The current trend in social and mainstream media is not only disturbing but is also filled with attacks against healthy, fit people and support for being "big and body confident" without mention of the health issues associated with being overweight. Are we entering another period in time in which health suddenly becomes looked down upon? For the safety of our children and the longevity of our lives, we better hope not.
Post-pregnancy photos of women that look nearly as good as they did before pregnancy have angered women across the Internet, women barking that any woman who has a successful, quick comeback from a baby belly is "a crazy person" or "starving herself," both of which are simply not true. Although it's not easy for these women to avoid cravings or to squeeze in workouts they do so to ensure amazing health for both of themselves and their babies during and after their pregnancy.
Fitness models and trainers get tormented for showing before and after photos pre-competition or pre-photo shoot. They receive thousands of degrading comments like, "You looked fine before -- just be happy with who you are," or the ever-popular, "Gross, you look like a man." There is nothing wrong with challenging yourself to see what your best athletic body looks and feels like. If health is a priority in your life, you make time for it, along with all of the other things that you must do on a daily basis. It is not an either/or situation.
Internet bullies applaud big and beautiful as ideal and reasonable while taking a dig at women they deem self-absorbed or freakish because they have great bodies and take time for themselves. I'm all for being confident in your own skin, but there are serious health consequences to not having an active body and not feeding it whole, nutrient-dense foods. Not to mention, mental consequences deriving from body shaming others -- just because they don't look like you or you can't look like them doesn't mean they are wrong. Health professionals and drug companies cannot keep up with the number of people that are developing "lifestyle diseases" -- all of which were very rare as I was growing up, in a world virtually free of social and mainstream media.
The tone of these mass-market avenues perpetuates the image that if you're a very fit woman, you must not be a very good mother or partner because you likely neglect all other responsibilities and simply workout all day. You probably have nannies that raise your kids so you can focus on having a great body. REALLY? Growing up in the '70s-'80s, the parents of almost all of my peer groups were trim. We certainly didn't have nannies, and many moms worked as well.
On the media tour for my newest book, "This Is Why You're Sick & Tired," I found it very difficult to book fitness segments. The producers simply said that they have become "unpopular." Women, who are the primary audience for morning shows, don't want to see perfect bodies doing exercise they probably won't do, and it makes them feel badly about themselves. They want celebrity gossip, shopping, and fun (not always healthy) recipe ideas.
Instead of spending our hours watching endless amounts of TV with little to no personal benefit from the information told, we should try to commit at least an hour a day to spend on ourselves and our health. The people who bully women on the internet for being fit and healthy can easily divert the 20 or 30 minutes they spend commenting hurtful things on the internet to doing a simple 20- or 30-minute at-home workout routine. It's really that simple. It will not only revolutionize our longevity, but also promote the importance of health to our children.
A new sitcom recently had a scene that depicted a middle-aged exec visiting a health supplement store:
"Do you know how much time this ridiculous a**hole spends to look like that? Hours every f****** day! Do you know how much self-loathing it requires to have washboard abs-how much you've got to hate yourself to work that f****** hard?" The employee replies, "It's true, I hate myself. I push myself to perfection in the hope it will make me worthy of love."
Well, I pushed replay three times to really absorb what I had just witnessed, and then I cancelled the season recording. Let me dispel the myth for you -- I devote roughly 30 minutes to working out, six days a week. That is the time that it takes to shower, brush my teeth and do a quick blow-dry. The two combined takes me an hour and a half total. Don't you think the other 13 hours of your day will give you enough time to run multiple businesses, fuel your body, and take care of others? Exercise is THE most important thing you can do for yourself. Exercise is medicine -- not self-indulgent pampering. Do Internet bullies truly think that fit people hate themselves, or, are they just jealous that these people love themselves enough to give their bodies the respect they deserve?
Before you judge, know this. If someone works out frequently, they receive the benefit of extra serotonin for mood stability, thus leading to more productive days. For the majority of American's who eat and drink to medicate life's hardships, it is never too late to make the change. It won't be easy, but it can be done. I'm not saying you should look like a bikini body builder or even a personal trainer -- but creating a fitness and health routine for yourself will be the greatest gift you've ever given to yourself and your family.
The bottom line is: You'll never beat us because our way is the right way. Come on and join us -- it's pretty amazing over here.
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