Sometimes when I venture into Bloglandia, I come across postings on the fit-or-fat question. Of late, I have been finding some relatively strident comments from people I have dubbed the DOO, i.e., the Defenders of Obesity. I think I understand where these folks are coming from, and I can sympathize, but I would be remiss if I didn't offer that I believe their advocacy of such attitudes does more harm than good.
The gist of it is this: Society places too much value on appearances. (I agree.) What a person looks like is not the full measure of who they are. (No argument). There are some real questions as to whether health is that much affected by obesity. (I don't think there is any question here. Maybe genetics are more important to longevity, but there is no doubt that the quality of one's physical and emotion life are adversely affected by being obese.)
Therefore, the conclusion comes, it is okay for me to be obese, and I'm happy with it.
If, when you shuck all your clothes and stand in front of a full-length mirror in good lighting and you are mostly-happy with how you look, then I got nothing else to tell you. If, on the other hand, you aren't happy but are reconciled to it and accept it, that's not the same. (And I say "mostly-happy" because few of us can't see room for improvement standing in front of the mirror. How much work we are willing to do to get that is another matter.)
If there was a magic pill that had fewer side-effects than aspirin, cost a dollar, and by taking it you would become fit, attractive, and healthy, and stay that way for, oh, say, thirty or forty years, would you take it?
I have yet to meet anybody who is obese who, when asked this, wouldn't consider the idea. Most of the folks I know would jump at it.
There is such a pill, but it costs a lot more than a dollar. Eating right and exercising does the trick, but it requires a lot of sweat equity and time.
Most of the DOO people to whom I've talked are long-time warriors in the War Against the Avoirdupois. After years or decades of struggling with diets and exercise, they have had enough. They've left the battlefield, and fuck it.
It is their choice, and I don't blame them for it. One measures, one weighs the benefits versus cost, and one elects an option. No problem.
Where I run into trouble is with the notion that the grapes of fitness are sour anyway, and rationalizing it thus allows them to feel better about themselves.
Don't want to fight the war, that's cool, but the goal is still valid, and offering that it isn't for others is wrong.
Sophie Tucker has a line, "I've been rich and I've been poor; believe me, Honey, rich is better."
I feel that way about health and fitness. You don't have to be a fanatic about it, up at dawn every day and working out for three hours -- as in most things, moderation is the ticket. But because you've elected to walk away from the war doesn't mean that it isn't worth fighting.