But, isn’t “Mental Health” also a vital, important part of “Health”?

As many, if not all, of us know: January (aka Dieting Frenzy Re-boot Month) is here. The holidays of last year have passed and commitments to a “New You” are promoted everywhere.  Largely this translates, often-times not even subtly, to “The THINNER You”.  There are many things to hate about this month of resurgent interest in Whipping Off the Pounds that the hopefully restful holidays may have Put Upon You.  One happening that ends up making my very sad and wistful however is hearing/seeing people say/post things which reference actions they are doing or foods they are eating that they don’t LIKE (or even actively HATE) but which they follow-up with “but I suppose it is good for me”.

That’s just so sad to me.  Not only does it immediately buy into this idea that obviously what is “Good” for you is either Not Easy or is going to be something you’ll HATE; it also sets people up for a cycle of failure. How can you possibly want to continue behaviors that you’ve decided are “The Good Ones” if you’re already firmly set against them: because what you’ve chosen as Good is so despicable to you?

I’m firmly against the idea that anything (and everything) Good for you is difficult and undesirable; and that anything Bad for you is easy and the path to true darkness.  This isn’t the Force folks.  Foods and activities aren’t a cut and dry metric by which your moral values could (or should) be measured.

I understand that, especially after a few weeks of a tacitly “allowed” festive mentality that there is this incredible pressure to feel guilt and “pay” for such sinfully decadent behavior.  I can understand how much easier it is to give in to the pressures and put your body and mind on a diet of what is perceived as Good as a sort of punishment for allowing yourself to feel good for any length of time.  I don’t support it; but I sure as heck understand it; having fallen prey to these exact ideas many times myself over the years.

However, if having one fat woman declare it gives you the peace of mind to even consider an alternative, think on this:  your Mental Health is just as important as your physical health.  Even if you refuse to believe me when I assert that physical health and fatness are not intrinsically linked in an inverse relationship; please allow that there is a direct correlation between your mental well-being and your overall wellness.  If you are already mentally trudging at the idea of the behaviors and foods you’ve put in front of yourself as the Grail to Thinness, then the increasingly bitter resentment you will feel towards these actions and nutrients will only serve to reinforce your hatred of them and make Being Good seem like an even more distant possibility that ever before.

Break free of the chains of This Is Good For Me Even If I Hate It.  If you MUST attempt a Change of Lifestyle; I’d personally suggest Health At Every Size: where internal hunger cues are rediscovered and our own bodies become the competent devices they were created to be from the start.  Where “Good” depends on what works for YOU; where mental health his JUST as vital as the perceived “good” value of what you next hope to eat.  Don’t do what you SUPPOSE is good for you (especially if it is distasteful or even hateful to you).  Do what feels right; what you learn means your body is happy.  Yes, it IS a scary proposition to trust your own body and learn to listen.  To me, though, it is a far better venture than to select purported Good Foods and Good Activities to punish yourself for daring to have enjoyed the recent holiday season.

Happy New Year and Happy Same Awesome You!!

PS: Those who read on the site may have noticed the updated look.  Just playing with themes and running with a pink theme that tickled my fancy.


2 thoughts on “But, isn’t “Mental Health” also a vital, important part of “Health”?

  1. Sing it, sister!

    I get so sick of the uptick in (already excessive) diet ads at this time of year, promising easy answers that will make you thin which automatically equals healthy in the shorthand of the day.

    Guess what? Bodies do get fatter in the winter. Why? Because we’re mammals and most mammals put on some sort of extra protection against the cold naturally. My cat develops a thicker coat, but humans aren’t fur-bearing, so we put on a couple extra pounds as insulation. The thing is, as the weather warms, my cat will naturally shed his extra-thick fur… and I will drop a couple pounds of fat. This will happen again next year, and the next, and as many years as I live.

    And bodies naturally get a little fatter as they age. Funnily enough, more and more studies are showing that some fat is a positive indication for health as we age. Other studies are showing the deleterious health effects of dieting particularly among older people.

    So to my mind, this shows that nature knows what she’s doing and the less we fight that… the better off we are both physically and mentally.

    The sooner we stop mentally beating ourselves up in the name of ‘good health’, the better.

    • Twistie: Love this “So to my mind, this shows that nature knows what she’s doing and the less we fight that… the better off we are both physically and mentally.” I totally agree! You’d think we’d trust more the nature which is responsible for creating the very bodies we spend so long trying to alter!

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