It is difficult to talk about this issue but this is something that every single woman I know has gone through or goes through every single day. Some girlfriends took the obsession to unhealthy places which morphed into bulimia and anorexia but they were happy as they got congratulated for losing weight even though they were not unhealthy to begin with.
I keep having friends and relatives who would exclaim,” do you know she used to be this thin. She was very good looking”. Makes me cringe internally every time because what they are basically saying because I have extra pounds on me I am somehow not as worthy. But the irony is the same time period that they talk about is the time I had the worst bout of body image issues. Thankfully it didn’t manifest as anything serious but it did lead to a lot of frustration as having any slight weight gain made into such a topic of conversation and the only topic of conversation.
I have had relatives who had not spoken a word to me for years see me at a wedding and gesture at me that I have put on weight. This is the same period that now people are reminiscing about so, it makes me laugh. I realize that I was not fat by any yardstick then and so much of my mental energy was spent in feeling bad about it and trying to lose weight at that time.
I did put on weight later during my pregnancy because of a difficult pregnancy and under the guidance of a doctor put on weight drinking protein drinks and hospital food. The girl who walked into the hospital rolled out of the hospital after 3-4 months on the hospital bed. It was during this time that I realized that there is so much more life has to offer which we don’t appreciate in today’s time feeling upset about weight and waiting to lose weight to start our life.
I am not talking about obese women here, women of all shapes and sizes and all ages as young as 9 years old and thin as a stick have internalized that they have tummies and are fat! Are constantly reminded by friends, relatives and random strangers the moment they put on an ounce of fat that they have become fat are now unworthy of love or success!
It wasn’t always like this, the 80’s and 90’s heroines looked nothing like the gym rats that are actresses today. A Hema Malini was dream girl but a Parineeti Chopra today is fat? I am all for fitness and being healthy, eating the right nutrition but when it all boils down to looks and how much bigger you are then it is unhealthy. I have had friends tell me that ‘yes you are healthy but don’t you want to lose weight? Then you can wear whatever you want!’ I have realized that clothes cannot be the yard stick for me to care for my health!
Hence I don’t like before and after photos as the focus seems to be physical and how thin they look! It might not even be the complete picture because weight gain and weight loss can happen due to multiple reasons. A terminal illness can make you lose weight, should you be congratulated for it? Similarly, a hormonal disease or medication that you take for a chronic illness can make you gain weight. So many factors are at play here and we remain obsessed with if we can fit into a fast fashion brands clothes that did not bother to make clothes beyond size 8! Within these absurd yardsticks Serena Williams who I think would be a role model for being fit is fat then because her clothes size would be different! And if her value was only based on how small she could be or petite she becomes and nothing about her achievements and awesomeness then that is a very sad mentality to be living with right?
Author Bio – Anju Jayaram is a marketing professional with itchy feet. She is passionate about women’s rights and occasionally writes on topics that move her. She is a Partner and CMO at Women’s Web. She holds an MBA degree from Pune University and digital marketing from MICA. She is quite humorous when irritated!