Saturday, January 01, 2011


It's the first of the year and popular culture is pushing diet and exercise. Same thing every year.
I was struck by something I heard on the news the other day. Not the content really but the way it was articulated. A woman died while having Liposuction. It's not unusual. It happens. Someone said the woman wanted to appear healthy. It may have been her husband. In the article I link the distinction that she was healthy but wanted a better appearance was made. I don't remember where I heard the health/appearance bit. Lipo is always cosmetic and known to be somewhat risky.
The way we articulate heath is so flawed, especially when it comes to fat people. Health is not a steady state and does not have an appearance. The healthiest looking person may have something lethal going on internally, or may have less than healthy behaviors. Appearance is the worst metric for most things, even beauty. So often I have the experience of a person becoming beautiful to me as I get to know them. But it wasn't the quest for culturally standard beauty that hit me. It was the conflation of thinness by any means and health.
People do ridiculously unhealthy things in the quest for thinness.
So much of the current conversation is about obesity (a medicalization of weight) and healthy habits. It's just not a useful way to think. HAES (health at every size) is about finding your healthy. I think health is a moving target. If you haven't had any protein in days and someone offers you pizza or broccoli ... choose the pizza. If you haven't rested in days and you can nap or jog ... nap.
It's difficult to sort through the culture noise and your own sense of things. It might not even be possible. Maybe the only thing we can do is find a blend of external and internal voices and stumble along. But oh lord I long for some new noise.

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