I was saddened to read in the papers today about the sudden death of an eighteen year old girl who was suffering from anorexia. It's shocking that someone so young and so beautiful, with everything to live for, feels the need to starve herself to death. And unfortunately so many people seem to think that skinny= better.
Take for instance a girl who was on the tube last night. She and her boyfriend were reading the paper, and there was a very unflattering picture of the singer Jessica Simpson printed in it. Yes, she has gained weight but she's not in any way obese. She looks a healthy size 12 or 14. In other words normal. And these two were there, making fun of her saying she was a total fat pig. Then the girl said out loud that she'd rather die than be that size. Her boyfriend agreed, saying he'd dump her if she ever looked like that. They weren't kidding. She then went on to describe how she'd stuffed herself at lunch by having some tuna with a salad, and a yoghurt, before adding - "at least I didn't have any carbs". I could have killed her...
I'm someone who's always struggled with my weight, but in a completely different way. As I've mentioned before, I've been seriously obese in the past (weighing at least seven stone more than I do now) and I find it very difficult to maintain a normal weight. When I did lose a serious amount of weight a few years ago, I became obsessed after a few months. I was exercising like a lunatic and living on negative calories - leading me to faint several times a day - and if I'd eaten a huge meal, I would occasionally make myself sick. Ok, I was slightly thinner than I am now but I was so miserable. I didn't have any energy, I was totally obsessed with my weight and apperance and looked pale and gaunt. It wasn't attractive, and it certainly didn't make me happier. Luckily I was able to realise this, and snap out of it before it became a problem but not everyone is as lucky. I really feel for them as I know how easy it is to develop a problem.
I'd love to be a stone or two lighter, but as I've gotten older, I've become more philosophical about things. As long as I'm healthy and happy, who cares if I don't have the most perfect body and a few lumps and bumps. Once I move to Cardiff, I am going to up my exercise regime and hopefully get much fitter in time for summer. But I won't ever become that obsessed again. There are far worse things to worry about than a few extra pounds. I wish other young women, like that girl on the tube, realised that. We can't all look like models. It's a shame so many of us think we have to in the world we live in today.
That's why I fully support Bethan Jenkins who's promoting the True Beauty Competition and working to raise awareness about eating disorders. Check out the following link for further details.