Thursday, 28 May 2009
FOOD IT'S WHAT KEEPS US ALIVE,why abuse it?
I do not have a very healthy attitude to the size of my body. Like so many women I spend far too long thinking that bits of it are not right, as in my stomach is too big. And although this has changed over the years, the thought processes, not my stomach! And nowadays I'm far more at peace with myself than ever I used to be, it still has the power to unsettle me. Now I'm lucky as I do have reasonable self esteem, and I know that my attractiveness does NOT hinge upon the size of my stomach.
I know that other people, especially men would look at the whole package and if they did focus on any one bit it would be because they were a leg or breast man. And they wouldn't be finding fault in the way I may do.
My point is here, that I'm just part of the Western worlds obsession with how we look. We have the luxury of being like this, as on the whole we are not starving. Catch anyone in a third world country having the energy to worry about something so inconsequential as the size of their bum, when they don't even know if there will be a next meal.
The reason I'm talking about this is coming across two sides of the size spectrum in my work recently. Both female, both filled with self hate, both extreme sizes. One coming in at over 20 stone (A) and the other coming in at around 7 stone (B). (Stone =14lbs)
Client A, has no self esteem, has always been heavy, looks after the emotional needs of her family, that is her own children, her parents especially her ill mother, her brothers and their wives and children. She is bullied to take care of all their needs, and has no ability to say no. She is really angry about this treatment, but is trapped in it. So she eats her anger. She waits till everyone has gone out and binges on whatever she can find. So just before the this happens she has a moments peace as she prepares to satisfy her needs. Then the minute she has consumed whatever it is, the self hate starts back with a vengeance..... how could she be so greedy, how could she eat the kids treats,how could she have so little self control. No wonder no-one likes her and on and on.
Client B, on the other hand, has a figure to die for,and she's doing her best to get there as fast as possible. She compulsively exercises, starts the day with a 10k run, goes to the gym most days, vomits after most meals. Looks after her family, including her alcoholic mother, and is the only one of the siblings to sort out anything in the family. When she gets more stressed, as in recently dealing with an overload of problems her bulimia has got worse and she is almost out of control.
How did we get like this? How did I, a healthy size 12(8 US), get to spend so much time focusing on my perceived bad bits. How did food, something that is life giving become the enemy of so many women. A tool they use to control the rage they feel with the world. How can I be so daft that if I eat too much 'bad' food, whatever I perceive to be bad at any given moment, can I hate myself.
I'm not asking these questions to have answers about me here. I'm just, I think, expressing astonishment in the huge increase in eating disorders in today's society. And I know that if I, as a normal size person, ruminates on this then it is so much worse for women who really hate themselves, because they are the wrong size or shape.
One of the places I was shocked to see so many obese people recently was in the hospitals, not as patients, but as staff. What is happening when people who are taught the dangers of obesity in relation to increased risk of developing diabetes and heart disease take no notice. As the need to eat is greater than the need to take care of themselves.
When did we loss touch with the idea that food is something that should be prepared with love and enjoyed for it's taste and texture. That to share food with others is a wonderful thing to do, the breaking of bread. The eating of food to celebrate a hard days work.
I may sound a bit puritanical here, but it seems to me that food is too easy, pick up a burger, call for a take away, buy a sandwich. There is no time seemingly to make our own food. And yet I know that it takes no more than three minutes to make home made Yorkshire puddings for example. But it is three minutes that too many people are not prepared to spend, it's easier out of a packet, with all its subsequent e numbers and weird ingredients.
We have to start loving ourselves a bit more, and treating ourselves with respect, whether that's our minds, or our bodies. And then maybe, when people do learn to self love some more they will care about what they are doing to their bodies.
We cannot eat our rage. We cannot make ourselves better by abusing food and then ourselves with that food. We cannot let go of that self hate till we learn to give ourselves respect as ok people.
There are better ways to be kind to ourselves than yet more bloody instant gratification food, how about a bunch of flowers, a new lipstick, a book, a letter written to ourselves telling us why we are worth it, whatever it takes.
We're only here for a short time so shouldn't that time be as healthy as possible emotionally and physically?