Is Fat A Bad Word?
In a typical women’s magazine you might find the best tips for a flatter tummy and on the next page you'll read about accepting our shape and embracing our curves. It seems utterly contradictory but realistically, while accepting our bodies is great, there's also nothing wrong with a little self-improvement. But who decides when it's time for improvement?
Everyone's definition of a healthy and beautiful body is different. There are people who aim for Gisele Bündchen proportions and those who are happier with a more Rubenesque figure. Most of us are capable of making a relatively realistic assessment of our body type. Hopefully this assessment includes adjectives like "beautiful", "strong", and "healthy". Even "toned", "curvaceous" or "slender". There are loads of lovely ways to describe your body. But when I hear things like “fat and proud” I have some serious concerns.
Fat is subjective. Fat isn’t exactly a specific term. It doesn’t offer a clear definition of body type. If you're after the supermodel body, you may think that someone who's a size six is fat—which of course, is ridiculous. But whether you consider the use of the word "fat" as reclaiming a negative term or you use it as an insult, the damage is the same.
I am going to be brutally honest here. As a health professional, I am definitely not about fat shaming. If you are truly happy in the skin you're in, more power to you. But I am also not about encouraging obesity. And I think "obese" is the word we should be focusing on, not "fat". Obesity is far too common in our western societies and is a serious cause for concern. Obesity is the leading cause of heart disease, type two diabetes and certain types of cancer. No matter how you look, if your BMI or waist circumference measures as unhealthy, it's time for self-improvement. And this time, it's not about a flat bikini belly, it's about extending and improving your life.
What do you think? Is fat a bad word?