Have you noticed that we’re a country of extremes? That’s how it feels to sensitive old me. We’re bombarded via the media (traditional and social) with messages and images that are extreme. The moderate middle ground tends to be ignored. Every issue is a lightening rod to outrage…the more extreme, the better. No wonder it’s hard for me, who tends toward “either/or” thinking to bring myself back to “both/and” thinking.

Last week I was given a great both/and example and it reminded me of what it is I want in my life: understanding leading to acceptance leading to improvement leading to trust.

Stephanie Vincent of Radical Hateloss wrote a blog post entitled I Walk The Line. I encourage you to read it because it encapsulates what I believe, succinctly and effectively. Her bottom line is the overlap between what she calls the “Fat Acceptance Movement” (where she says it’s just about self-acceptance without self-improvement) and the fitness community where self-improvement is the only goal and there’s a lack of self-acceptance.

On a side note, I believe that the fat-acceptance movement is not, in and of itself, “self-acceptance.” I also think there’s a big difference between “fat-acceptance” and the Health At Every Size movement, which focuses on health rather than on defensiveness, and is not involved in the unfortunate “war on obesity” (more on that later).

On another side note, I am starting to move away from using the word “self” with the word “acceptance” because “acceptance” is enough and implies a universality that is appealing to me.

Anyway, getting back to Stephanie, she says: “From my perspective the line is not what divides but rather where the two overlap. The overlap is the magic for me. To me it is where the power of possibility and contentment thrive. Beyond the overlap in either direction seems off balance and stunted in terms of ultimate happiness and achievement of what we want most.”

Can I get an Amen?

I think we can all agree that health/wellness in body/mind/spirit is what we want. Where the disagreement comes in is what health looks like, how much it weighs, and how to achieve it. I’ve done enough reading to know that you can find statistics and studies to support any “extreme” you’d like to put forth and embrace.

The shoe that fits one person pinches another; there is no recipe for living that suits all cases. ~ Jung

Can I get another Amen?

And getting back to that war on obesity. We must look at and consider where the money goes (Big Food, Big Media, Big Pharma, Big Diets/Fitness) because in the end, that’s really what’s it all about. When war has been declared, who stands to win and who stands to lose…and what does winning and losing look like? Is it even possible to find a “both/and” instead?