Knowing what I know, experiencing what I have, I wish I could sit down with every one of these girls and tell them they can be slender, they can be fit without putting their health at risk. In the Victorian days, upper class women used to tighten their corsettes until it cut off their breathing. There were fainting benches placed in hallways for when their delicate bodies gave out from the stress of holding in their waists. These women died from childbirth more frequently during this era in history, and it was unusual for a woman of this status to live to a rip old age. Let's face it, these women were weak.
I come from a lineage of farmers. Corsettes for the women in my family were not only a luxury they were impractical. These women were strong, they bore hoards of children, and they all lived late into their nineties. What these young girls today don't realize, what I didn't realize at the time is that depriving the body of proper nourishment can lead to life long complications. I'm not just addressing more serious disorders such as anorexia or bulemia. Even foregoing breakfast and lunch in order to lose a few pounds can lead to future difficulties. The most obvious symptoms at first can be disordered thinking, loss of muscle tissue, and being prone to viruses and illnesses. In the long term, the body could suffer nerve damage, heart problems and life long fertility problems. There is no magic pill, there are no shortcuts to losing weight. It takes patience and perseverence.
I hear many people blaming the media, blaming celebrities and fashion magazines for promoting an unhealthy look. I watch movies, I read magazines, yet I never look at these women and say to myself that I want to look just like them. The key to good health, the key to taking off weight forever is self love and acceptance. We all have to stop shifting the blame and look within ourselves for happiness and health. Once we are able to look in the mirror and smile at the reflection we see, we will no longer be affected by external influences. I used to hate to look into mirrors.
Even today, I have difficulty smiling for a camera after years of shying away from the lens. Today, in my fitness classes, I am front row and center. I not only watch the woman in the mirror before me, I admire her. I don't care that my thighs are flabbier than the woman next to me or that I can't do as many squats. If I gain a few pounds and can't fit into my jeans, I don't stop eating. Instead, I change what I eat. When I was bulemic, I was much heavier than I am now. When I starved my body, every calorie that went into it was hoarded and I couldn't eat a proper meal without it effecting my weight.
Women today are much more educated than the women of Victorian times. We have so many more options when it comes to a healthy lifestyle. Yes, eating disorders are not merely about weight. The issues that accompany these diseases go so much deeper. But recognizing that there is another way, wanting to be fit and healthy as opposed to thin and injurous is a small step, yet an important step to take to pave a new path that will not only lead to good health, but happiness as well.