What is it to be a fat person in this world? What does it mean to be fat, eat fat, or even say the word “fat”? Why do we still search for fat-free foods? Why do we go blind and deaf if we gain fat? Why do we hate others who are fat? These are very important questions we all need to consider if we are going to get real about what it is to be fat and healthy.
Over the years there is one thing I have worked with one national organization with a largely male-dominated workforce. I spent the last few years of my time there facilitating workshops on sexual and gender harassment and if there is one thing I have learned (albeit the hard way) you can’t argue with belief. We hold on tightly to our beliefs and damn you if you challenge them or denounce them. Beliefs around how to eat come to mind when you hear the vegan judging the meatatarian in the lunch room. Or how about the fitness fanatic using guilt or shame to motivate those sedentary family members? All these examples are based upon belief…and not fact….and that’s a fact.
When it comes to fat, the research is indisputable (even though many try to dispute it). Eating fat doesn’t make us fat. Being fat doesn’t make us any sicker than being thin. Saying the word “Fat” out loud won’t bring a house down on your sister and gaining fat doesn’t make you a sloth, a glutton, stupid, smelly, lazy, or out of control. These beliefs about fat are making us sick, making kids anxious and eating disordered, and causing more exercise injuries than high school PE. But on the bright side, its great business for the diet, exercise, and plastic surgery industries!
Fat is needed for healthy brain development, healthy immune system function, and a healthy sense of humour. Through understanding and appreciating fat for what it does for us, we take the power out of it and fear it less and less. And if nothing else, remember this, in the event of an apocalypse, it will be the fat ones that are able to keep warm and protected with a healthy energy storage for the nuclear winter.