Claiming that all people are whatever body size they are for the exact same reason is a logical fallacy – humans are far too complex and diverse both mentally and physical for that to be the case.
In the range of human sizes, there are some people who are biologically hard wired to be thin (ie. the ones like my husband who eat and eat without thought and never put on weight) and others who are hard wired to be fat (those who do everything possible to reduce body size without any substantial results). I personally fall into neither of those categories.
There are undoubtedly a myriad other reasons at work as well behind why people are whatever size and shape they are – some within their control, some not.
However, I was utterly thunderstruck by a series of articles I was reading recently about obesity as a symptom of an underlying mental health problem. The thing these articles pointed out that had honestly never occurred to me before, was the following:
If a person begins to lose dangerous amounts of weight intentionally and to the point where their life is threatened, we classify their problem as a mental health issue. We attempt to intervene, we try to care for them and save them. They may be hospitalized and they are treated for their disorder with compassion and hopefully as much dignity as possible. There are countless articles and public health advertisements correctly encouraging them and their families to seek help before it’s too late. They are not considered to be at fault for what has gone wrong with them.
If a person begins to gain dangerous amounts of weight intentionally and to the point where their life is threatened, we classify their problem as a personality flaw. They are called gluttonous, weak willed and lazy. We guilt them, publicly shame them, and offer no mental health related assistance of any type. They are expected to solve the problem on their own or pay large amounts of money to get someone to help them. Perhaps they’re offered surgery. Perhaps they’re offered a spot on a reality television program so that the rest of society can derive entertainment value from their suffering. There are countless articles and public health announcements berating them for being such a horrible drain on everyone else’s insurance costs. They are completely considered to be at fault for what has gone wrong with them.
How have I never even noticed this before?
Why is this okay..?!