OPINION

It's time to stop letting it weigh you down

LET'S MOVE: Losing weight is not easy, but it's easier than changing discrimination against fat people. Picture: Shutterstock
LET'S MOVE: Losing weight is not easy, but it's easier than changing discrimination against fat people. Picture: Shutterstock

At a recent family dinner, the hosts' four-year-old daughter said to me: "You got a big belly!" Pfft. No wonder children are not allowed to vote; they don't know what they're talking about.

The very large family went very quiet. If the earth could have opened up right there and then ... it still might have been a tight squeeze. I asked the Lord that night in prayer "Lord, am I fat?" A voice boomed back: "Eat less my son, for the gates of heaven are narrow."

So, right now might be a good time to write a column about physically exercising. For starters, the hypocrisy of me writing such a piece might cause a wry smile to some who don't usually laugh at jokes.

Apparently a regular exercise regime of jumping to conclusions, running up bills, running down friends, wrestling with your conscience and bending over backwards in an attempt to stretch the truth is not great for weight loss.

A woman told me once: "The only thing my useless husband ever fixes around the house are martinis." I replied: "Well, there goes your theory that he's useless."

I don't think that I'm completely unqualified to write a column on exercising and weight loss.

Many moons and milkshakes ago, I bet two very wealthy men a huge amount of money that I could lose 30kg in three months.

One of them even consulted a friend of his - the then-editor of Australian Men's Fitness Magazine - to ascertain if such a feat could be accomplished.

The then-editor advised that "under normal circumstances, no".

The good news, I lost the weight in just under three months. The bad news ... I put it all back on and more within a year - and neither of the two wealthy men paid up.

But why exercise? Will it do my soul any good? For many, exercise is a spiritual battle as well as a physical one.

There is an enormous body of scholarly papers to support the evidence that physical exercise is good for mental health, and we already know that. So let me sell you exercise from an unconventional angle.

Many will deny it, but I think people knowingly or unknowingly think less of us when we are very overweight. The Bible states in the First Book of Samuel: "The Lord sees not as people see: a person looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart."

I think what was true more than 2600 years ago is, sadly, just as true today.

So, what can we who are horizontally challenged do when it's impossible for us to lose weight? Let's start with the truth: it's not impossible. Maybe you are overweight. Maybe it's not your fault. But it is in your hands if you want to change.

Numerous good people and even canonised saints down through the ages have been people who were overweight; even very overweight. Still, I think being overweight is very looked down upon.

You may have noticed that the models used in advertising in recent times have become more diverse.

Rather than seeing models almost entirely young, tall, female and Caucasian, models are now of every race, height and age. This is good. However, unless they are advertising plus size clothing, models are still not large.

Discrimination against the portly is perhaps even more obvious in film.

The heroes in films today are of every single age, gender, race, background ... but still, the hero is rarely very overweight. The hero's best friend will often be overweight, displaying how accepting the hero is of ordinary people.

However, the hero is rarely overweight themselves, displaying how unaccepting film creators still are.

So, what can we who are horizontally challenged do when it's impossible for us to lose weight? Let's start with the truth: it's not impossible.

Maybe you are overweight. Maybe it's not your fault. But it is in your hands if you want to change.

Let's just lose the weight. It won't be easy, but it's easier than trying to convince the whole world of its discrimination against fat people.

If you've spent a fortune trying every diet and none have worked, I'll give you here and now the best diet I have ever read. The good thing is, it's only five words: "Eat less and exercise more."

Twitter: @frbrendanelee

This story It's time to stop letting it weigh you down first appeared on The Canberra Times.