Another series of The Biggest Loser started a couple of weeks ago, on Sky Living we are on season 12 of the US version – The Battle of the Ages. I was glued to Season 11. It really inspired me, if these people can run – at 300lbs – so can I. I don’t often “Like” public figures on facebook but Courtney, Irene and Hannah really touched me. They kept so confident and so positive through the whole process and while I’m happy that Olivia won I really think one of them should have got the prize for their attitudes.
So, I “Like” their pages and it keeps me going. I lost about 35lbs a few years ago, and happily I’m still hovering between my goal and about 5lbs over. It leaves room to eat, to enjoy my life. It was hard, and I started from a really, really low point in my life. But here we are 3 years later and I’m happier with myself – no, ok I’d love a flatter stomach and thinner thighs but I know I’ll never get there. I started running at the gym. Not loads, just 20 minutes run-walk – if they can then so can I.
Admittedly nobody in this season is standing out for me at the moment, but it’s only been two weeks. But we’ve already had a stupid argument about game-playing within the Middle age group, so already I don’t like them. The Young ones are hard-done-by as far as I see too, the Middles are out to attack them because they don’t respect them because they are younger. I think that’s an awful attitude to have, you are all there for the same reason and to that end it makes no sense to be like that. Courtney, Irene and Hannah and everyone else in Season 11 were united, they all knew that their end goals were the same and voting decisions were made by effort put in rather than anything else. Bob is still there but Gillian is gone, and there are two new trainers, Anna Kournikova (of-not-really-winning-anything-in-tennis-fame) and Dolvett somebody – which is a shame because I liked Brett and Cara.
It’s the girls in these programmes I aspire to be like, strong-willed women who finish what they start, not the girls in magazines with flat stomachs that are ridiculed when they reach a size 12. I do understand that weight is purely subjective, you might be only 115lbs and still want to be thinner – and that’s ok. That’s ok until you reach an unhealthy situation. For example, 105lbs is within a healthy range for my height but I’d never want to be there – I’d look skeletal. I want to be on the chubby side of normal. So why are these thin women in magazines the image role-models for young girls? But I remember being young, at 20 years-old that’s what I wanted to be. If you’re always on the chubby-side of your friends, and you’re thrown into a new situation at work or uni, you do want to make the best of how you look, and being thin and beautiful is all you can think about. At school at 15 it’s even worse – I was always just in the middle then I discovered Naj in Year 8 and it all ballooned from there (Naj was the name of the corner-shop by the bus stop). At 15 girls are so horrible to each other, if you’re not wearing your hair a certain way, or colouring in your school tie or rolling your skirt up then you’re nobody. Even worse if you’re clever. I was branded all the names : weird, geek, freak.
There’s always going to be that expectation, to be that ideal perfect proportions, with clear skin and shiny hair. Apparently though, there are cultures that praise the fat girls, small island nations like Nauru, Jamaica and Tonga, or in Africa like Mauritania. In a lot of these places being fatter is associated with wealth and fertility, being able to feed your family, so girls are fed-up as children to marry better on the social standings. Most of these countries are still living quite a simple life, without the infiltration of Western popular culture where being thin is a sign of famine and illness. How does this happen? How can the idea of food turn from a symbol of wealth into a symbol of “laziness”? I’m sure back in the 1700s in the UK it was the same as these modern-day nations, feeding up to marry off. Now we are lazy we eat and eat until we start to crack, mentally and physically.