Despite the proud posturing of curvaceous women, our best efforts to celebrate big as beautiful, and ongoing efforts to focus on health over size, I yield to reality: Thin is in… as always…
At the times, I was vacationing in Florida where I was strolling the beaches, tucking toes into the sand, and plucking shells from the surf in a week of unwinding.
Buying Into the Bikini Bod
It was my annual escape in the month of March, trading pallor for a golden glow and rigorous routine for relaxation. Always on the menu… dropping a few pounds. Naturally, I was concerned with my less than bikini baring bod, as I was more given to Rubenesque rondeurs than protruding bones or a flat abdomen.
One evening in my wandering, I came across a fitness studio advertising some sort of contraption designed to work out muscles and hence guarantee the appearance of weight loss.
I entered the establishment more curious than convinced, and finished by accepting a trial session that involved a variety of gray belts along with red and blue wires affixed to various parts. The resulting buzzing and pulsing sensations (to the best of my recollection) were less interesting than the cute, smiling, well-toned fitness instructor.
Reducing Machines? Been Around for a Century!
Reminiscing on “fat-zapping” and concentrating on the latest quick fix machines, The New York Times highlights our century-long obsession with slimming and trimming. “The Enduring Promise of a Thinner You” addresses our continuing fascination (and yearning) for the lithe form of our dreams, and the lengths to which some of us will go to achieve it.
Describing new technologies that promise to reduce inches through low-level laser, high-intensity ultrasound, and something akin to fat cell freezing, these procedures are not actually intended for those who imagine losing weight. But they do get our attention when it comes to ease, time constraints, and our propensity for rapid results.
According to the article:
… the audience for superficial fat-zapping is largely composed of people hoping to transform themselves without the medical risks and recovery time entailed by invasive surgeries like tummy tucks and liposuction. The aesthetic medical industry has its own name for the category: “noninvasive body contouring.”
Diets and Weight Reduction are Big Business
It may be stating the obvious, but we’re talking about big business. The bottom line in “noninvasive body contouring” as explored by The Times means revenues in the hundreds of millions of dollars. That, of course, is a fraction of the revenues in the diet and fitness-related industries, which ABC News put at $20 billion in annual revenues in the US alone, in 2012.
The annual revenue of the U.S. weight-loss industry, including diet books, diet drugs and weight-loss surgeries.
As most of the dieters in the US are women – the same 2012 ABC News source estimated 85% of America’s 108 million dieters – I can’t help but wonder what our nation would be like if we channeled a fraction of that amount into addressing gaps in girls’ educations, to include programs not only in math and science-related study, but foundational elements of self-esteem.
“You Can Never Be Too Rich or Too Thin”
Dare I admit that only this morning I made myself a note that reads MUST LOSE WEIGHT?
My jeans are tight, which affects my mood, and much as I personally eschew the adage that you can never be too rich or too thin, clearly I remain conflicted on the subject of poundage.
While the Times article is not the first I read today – I made my way through the Sunday Review and into Business – the images and headline caught my attention, having spent a lifetime drawn to the promise of a “better me” through the “better” life if occupying a “better” body.
I realize I’m preceded by a century of similar preoccupation – do check out these suspect solutions including “obesity soap” – I’m miffed to find that I’m still one of the emotionally susceptible and easily manipulated millions.
Fitness, Folly, and Common Sense
As for our desire to re-sculpt the female body, I wonder why we remain entrapped in whatever is the most current trend, generation after generation. We have only to look at a recent reworking of art history masterpieces: Takepart.com offers us a striking Photoshopping illustration that makes the point.
And I’m asking myself when we will “just say no” to using the female form to work through political, social, and sexual agendas.
While I believe in focusing on health, fitness, and to a lesser degree, appearance, I wonder what life would be like if we could appreciate our bodies rather than resent, ridicule, taunt, and torment them.
These days passing a fitness studio, I might gaze at the young lions lifting weights, and admire an attractive instructor in their midst. However, I understand the importance of discipline and hard work as the path to feeling good in my skin, I recognize the hollowness of quick fix promises to do with health or fitness, and I’m convinced the only lasting reductions to expect in such cases involve a perpetually thinning wallet.
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