Fat, Health, and the Illusion of Control

I’ve got my schedule worked out through my Christmas holiday, and I can finish up Stage 3 by the time I go on vacation if I take this week as a rest week. So that’s what I’m doing. Today was theoretically a rest day, but it didn’t really feel that way– I ran 3.2mi on the treadmill in 39 minutes according to my thingumbobber. (That’s pretty fast; I suspect it needs calibrating.) I’m hoping for some nice outside running the rest of this week, but morning temperatures are forecast in the 40s with plenty of wind so it might just be treadmill (since I’m not so keen on hauling my cold-weather kit to work with me).

My insurance provider is changing in the new year so I’m planning on getting a physical once I find a new doctor. (This is all going to be very fun, I’m sure.) I like the mental reassurance of a clean bill of health– but I also feel like it lets me renew my "healthy fatty" card, which is problematic.

There’s a temptation to use my healthy status as ammunition against fat-hating people who tell me that since I’m fat, I cannot possibly be healthy. My knee-jerk reaction is to proclaim, "I am too healthy! All my medical indicators are within normal ranges. I eat well and get lots of strenuous exercise. My body is working just fine and your assumptions about my health based upon my appearance are wrong." Basically, I’m arguing that because I’m healthy I should be granted the same health privilege as thin people (who are given it regardless of their actual health status, but that’s another post.)

However, the best response is something along the lines of, "Health is not a moral imperative. All people deserve respect, no matter their health status or the size of their bodies." This response, though, denies me access to that health privilege (and the warm glow of acceptance by healthish people).

In the end, my health is something over which I have very little control. I can work to hold onto it, but all it takes is something unpredictable like an accident or an illness and it can be taken away. Being fit and healthy gives me an illusion of control, which I may chase with varying amounts of desperation– but I have no guarantee that it will stick.

I can choose, though, to treat others (and myself!) with kindness and compassion and work toward and insist upon respect for all kinds of people. So maybe I’ll go get that checkup, and look at the results and then work more on changing my outlook.

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3 Responses to Fat, Health, and the Illusion of Control

  1. Gingerzingi says:

    That desire to be a “healthy fatty” drives too much of my motivation. It’s like, if I can’t be THIN to tell people I deserve respect, I can at least DO THE THINGS that are, theoretically, supposed to make me thin, to deserve respect. Ugh. I think the only reason I did P90X was so I could tell my doctor to fuck off when he suggests I should “get more exercise, maybe walk everyday.” It’s not good to live for the opinion of others, or try to prove things to others. Or even to myself, come to think of it, because I spend far too much time trying to prove my worth to myself, too.

    “to treat others (and myself!) with kindness and compassion…” I leave ‘myself’ out of that treatment too often. Yeah, I’m a mess sometimes :-) Thanks for a good post.

    • G says:

      You deserve respect right now, just how you are. It’s okay to expect (or even demand!) respect from others and from yourself. And kindness :)

  2. Pingback: 2013 Recap Post | Running While Fat

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