"Times have changed, and we need to change with them," was the New Year's message offered by Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn, who urged Americans to abandon unrealistic expectations about living in a trim, fit body. "We need to expand our definition of what 'normal' means. And even what 'beauty' means."
These days, explained Hahn, "normal" means being what used to be considered overweight. Referring to the percentage of people whose body mass index exceeds the traditionally recommended limit, he said, "Seventy-two percent of Americans can't be doing something wrong. It's thin people who are abnormal. Not that we should stigmatize them for that, of course. The measure of a civilized society is how we treat our outliers."
For the large - and growing increasingly larger - majority of the population, Dr. Hahn recommended eating only to the point of being uncomfortably satiated and mildly nauseous, and emphasized that low-fiber foods are key to consumimg massively excessive calories without feeling too terribly bloated or gassy. He also cautioned Americans to avoid overly-ambitious exercise programs that may be too taxing on their muscles.
"Yes, even if you can't see them, we all have muscles," said Dr. Hahn. "And you'd be surprised how sore they can get with even just a little use."
For those intent on incorporating some physical activity, Hahn suggested extremely gentle yoga, or standing up once per hour while watching television.
Most of all, however, Hahn emphasized, people should get comfortable in their bodies exactly as they are. "If avoiding mirrors and gyms, or taking an anti-anxiety medication helps you to do that, then so much the better. Whatever it takes. You deserve it."