One of the things that really, really frustrates me when talking to a lot of really intelligent people is the idea that the body cannot be healthy unless the mind is healthy and vice versa. Because there are no numbers in the world that will convince these people that fat itself is not a sign of unhealth.
These are often the same people who believe you “owe” it to those who love you to be as healthy as possible – but health in this context is defined as the health of the body. The obvious and erroneous assumption is that a healthy body automatically houses a healthy mind.
I don’t know how to explain to people that, when I am dieting and living towards weight loss as a goal, my mind is so deeply unhealthy that I don’t want to be alive. I don’t know how to explain to people that my physical health and my mental health are related in many ways but the connection is not absolute. I don’t know how to explain to people that living in shame is not healthy in any sense.
And, you know, I can buy that, because we don’t live in a vacuum, we have a responsibility to other people to stick around. But that responsibility doesn’t cancel out our responsibility to ourselves. And that doesn’t make us selfish, it isn’t a reflection of the “me” culture. It’s personal responsibility.
My loved ones value my quality of life.
If my quantity of life is slightly diminished because I am fat, you know, that will be sad. But if my quality of life is diminished because I live a life of shame and deprivation? I think that is even more sad.
We’re all going to die. There is no cure for death. And that’s okay.
What’s not okay is ruining the lives people DO have because the health of the body is held up as a virtue. What’s not okay is people dying, not because of their fat but because of the way they were treated for BEING fat.
Morality isn’t about whether or not you can run a 4-minute mile. It’s about how you walk through this world and what you give to and take from the universe.
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