Dieting, slimming, watching my weight, eating healthily, losing weight, making healthy choices.
It doesn’t matter what tag you put on it, millions of us are trying to do the same thing every day – lose weight. Do the sides of our mouths not twitch when someone says, ‘The diet starts Monday’? This generally means we must eat everything in the house that is not fat, sugar or carb free, gaining 8lbs getting ready to lose weight starting Monday. We usually manage to fit in a last take away too, after all the diet starts Monday!
Wouldn’t it be great if there was a magic pill? You take it as you go to bed and you wake up at the dress size you want, green pill = size 14, yellow pill = size 12. I wonder if you’d keep taking the pills until there you ran out of smaller sizes?
The weight loss industry is worth billions of pounds and those billions come from our pockets. The industry preys on our insecurity and unhappiness.
Drink this tea and you’ll lose weight – drink tea? Pop these pills made from berries and you’ll soon be a size 0. Really? If it was that easy then wouldn’t GP’s be giving these away to tackle the world-wide obesity problem instead of gastric bands and bypasses and other major, life risking surgeries?
The insanely vast list of things you can buy that promises to get you to exactly where you want to be. The problem as I see it is few of us know where that is.
I can’t believe I’m the only person who looks back on photographs and wishes I was as fat now as I thought I was then? So why wasn’t I satisfied then as I feel I would be now if only I were that size/shape?
For most of us I believe the truth may be more that we’ve never had a positive body image. This despite the fact that the number on the scales actually sounded OK and the dress size on the tag was pretty good too – but when we looked in the mirror we never see ourselves as others do.
People, usually slim, tend to blurt out, ‘Eat less. Exercise more’. Well DUH! For your information smart arse, yes, that would work for some, but there’s so much more to it and these people, I assume have never been there.
We eat badly for numerous reasons. One is what I call mouth food. You’re not the least but hungry but you desire the taste and the feel of the food in your mouth. You want to take a huge mouthful so you look like a hamster and delight in the sensation of the burst of flavours rolling across your tongue. This is mouth food, it’s for the taste and the delight in the act of eating and nothing more.
A huge problem is comfort eating, this is not greed, this is an emotional response to something. This is what we do when our mood dips, we are unhappy, depressed, disillusioned, when our lives feel out of our control. We do this when we’re angry at someone, ‘I’ll show you’, as I stuff three mars bars in my mouth, I hurt myself in an attempt to punish someone else. This, at times, is all we have and we hate ourselves for it. So you can imagine, some know it all standing up and beating us with the, ‘Eat less. Exercise more’, stick is incredibly cruel and unkind because it’s not that easy pal, its bloody not!
I think I would like to invent some sort of valve that is attached to my stomach. When I eat green things or take the healthy option I’d open the valve and my body receives its valuable nutrients and thrives. But. When I’m feeling indulgent, when all I want is mouth food, when I’m feeling miserable and want to eat the whole cake, family sized bar of chocolate and the 12 bags of crisps in the multi bag then I’d turn the valve and all that junk bypasses everything so I can eat to my hearts content with no harmful effects on my physical or mental health. I don’t gain more weight and I don’t beat myself up for my loss of control. It all goes in to a discreet little bag – or a large if you’re particularly pissed off. We’d save so much money on the supplements, shakes, ready meals, classes and tea, for heaven’s sake don’t forget the TEA!
Of course we’d then be buying specially made designer bags in which to hide our bags. I think I’d rebel and use a Tesco Star Wars bag for life!
It seems today, more than ever, that the media is putting pressure on us all, including our children, to be perfect. The reality is NONE of us are perfect. No movie star, sportsman or pop star. Their image is their business so we see photographs of them after their hair, make up and lighting specialists have been to work, then they’re airbrushed and voila we have a beauty who appears perfect. I could look a billion dollars as could you if we had this kind of team around us.
For me, this focus should do a sharp U-turn. We should be teaching our children to admire people who make a very positive difference to the world, who change lives for the better, who go above and beyond to do the right thing, selfless and generous people, scientists or pioneering surgeons, not pop stars or football players. After all, the likelihood of our children ending up in these entertainment jobs is virtually nil so were setting our child up to feel dissatisfied and incompetent, to try and body match these people – the people whose image they see isn’t even real. No wonder our children are unhappy with their lives and in their skin.
So, what’s the answer? I’ve no idea.
What I do know is we need to seriously rethink our view of ourselves. We spend so much time beating ourselves up, being unhappy with our body and life’s too damn short – no, that’s not some flighty cliché. It really is. Believe me I have no idea how I got to where I am and I’m continuing down this road at an alarming rate and there is no way to stop it. If I don’t get to grips with my view of myself now, well things are certainly not getting any better are they? The grey, the wrinkles, all guaranteed, if I can’t accept myself for what I look like now then what happens, I miss out on life because I’m too preoccupied with how awful I think I look. We have to learn to accept ourselves, to appreciate we’re not perfect but we are unique. Let’s try to enjoy life instead of depriving ourselves of fun and adventure, ‘because I’m too fat, too old, not pretty enough’. Are you like me, hiding when a camera appears, always the one at the back of a group with just part of my head peaking round someone else. Even better, if I can get away with it is I’ll be the one taking the photo! At some point all my children will have of me are memories and photos. When I’m gone I want my children to look back and say, ‘what a blast we had, my mum was always the one in the middle of all the fun, she was up for a laugh’. I don’t want to be remembered as the woman at the back of the group photo, the one always stood holding the coats because I was ‘too fat, too ugly, too old’.
You’re missing out, I’m missing out and this has to stop!
So, I’m going to start preaching a different message to myself. All the ‘Eat less, exercise more’, people are going to get a taste of my ‘Fuck you.’ stick. I may have stretch marks showing when I go swimming, but I had a great time in the pool with my kids/grandkids. My arms look fat in this short-sleeved dress but that’s better than sweating cobs wearing a cardi to cover them up and I got the party rocking because I was the first on the dance floor and everyone joined in. My legs look fat in these shorts but they’re so much more comfortable than wearing trousers in this heat.
If we do this we will certainly get more out of our short lives and we are giving a positive message to our children instead of compounding the shallow view that your quality of life depends on your looks. Fighting against the machine is virtually impossible but we can leave it a bit battered and bruised and maybe not quite as tinsel town shiny for them.