Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Biggest Loser

I don’t watch The Biggest Loser but I had to check out pictures from the show’s finale last night after Twitter erupted with comments from those who thought the winner looked unhealthy and anorexic.

Yes, Rachel Frederickson looked a bit emaciated. Maybe she took it too far because she wanted to cash in on the big prize. Maybe she’s perfectly healthy and this is just another non-issue fueled by social media. I don’t know.

But I do know this country is obsessed with weight and diet. And we should be. Obesity rates in the United States have more than doubled in the last 40 years. About two-thirds of all Americans are now classified as overweight or obese. Obesity is associated with a long list of health risks including diabetes, heart disease, stroke, sleep apnea and high blood pressure.

However, obsession with the unachievable is also unhealthy.
Over the years, I’ve been a “diet victim” more times than I care to admit. I’ve survived on 500 calories a day, tried the soup diet and the lemon cleanse, counted calories and carbs. Avoided all the foods I love, only to binge on them the minute I let my guard down.

I don’t follow extreme measures anymore because I’ve finally made peace with my body and who I am. As Oprah Winfrey would say, here’s what I know for sure.

·      It HAS to be about health, not weight; strength not skinny.
·      Eat real food. I get my nutrients from broccoli, chicken, blueberries. The real thing. Food is not the enemy. 
·      Exercise. Not obsessively but consistently. It's good for your heart, lungs, bones, muscles and mental health.

And perhaps most important, I embrace and accept who I am. I’m never going to be a supermodel and I wouldn’t want to be. I’m short and curvy and awesome.

And I still like a dose of chocolate now and then.