Portfolio of Hope

Yes, you read that title right.

And, yes,I know what you’re thinking.

Alas, I am here to dispel those myths that have become so deeply ingrained in your mind.

So, if you thought I was here to confirm everything that you believed, telling you that ‘thinness=healthiness’ and ‘fatness=unhealthiness’, well, I’m not.

Sorry to disappoint.

You need to trust me on this one, and forget what you thought to be the truth. It will be difficult and it will take time, undoubtebly, but I hope that today’s post will enlighten you, providing you with the knowledge that you need to see our society for what it really is- one which is largely constructed by stereotypical ideals, ideals that do not represent reality.

You see, the thing is, whilst weight is not a determinant factor of someone’s health, it can be used, amongst other things, as an indicator of health. In the same way that someone morbidly obese can be described as being ‘unhealthy’, so too can someone who is dangerously underweight. The complications and strain that being at either extreme of the scale put on one’s body are often very severe.

The human body, or any organisms body for that matter, can only sustain living in an underweight state for so long, before it starts to break down.

To use myself as an example of what being underweight does to the body, when I was very ill, my heart rate would drop dangerously low, my bone marrow was failing, and my blood test results were ‘all over the place.’ I was extremely malnourished, emaciated. If I hadn’t have received treatment when I did, I really don’t know if I would be here now, living to tell my story.

And so, I believe that it is my duty to tell my story, to make other people aware of the dangers of being underweight, both from a mental perspective, and a physical one.

Although not everyone who loses weight does so to an extreme level, weight loss, of any amount, is a slippery slope, and one which it is all too easy to speed off down, finding that there are no brakes as you are plunging further and further down.

Unlike being overweight, being underweight is not really ‘frowned upon’ by our society. People are congratulated for weight loss, regardless of how they managed to achieve it. We tell our friends; ‘you look like you’ve lost some weight!’, as a compliment, and no one thinks anything of it, but if we were to start saying; ‘you look like you’ve gained some weight’, to people, we would find ourselves very unpopular. This is because we perceive weight loss to be a good thing and weight gain to be a bad thing. As such, people learn to associate thinness with praise and happiness, striving to get thinner and thinner in an attempt to boost their self esteem. The issue lies in the analogy previously used; weight loss is a slippery slope, and one which it isn’t easy to escape from. Once you’re on it, often you have to get right to the bottom before you can start to get back up again.

I don’t want to trivialise eating disorders, for I know all too well how complex of an illness they are. If it was as simple as; ‘just eating’, or ‘just gaining weight’, there wouldn’t be 70 million people across the globe living with them. It is far from simple, often requiring intensive therapy before one can even contemplate the thought of recovering. It is, however, possible- recovery that is. It is possible to live life as a healthy human being, a human who isn’t plagued by disordered thoughts and the side effects of living at such a low weight. It is so possible, I promise you that.

So, don’t strive to be ‘thin’, strive to be healthy and happy. Your healthy weight will require no effort to maintain.

As is the case with most things in life, ‘what will be, will be.’

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