You’re afraid to eat a piece of cake after dinner, thoughts of guilt flood your mind as soon as you finish the most delicious ice cream cone you’ve ever tasted, you decide you have to make a run to the gym at 9:00 at night because you ate more than your calorie tracker insisted upon..Why is it that we simply aren’t allowing ourselves to fully enjoy life? What I have come to realize is that this boils down to a topic that many body-awareness practitioners and advocates have brought to life: fat phobia. We live in a society that is so inherently afraid of being fat, so demeaning of fat people, and so verbal about the assumption that being fat means being unhealthy, being lazy, being worthless. Being a fat person, however, does not indicate poor physical health; correlation does not equal causation. There are hundreds of men and women that would meet the BMI’s criteria for obesity, heck morbid obesity. Does that mean these wonderful people are lazy? are unaccomplished? are not athletic? No. Many people with larger bodies are running miles daily, chasing outdoor adventures, heading corporations, changing the world. Many people with larger bodies take blood tests at their annual physicals that come back with pristine results. Many people with larger bodies are “healthier,” by all correct definitions of the word, than people with smaller bodies. For the folks that are fat and also struggling with a wide array of physical ailments- who are we to judge their lifestyles, their decisions, their stories? Their weight may be a part of them, but it is not ALL of them. Discriminating against people with larger bodies is more or less the same as discriminating against people of varying ethnicities, races, religions, or genders. Your body size should not be, is not, a factor of how great of a person you are and how awesome you feel, physically and emotionally, on a daily basis.

When most yo-yo dieting folks answer the question of “why?” it breaks down to one simple statement- I don’t want to be fat. Everyone wants to fit in and today’s society has deemed tiny waists with thigh gaps as the latest and greatest. I get what it feels like to want to fit in. I get what it feels like to be the only person in the room that doesn’t feel comfortable wearing a crop top. But yearning to fit in and torturing your mind and body is not going to achieve your ultimate goal. Unfortunately the “results” on the dieting road are never enough and the spiral downward gets longer and longer. Some of the models and body building competitors on social media have been kind enough to share their truths- they too continue to criticize their bodies and want to tweek different areas or lose weight in certain regions despite looking “perfect” to most of their followers.

The only way out is in- we need to face our fears of being fat and embrace whatever size our figures want to be with no extreme modifications. We need to let go of our fat phobic ways because we are discriminating, whether we realize it or not, against a large portion of our population that truly does not deserve such hate. We were all made to be unique individuals- to be different heights, have different hair, have differing body shapes, have different interests and passions. Let’s embrace this diversity and stop focusing on one aspect of who we are as people because we are SO much more than what meets the eye.

Have balance in your life and enjoy the moments instead of beating yourself up along the way- that’s truly no way to live. Break the stigma and #eatthefood.