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We don't need to be afraid.

Monday, January 29, 2018

Saw a meme today that said that "4 out of 5 children are afraid of getting fat." That's a heartbreaking idea, but not for the same reason that fat acceptance people might think it is.

In truth, this meme breaks my heart because nobody has to get fat or stay fat. Obesity is 100% always within our control--barring only illnesses like Prader-Willi Syndrome that cause its sufferers to overeat until they literally kill themselves. Everything else, even the oh-so-dreaded PCOS and thyroid problems, can still be overcome--and is, by millions of sufferers.

Feel your pants getting tight? Cut back on calories for a few days. That's not scary. That's just how non-obese people do it anyway. There's no magic to it, no voodoo. It's just math. Calories ingested must be less than calories expended. If you eat more on this meal, eat less on another one. Balance. Proportion. Knowledge.

When I believed that weight loss had to involve magic somewhere, though, yeah, obesity was scary. I spent years scared to death of somehow regaining the weight I'd lost. I didn't regain it. I did okay. But the fear, I see now, wasn't necessary. I just didn't understand that simple beautiful math yet. Now that I do, controlling my weight has been easy and my fear is gone.

I hate hearing about children fearing anything. They're children; they should be happy and have fun lives surrounded by love. This though, this just isn't something I want them or anybody else to fear. Instead, I want them to turn to face that oncoming dragon with a sword and a shield and a determined grin on their lips. I want them to see a little weight gain not as a terrifying amorphous enemy whose tactics and shape are completely mysterious, but rather as a challenge that can be overcome--with help if need be, if one's emotions are getting in the way of the math and we need a helping hand to reprogram our old dysfunctional coping mechanisms, but still and always as something that is understood and within our reach.
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