Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Obsession With Weight Loss

We live in world where image and appearance seems to mean more than personality and humility. We live in a society that bombards us with images of thin, beautiful, airbrushed looking people who we start believing are what normal people should look like.

Every woman I know is on some sort of diet right now. You can’t eat carbs, you can’t eat after 7pm, you can’t eat sugar, only eat meat, don’t eat meat, live on carrot sticks....

I’m getting a bit tired of the constant talk about weight loss, the stream of exercise videos and new machines that twist you into uncomfortable positions promising leaner thighs and butts. I understand the need to be healthy in a world where everyone seems to have less time and drive-thru windows can’t bring out the food fast enough. But weight loss has become an obsession. You can go years without seeing or speaking to someone and the first thing they may say to you is “Oh you lost weight.”

My friend recently lost 50lbs and she looked beautiful and completely fine before she lost the weight. Even though she is now very thin she still obsesses over everything that she puts in her mouth. Even after the few pounds are shed the journey may not be over...the journey may never be over because now you have to work equally hard to maintain it and not fall back into old habits.

The sad thing is, my friend told me that after she had lost weight men began noticing her more. I feel an interesting sociological experiment about attraction coming on but I won’t get into that now. All I can say about this is that I find it sad because through her journey she remained the same brilliant, attractive woman she always has been, 50 pounds or not. Sometimes even after your body adjusts to its new image your brain does not. As my friend said “sometimes people can’t see the weight loss and they still see themselves as the heavier person they left behind while everyone else thinks they are thin.” If you don’t feel good about yourself before you lose weight there is no guarantee that you will after, and as cliché as it sounds you need to be comfortable with who you are inside and out.

So thin seems to be in. In the media there are people who are thin and told they look fabulous, people who are normal and told they need to lose weight, overweight people are made fun of, and anorexic people are told they look sick; there is just no pleasing anyone these days so why the heck should we even try?  It’s exhausting.

I remember doing a project in school about anorexia and how the disease is beginning to affect young people. In my case studies there were children as young as 5 starving themselves and eating bits of paper out of their notebooks to satisfy hunger pangs. If this isn't a sign of early body dismorphic disorders and a sign societies values need re evaluating I don’t know what is. At age 16 even I fell prey to an eating disorder and I can tell you first hand that being  malnourished is not healthy either.

We all have things we would like to change about ourselves and our bodies; feeling self conscious and having doubts is human nature. I am all for people doing whatever they need to  in order to be happy with themselves, I am not however okay with the idea that everyone should fit  into one standard mold of beauty based on a body type that 90% of the population doesn't have.

Be healthy and stay active but don’t hate yourself if you have a body type that can never fit into a size 2. Love who you are, embrace it and encourage others to do the same. Don’t perpetuate the impossible values set by society, just be yourself because YOU are BEAUTIFUL. 

9 comments:

  1. I agree with everything you said! I think it's awesome that some people want to eat healthy, exercise, and live a healthy lifestyle; but it seems like so many people are more focused on being thin than being healthy in general. I really appreciate this post! It's definitely a confidence booster!

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    1. I'm so glad you liked the post :)

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  2. Wonderful post! My weight loss is definitely driven by my want to be healthy again. Especially since I want to have children within the next year or so! I'd like to give them the healthiest Momma when they develop and arrive! :-D

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    1. That is a great attitude Cookie! And the right way to go about it. I would love to be at my healthiest when I have kids too, and I hear that exercising regularly before and during pregnancy makes child birth a tad easier.

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  3. Beautiful and insightful post! I agree, the obsession with weight in our society is getting to be too much. You know from my blog post that it's affected me a great deal, and I know many other friends who are having the same problems. :(

    Also, I wanted to let you know I tagged you in the Seven Deadly Sins of Beauty tag. :) Here's a link to the questions on my blog: http://www.beautymadesimple.net/2013/06/the-seven-deadly-sins-of-beauty-tag.html

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    1. Thanks Jackie, I am glad you like the post :)

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  4. I enjoyed reading this post. Like your friend mentioned earlier I lost weight and wore a size 8 but I still saw myself as huge and any joke about my weight left me crushed and confused.

    Now that I'm older I still have fears of not being accepted or considered beautiful due to my weight. I wish society encouraged loving your natural body instead of pushing the notion that thin is better.

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    1. Thanks for your comment Emmy. I understand just what you mean. I had an eating disorder when I was 16 and even after people told me I was too thin and my teachers were pulling me aside with worried comments I still kept going because I thought it would make me even more beautiful and better. Well I am not 16 anymore and with a degree in psychology I am so happy I can help people who still have these unrealistic and negative thoughts.

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  5. thanks for the follow doll! returning the favor

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