Fat Acceptance is Not Being Body Positive

Fat Acceptance is Not Being Body Positive

Because it's more fun when I write provocative articles.
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Ask anyone on the street what the stereotypes are for the average American and you could definitely guess what they would say.

What’s the first thing that comes to your mind? Patriotic? Loud? What about obese? You definitely have to throw that in there, and it's a real shame. Mostly everyone is aware that the United States has a real problem with obesity that isn’t improving very much at all. In fact, over a third of all American adults are considered obese (35%) and over 74% of men and 64% of women are either overweight or obese!

Those numbers are quite sobering when you compare them to the generations of our grandparents and before. Unhealthy food is cheaper; there is a fast food joint on every street corner in America, fighting over who can sell the cheapest hamburger and physical activity levels, especially in the youth of America, have hit rock bottom. But this isn’t a jab at the fast food industry, quite honestly they can sell whatever the hell the want. What I want to propose is a positive change that we, as Americans, can make in our lives to fight back against obesity and the crippling health problems that are associated with it.

As obesity has grown in America, so has the push to normalize it, to make it socially acceptable to be obese and that everyone must accept the lifestyle choice to be that way. We have militantly promoted the acceptance of being “plus sized,” to the point where many have demeaned and put down individuals who are skinny and in shape.

Now, don’t get me wrong, loving yourself is something we should all do. We should not let the opinions of others and our body weight determine our character, but there is a line. We have reached a point in our societal “progression” where we have made it taboo to even suggest weight loss to those we know who are overweight. We have demonized those brave enough to question the fact that 300+ lbs. is now “beautiful” as “fat shamers.”

As I have mentioned in previous articles, the Social Justice Warriors will stop at nothing to ensure that your hurtful words are never heard again. I wish I could say that this behavior was harmless though. According to the National Institutes of Health, obesity is the second leading cause of preventable death behind tobacco use at a staggering 300,000 deaths per year. That will never be “beautiful” to me. When you make obesity fashionable and normal, you are literally causing people to live much shorter lives than they would at a healthy weight.

So what can we do in order to improve our physical state? America used to be a land of fitness and incredibly healthy individuals, how do we being that back again? It’d be easy for me to tell you to run hill sprints, revamp yourself physically, and make healthier food choices but I won’t do that. Instead, I’ll tell you to think about those who you love. Chances are you have some friends or family that are overweight or obese. Maybe you are overweight yourself. Ask yourself if feeling comfortable and "accepted" by society at obese status is worth shaving years and even decades off of your life. Focus on making small, positive changes in your life to improve your health. Don’t expect everything to happen overnight, be patient. Find a friend to hold you accountable and go make yourself the healthiest, happiest YOU that you can be.
Cover Image Credit: Pixabay

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.
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Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

Suicidal thoughts are thought of in such black and white terms. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is there are some stuck in the gray area of those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble; and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead. You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time, until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling; whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die," or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you, you are not alone.

If you're thinking about hurting yourself please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit suicidepreventionhotline.org to live chat with someone. Help it out there and you are not alone.


Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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In The End, You Decide Your Own Fate

No matter how often I was given advice about something, ultimately it was up to me to decide my fate.

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Has anyone close to you ever tried to insert their opinion whether you wanted it or not? I'd like to assume that for anyone reading this, you've gotten some advice that you didn't completely want to take, even if it seemed good for you. I've sought out advice from many people, especially during the lowest parts of my life, and their opinion wasn't quite what I wanted to hear. Say for instance that some people don't like a friend you have or disagree with a decision you've made, how you spend your money, or anything else, really, and they tell you over and over again why you shouldn't do what you're doing or why you need to change your life habits. Often, no one wants to hear that they're screwing up in life, but is it always that you're screwing up or is it just that they don't like the way you live your life?

Here's how I see it: no matter how often you tell someone not to blow their money on insignificant things, how they shouldn't hang around a friend or even that they should break up with their boyfriend/girlfriend, it doesn't concern you. Don't get me wrong, giving your opinion isn't always a bad thing, but you have to understand it isn't always going to be taken and you have to let people learn the hard way or learn to improve their current situation by themselves. I often didn't learn lessons until I either made a mistake myself or until I watched someone else make a mistake. No one wants to learn the hard way, but sometimes I feel that it's a necessary step in developing who you are and strengthening yourself as well as your skills.

To clarify, I'm not saying learning the hard way isn't preventable. This is to say, if you know a decision is wrong, don't do it—plain and simple. In this sense, don't make the excuse that you have to learn one way or another. If it's bad, don't do it. I would hope that this is self-explanatory.

No matter how often I was given advice about something, ultimately it was up to me to decide my fate. It was up to me to decide what was worth fighting for, what was worth my energy, what I should be doing with my life. It didn't matter whether people agreed with me or not. In the end, it was (and is) my life and no one else suffers the consequences for my actions, only I do. So, therefore, it's my decision and I decide my own fate whether you're there for me or otherwise.

As painful as it is to watch someone mess up in life, sometimes—and I use this with emphasis— sometimes it is necessary to go through tough situations in life to pull yourself back up and figure out what's worth it in the end. It's similar to raising kids. Sure, you don't want them to mess up or feel any physical or emotional pain and you want to prevent all of life's hardships from being thrown at them, but we all have to learn somehow.

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