One thing that I have noticed in discussions of weight and weight-loss is the ubiquitous use of euphemisms when discussing our bodies.
Weight, bulk, fat, flesh, paunch, plump, rolls, chunk, blubber, obesity , counting calories, losing weight, reducing, slimming down, dieting, slenderizing, etc.
It seems to me when discussing weight; we talk about it as if it is an inanimate layer that has somehow clung to our body without permission. We also tend to use the car analogy. Calories are a completely separate and foreign creature that is injected into the body in order to allow the body to run. A car is complete and whole with or without gas. The gas or fuel is a completely separate entity that is used and expelled. It does not stick around as an unwanted layer, stuck to the car as a reminder that you fueled up last week.
This analogy, and frankly this thought process, is a complete and utter failure. When you fuel up your car, the fuel does not go into the car to help create and repair bits of engine, gears, tubes, and coolant. If a car ran like our body does, and you tried to run your car on fewer bits of fuel than it required, you’d be driving along and suddenly you’d have no tire; because your car used the energy and fuel stored in the tire in order to continue running the engine.
Which brings me back to my original discussion of euphemisms: our discussion of bodies, weight, and weight loss hides the reality of what is happening. WHEN YOU LOSE WEIGHT YOU ARE CONSUMING PART OF YOUR BODY.
Our bodies are not, as I mentioned above, layered in some
foreign blanket of fat. Our bodies are made up of cells. It is a biology 101
concept: Cells are the basic unit of all life. Cells make up tissue (yes even
adipose tissue!). Organs are a group of functional tissues. Organ systems are a
functional group of organs. And organism is a basic living system, composed of
at least once cell, and a functional grouping of the lower-level components.
Having said that, let’s look at what I said above: When you lose weight, you are consuming part of your body. The same cells that make up your heart, your bones, your stomach and your brain are the same cells that are involved in this mystical idea of “weight loss”. If you eat a carrot or a piece of cake, your body doesn’t evaluate those two items; turn the cake into fat and the carrot into the building blocks of your body. When striving to lose weight, your body does not differentiate either. The body does not exclusively “harvest” fat like scraping off an old layer of paint on a building. Energy is taken from everywhere: bones, heart muscle, brain tissue, etc. Science already knows that dieters run the risk of losing muscle and tissue as well as fat.
Think about it. Let it marinate. Remember this next time the doctor or a gym recommends that you should lose weight for your health. Then ask yourself: How do I feel about consuming my body?