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Fat Shaming Over Cancer

August 09, 2019

Fat Shaming Over Cancer

This is a really tough one.

It's come to light from Cancer Research that people who are obese now outnumber people who smoke by two to one in the UK, with almost a third (29%, or 14.9 million people) of UK adults obese.  It's also a fact that obesity is a direct cause of cancers, sixteen, to be precise.  As you know from me banging on about it, 50% of midlife women are obese. 

Fact is, being the correct weight for your height and build is a proven good thing for your health.

Well, poor old Cancer Research ran a campaign (see it HERE) highlighting this and got slammed as "fat-shaming".  Currently, there is a petition with 9,000 signatures on it and a group of health professionals penned an open letter to Cancer Research urging them to end this campaign so what are they to do?  Their reason for being is to cure cancer, but surely they also want to prevent us getting it in the first place?

I think as midlife women we are old enough and experienced enough not to lie to ourselves and being the right weight for our size is crucial to our health.  Cancer Research took the viewpoint that many people don't understand that there are cancer risks associated with being obese - I certainly didn't know this until recently - and they want to empower us to understand this and, in the same way people give up smoking, to start losing weight.

However, here's the challenge.  Smoking is, these days, socially unacceptable.  There are laws against it in public places, it's very expensive and many people are vocal if you light up.  

Obesity is seen in a very different light these days.  

Quite rightly, our society doesn't want to be a place where those of us who aren't "perfect" are made to feel rubbish about ourselves and what a relief that is.  We want everyone to feel confidence in themselves, we want to be inclusive.  This change in viewpoint has been really hard won and should not be given up lightly.

Likewise, our society doesn't make healthy choices easy.  When we were kids there was no Maccie D but a Wimpey Bar in most towns for those who could afford it.  The Wimpey Bar was a sit down job with knives and forks and a Rum Baba for dessert.  There was no culture of popping out for fast food because it didn't exist, we've learnt that behaviour and have it advertised to us everywhere.

Since our childhood school sports fields have been sold off and the advent of Playstation, X-Box and the like have brought an amazing world into our culture.  Like it or loathe it they are incredible places of play for all of us.

The Internet and Social Media have opened up hours of statically seated online entertainment.

In short, while smoking has seen a decline in acceptability in our culture, we have actively got constant messaging from the things that make us fat.  Our society willingly embraces the things that make us fat because they are fun and enjoyable and that's a tough one to combat. 

So I can understand how our society works against us being the correct weight.  I understand the time pressures on women but we can't lie to ourselves, being the right weight is fantastic for our health.

For me, I want you to look as good as you can always, whatever your size, whatever your race, whatever your sexual orientation.  This space cares about how you move through midlife.  I want you to have a midlife that's confident, where you are well, healthy, glowing and making a real contribution to your community and friends.  All I can do is show you the options and I totally respect that you are big enough and wise enough to make the right decisions for you at that time.

So, what do you think?


Just a note...

I thought it worth letting you know that while I recommend products, services and people in these blogs I have not taken ANY monies to do so, nor received goods in kind, discounts or any other such lovely incentives.  I didn't want you to have those thoughts in your head about what you read.  I'd love some of the stuff on offer for free, but I pay exactly what you would - bit miserable really but it's better all round.  The same goes for all social media posts and any recommendations in my book.  I've purchased everything at full price and often without the brand's knowledge.  Just thought I'd let you know!

All opinions my own.

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