Movie Review (Plus My Own Musings) - Big As Life: Obesity in America

I will preface by saying that I am a "fat" individual. I have mixed emotions about weight and beauty, as society examines them, and that can all be saved for another conversation on a different day. To be honest, I was sitting on the couch, drinking a soda when I began type this, so I am aware of the fact that I should change some of my behaviors. I think that my own battle with my body is why I was drawn to watch this, to be honest.

[Note: I began to write this a few months ago. Shortly thereafter, I decided that I was ready for change. My journey towards health began on June 25th and I have stopped drinking soda, cut out a lot of processed foods, and overall pay attention to diet. I try to eat mostly fruits, vegetables and proteins and drink 1/2 my body weight in water. I have also begun to workout nearly daily, sometimes twice per day. As of Sept 1, I have lost 20 lbs and feel more energy and confidence in life.]

This photo was obtained from Google.
This documentary, which I watched on Netflix, was an overall interesting and eye-opening film. I found myself growing more and more concerned as I watched, but not for the reasons that I assumed I would be. I know that, personally, I have an unhealthy relationship with food and that I am less active than I should be. The evidence is that I have probably doubled my weight since I was in high school.

However, I also struggle with the concept that I need to love myself, inside and out. That I should seek happiness and joy that comes from God, not from a source such as my appearance. However, self-acceptance is similar, yet distinct from giving up on taking care of my body. 

There were components of this documentary that agreed with this, sharing some medical and psychological research, exploring the health risks of being obese, the changes in eating and physical activity habits from our ancestors, brain chemistry and genetics, the need for behavioral changes, and addiction to food. I found so much of this fascinating. Some of it was common knowledge, for me. However, other components were new and profound. 

But, there were some viewpoints expressed which I felt were merely justifications by obese people. One such interview was of a women stating that when she lost weight, she had cheekbones and didn't recognize herself. Paraphrasing, she said that she then regained the weight and that she is happier being fat. She talked about how she still got sexual attention from men and that she loved herself and her personality. At first, I was sitting here, cheering her on: "Way to go! Love yourself! You're beautiful!" But then, the more I listened, I found myself getting frustrated because I felt as if she knew the health risks and the impact that her weight has on her life, but she essentially said that she didn't care. 

Another woman interviewed was equally frustrating as she sat and stated that she disagreed with medical research and professionals, and that being fat was no less healthy than being thin. She said that overweight need to stand up and argue, advocating for being fat, because it was a myth that it was a health risk. 

I did like how the video promoted programs, starting with young people, that teaches long-term lifestyle changes instead of dieting. I felt as if the show spoke about obesity and weight in a respectful and concerned manner, rather than a judgemental way that is pushing an agenda for thinness.

However, I do not feel comfortable with the idea that fat is acceptable or justifiable. I believe that people who are overweight should not be discriminated against or though of as less-than-equal due to their weight, but I do believe that it is an epidemic and while, for some, it is genuinely a genetic and biological problem (such as specific thyroid disorders), many more of us that are overweight are in this position because we made poor choices and need to be responsible for our actions. I firmly believe that I did this to myself (although I tend to blame my husband, jokingly, because he cooks so well).

People should care about their weight. Not in an unhealthy, body dysmorphic way...but in a desire to live way. When I was a teen, I was a cutter. After I stopped that, but began to smoke regularly, my mom called me on it and asked, "Is that just a different way to commit suicide? You're slowly killing yourself." I think with weight, its similar. I know, for me it is. When I eat McDonalds daily or when I drink soda after soda, I know it's slowly killing me. Is it wrong to occasionally eat something fried or sugary? I don't think so. However, many people that struggle with weight do not moderate foods well (me included). Once, I ate an entire bag of Funyuns during a movie. Often, I will consume a half package of Oreos or Chips Ahoy or Teddy Grahams. Sadly, with the Teddy Grahams, I would justify it to myself saying that they were whole wheat, so it wasn't as bad.

So, this brings me full circle to this idea of loving yourself. I never felt like I deserved to be healthy. I have never felt as if I loved myself enough to undertake the chore of changing my lifestyle. Sometimes, I still don't love myself as much as I should. And on those days, I seek love from God. I need His love to fill me and make me realize that I am worth the change. I continue to tell myself that He wants me to live healthy, so that I can glorify Him with my days (however numbered they may be). And, slowly, I begin to see myself differently, possibly through His eyes, and that is how I am learning to love me.

In conclusion, I enjoyed the documentary and think it is definitely worth the watch. It inspired me to do a lot of thinking and soul-searching about my own problem of obesity.

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