These days young women and young men are made to believe that when they are a certain shape or size they will be content. For women this tends to be thinness, however, the paradigm has recently shifted toward curvaceous bottoms and boobs whilst also maintaining a flat stomach.
For men there’s the pressure to have wash-board abs and a “V” (essentially an arrow pointing toward the penis) whilst also sporting rippling back muscles.
I can only speak from my perspective. From what I have experienced my attempts to be thin and to stay thin have not made me happy. These pursuits have not fulfilled me and they never will.
So I present to you 7 reasons why being thin didn’t make me happy.
- My image became all I had
My obsession with my “thinness” rapidly dominated my life. How I looked in photos, in videos and in public became all important and pervasive. Cameras and the prospect of pictures made me nervous.
Would I look fat in this? Do I look fat now? Before I cared about thinness a photo was not important, the memory was.
2) My social life declined and then became completely non-existent
With thinness comes much upkeep and responsibility. I started to cut socialising out of my life because it interfered with my inflexible lifestyle. Go out for dinner? No way. I had a diet to adhere to! So the people most dear to me became more distant. Invites became few and far between until they ceased all together. I smiled rarely and laughed even less.
3) I was hungry all the time
My body began to fight against the ridiculous regime I was enforcing on it by turning my hunger signals into overdrive. You desire the food around you with more intensity that ever. Food smells one thousand times more potent and delectable. This hunger manifests itself via loss of temper, anger, bitterness, sadness and reclusive behaviour.
4) I was tired…all the time
My body’s loss of mass caused a similar loss of energy. Everything was an effort, even the tasks I once enjoyed. My libido declined because making love meant energy expenditure and I had nothing left in the tank to give. My body no longer swayed with confidence but trudged with defeated exhaustion.
5) I was never content
If you believe that you need to change your body to achieve happiness then you have lost from the get-go. Your dissatisfaction may be a reflection of your negative social environment or the thoughts you have about yourself. No amount of weight loss or weight gain will change the society you live in or change the insecurities within you. No diet or exercise regime will provide you with self-acceptance. I learnt that the hard way.
6) Exercise became a chore
I used to love sport. I used to love running around with a footy or playing backyard cricket in the summer. Exercise was somewhat enjoyable. When my main goal became achieving thinness exercise became a routine, a “necessity” and a chore. Every morning I woke up dreading the start of my day because it involved a regimented, inflexible exercise routine. That dread filled my body with weight and made getting out of bed the hardest part of the day.
7) People did not like or love me more because I was “thin”
Perhaps my quest for “thinness” was derived from a quest for external validation. I expected people would like me more or talk to me more. In real fact, my family grew concerned for my health, I pushed life-long friends away and everybody else treated me the same as they had before. My desire for positive reinforcement was ruined by my new reality. Those who truly mattered to me valued my wit, my optimism and my intellect far more than my body.
So here is the truth. Dieting to be thin will not make you happy. Not now. Not ever.