Of obsession, resolutions, diet and failure

We are nearly at the end of January. This is a month which for some reason encourages us to make resolutions. Actually, I should have written that with a capital letter: Resolutions. At no other time of year do we set such store by a decision to do something, whether it be to stop smoking, diet or wash the car regularly every Sunday morning.

And by this stage in the year, most of us have given up, the resolutions have been dumped or forgotten in the every day crunch of modern living. Failure to keep to resolutions does not deter us from making them every January. Well, not me, I know I am hopeless at this time of year. A summer resolution would be much easier to keep to in my opinion. Especially if it concerns the decision to diet. Not that I’m big on dieting. And just what is it about dieting that obsesses us, especially us women, anyway?

The television is full of ads asking me to drink some wonder gubbins instead of eating real food and my newspaper asks me daily to join a slimming group.

OK, I get it that if you need a low-loader to take you to the shops, you might consider that a diet is a good idea for health reasons, but size Zero? What exactly is that? According to Wikipedia you need to measure 30-22-32 inches (76-56-81 cm) to be a size Zero. In other words, you need the body of a CHILD. These measurements in adults constitute being very skinny. No, not slim: I said skinny. Stand sideways and you can’t see me, that kind of body.

What is it about being thin that lures us? Have you ever seen this on a tombstone: she was wonderfully thin? Read the obituary columns. You are are unlikely to discover someone being lauded because they were able to stick to a diet of celery and cabbage soup. Stop spending your day reading diet recipes and nibbling on a carrot – get out there and do something!

The iconic figure of a desirable woman from film is Marilyn Monroe, who was apparently a size sixteen. Sixteen! Beyond the pale nowadays, when many shops don’t go above a size fourteen, and the assistant will look down her (skinny) pointed nose at you if you can’t squeeze into that. And we all know what she’s thinking:

“Maybe modom might consider taking the cubicle instead? Or we could provide a very nice marquee and a belt?”

I can’t imagine Marilyn ever being tempted by size Zero. Her voluptuous curves were her stock in trade and the most she ever did to prevent VPL (visible pantee line for the initiated) was to leave off her underwear. I don’t recall anyone being shocked at her size either at the time or since.

Look at art: no, not Lowrie. Stick men and women wasn’t what I had in mind. Try Mucha or Botticelli whose women are definitely rounded with little tummies and everything. And Rubens – he painted his women so very much on the large side that the word Rubenesque joined the English language.

And is this desirable, this obsession with child-like bodies? Just how many women – the operative word here is women – do you know who have that 30 inch bust required to fit into the magical Zero? For most of us, once we get beyond about fifteen, that would constitute looking emaciated.

I’m not advocating you take up one of the Seven Deadly Sins and start porking out, but really, shouldn’t food go back in its place. Back into the cupboard unless it’s mealtime? Tell us we can’t have something and we immediately want it. As soon as we start obsessing about food, we want to eat it.  

We have reached the stage in the world’s development where half of it is obese and the other half are emaciated because they don’t have enough to eat.

Maybe once January is over, my newspaper will cease to have countless advertisements in it inviting me to various slimming clubs and food can take its proper place in our lives.

Best advice on dieting: find something else to do. Keep busy, keep your hands busy. Take up origami, yarn bombing (look it up), hang gliding or mountaineering.

Did you make a resolution? Have you kept it so far, or did you drop it on the 2nd January as unrealistic? 


16 responses to “Of obsession, resolutions, diet and failure

  1. I gave up the diet resolution this year and concentrated on being creative. My big resolution is to post on my blog every Monday. I used to be a news reporter, so Monday’s are my deadline. The second resolution is to start writing short stories or anything fiction on March 19, my 60th birthday.

    • Good for you! Why wait on the fiction front? You could have an acceptance of a short story by then!!
      Best wishes with your goals and thank you for coming by and commenting.

  2. I don’t make resolutions, though I try to set some goals. My goal for this year was to finish a first draft of my WIP by the end of June. I’m getting a tad worried that’s not going to happen…

    • Best wishes with the WIP then.
      I’m in the process of re-thinking my goals.
      Think I’m going to self publish. Getting too ancient to wait for a publisher and I don’t seem to be able to stop myself editing long enough to get on with new work!
      I need to put old stuff to bed first and there’s no more room under the bed!

  3. I told myself I want to lose 45 lb. by the end of the year for health and plain old comfort reasons but I never said how I’d lose it. I don’t know what I’ve lost so far but within a month my jeans are loser, I’m feeling better and I’m losing my flabby granny arms only through eating moderate portions, coking at home and eating more fruits and veggies. I’m hoping by spring I’ll be healthy enough to comfortably get back into my dancing and enjoy long walks and hikes with the dog.

    I’ve given up the calorie counting and crazy diet fads. Give me a solid breakfast and a steady sprinkle of sweet and savory nibbles through the day (like a handful mix of pretzel bites and chocolate covered raisins…) and I’m satisfied.

    • Sounds like the healthy way to go. And I take it you’re not aiming for the ‘magical’ size zero which is so unrealistic for most women.
      Good luck with your goal. I hope you succeed. 🙂

  4. Couldn’t agree more with you on the size zero saga. It is so dangerous for our young girls to be bombarded with the unrealistic images that appear in every girls magazine. And don’t get me started on those slimming meals, drinks, tablets! What rubbish. Enough said. 🙂

  5. Marilyn Monroe had a wonderful figure, but nowdays she’d be rejected by the studio and told to lose weight! Society in general is obsessed with weight because of the money angle. Slimming products and fad diets are nothing more than money makers because companies know (and feed on – pardon the pun) this weight obsession. The more they push it, the more frantic people become because they feel they’re not ‘fitting the beauty mold’. It’s all pretty sad really…

    • It’s sad, terrible, ridiculous and dangerous and the magazines push this ‘image’ onto our children. I didn’t actually realise how small size zero was and now I know I am horrified. 30 inch bust!!! I can’t think of anyone I know of who has a 30 inch bust, except possibly a very ill friend. Completely nuts.

  6. This year I did not write down any Resolutions. Instead, I am just working on my ongoing goals until I see them through to completion. #1 is my book – getting it published. That one is almost complete. The other is just continuing a healthy path with food and activity. I did not write down any goals I hadn’t already started yet. I didn’t put myself in a position of feeling like a failure if I didn’t accomplish my goals. This year, I am keeping myself on the path of success. Not that I look down on anyone who makes goals. All the power to them, and I hope they succeed. But I feel a ton less stressed this year NOT having Resolutions than I have in past years when I swore I’d lose 20 pounds, learn a new language, etc. 🙂

    • Yes, I do agree that we don’t need all that negativity in our lives. Well done you and I hope that you complete your goals and continue in your healthy path.
      Thank you for commenting and best wishes. 🙂

  7. I don’t do resolutions. Or Resolutions. If something needs changing/fixing/whatnot during the year, just do it. There’s nothing magical about January 1. Not in my book, anyhow. As far as the nasty diet word — eat smart, eat sensible, get up and be active. And size zero?!!? Please. It’s sad that a few months ago when the “plus sized model” was making the news (I forget her name) they said she was a size 14. When did that become PLUS size?!!? Yes, I want to be a bit fitter. I’m not saying thinner. I want a tighter figure, with less flapping in the wind. Unfortunately, with age comes flappage. But I love food far too much to starve myself.

    • Since when did size 14 become a plus size? No idea. The world has gone completely bonkers. I’m sure all this is just led by the diet industry. They tell us we’re fat, we believe them and buy their products – is that how all this works?
      I know what you mean about ‘flappage’ – made me laugh that! And I love food too. I have enough trouble finding the things that don’t upset my (suddenly apparently super sensitive) digestive system, without worrying about how many calories are in there as well!

  8. Love your dieting advice. If you want to lose those extra pounds gained over Christmas, moderate the amount you eat would be my best advice to anybody – myself included. 🙂

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