Where to Stand

Written by Emma on October 24th, 2007

As many of you know, I’m a big advocate of healthy lifestyle and healthy eating. While my healthy lifestyle could use some improvements (I hardly ever exercise – though I did just by DDR for my Wii and am trying to get active on it every day), I do try to walk a lot and take the stairs. And I do put a lot of effort into eating healthily. I don’t count calories and I don’t ban carbs, but I do try and keep my intake of fat, salt, and sugar low. And I encourage others to do so. Obesity, heart disease – thats a nasty-ass way to go, and an even nastier way to live out the rest of your life.

On the other hand, though, I’m very much for healthy lifestyle and healthy diet. Wait, you say, that’s just what you said. Yea, but now I’m coming from the other direction. In my 21 years of breathing on this planet, I’ve met a really scary number of girls and young women with eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia, and girls who compulsively exercise. People that definitely don’t need to be worrying about obesity (but should still be worrying about heart disease, though a different form than the obesity-linked kind – brought about by lack of protein and other nasties).

So on the one hand I stand up and I talk about eating less and exercising more. Then I turn around and talk about eating more and exercizing less.

On the one hand, I hate the pressure so many women feel to have these perfect, skinny bodies and the unbelievable insecurity so many women feel when their bodies aren’t pefect. Many girls can probably relate to this, but many guys might fall over backwards two or three times if really exposed to this in raw form.
On the other hand, I hate the fact that a fourth of our country is obese, and that we live in a cheap, fast, and easy society where we eat what we please and seek cures at 40, instead of preventing the problem at 20. And I hate the denial. ‘I’ll get healthy later’ ‘No really, I feel fine, I must be fine’ ‘I’m big-boned’

One side says I need to be skinny to be loved, I need to see ribs to be sexy, I hate my body.
The other says It’s not my fault, I don’t have time, this is what a real woman looks like.

How do you possibly reconcile these two extremes?? But then, is this just another example of the polarization of America?* It’s a dilemma (Can’t have a dilemma without Emma®) I’ve faced a few times when posting. Often I ignore it, but it still nags. If I post something about forgetting society’s expectations for a super-skinny celeb body, am I nudging aside the obsity crisis? If I post something about healthy eating, losing weight, and working out, am I further pressuring our anorexic female youth?

I recognise that my little posts are not going to make much difference either way in the grand scheme, but the integrity of my writing is important to me, if nothing else, and it’s important that I’m not slicing into my own values unintentionally.

I realise this post is rather unstructured and all over, but I’m short on time, as usual. Anyone have thoughts on this?

By the way, all of this was triggered when I thought of posting a list I came across that I liked. You can view this post-starter here.

* A quick Google revealed I may be using a term that’s been built up to mean more than I realise it does. I’m using it as a construction of English words, not as a concept or term – please translate accordingly.

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