A Soapbox and Giveaway!

31 Oct

I heard something on the radio today that got me all stirred up inside. That’s not hard; I’m a passionate person. The news story I heard was about a Washington State school’s proposal to weigh and record students’ BMIs in an effort to teach students about health and fitness and to help curb a growing childhood obesity epidemic.

The worry at this particular Washington school is that it will add to the already higher-than-average suicide rate. Where’s the correlation between recording a student’s BMI and suicide? It’s all in how the students handle the information. No. Not the students being measured, but the ones who happen to get ahold of that information and use it to torment, tease, and otherwise bully other students, overweight or not. This is something I happen to know a little bit about.

I was weighed and tested for fitness when in school. I thought every school did this. From the fourth grade through freshman year of high school, we were subjected to fitness testing every year in gym. This included weight and, one year, body fat testing. Now, you have to understand that I was what some would call (gasp!) a “husky” kid.

Fiauna 4I was never overweight, but I was never, ever called thin or skinny. I was thick, meaty. And believe me, I was aware of that.

Fiauna Birthday

See that girl in the middle, the one sporting the Jonas Brothers perm? That was me on my tenth birthday. Overweight? No. Fat? No. I tell you what I was though: I was an early bloomer. Shortly after that picture was taken we endured the dreaded fitness testing in school. We did sit-ups and push-ups, pull-ups and the sit-and-reach. We ran the mile (I thought I would die!). And then they pulled us into the classroom. There, next to the teacher’s desk was the scale. We lined up all in a row. I don’t think anyone else in that classroom felt like a lamb to the slaughter. At least none that I was aware of anyway. Yes, at the tender age of ten I was already aware of my size, of how I compared to the other girls my age. I knew I was different. I hated that fact. And I didn’t need my teacher to point that out to me. But, wanting to please the teacher and follow the rules, I dutifully stepped on the scale. I was mortified when it declared, for everyone in the class to see, 101 pounds. At ten.

Let me stress again that I was not overweight. I was an early bloomer. I was already over five feet tall! At ten! But the boys in the class didn’t care about that. The only thing they understood or cared about was the fact that I was the biggest kid in the class–and I was near tears. What happened next would stick with me for the rest of my life.

The name calling commenced quite quickly. Throughout the fifth grade and on into the sixth and seventh grades, I was frequently called names like Fat Albert and Thunder Thighs. In junior high, when fitness testing in gym revealed a body fat of 24 percent, I was called in to the teacher’s office and told that I needed to “shape up,” that my weight and body fat were “dangerous.” It hurt. I felt worthless. Worse, I felt like a failure. And every night before bed, I prayed to wake up shorter, smaller, thinner.

I feel we cannot discredit a child’s emotions and perceptions when applying a standardized approach to health and fitness. Such testing should proceed with upmost attention to confidentiality and thoughtful education. “Evidence suggests that children as young as 8 years report wanting to be thinner than their current body sizes, wishing they weighed less …”(Source). Ignoring the possible underlying feelings and body-image perceptions a child might already harbor is , in my opinion, dangerous and might result in lasting emotional trauma.

In time (in my late teens) I would finally grow into my body. But believe me, I can still, to this day, hear the echoes of those boys taunting me about my size. Now that I am an adult I can appreciate that perhaps I am a healthier person because of those early experiences and wakeup calls. I guess you could say that those experiences have become a brick in my foundation, part of the reason am who I am today. But try telling that to a kid . . . .

Now that you have endured my soapbox/sob story, I think it’s time for a giveaway! Simply like my Facebook page (there’s a link on the side bar, closer to the top ———————–>) and leave a comment on this post to enter to win either a signed copy of Indigo

front-cover-indigo

or this Barre3 60 Minute Studio Shape DVD!

BARRE3_DVD_MOCKUP_studioshape60_grande

Winners will be posted on Tuesday, November 5th!

Tell me what you think. 

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One Response to “A Soapbox and Giveaway!”

  1. Stacie Dorius October 31, 2013 at 6:41 pm #

    Great post fiauna, you should send it to the radio station.

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