Just the fats, ma’am

By Chronicle Senior Staff

During Love Your Body Week, a lecture presented the idea that being fat is not inherently unhealthy-that in reality, the American Health Association is in cahoots with the weight-loss industry.

Author Marilyn Wann, who weighs 270 pounds, claims that fighting discrimination against overweight people is akin to the civil rights movement. Though it is important to treat all people equally, to compare the trials of overweight people in today’s society to ending segregation is offensive and illogical.

Yes, there are many trials that overweight people face in our society, but it is irresponsible to go so far as to claim that being overweight is healthy-just as it is irresponsible to claim that anorexia or bulimia are good health practices.

Overweight people should be accepted for who they are as individuals, but in no way should we allow sympathy to overcome common sense. Good self-esteem does not give you a blank check for whatever behavior to which you happen to subscribe.

Being overweight is obviously not good for your health, and the idea that people in the health profession are in collusion with Weight Watchers is ludicrous. It is obvious that overweight people are more prone to certain health problems, such as heart disease and Type II Diabetes.

This all boils down to how you define “loving your body.” Exercising no restraint does not constitute loving your body, nor does punishing it excessively. Loving your body should mean maintaining your level of health so as to ensure that your body can sustain a certain level of activity. Loving your body does not mean eating yourself-or starving yourself-into an early grave.

The fact is that while there are some factors that predispose people to being overweight, there are not nearly as many as some would claim-and a person’s weight and healthfulness is his or her responsibility.

Everyone has an optimum weight he or she should maintain for his or her body type. While we should challenge the societal pressure for men and women to achieve an arbitrary body type and weight, we should not go so far as to accept equally unhealthy practices at the other end of the spectrum.