Or ‘My Button Keeps Popping off My Pants and other Sad Stories’
I am fortunate to have been pretty much the same shape and size my whole adult life but now I have bumped into a bit of a mental hurdle and I’m literally clambering over it to the next dress size up. It hasn’t been a good
dayyear trying to pretend my trousers still fit around my waist.
In talking about what you should not eat – ie dieting – has your body shape ever been compared to a piece of food? For example ‘apple’, ‘pear’, or if you’re VERY unusual, ‘inverted carrot’. (I made the last one up – it applies to the male physique). Terribly bad luck if you’re over in the cake category, like nobody loves to have a ‘muffin-top’ do they? But at least muffins are kinda cute and tasty! OOH, imagine being shaped like a koeksuster (if you are not south african, they look like this:)
They are so utterly sticky syrupy and delicious that they are the best thing to eat if ‘cake shaped’ is what you aspire towards.
In the past have been poked a few times, ‘you’re so thin!’ I found that slightly disconcerting, I couldn’t help it and I certainly would not be poking anybody back saying ‘well, you’re sooo fat!’ Nowadays I think my shape could probably be called ‘broad bean’, no, not just one bean on it’s own, but a little line of them in the pod. From the front I’m more or less straight (as I said I used to be) but from a different angle I’m full of irregular bumps.
I wouldn’t mind if the bumps that are meant to be bigger are actually bigger than those that are meant to be smaller but sadly my breasts are slowly being out-bumped by my tummy. I am fully blaming my tiny bosom size. In fact the word bosom could hardly ever refer to me. As my youngest daughter asked me once, ‘Mummy why have you got no line running down your chest like Mabel* does?’
When I was an impressionable, self conscious teenager, they were referred to as ‘mosquito bites’ by my nearest and dearest. So you see, I have no pride in my top deck area, only disdain and to be absolutely perfectly honestly frank (I have NOT admitted this before) I think I may suffer from breast envy (I’m blushing now!)
And for that reason, I NEVER make remarks about my three girls’ body shapes that is in anyway disparaging.
But the truth is, although I’m approaching middle age and am spreading a bit around the middle, I am just plain lucky with my shape – it’s all in my jeans apparently (?). They say you grow to become the shape you inherit and it’s very little to do with your diet or exercise regime. (Unless you are eating platefuls designed for more than one person at a time while lying on the couch – honestly you need to be a little sensible and self-examining and hence I will be upping my fitness programme and not taking that extra biscuit anymore).
And so this brings me to the nutshell of my food discourse. I have to reveal another kernel of truth (apart from my breast reveal), I am so SICK to DEATH of these incessant food fads and silly diets in our Western culture because of the way they convince us to buy ‘healthier’ when it’s those who are promoting the ‘diets’ who benefit.
I’m angry because I grew up in a country where people are starving and are only too thankful to have anything to eat. How dare anyone suggest to the poverty stricken that ‘organic/paleo/xyz free’ is the way to shop? How have we lost perspective on eating? How have we become so obsessed with food that we spend billions on wasting it while billions of our brothers and sisters are dying for lack of it?
In April we were driving through South Africa and stopped off in a one horse town where the horse was probably eaten already – all that was left were a few scraggly goats wandering the main road. Three small boys, the age of my own kids, dressed in rags you or I would have thrown away five years ago, came to me asking for food. They were shuffling in their weakness and I cried afterwards when we drove away. I had given them the picnic we hadn’t eaten and they carefully shared it fairly amongst themselves. I was upset by the injustice and suffering though and resolved to always travel with food to give away.
Back home in our neat and pristine European environment I can’t help but wonder. It is one thing to have to eat certain foods for serious health reasons – like illness or allergy – but perLEASE, why is the space allocated to the ‘gluten free’ section in the supermarket FAR larger than the percentage of people in the world who actually are allergic to gluten? Is this just a fad, making money for the supermarket?!!
So I think it’s time for a health change in our culture, we need to be healthy in our exercise and eating HABITS. How about we obsessed less about what we eat, spend less time eating for a start and spend more time acting on what other people need to eat?
*Not her real name