Obese or curvy? Anorexic or slim? Orthorexic or healthy? Gym bunny or fit?
Each of these conditions are now recognised in modern day society. However, they can also go unseen by families, friends medical experts and the individuals in question. A person’s physical appearance can sometimes be a reflection of their state of mind, and in conditions like these, dealing with the root cause is key to obtaining a healthy future. But where do we draw the line between what is healthy and what is not? How do we predicate the facts from the feelings? Denial comes from all angles, and it can be a challenge to see what is real, and where to go from there.
The levels of eating disorders and behaviours that are correlational to those (such as constant exercise, or healthy food obsessions) have become quite significant over the last few years. TV programmes such as “Supersize vs. Superskinny” and “My 600lb Life” demonstrate there is an issue here that needs confronting. But are we brave enough as a society to face these fears?
Convention and social norms have also changed. People’s appearances (such as their weight) are not to be judged, and if people were to confront someone on an addiction which is represented by the way they look, they could be in the wrong. And to cause further difficulties from this, people who have felt judged by others regarding their appearance are now celebrating what is unhealthy. Such as with beauty pageants for the obese, websites promoting the skinny life, and watching programmes packed with people in a state of denial because of cultural confusion.
So how do we recognise such things without rocking society’s apple cart? That is a tough one. One could argue that a way of identifying such problems is by questioning “Does your health/mental attitude to health interfere with your everyday life, or the potential for you to achieve what you want/what is normal?” For instance, some may say that they do everything they need to, so are fine. But if you have to take the lift every time you are faced with a flight of stairs, because otherwise you get out of breath, is that not a disruption? Can you read a menu and freely choose what to order, instead of panicking about burning off the calories? Or, are you able to take time off an exercise routine to hang with your friends once in a while, without worrying about your loss of “gains”? If you are faced with any of these, or similar notions, then your present life has been altered by your attitude, and if things don’t change for the better, your future life will be affected too.
If someone needs help, acknowledgement is not an offense, it is the sign that someone out there cares. So, stop the stigma of the stigma! Your health is your wealth. And life is for living. Let your mind and body be free to enjoy all that it has to offer.