Anorexia or obesity?
McDonalds couldn't have come up with a better disease if they tried. We are constantly told that a catwalk figure is unobtainable, that we have no control over what our body does. We are allowed to believe that a sedentary lifestyle is normal and that 90 minutes of exercise a week is adequate. We are told not to stress if we can't shake off that fat. We are sold processed foods by the trolley full and reassured that you don't have to put much effort into dinner. We are told that exercise merely increases appetite. We are constantly warned not to try too hard to slim down, in case we become a gaunt, psychotic shadow of a human with a warped sense of beauty.
Excuses, excuses, excuses. Are we just deluding ourselves? Are we really slaves to our appetites? Were our grandparents constantly stricken with ravenous hunger, or did they happily get by on what they could and eat what was put in front of them?
The so-called 'unobtainable' body image is a natural reaction to the sickness and decimation we see around us. Ever seen an old nude painting? The lovely ladies are all plump and happy. The reason is that back when people were dying of starvation and dysentery, a plump body was a sign of good health. These days a trim, fit body is a sign of good health and we naturally feel attracted to it. This is not because a magazine tells us to be attracted to it, but because we are justifiably repulsed by what we have turned ourselves into.
The message on obesity is getting lost amongst scaremongering on anorexia and mumbling to avoid the wrath of the fat person. Clearly the message is not getting through. Food is not addictive like cigarettes are, yet we have managed significant social change on cigarettes in less than a generation. It is time for the good people from the anti-smoking office to point the finger of shame at the morbidly obese.
Read any trashy magazine or newspaper. It would be easy to get the impression that anorexia, bulimia etc are on par with obesity as a health problem. In fact, obesity outweighs disorders from the other end of the eating spectrum by a huge factor. Obesity is overtaking cancer as the biggest killer ever and it is almost entirely self inflicted. With all this pandering to the self conscious about how you can't even control your own body, surely we can see why people are eating themselves to death? It's time for the self delusion to end because we are dying of sloth and gluttony, not anorexia. So don't tell your child that it is OK to be fat and that skinny people are actually ugly. Look past the bull, because there is an elephant in the china shop. Try not to break anything.