I just watched the Chicago Marathon and I saw people of all different shapes, sizes and abilities run on that course.
It was awesome.
There were the elite marathoners. Kenyans. White people with lots of time and money. But there were also normal folks with saggy bags of skin hanging from their thighs. There were young boys with abs (yes!). There were also runners older than my parents. Some had arthritis and some were missing limbs.
And I saw a guy older than me — probably by a good ten years — wearing what appeared to be body armor in honor of fallen troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Holy smokes. So inspiring. Nobody looked like a model from Shape or Men’s Health. Most people looked like they worked at an office job. Maybe Staples or Kinkos. And I saw a woman of color — shorter, heavier and way older than me — finish the race with a big smile on her face like it was no big deal.
Damn. My body mass index is low. I’m a 37 year-old vegetarian. I am not running a marathon. What the hell is my problem?
So let me say this.
- Yes, we have a visual obesity epidemic in this country. People look fat and unhealthy.
- I will agree that heart disease and diabetes are impacting children and members of minority communities at alarming rates.
But I’m going to tell you something: I saw quite a bit of cellulite and flab on that course. And nobody, except the Ethiopians runners who won the race, looked Ethiopian.
So I just hope that those normal runners who completed the marathon and clock in at an “obese” BMI give the finger to anyone who wants to talk to them about enrolling in a company wellness program.
I am America’s HR lady. I say that if you can run a marathon, you qualify as healthy at any size. Nobody can tell you anything about wellness that you don’t already know.