You Might be Fat, but at Least You’re Real!

By: Keith


I‘m in good shape.  I’m not ashamed to take off my shirt.  I workout every day, and I eat well.  So how come no matter what I do with my body I can’t get it to look like the guy on the cover of Men’s Health?  The truth is that I’m just as strong as some of those guys, and I’m probably in better overall health than most of them.  However, I don’t have the benefit of strategic shading, baby oil, and Photoshop.  I end up looking decidedly normal by comparison.  But I know the truth.  I know the tricks.  Thus, none of it bothers me.  If I thought that’s how people are supposed to look, well, I’d feel unworthy.  Plus I’m a guy, and guys who look in the mirror too much aren’t the best mates.  I’m proud of my imperfections because that just proves I’m real.  When I look at those greased up, airbrushed guys on the covers of magazines, I laugh.  Guys don’t care how other guys look.  But, as a general rule, men do care how women look.  That, along with how critical women are of each other, is the crux of a societal problem. I’m not saying we shouldn’t care how our spouse (or whoever) looks.  I’m saying it’s gotten out of hand.  Girls aren’t judged by how real they are.  They’re measured by the degree to which they cover up imperfections.  This should be a point of concern for anybody with daughters. 


Diet/Fitness Books: A Poor Example 


I could write a diet book.  All I need are the paid endorsements of a few physicians.  I could invent any sort of plausible nonsense, and throngs of desperate people would buy it.  I’ve been told by a lot of people that I would make a great motivational speaker.  I disagree.  I have a nasty habit of telling people the truth.  People don’t pay for the truth.  That’s nowhere better illustrated than in a book I browsed through at the bookstore last week.  It’s called This is Why You’re Fat, by Jackie Warner.  I won’t deny that Jackie Warner is a fit person, but the picture on the front of the book is ridiculous.  It’s obviously doctored.  Why are you fat?  What they’re really saying is “You should look like this.”  Fine, but how can I do that without a team of artists and a professional photographer?  The message is this:  “Read the book, do what it says, and you’ll look like me.”  No, you won’t.  Even if you do everything in that book, you won’t look like the Jackie Warner on the cover of the book.  Jackie Warner doesn’t even look like the Jackie Warner on that cover.  I read (browsed the whole thing) the book.  The first 25 pages are full of good advice.  The rest, like most diet and fitness books, is self help silliness. 


What Happened to the Days… 


Do you remember “Hey Mickey” by Tony Basil?  If you’re old enough, you know the song.  Look at the cheerleaders in that video.  Do you think a music video these days would feature girls like that?   Yet, at the time, I remember thinking those girls were really attractive.  Our standards have changed, for the worse I think.  It’s not that I think the girls in music videos these days are unattractive.  To the contrary.  They are so attractive that it’s not believable anymore.  In the 80′s I thought Christie Brinkley was the height of beauty.  I still think she is.  But, the thing about Christie Brinkley is that she’s pretty no matter what.  No makeup?  Still pretty.  No professional photographers?  Still pretty.  These days, with Photoshop and camera tricks, you never know if the person you’re looking at is a dog or is, in fact, stunningly beautiful.  And what do these models do when they go in public and people say things like “I almost didn’t recognize you”?  I’m sure the money is good so they don’t care, but what’s that say about the everyday woman who pains over her looks just to be told, suggestively, by a diet book cover, she’s “not quite there yet”? 


Celebrities Aren’t any Different Than You and I: 


Well, they’re the same apart from all the money.  I’m sure you’ve seen those photos of what celebrities look like without all the makeup and fancy hairdos.  The funniest example, I think, is Christina Aguilera.  She wears so much makeup that she’s unrecognizable without it.  Go ahead and give yourself a boost; google “celebrities without makeup”.  I’m telling you, the only thing that differentiates a movie star from you is the fantastic luck they had in getting a role or two and riding the fame.  If you spent obscene amounts of money on your appearance, you’d look like that too.  But you shouldn’t want to look like that anyway.  These celebrities know what they really look like when they go to bed.  They know their role in our lives.  Their job is to be someone they aren’t.  It’s unfortunate that so many of us believe the lie.  Be happy in the knowledge that you aren’t a sucker who’s living a meaningless and artificial life. 


What is Attractive? 


Attractive is doing the most with what you have to work with.  Ask yourself this:  “If everybody walked around naked, didn’t wear makeup, and didn’t have professionals to “fix” them, what would set one person apart from another?  Nothing sets us apart other than our true natural beauty.  Some people are, undoubtedly, more naturally attractive than others.  I contend, however, that those people are not the same ones who, in our current society, get credit for their beauty.  That person you just walked by, the one who looks like they just crawled out of bed and is rushing somewhere, might be the most naturally beautiful person in the world.  Unfortunately we don’t notice natural beauty, we notice contortionists who can shape themselves, with the help of teams of handlers, into unrealistic images.  If only there was a reset button.  Will we ever get to a place where eating well and taking care of ourselves is enough, where we can look in the mirror and say “I’m happy”? 


10 Responses to “You Might be Fat, but at Least You’re Real!”
  1. Papa K October 26, 2010 at 8:26 pm #

    LIked this read man. Couldn’t’ be more spot on. I know I talk about how Kim Kardashian is all the time but I know what goes on to make her look like that but it’s my shameless, douchebag, frat boy persona talking.

    That Jackie chick is crazy. I watched her show(s) briefly and she freaks me out. I would not want my wife to be that skinny by any means.

    I love the curves my wife has. She complains about them often but I remind her that I love them and it’s not even what I love most about her. As cliche as it sound IT IS whats on the inside that counts. It took me a couple of years to really take that to heart but its the honest to God truth.,

  2. Angie October 26, 2010 at 9:08 pm #

    WEIRD…….I was thinking of this song today and wondering what the video looked like. Great post!!!!! Umm…times have changed. :(

  3. Otter321 October 27, 2010 at 9:51 am #

    Our view of beauty is certainly out of hand. The new way to cover up imperfections these days is plastic surgery. So many people just change their appearance completely. That is certainly not natural beauty. Good post.

  4. Dan October 27, 2010 at 11:53 am #

    Very well said. I have worked in the supplement industry and weigh loss supplements are always the biggest sellers – even though they almost never work! The problem is people have incredibly unrealistic expectations and like you said, they are chasing a ghost. They don’t just want to be thin, they want to look like the women on the cover of the magazines.

    I having joking thought that maybe the best “weight loss service” would be to have people send in a photo and then you go crazy in photoshop and make them look great!

  5. Trevor October 27, 2010 at 12:09 pm #

    Great points Keith. I want my girls to be very aware that the feminine image in the magazines is fake. Real women have beautiful characters and their beauty runs more then skin deep.

  6. Denise October 27, 2010 at 1:45 pm #

    We are having this very discussion with my oldest daughter right now. She is having trouble and feeling the pressure to be “beautiful” according to magazine standards. Due to the fragility of her health, this is something husband and I take very seriously. I’m going to have her read this when she comes home from school. Luckily the 5 (almost 6) yr. old doesn’t seem to care. Hope she stays that way.

    • Keith October 27, 2010 at 2:42 pm #

      Denise: I can see why you’d take it so seriously. I really feel sorry for girls who have to deal with that kind of pressure, especially at that age.

  7. evohomeschool October 27, 2010 at 2:19 pm #

    It seems as though the more obese the world becomes, the more extreme the entertainment world goes in the opposite direction. People have forgotten to listen to their bodies and eat to live, but live in gluttony instead.
    I don’t pay much attention to the entertainment world, but what concerns me more is the real world and the lack of care people are taking of themselves. Does is appear that the more one tries to do the more they fail at?

    • Keith October 27, 2010 at 2:30 pm #

      EVO: That’s true. People don’t take care of themselves. The more the image of perfection gets skinnier and more airbrushed the more people do seem to fail. That’s a weird correlation. I wonder if they’re related.

  8. Dennis P October 27, 2010 at 10:11 pm #

    Great way to look at things. While I wish I was in a lot better shape, and I mean A LOT, I realize that what some of these people that are famous look like is just stupid. I mean how do you get abs like some of these guys? it’s just not natural. And our idea of attractiveness has gone way over the top. I think the perfect example is Carrie Underwood. When she first appeared on the scene she was in my opinion a beautiful young lady. She got famous and somehow came to the conclusion that she had to lose a crapton of weight to look good. Whoever told her this is just stupid, now she looks waifish. Is that a word? Anyway, you get my point. Natural is way better than fake.

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