I’ve spent most of my adult years thinking I had a problem. I couldn’t control myself around food, so I did what most people do, I dieted. I figured if I dieted, I could be thin and happy. I could finally be normal and stop worrying about my weight.
It makes me sad to think about the time wasted obsessing about thinness. The times I reluctantly went to parties, weddings (my own included), beaches and vacations. It was all because I didn’t like the way I looked. At some point, I had to ask myself, “What the hell am I doing? Why am I dieting and trying to change myself?” It wasn’t to be healthy because I was healthy. It was because I didn’t like my body and felt pressured to be something different.
In Beyonce’s song, Pretty Hurts, she says, “Perfection is the disease of a nation” and “no doctor or pill that can take the pain away. The pain’s inside, and nobody frees you from your body.”
Women, and now an increasing number of men, are concerned about what their body looks like instead of how it feels. Women are always searching for pretty, or perfect. Women go to lengths to adhere and conform to society’s expectations. Some starve themselves, some exercise to exhaustion, some are bulimic, some spend every waking moment of every day with negative self-talk. Most go on diets hoping they find the silver bullet only to be disappointed in the promised results.
This perfection, this attempt to be pretty, it hurts all of us.
Nearly everyone considers obesity a disease. I would argue, perfection is our disease. As Beyonce’s lyrics mention, “it’s the disease of the nation to strive for perfection.”
Ads ensure we feel bad about our bodies. The food companies ensure we gain weight and the health and wellness groups continue to trick us into trying their latest diet only to again, fail us. And again, this hurts.
We have a problem. As Beyonce’s song mentions, perfection is a disease of the nation, yet our nations are brainwashing us to think obesity is the disease. Meanwhile, while we focus on obesity, we have 20 million American women with recorded eating disorders (Wade, Keski-Rahkonen, & Hudson, 2011) and young girls start at the age of 6 obsessing about their weight and body size. And according to WHO (World Health Organization), a staggering 350 million people suffer from depression. An estimated 26.2 percent of Americans ages 18 and older or about one in four adults suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year. When applied to the 2004 U.S. Census residential population estimate for ages 18 and older, this figure translates to 57.7 million people
So we should ask ourselves, what is the disease, perfection or obesity? With such focus on our bodies, perhaps it’s time to think more about our mental health. Maybe our diet should be a diet from diets? What if our focus was on how we felt and not our appearance? What if we accepted each other for who and what we are instead of judging each other?
Consider these facts and think about what your world would be like if you were happy with your body as it was today. What would your life be like without a diet? There is a way to live free of this diet mentality and obsession with thinness. Click below to link up with me and learn how I’ve changed the way I think about my body, dieting, and exercise.
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