It’s hard to be happy with your weight when the people you see on television and read about in magazines are all incredibly slim and toned. When you look down at your own body and see rolls of flesh that probably shouldn’t be there, it’s hard not to feel disheartened. This is a world in which it is very handy to be slim. As a thin individual you are more likely to get a job and to be promoted than someone who is overweight, while wider society seems to have somewhat of a problem with ‘fat’ people.
This isn’t really a surprise when we’re continually informed that there is an obesity epidemic and that we’re all doomed! Okay, this might be a slight exaggeration, but it is almost impossible to get away from the news reports and health campaigns that seem to be targeting overweight people. Your weight isn’t necessarily an accurate indicator of how healthy you are, but it is something very convenient to latch on to. There are plenty of overweight individuals who eat healthily and exercise regularly, just as there are slim people who eat a lot of junk food and never exercise.
However, this is not the impression you’re left with after being exposed to health campaigns that, in a rather patronising way, convey the message that you have to exercise every day and eat more fruit and vegetables. Everyone must surely have some idea that this is what you need to do to stay healthy, whatever your weight, but the focus always seems to be on getting overweight individuals to change their lifestyles so they can lose weight.
Thus, overweight individuals tend to be unhappy with their weight because of the bullying and discrimination they are likely to face, as well as the automatic assumption that just because they’re not stick thin they must lead an unhealthy lifestyle. However, even slim individuals can become unhappy with their weight because of the idea that you can never be too skinny. Consequently, those who are already a healthy weight may believe they are not slim enough and spend their time trying to shed a few pounds that they really don’t need to lose.
This is a weight-obsessed world in which it appears you have to be slim to get on, so that more and more people are dissatisfied with their weight and striving to do something about it, rather than accepting themselves the way they are.