Every day, everywhere, we are surrounded by the idea of thin privilege. Society fiercely advocates the thin ideal, brandishing weight loss ads and fitness regimes that promise a life transformed once pounds have been shed. Studies are beginning to show that slimmer individuals are judged as more competent and successful that their overweight counterparts, whilst research is even indicating that women overweight by just 13 pounds could suffer up to a $9000 loss in salary per year. Social media is adorned with thinspiration and fitspiration (which is, arguably, the former in disguise). The healthy lifestyles that are promoted are so strict and restrictive that they are far from healthy at all. Foods once a staple of our diet are now deemed so high in carbs/fat/sugar that they pose a risk to human health.
Apparently, everything makes us pile on the pounds and the media is obsessed with either revealing the hidden cause of obesity or discovering a miraculous weight loss regime. The Daily Mail has made ludicrously sensationalist claims over the years, from ‘virus – not overeating – makes you fat’ to ‘chemicals in plastic bottles could lead to obesity in babies’. The world we live in is utterly fixated on appearance, diets, fads, weight loss and weight gain, and the overriding message is that thin is the ideal, thin equates to happiness and thin is what we should all, no matter what, strive for.
But you know what’s better than being thin? Being healthy, and being alive. Because for me, thin was miserable. Thin was shivering on the warmest days. Thin was my hair falling out, cracked dry skin and bleeding lips. Thin was losing concentration if a conversation lasted more than five minutes. Thin was blood tests and wasted muscles and insomnia and an unbearable exhaustion that no amount of sleep could alleviate. Thin was panic attacks and depression and an ocean of tears. Thin was broken dreams, damaged relationships and fading to a shadow of who I once was.
So no matter what society says, no matter what lies and false promises and unfounded evidence are pummelled into our brains, choose being alive over being thin. Fight back against the propaganda and the brainwashing and the false scientific claims. Be radical and love yourself instead of listening to the tabloids. Be rebellious and instead of hating yourself as we are so often told to do, decide to accept yourself – flaws and imperfections included.
Your body is not a prison and it is not a sculpture that you should spend your whole life making as polished as possible. It’s just a tool that allows you to do anything you dream of. So step away from diet culture, thinspiration and deprivation and just let yourself be you.