When I was growing up, I was a very thin girl. It was difficult for me to gain weight. In those days, the madness about thin and thinner hadn’t yet caught on. My mum would try to feed me more but I still did not gain weight. Perhaps it is the genes, but I was always slim and of a slim build too. During teens and early adulthood, I never struggled with weight. I also never realised that it was a big deal to fit into small sizes. I do know that there were a few of my friends who suffered with weight issues. But more or less weight really was not a topic of discussion at all.

We all accepted our mums and grandmothers to be round and curvy. Our mums never worried about being ‘fat’ or wearing attire that made them good despite extra weight. Unlike now when we stress over not being able to fit into a particular jeans or dress. Now weight has overtaken our consciousness. Yes, a lot of us talk about health and fitness. But trust me, the best compliment that most women desire is to be told that they have lost weight. Automatically they start feeling better about themselves and start feeling ‘beautiful’. Also a weight gain of a couple of kilos is a matter of great concern often wrecking happiness and driving most women nuts.

women and weight

A rounder tummy peeking through your dress is a cause for grave concern. I kid you not! Women think 3-4 times before wearing that swim suit or shorts because they are on the heavier side. We hear about trying to get a ‘bikini’ body. Shouldn’t bikini be made for the body instead of the body drilled down to fit a particular bikini? Today, we expect women in their 40s, 50s or 60s to be reed thin, whether their hormones and metabolism can keep up or not. We admire women in the show biz who are as thin as possible. Any women who are slightly plump are body shamed constantly.

As women, we go through a lot of phases in our lives. I felt huge changes in my body after giving birth. It used to annoy me that extra weight which I lost in about a year and a half because my body just shed it. But I know of women who go into depression because that weight just does not seem to go.

Of course, this beautiful metabolism does ditch you when you enter your 40s. Coupled with hormone and health issues that may surface gives you the perfect recipe to gain kilos. Let me tell you that all of us who feel a high after working out hate nothing more than physical illness making us lay low. I had the toughest year last year when a knee injury derailed life for me. For 3 months, I could not bend my knee. After that as well, with severe knee pain, there was a lot of rehabilitation for a year to bring me back to near normal today.

Yes, I gained some weight and also lost the toning that I had worked on. But to tell you the truth, more than that I worried if I would ever walk painfree. Will I be able to climb steps and hike the way I had all my life? I had started running back then and even now have not got the green light to start that. The process of recovery has seen many ups and down, sweat and tears. Just when I felt that I was fine, I had some episode which almost took me back to square one. My physiotherapist and family not only kept my morale high but kept my confidence going. One thing this episode gave me was immense respect for my body and its ability to bounce back. All the strength training and lifting weights that I had been doing for more than a decade helped my body heal faster. Every time I fell back, she fought harder.

Yes, I was raring to exercise, I won’t deny that. But there was a new found wisdom about my body that had gained some weight but some perspective too along with it. I respected me. I wouldn’t curse if I did not fit in a dress. I knew that there are larger issues in life. I had seen what it was like to be almost immobile. Lots of learning happened in the past one year. I have slowly inched back to doing strength training and cardio like swimming or walking almost like before. Sometimes I pinch myself about that.

More than anything I am so happy in my body and skin. I wear clothes with pride. The size I wear (which is the same as before) has zero bearing on my happiness. And I wish it upon every woman that she is not judged or ridiculed if she suddenly gains or loses weight. That she really aims to be as healthy and fit as she can be without worrying herself sick about every Calorie and every kilo. I don’t know why we do this to ourselves. But it is worrying and really we should stop.

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women and weight

Don’t let a size make you happy or sad. Being healthy is the biggest gift we can give to our bodies, and that has nothing to do with your body weight. Period!

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Pics courtesy: By VGstockstudio and Tero Vesalainen

8 Thoughts on “Why Do Women Obsess so Much About Body Weight

  1. This obsession with size and losing weight is all thanks to the glamour industry who puts the thinnest models and actresses on a pedestal. And, we being so starry eyed, we try to ape what we see on the screen, least caring about our body type or our health.
    I too could never gain weight as a child and then as an adult. It’s only now that I am sort of gaining weight, but that I feel is because of age.
    I like to workout and make sure my muscles are toned, but more than that, nowadays, I workout to make sure the aches and pains are taken care of and I get my flexibility back.
    We women really need to get over the size business. Look at Vidya Balan…she, who is far from size zero like the other actresses, is supremely beautiful, talented and happy about her body size and shape, and that’s what we need to ape–to be happy with our own body size and healthy from within.

  2. I see that we’re coming from two very different places. The obsession with weight isn’t new – though the levels might be different. I was a ‘healthy’ child right from birth, so my mum tells me. Everyone else in the family was thin so that just made it worse. I did have the tendency to put on weight easily and so I grew up thinking I was fat. When I look back at my childhood pictures I realise I really wasn’t. However the constant nagging has ingrained the thought so deeply that I can never be okay with my weight, even when I lose it, even though I don’t have fitness issues other than ones that come with age. That said, exercising always brings a happy high, so that’s a relief.

    • I get you, Tulika. There was a lot of nagging for being thin too. My mum had to hear stuff like why don’t you feed them well. I was always pulled up for being underweight. But yes, teens and adulthood were way better as I got closer to normal weight. I just feel so sad that we subject our kids especially girls to so much body scrutiny that they are scarred for life. My mum was thin when growing up but pretty plump after kids. No one asked her to lose weight at least then. So why are we so harsh on women? Why can’t they get rounded and yet be happy? Yes exercising is wonderful but I also know that that losing or gaining weight is never the same for two women. Now I don’t compliment people if they look slimmer or question them is they have gained weight unless someone gushes that they have lost weight. We do need to make the beginning and stop this body shaming somewhere for the same of our kids.

  3. I agree with what you are saying. Being thin or losing weight shouldn’t be a parameter of being healthy or fit. The key should be to stay active. From the culture and background that I come from, it used to be a matter of pride to look like a ‘khaate peete ghar ke’ and if somebody was thin or lost weight, it was considered to be a matter of concern and the dialogue was ‘Beemaar ho, kamzor dikh rahe ho.’ I don’t know how it is now with the next generation of those people. Growing up my concerns were the same as those of Tulika’s and there was constant parental nagging for my weight. Can I go ever go past that?

  4. I completely get where you are coming from, Rachna. I have always been on the skinner, lankier side. That is until I hit my 30s, and ever since then, it has felt like every single pound that came on, stayed on.

    And if I am completely honest, it used to cause me a lot of distress in the beginning. Mostly because I guess I wasn’t used to all the 100 opinions that came my way on ‘how to lose weight’ and ‘why I must’.

    But over time I have chosen to focus on what matters most, and that is my physical fitness. The size doesn’t matter if I have a healthy, functioning body.

    I hope more women read posts like yours and come to the same conclusion. Prioritizing fitness over simple weight loss is a mindset shift we all need.

  5. This is exactly what I needed to read today. For the past few days everyone I meet has been telling me that I have put on weight. Today I decided to check my weight and turns out that I indeed have. I’ve been feeling really bad about it. I know that lack of exercise is doing this but really there is no time considering the crazy work hours and all that stress of managing both – office and home. Thanks for this.

  6. I have always been on the heavier side unfortunately and again, in my family, there was the message that you had to be thin. Unfortunately, my mum got the same message from her mum and mother-in-law and it passed down to my sister and me. We had a pretty unhealthy relationship with our body and I think my mum still sometimes struggles despite being tiny herself. I have reached a stage {I hope} where I’m comfortable with my body and don’t weigh myself regularly but I am also conscious about eating relatively healthy within moderation. I think girls and women, in general, are constantly objectified and nothing is ever good enough. I should add, I got comments from neighbours and well-wishers as a teen about being slightly overweight. Ironically now, when I visited recently, these same people kept commenting about how much weight I had lost in a negative way!! I don’t take others’ comments to heart anymore because I am happy with where I am and how I am. But you can see how it messes with people’s minds!

  7. I was obese in my teens and the first couple of years of my twenties …. I remember being teased and almost bullied …. I did lose a lot with some hard work… i was never trying to reduce my body to fit in clothes ….in this weight losing process I learnt the art of listening to my body about eating habits and being physically active on account of being healthy and not running after numbers … end of the day it’s the person inside that makes us beautiful and we can be beautiful in our 80s too with sagging skin and a toothless smile

Do not leave without commenting. I love a good conversation :).

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