Hello Blog readers,
I have been getting some great feedback on the blog, so before I go into my new topic, I would like to thank all the readers and all of you who have given feedback. I hope you are finding it useful, and please keep the feedback coming. I welcome suggestions of topics and opinion on the articles themselves!
Now, on to what really matters...
In the consumer society we live in today, it is no wonder why there are so many people with eating disorders. Just in the UK, 1.1 million people are reported to have some sort of eating disorder (source
). It's true that there are loads of campaigns about healthy body image, such as Dove (see image below: source
). However, there is still a lot of prejudice around this topic and I believe the main reason is the fact that they are focusing on the wrong points.
These campaigns are great for promoting better self esteem, specially among women. And it is true, there are tons of healthy women who are not happy with their bodies and either think they are too thin or too fat. However, there is hardly any promotion about healthy eating habits. Yes, they talk about superfoods, and vitamins, fruits, vegetables, whole grain... mostly people know what they should be eating. But how many know about portions and how to have an ongoing healthy and balanced diet?
Frankly speaking, I know very few people who have an all round balanced diet. People who can have 3 biscuits and say no to any more. This is not only an issue of self control, but also awareness. Mothers don't know how much food to serve their kids, and this lack of awareness ends up being passed on from generation to generation.
In previous times, there wasn't so much food options available, people had more time to sit around the table and have a proper meal, and there weren't so many fatty or sugary treats out there. But now, sitting for 3 meals a day is almost inconceivable! At the same time we have models who have extremely thin bodies being broadcasted in the media, creating a distorted image of beauty.
What is really astonishing is that people are now starting to accept eating disorders as part of their lives. On one end, we have people who are unhealthy thin, and that strive to maintain this frame by restricting themselves from food, even healthy ones. On the other hand, there are overweight and obese people who are promoting the image "big and beautiful".
This is just wrong! I completely agree that people should have a healthy image of themselves and their weight shouldn't affect their self esteem. Nevertheless, an unhealthy weight (be it too thin or too fat) is not an image to be promoted. There are already many campaigns against anorexia and the very thin model type. However, this is not the case for overweight people. In fact, there is a big growth on big size fashion which promote their products as "clothes for real women". I agree that some clothes sizes are too small for even healthy woman, but to promote overweight as "real woman" is just wrong.
Just as anorexia, obesity is a disease that should be treated. I am 100% against discrimination and I am happy that retail has finally recognised this gap in the market. However, they should not be promoted as "clothes for real size people", unless they want t promote obesity as a norm. If a person's BMI is not between 20-25 (mostly, because there are exceptions - I'm not a doctor to discuss), they should seek medical help in order to reach a healthier weight.
Please, don't get me wrong. I know that weight management is difficult thing and I certainly do not think it is right to discriminate anyone for their weight. But it is important to recognize that like other health issues, being anorexic or overweight is something that should be treated. It can prevent other health problems and help you live a healthier life. You might think that big is beautiful, but unless you are within the healthy weight, being big can also be very dangerous!
I applaud those campaigns promoting better self esteem, they have truly good intentions. But now it's time to stop turning a blind eye on eating disorders and start encouraging people to really start taking care of their health. After all, nothing better to self esteem than a healthy body and mind.