Home Opinions ‘Healthy at every size’ movement spreads unhealthy mindset

‘Healthy at every size’ movement spreads unhealthy mindset

 Most of the world’s population currently lives in countries where weight-related issues kill more people than starvation does.

Over 300,000 people die from obesity every year in America alone. We are dealing with an epidemic, not some small, oppressed minority fighting for equal rights.

Nicole Arbour made headlines recently with her scathing comedy video entitled “Dear Fat People.” While I do not agree with everything she says, many of the critiques hold weight.

Roughly 69 percent of the American population is overweight or obese. Meanwhile, Arbour’s opposition—members of the “Healthy at Every Size” movement—would assert that people face discrimination for their weight, such as not being able to find cute clothes and social stigmas.

I would assert that true discrimination could only occur based off aspects of a person that cannot change, such as race, gender or sexuality.

Food can be seen as a comfort and binge eating is often a coping mechanism associated with depression and other mental illnesses. A depressed person may also use cutting as a form of coping. The fact that a coping mechanism makes a person feel better does not make it good. Similarly, the fact that a person uses food to cope with depression does not make it a healthy choice.

Everyone should strive to solve the problems that lead to overeating or seek help. The body must be in balance—mental and physical health are equally as important in order to live a long and fulfilling life.

Certain diseases can effect a person’s weight, but generally not to the point of morbid obesity. HAES advocate and TLC star Whitney Thore tries to claim to be healthy even while morbidly obese, but that claim does not hold water.

Thore was recently diagnosed with pre-diabetes and has been advised by doctors to lose weight. The reality star further claims the reason for her excessive weight gain was the fault of her preexisting disease known as polycystic ovary syndrome.

While PCOS can cause weight gain and make losing it more difficult, the negligence she exuded when taking care of her body is far more responsible for the 230-pound increase. PCOS is a serious illness. If a person is exhibiting any symptom, such as sudden weight gain, they should seek medical help in order to avoid future complications.

Instead of buying a $5 burger meal, a person can spend double that on raw potatoes, chicken breasts and vegetables. Sure, that may seem more expensive at first glance, but the raw products will provide more than one meal. I get it, preparing one’s own food takes time and effort, but it saves a huge amount of money and can prevent unhealthy eating.

Loved ones are dying because preventable diseases caused by unhealthy dietary practices are taking up valuable medical resources. Society has ingrained in us that, as long as it is with food, killing yourself is perfectly acceptable.

Losing weight is not impossible. I can be a testament to that. I have struggled with maintaining a healthy weight my entire life because obesity and diabetes are prevalent in my genetics, but I will not allow myself to accept those preventable diseases as my fate. Neither should anyone else. I encourage everyone to make a lifestyle change, take personal responsibility for his or her health, be active and eat well.

An obese person can be both fat and beautiful. Appearance is not what I am arguing against. I am not shaming overweight people’s appearance—I am discrediting the pervasive, disgusting, sordid idea that it is perfectly fine to kill yourself with food.

At the end of the day, a person’s body is their own and they can do whatever they want with it, but spreading lies about obesity will do nothing but end in death for 20 percent of the population.

Follow Madison Teague on Twitter @maddiebell_bell.


  1. So essentially, you’re saying that obese people are a waste of hospital space? Also, are you not aware of the ruthless campaigns undertaken by such establishments as mcdonalds that effectively gravitate children towards their products, and building a life long habit? There are more variables to consider versus just one’s state of mind, and to call it an epidemic is just obsurd, considering the actual definition of epidemic.

  2. There are obese people who cannot change the fact that their body does not produce enough hormones to lose weight. Are you saying its still their fault? I myself have a thyroid condition that does not allow my body to burn calories as any “normal” person can. Its not because I am “killing myself with food”. This is exactly the kind of thinking that people are trying to stop. Not every overweight person is the size they are because food.

  3. “I would assert that true discrimination could only occur based off aspects of a person that cannot change, such as race, gender or sexuality.”
    Actually, people can self-identify with any race, ethnicity, gender or sexuality they so choose. And yes, in some cases, these identity categories can be changed. Discrimination of people who are overweight/obese is a bigger issue than “not being able to find cute clothes”. Trivializing the fact that overweight/obese people face “social stigmas” is, in fact, a form or discrimination. Some people spend most of their lives trying to be thin, as that is considered the norm in society. Yet, those same people may never be thin. I include myself in that category. It is not okay to call me names, make fun of me, ignore me, hate me, wish that I would be “normal”, or wish that I would disappear because of my size. In fact, because 2/3 of our country is considered overweight/obese – then people like me are the norm, according to your own standards, i.e. “not some small, oppressed minority fighting for equal rights.” But in fact, I do not abide by those stereotypes and believe that there is much more to a person than their weight. And while it may be true that overeating may lead to some challenging health issues, even death in some cases, there are certainly other behaviors that lead to the same end – stress, smoking, drinking, abuse of illegal and/or prescription drugs, inactivity, and more. And as with overeating, each situation for each person is an individualized and complicated issue based on behaviors, psychological well-being, genetics, and more. To say that those who advocate for body-size acceptance are advocating “that it is perfectly fine to kill yourself with food” is completely missing the point. We are advocating to be treated like human beings. Every human being deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. Yes, they do. A person does not need to EARN your respect, just the fact that they are a human being, like you, means you treat them well – not like you want to be treated. You go beyond that, you treat others well. Why? Because that is the right thing to do – no matter their color, size, religion, treat others well.

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