It's becoming apparently clear to me that teenagers/young adults are more obsessed with weight than ever before. I say teenagers/young adults specifically because they're in my age group and they're the evidence I have first hand on this topic. During summer I thought that a little bit of an obsession during the summer months was relatively acceptable - everyone wants a good bikini-bod at the end of the day, don't they? I'm guilty of that. Bikinis are revealing and summer clothes also take the form of showing a little more skin than the average winter outfit. Therefore, we're allowed to fuss a little bit about our weight, it's only natural. When you're exposing your body in something as revealing as a bikini, it's normal to feel self-conscious about our weight, to want a 'thigh gap', a 'flat-stomach'... Or is it?
This summer I started thinking about why weight is such an issue today for so many teenage girls/young women. I particularly started thinking about it because I, myself, began an obsession over my weight. A few years ago I could eat anything I wanted, I'm pretty sure I didn't even know what calories were back then. I could eat anything I wanted because I was having a several years' long 'growth spurt'. These are magical things that transfer the energy you intake from food and use it all up for the process that is the 'spurt'. Not only does this allow for binge-eating, eating for fun or just general snacking whenever you wanted to, but it also makes you grow quite a bit as a result. However, over the past year this thing we call 'growth' came to a screeching halt for me. My eating habits did not screech to a halt, they continued in all their glory. What also didn't help this matter was that I began to mildly binge-eat a little here and there along with the occasional comfort eating. As a result, I went from my normal weight to gaining 8 pounds. There will be some of you reading this post saying 'big deal, 8 pounds, who cares' but there will be some of you aghast at the thought of putting on 8 pounds and who will sympathise with this weight gain. It was the first time in my life where I was uncomfortable with my weight. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't overweight, I didn't have some massive problem, I was just personally uncomfortable with the way I looked. My thought process was - lose the weight now and fast.
I did exactly that. How? By simply going hungry, counting my calories and cutting out the junk food. It was a sacrifice but within a week or two the weight was gone and I was back down to my normal size. There came a point, however, where I just kept going. I was shedding pounds that didn't need to be shed. I started thinking about 'thigh-gaps', doing exercises for an even 'flatter stomach'..This was the point when I thought, wait a second, I've jumped on the band wagon. A band wagon is easily jumped on but a hell of a lot harder to jump back off. I was brainwashed by the media, by magazines making the likes of Cara D front page, flaunting her 'perfect', thin, 'thigh gap' figure. I looked at her and then I looked at myself and thought, maybe I should look like that? Pictures filled my Instagram feeds of girls whose bones were visible in their bikinis with captions 'Perfect body', 'I want her body', 'Please let me be you'. I took a moment out of the craziness and started typing this very post. I found it incredibly sad that girls were fantasising about having another girls' bodies. Even sadder when their own bodies were possibly in better shape than the girls that they aspired to be like. What was even worse, I became one of those girls for a little while - looking at 'thinspiration' pictures.
One thing's for sure, I'm not saying that being thin is bad, trust me - I've been called 'anorexic' numerous times as I was growing up, but I was just slim. People have their own reasons for being thin, some people are naturally thin/toned and as a teenager I was one of those people. I physically couldn't put on weight. Now that I'm a little older, I do have to watch what I eat to a certain extent because I'm not growing anymore! This post isn't a judgement post, it's not targeted at thin people, I'm not saying being thin is bad. I'm also not saying that aspiring for a better figure is bad either. In this post, all I wanted to do was to share my thoughts. I don't think many people really voice their opinions at my age when it comes to the issue of weight. Maybe they do and I just haven't read them but all I know is that a lot of them voice their opinions on what they want to look like. I think it's important to get the balance right when it comes to weight. Know your personal goals and don't compare your figure with one in a magazine or even your friends. We are all different, none of us are the same. It's fine to diet, it's fine to want to be thinner, it's fine to set yourself goals but make them achievable, realistic and healthy. All this obsession with weight loss is at an all time high and there was a point where I looked in the mirror and thought it's time to put on some weight and that's ok. I know what my ideal weight and size is, the weight that I'm comfortable being and the size that I want my clothes to be. However, it's different for everyone. To round this ramble off, don't compare yourself to size zero/ two / four models, instead, make and set your own goals. Don't starve yourself and don't count those calories too much - it can become so much of an obsession it's all you think about. Live life to the fullest, enjoy it and more importantly enjoy those chocolate biscuits now and again - they're so worth it.
|photo taken from google images|