How to love your body in a world that has everything against it


Fat fat fat is bad bad bad – or is it?

fat women

Quick! Call an ambulance! These women are about to die!

I bet you think that if you’re overweight you’re more likely to die and that being overweight is really really bad for you.

That’s because you read too many newspapers and watch too much telly and listen to too many TV star wannabes like Katie… whatever her name is – the obnoxious one off The Apprentice. If you are of the opinion that having any body fat is bad it’s just an indication that you soak it all up like some dumb sponge. No offense. I’m not suggesting you sit there dribbling with your tongue lolling out of your mouth letting all information download into your brain unquestioned. Well, I suppose I am. Because maybe minus the tongue and the dribbling (which is offensive and I apologise for it), that’s what you must be doing!

That being overweight or obese is bad for your health is not a proven fact, it is merely an assumption. There is no absolute scientific or medical evidence for it. For every trial that shows a link to obesity and overweight with illness or death there is a trial that says that obesity has no effect on health AND – check this out – there are also equal numbers of trials that show that obesity has a positive health benefit and that being overweight protects against illness and death!

Conversely, there are also trials that give evidence that being thin is linked to the highest death and illness rates.

You don’t hear about NHS spending on ‘skinny related diseases’ do you? Because diseases caused by anorexia are attributed to the actual cause, not one of the effects.

You don’t see magazine articles with weight gain advice for the underweight, do you?  Imagine commercial clubs and magazines with before photos of skeletal anorexics, then after following the 5,000 calorie a day diet, after photos of a ‘normal weight’ person posing in brightly coloured outfits from a catalogue. Fattening World Magazine. Heavier Life.

You don’t get to hear much about the health benefits of being ‘over’ weight. Reporting research finding anything positive about fat is accompanied by disclaimers, caveats and every effort to minimize its significance

You, as a consumer who spends lots of money on trying to lose weight, are led by the nose towards those stories written from the results ‘proving’ that fat is bad, bad, bad.

None of this would matter if it weren’t for the fact that fat bashing, especially the way we’re brainwashing our kids into fat hatred, is creating generations of people who have lost control over what they eat (whether this is overeating or undereating). It’s making people with regular bodies feel irregular and wrong and that means they will try to change themselves, get caught up in diet thinking and end up with disordered eating that will drag them further away from what they were looking for.

People like this ridiculous car crash media personality Katie Hopkins (I Googled her to find out her name) aren’t just causing a stir but they are responsible for ruining lives and possibly killing people because every person made to feel ashamed of their body is dragged further into the self hatred that causes their disordered eating.

I hope she can live with herself . Fortunately for her, she probably can live with the consequences of her actions because she is too thick to understand what they are.

“Living is Easy with Eyes Closed.”  John Lennon

Thin is in – or is it?

Things have changed - or have they?

Things have changed – or have they?

We all know that ‘thin is in’. Through movies, TV, adverts, magazines, billboards and the conventional side of the Internet, the media presents us with images of a world where 99 per cent of women wear their skin as near to their skeleton as they can get. Thin is beautiful. And so it is!

The reality is that we are a planet teeming with life. We are animals. We come in a variety of shapes and sizes and, thankfully, we also come programmed with what is essentially an uncontrollable sexual and aesthetic preference. For the sake of clarity if we ignore that, for most of us, attraction isn’t entirely physical, thin is beautiful to a percentage of the human population. What you don’t usually hear is that fat is beautiful to an equal number of people. And another group appreciates all the sizes in between fat and thin.

What we find beautiful is subjective. The media is trying its best to make it objective (Why? Well, it makes a lot of money for a lot of businesses.)

The fact is, if you find fleshy men or women more attractive than the more slender type, there is actually not a thing you can do about it. You can pretend in order to fit in. You can try to persuade yourself that you don’t like the bigger look so that you can remain cool in your own eyes or through the eyes of your peers. Which is what a lot of people do. They deny it, again because of the media pressure to accept a received appreciation of beauty.

Just like if you’re gay and pretending to be straight, this will make you miserable. All efforts to live up to an image that is not mirrored with what you actually feel will create an unhappy life. Truth has an annoying way of foisting itself upon you.

Despite the overwhelming coercion to take on a received idea of beauty, there are still many people out there who are intelligent and awake enough to prevent themselves from being anaesthetised by it. Happy and whole, who don’t feel they have to fit in or be cool or live in denial about what they are attracted to. Thank God for the Internet and the technology that means that we have a future where all voices can be heard.

I am not saying that the compulsive overeating that causes the storage of fat on the body for some people is something any of us would want to live with – because it is actually a very painful way to live. But the pressure to be almost skeletal is one of the direct causes of compulsive overeating and other eating disorders.

Imagine how wonderful the world would become for all of us if everyone were truthful about what they find attractive. Imagine if movies and TV and magazines and adverts reflected reality. Look around you and wake up to the real world. Everyone is different. Everyone likes different.

Why passively receive a message that makes you unhappy when you can be free? There is nothing more exhilarating than thinking for yourself. Self reliance and self trust increase self esteem and this makes you happy. External dependency, trying to fit in and approval addiction decrease self esteem and will cause you nothing but misery and emptiness.

Low self esteem is closely linked to compulsive overeating. Think about that.



*First published in 2009