Encore: Weighing In On Les Rondes

Another soapbox rant from les archives d’une femme.

Apologies if this rambles and is a bit of a rant.  It’s a topic that’s close to my heart, having lived it for most of my life.

Tish at A Femme d’un Certain Age kicked off a lively discussion last week with these two posts, and then Duchesse at Passage des Perles followed up with some thoughts of her own

I’ll admit to carrying more than a bit of baggage of my own on this topic, having been a stocky kid in a fat-phobic family, and having spent the years from my early teens through my twenties living with eating disorders of varying degrees of severity.  I started dieting at age 13 and a weight of about 103 lbs. because I thought I should be as thin as Twiggy, the models in Seventeen magazine and the actresses on TV, and no one around me discouraged that belief.  My mother had her own weight issues/insecurities, and my father had inherited from his family certain WASP-y hangups about weight and food (excess weight is indicative of Lack of Character and lower social class, and acknowledging physical hunger Is. Not. Done.)  So no, I’m not neutral here. 

Obession with weight and food is a life-stealer.  At worst, it can cause disease and death.  At best, it makes one’s world increasingly narrow.  I’m certain that my strenuous dieting (and periods of anorexia) at such an early age stunted my physical growth, and certainly shifted my focus away from my potential place in the broader world back into a circular obsession with pounds and calories.  (In fact, this narrowing of focus is well documented among people experiencing starvation.  At the time, I thought it was only further proof of my “weakness” and “lack of character.”)

While I do think that young women of today are more aware and media-savvy than I was, I still have to wonder about the damage being done to young bodies and psyches when a single, narrow standard of physical beauty or even just acceptability is promoted.  But it seems that anytime there’s a discussion of increasingly skeletal models or attempts to show attractively presented women above a size 4, the chorus invariabley chimes in, 3, 2, 1…But What About Obesity??  So much worse!™

I’ve seen other articles/studies that back up the quote that Duchesse posted, stating that girls who diet are more likely to be heavy later on.  Would my weight be lower today had I not spent years starving myself, periodically bingeing and eating far less less healthfully than if I’d never had an eating disorder?  Without a time machine and the ability to rewrite history, I’ll never know.  But I do know that I wasted far too much mental and physical energy on trying to achieve a size/shape that just isn’t realistic for me and never was.

Nancy in comments on Duchesse’s post said: One of the things that really annoys me is when weight is presented as a dichotomy: either extreme of thinness or obesity. There is a middle ground; it’s where most of us should live, and it’s ok!   Yes!!  I’m annoyed by this too (see “3,2,1” above)!  The vast majority of us fall somewhere in between skeletal and obese. Presenting only uber-thin images of women is doing nothing to stem increasing obesity among the general population, and I’d argue that it’s actually accelerating it, by encouraging women and even young girls who are not overweight by any stretch of the imagination to diet and wreck their metabolisms and set themselves up for years of eating disorders and higher weights.  As Duchesse pointed out in comments over at A Femme, it’s hardly “promoting obesity” to present a few isolated images of larger women, when 99.9% of the time, only the thinnest and youngest are presented as “aspirational.”  But why can’t we see images of beautiful clothing modeled on women who are size 8, 10, 12, 16?  Who are older than teenagers?  Why does “aspirational” have to mean “impossible for 95% of us?”  Street style blogs used to be an alternative, but now even they seem to focus on either the young and very slender, or the fashion industry insiders.

The result of this, (and I’m in agreement with Duchesse here) is that it’s skewed our perception of what’s “fat” vs. what’s normal and healthy (hint: a wide variety of sizes, due in no small part to genetics).  I’m the first person to say that not enough people here in the US are eating healthfully or being optimally active, but a healthy diet of real food in moderate portions and daily activity do not always result in a culturally sanctioned physique.  I’ve personally known women who devote much time and energy (agonizing over the precise number of points in a salad, spending hours daily at the gym) trying to achieve a body that has no basis in their own genetic reality, to the degree that the rest of their lives get short shrift, while being applauded by their peers for their “discipline.” I find this disturbing and sad.

I’m also admittedly thin-skinned about the moralizing subtext that seems to tag along whenever weight is discussed, having been ingrained as a child with the belief that my non-slender build was somehow a moral failing (despite eating the same food as the rest of my family, fixed and portioned by my mother).  So the needle on my Sanctimony Meter shoots over into the red zone when I hear or read people stating we should stop complaining, that super skinny images of women in media should “motivate” us to “push the plate away” and “get up off the couch and get some exercise.”  Or “if you’d just do xyz you’d achieve 4% body fat just like I did!”

Marketers claim that we don’t want to see images of women who are size 12 or 65 years old, that it doesn’t sell products.  I’d disagree with the first part of that statement, but probably agree with the second part, which is really their motivation.  People who feel insecure are more likely to spend on products that promise to fix them. (Sal at Already Pretty addresses this beautifully here.)  Some women have stopped looking at fashion magazines, stopped watching television, removed themselves from those impossible images. And if you want to do that, fine.  But visual media do have an impact on our culture, or advertisers wouldn’t pay the billions annually that they do to present their products.  I’ve come to believe that cutting ourselves off from our culture isn’t the answer, raising our voices to change it is (even if it’s writing letters to CEO’s you know will never be read, or impotent bloggy ranting).  And keep teaching our kids media literacy, so they learn to question and deconstruct the images they’re presented, and ask “who profits?”

Summary: Life is short.  Eat real food, move around whenever you can in ways that you enjoy, and re-evaluate your beliefs and values periodically to be sure they’re serving you.  Question and discard those that aren’t.  In the end, a little roll of fat around the middle doesn’t say anything about the kind of person you are or how much you loved and were loved.
~

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37 Comments

  1. July 30, 2012 / 10:11 am

    Oh it’s been the scourge of my life too, my teenage years were ruined by my weight problem, but I was properly fat, medically obese and couldn’t walk down the street without yobs yelling “fatty or fat arse’ at me. I was miserable and then came the dieting years and now I’m miserable in another way because its so damned hard for me to keep the weight off, my body just wants to be 11stone.
    When I reach my early 50’s I’m putting on a stone, I think as we age a little padding is benefit, I hate that gaunt look that so many over 50’s in the public eye have, it’s such a hard look.

  2. Bea
    July 30, 2012 / 10:55 am

    I hate that we are so brainwashed by the media today that normal bodies cause an uproar when somebody who isn’t a size 6 has the nerve to post a photo online.
    This photo has topped all the news in Sweden – and other countries – last week. A 20 year old girl with curves posted a bikini photo of herself and got 60 000 likes and thousands of comments.
    http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/4460227/Linda-Marie-Nilsson-puts-bikini-pic-online-for-plump-girls-everywhere.html
    http://lindamariie.blogg.se/2012/july/my-body-is-beautiful.html
    http://www.facebook.com/lindamarie.nilsson

    It’s so depressing that a normal healthy body can cause so much debate in 2012. I just hope that we will see people of all sizes, ages, genders, races and style a lot more in the media in the future so the next generation will have a better understanding that we come in all shapes and sizes and that’s perfectly normal. Nobody would tell a labrador that she should be inspired to loose weight by looking at a chihuahua… but I as a woman should apparently be “inspired” by a girl half my size and half my age? No, thank you.

  3. July 30, 2012 / 12:00 pm

    Wonderful post. I too starting dieting at age 13, with encouragement from my mom. At that time I was 5’3″ and 108 lb. sigh…
    I did make it down to 98 by the way…sad.
    I am at 55, trim enough, but not skinny by any means, and I am happy.
    I’ve always wondered what marvels I could have created had I been able to harness the energy it took to lose and maintain my weight into something constructive!

  4. July 30, 2012 / 2:09 pm

    Until June 4th of this year, my daily obsession was calories. Was I being “good” or “bad”? How much more should I exercise? It dominated my thoughts and my world. On that day, a biopsy showed that I had breast cancer and my weight became the least of my worries. It’s funny how one day can erase a lifelong obsession from your mind. I recently had surgery and am doing well. I care now about what I eat and not how much. I concern myself with the quality of the food and the joy of eating it. There are so many things in life more important than weight. We should be good to ourselves, eat well for health and enjoy every day. I still care about my appearance and love French style. Why not? But I will never again obsess about calorie intake or if I look fatter than some people.

    • July 30, 2012 / 3:58 pm

      @Kristien62, I’m holding a good thought for you, and hope you experience a complete remission. Thanks for sharing this; it’s a good reminder to all of us.

    • July 31, 2012 / 1:50 am

      Thank you, Pseu. I appreciate all prayers and good thoughts sent out to the universe.

  5. July 30, 2012 / 2:11 pm

    “my father had inherited from his family certain WASP-y hangups about weight and food (excess weight is indicative of Lack of Character and lower social class, and acknowledging physical hunger Is. Not. Done.)”

    That’s funny. I am English on both sides and had never seen fat people there (England)until recently because of the appearance of MacDonalds prevalent all of the world now. Please don’t make carpet statements. There is no such “Anglo-Saxon hangup as you call it.

    • July 30, 2012 / 3:41 pm

      @MaidofKent, I wasn’t referring to English people, but rather to a subset of US culture. It had nothing to do with weights in Britain, but rather a certain came-over-with-the-Pilgrims Calvinist/Puritan attitude.

  6. July 30, 2012 / 2:18 pm

    Great post. I’ve wasted so much of my life on trying to live by my family’s insane ideas, many of which (eternally fat mother, the daughter of an eternally drunk father) focused on “being good” and “sinning” with food and drink. Mom has never taken off the weight, just gotten bigger and bigger (I estimate about 230-240 now) but still emotionally melting down about guilt and sin. Enough. That is insanity. It’s food, it’s not evil – but eating to fill a hole in yourself, etc. is what kills. Like alcohol – a glass of wine is one thing, but a six pack to fill the emptiness is another altogether.

    I’m happy to see more discussion of this – at the very least, outing and discrediting the ideas of being “good” or “sinful” in eating has got to go. That mentality destroys confidence and initiative in making future change and just focuses on current perceived “failure.” It’s horrendously destructive.

    This also makes me think about how much there is to say about our parental generations and insecurity and shame – all of the drinking, and starving, and pushing children, and manipulation of facts and appearances in a desperate battle to look “better” – richer, higher class, more prestigious, more like “winners” than “losers.” What the heck happened to twist so many people into lifetimes of hating who and what they were and shoving us desperately towards the appearance of being better???

  7. July 30, 2012 / 2:38 pm

    My father was an overweight child and adult. My thin mother would diet “to keep him company.” As far as I can tell, the end result was that my father went from fat to less fat and back again. My mother has steadily gained weight. Now, at 82, she’s on the Nutrisystem diet and has food delivered.

    As a chubby teen, I joined my parents in dieting. Luckily, diets made me dizzy so I gave up.

    I am also in the lucky group of “mediums” now. It has been painful to watch my parents struggling. I am convinced that dieting makes you gain weight.

  8. July 30, 2012 / 2:50 pm

    So much of this hits home. It would be great for our nation and the world to focus on eating healthy, activity/ exercise that one loves to do.

    I also applaud Clothiers such as Chicos, Talbots, Nordstrom etc who do use older models who aren’t size 2 in their marketing.

    xoxo
    Karena
    Art by Karena

  9. July 30, 2012 / 2:58 pm

    Having just retired from teaching, I have observed an alarming trend among children over the decades. I am VERY concerned about the health and well-being of these young people. I remember when I was in school a long time ago. There were some in my class that were “chubby” or “pleasantly plump”, but there was not obesity. Watching how packed lunches changed over the years–even to the point where parents delivered McDonald’s lunches to their children at lunch time, I can say with CERTAINTY that obesity is fast becoming this nation’s number one health issue. I will not wobble on this and do not want children to aspire to being obese. With that said, I do not want them to follow the unhealthy skinny attitude either. While were at it should be throw in REALLY TALL and REALLY YOUNG with perfect complexions into the mix? There are petite people,too! Some people are naturally skinny and some who tend to be “pleasantly plump”. I am with the First Lady, Michelle Obama on this one–we need to change how we think of food. Yes, we can enjoy dining out with friends with a lovely glass of wine. However, we need to face the truth about what is happening in this country with the DISEASE of OBESITY and how this disease impacts the future for productive and meaningful lives.

    • July 30, 2012 / 4:19 pm

      @othello, I’m not going to argue that what you’re saying isn’t true. My point though is that there’s a wide range of sizes between very thin and very fat that are well within a healthy range (and yes, let’s stand up for us who are petite in stature too). I’m tired of the screaming (not you, in general) every time someone features a model that’s bigger than a size 2 that it’s “promoting obesity.”

    • kathy peck
      July 30, 2012 / 9:46 pm

      @Othello – it seems to me that the more we discuss “obesity” the larger the problem has become. I’m not sure why, but it’s true. In Oriental medicine, there is an idea that the more you focus and worry about something, the more you attract it. I feel like there’s this collective obsession, which is fast become not just a national problem, but an international one. Something isn’t working, and although I don’t have the solution, it’s obviously true.

    • August 2, 2012 / 4:55 pm

      I also remember the story about “Cassandra”. You might remember that one with the theme: KILL THE MESSENGER. The problem I have with the “COLLECTIVE OBSESSION” point is that this problem has been gaining momentum for the past two decades–like the housing crash and Wall Street Crash. Then again, there were plenty of “collective obsession” type dismissals of that problem as well–“Cassandra” “kill the messenger” Well, we ALL know what happened then. Usually, the dismissal of ecological, health, and finance concerns are politically motivated. So, I guess I take issue with the “Collective Obsession” view.

  10. July 30, 2012 / 4:42 pm

    Perhaps, we should promote an “athletic/fit” attitude rather than thinking in terms of model sizes. I hope the Olympics inspires our youth to leave the computers, t.v.’s, X -Box, and bag after bag of potato chips for playing (does anyone else remember hours and hours of playing Kick the Can?) Children are getting heavier and ones who are not prone to it. They are stressed and over-booked with “play dates” and activities. Instead of running to the doorstep of a friend’s house and calling (Yo Yo Debbie), they text. The don’t move and the pre-packaged lunches are horrible. Don’t even get me started on school lunches.

    Yes, I get your point. Bloggers are filling in the gaps for the typical woman and so is the music industry. Jennifer Lopez is gorgeous and she is NOT a size 2. Adele is another beautiful woman. However, athletes come in all sizes and shapes. They are fit and professional athletes are probably paid too much, but they promote the “fit” and “active” lifestyle that the fashion and movie industry does not. The teen, sliver-thin women will make the fashion industry obsolete –I HOPE.

  11. July 30, 2012 / 4:55 pm

    Loved this post the first time and love it again.

    This summer I’ve been visited by several friends (separately) who have said, “You look terrific, have you lost weight?” I have not lost an ounce. I’m disturbed that paying a compliment is reflexively tied to weight loss. It is also, I think, a veiled judgment that I *should* lose weight, and I would agree if I had the goal of being thin. But I don’t , so am on the generous side of average- which is undesirable to some weight-obsessed women.

  12. Jill Ann
    July 30, 2012 / 5:49 pm

    Totally agree that dieting causes weight gain. I was a normal weight kid who ate a lot, but was active. In college my roommate and several others in my all-female dorm had borderline (or full-fledged) eating disorders, and I got caught up in that somewhat. I believe if I had just ignored them, I would have continued to be a normal weight person without trying. But I didn’t have a serious weight problem, just battling the same 10-15lbs, until after my kids were born & I never lost the baby weight, plus gained 25 lb more.

    I just went to my Weight Watchers meting this morning (have now lost 50 lb) and some of the discussion bothered me a bit; they were talking about “cheating” on the diet. WW does promote itself, rightly I think, as a lifestyle program, not a diet, and central to the philosophy is that nothing is forbidden. But also central is the focus on eating healthy, “real” food, lots of fruits & veg. I know the point-counting is irritating to some people, but it’s important at first to help you realize, and reinforce, which foods need to be avoided or eaten very infrequently. So I’m all about healthy, moderate eating—and drinking! A glass or two of wine is a good thing! No more talk about “cheating” and “being bad”, that’s not helpful.

    Re the childhood obesity thing, I will comment that when my kids were in elementary school, I packed their lunches every day, usually a sandwich, fruit, milk, and a cookie. Luckily they didn’t like the cafeteria food anyway, although might buy lunch once a week on pizza day. The thing that bothered me was that my kids were the only ones who brought a Thermos of milk; all the other kids who brought lunch packed soda or juice boxes. Who would give their kids soda for lunch every day???? Lots of kids had those Lunchables every day too, so of course my kids wanted them. I made a deal that they could have one once a month, & they were ok with that.

    • July 30, 2012 / 8:56 pm

      Jill Ann, this struck such a chord with me. (Lost 35+ lbs on WW after having kids.) The last meeting-and this was WHY it was the last meeting- was when the leader admonished us to be careful when weighing our food- not to cheat. I thought, this level of obsession I cannot stand. But really, I had done it by the book and knew how to eat, and for that I am eternally grateful- and still carry my Lifetime Member card in my wallet.

  13. Pam @ over50feeling40
    July 30, 2012 / 1:28 pm

    I am so glad all of you ladies are tackling this subject and it is great to read as I go back to teach high school girls. I have struggled with weight and dieting my whole life…only to get larger. This summer is the first time I have done it the right way with healthy eating and exercise….my body is changing…just very slowly and I have to keep reminding myself that this is not a quick loss diet. It is the first time, I hope to be healthy and make positive changes for me. I have learned to dress my body and be content no matter what size I am, and now at 59, it is all about health!

  14. July 30, 2012 / 8:58 pm

    There are a million reasons to keep your weight down that have nothing to do with fashion, models, magazines etc. As one who works for a major health insurer, I see the statistics- I can tell you that there are more people who need to lose 25 pounds or more than don’t.

    How you look is the least important reason to lose weigh – it’s should be about health and having a body that will last your whole life. Just look at all the knee problems people have…

    You have to find the menu that works for you and your body – for some it’s low fat, some it’s low carb, some it’s vegetarian, etc. No one eating plan is for everyone. It has to be the one that you can live with forever. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

    I was miserable and hungry all the time on low fat, I could not stick with it. My doctor was upset that I switched to modern lower carb eating (basically no sugar, flour, potatoes or rice in all it’s forms, only berries) – then I effortlessly lost 26 lbs, my blood pressure dropped, my cholesterol dropped, my digestion stabilized, acid reflux stopped, swelling in hands and ankles gone and now he is a big supporter. And I have easily maintained for over 2 years and am happy.

    • July 30, 2012 / 10:39 pm

      @ExecutiveKnitter, my point was that even within what’s generally considered a healthy weight range, women’s bodies will have a variety of sizes and shapes. I’m not promoting anything other that more of that variety reflected in the media, and for us to quit wasting our lives trying to achieve a size that’s unrealistic for our individual bodies. I’m glad to hear you’ve found a way of eating that works for you and makes your body feel good too!

  15. kathy peck
    July 30, 2012 / 8:45 pm

    What a timely post. I read this early this morning, but didn’t have time to properly comment. I too, have had to watch my weight since I was about 8 (or at least my family thought so.) I woke up this morning, and the first thought that came into my head (as it does just about everyday) was regarding my weight, how much I can try to lose before my daughter’s wedding blah blah blah. So sick of this noise in my head! It’s been the same constant chatter for over 50 years – how insane is that. As I’m turning 60 in a few weeks, I am going to turn this around, once and for all. I am normal, and I’m fine as I am. I exercise, I eat healthy, I wear a normal size, etc. Like most women, I gained about 10 lbs. post menopause, which I have lost and regained too many times to count. This is where my body wants to be, and I want to feel OK about it for once in my life. (This is turning into my own rant). I have so much to be grateful for and yet often this is still the thing that obsesses and upsets me the most. Kristen62’s comment is something I think about also – and how non-life affirming all this idiocy is. I guess I have no real point or conclusion, other than to thank you for bringing this up, in such a eloquent way, and I appreciate your own vulnerability and experiences. And I agree with Duchesse, I don’t feel saying to someone “You look great, you’ve lost weight” is a compliment. Enough about the weight. And I also have started to correct saleswomen, who tell me “This is great on you and very slimming” – I didn’t ask them for something slimming and feel it’s not their place to comment on my body. I don’t even know if this is coherent, but I’m pressing “publish” anyway. xoxo

    • July 30, 2012 / 8:52 pm

      Hear, hear! Saleswomen are among the worst Fat Talkers. Morbid obesity is a concern (and I do not want it for myself) but by far the worst negative talk I hear is from women who are normal weight to slightly voluptuous.

    • kathy peck
      July 30, 2012 / 9:35 pm

      I know – I’ve walked away from a purchase just because of that kind of comment, and have told them so. Thanks Duchesse!

  16. Gretchen
    July 30, 2012 / 10:55 pm

    Health is an issue – on both ends of the weight spectrum. I believe the difference on the higher end of the scale has a bit to do with health, but also with a social stigma that the grossly obese are “out of control.” The women who starve themselves, smoke, take drugs, or exercise like hamsters are just as freaky as the people who shovel two or more cheeseburgers into themselves in the parking lot, chased down with a box of donuts and a huge Big Gulp. That is unhealthy behavior in both cases, and stems from a lack of self-love, I’d say, not a natural propensity towards thinness or plumpness. The people who just happen to be large and eat when they’re hungry should have no shame, and kudos to them for standing up against this ridiculous thin and young worship in the US. I’ll tell you what drives me really crazy. ALthough I’ve been large (5’4″ and 160 during a bad marriage) and scarily thin (100 after an illness), my stasis is about 120, which I was in high school and have been for 5years now in my late 40s, after getting over the illness. So why was I a size 8 in high school, while now I’m a size 2??

    • July 31, 2012 / 1:43 pm

      It is totally lack of self love. Our culture – possibly back to post-war, accounting for our crazy, status-obsessed parents – is so incredibly focused on what you have or don’t, who or what you are or are not (and generally with the message that you aren’t “enough”) that I believe the shame and inadequacy is driving Americans to both eat and drink for comfort, and self-starve for control. Some gourmands eat too much, that’s true, but most of the 250+ pounders I’ve met are so eager to talk about abusive spouses, childhood sexual abuse, etc. that the excess weight is clearly about self-soothing, or self-punishing, or a protective barrier, etc.

  17. Gretchen
    July 30, 2012 / 11:04 pm

    Oh, and while I’m ranting…if I have to listen to one more woman talking about weight when we’re out, or discussing anything about food that is not “did you try that new cookie recipe? Did it work for YOU because I thought they forgot something” or “The new restaurant has the BEST appetizers i’ve ever had”, I will seriously consider going postal. I have jettisoned friends who refer to food as “bad” or claim they’ve done something wrong by eating. Um, no. I get mad at my teens for eating something and NOT PUTTING IT ON THE GROCERY LIST and then not finding it when I want it. Not because they ate it. What a weird world we live in when food is the enemy and denial is considered a virtue.

    • Jill Ann
      July 31, 2012 / 5:03 am

      Well said, Gretchen! “Food is the enemy and denial is considered a virtue”. This is exactly the mindset I am trying to avoid, and doing pretty well. I have one teenage daughter who eats anything she wants, and doesn’t feel bad about it, but she’s also 6 feet tall and an athlete. The other one has a pretty tortured relationship with food, sad to say. She’s only 5’5″ and started being food-obsessive at about age 8. She got chubby but not obese, but she hated herself and was miserable about it. Last year, freshman year in college, she lost about 20 lbs, but she’s still food obsessed, and thinks she needs to weigh 120 (she’s about 135 now and looks great). I am trying so hard to get her to relax about it, and just enjoy food, while eating reasonably healthy. So far it’s not working too well. I do keep telling her that diets make you fat, but not sure she’s buying it.

  18. July 31, 2012 / 9:22 am

    Message to clothing retailers, fashion magazine editors and the like – using 14-19 year old gangly girls to advertise your clothing do not entice me to purchase them. I want to see the clothes on a variety of *real* women.

  19. Anonymous
    July 31, 2012 / 6:02 pm

    I work with teens with eating disorders and while I find the work rewarding, it can also be heartbreaking. It is really tough to be a girl in our culture with so many unrealistic images of beauty all around us. No bumps, bulges, wrinkles or blemishes of any sort. What is a 14 year old girl to think? So much emphasis on weight and beauty. So much vilification of women who are less than the ideal. So many people struggling to maintain a healthy lifestyle in this culture that promotes over eating while at the same time ridiculing women who partake? Do you remember when having a soda was “party food”? You might be interested in a couple of documentaries “America the Beautiful, and America the Beautiful part II”

  20. mette
    July 31, 2012 / 5:56 pm

    My comment is off the subject, but somehow I see similarities in it with this weight-discussion.
    I hope not to offend anyone.
    I just finished listening to a radio program about houses and apartments on what people wished to have in their dream house, what they lacked in their present ones.
    Above all, people wished for more storage place, e.g. cupboards, wardrobes, for STUFF!
    These days people have more stuff than EVER before.
    My simple, humble, inexpensive advice would be: Get rid of the STUFF.

    These days, obesity is greater than EVER before ( not talking about a few pounds extra ).
    IMO, the same applies to this weight discussion: Get rid of the FOOD. Don´t pile your cupboards full of food. Try a sensible approach towards STUFF and FOOD.
    Set the quality of both above the quantity!

    • August 1, 2012 / 1:51 am

      I so agree. Get rid of all excess. My closets can’t contain all the clothing that I have. My goal, at first, was to increase my closet space. My current goal is to make my possessions fit the space that I have. I can understand your correlation to excess food. We should get rid of the excess. I wish Americans could adopt the European practice of buying food each day. We would have so much less waste and would be more in control of the food we need.

    • mette
      August 1, 2012 / 6:45 pm

      Thank you Kristien62 for your reply.
      I already thought that nobody would understand a simple answer to the weight problem : ).

  21. August 1, 2012 / 4:48 am

    Bravo!
    My mother abhorred “fat” people and started calling me “pleasantly plump” at a very early age. I don’t know if I was or wasn’t, but certainly didn’t want to displease…don’t we women all suffer that malady to some degree? I was put into ballet lessons 6 days a week for years.
    I was never happy with my size and always felt I would be happier if I weighed less.
    After an illness 5 years ago I lost that “last 15 pounds” and looked like hell.
    I didn’t think so though…I was quite pleased with myself! Friends thought I was anorexic…and I just may have been heading that way.
    The old adage is true…at some point it’s either your face or your backside.
    I slowly regained the weight and with it my commitment to accept that we are all beautiful as we are. If we loose our confidence, we are lost.
    I think I may be ranting too. Sorry, but your post really hit a nerve.

  22. Norma
    July 31, 2012 / 10:10 pm

    You know what? I never paid much attention to Lanvin but now with their new campaign using older models? They have my attention and, quite likely, soon will have some of my money. I think that if we want to see more models who are older, or more typically sized, we need to support those companies that use them. And if Lanvin isn’t in the budget, an email saying “I noticed and loved your campaign, and now appreciate your products much more” is free.

  23. Anonymous
    August 1, 2012 / 11:57 am

    Interesting discussion,

    Was a thin child – but on a little weight at 14 & dieted to the extreme until I was 28. At that time weighted about 105 lbs on a 5’4″ frame. This extreme dieting caused moodiness, & wracked havoc with my hair. After 28 I was slim & watched my weight but not to the extreme. After menoupause put on the typical weight gain,

    The odd thing that at in my 60’s with the extra 10 – 15 lbs put on my menopause I had to battle Breast Cancer. During my chemo & radiation (after surgery) I had to wear a wig which was flattering & an improvement on my own hair & lost the dreaded 10 – 15 lbs – because I couldn’t eat or couldn’t hold food down. On the few days I would venture out, friends & family & even strangers would tell me how great I looked. So, there I was very very ill & because I slimmed down & wore a great wig, in people’s eyes looked maybe even better. Crazy.

    I am in remission & feel great. I have put back about 6 – 7 lbs. & am focusing on eating healthing & taking care of myself.

    Let’s not assume because women are thin – they are healthy. There are many who are – but there are many who are not.

    I

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