In California, people can call 1-800-GET-THIN to find out about weight loss options. One of the options is the lap band and tragically some people have died after having chosen it.
On tv the other day, I saw Carrie Fisher. She is advertising the Jenny Craig program now. She has gained weight. She wants to lose it. It doesn't matter that she is an accomplished actor and author. She's overweight - she can win back the public's favour by losing weight.
Weight loss is a big business and a big priority in our society these days. People are held in high regard for being successful at it. While we can say that people lose weight and want to lose weight to be healthy, and some people do, societal pressure plays a significant role. It leads us to feelings of desperation to lose weight, often desperate actions to lose weight, and sometimes horrible consequences. We can feel we have to do it.
I am not immune to these feelings. I gained weight. Around the same time, I was gaining feelings of worth as well and getting to know and like myself. I felt better but I looked fat. I knew that I was fat. And I didn't like the way I felt the world was looking back at me. On the outside, I was not the same person and none of the internal growth was visible.
I wish I could say that I found a way to rise above these feelings. I didn't. I started working out and expected to lose weight rather rapidly. It didn't happen. My physician got me into a weight loss program and now, slowly, with exercise and better eating habits, I am losing weight. This doesn't make me a hero - I am doing what society is telling me to do. It turns out that I love working out and I like eating somewhat healthier food but, to be honest, I want to lose weight so I look thin. I feel the pressure.
I don't know what the answers are. Maybe if we could just establish a relationship with food in which we eat it for sustenance alone, we would do better. Maybe we need to move more in our lives. Maybe food ads should not be allowed to tell us that certain foods will make us feel happier or younger or more loved unless the food is nutritious and might truly help us feel good. (Chunks Ahoy cookies want to be our friend on Facebook and we'll be reunited with our youth, apparently, if we accept the invitation). Why is it that scary, fattening, unhealthy eating habits are so prevalent in a society obsessed with thinness? How can we not go a little crazy in this setting?
Ideally, we can find a happy medium. We can eat more healthy and not dwell on weight. I hope. Until then, individually, we can try our best, avoid desperate measures and live our lives as wonderfully as we can. Living well is the important thing after all.