'Healthy at every size' movement spreads unhealthy mindset

Senior Opinions Columnist

Most of the world's population currently lives in countries where weight-related issues kill more people than starvation does.

Over 300,000 people die from obesity every year in America alone. We are dealing with an epidemic, not some small, oppressed minority fighting for equal rights.

Nicole Arbour made headlines recently with her scathing comedy video entitled “Dear Fat People.” While I do not agree with everything she says, many of the critiques hold weight.

Roughly 69 percent of the American population is overweight or obese. Meanwhile, Arbour’s opposition—members of the "Healthy at Every Size" movement—would assert that people face discrimination for their weight, such as not being able to find cute clothes and social stigmas.

I would assert that true discrimination could only occur based off aspects of a person that cannot change, such as race, gender or sexuality.

Food can be seen as a comfort and binge eating is often a coping mechanism associated with depression and other mental illnesses. A depressed person may also use cutting as a form of coping. The fact that a coping mechanism makes a person feel better does not make it good. Similarly, the fact that a person uses food to cope with depression does not make it a healthy choice.

Everyone should strive to solve the problems that lead to overeating or seek help. The body must be in balance—mental and physical health are equally as important in order to live a long and fulfilling life.

Certain diseases can effect a person’s weight, but generally not to the point of morbid obesity. HAES advocate and TLC star Whitney Thore tries to claim to be healthy even while morbidly obese, but that claim does not hold water.

Thore was recently diagnosed with pre-diabetes and has been advised by doctors to lose weight. The reality star further claims the reason for her excessive weight gain was the fault of her preexisting disease known as polycystic ovary syndrome.

While PCOS can cause weight gain and make losing it more difficult, the negligence she exuded when taking care of her body is far more responsible for the 230-pound increase. PCOS is a serious illness. If a person is exhibiting any symptom, such as sudden weight gain, they should seek medical help in order to avoid future complications.

Instead of buying a $5 burger meal, a person can spend double that on raw potatoes, chicken breasts and vegetables. Sure, that may seem more expensive at first glance, but the raw products will provide more than one meal. I get it, preparing one’s own food takes time and effort, but it saves a huge amount of money and can prevent unhealthy eating.

Loved ones are dying because preventable diseases caused by unhealthy dietary practices are taking up valuable medical resources. Society has ingrained in us that, as long as it is with food, killing yourself is perfectly acceptable.

Losing weight is not impossible. I can be a testament to that. I have struggled with maintaining a healthy weight my entire life because obesity and diabetes are prevalent in my genetics, but I will not allow myself to accept those preventable diseases as my fate. Neither should anyone else. I encourage everyone to make a lifestyle change, take personal responsibility for his or her health, be active and eat well.

An obese person can be both fat and beautiful. Appearance is not what I am arguing against. I am not shaming overweight people's appearance—I am discrediting the pervasive, disgusting, sordid idea that it is perfectly fine to kill yourself with food.

At the end of the day, a person’s body is their own and they can do whatever they want with it, but spreading lies about obesity will do nothing but end in death for 20 percent of the population.

Follow Madison Teague on Twitter @maddiebell_bell.