No seriously, I mean it. Just stop whatever you’re doing and go eat something. It’ll make you feel good. It might make you a little less self-obsessed and bitchy too.
We’ve completely lost the plot when it comes to body image. I’ve spent the better part of the last 10 years chasing a few kilos and worrying about what I look like in a bikini. No doubt, you have too. But I’ve only recently stopped to think, why am I striving to be skinnier? Why does my mind think there is only one ‘ideal’ size for me? Is there anything wrong with the size I am now? Do I actually believe the only way I’ll be happy is if I lose 5 kilos? Because frankly, if I really do believe that I’m more delusional than first thought. And I didn’t even think that was possible.
Most of my friends have the same mindset. Talking about gym regimes, diets and body weight are our staple conversations. And interestingly, it’s always the skinnier ones that are more shallow, more self obsessed and more self-hating. We live in fear of putting on weight. We shiver at the imagined imminent rejection from the opposite sex and society that would follow a minor weight gain. We’ve grown up with the notion that you have to hate yourself for every cookie you eat, then tell your friends about it and then exercise it off. Why? Because God forbid you get fat and can’t fit into your size 8 jeans. Your friends will make fun of you, society will reject you and the world will actually end.
I’m sick of the weekly routine, whereby you go on a diet every Monday only to fail and eat a cookie by Wednesday, hate yourself till Friday, allow ‘cheat’ days on the weekend in exchange for being good again on Monday when your diet starts and you vow to work harder and lose weight. It a hideous cycle of self hatred and failure. And through the whole ordeal, the focus is on appearance rather than health and happiness.
I don’t know about you, but I get irritated when beautiful and healthy girls complain, obsess and whine about their body fat percentage. Rather than embracing curves and different body shapes we’re hiding from them. Whining about perfectly healthy bodies, competing over exercise regimes and calorie intakes, only ever discussing people’s insecurities and never their admirable qualities and shaming other people’s bodies (be it celebrities or friends) to validate your own is making it near impossible for people to have any self esteem. By accepting these ideals and daily conversations, we’re all contributing to the ‘be-skinny-have-low-self-esteem-juggernaut’.
Everyone just needs to take a moment and have a serious reality check. I’m not suggesting to completely let yourself go, but there’s no need to be so hard on yourself either. Embrace your genes and current jeans. Remember that who you are inside is what really counts.
I did some research (I’m just as shocked as you) so lets crack open a can of facts shall we?
-The average girl goes on her first diet when she is 8 years old.
-81% of 10 year-olds have a fear of being fat.
-The average size of the idealized woman (as portrayed by models), has stabilized at 23% below healthy weight.
-80% of women feel worse after seeing a beauty ad.
-Approximately 20% of girls will suffer from a eating disorder, and 95% of them will be under the age of 25 when they do.
-If Barbie was a woman, she would have to walk on all fours due to her body proportions.
-The weight loss industry brings in about 60 billion dollars in revenue a year.
Feel free to take a moment to take all that in. Please also take time to scream into a pillow if you feel it will help.
No woman diets alone. There’s always both a man and the media behind her eating a doughnut and selling her the latest dose of insecurities and weight loss products. And within every women’s head is her own insult making machine. Normal and healthy women somehow always describe their bodies in unbelievably unflattering terms. Cankles, muffin tops, bat wings and jelly-belly are just a few that spring to mind. The media bombards us with these terms and photoshopped celebrities that look like they haven’t eaten in weeks. Their weight loss plans and stories don’t enrich our lives. They just make us feel insecure and anxious. Fad diets are part of the problem, not the solution.
Having a positive body image isn’t an overnight process. But it should be a goal we’re striving to achieve. Confidence is much sexier than skinny legs or a flat stomach.
I’m going to throw out a crazy thought so be prepared: why don’t we all stop hating ourselves and try to accept and love our bodies whatever shape we’re in? Next time you look at yourself in the mirror, rather than measuring the fat on your thighs or seeing your bloated stomach, tell yourself you’re beautiful and perfect exactly the way you are. Given that diets aren’t making you happy, why not try a little acceptance and positive thinking? What have you got to lose? And while you’re at it, maybe extend this thought process to your friends. Rather than ridiculing and judging them behind their backs tell them the positive things you like about them.
Next time you go out and have dessert, don’t hate yourself for it. If you’re healthy, cut yourself some slack. Don’t compare yourself to anybody else, don’t try to be anyone else; just be happy with who you are. Confidence is what you need; not size 6 jeans.
As for me; bring on the comfortable fat pants and tim tams. They make me happier than celery sticks and being ridiculously skinny ever will.