Have you ever been called fat? Have you dieted without results? Do people constantly give you advice on how to lose weight? If so, you probably know how the kids and adults in the book Fat Kids feel. In this book, written by Rebecca Jane Weinstein, the “fat kid” gets the voice that many of people going through this struggle never had. Through personal stories and the science behind “fat,” this book does not pressure you to diet or lose weight. It simply provides a truly human experience of the “fat kid.” One of my favorite things about this book is that it tells individual stories from the perspective of the people classified as overweight. I’ve struggled with my weight my entire life. I know how it feels to have someone call you an elephant or get picked on for having a big butt. I know what it feels like to constantly try to lose weight, find success, and then gain it back again. I also know what it feels like to always feel self-conscious about your body, no matter how much you weigh. Why not equate beauty with the word skinny? What’s wrong with that?
4 Startling Reasons Not to Equate Beautiful with Skinny
- Eating disorders. According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD), 35% of normal dieters will eventually diet pathologically, and 20-25% of those people will develop either partial or full-blown eating disorders. How does this happen? I know from personal experience that watching yourself lose weight and wanting it to happen faster can lead to unhealthy habits. You start skipping meals, working out obsessively, and nothing you lose is good enough. I did this as a middle school student because I noticed only skinny girls got the attention of the boy I liked. Over half of all teenage girls and almost one-third of teenage boys use unhealthy weight control behaviors and the mortality rate of disordered eating is 12 times higher than all other causes of death for girls aged 15-24 (ANAD).
- The Yo-Yo. People who feel they need to lose weight due to the unhealthy body type standard imposed by the media that only 5% of American females possess naturally may lose weight by dieting, but 95% of dieters gain their weight back within 5 years. It’s difficult to keep the weight off permanently, especially if you lose weight in an unhealthy way, because you cannot continue that type of eating forever. People rebound, go back to old ways of eating, and gain the weight back.
- Self-Esteem. The hatred of ourselves starts when we feel insecurities because we think other people don’t like us. They continue once we feel validated in the belief that we’re not good enough. How can you change your perception when everyone believes in this unattainable body ideal? And what happens when you’re physically unable to achieve and maintain that body? Well, 42% of 1st-3rd graders report wanting to be skinnier and 82% of 10-year-olds fear becoming fat according to ANAD. It’s doubtful that such a large percentage of children actually need to lose weight, so how do you think those negative beliefs will impact them long run? I’ll let you come to your own conclusions.
- Suicide. A study found that teenagers with poor body image are more likely to suffer from suicidal thoughts, regardless of their actual weights. Those who feel they are extremely fat or extremely thin are only slightly more likely to attempt suicide than those with a normal body weight. The widespread number of media images showing an ideal body type play a role in a person’s perception of themselves, but it’s unclear whether the obsession with media images become an obsession before or after teenage obsession with weight. The extreme weight perceptions, however, are marked as a warning sign for suicide.
[ctt title=”You don%5c’t have to be skinny to be beautiful” tweet=”You don’t have to be skinny to be beautiful http://ctt.ec/v4raU+ #loveyourself #beauty @embracespectrum” coverup=”v4raU”] How can we change this negative feedback loop? Can we change it? The book Fat Kids focuses on the stories of people who suffer from a wide range of problems because of the attention to weight loss. The book also talks about ways in which some people achieve a healthier body image, including positive parental support. The greatest thing about the book is that it helps draw attention to the problem. We should pay more attention to how we deal with weight concerns in our children. Read the book to find out more about how this widespread concern impacts those who suffer from body image issues and more reasons why beautiful does not necessary mean skinny.
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for writing my unbiased review. I have included an affiliate link, which means that I may receive a few cents for your clicks.