Body Language

A couple of nights ago I watched Cherry’s Body Dilemmas on BBC Iplayer. Cherry Healy spoke to a lot of different women about their body image. It was all very interesting, and I felt lots of it was very positive in the way it made it very clear that there is no such thing as the perfect body; everybody has different ideals. One thing that bothered me though is all the behaviours that were accepted as being ‘normal’.

It suggested that ‘all’ women calorie count obsessively, that most women know exactly how many calories are in lots of foods and how many many of them they’ve eaten in a day. Apparently, it’s quite normal to weigh yourself every single day.
Now, maybe I’m just the odd one out, but personally, I have no idea how many calories are in a Mars Bar, or a bowl of granola, nor do I know how many calories I eat in a day. I don’t own scales, let alone weigh myself everday. I know roughly how much I weigh and I know it’s a healthy amount for my height, which is enough for me.

I don’t think it’s a bad thing to keep track of your weight, but I do think it’s unhealthy to feel the need to get on the scales every day, and to obsess about every calorie. It worries me that this kind of behaviour is portrayed as the way women behave in the media.

Body image is a strange thing. I think it’s important to be at peace in your own skin, but equally I don’t think it’s a huge problem if there are things about you that you’d change. When people say they want thinner legs or a flatter stomach, it’s seen as bad body image. But what if the change you’d choose is to have a different hair colour? That’s seen as quite healthy, but really, what’s the difference? Obviously, if your body hang-ups are effecting your life, there’s a problem, but in reality I think that if anyone could wave a magic wand and tweak things about their body, they’d do it. That’s quite normal.

What do you think? Are you a slave to the scales?

  • Amy

    I’ve struggled with my body image since I was a child. I’ve never been hugely overweight, just always the chubby one. I’m about to turn 22 and I can honestly say I’m at peace with it now. Like you say that doesn’t mean there is nothing I would change but that I feel more comfortable in my own skin. Admittedly yesterday I was invited to an impromptu hot tub party (in South Wales, who knew?) and I felt more comfortable popping a pair of shorts over my bikini but I didn’t sit there hating myself because I’ve overindulged quite a bit in the last few weeks. I think it’s a fine line to tread especially in a society where “obsessive” calorie counting is, unfortunately, considered the norm. Here’s hoping one day there will be a revolution a la the 60s bra burnings where women destroy those little white boxes of meaningless digits and we can all learn to make the most of what we have, lumps and all.
    Amy xXx

  • Thanks so much for your comment Amy. I really think the reality is that nobody has the perfect body, but you can have confidence in your body by accepting that and bigging up the parts you like and learning how to live with the parts you don’t.