Right then, just so as you know, I’m on a diet. I think my target weight is 10st. Yes, madness isn’t it. I mean I’ve checked and right now I’m actually on the slim side of the ideal weight range for my height. In fact, even when I was at Uni and a diet of white bread lavished with oodles of butter and honey – the only thing that got me through my finals, since you ask – meant I gained more than a stone, I was still within the healthy bracket of the body mass index. I know this because I’ve looked it up and was shocked: anything between 10st 7 lbs and 13st 2 lbs is just fine apparently (I’m nearly 6ft tall). So why the diet? Apart from the fact that I’m female, I put it down to the following.
A year and a bit ago I got married. Like all women I know, in the run up to the big day something primeval kicked in and I was determined to look as much like a radiant princess as possible. For some reason, for me, this means thin. I went on my own specially adapted version of Atkins and, since I’m vegetarian, this was a bit like living on bread and water, but without the bread. Luckily, the animator and I got married in a hurry – another story for another time - and I only dieted for six weeks. I’m guessing here, as we don’t own a set of scales, but I think I was down to around 9st 7lbs on the big day (certainly I was still well under 10st a month later after eating normally). Exactly, a whole stone underweight. Believe me it showed, when the photos came back the animator and I were both shocked at just how thin I’d got – spindly arms and a pigeon chest were not my idea of the radiant princess look.
But here’s the rub, up until the photos came back neither of us thought I was looking ‘too thin’. Indeed, I was still moaning about the largesse of my thighs the morning of our wedding. My body dysmorphia I can understand, but why wasn’t the animator able to see that things had got out of hand? He wasn’t the only one either, in the run up to the wedding everyone congratulated me on my new svelte figure. I’ve identified some contributing factors:
1. The animator is a skinny chap and finds skinniness attractive. He says to me, ‘you’re happier when you’re thinner,’ which is true, but not exactly healthy.
2. Our society prizes thinness as a virtue.
3. If I’m charitable, my natural, healthy dimensions look ‘large’ to other, shorter people – did I mention I have hips that could accommodate triplets with room to spare?
So my question is: who has the problem here and what’s the solution?