Update on Food, Weight, and All Things Body Related

The first food related article I wrote, Hunger, Appetite and Eating, was written in in the late nineties. I was asked to submit something interesting, related to children, for a fundraising publication. It was known that at a much earlier stage in my career I had run a diet counselling practice and still retained a passionate interest in all things food related.

The next article, Food Weight and the Perfect Body, article was written in 2002. When I wrote this my children and all their friends were at school. Some were skinny, some were chubby and some were just right. What I observe now, all these years later, is that most of the children I watched growing up seem to have a normal and healthy body weight. Most of these individuals are embracing healthy eating and an active lifestyle in terms of exercise and the joy of movement. So, the message about just letting kids learn to eat in a comfortable manner, without too much interference, does generally work. If there are weight issues that are significant enough to warrant attention, these must be handled with the utmost sensitivity by parents.

I have noticed another significant change since 2002 and that is the size of the models we see in the media. There are still stick thin models that are being used, but there are also many fashion houses that are making a policy of not using models under a certain body weight. In Time Magazine, April, 2015, there was an article that spoke about France being the latest country to ban excessively skinny models from working in the fashion industry. This ban was already in place in Israel, Italy and Spain. This legislation was described as being an attempt to stop the idealisation of the dangerously thin and perhaps curb anorexia.

The Daily Mail of Australia, March 2015, had a headline, “THE BIGGEST MODELS IN THE WORLD! THE NEW BREED OF PLUS SIZE SUPERS ARE CURVY, BEAUTIFUL….. AND CHANGING THE FACE OF FASHION”. They go onto to say that the arrival of the plus size model has been heralded as a new era for the average woman, who would prefer to see their favourite clothing store showcase items on a body they can relate to.

An Australian, Robin Lawley, is one of the most famous plus size models in the world. She made history in 2015 for becoming the first plus size model to pose in the Swimsuit Issue of Sports Illustrated. She initially worked as a regular model from the age of 17 but was unable to maintain the super slim figure required. She eventually signed up with a plus size modelling agency. Since doing this in 2011 her career has taken off and she has featured in famous international fashion magazines. This is a great leap forward as it is often young people who are most influenced by the ‘ideal’ body types seen in the media.

In Australia there are also shops that stock elegant clothing for people from a size 14 upwards. Hopefully these trends will assist people to feel comfortable with the body they are in and to maintain good physical health regardless  of their body size. Not everyone aspires to being slim, not every person is looking for a slim partner.

It would be wonderful if there could be more initiatives to assist the public with the notion of diversity and health at any size. There is a movement in psychological circles that addresses these issues and there are clinicians who focus exclusively on eating issues.

There is also now the option of gastric surgery to address obesity in people who have simply not been not been able to reduce in any other way. I have seen some excellent results where individuals have finally been able to get to a weight that they are comfortable with and stay there.

My professional journey related to food and eating has been an interesting and exciting one. At Zetland Psychotherapy you are most welcome to discuss any difficulties you may be experiencing with food. This often comes up as part of a larger issue. I might be able to assist you myself or I can refer you to an appropriate specialist.