Browsing round the internet, as you do, I came across an interesting woman. She’s Heather Boyle, claiming the age of 32 years and admitting her weight at 422 pounds. She’s a brave soul by my standards. How many of us make no secret of our age or weight?
Anyway, to each their own. From what I read she’s happily married — a fulfilled life in every respect. But, and here’s the point, she runs bigcuties.com. Now, I have no problem with any of the sites that play around with images of sexuality. We’re all broadminded here. But I began to wonder whether this was a really good thing. Is this a good way to look? What message does it send to men? More to the point, what do men think of her? Men and sex baffle me sometimes. Darwin was all about natural selection to make the species stronger. I can’t think why men would select any of those cuties for breeding purposes.
Ah, well. I’m sure men know what they’re doing some of the time.
Because we balance information here, the other end of the weight spectrum has seen a lot of campaigning to persuade those fashion moguls to present a more healthy body image to the world. Young girls open those fashion magazines and see page after page of the super-slim. This is the model they are tempted to follow — the image of beauty. It adds to the pressure on them. Slimness is how to get the boys, how to look beautiful. Here’s a diet book to help you get there.
As a result, there’s been a sharp increase in the number of eating disorders. Governments have sprung into life. They’re liaising with the fashion world, trying to encourage a more responsible attitude about the message sent to young people. In 2006, the Madrid regional government made the breakthrough. It instructed fashion show organisers to adopt the World Health Organisation guidelines for healthy height-to-weight ratios used to calculate a person’s body mass index (BMI). Only models with a healthy BMI were allowed in the show. That’s really started people talking.
So here we’ve got two very different views of how women portray themselves. Heather Boyle is entirely comfortable with herself. Her attitude is, “Fat is beautiful — and so am I.” Yet so many others worry about weight, even become obsessed with it and risk their health.
Some kind of compromise is obviously required. I’ve always thought that everyone has the right to feel good about themselves. Heather Boyle obviously does. But society can be very quick (and cruel) to judge people on their looks. Whether deliberately or not, we’re pressured into trying to match a number of stereotypes, many of which require us to be slim.
We need to get real about this. If we felt no pressure, there would never be any need to change. We could just drift along as we were, not caring what the world might think. I had my moment in a supermarket, finally pushed into doing something about my weight. So social pressure is a useful motivator. Wait a minute! A “useful” motivator. Why useful?
Now I don’t want to get too heavy about all the medical risks but I keep seeing these studies showing overweight women at greater risk of diabetes. In the USA alone, about 9.7 million women have the disease. This is particularly hard because if we go for motherhood, the risk of a miscarriage or a baby born with birth defects shoots up. Worse, if the baby weighs more than nine pounds at birth that increases the risk of type 2 diabetes later in life.
Yet clinical evidence also shows that if we lose around 15 lb. we halve the risk of developing diabetes.
Such a small weight loss can have such a big result in health terms! Particularly if we’re thinking of planning a family.
So what to do about it? Like me, you can look at phentermine. It’s only the USA’s most popular weight loss drug with Acomplia (generic name: Rimonabant) almost as successful. Meridia is also worth serious consideration. Now, I had to get advice on which would work best for me and you should be the same. There can be all kinds of problems in your medical history that can affect your choice of drugs. And, remember that none of these drugs should be taken on their own. You’ll have to join me in counting those calories and, sad to say, think about some light exercise. Work out a program that’s going to work for you, getting the best out of phentermine with a healthy diet.
I haven’t written this for people like Heather Boyle who are pleased with the way they look — although I do worry about their long-term health problems if they don’t shed some of those pounds. And what will they do if they do want to plan a family? Ah, well. Everyone has their own choices to make.
Those of you who have found your way to this site are unhappy with your body image or other health reasons are pushing you to lose weight. So, let’s make a late New Year’s Resolution not to feel guilty or ashamed of who we are and how we look. Let’s simply start thinking about how to lose some of those pounds gently over the next months. I’ll be writing a regular piece offering help, advice and support wherever I can. Hope to see you around — no, hope to see you less round.