Is Fat Acceptance One Size Fits All?

Ouch. I know this is a touchy subject and there’s a chance some readers will be offended, but as the saying goes, you can’t please everyone.

So I’m broaching the subject.

Last week, in an article in the New York Times[1], the actress / fashion designer Rebel Wilson was profiled.

We know her from her roles in Bridesmaids and Pitch Perfect; she’s undoubtedly made a name for herself by deciding, as she explained in the Times, that since “fat is funny in a weird way and people find it easier to laugh at bigger goals”, she’d “make that her game plan”.

Good for her for doing so, if only in the sense that it proved to be her asset, rather than her liability.

She nixed a deal she had with the Australian arm of Jenny Craig in order to keep to her contract not to change her appearance during filming her role as “Fat Amy” in Pitch Perfect.

She’s clearly made a name for herself as an actor and has recently forayed into fashion, too.

Whether or not she personally happens to be healthy, I have no idea. It’s obviously not a given to assume that someone who is overweight is not healthy and more than it is to categorize everyone who is slim as being fit.

But I felt the article begged a very important question:

Where’s the line between accepting one’s body as it is, even if one is overweight or even obese and doing something about it?

I know, I know, not everyone is a size 6 or 2 or 12, but if American woman now weighs in at 166.2 pounds, which is almost exactly as much as the average American man weighed in the early 1960s[2] where, when and how is this trend going to stop?

It’s no secret that Americans are getting fatter and sicker each and every year.

In fact, according to a study published in 2012 in the journal BMC Public Health, Americans are now the world’s third-heaviest people, behind only the Pacific island nations of Tonga and Micronesia[3].

One might argue that each person can make their own choice in terms of whether or not to address the causes of their particular weight gain. After all, it’s a free country, right?

Maybe so, to a degree.

But what happens when said people who decide that they’re happy the way there are, that they’re ‘fat and happy’ begin to get sick?

Just like those who fall into the system of becoming addicted to sugar, then diabetic, and then reliant on meds and in need of both commodities (the sugar, and the meds), costs begin to skyrocket.

And not just for the individual person.

Consider their families and consider the impact on our society as a whole.

70% of Americans are taking at least one prescription, half are taking two and twenty 20% are taking five[4].

29.1 million people or 9.3% of the population have diabetes (not including another undiagnosed 8.1 million people which brings the total closer to 27.8%)[5].

45 million Americans are living below the poverty level[6] and in 2012; the US spent an average of $8,915 per person on health care, reaching a total of $2.8 trillion[7], a number that has only grown since.

How much of these dollars could have been spent, perhaps, on programs helping the 45 million people learn how to make better food choices and providing a means for them to actually be able to purchase those same healthy foods, rather than having to provide a remedy when they’ve already gotten sick?

You get the message; proactively choosing not to take action when the resulting consequences are felt by more than just the individual doesn’t make sense.

So back to the fat acceptance topic.

To spin off the title of the piece about Rebel Wilson, the answer to this dilemma is not one size fits all.

Is offering bigger and bigger sizes of clothing in department stores, forming fat acceptance groups[8] and having demonstrations to advocate being fat really the way to go?

The lines get so blurred sometimes.

How much of it comes down to not wanting to get down to the nitty gritty and deal with whatever it is that’s making someone get, and stay fat in the first place?

If someone were eating too much, whether it’s too much good food or too much bad food, for reasons other than being hungry, that, in my opinion, would be a good starting point.

Many people eat for the wrong reasons; stress, anxiety, depression, fatigue or boredom to name a few, but if you’re doing that, how are you really feeling day in and day out?

Forget about how you may look or what you weigh at the moment.

Does how you feel on a regular basis really make you feel happy?

Or is there potential to feel even a little, if not a lot better?

People come in all shapes and sizes, from all different backgrounds and have different sized skeletons and genes.

So there really is no one size fits all.

But I think we can all figure out whether or not it’s a case of being a little bit heavier than one would like to be and being accepting of it, or a being significantly obese, not healthy and trying to make it ok by creating a political movement out if it.

[1] Schulman, Michael. “Rebel Wilson Goes From ‘Fat Amy’ to Fashion Brand.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 04 Nov. 2015. Web. 12 Nov. 2015

[2] Body Measurements.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 02 Nov. 2012. Web. 12 Nov. 2015

[3] The Average American Woman Now Weighs as Much as the Average 1960s Man.” Washington Post. The Washington Post, 12 June 2015. Web. 12 Nov. 2015.

[4]“Study Shows 70 Percent of Americans Take Prescription Drugs.” CBSNews. CBS Interactive, n.d. Web. 12 Nov. 2015.

[5] “2014 National Diabetes Statistics Report.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 15 May 2015. Web. 12 Nov. 2015

[6] Gongloff, Mark. “45 Million Americans Still Stuck Below Poverty Line: Census.” The Huffington Post., n.d. Web. 12 Nov. 2015

[7] “Slow Growth Persists.” Health Care Costs 101. California Healthcare Foundation, n.d. Web. 12 Nov. 2015

[8] Baker, Jes. “6 Things I Understand About the Fat Acceptance Movement.” The Huffington Post., n.d. Web. 12 Nov. 2015