Fat Shaming.

Recently I've seen article after article about public figures and "fat shaming". Like art, I'm not sure there's a firm consensus on what it exactly is ("but I know it when I see it"), but I'm sure it's a "thing". I used to do it all of the time when I was a kid, because the fat kid was an easy target. Hard to miss. However, I went back through my yearbooks and when I compare the 1980s "fat kids" to the kids of today, they look average. I think the world can use a little more fat shaming, but not from behind the relative anonymity of a keyboard. I mean public, "hey everyone, look at the fat-fat-fatty" fat shaming. Society as a whole is going to have a huge bill to pay in the future because of obesity, and it will amount to taxation of the healthy to subsidize the unhealthy.

When I visit my son's high school, I see plenty of kids that are athletic and otherwise healthy-looking. A majority of those are probably riding the supercharged metabolism of youth, but standing next to them are a whole lot of kids that are just plain fat. No way that many kids have serious medical conditions, other than those caused by being overweight/obese. These are kids in their prime years for getting away with bad choices. They're far more active than they will be when they're tied to a desk and have the resources/freedom to drive everywhere and eat whatever they want. There's a reason for the "freshman 15". Sooner or later, it catches up to you. It caught up to me.

Every once in a while, someone will tell me I'm looking skinny. I take it as a compliment, but I know the truth. I'm overweight. My body fat percentage is too high (I was scanned last year). My BMI is too high- a flawed standard, but it does line up in my case. The people that are making this comment usually base it on their existing perception of me and of what constitutes "normal" in today's society. You could say I'm "struggling" with my weight, but you'd be wrong. The only "struggle" I have is trying to shove more food down my pie-hole. I keep it more or less on an even keel by riding my bike, but an injury combined with my current rate of consumption would lead to rapid weight gain. In essence, I'm training to be fat. All I need is a single event to kick it off. That scares me a little, so I grab a box of Girl Scout Thin Mints to forget all about it.

These days I hang out in circles of generally healthy people. Even the Air Force, after a generation of institutional obesity, has made great strides to rid the ranks of those suffering from Dunlap's Disease. It's not hard to find positive examples of how I should be living my life to reach my goals, which aren't that cosmic. For instance, I don't care how well I would climb Potter Valley, I'm not going vegan. Or gluten-free. Or low-carb. Or low protein. Or whatever fad diet du jour that has you eating birch bark and tofurkey roll-ups. I'd be happy to moderate my intake but still eat all of the crap that makes life worth living. I likes me some food, and most of it is bad for me.

I don't need some internet troll to tell me I'm overweight. I know I'm fat. I'm not particularly happy with where I am right now. Sooner or later, I'll find the balance that allows me to enjoy life and maintain a healthy body fat percentage. A lot of that comes down to will power. It comes down to motivation. It comes down to determination.

Maybe I need some of that public fat shaming.


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