Should I write about is? Will it be too forthright? Will it offend someone? Will I make a fool of myself ? After deep contemplation and many sleepless nights, I decided against writing about the issue. But a couple of days later, I came across a photograph on a social networking site that showed a girl of around five years, sitting with a picture of a skinny girl in her lap and holding a pair of scissors to her stomach, trying to cut off the ‘extra skin’. The title said: I want to look like her!
This was enough to give me goose bumps and convince me to write something on weight and body image issues.
Ever since I was a child, I have been on the plus side. And being a Punjabi by default makes you a foodie. Add to this the fact that I was surrounded by skinny and tall cousins. So I was conveniently termed the ‘ khaate peete ghar ka bacha ’. In school and among friends, I was given nicknames that were synonymous with round and fat. Being the ‘thick-skinned’ person that I am, I never took it to heart.
My weight became a concern when it started affecting my health and that’s when I decided to shed the fat. Starving, craving and exercising became a part of my daily routine. But my Punjabi genes kept bringing the extra weight back, though thankfully in smaller doses. There’s no diet I haven’t been on and no exercise that I haven’t tried to keep the fat away. But it loves me so much that it keeps coming back.
One night I experienced cramps in the stomach and was taken to our family doctor in the morning. He asked me if something was giving me stress. After a thought, I told him that the only thing that gave me stress was my weight. I was troubled by stray comments that I got from people, especially the ones close to me.
With a polite, knowing smile he suggested I make better friends and that it was time I ended my relationship with the weighing scale. It did not define me. It just gave me a numerical figure for my relationship with gravity. He spoke to me for a while and helped me understand that I needed to get over my fixation with weight.
Frankly, I haven’t yet gotten over the ‘weighty issue’ but have plans to resolve it soon. I still have a problem with people who feed negative ideas about weight to young minds. After all, something must have created a deep impression in the mind of the little girl that made her hold a pair of scissors to her stomach. And she’s not the only one. There are millions across the globe, and all of them need to understand that they are much more than what they weigh or what size they wear.