Tag Archives: life

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?