Raised to be thin

2 Nov

I watched an episode of Come Dine with Me the other day. It was pretty cringeworthy, as usual. But it wasn’t the arrogance of the diners, the self-inflated egos, nor was it the toxic rudeness or the poor taste that got to me. The thing that shocked me most was this.

There were two ladies amongst the group. One (Lady A) was superficial, catty and a size zero with designer clothes and immaculate nails. She also didn’t eat. Not the best or most riveting of dinner guests. The other (Lady B) was sassy, witty, very attractive and a size 14. Really good company, didn’t take herself too seriously, lots of fun but capable of holding an interesting conversation about more than the calorific value of raisins.

I came away from that tv show thinking i had it sussed. I could see quite clearly that Lady A was a shambles while Lady B had it all going on. In your face cynical media culture.

However, that night i dreamt i was trying tirelessly, desparately even to befriend size zero cat woman. A nocturnal version of Paris Hilton’s shameless New Best Friend. Lady A was the cool cat, the one i wanted to be. She had it all, the ribs AND the jimmy choos.

How unnerving is that? It seems that somewhere deep within me i would rather be size AND mind miserly than a size 14 version of beautiful. (well in actual fact I am a size 14 post boy no.2, so maybe herein lies the rub)

How could i, an educated, smart, rational being be so completely yet so subconsciously consumed by the fatuous notion that thin = happy. That size zero = desirable. My rational mind see so clearly that size zero lady was uptight and proposterous but that clarity of mind be secretly and silently fed upon by a sneaky, insiduous parasite?

How utterly depressing.

24 Responses to “Raised to be thin”

  1. Bee November 2, 2010 at 9:10 pm #

    That’s so familiar, sadly. I absolutely believe that it’s what is inside that matters, it’s your behaviour, not your BMI, all that.

    I have long conversations with my daughter about how being thin isn’t important, and how you can be a nice fat person, or a horrible thin one, and that the media will put all this pressure on her and that it’s unrealistic and shallow and wrong… and then I stand in front of the mirror and think ‘god I’ve got fat, I’ve let myself go, if only I was 2 stone lighter’…

  2. Mwa November 2, 2010 at 10:02 pm #

    Depressing maybe, but very recognisable.

  3. Rosie Scribble November 2, 2010 at 10:08 pm #

    I can say from bitter experience that thin does not equal happy. That said, I can still see the attraction of being thinner and wouldn’t want to be a size 14 even though there is no logical in this whatsover. So if I’m thinking that, I’m not sure what hope there is for anyone else. Depressing really.

  4. Maija November 2, 2010 at 10:18 pm #

    I have no real words of wisdom except to say women around the world (including this one from the other side of the pond) are simultaneously nodding their heads in agreement and shaking their heads at their own frustrations at wanting to be thin despite knowing that being thin will not make them more happy or more fulfilled. Who knows why we do it. We just do. Good for you though for calling yourself out.

  5. kelloggsville November 2, 2010 at 10:44 pm #

    I’ve been both ends of the scale (http://kelloggsville.blogspot.com/2010/06/weighty-emotions.html) and haven’t found true inner happiness at either. I want to be one of those “oh it doesn’t matter what I do or eat I’ve always been this lovely size 12 with no muffin” – It’ll never happen!!! I love come Dine With Me! It is one of my secret saddos!!

    • marketingtomilk November 3, 2010 at 4:40 pm #

      stories like yours need to be shouted from the roofs of tall buildings. Thin does not equal happy.

    • Michelle Twin Mum November 4, 2010 at 7:26 pm #

      Fab post Kellogsville. I did not realise you had been on that journey.

      Mich x

  6. Lady-Like Pervert November 3, 2010 at 1:42 am #

    Oh gorgeous… isn’t this just so true! I blame the f-ing media for bombarding us with images that ‘thin is in’. I’d rather be the fun size 14 girl… ANY DAY.

  7. elleonthego November 3, 2010 at 8:07 am #

    It shouldn’t matter and I always tell my daughter, that eating healthily is what counts.
    I have been size zero, felt extremely weak but then it was caused by illness, it’s not fun and many women regard you suspiciously especially if you’re pregnant and doen’t look it or have just had a baby.
    You can tell they all think you’re anorexic…
    Sometimes, things happen and we just have to deal with it. I’m still quite thin, I think I’d have a hard time if I did put on loads of weight, but then that’s also because it wouldn’t feel like me, just like it didn’t feel like me when I was all sticks and bones.

    • marketingtomilk November 3, 2010 at 4:39 pm #

      Should weight be an intrinsic part of our identity? discuss

      • elleonthego November 8, 2010 at 9:44 am #

        absolutely not, more a question of how you feel within yourself.
        If you eat healthily most of the time and are active, it does make you feel better though, a question of balance as always.
        For the record I never weigh myself.

  8. jfb57 November 3, 2010 at 8:25 am #

    That’s what the media has done to us! I’ve recently seen old photos of me when I was still worried about my weight & oh how I wish I was THAT thin!! We need to live for the moment otherwise we are wasting of time here! (Remind me I said that can you?!)

  9. Rachel frowd November 3, 2010 at 8:42 am #

    Hang on a minute. What is even more depressing is that size 14 is being bandied around like it’s the byword for enormous.

    • marketingtomilk November 3, 2010 at 4:38 pm #

      Well i think there are two issues here:

      1) Society (and by that i mean the media and those that have been brainwashed by it) do often classify 14 as large, unfortunately. It is of course nothing of the sort.
      2) Probably even more worryingly our weight is intrinsic to our core sense of self, undetachable from our sense of self worth, so if we change weight for any reason, it’s as if we have to relearn our identity. How much we weigh is of course nothing to do with our moral or social value.

      • Very Bored in Catalunya November 3, 2010 at 6:34 pm #

        Sadly in some clothes shops (especially high street stores over here such as Zara, Mango & H&M), size 14 is indeed Large. A size which I seem to be ever hovering closer to.

        I would love to be a size 10 again, but know that the sacrifices I’d have to make would make me truely miserable!

  10. sjspence010 November 3, 2010 at 7:42 pm #

    It shouldn’t be an intrinsic part of our identity, but it is. In our society thin equals success and women are competitive with each other over this issue. I think thin shows self discipline, whether to eat well and to not over indulge or to exercise enough to keep everything in check. My self discipline is lacking and thus my waistline is slacking!

    • marketingtomilk November 3, 2010 at 7:44 pm #

      And self discipline is desirable, why? I know for sure i enjoy the company of a slacker a lot more than someone who is oozing self restraint.

  11. Paula November 3, 2010 at 7:46 pm #

    Can’t say anything useful I’m afraid, but I’m the same saddo… 2 years ago my lactose intolerance flared up badly and I lost nearly 2 stone. I’ve since put it all back on and feel sluggish and less healthy than I did – and right now I’m a size 12! I don’t think it’s wrong to be thin or to want to be thin, and I’m not talking stupidly thin here, but realistically our bodies function better when they’re not carrying unnecessary weight. More than anything we need to adopt a healthy attitude towards nutrition and maintaining a healthy weight.

    • marketingtomilk November 3, 2010 at 7:50 pm #

      I do agree that health is the important thing here. Size 14 is healthy for some people (i.e. me) and very unhealthy for others, if it’s all packed on around your tummy and organs. (luckily mines also well packed onto my arse). I think to seek happiness in your weight is misguided. To seek good health is wise.

  12. Michelle Twin Mum November 4, 2010 at 7:24 pm #

    Thanks for posting this. I am just about to go out to Overeaters Anon, my regular Thursday night meeting. I have been bigger and smaller and am far more than a 14 and as yet I have not found the elusive happiness with my weight. You have to work on being happy regardless of your weight (mentally, emotionally, spirtually) and then work on the weight I think.

    http://mdplife.blogspot.com/2010/09/im-not-just-fat-i-have-problem.html Here is a post I did a while back to explain a bit about being a compulsive overeater. It is sad situation. Each week I listen to peopel who have lost many stones and now look stunning and are only a size 8 or such and they are still very unhappy and yearning for more.

    Mich x

  13. Livi November 5, 2010 at 3:04 pm #

    Maybe a case of media brain washing? I’m very happy at the size I am (12/14) and don’t find skinny women in the least attractive, but I would not be at all surprised if I had the same dream as you. We are constantly told than thin=attractive/popular/successful.

  14. Muddling Along November 5, 2010 at 4:12 pm #

    Interesting post – I’d like to say that I can hold true to myself and not subscribe to the wanting to be thin but yet I find myself very easily thinking that life would be better if I lost a few extra pounds… strange how we’ve been conditioned isn’t it

  15. Lucy November 21, 2010 at 5:52 pm #

    I’ve done both. Fat and thin. It takes a huge amount of self confidence and mental adjustment to be totally at peace with any body shape, I reckon.

    For me, fit and clean eating makes me happy. Makes me not look in the mirror and fret. Makes me not dream those self judging dreams.

    But that sense of peace took years to unravel…….years. Ridiculous really.

    • marketingtomilk November 21, 2010 at 5:57 pm #

      clean eating / relaxed eating – these are terms i’ve heard recently and i think they are indeed the utopia of happy eating. Not dieting. Not fretting. Learning to eat what you want when you are hungry and stopping when you finish. Sadly we have lost the ability to know when we are full, until we are so full it is unmistakable and we feel sick. Well some of us haven’t of course. These are the “thinnies” for whom weight has never been an issue.

I'm all about the debate. Would love to hear what you think.

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