(This was a draft I came across from 2014 and I thought it was worth publishing)
I often wonder about societies ideals of body image. The fact that a woman who wears an Australian size 14 (US 10) is considered plus size is quite disturbing. The average Australian woman is a size 16 making most of us ‘plus size’.
I’ve always been told I was too big. One of my earliest memories is being sung ‘fatty fatty 2 by 4, couldn’t get through the kitchen door’ – and this was by a parent!
The photo below is me and my sisters. I think I was about 14 at the time and I really thought I was fat. Looking at it now I think I looked pretty normal, although the bikini was a bit small!
I’m am trying very hard to get healthier. I’ve got a jawbone UP24 activity tracker and am aiming for 10,000 steps per day. I’m also eating healthier. My goal is not weight loss, it’s reducing my blood sugars, reducing my cholesterol levels and my blood pressure. Health goals, not body image goals.
As part of my diabetes assessment the nurse checked my BMI, which is 41, obviously obese. I know I need to be healthier so accordingly I would like to reach a ‘healthy weight’. For me, based on the past I reckon this is about 75-80 kg. The problem is that at that weight I’m still overweight. To be healthy and not overweight I need to be between 52-70 kg. I don’t think I’ve been 70 kg since adolescence!
I have spoken to people who have had lap band. All of them have lost weight but it hasn’t made them healthier. Many say how it is easy to eat unhealthy food as it goes down smoother. Others may be eating healthy but feel they can’t eat in company as they have to eat very slow to avoid regurgitating. This obviously has an effect on self esteem and confidence, how is this healthy?
I understand there is science behind these numbers but in reality that’s all they are, numbers. Rather than looking at weight on the scale, body mass index or dress size, we should be looking at overall health. The numbers that we need to be considering are the ones that indicate if something is not functioning correctly in our bodies.
I’m not saying fat is healthy but lets reconsider what is unhealthy. Focusing on body image and weight loss as the be all and end all to a healthy life is setting people up for failure.