Operation: Life

Operation Healthy

Posted on: June 25, 2010

I’ve seen commercials for a new show called “Huge” on ABCFamily.

Some writers have called it “refreshing.” Others call it “sobering.”

I call it good intentioned. But we all know what that can lead to.

From my brief understanding (through commercials only) of this show, it’s about overweight teens at a “fat camp.” That’s pretty much all I know from the short tv ads, but the one statement stuck with me and bothers me… regarding losing weight, the main character says, “Why should I?”

This bothers me not because she should be 100 lbs, a size 00 or anything ridiculous like that. People are meant to be different shapes and sizes. Some factors cannot be avoided and some will never change. That’s not my point. It bothers me because that is NOT a healthy message to send kids and teens, who will likely be the largest audience of this show.

Why should you lose weight if you’re an overweight child or teen? Because it’s NOT HEALTHY to stay overweight that early on. Being overweight can lead to so many serious health problems. THAT’s why. Not because “skinny is cool” or because everyone should look like a model. But because of diabetes. joint problems. heart disease. high blood pressure. etc.

Before anyone crucifies me for my criticism of this show, I have not seen it yet. I would hope the creators would have a healthy goal in mind. In some ways, I think the show is good (hence my conclusion of “good intentioned”). I don’t think barbie-shaped characters with varying levels of plastic surgery should be the only “role models” on tv for young people. I think it’s important for teens of all sizes to realize they have worth and are loved by those around them…. however…. those who love them should care enough to want them to be healthy. And encourage them to do so.

I was not always healthy. I was overweight for most of my childhood and into high school. It was not until college that I began watching what I ate and exercising when I had the opportunity.  Now that my wedding is quickly approaching, I’m more conscious of my physical appearance than ever.

Does that mean I’m unhappy? No. It just means I’ve been more mindful of what food I put in my body (portions, snacks, etc.) and I’m more active (I try to workout 5-6 times a week. try.). Does this mean I’m super skinny? No. I’m “skinnier” than I have been in a long time but I’m no size 2. Does this mean I’m perfect? Not by any stretch of the imagination.

Do I feel better? A resounding YES. I’m no medical professional, but I’ve been sick less. My migraines have decreased. I’m at a healthier weight for my height. I have more confidence. I’m stronger and can exercise better (cardio-endurance-wise and range-wise) than I ever was or could before.

Conclusion: I will support ABC Family’s new show… IF. and only if. their overall message is healthy. Yes, all children should have self-esteem and confidence. But no one needs to sacrifice his or her health to do so.

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