Keeping Up Appearances

Felix Kalvesmaki, Staff writer

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As the sunlight of a 7:30 dawn filters through the navy blue drapes that shut the world out, I rub my eyes and roll sluggishly out of bed. I groggily make my way to my closet and throw on a pair of jeans, along with a 3XL t-shirt and an XL denim jacket, adorned with patches and buttons. The t-shirt is oversized, the jacket isn’t. My breakfast consists of a bowl of Cocoa Puffs. But there’s a bit of internal conflict; did it fill me up, or did I hold off on eating?

There’s a lot of personal struggles when you’re considered overweight. A lot of pressure from friends, accidental jabs from family and doctors who just don’t seem to care about your feelings. Which, they probably shouldn’t, because, you know, it’s their job. But there’s an undeniable fact people seem to ignore when the topic of childhood and teenage obesity comes up: it’s not healthy for any child to try and drastically lose weight.

Of course, it’s important to remain healthy. Don’t eat too much junk, go on a walk or a bike ride every once in awhile, live a beneficial lifestyle. And keep in mind that you can live this way, completely active, completely nourishing, and not notice any change in your figure. It’s true. However, something slightly upsetting comes up when you try and research further on this subject.

“Diet Mistakes: 6 Reasons You’re Not Losing Weight!”

“How to Lose Weight Without Exercising!”

“Working Out and Still Not Losing Weight? Here Are 7 Reasons Why!”

It’s almost as if we, as a society, believe that switching to a healthy lifestyle is only for the purpose of losing weight. And for obvious reasons, this is problematic.

For one thing, it’s extremely materialistic and based heavily on face-value, which only feeds into the idea that human beings are only what their bodies are. The ideal portrayed by these headlines, and the hundreds more you can probably find by Googling any random nonsense about losing weight, is toxic and detrimental to the average person. We’re not all Victoria’s Secret or Calvin Klein models. It’s okay to not look like Hercules or Aphrodite.

Secondly, it’s incredibly frustrating to live healthy for appearances. Results come slowly and gradually; no one’s going to go on a run for 30 minutes and come back with a perfect body. It’s a matter of keeping a fast metabolism with food that won’t give you cancer, and burning off more than you put in. After picking up more intense exercise routines to get my “summer bod,” I quickly learned that it probably wasn’t going to happen as fast as I wanted it to. And if you’re losing weight to be healthy, you should be okay with that. But if you want to pull a Regina George and “lose three pounds,” you probably don’t need to lose any weight at all.

Not to mention, even if you do understand you’re overweight, the first step to being happy is to accept yourself. It’s perfectly fine to want to lose weight, and more power to you, but it’s likely  you’re going to want to give up if it doesn’t work how you want it to. Before you try to change your body, you need to be happy with who you are. Because when we strip everything down, as human beings, our bodies are just vessels. Your mind is really what makes you a person. And if trying to be physically appealing to others is taking a toll on your emotional health, the best solution is to take a step back, let yourself relax, and know that only you can determine your self-worth. Nothing physical can take that away from you.

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