier. When you see your progress, you are more motivated. And I certainly don't eat perfect, but I still eat relatively healthy. When you're exercising regularly, you feel good, your self-esteem is boosted, you have more energy, sleep better, and prevent future health problems. Who wouldn't want to be in that position? I am a strong advocate of being fit, exercising regularly, and eating pretty well. I hope I instill that same mindset in any future children.

In regards to the second question, this is where things get sticky. Most people would say "Of course it bothers me; I know it already!" But if you know it... why haven't you done anything about it? Maybe people who are overweight yet know the potential health issues don't change for the same reason that smokers don't quit smoking even though the detrimental health effects are well known.

But I bet you who were quick to answer didn't think about all of the possibilities here. What if the person pointing it out was a doctor? Would you still be offended? I would guess probably not. They're "just doing their job" right? So why do they get a free pass and society doesn't? Is it because one has a duty to tell you (the doctor)? Well people from Nazi Germany used that excuse with the Holocaust -- soldiers were following orders to execute prisoners. Does that excuse fly then? Is it rooted in the intention of the comment? Is it possible that if someone points out a weight issue to you that they are genuinely concerned?

Going back to the original video above, I think the writer had good intentions. They want a good example to be set for the next generation. Maybe they were trying to inspire the newswoman. However, I don't think that it was really their place to speak out to someone they didn't know. Do we have a duty as close friends and family to intervene? Is such an intervention in regards to weight out of line? If so... what difference is it to having a drug intervention? Both issues could kill you.

This may sound cold, but coming the the rescue of these people only makes the problem worse. Trust me when I say I hate bullying and am fully against bullying, as I have been the subject of that many a time, and often for things I can't even change, like having red hair. And I want to teach my future kids to be respectful and all. But it's important to remember none of those people know you, and their opinion is easily discounted. You need to have an attitude that will allow you to just let it bounce off. Instead we should all promote healthy lifestyles, encourage exercise, invite others to come exercise with it, whether it's as simple as a walk in the park or as serious as training for a marathon. If we all helped each other and inspired one another I think the national results could be amazing. America would no longer be known as the fattest country in the world (a foreign viewpoint that I absolutely detest).

If you're looking for support, you can find plenty of other people out there to help. Find a gym buddy, someone who can get your ass to the gym even when you don't feel like it. It's much easier and much more fun to work out with other people. If you're struggling with your weight and look at fit people and say "I could never look like that..." you're completely wrong; you can! All you have to do is put your mind to it.

So, lots of potentially contradictory points in that. I'd love to hear your thoughts.

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