Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Pictures Can Be Deceiving
She's a bit chunky, don't you think? She could probably stand with losing a few pounds. Better for her health, and all that, right? She's 5'2" tall and weighs 140 pounds. You did the BMI calculation and she's ever so slightly overweight. And let's not forget that the BMI is used by all kinds of organizations (including the ever-powerful insurance companies) to remind us of how dangerous and nasty it is to be overweight.
Sorry to tell you this, friends, but if you were half as healthy and in half as good shape as Canadian air force major Meagan McGrath (pictured here), you'd be doing just fine. So far, she's climbed Mt. Everest (2007), completed the Marathon des Sables, a 245-kilometre race in the Sahara Desert (2008), and oh yeah, she saved the life of one of the Nepalese climbers accompanying her down from the summit of Everest. This coming November, she'll be pulling a 285-pound sled loaded with supplies over 1,130 kilometres, trekking from the coast of Antarica to the South Pole.
There were a few other photographs of McGrath in the Toronto Star article on her this past Sunday (paper version). None of them were particularly flattering to the eyes of people who are used to judging a woman's beauty by how thin she is. I admit, to my great chagrin, that just looking at the pictures before reading the article, all I could see was a slightly pudgy woman who apparently liked sports. I cannot tell you how embarrassed I feel over how superficial my first reaction was.
In our quest to lose weight, we often forget two things:
- Thin does not equal healthy. "Thin" just looks right to us because that's the only visual message we get in the media.
- There are all kinds of body types, and all these kinds of body types can be healthy or unhealthy.
I have really searched my soul, and though I can give you all the stock reasons why I want to lose weight (all related to health and well-being, of course), I know that in my heart of hearts, I've always wanted to just look really good. If there wasn't that "carrot" of people saying how fabulous I look, I honestly wouldn't be quite as motivated. There, I've said it. And though I'm not singling out one single person in the whole world, I think that if we're being 1,000% honest with ourselves, looking great and wearing tight pants instead of mumus is the top reason why we want to lose weight. Not the only reason, but one of the top ones.
How many people would chose healthy, strong Meagan McGrath over Kate Moss? When was the last time you saw a McGrath-clone strutting down the catwalk? It's a sad commentary on our world.