Sunday, October 30, 2011

Face it: Skinny is an ugly word

I'm part of a weight loss support group on Facebook, and every Sunday the group's originator, who is an amazing and motivational woman by the way, posts that it's Skinny Sunday, time for public accountability of our personal weight loss goals. The term Skinny Sunday has kind of bugged me in the past. Today, I thought I'd say something about it.

I said, "Do you guys really want to be skinny? I find that word just as ugly as fat. Why not something like Shapely Sundays, or even Strong Sundays? I know, I'm being a pain, but I really find skinny a terrible word, and a terrible goal for anyone. Skinny is the down side of a rollercoaster diet. Sustainable fitness is really what we want, right?"

I got the feeling that I was outnumbered when a couple of group members said they weren't offended by the word skinny in the same way that I was. One even pointed out that she didn't really want to be skinny, and was just using the word "lightly".

I know her words were honest. We're all just looking to be fit. Still, I felt it was important to address even the light usage of this word.

I replied, "I really feel words are powerful. I could have never lost 160 pounds without banishing certain words from my mind. Looking in the mirror I still have that script that was ingrained in me over the years regarding my large size when compared to those other boys around me.

"I've come to embrace myself as I am. I'm a fit, firm 270 pounds, and I'm working on getting even more fit. Officially I need to lose 45 pounds just to be considered overweight instead of obese, but I refuse to let anyone else determine what size or weight I should be. My body is meant to be used, to live this life, not to 'look good' for others to objectify me."

She agreed, as I figured she would. And she said she appreciated me putting my perspective out there, which made me happy.

I'm never one to mince words, and sometimes my character has alienated others in groups I've been a part of. So I'm glad that I was able to express myself effectively in this case, and maybe I made a difference for someone who might have been looking in on the conversation.

That's all I really want to do - make things easier for those out there struggling with their weight and let them know that they shouldn't have to change their weight just because others want them to fit in. But perhaps they should change their fitness level so they can live a longer, fuller life.

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