Are you using “body-shaming” as a cop out of your real health issues?
|   Jan 20, 2016
Are you using “body-shaming” as a cop out of your real health issues?

I recently heard someone complain about so-called “body-shamers” and proclaim in seeming rebellion that they ate five ice-creams that day. An actress tried to promote healthy living and fitness by sharing photos of herself having successfully followed a diet and fitness routine. I was surprised by the backlash – people thought she was ‘shaming’ the non-skinny people! I hear the term “body shaming” a lot these days. But is “body shaming” being used as a cop-out?

I am not denying that there is such a thing as body-shaming. There is a problem with our society’s defining of beauty in Barbie proportions.

But being overweight is being overweight .....and it is a problem.

Again, making someone feel shitty about themselves is no way of motivating them to take care of their health. But for those of us who are at the receiving end of these descriptions, maybe our defensive attitudes are hurting us more than proving any point about beauty standards? 

India is seeing Type 2 Diabetes and cardiovascular illnesses in proportions akin to an epidemic. These are lifestyle-related illnesses – and our relationship with food and physical activity has a huge impact on our health!

As people of South Asian ethnicity, the cards are stacked against us. Some excerpts from various diabetes research:

  • South Asians are at higher risk for Type 2 diabetes, up to four times higher than other ethnic groups, likely due to a combination of genetics and environmental factors (eg. lifestyle choices)
  • South Asians are more likely to have less muscle and more abdominal fat, which increases insulin resistance (a pre-cursor to diabetes).
  • Indians, likely due to genetic factors, tend to gain weight around the belly. Diabetes risk in overweight persons is increased with an increase in belly fat.
  • South Asian diets contain large proportions of white rice and other refined grains, as well as trans fats and saturated fats, which are linked to increased risk of diabetes.
  • Air pollution, an increasing problem in big cities like Delhi, may also increase risk of insulin resistance and diabetes.
  • Even type 2 diabetes has a genetic correlation, which means that having a parent or blood relative with diabetes increases a person’s risk even at a young age.

Our culture celebrates food. Love is expressed through food. Festivals are celebrated with food. So much of that food revolves around the deep-frying, refined fat business. Sports, outdoor activities or regular exercise are not naturally a part of the lifestyle. All of this is … problematic. Our attitudes are problematic. We sneer at people ‘dieting’, bully our guests into eating our pakodas and laugh and joke about the brave soul who kills it at the gym (like … who does she think she is eh?)

Maybe we need to spend less effort fighting off the body-shamers (haters gonna hate!), and instead creating a community of body … respecters(?!!) Body-worshippers. Life-appreciators. And take charge of our health and happiness.

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