Exercise and weight; we’re getting it wrong.


I’m feeling a bit passionate about a certain topic right now after an experience today.

Appearance. Or rather the fact that people seem to think it’s ok to comment on the appearance of others, especially regarding weight. I’m not going to go into what lead to this being on my mind, but rather focus on the issue I have.
We live in a pretty PC world. I doubt very much that many people dare to comment on people’s skin colour these days, or a physical disability. Yet for some reason it still appears to be perfectly acceptable to comment on another persons weight.
I don’t know why. I guess we are all a bit obsessed with weight. It’s really annoying. It’s in the media, you see stories about celebrities and somehow the magazine always knows the celebrities exact weight. I doubt very much that information came from the celebrity directly or that they willingly stood on a set of scales for the magazine to declare their weight to the world. Some weeks magazines are talking about people who have lost weight, the next week ‘curves are back’.
I don’t like the idea of shaming those that are underweight, a normal weight, or overweight. Nor do I like the way that people regularly talk about curvy women being more attractive, not because I disagree but because some people are naturally thin, some people don’t have curves and never will, and that doesn’t make them any less attractive.
Alongside this, when you are commenting on the weight of someone you do not know then you do not know anything about them. They could be at the weight they are due to issues they have with food, and flippant comments made by people can be stuck in the recipients head for days, weeks, months and even years to come. I know things are said mostly with no bad intention meant, they’re just comments, but that just doesn’t cut it for me.
I know it stems from the way society is and the fixation on weight that we seem to have and I am angry that we live in a world like this. A world where we feel it’s ok to make such comments, but I still think as individuals we are responsible for how we react to what we see in the media or the world we live in. You don’t have to engage with this.
Another thing I hate is the way that exercise is approached these days. Exercise seems to go hand in hand with weight loss. People exercise to lose weight, we are told to exercise to manage our weight. I think it’s wrong with the odd exception.
Exercise is to be fit and healthy, but that can mean so much more than being a healthy weight. It’s good for building muscle and strength, it’s good for the heart and it’s also good for our mental health. It enables us to socialise in some forms and heck, it’s even enjoyable or at least it’s meant to be.
But living in a world where we are told to exercise more in a way to be a healthy weight and look good the fun of exercise seems to be forgotten on the most part. Even with young children it’s being pushed to exercise to prevent obesity. If we changed our attitudes towards exercise and children grew up enjoying it and seeing all of the benefits then maybe we wouldn’t need to use it to ‘cure’ obesity.
I’d like my kids to exercise because they enjoy it, it feels good and because they know all of the health benefits of it. Not purely because they’re overweight by government standards and should now exercise to combat that.

The cost of our attitudes and actions are going to make matters worse, not better.