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CHOG #6 - ARE YOU HEALTHY?

In my book, INSERT GIGGLE GIGGLE, Laughing Your Way through Raising Kids and Running a Business, I wrote a chapter based on my “Kids & Kay” published article on the subject of parents struggling to get their child to eat a healthy meal. What is interesting is the variations parents have in what a "healthy" meal actually is. During my years of owning my preschool, we saw the basic food groups, which included carbs and sugars, change to a wide range of "health food" choices, trying to manage and maybe even eliminate traditionally considered child food choices. I, and some of the teachers (of my generational age), would be distressed at what we thought deficient in the balance of diet of some of the children and the lack of a flush in their cheeks. There is so much research about healthy diets that while trying to digest it all, you could easily miss a meal (insert giggle giggle!).


It seems in today’s culture we have a huge divide on the war on food. For sure it is “crammed down our throats” to eat healthier AND it is just as “tough to swallow” (puns intended) the premise that people that are obese should not be “fat or body shamed” into eating in a healthier way. Further, you only have to watch TV for 5 minutes to see so many commercials for weight loss programs and photos “shaming” the “before” it will make your tummy clinch. So, what about it, Joe Public? Do we want everyone to eat healthier and strive to be slimmer or do we want everyone to just eat whatever they want and feel free to be fat, big-boned, obese, and (by most doctors’ perspective) unhealthy, and that’s okay, no need to worry or change your eating ways? What is the answer?


Interestingly, you can go to any fashion magazine (magazines and clothing brands that have built for ages a very well-heeled and profitable business based on skinny models) and we now see a substantial selection of larger ladies gracing the pages. These fashion designers have always made the same clothing in larger sizes than what their skinny model is wearing (and trying to sell), but us women look at these very well-toned models and believe (or hope) that if we buy that outfit, we will look that way too. The fashion industry is mired in that imagery and deception, and it’s always worked for them and for us. But is that true, that it has always worked for us? But wait, it now appears that the fashion industry has embraced that their clothing can sell just as well on a larger-type model (and maybe that concept has not hurt the financial success of their business “model”) and, in the process make us "other-size" women feel good about ourselves as well! I don’t know the answer to the financial aspect, but I do know it is heralded as a better social awareness stance and that’s all that seems to matter these days.

I once heard this “new trend in larger models” discussed on a morning talk show and the host said that he doesn’t particularly like to open a fashion magazine or go by a typical store window display or watch a fashion show on TV and see larger women – and neither (which has also become in vogue, again pun intended) to see “unattractive” models peddling products. He said, laughingly, he would like to just stick with beautiful women. I thought it was sort of mean and I also question unattractive to whom? The school of thought (through the generations) being… if we don’t want to see it in ourselves (unattractiveness or rolls of fat) then why do we want to see it in others that are trying to sell us something fashionable. Of course, the other school of thought is that we ALL should be able to see ourselves portrayed, in any number of ways and professions, by people that "look like us" and triumph that it is okay - if this person can be successful (in fashion!) then certainly I can look good in my world too....


So, I have sort of strayed away from talking about being healthy haven’t I – or have I? Being “fit” (and not being fat or obese) does go hand and hand in some of the ways I propose above of being healthy and/or attractive and maybe it’s society that has strayed away from that dual concept. I think I can also correctly propose that it has always been a known fact (?) that skinny models may not be healthy. So many of them are anorexic, practice bulimia, take laxatives, take drugs (OTC as well as illegal), and practice other unhealthy lifestyles to stay slim, so it may be correct to say (in a lot of cases) that having some “meat on your bones” is healthier than being slender. So, who actually is the arbiter of whether someone is healthy and especially to be able to spy a healthy person from the way they look?


My mom has always been a very slender person. Until she got into her 80s and naturally “shrunk”, like so many people do in their later years, she was about 5’4’’ and weighed probably 110 pounds. She has high cholesterol and high blood pressure and takes medication for both and has for many years. Who would have thunk it (insert giggle giggle)? Aren’t these conditions associated with “larger people”? So, see? It’s not always about “looks” as relates to being healthy and even to what or how you eat.

When Hayden was around 8 years old, he was a hefty child. We put him on diet after diet, consuming so few calories in a day it broke my heart. Nothing worked. I finally took him to his pediatrician to discuss this issue and he wasn’t concerned – flippant advice to get more exercise, etc. So, I looked straight in his eyes, and I said, “I know you aren’t concerned, but let’s pretend you are very concerned. What would you do?” He said, “Well, I would refer you to a pediatric endocrinologist to run blood work and see if there is actually a problem.” And I said, in a way that brooked no argument, “Well that’s what you are going to do”. Hayden had insulin resistance and a very high blood sugar level that the endocrinologist said almost bordered on hospitalization. He put him on an aggressive medicine regimen and Hayden, within 6 months, was unrecognizable, a total re-shaping of his body with almost no diet effort. This changed his life in incalculable positive ways (you know how mean children can be, I’ll leave it at that).


So how about it? Are you healthy? Do you maintain a healthy and active lifestyle and let the chips (this Chog is full of puns...insert giggle giggle!) fall where they may as to how these choices affect the way you look? Do we protect our mental health by not letting fashion magazines or society tell us what is the best way to look, not giving in to either the current trend of being thin or fat? I think that’s all we can really do. I don’t deprive myself of foods that I enjoy just so I will look a certain way. Boy, I did in my youth and probably a lot of you did too. Now, I try to be more focused on being happy and healthy and not so much “model conscious”. I think that’s healthy. Bon Appetit!


Next up…. DO YOU HAVE A TATTOO?


Always remember to insert a giggle giggle ~ Kay😊

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