Being underweight (by choice) is just as unhealthy as being overweight.
This year, for the first time ever - I followed along with the show The Biggest Loser. I'm inspired by the transformations and stories of how people get to unhealthy in the first place, then return to healthy. I just am. Because I am one of them.
However, last night I couldn't go to sleep after watching the finale. And I awoke to quickly run to the computer in hopes that TBL was addressing what everyone was feeling last night. The winning contestant did NOT look healthy. (To put it into perspective, I read that she is the same height as Karen Carpenter but weighed in 5 lbs less than Karen was at when she died of anorexia. Not sure if that is accurate, but the picture paints it well.) American's watched what quickly turned from inspiring to uncomfortable and concerning. The look on the Trainers faces said what we all were thinking. And yet she was rewarded for what is the opposite of the shows beliefs - being healthy. But this post isn't about TBL show, per say.
I promote weight loss, health, and athleticism for a living. So don't get me wrong - HEALTH is important. So why the disappointment with last nights show?? Well, because I also battled an eating disorder for 9 years of my life. Along with that, even though I can say I am "recovered" from the physical act - the battle in the mind of someone with an eating disorder is a hard one to win. So I was just sad for Rachel. So sad. To get to obese doesn't generally happen for no reason. Neither does anorexia or bulimia. There are issues that need to be dealt with in both scenarios - again, I speak as someone from both ends of the spectrum.
When battling overweight turns obsessive, well - you are securing yourself a need to start an entirely new battle. Same story, next chapter. Unhealthy underweight. Both are driven out of just that - obsession. Watching Rachel's story unfold from TBL, she was the "fat" girl who hid behind food. She secluded herself from the world and let food be her friend. Next thing you know, she is in the spotlight week after week as she regains her life. As much as I was a fan of hers all season, I did often wonder about the mindset of people who shift from being known as the "fat girl" to being known for their new found health. It can be a slippery slope.
Here's the thing. Our identity is NOT a number on the scale. Our identity cannot be and should not be how fat or how thin we are. There is just no way to stand up under such a weight. (Pun intended.)
The glorification of the scale needs to stop. The admiration and obsession that our culture gives to people who look like Rachel did last night HAS TO STOP. It's time to shift our focus from a number, to a picture of HEALTH.
Healthy looks different for all of us. Do I still battle weight at times? Yes. Because my frame is just unhealthy at a certain weight. But finding the way to take my mind off the numbers because I didn't know it was possible to FEEL so healthy has been invaluable in battling my mind. I have finally grown okay with the fact that I will never be 105 lbs. Because what it would take to get ME there would most certainly be unhealthy and miserable. Heck, I'd be miserable much under 145 because it is just not natural or healthy FOR ME. Watching Rachel last night as she tripped up the stairs, missed the fact that she had won until being told .... she just looked miserable. And that made me sad. Having your heart hide behind your overweight self is just as sad as your heart hiding behind your new underweight self.
So if you are still reading, and especially if you are a woman - know that you are beautiful. Find a way to get healthy without obsession. Process through the battle in your mind that takes you to extremes and FIGHT it. Fight it with making one healthy choice after another, and dare I say - allowing yourself an unhealthy choice every now and then. You WILL win.
(Shameless plug - I would LOVE to tell you about the Nutritional Cleansing system that has honestly FREED me from my obsession and drawn me to view HEALTHY as beautiful more so than the number in my head or even on the scale. It has been a game changer for me!)