: a reasonable and logical way of doing things or of thinking about problems that is based on dealing with specific situations instead of on ideas and theories
On a fundamental level, I approach problems from a practical standpoint. What is the shortest and most efficient route to a solution?
A few years ago, I recognized that there is a problem with our fitness and diet culture. It is mired in disorder. It’s central tenet is that diet and fitness are a means to an aesthetic ideal. Quality of life, health and self esteem are not primary, and rarely even secondary foci. This is wrong. But it is the culture in which my children are growing up. I need to change it.
Another thing I recognized early on is that my appearance afforded me an opportunity to reach more people. This is a frustrating reality for me. I want people to focus on things other than appearance, but my appearance is often the reason people notice and pay attention to me. My appearance affords me a platform I may not otherwise have, but I want to use that platform to promote a non-appearance-based message.
Rather than focus on the frustrating dichotomy, I decided to use it. This is pragmatism.
Some people like my message but really don’t like that I am the one spreading it. They don’t like that I promote self-acceptance but have a socially sanctioned body type. They don’t like that I say visible abs are meaningless, but I have visible abs. They think that I am a hypocrite when I say ‘love yourself’ after I changed my appearance through weight loss. They get mad that my statements about the uselessness of BMI standards went viral, when others who have been saying it for years have gone unnoticed (in fairness, I’ve been saying it for years too).
You know something? I don’t really like it either. I would like these ideas and the people speaking so eloquently about them to get more mainstream media attention. I don’t like that it takes a culturally approved appearance to get these ideas recognized. But, I recognize that this is the reality we live in right now.
My pragmatic world view says: if this is what it takes to get these concepts out there into mainstream consciousness, then I will work with that. And when I get noticed, I will promote others who have been saying these things. And slowly, over time, we will see the tide begin to turn. I see it happening already. These ideas ARE taking root. And as they spread, more and more voices will be heard. And that is a good thing. Change is the goal.
So I am the one with visible abs saying visible abs are bullshit. I am the fit-looking person saying you don’t have to look fit to be healthy or valuable. I am the one who lost weight saying your weight does NOT determine your worth. That is the role I play in this culture shift. I am ok with that, because reality. Getting from where we are to where we want to be is gonna take a lot of creativity, open-mindedness and compassion.
And I know some people are still not going to like me, and call me arrogant and hypocritical. I’m going to keep fighting for the world my daughters are growing up in, though. Because THEY are the reason I do what I do, they are my motivation. They deserve a world in which their appearance doesn’t define their worth. And I see the practical utility of my appearance. It is a tool, and I will use it.