Here we are in the midst of the latest chapter in the “fat wars.” The pendulum is swinging, and it’s headed away from reality again.
A new study of overweight men and women in Britain has revealed that a significant number of them do not claim to be overweight, or even obese.
A [University of East Anglia] study of more than 23,000 people has found more than half of men do not recognise they are overweight or obese.
Almost a third of women underestimate their true weight, compared to under a quarter two decades ago.
The results are concerning because those who misjudge their size are 85 per cent less likely to try to lose weight.
And what is to blame for this according to the head researcher of the study:
Study author Dr Raya Muttarak said plus-size clothing ranges, such as Marks & Spencer’s Curve range for ‘curvy’ women sized 18 to 32, may be behind people’s denial about their weight.
She said: ‘Seeing the huge potential of the fuller-sized fashion market, retailers may have contributed to the normalisation of being overweight and obese.
‘While this type of body positive movement helps reduce stigmatisation of larger-sized bodies, it can potentially undermine the recognition of being overweight and its health consequences.
So, this issue is being blamed on good customer service and beautiful women who happen to have curves one of whom is Ashley Graham. (She regularly hits back when her weight is criticized.)
There has been a rise on the high street in ‘vanity sizing’, where dress sizes are inflated for women with larger waists and hips and bigger busts, to flatter them that they wear a smaller size. Experts say this can ‘undermine’ action to lose weight.
What really sparks action to lose weight is usually a good look in a mirror when one is in the buff, but that doesn’t get a mention from physicians who have fallen for the body mass index (BMI) database that tells people with heavier bones and natural curves that we are obese even when wearing non plus sizes. (Yes, this writer falls into this category, and a sensible doctor friend said not to worry about being strict on BMI.) No, their threats have to do with heart disease and diabetes that a lot of overweight people don’t deal with until they are stricken with it.
It’s a sad reality, but those who strive to lose weight usually do so for reasons of vanity. We’re not happy with the way we look. The semi-permanent food baby has to go so that the skirts in the closet will actually zip all the way up. The little black cocktail dress hanging on the closet door WILL be worn on the next cruise. That’s what motivates people to lose weight, not health threats that are no fun to prevent.
As for fat shaming, the truth is there are so many causes of weight gain – food choices, stress, medications like steroids – that criticism is often counterproductive. Modern life has produced a lot of women (and men) with more meat on their bones. It’s just a reality. Rather than shaming all of us, why not figure out what’s causing the gain in the first place.