I think we can all agree that this is absolute insanity.
As I’ve mentioned many times, I’ve struggled with my weight. Still do. Just yesterday, I had to do some hopping up and down to get into my jeans (which were falling down by the end of the day, I might add) and I felt enormous and gross because of it. I blamed myself, not the jeans, for getting into that state. I shouldn’t be blaming anyone at all. My thighs are big and because I’ve been biking a lot, and running a little, more, there’s some muscle-building going on under the layer of fat that may have grown over the winter. Isn’t the body an amazing thing? That’s what I should be focused on, not making shaming myself for not being at my lowest adult weight (which I hit last May and I’m not *that* much above now). It shouldn’t matter.
Misery about weight, especially if your lifestyle is not actually impeding your health (sedentary is not good and not helpful), is ridiculous. It’s a terrible way to live. In some cases, like feeding tube diets (I still don’t want to believe it’s a real thing), it’s just not fucking living. Especially at a time when you are supposed to be celebrating your love for another person, not worried about whether a gown in a size smaller than you can get to naturally and healthily.
I love a gruesome health ‘documentary’, especially those by Channel 4 in the U.K.. ‘The Boy Who Gave Birth to His Own Twin’ was a particular favourite. A few years ago, they made a program called ‘Superskinny Me: The Race to Size Double Zero’ that was fascinating, infuriating, and made me realize that I have no business telling people off for watching reality television. It, for better or (mostly) worse, showed two women who were healthy, fairly slim already, on the tall side, generally fit, and who claimed never to have dieted going on fairly ridiculous and miserable crash diets for several weeks to try to get to the U.S. size 0. (Which is a 00 in the U.K.. TWO ZEROS. THAT IS SMALL.)
One woman was actually taken off the ‘challenge’ because disordered eating patterns, including binging and purging, emerged almost immediately. She absolutely fell in love with losing weight, going for colonics, eating raw, running an hour a day even though she was eating virtually nothing, etc. The other made it to the end, but not before becoming depressed, withdrawn, prone to crying jags for no reason, and nearly having to leave her job because she was literally to tired to function. Yep, I’ve been there during some of my stupider active weight loss attempts. And yep, when I deprived myself, I’d more or less jump face-first into a giant bag of M&Ms or eat a wheel of brie out of lunacy and hunger as soon as I gave myself a ‘free’ day because I’d ‘been good’ all week or because PMS overtook sense.
Obviously, this program has a layer of artificiality (duh, it’s tv), but at the heart is some sense, not just a lesson in how to be anorexic (always a risk with these programs – I think the show might be on several ‘pro-ana’ feeds on YouTube). Also, it really does some that, for those who aren’t naturally very thin, it’s very tough to be become and stay very thin. The consequences and the lifestyle surrounding it, as evidenced by even this sensationalist ‘health’ program, are miserable. To consider living like that long-term is ridiculous. Food is part of living; getting nutrition off a feeding tube to fit into a smaller dress size is not living; it’s lunacy. Celebrate the potential of your body, its abilities, its beauty, and its infinite capacity for being fascinating/gross (see above re. BOY GIVING BIRTH TO HIS OWN TWIN), not its size.
(That having been said, the first time I saw this, I watched in awe when the one ‘subject’ fit into a 00, and related to one of her friends who was clearly envious of the results. I’ve watched it again since and just thought ‘That is creepy and gross’. As I’ve said (many) times, I still have to deprogram myself from 30 years of weight-related anxiety and pressure.)
I will never be very thin, no matter what I eat, nor how far I run, because I’m of tall, Northern European peasant stock and put on weight very easily. And I enjoy eating things that are calorific sometimes. But that’s okay. I’m healthy and it shouldn’t bother me. It still does sometimes. But I’m getting there.