It took me a while to gather the strength to write about this topic, but I think the time has come. Today I want to write about diets and body image issues.
When I was a little girl I remember not caring much what my number on the scale was. That was before I was 7. Sadly, that is when my blissful ignorance ended and I became obsessed with the magic number. I remember being 10 and reading a book about an anorexic girl. More than that, I remember wanting to be like her. Thin and ‘in control’. This need became a lifelong struggle that made me obsess about every pound and every clothing size. When I was 15 I suffered from full-bloomed anorexia nervosa. My daily nutritious intake consisted of an apple and 2 liters of Diet Coke. My weight plummeted and I remember being cold and lifeless most of the time. My goal of becoming skinny was almost reached, yet, my desire to live was gone. Many, many clueless people complimented me on my appearance. Many wanted to know how I did it. When I told them I didn’t eat and that I threw up if I did eat, they laughed and told me I should tell them the truth…With the help of my mother, I was able to partially recover, however, one never truly gets over this illness. My weight fluctuated according to the events in my life. I had the misfortune to live with a man that made me feel ugly and fat and my issues resumed with a vengeance. When we broke up, I starved myself to a very unhealthy weight, and, guess what? That is when I was told I looked gorgeous and perfect. Happily, I am now married to a wonderful man that makes me feel beautiful at any weight and I am forever grateful for that. However, this life that I lived and this struggle that most women and girls are faced with is something that needs to be addressed.It has been discussed many times that society today has an unrealistic ideal of a very thin woman as being the ideal. We talk about it and we condemn in, yet, we continue to feed this idea. Every time someone compliments you on losing weight, they reinforce it. Every time you tell your friend or family member that you need to lose weight – you reinforce it. Every time a mother scolds a daughter for eating too much – she reinforces it. Every time there is an advertisement for a diet food or slimming jeans – the society reinforces it.I believe it is about time that we all stop for a minute and think about the reality of the situation. Yes, there is an obesity epidemic, and yet, every single woman and girl I know think they need to lose weight. Coincidence? I don’t think so. The more we are told that we are not good enough, the more we try to fit the ideal and the more we will fail. Women are not made one size. Moreover, a healthy weight is different for every one of us. If women stopped trying to be skinny and started to be healthy – we would all benefit from it.Girls, women and mothers! It is NOT OK to tell your daughter that she should not eat that cake. It is NOT OK to walk past the mirror and say how fat you are. It is NOT OK to want to be like the celebrity you saw in a magazine. It is NOT OK to forget to live your life just because you want to fit in.
It IS OK to love yourself, no matter what size you are wearing. It IS OK to throw out the scale and trust your inner feelings. It IS OK to NOT to let anyone make you feel bad about yourself, even if they are family or loved ones. It IS OK to eat what you want until you are not hungry and listen to your body’s cues. It IS OK to move your body like the nature intended.
I know that my one post will not change the society and I know that many will think that I am over-sharing or making a fool out of myself. That is OK too. Because I hope that my story and my writing will make at least ONE person think twice before hating herself or himself. I hope it will make at lest ONE mother stop commenting on the weight of her daughter. And I really hope that it will remind me that I am grateful for what I have accomplished and how far I have come.