“Wait! It’s not about weight.”
The headline glared at me, proclaiming this week as National Healthy Weight Week. Not another article on weight! But hang on; maybe it wasn’t the typical article. Hallelujah and pass the pumpkin pie!
Still, I couldn’t bring myself to read the whole thing. My ‘ugh’ repellant was working overtime. Nonetheless, I got the gist of the message, or a message, anyway; here’s my two-bit take.
Assuming no medical issues, our issues with weight are seldom about weight. My healthcare friends know that more than anyone.
We see much more in our own mirrors than is visible to anyone else. Our eyes have magic powers coveted by super heroes. When our eyes look in a full-length mirror, they see the past much more than the present.
Those eyes see the underweight kid and the overweight kid, teased and nicknamed by their peers. They see the young adult, sitting at home on a Friday night, because their body shape or height didn’t match what others heard was attractive.
Those images are ones that often stay with us throughout our lives, even though our bodies may have outgrown them long ago. Our minds don’t always. And if we were a healthy weight as a kid, we sometimes acquire new issues, images, and weight as an adult.
Our issues with weight, more often than not, cover up bigger, deeper image problems – problems far more painful than whatever number the scale shows. Sadly, it’s easier and safer to talk about weight.
I’m fortunate; I’ve never been to the extremes, although I’ve slid up and down the doughnut scale a bite, I mean, a bit. A few doughnuts on a frame that’s 4’6” has a way of quickly changing its overall…um, dimensions.
So when I read the headline about National Healthy Weight Week, it got me thinking. Scary, I know.
National Healthy Weight Week isn’t necessarily about getting ourselves to a healthy weight. It’s about getting ourselves to a mentally healthy place to either accept or change our weight – for all the right, healthy reasons.
A healthy weight isn’t about our physical state as much as it is about our mental state. Most of all, whatever our weight is, we need to be comfortable with it in a mentally healthy way.
As women, we especially struggle to maintain a healthy, realistic view of our physical selves. So much is tied up in our appearance. That’s a column for another day – or a whole month or year. But maybe that’s why one of the days this week is designated specifically for women. January 22 is National Women’s Healthy Weight Day.
And today, Jan. 17, is Martin Luther King Day. He had a dream. I have a dream; many of them, in fact. This week’s dream is for all of us to put down our forks, pick up our mirrors, and accept ourselves – and each other – for the fabulous folks we are, regardless of the outer packaging. Wait no longer.
Who helped you through 2010? In 2011, who will you help Stick To It – No Matter What? Kris Harty’s upcoming book celebrates nurses as the StickPeople they are. Her patient’s perspective is educational, inspirational, and full of reminders for nurses, new and lifelong. Kris helps student nurses continue to persevere through their studies, educates newer nurses on easy ways they can positively impact patient care, and reminds veteran nurses of what they already know but may have forgotten during overwhelming workdays. Kris is a Thought Leader on People Helping People Persevere. She leads the conversation through writing, speaking, coaching, and small group discussions. A 40-year veteran of the medical industry – on the receiving end, Kris Harty is the Stickabilities Specialist at Strong Spirit Unlimited. If you’re looking for an effortless and meaningful way to lead your staff toward continued excellent caregiving, contact Kris. Call 877.711.STIC(K), email StrongSpirit@StrongSpiritUnlimited.com, or visit www.StrongSpiritUnlimited.com.