I am currently reading "Talking Fat" by Lonie McMichaels which I will be reviewing in a few weeks. But it opens with a story of a fat woman named Sarah who does a triathlon. When she posted a picture of her in a swimsuit, she was attacked with nasty comments.
Nike recently released a commercial "Find your Greatness" that shows a lone jogger. As the person gets closer it is of a fat young man running.
The positive aspect of the commercial is it shows a fat person doing movement and breaking a stereotype that fat people don't exercise (Some of us do and some of us don't just the same as thin people). There is no mention of dieting or weight loss. Just an ordinary kid on a run.
On its website, Yale University’s Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity praised Nike for demonstrating “its commitment to demystify myths about overweight and obese people.” Rebecca Puhl, Rudd’s director of research, was surprised — pleasantly — by the ad, which she believes challenges stereotypes of obese people as lazy, crazy for junk food and lacking in willpower or self-discipline.
The negative aspects is what we didn't see. During the filming the kid threw up in a ditch. And this ad has made him decided to lose weight the old fashion way through diet and exercise.
It turns out Nathan is not actually an early-dawn runner. In fact, he threw up in a ditch during the shoot. In an editorial, the paper heralds Nathan as an inspiration, though it seems he was the one most inspired by the shoot. Nathan and his mother Monica have vowed to help each other lose weight through good old-fashioned diet and exercise.
I've never been against anyone trying to eat healthy or getting in more exercise.I hope one day in the future Nathan runs without throwing up. I hope he doesn't stop running even if he doesn't become thin. I wish him not to have my childhood, riddled with old fashion dieting that caused me to gain more weight than lose.
The other issue is stigma about a fat person exercising. In May I wrote that a fat person can't get a break. If they don't exercise, they face stigma for not doing it. If they do, they are made fun of. Dr. David Katz was happy to mention how horrible Nathan looked while running.
“He looks miserably uncomfortable, and as if he’s about to topple over. There is no hint of greatness in it — other than, perhaps, his commitment to do it. But maybe he is a great mathematician — or orator — or pianist…” he wrote in an email.
“So, I would have preferred they showed his pursuit of greatness in a way that was not so obviously far from great, so obviously impeded by his weight and so blatantly uncomfortable!”
In other words, because he looked uncomfortable, and not that "great", he should stop running?
Also next year I have decided to do at least one swim race. I'm sure I'll come in last. I don't care.