Last weekend, I attended the a play called “The Good Body” by Eve Ensler, writer of “The Vagina Monologues”. No, this is not about vaginas but rather about body image. Although it appeals to the ladies better, the audience comprises of men, woman, young and old, gay and straight alike. It questions the society’s obsession about beauty being skin, bones and flat stomach. A lot of women feel insecure about their body and have all kinds of creams, medications, spa treatments, exercise and diet regime to trim, modify or enhance their body.
I am not of the exception. I recently posted some old pictures on my Facebook account and have been getting mixed comments. Although most are excited to see old pictures of me and themselves, I also have some comments on my weight appearance. You see, most of these pictures are a good 4 years ago, at least. Most of these pictures was taken when I was performing, exercising and well, skinny. So the general comments that I look “different” were tactful but there are also very honest opinions that I gained alot of weight.
I have stopped dancing and have been working full time in an office environment with little or no exercise. Eating the same amount of carbs and fat, minus the workout and energy burning, I am bound to gain a few pounds. It also doesn’t help that I have never been very good at finding the right angle when I’m taking pictures. I tend to bob my head or look up and create a double chin for myself. Also I clip my arms to the side of my body creating the illusion of a thigh of an arm. I never usually suck in my stomach so I’m always pictured with a belly.
I could be making excuses for myself but I do admit that I have gained a lot of weight in the recent years. I know this for a fact when I step on a scale, I cringe.
What hurts the most is when I get comments from people about my increasing weight. Especially when I bump into friends I have not seen for a very long time. After the expected “Hi, Winnie! I haven’t seen you for such a long time” which is usually followed by, “Oh my! You gained a lot of weight, haven’t you?” I don’t understand why people think that they need to make comments like that? Unless you’re talking to a recovering anorexic person or a pregnant lady, these comments are never well received. I have been on the other side before, but I was taught that if I can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.
So, here’s a plea to all my friends out there. When you see me and you notice the weight gain, please don’t comment. Please don’t let me know. It is not something I want to hear. I have a tendency of obsessing over your comment and feeling bad the rest of the day. I would possibly skip the next meal, worry about whether I should jump into an exercise (cross trainer or Wii Fit, or something) and feel bad that I have to wake up with the same shape the next morning when I look in the mirror.
I have aged now and I know I need to look after my body better. I should eat healthier and have regular exercise just to stay fit, not to be buff. My metabolic rate has gone down tremendously and my body don’t function the same way they used to when I was a teenager. I even had my gallbladder removed last year. Yeah, gallstones – an illness that usually hits the older generations like your grandparents!
It’s always no fun to look at beautiful skinny models on the cover of magazines and on billboards. Walking around the mall and the pharmacies, you see posters of weight loss centres and slimming or beauty salons. Even surfing the internet, you come across all these diet plans and pills ads. If you just Google the word “diet” or “weight”, you’re returned with tens of millions of results. One of the quotes on “The Good Body” states that every woman will always find at least one part of their body that they would like to change. We have become a body obsessed society.
Honestly, I have obsessed enough and tried different creams and pills as well. But I have now reached a point where I am comfortable with my weight. I accept that this is my body shape now. I might choose to exercise again one day and perhaps lose some weight. Without giving myself false hopes, I know that this might not happen. So I might as well just come to terms that this is me. I should spend the time loving my shape, even if people around me don’t.
I’d rather spend my money changing my hair or buying clothes that can hide or flatter my body shape instead.