The Hunger Games
Yes, I did start reading Suzanne Collins’ rampantly popular series The Hunger Games last week, but that’s not what this post is about. (Expect that post later this week). This post is about a conversation I had with a friend this weekend that I found very interesting.
It began with a seemingly innocuous discussion about the caloric advantages of drinking cocktails rather than beer. Then, my friend remarked that it was so easy to talk to me about things like diet and exercise, and it was surprising because it didn’t seem as though I had ever been overweight or had any weight problems. While this is true, I don’t think that being body conscious is solely the domain of people with “weight problem” histories. This is not to say I’m not at fault: I find myself sometimes making similar assumptions–last week, my office ran a seminar on nutrition and losing weight, and I expected those in attendance to be on the heavier side. Of course, I was wrong, and all types of people attended the seminar.
I have been fortunate to be blessed with a pretty good metabolism and have never been “overweight.” However, I have always been conscious of my body’s shape, my eating habits, and my physical fitness. Of course, I aspire to be fit and feel sad when my jeans fit too snugly (which seems to be all too often these days). I try to eat healthy while still allowing myself to indulge, but it’s difficult to find a good balance. Admittedly, I often feel more negative about the way I look than positive. But I thought most women felt this way. Which is why it came as such a surprise to me that my friend seemed fascinated by our discussions about diet and exercise. I should have been better able to articulate this during our conversation at the bar, but alas, we were at the bar…barstool articulation is not always my strong suit.
Basically, I think you can be body-conscious without ever having struggled, in the traditional sense, with weight issues. I know plenty of women who are not happy with the way they look, or at least are very aware of the food they eat and the exercise they get, no matter what their body shape. Maybe we should all appreciate what we have, but let’s be honest–this is not Utopia. We’re all trying to live up to some Hollywood stereotype of beauty and fitness, even if we say we’re not.
What do you think? Should women worry about body image, regardless of whether or not they’ve ever been overweight or underweight? Does any of this make sense at all? “Weigh” in in the comments. (I should go into comedy).