Sunday 20 July 2014

Is the positive body image message creating lazy individuals

The avalanche of posts and essays on positive body image is astounding. The body and the individual relationship is the subject of many self-love promotion articles and is a relief to read when compared to the many articles on promoting a slim body. BUT what is alarming is that the signals sent by the positive body image posts, along with enabling people to love their body is also creating a steady group of lazy people. People have started loving their body a bit too much that they fail to understand that they are abusing it when they deprive it of exercise and a balanced diet.

Let me cite an example from my own neighbourhood.

X is a beautiful and successful young woman who earns an amount that is quite obscene. But it also happens that X is obese and is quite happy being so. Her success and pay package give her a confidence that many women don't have. She is independent but refuses to acknowledge that she has to be fit and healthy. I often see her consuming junk food like nobody's business and inspite of me gently coercing her to exercise, she winks at me and says, "I love my body. It is me." Agreed. But if you love your body, why not take care of it! Last week, X fainted while rushing to work and was diagnosed with low blood pressure and was advised to exercise in order to reduce her weight and keep other related lifestyle diseases at bay. Thankfully, she has started walking and also seems happier (at least her body must be for the walks!).

I admire X's audacity and openness to admit that she's on the heavier side and that she embraces her body but isn't her self-love also preventing her from exercising. If not laziness, then what?

Many individuals think quite falsely that exercising and eating sensibly is for people who are on the heavier side. When I discuss walking and exercising to many of my friends who are naturally skinny, they scoff at me saying, "Only people like you need to walk, not me." Really? Who are you kidding? Just try to bend and touch your toes with your hands. I bet your brittle bones will crack! Admit that you are either ignorant or lazy.

Eating sensibly and exercising is for everyone and especially if you actually admit to 'loving' your body, you should be able to understand its needs. Eating whatever comes your way along with working insane hours without adequate sleep and rushing through breakfast does not show your proclaimed love for your body.
I know that we all have certain body types and that they should be accepted and loved but being lazy and depriving the body of what it requires is definitely part of the 'positive body image package.' Period.

Disclaimer: If being lazy and sexy without exercise and sensible eating is what you believe in, then who am I to burst your neon bubble!


  1. It is indeed a scary and inconvenient truth which we refuse to acknowledge; a number of us lead a sedentary job-role which requires us to stare in front of a computer for long hours. Seated/cooped in small nest like cubicles. Exercise and fitness and healthy eating habits are very very important. Add to it - cutting down on nicotine and alcohol consumption.

  2. Susan, this is a very thought provoking article. Every body knows the benefits of walking, eating a healthy diet, still indulge in all such banned things. This should come as a reminder!

  3. Obese does not automatically mean unhealthy.
    Low blood pressure in an obese person is a GOOD thing it is NOT a 'lifestyle related disease', high blood pressure is bad (think all that pounding blood damaging kidneys, brain (stroke), blood vessels (aneurysms) etc.)

    Most common causes of hypotension (low blood pressure) in India-
    Heat exhaustion
    Heart failure
    Liver disease
    If an obese female of childbearing age presented at my clinic passed out with low BP I'd at least check her thyroid levels - did these doctors?

  4. Totally true, Susan! I hear this from many women. You are thin; why do you need to work out? All their myopic brains can think of is exercising for weight loss. I mostly tell them I work out and eat sensibly to stay fit but it clearly makes no sense to them. Thank you for writing this. Surely, love yourself has been dragged a bit too far for our own good.

  5. I'm glad you brought this point up! A lot of people think I'm just a health freak and hate the topic of exercise altogether! It's not a question of just losing weight; just of being healthy!



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