I believe our obsession with the obesity epidemic is backfiring on us.
We think about food too much. We think about our body image too much.
Don’t believe me? Think of when you’re watching tv…the adverts…programmes…
In between programmes such as embarrassing fat bodies, supersize v superskinny, embarrassing bodies, the latest diet or exercise documentary there are promotional adverts for McDonald’s, subway or another food store! And then you’re watching yet another food programme- come dine with me, master-chef, the great British bake off etc- and there are more promotional adverts including the Jenny Craig weight loss programme, special k, or weight watchers, which are in between the adverts for the pizza that can be delivered to your doorstep or the £1 whopper burger.
Not to mention social media; Instagram is now being dubbed as a food diary as people mainly use it to share their pictures they have taken of their food online.
I believe that virtually all of us have eating disorders. There is too much significance on the moral, psychological and sociological issues about the way people eat and what they weigh.
Men included here. Yes, men you can’t lie about worrying about your body image or how healthy you are and comparing yourself to your mates or magazines etc. Or even the older men and their beer bell’s! It’s a fact, male eating disorders (and these are the recorded and diagnosed ones – many go un-recorded) are on the rise. This includes bulimia and anorexia. Furthermore, there has been a notable rise in teenage boys and the abuse of steroids and laxatives. Men say its nonsense!- it’s a female issue. But I’ve witnessed, being a model and going to the gym a lot, it is not. Men suffer from body image issues as well.
And what about our perception of fat and thin people?
The general view is fat= a sloth, lazy, gluttony, no self respect, no self worth, no self esteem, stupidity….where has this come from!? I know very clever fat people and ones who actually have high self esteem!
We assume fat people are miserable. And to make matters worse we moan about the space they take up on trains, buses, aeroplanes, the cost of the NHS for them. That’s a hell of a lot to assume and judge about someone who carries some extra weight! A lot of negative.
And its just as bad for thin people. Thin= weak, feeble, joyless, we associate them with vanity, even bitterness, those poor skeletal creatures, “they think they look great but look awful”.
Society makes assumptions that size is equal to virtue. A trim, fit physique = healthy and attractive and Admirable.
These moral qualities are dimensions which we associate with a trim figure. Qualities that are enviable – self esteem, drive, power, self possession, determination- even career success!
Meeting up with a friend who you haven’t seen for a long time and you notice they have put on a considerable amount of weight: the majority of us would assume they are unhappy- have they lost their job? Or their marriage broken down? – or something else significant which has caused them to gain weight – but we assume that it would be something bad – not good – and that they are unhappy.
But who are the biggest victims? OURSELVES. We believe this, we follow this, follow the diets, the media, the cheap fast and junk food available. The ridiculous amount of mental energy we use debating whether we should have another slice of pizza, another biscuit, berating ourselves for it and vowing to start the ‘liquid’ diet tomorrow!
I find it heartbreaking how many people hate themselves over gaining a few pounds. It destroys our relationship with food, eating- anything in life as we are constantly thinking about it. But in the end fretting about it makes us consume more as food and weight is always on our minds.
This is why i think the obsession with obesity and diet is backfiring. If we were more oblivious about our relationship with food and how much we weigh we would not think about it as much- and we would keep us slim!
I hope you enjoy reading about my opinion on this topic. Please feel free to comment, however i have more entries to come where i will discuss more about what we can do to help the crisis we are in with health and obesity in the UK.