It’s from the chapter, “Beauty: Inner and Outer”, and it talks about how our culture equates physical beauty with value as a human being.
In case there’s any confusion about the source of the idea: “You can and must look like Miss California”, check out this article. It’s a great analysis of a piece by the editor-in-chief of Women’s Health introducing the May issue. We’re so used to hearing these crazy messages, we don’t even notice how crazy they are anymore. This is worth reading.
The December holiday season is a time of special foods, and lots of them. Every year there is discussion in the media about how not to gain weight when tempted by all these treats. I discussed the issue of handling holiday feasts in the November newsletter, so in this newsletter I’ll focus on the other side of the problem – obsession with body size, weight, and appearance. One way the Normal Eating approach is different from other non-diet approaches is that it identifies the obsession itself – the desperate desire to be thin – as a primary symptom and underlying cause of disordered eating and misery around food.
The topic of weight obsession is especially relevant now because this holiday – more than any other – involves contact with people. It’s a December tradition to send out hundreds of holiday cards to renew connections. It’s also a time of numerous parties and get-togethers, both personal and at work. The December holiday season may be the only time of year that you see the CEO of your company, or meet your colleagues’ spouses. Parties given by friends are also occasions for meeting new people and renewing acquaintances.
All this "face time" can kick up great anxiety about your appearance – especially if you weigh more than you did the last time you saw certain people. This newsletter will address the "What do I wear – I feel so fat!" problem, but not in the way you might expect. I’m not about to give you fashion tips! I will take a very different approach in helping you to deal with these issues.
What does it mean to you to be thin? Seems obvious at first – you want to be thin so you look good, right? But when you consider the intensity of people’s desire to be thin, you realize there must be more than “meets the eye”. People view the number on the scale as a measure of their worth as a human being! So what does it really mean to you to be thin. What qualities of character do you associate with being thin versus being fat?
Here are some answers from Normal Eating Support Group members: