I’ve recently had my attention drawn to some very unhealthy body image resources. This has prompted me to write this entry because I don’t think that certain messages should be portrayed out there. The message being sent to younger people is terrible. Those that are a completely healthy weight in regards to having muscle rather than fat are being led to believe that they are overweight because of the body mass index thing. The fashion industry like to think that they’re getting better at preventing anorexia in models etc. That isn’t the case though. Size 12 and above (even sometimes size 10) models are seen as ‘plus sized’. Also, those of us that are on the shorter side (under 5ft 5) are generally told that we are fatter because we are more compact in the places we carry our weight.
I am speaking as a female who is only 5ft 3. We accumulate all our weight gain in the middle areas. I’m quite fortunate to have decent curves without too much excess spread around the middle but I do exercises so that it stays distributed in the right areas. I have gained a bit recently but that could be muscle gain because I try to keep everything toned etc. The BMI (body mass index) is completely decieving when it comes to mass being made up of muscle rather than fat. I know that I’ve lost body fat because my stomach and thighs are less flabby… yet I’ve gained a kilogram on the scales. I used to be okay with the scales until I learned about this BMI that puts me in the overweight category. I eat all healthy things and I’m still calculated as 26.1 … just over the ideal range. I walk and do toning exercises. I’ve heard that even sports people are sometimes over the ideal range due to the fact that they have muscles due to their profession.
We can’t be sending out unhealthy expectations to potentially impressionable individuals that are already insecure about their body image. Yes, there is a option to go on a crash diet and intense exercise regime which will potentially get you into the healthy BMI range but it won’t be maintainable. There was a time that this was a tactic that I tried many times. I may have lost weight at that time but it yo-yoed back on when I went back to normal lifestyle and eating. I’m not a sports person. I find the Gym quite hard to maintain as part of a lifestyle plan. I’d rather go for a walk. That does maintain weight and muscle exercise just keeps everything less flabby as I get older. I’m finding that now I’ve reached my 30s it’s getting harder to be a smaller size. I’m a 10 but I’m not sure how long until I’m going to spring into a 12 as I approach an older age. I do miss my previous slimmer frame but practically that is never going to be me again. I don’t think it matters regarding the sizing of my frame nowadays but more so that it remains toned without a lot of flab.
The pro-ana sites that I happened to see today should be taken down. I know for a fact that one of the models featured on those sites passed away from anorexia in 2010. They’re actively encouraging others to make themselves that thin (she was practically a skeleton towards the end of her life). There are slogans like… ‘nothing tastes as good as thin feels’ etc. I don’t want any young people or even older people that have these kinds of body image issues to see those resources and come to the conclusion that they have to starve themselves. This is an awful road to go down for anyone. I feel sick when I read the tips about how to achieve the weight loss goals. It is dangerous reading for a person who is already feeling bad about their body.
I can assure you of one thing though. The process of dieting is absolutely depressing. There is also a potential that worrying around what calories you consume and burn off can actually cause weight gain due to how stressed it makes a person mentally. I was always a lot more miserable when I was trying to keep my weight at a certain level. I struggle with my weight in general because I’m not built slim. I have always been of average build with curves. Even at a size 8 I still had boobs, bum, hips etc but just with less fat around them. I get told by others that I look better when I’m not a smaller size because it fills out my curves. I still prefer that I’m not that size. However, this is something that I feel isn’t worth stressing about due to weight not being something that completely defines me. There is more to life than being skinny. This becomes more apparent when you get older.
There are those that I know who have always been larger but are more whole as a person within their personality than me. They’re amazing because they don’t care that they’re built larger. This is the type of confidence that everyone should aspire towards. Yes, it’s not good to be too fat. Likewise, it is also not healthy to be chasing a slim body image if you’re not built that way. And, as for that BMI thing, that is complete and utter bullsh*t that was designed to medically put people into different labels in a society that is obsessed with categorising people into groups. BMI is just a piece of flawed Maths by a man called Adolphe Quetelet in the 1800s when our diets and lifestyles were completely different from how they are in modern times. There is no way that we could possibly be built like the people that lived back then due to many reasons. The scales are also not your friend. I barely step on mine more than once a week otherwise it starts to make me feel overweight. I would even go as far to recommend that some people actually throw them out because they are extremely detrimental on self confidence levels.