These are just some of my random thoughts on weight. Please do not take this personally.

I started this a few days ago, and apparently, it's time. Why my regular commentators have decided to all share weight and food issues this week I don't know, but apparently, it's been on our minds.

First of all, I am writing this on the premise that my mother is not to feel guilty.

Are we clear?


Because if not, don't continue, okay?


I kind of hate that weight is an issue. With anyone, but especially with myself. For one, no one else in my culture seems to think I'm allowed to be - let alone whether I should be or not.

I would never, and never do, go around telling people they are fat or need to lose weight. And I really, highly dislike that people feel so free to comment about my weight. I've heard it all - that I shouldn't gain weight, that I should lose weight, that I should gain weight. I've been told, "you haven't gained weight! Good. Make sure you don't." Uh, thanks? Then there are those who complain what seems like endlessly about their own weight and tell me I look great. What do they want? I can think of nothing - at least nothing sincere, to say. Do they really want me to say, "oh, but you look great!"? They've just announced they don't. Even if I do think they look great, they won't believe me. How futile. Gah!

However, and that in mind, I've recently gained 5 pounds. 5 stupid pounds. In fact, it looks to me like I've gained 5 pounds but the scale has stayed the same. Did I lose it from somewhere else? Hm, maybe muscle. See - I'm just as psycho about this as the next person. Or at least the people I've described above. I'm totally trying to watch what I eat, and have become much more serious about exercising regulary - like I was before I came to Israel.

I've weighed 135 pounds since I was in high school. Seriously. That was a decade ago. Am I that worried about 5 pounds? Should I be? Well, American culture definitely tells me I should. I'm not sure I buy that, but then ... so many Americans are obese it's ridiculous. I can't judge what I think by American culture it's so convoluted about weight.

The doctor here recently told me eating sweets (candy in particular, I think) might help my migraines (see what I'm dealing with?). He said, "you don't have a weight problem, eat sweets." Umm, does that mean I should have a weight problem? That was one of those dumb, surreal, weird statements ...

More than that, something that my sister brought up, is that cholesterol and high blood pressure runs in our family. It's something we should watch, and that is totally another ball of wax. Somehow, eating well to in order to avoid those problems in the future feels good to me. I've watched my parents struggle with this, and thinking that I could avoid that makes me feel good. Like I'm making my parents proud by learning from them. I have time to make my own, new mistakes :-)

Okay, so, I know my weight is in a "normal" range. To skeptics out there: I weigh too much to be a model, okay? I'm not anorexic (yup, get that comment, too). Here's a question, though. Are my thoughts and behaviors more anorexic than anything? The way I'm careful with food, and so rigid about not gaining weight... Okay, I do not want a bunch of people to comment on me being anorexic - not helpful! But, umm, you can comment about the other stuff, is that okay? Cool.


Do you feel attractive?

If you do, then you're the right weight.

hey there. guess what!? i've recently encountered this with myself. with me, mendon 'never change in body shape no matter what'. isn't that insane? so here's what i'm facing that's a complete well, maman might read this and i don't want to be too crude. but it's just not cool. so there i am, in the locker room at lakeland getting ready to go and lift weights and i stop in front of a full length mirror and ask myself how i look. that was step number one down a stupid road. if i can give any body advice on weight it's get rid of your tv. but if they actually listen to me i'd say, 'remove all of the mirrors, especially full length, from your home. anyway, there i am looking at my mostly naked staring at all of my skin and my kind of skinny body and i can see ribs and some muscle protruding from my stomach and chest and do you know what i heard the little devil on my shoulder say? 'you should have bigger pecs and a tighter stomach'! where the hell did that come from? i spent seven months in gambia. i haven't watched tv or even really spent much time online exposed to western culture for well over a year and it's still there. me, 'you need to have bigger boobs,' that's what my fricken mind was telling mel. i could have just about vomitted. i mean, honestly, didn't i play rugby? what was all of that for?
i sympathize. much love

Don't get rid of the mirror, it helps put things in perspective when the only view of one's belly is looking down! Side views of bellys are always better:)
there is no escape from these thoughts once they begin...at least not that I've found. It doesn't matter that people have apologized or said later that what they said was silly...once you care...you care! What i find is that I feel it the most when I am down...it's the easiest way to self criticize. I made the mistake of going shopping after loosing weight last winter break(when I got sick). Now I have clothes in my closet that don't fit that I am hoping to fit into in the future. I don't want to be that person!

Rae! I've escaped. I'm not bound by body image.

I think it's cultural. Scotland has a different aesthetic.

Mensch, remember the three C mantra: Confidence, Control (self-control), Challenge (as in "an interesting challenge or undertaking")

Anyway, exercise feels good, and that's why we do it.

Hey Mara,
I hate talk about weight, especially when people start it. What do I say to someone who says they've gained weight? I don't personally care, and I can't give advice. I walked all the way back from the Hadar last night with a girl who has a perfect figure, really beautiful, who talked the entire time about how much weight she'd gained and what diet she was on. I hate diets, I think they are the anti-Life. So I just don't know how to talk about this stuff. I grew up in Congo where fat means healthy and bautiful, and fertile basically. Actually I just don't realize it with me, whether or not my weight fluctuates, but everyone is really quick to point it out, so I can save myself the investment of a scale, since I get told quite often if I've gained or lost. For some reason people don't find it incredibly intimate or invasive in the least to approach others about body weight, their own or the person they're talking to. I really feel like it's very private, and I find it odd that it's taken so lightly. Besides, thinner doesn't mean healthier or happier it just means less heavy. I agree with Nathan, but I would add, if you feel attractive and HEALTHY and HAPPY, then you're the right weight. I've heard that losing too much weight and being underweight can lead to depression as well, i can't remember the chemistry behind it. Ultimately weight is something that can change (sometimes) and something that there is money to be made on, as opposed to an obsession with height, which is much more arbitrary. I think our obsession with weight is more a product of marketing than it is our desire to lose weight and our adoration of the thin body. There is so much money involved here, you think of weight-loss programs, diet pills, operations, fitness magazines, low-fat foods, sugar free foods, shrinks, etc. Especially in North America.
Imagine what society would be like if one's sense of identity was entirely based on our spirit/soul and the consciousness that we are spiritual beings? Hopefully that would lead to a more healthy self-image and self-esteem...

Oooh. That's good.

Hey, an obsession with attractiveness based on height - now that would be great! I'd love it if tall people were considered better looking just 'cause they were tall!

On a side note, there's this great study by April Fallon and Paul Rozin where they interviewed 500 University of Pennsylvania Students, both female and male.

All students were shown pictures of men and women that ranged from the very thin to the overtly obese.

They were asked four questions:

1. Which body do you most resemble?
2. Which body do you most wish to resemble?
3. Which body do you think the opposite sex finds most attractive?
4. Which opposite sex body do you find most attractive?

Fascinating results.

First, it was conducted in 1985, so it's dated, but women believed, on average:

1. That they were over their ideal weight.
2. That they were over the weight that men thought was ideal.
3. That the ideal weight they set for themselves was thinner than what they thought was attractive to men.

A fascinating side note was that most men picked as the ideal body type only slightly slimmer than where most women viewed their body type - although it was heavier than their actual body type when measured.

So, in 1985, amongst Pennsylvania College students, the men would have liked the women to gain a few pounds.

Personally, I've always had a thing for slightly overweight girls. Ahh, I love a girl with low self-esteem and body image issues!


No, Nae, the women you pick look awesome and have really bodies. Body-type-wise, I like your choice in women :-) One of the reasons I liked Liza (in the beginning...) was because really LOOKED your match. Too bad she turned out to be a psycho! ;-)

Sad but true, it seems like we notice people's bodies first, because before you get to know someone, you SEE them. Unless you're an enlightened spiritual being, or blind. In the latter case, you might smell them first and so might have prejudices against strong perfumes or body odor...but I digress (as usual).
Attractiveness based on any other arbitrary characteristic such as height or eye color or way of walking, or shape of nails or shape of ears, would be essentially the same problem.
We're just affected by society and marketing.
One thing I used to always hate in high school and even now, is that (ridiculously enough this is true) people with a lot of clothes are usually popular. That, my friends, is also a criteria for popularity. How incredibly stupid or shallow is this?
I think, honestly, these are the (more down to earth and shallow) reasons that humanity is in such desperate need of spiritual upliftement and regeneration.
That's why I want to write about artists and social visionaries. I think people are in desperate need of encouragement and of positive role models, and need some measure of beauty, purity and spiritual health in their lives. It's a quesiton of priorities.
I mean, come ON! did you see that headline months ago about Barbie and Ken divorcing? Dolls??? in the news??? dolls with marital difficulties????

I don't know how to make a link active on this blog...sorry! but check it out, it's really a sign of the end of times...


Oh my GOD! Barbie and Ken are divorced and I'm in shock! I'm flabberghasted! My view of life is shaken. I can't bellieve that I live in a world were a toy company feels the need to...o my god I'm so upset!

I'd be more popular if I bought more clothes?

Hi Mara,
Look, as long as you are happy with your own body and image- and Mark too for that matter- then you are fine however you are. Just don't start some habit that could do you in later. and as far as migranes- try a cup of coffee and 2 or 3 ibuprofen when it starts and see if it helps. I find also that they are connected to my emotions, so it pays to look at what you're feeling on a gut level.
Hope this helps!
love ya,
by the way the kids are in Honduras visiting their Dad for the summer and I'm getting a house.
Please remember us while you're over there- where we all want to be anyway!
love to Mark!

Yay, Jackie! I knew there were people out there reading and not commenting!

I'm glad, in a way, that the kids are off to Honduras for the summer. You deserve a little break :-) though I know you miss them.

Congratulations on the house!!

Lots of love and prayers to you, too!

Well, I actually like playing with Mara's flab... but if it becomes a health issue, I guess it's not so hot. I guess the one show that inadvertently threw people off from the whole body image thing was Lorenzo Lamaz's "Who's Hot/Who's Not" show where random people were criticized about their bodies by a former soap opera star. It was entirely ridiculous, and from the parodies I saw of it (I never saw the actual show). Apparently he would use a laser pointer to critique each person's body parts. It's at this point that I was glad that we no longer subscribed to cable.

As for myself, I guess what irks me is that I remember being in shape, and I remember having very minimal flab. I also remember feeling a lot more energetic and able to do quite well on only 4 or 5 hours of sleep. I miss being flexible. I don't seem capable of practicing any martial arts--even simple punches just don't have the same "snap". Also, It's a lot more work for me to get around being nearly 190 lb's, as opposed to 150.

here is one instance that i do a little dance for being a girl(and you should, too!). if i ever find myself feeling exceptionally poo, in a heavier way, i just chalk it up to hormones, PMS, and bloating, and im usually correct to do so. : ) and, if after my monthly purge i still feel heavy, i take a few minutes to feel my body, and not with my hands, but just wake up the pieces and parts, feeling the clothes, skin, chair, shoes, whatever, that is touching my skin. feel the day old that is between my toes, the way my thighs fit in my pants, the way my belly or hips will bend over themselves with their extra skin, feel the hairs on the back of my neck, and feel my face. generally, if this all results in a neutral to positive feeling (which it generally will because im just happy to be able to do it) i dont worry about my body. i prefer to be in shape, and i want to stay healthy, but if i get a layer of fat here and there that just doesnt jive with the anexoric trends, and wont resolve with the previous happy-to-be-alive exercise, i try and view them as feminine, throw a little sass in to convince myself, and have a very womanly day with a womanly attitude through it. and, if, as you read this, you cannot quite come to love your body... empathize. because its possible that you thought, 'kristen? youve thought that you were fat? youve got to be crazy... and have disorders... and youre so frickin skinny!' well... theres plenty of people that will say the same for you (and not just because they feel fatter than you, or whatever). im telling you, whether im correct or not, that those who tell you that youre skinny say so because you are, and i'd be willing to bet that those who tell you that youre fat, are only afraid that they are. displacement, what? so, yay for being a girl, because there is that feminine curvy thing to embrace. : ) (or, perhaps yay for those boys who are doing the embracing?)

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This page contains a single entry by Mara published on June 10, 2004 4:03 PM.

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