As I overcame childhood obesity without yo-yo backsliding, I can relate that some of the strongest emotions in the world surround nutrition, exercise and body image. This is why a few people posted such ugly comments recently about my appearance.
Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people.” Let’s seek to use our minds greatly, and discuss some ideas for a moment.
Obesity has become a bugbear, fraught with sensitive, reactive ego. When we recover from obesity, or food sensitivities (like gluten) and substance addictions (like sugar), an enormous chemical storm assails our mind with the “molecules of emotion” (as shown by Dr. Candace Pert from the NIMH). This gives rise to a cacophony of self-deprecating judgments, which we outwardly projected upon others. Illness of any kind can cause us to judge ourselves and others.
So, let’s distinguish between:
• Preferential judgment (what you consider beautiful and worthy);
• Professional assessment (what has been scientifically evaluated and you have been occupationally educated to measure).
What I prefer for myself has ZERO place in another individual’s preferences. When I am approached for my professional services, I feel it a duty to remain nonjudgmental in any assessments I am asked to conduct. I believe in carrying that professionalism throughout my life. Even as a martial artist, when someone reacts belligerently or violently against me; I don’t hate them. I stop them with as little harm as possible, and with as much help to their distorted state of mind, as possible. But I don’t hate them.
We can be very attached to being alive (quantity of life) and having a great (quality of) life… and so we can inadvertently slip health and fitness into criteria for beauty and character. This causes us suffering and viscous judgment toward and from others. However:
• Beauty and worth are subjective and immeasurable. You are beautiful and worthy by divine creation.
• Health and fitness are objective and measurable. You are healthy and fit depending upon your transitory behaviors and attitudes.
For example, on my photos, posters have commented on saying,
⇒ “Your no bodybuilder. You have no chest.”
⇒ “doesn’t matter if you’re ripped, you’ll never look like Brad Pitt,”
⇒ “you need to get HUGE. Scrawny fighters only impress old women.”
I had purely aimed to become fitter and healthier, and then I did. I did this because I loved myself enough from before to after, to be of better service to my family, community and world. Unfortunately, many consumed by their own issues, project self-loathing upon images they see, presume social pressures coerce people into obsessive behavior, and that I would mutate my body into some pre-fabricated definition of beauty because they don’t think I’m HUGE enough. My health and fitness are merely a byproduct of choosing to change my circumstances, but my beauty and worth as a person are constant and inviolate, as are yours.
If you are less healthy and less fit, that doesn’t mean that you’re less beautiful and less worthy. Nor when you’re healthier and fitter are you more beautiful and more worthy. Keeping firm on this distinction will expedite your ability to improve quality of life (fitness) and not lessen quantity (health). But it will also prevent the confusion between preferential judgment and professional assessment, and allow people to offer us valuable information without any emotional reaction to their feedback.
Self-love, not self-loathing, gateway our positive transformation in body, mind and spirit. As Socrates had said, “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”