Tag Archives: eating

Fit for danger

So last night a friend shared a diet that was followed by an actress in preparation for a film role. Having followed various links on same subject it is easy to see how quickly the initial article has been disseminated in to the wider world, with the message becoming blurred.

The reason my friend shared it was her concern over young girls coming accross this article, and more like it and influencing them. Girls look toward images presented to them in the various mediums, whether it is via social media, TV, film, magazines for idea of what they should look like. As girls grow up, they look around, outside their own immediate family, and peer group to understand what is normal, social norms, what is considered attractive.

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When you are told a diet that works is 80% just fruit and veg with the images next to it of the actress having lost 12 lbs … it sounds like the perfect solution. It seems deceptively simple and easy to stick to. So of course, this will be a great idea to shift those imaged layers of fat. But it is a diet. Diets are short term. Many athletes use diets when training. You only have to follow someone like Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson on social media to understand the importance diet has when training. Actually please follow him, he genuinely is an inspiration.

We see it all the time as well on shows like Strictly Come Dancing, where the contestants lose weight, but what is actually happening is that they are toning up. Because they are dancing around 8 hours a day 5 or 6 days a week including the performances. This isn’t something most people will be able to replicate. It is an unrealistic look for people to attain.

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We need to change what we present to people, instead of advertising a quick fix, maple syrup diets, 80% diets that work in short terms, CRASH diets by any other name as a normal, and healthy way to get the body you want. Instead of focusing on the shape and size of the body, the focus should be on healthy living, doing things that make you happy and finding passion in your life, about spending time outside, finding a sport that you enjoy and doing it with friends, about healthy choices with food. It shouldn’t be about the size of your waist, thigh gaps, how prominent your hips or rib cage is.

The focus should be on healthy attitudes and eating, on being healthy, active and moderation. Of course there will always be sensational articles and sales pitches to do something quickly, to cheat, articles will be misquoted and torn up to suit an agenda. But if we can change the conversation so that teenagers see messages that are predominantly positive, so they are going to be able to make more educated choices about their life, so they are able to make more informed choices. So your body is not the most important thing in all transactions.

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Body Shaming

So body shaming, fat shaming, skinny shaming, slut shaming… it is all the same thing. It is taking a physical attribute and passing comment about it. Looking back at previous blog posts that somehow never quite made it to published.. it is just something that keeps giving. Below is a screen shot from my FB page – it was something I posted a year ago.

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Body shaming has been around in one form or another for as long as we can recall. Longer maybe. The ability for one woman to make another feel bad is limitless. As is a man to make a woman question her worth. And let us not forget, sex only sells when the object remains an object.

So is it just about sex? I really do hate to be crude, but on some level almost everything we do is to do with sex, or our need to appear desirable to others. So shaming another person by commenting on their size, is one way of deflecting negativity onto them.

But why, why is this worse that commenting on a poor wardrobe choice? (and I am the queen of poor wardrobe choices) Well, if my friend says to me, ‘Gill, I love your bold use of colour today, but maybe try sticking to a maximum of 3 in any one outfit’. That is fine, it is something easily taken on board, and you can adjust your future wardrobe choices with this constructive criticism in mind. But to comment on someone’s wardrobe choice, by calling them, slutty, asking for it, barely there, whorish (and I won’t go on but you get the idea) isn’t constructive. Sure, you are passing your opinion but really how is that helpful. Does it really matter if it isn’t to your taste, and why do you think they should care. There is a big different between offering some constructive feedback (although not always warranted or welcomed tbh) and just blurting out the first thing that comes to mind.

For me, worse¬†than commenting on how someone is choosing to present themselves to the world – commenting on body type. We have all seen the bikini ‘meme’ – ‘how to achieve a bikini body, get a bikini, put it on’. And it really is that simple. The size of the body wearing the bikini is beside the point and actually none of your business. What makes it worse, for me, is that it is a lot harder to change something. Telling people to one the one hand ‘eat a beefburger’ is as helpful and hurtful as telling them to ‘stop eating all the burgers’. While to some it may be a logical, and simple sum – more/less food in will result in a more desirable body shape.

But it isn’t easy, whatever way you are approaching the situation, you are naturally slender, and find it difficult to put on weight. How do you think it feels to be constantly told you need to eat more fried food?! And if you are already at a larger body weight (I won’t use BMI because I am not a fan) then simply not eating doesn’t work. These things are not quick fixes, they are not something the person hasn’t considered every time they dress, when they catch themselves in the mirror, when they see you looking at them.

Everyone is going through things that a not visible, and frankly none of your business. They don’t want or need your judgement. I am not saying you cannot think these things, you are welcome to. I am not for a moment suggesting you repress your natural inclination or reaction to a person or situation. But just take a moment to think before saying something to them, either online or to their face. If you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all.

Side note : I want to touch on a subject getting a lot of press at the moment, and that is ‘plusisequal’ and various other plus size promoting that is going on at the moment. The fact is a lot of events still use models who are size 12/16 at the very most. Which is a massive slap in the face to ladies who are larger and would like to see how these fashions will realistically fall on their bodies. There is still the issue of needing to look desireable at a larger size, so if you are not rocking the hourglass look, you are just not the right , size, plus size. At the end of the day, every person should be able to wear what they want, and feel good about themselves. It is not a competition to see who can wear it better. If you want to make a change, do it for you. It is the only way that change will be long term. Remember that you are the one living in that body. No one else.