I was just sitting here thinking, “Man, the FA movement is so misunderstood by those who are on the outside.” I mean, if you’ve never been over-weight or fat, it’s so easy for you to assume that all fat people got that way because they’re undisciplined pigs. I get it. You see, My family’s genetic make up is such that NONE of my family were over-weight as young people, but MOST of them were by the time they were forty. So, I remember how I viewed fat people in my twenties. I wasn’t very sympathetic. I stereotyped and stigmatized fat people with the best of them. I’ve been on both sides of this issue, so I can speak from experience.
I didn’t become fat because I was undisciplined or lazy, or because I ate more than the skinny crowd. I was just blessed with a genetic blueprint that guided my body to hold on to more off what I ate (pack on the pounds) as I reached middle age. The phrase middle-age spread applies very well here. All of a sudden, the eating habits I had in my twenties that never caused me to gain weight, as I moved through my thirties, started to plump me up. The closer I got to middle age, the broader my mid-section became.
Oh, I could diet with the best of them. I could drop twenty pounds in a spring and look great for summer! But as time went on the weight swings got bigger and harder to manage. At twenty-five, I could cut back some on calories, do a little exercise and drop pounds—no problem. But within a year or two it would all be back - -with some new friends. Each cycle the challenge became a little bigger as the weight swings grew larger.
By the time I hit my mid-thirties my thinking began to change a little bit. I started saying, “Hey, I’m not twenty-five any more. I’m in my thirties, and I have a belly. That’s just reality. But I’m determined to at least have a small belly!” So, onward AND UPWARD I trudged, cycle after cycle of losing ten and gaining fifteen, harming my body (not to mention my psyche) with all of my erratic weight fluctuation—all the while being told by pop science and pop culture that I was doing the right thing by fighting the battle of the bulge!
So, back to my main point. People who have never experienced what I just described above can’t relate. They don’t get it. They think, “Why didn’t you just maintain your weight loss?” They don’t understand all of the factors involved. They never stop to consider the fact that they could never live the lifestyle they want to force on us in order keep the pounds off. They don’t understand that MANY of the people they point the finger at and say, “If they would just [insert misconception here] they could be thin, too,” don’t eat any more than they do, and aren’t any more sedentary than they are.
It makes me angry that the thin-obsessed gurus preach with such arrogance from a position of total ignorance. I’m a pastor, and I’ve learned to live and to lead by the motto, “Seek to understand, before you seek to be understood.” The thin-obsessed in our culture ignore this step consistently, but they have an enormous political and financial machine behind them - enabling them to bull-dose any dissenting view point. I hate that.
The Bible says, “Hate what is evil” (Rom. 12:9). I believe ignoring, stigmatizing and bulldozing people is evil.
That is why I REALLY WANT TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE! I want do whatever I can to educate and get the truth out there about weight. We are all created wonderfully and uniquely. Some of us are super-skinny. Some of us are “morbidly-obese.” Most of us are on the continuum somewhere in between. Of course, life-style choices have an impact - but you can’t make a genetically fat person skinny (long term) any more than you can make a genetically skinny person fat. The sooner our world understands this, the sooner we can stop focusing on the size of a person’s body and begin focusing on the size of their heart, character and the contribution they can make to the world!
Pastor Brad is a dedicated Christian, husband, father, pastor, blogger and Notre Dame Football fan. Brad and Kelly were wed June 22, 1991. They have two beautiful children, Kara and Josh. Brad attended Anderson University (Anderson, IN) and Johnson University (Knoxville, TN) majoring in biblical studies and preaching. Brad received his bachelor's degree from Johnson in May of 1995. He was ordained as a pastor in June of that same year and has served the church with joy ever since. As a large man, Brad has a genuine passion for promoting the message of the Fat Acceptance and HAES movements - with a particular focus on bringing a biblical perspective to the discussion. You are invited to visit Brad's blog, A Bigger Perspective, anytime and when you do, be sure to leave a comment and tell a friend!