Sizeism (And Why It's A Big Problem)

Sizeism (And Why It's A Big Problem)

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The Obesity Epidemic: everyone knows what it is. I can hardly remember a time when there wasn’t one. When I was young, I remember telling a fat girl in my class to ‘go on a diet’ because I heard from others that that was something all fat people should do, me being completely ignorant of its meaning. The girl, of course, got deeply offended, and I spent that recess sitting inside to think about what I did wrong. The thing was, however, that anything I did or said back then was a clear reflection of what society had taught me. Thinking back on it now, I realize the real damage the ‘obesity epidemic’ has caused, and it goes by the name sizeism: to be prejudiced against someone due to their size. Sizeism most noticeably affects fat people. Although it is usually ignored and widely accepted by most of society, sizeism is a HUGE problem with real consequences, and the ‘obesity epidemic’ is under the wrong name.

Now, let’s think to ourselves: Why is sizeism so widely ignored and accepted? In the good old USA, that’s pretty much a silly question. All you have to do is take a quick look around at society, and it becomes pretty obvious. Society hates fat. From weight loss fads, to thin, attractive models on magazines, to the infamous ‘obesity epidemic’ (notice how I put quotes on this every time? It’s meant to be sarcastic). In almost all forms of media, the people you will see most are thin, attractive supermodels supposedly representing what is ‘beauty’. This is intended to teach society what is accepted as being ‘beautiful’, and so far it has been working. What’s worse, society almost encourages people to walk up to someone heavier, and tell them how to live their life 'correctly'. Beyond the whole ‘weight loss’ fad, the media also contributes to this negative stigma. In most media, a character of a larger weight is almost always comic relief, extremely disgusting, always hungry or eating, or all of the above. The idea that being fat is unattractive, however, only started in the early twenty-first century, around the same time that the ‘obesity epidemic’ became a thing. So when it comes down to it, sizeism is widely ignored for this one reason: the common belief that being fat is unhealthy.

Here’s some facts on the ‘obesity epidemic’. It is a ‘disease’ based off of having a BMI (Body Mass Index) of 30 or more. However, it is also connected to a series of symptoms, such as “increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, arthritis, and some cancers.” (nlm.nhm.gov). The thing is, almost none of these symptoms are related to increased flesh, and are almost entire related to bad life-style choices such as unhealthy diet and lack of exorcise. So, get this: I, a male with an average BMI, could have the ‘obesity disease’, yet not be ‘obese’.

In other words, the BMI system is complete BS.

Although there are still studies that go back and forth between whether you can be both fat and healthy or not, there are still a lot of other things that make less sense. For example, the ‘obesity epidemic’ is usually said to be cured when one is no longer obese. However, studies have shown that most of those who are overweight lose weight, but they usually gain the weight back. Moreover, the benefits in losing the weight are significantly below those of having a healthy lifestyle. In other words, if someone has a healthy lifestyle (good diet, regular exercise), they can still be considered healthy no matter what size they are. So when it comes down to it, the ‘obesity epidemic’ should really be called the ‘bad lifestyle choice epidemic’. It may seem like a trite change, but this small inconsistency has some HUGE consequences (pun intended).

One of the biggest problems (pun intended) with sizeism is the negative stigma that revolves around fat people. As case studies have shown, a large majority of people have negative first impressions about fat people, believing them to be “lazy, greedy, un-healthy, etc.” (Chin, Jean Lay). Because of this, people will automatically have a low opinion of someone who is fat, even if they know nothing about the person. What this does is cause a significant amount of mental trauma on all those with prejudice against them -- mental trauma that can cause more health problems than what obesity proclaims. In other words, people believing they are helping fat people are causing even more harm against them, and are encouraged to do so.

Nonetheless, fat people are not the only people negatively affected by sizeism. There has been a significant increase in adolescents with anorexia and bulimia. Although the eating disorders are usually caused by a want of control, the majority of cases come from a fear of being fat. In other words, encouraging sizeism is causing a huge increase of anorexia and bulimia.

As one can see, the hype over this ‘obesity epidemic’ actually causes more problems than it thinks it’s solving. Sizeism is commonly called the last acceptable social prejudice, but ‘acceptable’ and ‘prejudice’ should never be in the same phrase, because prejudice of any kind is never acceptable. Many people have the mindset that ‘if they can do it, why can’t others?’, or ‘if I can control myself and diet, why can’t they?’ This mindset is wrong on many levels, making it seem as if everyone were the same person, when they aren’t. Everyone is different, and not everyone is so easily able to lose/maintain weight. Even if being fat is unhealthy, prejudice against fat people is not only unhelpful, but also makes their situation worse as well as that of society in general. So next time you see someone picking on a fat person, go ahead and tell them to pick on someone their own size -- literally.

Cover Image Credit: https://0701.static.prezi.com/preview/tfhay7xbmwrxkyw4vzsgbehwbeadw6rhlm5vs2oll757hbaoaxlq_0_0.png

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100 Ways To Practice Self-Care In Your Everyday Life, In 20 Minutes Or Less

Simple ways to start taking care of yourself.

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Life is overwhelming and distracting so it's easy to forget about yourself sometimes, but practicing small self-care acts is easy. Making time for yourself every day isn't selfish and is really good for your mental health. I think it's important for everyone to spend time doing things that make them happy and more calm, even if you only dedicate 20 minutes each day. Putting yourself first can lead to growth so many other aspects of your life.

Obviously, each person is allowed to practice self-care in their own unique way, but here are some ideas to get you started!

1. Do something new. 

2. Make a list of things you need to get done that week. 

3. Drink some hot tea. 

4. Go for a walk on a scenic trail.

5. Paint your nails.

6. Have a good laugh.

7. Buy yourself flowers.

8. Light a candle.

9. Do some tidying up.

10. Don't feel bad for saying 'no.'

11. Listen to music.

12. Slow down.

13. Drink a smoothie.

14. Run mindless errands.

15. Write down your goals for the week.

16. Talk to someone about the future.

17. Wake up early and get coffee. 

18. Take care of a plant. 

19. Take a bubble bath. 

20. Give yourself a compliment.

21. Give a stranger a compliment.

22. Watch a movie.

23. Put your phone down.

24. Declutter your personal space.

25. Go to bed early. 

26. Pray or meditate. 

27. Go for a drive. 

28. Make it a habit to stargaze. 

29. Read a book. 

30. Read poems. 

31. Sing loudly. 

32. Make a list of things you're grateful for. 

33. Drink a lot of water. 

34. Put on make-up for no reason.

35. Watch funny videos. 

36. Take a deep breath. 

37. Distance yourself from negativity. 

38. Unfollow people you don't care to follow on social media. 

39. Have a pajama day. 

40. Read an inspirational book. 

41. Call your parents/ loved ones. 

42. Donate old clothing. 

43. Dedicate a day out of the week to not eating meat. 

44. Do a fun craft or DIY project. 

45. Put on a face mask and relax. 

46. Do a small workout. 

47. Take a power nap. 

48. Listen to a podcast. 

49. Open a window. 

50. Open your curtains in the morning to let in natural light. 

51. Make your bed. 

52. Cook dinner instead of eating out. 

53. Play/ cuddle with an animal. 

54. At the end of the day, think of all the positive things that happened.

55. Moisturize. 

56. Buy a comforting blanket. 

57. Give someone a hug. 

58. Create a vision board. 

59. Have some alone time.

60. Enjoy the sun on your skin. 

61. Dance like nobody is watching.

62. Walk in the rain every once in a while. 

63. Drive with the windows down. 

64. Give someone a gift for no reason. 

65. Get a massage. 

66. Do something that gets your adrenaline running. 

67. Spend the day at the library or a book store. 

68. Organize your work space/ binders. 

69. Spend a weekend in. 

70. Recognize hard work and reward yourself. 

71. Sign up for a work out class. 

72. Eat lunch with a friend. 

73. Spend the day helping others. 

74. Get your hair done. 

75. Have a good cry. 

76. Use sticky notes. 

77. Color code your planner. 

78. Print out pictures and hang them up. 

79. Hang motivational quotes on your mirror and read them when you get ready. 

80. Do random acts of kindness. 

81. Buy fuzzy socks. 

82. Redecorate or rearrange furniture. 

83. Be present. 

84. Set a new years resolution. 

85. Make a bucket list. 

86. Stretch in the morning. 

87. Watch an interesting documentary. 

88. Make a music playlist.

89. Watch the sunrise or sunset. 

90. Explore somewhere new.

91. Be slow to respond to negativity. 

92. Have a game night with friends. 

93. Buy concert tickets. 

94. Have a nightly routine before bed. 

95. Eat your favorite dessert. 

96. Do something you've been putting off. 

97. Invest in essential oils. 

98. Manage your finances. 

99. Buy a new outfit. 

100. Make your own gratitude list. 

Try at least one of these every week and see how you feel! I guarantee you will notice a difference in the way you are living your life.

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Meditation: The Good, The Bad, and The Benefits

Is meditation effective? Is it for me? Should I try it? If you want answers to these questions, they are right below.

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The definition of meditation is different for anyone that you ask, but overall, it is used to clear the brain of any negative thoughts and calm the body down. Many people do it before bed to improve sleep or when they wake up to start their day with a positive attitude. Many religions and cultures incorporate meditation in its practices because of the many healing properties it has.

However, even after being proved as beneficial many times, many people still see no point in meditation and many people believe there is no reason to do meditation in a private setting. However, the many benefits of meditation outweigh the negatives and I am here to hopefully persuade you into incorporating this into your daily schedule.

First, meditation reduces stress and controls anxiety. Stress reduction is the reason a lot of people start meditation. mental and physical stress cause increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol. This produces many of the harmful effects of stress, such as the release of inflammation-promoting chemicals called cytokines. These effects can disrupt sleep, promote depression and anxiety, increase blood pressure and contribute to fatigue and cloudy thinking. A type of meditation, called mindful meditation, can reduce the inflammation, which was proved by an 8-week study by ScienceDirect.com.

Research has shown that meditation may also improve symptoms of stress-related conditions, including irritable bowel syndrome, post-traumatic stress disorder and fibromyalgia.

It also reduced symptoms of anxiety disorders, such as phobias, social anxiety, paranoid thoughts, obsessive-compulsive behaviors and panic attacks, proven from that same 8 week study. It also helps control job-related anxiety in high-pressure work environments. One study found that a meditation program reduced anxiety in a group of nurses.

Secondly, meditation promotes emotional health. Some forms of mediation can lead to an improved sense of self and a more positive outlook on life. One study shows that symptoms of depression had decreased in adults when they incorporated meditation into their daily schedule by John Hopkins University researchers.

The inflammation-promoting chemicals called cytokines that we talked about before can affect mood, which lead to depression. Like we said earlier, these cytokines were reduced due to mediation. As I said before, meditation aims to get rid of negative thoughts in the brain in that period that you are doing it, but when you aren't it helps you recognize those thoughts and get rid of them in a healthy way. Meditation is important in practice, but it helps a lot in your day to day life.

Many people believe that meditation is pointless and there is no tangible evidence that supports the physiological benefits of meditation, however, I know it has changed my life and has made me a lot more of an optimist and I hope that this helped you into trying out meditation and hopefully incorporate it into your life.

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