America is obese. No not literally every person in the country is, but compared to where we were a few decades ago, our country has lost its girlish figure. Yet despite our increased pants sizes, we’re still a country that tries to tote the message of love. Love for one another and for ourselves. But some would argue that there is simply no way you can truly love yourself if you’re obese.

Everyone knows that being obese, or even slightly overweight, is not the best thing. The added weight adds pressure to joints and organs, and can be the cause of a host of diseases including diabetes and heart disease. So it would stand to reason that if you truly love yourself, you wouldn’t subject yourself to obesity and its harmful side effects. And if you do, you must hate yourself and be some kind of low self esteem having masochist.

But I beg to differ.

Just because you’re obese doesn’t mean you don’t have a deep and great love of self. How is that you ask? Well, because obesity isn’t caused by self hate, low self esteem or a dislike of some random body part. The causes of obesity are far more complex than that and affect the people of our country in different ways. Most urban communities only have access to and money for less healthy food options, and if McDonalds is your cheapest and best food option on a tight budget guess what … you’re going to get fat.

Even if you have access to healthier options, so much of are foods are processed and injected with chemicals and hormones that even the “healthy” foods add unnecessary weight and contribute in some way to various diseases. Neither of these scenarios means you don’t love yourself, it just means that you don’t have the knowledge or ability to eat better. People make the best with what they know and what they have, and sometimes those things aren’t the best for us, but it doesn’t mean that we love ourselves any less.

To me, obesity doesn’t automatically equal no self love. Sure there are people that over eat because they hate something about themselves or their lives, but that’s not the case for everyone. And most people that are overweight love themselves enough to recognize it and at least try to shed some pounds. If they didn’t, the weight loss industry wouldn’t be a multi billion dollar business.

Do obese people need to try harder to shed the pounds, definitely, because I don’t care what anyone says, you are NOT happy struggling for breath after climbing three stairs. No ma’am! But not being happy with your size and wanting to change so you can live and be better is not the same as not loving yourself at all. There are a lot of skinny, organic eating people out there who look in the mirror everyday and hate what they see, so trust that weight has nothing to do with self love. It does however, have everything to do with health and living a better, longer life for ourselves and those who love us….and that’s something we all need to work on.

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