I pondered this as I stood on the scales this morning.
Because I'm really not sure it is. Or at least I'm really not sure I know anyone, anyone female at least, who has what I'd call a healthy relationship with food.
By which I mean someone who eats what they like, when they like, within healthy parameters, and feels no guilt, worry or obsession about it.
Are you out there? Someone? Anyone?
Because I don't. And I always thought I did. From the outside you'd think I did. I'm 5'4", size 10/12 (although at around 10 stone 4lb, I'm also technially overweight if you believe in BMIs, which I don't). I exercise regularly. I cook from scratch, always. I eat, mostly, my five a day. I also have a very sweet tooth, and have never knowingly said no to a cake. I'd rather give up alcohol than pudding.
If you met me, if you looked at me in the street, I think you'd think I was mostly unconcerned about food; that I enjoyed eating it, but otherwise didn't give it much thought.
Well, I'm afraid that's nonsense.
A secret. I get on the scales every day. I always used to think that was fine. It's just a number, right? But it's not when it puts you in a good (or bad) mood for the rest of the day. Or when you realise that I look upon the nights when B is away as opportunities to go on a speedy crash diet in advance of cooking excessively when he's back. Or when you factor in that the sole purpose of the exercise, for me, is to remain in control of the numbers on the scales.
That's not healthy, really, is it?
It's about body image, of course. As I said, I'm ok, body wise. I'm not stopping traffic, but for a mother of four, I don't think I do too badly. When I think about it objectively, I think I'm ok. The only person who looks at me naked (of the over six variety, anyway) thinks I'm (his words) "delicious".
Another secret. I don't believe him.
When I look in the mirror, I see, objectively, a thirty-five year old woman of average build, who's had four children. For B, that's perfect. For me, that's not good enough. And if I don't think I'm good enough, slim enough, toned enough, I don't see how he can.
I don't want to get into why that is. I don't want to start talking about women's magazines, and the porn industry and the objectification of women and the patriarchy. Or how I worry about what any or all of the above might do to my daughters, because I don't have the answers and I don't, honestly, think there are any.
But I do think, if I am feeling like this, is there anyone out there who isn't? And if so, what's your secret?
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