By: BOBBIE-ANGELA WONG
Society may consider me as a “healthy” being because I’m relatively thin. Therefore, the way I look means that I only eat nourishing, wholesome foods. It also means I presumably have a healthy relationship with food. Guess what? This is all false.
We must look beyond the culture filled with motives to lose weight and fit an unrealistic ideal.
I struggled with anorexia nervosa since I was fifteen. I dieted on and off for five years. My self-doubting teenage self became fixated on keeping my diet under 500 calories a day. Soon I was exercising every day for countless hours, hiding food and under portioning my meals.
Though I believed I was in control of my life, my stupid food restrictions and my exercise rules were in control of me. I can vividly remember the day I went into residential treatment and starved myself all day, not to consume anything but water. That, I may say, was the worst of it all. I felt depressed, drained, fatigued and shattered. Quite honestly, I looked sickly, too.
But yet, because my appearance supported the status quo, I was aligned with the paradigm of health.
I’m getting tired of seeing magazine after magazine boasting titles that guarantee weight loss with daily tips and tricks. There are commercials on every channel or radio station that are selling weight loss products. Social media feeds are filled with exercise routines. It is inescapable. These ads and posts make people feel horrible about their lives as they are not partaking in “productive” activities and rather watching movies or spending time with their friends on the couch. Guess what? There is supposed to be a balance.
I do not, by any means; advocate for this specific dogma and distorted body image culture that both social and mainstream media contributes to. According to these health standards, we must not digress from the supposedly perfect, nutritious diet. We must have the flat stomach with abs in order to be deemed as healthy. Otherwise, if we eat too much dessert, one extra cookie, an extra slice of cake or have a curvaceous body, we are apparently incongruous and unworthy.
This, however, is unquestionably ridiculous. We all, I included, deserve to feel worthy and be our authentic selves beyond weight, body image and food.
We all have our days where we eat a pint of ice cream, eat late night pizza, and so forth. There are days where we drink a smoothie for breakfast and eat a salad for lunch. But what you eat does not define who you are. What you eat doesn’t show up on a college or work application; it doesn’t show up on your resume. And your hobbies or academics aren’t a reflection of your body or weight either. We are all beautifully complex, so why define ourselves by a number on a scale.
Between the black and white, there is a rainbow.
Bobbie-Angela Wong is a model and author of a children’s book, Holly the Hippo.
Model: Bobbie-Angela Wong
Hair & Makeup: Asia Marie Sandoval
Photography & Styling: Alex Tupaz