Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Health Ramble

Is it my own shift in perspective, or is the "be thin and live forever" market beginning to lose it's edge? The same tired lines, the ever increasing desperation to sell as many magic pills as possible before someone catches on... Weight loss promises seem to be going the way of so many modern Americana trends, and commercials for weight loss now seem at home on the late night infomercial slot sandwiched between the miracle shammy and the gadget that lets you cook chicken on your carburetor. In other words, it's getting old, and it seems people are now looking for the next big thing to throw time and money at in hopes of an eternal life. Maybe if we're lucky it'll be HAES.

At what point do we realize that everyone, fat, thin, smoking, vegan, kosher and jogging, will one day die. Odds are they will also get sick first. The idea that artificial thinness somehow grants immortality or control over fate is so ridiculous that even I have problems believing that I bought it for so long.

If someone does, by some fluke, break through the barrier of immortality, we all know that it'll be some rancher in Wyoming who chain smokes and eats steak at every meal. That's how the universe works. Irony is the subtle weapon it uses to poke at our illusions of control.

In the meantime, I have gone from being able to say "I'm fat but I'm perfectly healthy" to PCOS. Which means I have to say, "There are plenty of healthy fat people, I'm just not one of them." Somehow it lacks oomph in my own mind, even though either argument will fail if someone is truly determined against the idea. It's even a bit unfair to myself, as I am relatively healthy outside of PCOS. It doesn't mean that I don't feel that my body has somehow let me down, or fear that having something wrong with me will give fat-haters an "aha!" trump in any discussion, but in all honesty I'm still generally healthy, regardless of weight. Who knows what it all means in the end, except that perhaps it never really mattered in the first place. Health has always been a red herring for the underlying issue that human beings will always need a group to feel superior over. In the absence of an official hierarchy, an unofficial one will always spring into being. At some point weight was selected in the public mind to be the basis of that hierarchy, and here we are today supporting a $50 billion weight loss industry.

That begs the question...are the thin really at the top of any social scale, or are we simply duped by industry advertising dollars into thinking they should be?


Anonymous said...

Last week, my sister buried her 41 year old, thin, health nut, marathon running brother in law.
He died of an anurysm.
Earlier in the year he was diagnosed with hypothyroid which upset him because he "did everything right".
I'm sorry but exercise, fruits and vegetables aren't going to keep you from getting sick and dying.
People should stop obsessing, live the best life you can, take care of yourself the best you can and please stop giving the medical community the ammo it needs to put the blame on the patient.

Piffle said...

I saw a newspaper article the other day which said that fewer women are dieting (only 26%) than in the previous few decades; so I think you're right about the frenzy dieing down.

Best of luck with your PCOS.

Anonymous said...

I understand where you are coming from. I believe in the virtues of HAES. Whereas if someone needs to exercise and they lose weight as a side effect, then that's one thing but being fat is seen as some disease that's the end of the world and it's not. No matter what size you are, you should be moving around, eating moderately, etc.