Column: Price of health

 A ridiculously skinny model from 2007

Nothing tastes as good as skinny.

This terrifying statement was once issued from the mouth of a well-known supermodel and recently appeared printed on a set of scales in a cheap bargain store.

In one sentence it neatly sums up what is absolutely wrong about the narrative sounding health and weight today.

Of course, we all want and should be healthy and feel good about ourselves, but the greater insecurities and society expectations that surround that are often unrealistic to put it mildly.

This is not news.

But we all feel it, don’t we?

As a woman old enough to know better, I still spend more time than is healthy fretting over my appearance, the fit of my clothes, my weight – yet as an adult, intelligent, woman I know I am simply feeding into the ever-hungry multi-billion pound health, fitness and fashion industries which profit off the many people like me.

I once wrote a column about my well-travelled gym kit.

The bag, containing expensive branded items of sports clothing purchased with slavish devotion to the most successful names in fitness, rides around with me regularly, only rarely making it out of the car boot to the equally branded establishment which steals a portion of my wage despite failing to attract me attention for days, weeks, months at a time.

Sound familiar?

While on one hand I see though the hype and am horrified by the impact of expectation on impressionable minds I am also giving in.

At the crux of this is that health and fitness are crucial – but the way in which this is translated can be terrifying.

The latest fitness trend, fuelled by social media, and horribly unrealistic – is young people exchanging photos of their ‘thigh gaps’- an unnatural state only seen on the very young or very, very, thin.

In a bid to use this trend, one site is advertising thigh gap jewellery – but when an attempted purchase is made, it diverts to an advisory site about health and eating.

An admirable attempt to help, but a drop in ocean of uncontrolled pressure within society.

The fact is, until we change our narrative, we’ll pay the price.


This first appeared in titles including Lancashire Evening Post