After reading through old blog entries in an attempt to inspire myself to write this article, I saw a common theme. "There is something wrong with me." Really, when you think about it, to get to the point where you actually inflict denial on yourself requires you to acknowledge that you are not right. You must be disgusted with yourself enough to deny yourself. That says a lot. I must actually do what psychologists advise against. Never make your child feel inadequate. Praise them so that they want to be better. Now I am my own parent, my own guardian. However, I must berate myself so that I think I'm bad enough to enable change because I'm not good enough the way that I am. When you really stop and think about this, it's a sick game we play.
I will not for one second pretend that I'm beyond it. I will not deny that I have more bad days than good. What I have found in this journey is that my success is dependent upon my honesty.
Of course I do not deny the health issues of being overweight. I cannot possibly attempt to address all of the spokes in this wheel of obesity and self-image within one short article. I do acknowledge the health benefits of eating properly. I'm not so concerned here about size or what the scale says as I am about eating healthy. But here is where we are thrown into a vicious cycle.
Not everyone has the time to study and read about nutrition, biological functions, and hormonal effects from diet, only to discover that nutritionists are merely reiterating what they were taught, which comes from the FDA and other pals. More and more, we hear of doctors who report a dramatic improvement in health for diabetic and heart patients due to diet experiments. If you combine all of these studies and diets, you will find a common theme. Eat whole foods. In other words, stop ingesting processed junk. That is easier said than done, especially here in America where the rat race to materialism reprimands those who stop to enjoy the event of dining on freshly prepared food.
So we depend on the never ending shelves of diet foods to tell us what to eat. It says fat-free, so why haven't I lost any weight? Well, besides the fact that there is more sugar than the regular fat version to make up for the loss of flavor, you still have all those numerous unpronounceable chemicals to just gel you up. Perhaps those are the ingredients that we should be applying to our skin to preserve it. Lord knows sagging skin isn't acceptable either.
Deliver the food fast, and drop the weight fast. We don't want to actually think for ourselves, another example of the typical American dependence on daddy government. Just tell me what to eat and sell it to me. Now, why isn't it working?
All of this frantic searching without results leaves us in a heap of self-doubt, self-loathing, and self-hate. We are fatter now than we were before. Now we really hate ourselves, and looking back twenty pounds ago, we could have loved ourselves then. The earlier unacceptable weight was the lesser of two evils, but both still retain the evil label... the unacceptable label.
We can analyze this to no end, but at some point we must ask the question. How much of this is just human nature? Does competition and striving to be our best emulate human nature? Does this not play into the whole "I want to be better than you" ideology that is the foundation of the image industry?
I think yes. But it is manipulated. It's exploited. We watch the Hollywood celebrities as they prance down the red carpet, exposing their newest plastic surgeries, grasping to conjure up enough energy left over from their latest starvation binge to make it through the cameras, just so we can mentally download our latest image requirements. Denying that they had work done, they look better as we look worse. Again… there is something wrong with me.
Let me tell you what is wrong with you. You buy into this demented way of thinking. Even though I'm not delving into the health issues of obesity, this frivolous attitude of the attainment of perfection lends itself to health issues of its own. I know so many people who will actually take up smoking to curb their appetite. Why not? Britney Spears does it. And we all know that the celebrity dictates. Why would you deliberately take up a habit that kills? I promise you, in the last stages of cancer, your standards of acceptability will not apply.
I sum this up shaking my head at myself, for I know that there will be days that I will still do whatever it takes to lose weight. It is somehow ingrained in me. Do I contradict myself? Of course. Is that human? Absolutely. I am very well aware of the difference between ideals and reality. I will always shoot to reach my ideals, which hopefully over time will reduce the number of times that I let reality be my safety net. I think perhaps that is just a visual description of growth.
There is nothing wrong with me. But I will probably psychologically fight that affirmation until the image industry comes up with a way to confirm it. Is there a pill for that?
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This story is so sad. But it is also the story of us American's or should I write, "U.S. people?" We are dependant on what the media tells us. Or are we really?
We do have a choice. We just didn't know it until now!
I have the choice to like myself the way I am. I have the choice to hit the mute button when the pharmacutical industry tells me the way I "should" feel. And I have a choice when it comes to what I put in my mouth. I now buy only fresh foods that make my body feel good. And, when I don't feel "right" I take responsibility for my moods instead of altering them with what big pharma advises me. I have the choice of taking back control of myself. I don't turn on the TV -- its' too depressing. I do turn on beautiful music. It feeds my moods.
Posted by Barbara Whitfield on 10th Dec 2006
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