Monday, October 15, 2012

Perception Deception

“Do I look fat in this?” is a question almost all of us have either thought or asked aloud.  Or maybe we’ve put on a pair of pants or a dress and asked, “Does this make me look fat?”  These questions are not only deceiving in nature, but are offensive to our self-worth.  Are we really defined by our shape or size?  With the celebrity craze and Hollywood buzz, many Americans are led to assess their value based on their appearance.  Some assess their own personal value on how they look (or think they look).  While some objectify others based on their appearance without even knowing them. 

Recently, a Wisconsin news anchor named Jennifer Livingston made news by addressing the man who sent her an email calling her “fat”.  His email read in part, “Surely you don't consider yourself a suitable example for this community's young people, girls in particular.”  Livingston responded to his email on-air, stating that she, as a mother of three, didn’t need him to tell her she was overweight.  She could look in the mirror and see that she was overweight.  But he didn’t know anything about her lifestyle.  She runs races (recently running in a 5K in Wisconsin) and works out several times a week.  She also has a thyroid condition that makes it hard for her to keep weight off.  But she does feel she is a good role model for her children and told the man who wrote the email “I am much more than a number on a scale.”  She went on to add “If you are at home and you are talking about the fat news lady, guess what?  Your children are probably going to go to school and call someone fat.” 

I applaud Livingston for her strength, her honesty, and her courage.  None of us deserve to have a stranger define us.  We all have the ability to put value on our own self-worth.  We all also have the responsibility to evaluate ourselves for our true identity and worth.  Are we happy?  Are we healthy?  Are we doing everything we can to make our own lives, and the lives of those we love, better?  If not, we can take steps to change our lives, but we don’t need someone else to slap a label on us and bully us into change. 

This story has really hit close to home for me.  It has reaffirmed why I quit my job to pursue my passion for healthy living.  My goal is not to make fat people skinny.  My purpose is to help everyone, young and old, get more life out of their years and more years out of their life.  I have recently been working with an elementary-age girl.  She feels she is the only one in her family who is “fat”.  She said all her friends at school are really thin.  We have amazing and insightful conversations while I exercise with her.  We walk to a local park and “play” on the playground.  In our talks, she has told me that she “can’t” exercise and that she “can’t” eat healthful food because she wants to enjoy eating.  I have asked her about vegetables and she says she doesn’t like something, even though she’s never tried it.  From what I gather, her opinions have been formed by outside influence and not by her own personal experiences.  I have explained to her that she is not fat and that many of the kids in school are likely undernourished.  They may be very thin on the outside, but their insides tell a different story.  This is actually an increasing trend due to do many “diet” fads.  Doctors refer to it as normal weight obesity.  Though they may not eat much and look thin, their internal organs are essentially wrapped in fat.  This is further shown in the rise of young, seemingly thin, women being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.  If one’s daily intake consists of a few caffeinated beverages and granola bars or other so-called “health” or “diet” foods, chances are, they won’t pack on the pounds, but that doesn’t mean they’re healthy on the inside.  Studies have shown that many people who carry a few extra pounds but are physically active and eat lots of produce and whole grains are actually healthier than those who never exercise, eat poorly, but are thin. 

So my question is, are you a good role model?  No matter your shape or size, do you embody a healthy lifestyle?  Or do you say things like “Broccoli is gross” or “I hate to exercise” in front of your children?  Do you and your family insult people you see on TV based on the way they look regardless of the fact you’ve never met them?  Does your 8-year-old think he/she’s fat?  Does your 16-year-old think she has cellulite on her thighs or his arms are too skinny?  Maybe it’s time for you to be a real role model.  Do not allow your loved ones to value themselves based on what others say.  Take the time to ensure you and your family form opinions based on experience and not influence.  Do not be deceived by perception.  No matter you shape or size, your value is so much more than a number or a label.   

If you want to find your value, I am here to help.  You and those you love deserve so much more than a label or a number.  I will help you gain confidence and find the motivation you need to define your true self-worth.  Go to to see all the ways I can help you and those you love.  Obesity is 100% preventable and so is being deceived by perception!   

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