Like many of us tuning into the Olympics, I love stories of inspirational feats. I enjoy montages of athletes who devoted their lives to perfecting that one sport, often at great cost to other areas of their life. We marvel at how strong these top competitors can be when they push their bodies to extremes.
But we quickly notice a pattern in their stories: Nearly every star athlete has suffered a serious injury as a result of their intense training, and some put themselves at risk for long-term health issues. Along with details like childhood enthusiasm and dedicated parents, Olympians’ backstories are dotted with words like “dislocated shoulder,” “torn ACL,” “concussion,” and “broken bones.”
They know the risk of injury, but the risk is worth it for the chance to achieve their dreams. Same goes for other individuals who take on extreme feats: those who surf the biggest waves, climb the tallest mountains, hike the longest trails, and freefall from the skies.
While life would be far safer without the risk of succumbing to overtraining, extreme elements, or freak accidents, we can understand their justification to an extent. We all want to live fully by doing what makes us feel alive. With wisdom, there is nothing wrong with this mentality. In fact, we can all probably imagine the opportunities lost out of fear. Our desire to follow our dreams makes us human and reflects the image of our vibrant and creative God.
However, the conversations about accepting possible risks in pursuit of the good life—the exciting, happy, life-we’ve-always-dreamed-of life—changes when we start talking about fat bodies. It seems the only expected priority for a fat person will always ...1
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