Better off focusing on things I can change

More notes from the inaugural “Your Weight Matters” conference in Dallas...

They played the Jennifer Livingston video (she’s the Wisconsin anchorwoman who was flamed in e-mail for being overweight) at the opening session, declaring her as a hero for standing up to the cretin who wrote to her.

OAC isn’t the only weight-advocacy group to praise Livingston, and I continue to struggle with that stance.

She’s not a hero to me, any more than she’s an antihero — to me, she’s just another person with conflicting threads in her all-too-human story.

I suppose it makes sense, that one of the actions an obesity action coalition would take is to stand against people who would bully obese people.

But I still stumble over actions that seem to defend the condition of obesity while defending those who are obese. As I’ve said before, obese people aren’t any one thing — we/they are diverse people who share an obvious bodily condition. But as a recovering obese person — 155 pound loss for 20-plus years — a central part of my truth is that being obese sucks.

It sucks as a health hurdle and quality of life issue, even after removing all the unfair societal/fashionista parts. (And, it’s completely germane to point out that, for today anyway, they are not in reality removable, regardless of how fair that is.) One of most valuable maxims I know is, “What other people think of me is none of my business.”

A professional I met at the show wondered about the wisdom of investing energy in this fight. He didn’t suggest that what the e-mailer said wasn’t mean or inappropriate to express as he did. His point was that each of us, and each of our organizations, has a limited amount of resources to expend, and the condition of obesity is far too deep and diverse to choose to give priority to what other people think, and I agree.

I’m dee-lighted that I’m far less often subject to harsh judgments from others because of my body size, but the way I was able to lessen the toll was by changing myself (including, but not limited to, my body size), not by changing what others think. And, that path had so many other wonderful outcomes, too.

A final few conference tidbits, still to come ...

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