I am not one to rant, rave, or generally do anything else radical about political or social matters. It may not be enough for some people, but my general attitude is to take a balanced approach to things and to act in whatever ways in my own life I can to make a difference. In fact, I took a quiz this morning and the results did actually reflect how I feel:Anyway. My starting point is that I don’t lecture. Back in 2010, about two months before I went to university, I decided to lose weight because I had been in the obese category for a long, long time and wanted to change that once and for all. I’m pretty good now, but still have my struggles. I’ve been in one since mid-May when I comfort ate my way to the end of my dissertation. And then carried on because I couldn’t be bothered to get it back under control.
I went to Weight Watchers with my Mum, and did a really good job of the losing weight bit, if I do say so myself. I lost three and a half stone. People often ask me for advice about losing weight and I never know what to do. Although when I’m feeling a bit fat I will get out my old books and calculator, healthy eating has become part of my lifestyle. I cannot function without vegetables. I’m now up and down (although within healthy boundaries) so much that I don’t feel comfortable giving people advice – I feel like a fraud.
Consequently I would never lecture someone about their weight. A lifestyle choice perhaps, but then I’m generally so timid about this sort of thing that I would more suggest than attack. I am well aware just how easy it is to be in that place, and you never know what individual circumstances affect people – I was judged throughout school and it turned out that I had an underactive thyroid causing a lot of problems.
Through my browsing this morning I came across a link to the programme The Men Who Made Us Thin and began watching – I haven’t been feeling great so I had a bit of a tv day. After my experience of the weight loss industry and seeing the company I trusted become even more money obsessed as I was with them I found the principles behind the programme interesting.
I watched the first two episodes on my own in the house. The things that have been done to people by an industry’s callous greed for money made me want to cry. The horrific side effects that people will endure to try and come down to a standard weight are terrifying. The fact that what we designate as a ‘standard weight’ was set down by people that don’t seem entirely honest in the matter also scares me. My Mum arrived home by the time I got on to the third episode. She is planning on watching this show and is now doubting whether she wants to after I began cringing at a man who has a tube into his stomach to let excess food out after meals.
This programme not only saddened and disgusted me because of the attitude of marketing – a video of the first ever head of Weight Watchers across the UK sees the woman remark ‘Fat people are remarkably stupid around food’ – it had these effects because I know that I have bought into this industry. Seeing the franchise change as I was losing weight, with leaders being encouraged/forced more and more to try and sell us only Weight Watchers’ products – even when they had previously stated that other products were better – I knew that it wasn’t really a good thing to be involved with any more. At the start I was meeting individual leaders with their own ideas who really wanted to help. By the time I reached my goal weight the leader I was with didn’t want me around – if I wasn’t losing weight I wasn’t doing any good for her statistics!
According to this series I am nowhere near out of the five year zone in which only 16% of losers keep the weight off! I know that I’m heavier than I would like to be at the minute, but this programme has also made me question whether this is wrong too – if my BMI is under 25 surely I should be pretty happy? But then I should be striving to make myself fitter – I need to start exercising again!
In fact, a friend just messaged me saying that she had watched the programme (I shared it earlier) and that it had taken away all hope. So we’ve chatted about it a bit and she shared a free online fitness community with me that seems pretty genuine. We can but try!