Freedom of Choice

- POSTED ON: Jun 20, 2014


The freedom of thought, conscience and opinion are subject to no real restriction.  Each and every person is free to think what he or she likes without fear of outside interference, so long as his or her opinions remain private.

Freedom of choice describes a person's opportunity and autonomy to select an action from at least two available options, without being limited or restricted by others.


The freedom to make our own choices is a very important issue in our society.  Every day, each of us chooses to do the things that we do, unless we are in a situation where we have been stripped of our freedom, and then we must do as those who have control over us command us to do.

This would be the case of those in prison or those who are enslaved by force in repressive societies. Even in those circumstances people still have freedom to make certain limited choices.  For example, one can choose what kind of attitude and response to have toward one's oppressors.


 
Individual freedom of choice can sometimes be restricted through social control. 
Social control refers to the way that society or government regulates individual and group behavior in order to get people to conform and comply with its specific rules.

 
One form of social control is the internalization of norms and values by a process known as socialization.  People learn social values through exposure to society's customs, norms, and mores.  Marketing and advertising industries have become very influential in establishing social values. Society uses shame, ridicule, sarcasm, criticism, and disapproval to punish individuals for behavior that it considers unacceptable.


The other form of social control is through external sanctions enforced by government to regulate society.

We live in a culture that tells us that our bodies are not good enough and never will be, but this does not dissolve our individual freedom of choice. 

No person or entity has the right to intervene in the most basic and private aspects of the adult lives of others.

In a free society, people are entitled to live their personal lives as they deem fit, absent clear and direct harm to others

It is important to respect the private choices of individuals and to respect their individual freedom.  Some lines should never be crossed, and this certainly includes seeking to control what and how other people choose to eat.

The diet industry knows that biology dictates that almost everyone can lose weight short term and almost everyone will gain it back long term, and they’ve done a tremendous job of taking credit for the first part and blaming their client for the second part ... though neither is accurate.
  Nobody wants to be fat. In most modern cultures, even if you are healthy, to be fat is to be perceived as weak-willed and lazy. However,  no one owes society a thin body. Fat people have the right to exist, in fat bodies, without shame, stigma, bullying or oppression.  It doesn’t matter why anyone is fat, what being fat means, or if one could be thin by some means however easy or difficult. Even if every study of weight loss showed that every person who tried to lose weight was completely successful by whatever definition, fat people would still have the right to exist.

Health is multi-dimensional and includes things in our control and things out of our control such as genetics, environment, access, stress and behaviors, and being healthy is not the same as being thin. There are healthy and unhealthy people of every shape and size.
Furthermore, one's health is nobody else’s business.   Nobody is obligated to choose "healthy" habits, by any definition.  It’s none of anybody else’s business how highly someone prioritizes their health or what their habits are.  No one owes anybody else “healthy” no matter what size they are.

Despite my personal preferences, just as I get to choose what I believe and what I do, others are allowed to run with their own prejudices, stereotypes of pre-conceived notions about fat people, body size, as well as what they think constitutes an eating disorder.  Every adult person, no matter how ignorant or biased, gets to choose the intimate details of his/her own life.. absent clear and direct harm to others.

During this past century, medical professionals have commonly believed that fat people have a “perverted appetite”.  In the 1960s, medical experts were influenced by modern marketing and public relations techniques to re-label this negative judgment in less demeaning terms, and they began referring to various appetite issues surrounding obesity as "Disordered Eating". This resulted in the label, "Eating Disorder" and further, ongoing, classificationss of specific food behaviors as Anorexic, Bulimic, Binge Eating, and (lest any fat-related eating behavior escape) ...the catchall category..  Eating Disorders Not Otherwise Specified (EDNOS)

By the 1970s, behavioral treatments emerged involving ways to make the Fat eat like the Lean.  Even though none of those therapies has every been shown to work long-term, many of them are still with us.  In fact, today, most of the leading authorities on obesity are now psychologists and psychiatrists, who have expertise involving the ways of the mind, but little or no expertise about the ways of the body.

The Diet, and Non-Diet, Marketing Interests … including the medical profession… have achieved a great deal of Social Control as a result of labeling a very large range of various eating behaviors with the term "Eating Disorder."  For more about that subject see:
Eating Disorders Revisited.

As an exercise of my own personal Freedom of Choice, I am against the dominant thinking of our Society.  My position is that all adult people have the right to make their own individual eating choices, which includes what and how much they choose to eat, as well as all other aspects of their own eating behavior, and that those choices are no one else's business.  Despite anyone's individual body size ... whether it is thin, normal, or obese ... I believe that every adult person has the right to engage in any type of dieting or non-dieting food behaviors that he/she chooses …. no matter whether others consider those behaviors to be "healthy" or "unhealthy.



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