This is a subject which I’ve wanted to write about for a while, but I’ve always struggled to find the right words. To put it bluntly, I am tired of hearing people talk about weight. How much they’ve lost. How much they’ve gained. That they should really lose a few pounds. That they’re trying this new diet to get slimmer. Or an app, or fasting programme, or whatever else is supposed to make your body take up less space. I’m sick of hearing myself wonder whether my boyfriend loves me because my stomach isn’t flat.
Why do we say “you look like you’ve lost weight!” as a compliment? How do we know that person hasn’t lost that weight in an unhealthy and damaging way? And by suggesting they look ‘better’ this way, it’s just offering positive reinforcement that they’re doing the right thing, that they’re more accepted if they’re smaller.
At what point did we start endorsing the notion that thin = good, fat = bad? Since I can remember, I’ve been fed the idea that being fat is the worst possible thing you can be, and this is just exacerbated by all the companies trying to make money off our insecurities, telling us the best way to fix flaws which I didn’t even know were flaws until they were marketing a solution to them.
Lose 10lb in 2 weeks. Follow this diet to get rid of belly fat. Do this exercise to change this body part. Use this magical serum extracted from the anus glands of a baboon to eliminate cellulite.
In short, **** off.
First of all, fat is not bad. When someone says “I’m fat”, our first response is to go “no you’re not!”, which just reinforces to this person the idea that being fat is an awful thing to be. Fat does not mean lazy, disgusting, unhygienic, unhealthy, undesirable, unloveable, or any other negative connotation. Fat means a person has some extra fat cells in their body. Fat means…fat. Nothing else.
And if anyone tries to counter that with a ‘health’ argument, you can shove it up their (word redacted as my mum might read this). You can’t tell a person’s health by looking at them. And if someone is that concerned about other people’s health, they can go ahead and lecture every person in a pub for drinking alcohol, and every smoker on the street, and every person engaging in extreme sports because those are all pretty big health risks too. If not, it’s clearly not ‘health’ reasons that they’re having a go at fat people. It’s their own prejudices and inability to accept that we all look different and that it’s none of their effing business.
No body type is better than the other. Thin, fat, whatever. The point is we’re all different and we shouldn’t all be trying to attain a certain ideal. This idea of a ‘perfect’ body changes all the time, throughout history, for men and women, and so we all try to keep up with the trend. Hourglass figure, muscular, slim, big bum, big boobs, no boobs, thigh gap, third nipple, tail (I did my research I promise). But we can’t change our appearance as carelessly as we can change our clothes. We need to stop treating our bodies like a fashion statement, because they are so much more than that.
Take joy in the things your body can do, marvel in the way it can move and feel and experience. Your stretch marks, scars, freckles, cellulite and any other ‘imperfections’ are proof that you have lived and that you are a unique human being with a unique human experience. This is what we should be focusing on, not whether our thighs jiggle or whether we have belly rolls.
And more importantly, we are so much more than our bodies. We are our experiences, emotions, thoughts, feelings. We are the people we surround ourselves with and the relationships we treasure. We are the talents and skills we’ve cultivated over the years.
So just eat the cake. You’re not ‘bad’ or ‘naughty’ for eating it, and you’re not ‘good’ for having a salad instead. Why the hell do we attach moral judgement to the food we’re eating? Food is our fuel, it’s there to give us energy and be enjoyed, not to cast a shadow on our morality. Yes, be healthy, look after yourself, eat a balanced diet and move now and again. But don’t do it to lose weight – that shouldn’t be the end goal. It might be a side effect, but it should be about nourishing your body and making it stronger, not just trying to eliminate the wobbly bits. Everyone has wobbly bits.
I think I’m about done. I’m not sure of the way forward in changing any of this, but I think talking about it and recognising the damage we are doing to ourselves and others in the way we talk and the things we discuss is a start. Let me know what you think.
TTFN tata for now