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With recent snowstorms pounding away at Michigan, it’s easy to forget that spring is almost here. But just think: Over the next few months, we’ll forget the non-shape-related reason why we call our state “The Mitten.” That means hello to tank tops, convertibles, outdoor sports and getting in shape.
We at Between The Lines want to wish you a happy spring, but we just can’t wait until the snow melts. Instead, we’re celebrating health now – the LGBT way.
Health is so much more than just being in shape and eating right. The documentary “Do I Look Fat?” shows that having the right mentality is more important than being thin – and that weight loss isn’t always healthy, nor is it only a concern for women. The key is celebrating your body in whatever shape it is. Change your diet and exercise for health, not to look a certain way.
But how does one get a healthy outlook on life and their body? It starts with a personal decision to take care of yourself, but support can help. Often, it is noted that the LGBT community has the added struggles of sexuality to their personal and societal acceptance. That’s why it’s so important to seek out treatment – be it in the form of a discussion group, personal therapy or classes – that targets the specific issues that LGBT people go through. The best place to start is your local community center. There, they can help you find a class or discussion group that’s right for you, and put you in touch with LGBT-friendly health professionals.
Support can also come in the form of team-oriented sports. Find a sport you like – whether it’s running, bowling or kayaking – and there’s sure to be an LGBT team in the area. If not, start your own. And lastly, don’t worry about your fitness level: Most teams accept both competitive and casual players.
One important part of being well is knowing that your social and sexual habits are healthy. Drug addiction, binge drinking and risky sexual behaviors often go hand in hand. When inebriated, people are less likely to make smart choices, so even having a few too many at the bar this Saturday can lead to bigger problems. Go home unprotected with the wrong guy or gal and you may end up with more than a headache.
To be safe, get a full physical from your doctor and get tested for STDs and HIV. Then, assess your social behaviors. Are they healthy? If not, it’s time to get help before the consequences turn grave.
The last (and most important) step to being healthy is being happy. Winter can be a depressing time, so it’s important to surround yourself with the people and things that cheer you up. Do things that make you happy. Dream about the warm months to come. Laugh a little (like at the Michigan ComedyFest this weekend in Dearborn). Start by finding happiness and, chances are, health will show up right alongside it.
But don’t wait until spring to come out of hibernation. Make yourself healthy – mind, body and soul – right now. Snow or no snow.