Opinion

Body Expectations Suck But God Damn Does The First World Need To Lose Weight

When I was younger there was very little expectation of how I should look, I luckily grew up in a very liberal home in which my parents believed that things like my hair should be under my control, as I would be the one who would have to walk around with it. As you can imagine giving a six-year-old creative reign over how they looked may not be the best of idea – the pictures in which I have a bowl cut stand still stand testament to this. Nevertheless, I cannot argue that this wasn’t fundamentally a smart idea.

Allowing me to have control over how I looked from such a young age meant that growing up all I ever worried about was whether or not I liked something and whether or not I wanted to wear it.

But growing up as a girl in this day and age means that, with a few rare exceptions, at one point or other expectations of how you are supposed to look are going to be forced down your throat. No matter how good you look, you are going to have days where they make you feel truly awful about yourself. Yay!

First off I should clarify that throughout College, high school for different parts of the world, I was what I can now refer to myself as – a fatty. I ate awfully and never exercised, same as now really. The problem I had though was that I didn’t realise I didn’t look like television told me I should until Facebook became super popular, and photos of me kept appearing that I realised I never wanted anyone to see.

Until the age of 17 I had honestly thought I looked like all the other girls in my class who worked out and ate salads for lunch, while I stuffed myself with an entire day’s recommended caloric intake of treats throughout the school day. My problem, I now realise, is that I substituted food for emotion – when I was sad, I ate. Angry, ate. Bored, ate. Once I became aware of my weight, for the first time in my life, it only helped to contribute to the problem. The one thing I always remember from Austin Powers was when Fat Bastard said that he ate because he was unhappy and he was unhappy because he ate, and while it was funny in the film this sentiment, at its core, managed to sum up the entire relationship food and I had through my teens however unaware I may have been of it.

But we are getting off track here.

People are fat. Blame whoever you want but obesity a serious health problem, not only in NZ but in most first world countries. In my case it was psychological, I didn’t understand what the problem I had was until my eating habits were ingrained.

People who are fat, and I mean properly health-compromising fat not human-being-sized “fat”, and need to get their houses in order – and given my recent eating habits I include myself in this group. The same goes for people who are health-compromising skinny not human-being-sized skinny and those who promote things like health disorders, genuine health disorders, as a goal.

I understand that everybody comes in different sizes and shapes – you rock that Pear shape, apple shape, whatever-other-fruit-they-picked shaped body ladies! Be happy with who you are! – but if an actual healthcare professional is worried about you then you need to take a serious look at your life.

With the shit show the world is at the moment, we should all strive to get to a healthy place mentally and physically. Even if this does still include eating the occasional doughnut or carb.

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