beauty

"I'm not hoping to accidentally lose weight and I've just realised that's not normal."

I’ve always considered myself normal. Ask my boyfriend – I pretty much pride myself on the fact that I’m average, and my thoughts are quite similar to the thoughts of every other millennial woman around me.

However, I’ve recently realised thoughts I have about body image and weight loss aren’t common to everyone else. My friends, coworkers and family don’t share my views.

You see, I’m not happy if I accidentally lose weight.

Listen: Bec Sparrow talks about her relationship with herself and her image.

The thought I might lose a couple kilos as a consequence of the flu doesn’t cross my mind, much less thrill me. When I’m in bed – feeling like I’d sooner have the world swallow me whole than return to the bathroom to empty what’s left of the contents of my stomach – I’m not comforted by the fact that I didn’t consume any calories today.

When I put my hand up for a charity challenge during which I only ate rations for a week, I was only (self-pityingly) thinking about the tasty food I couldn’t consume. So when friends in their late 20s asked if I’d weighed myself beforehand, or if I’d lost weight, I was a bit surprised.

However, I didn’t realise how alone I was as a healthy woman who’s not trying to lose weight until Kim Kardashian joked “the flu can be an amazing diet” on Twitter this week.

Yes, she faced the inevitable backlash of social media’s excitable critics and Kardashian-bashers. But far more people – at least those who I spoke to – could relate to Kim to some extent. They too “somewhat enjoyed the one perk of being bedridden for all that time”.

Me? I didn’t understand it.

Gallery: Kim Kardashian is a style icon. (Post continues…)

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I’ll admit, I once felt the same. As a teenager and a uni student, I wasn’t happy with my body – even though I have never slipped out of what’s considered a healthy weight range. I, too, was pleased if my mum commented that I looked slimmer. I once saw it as a consolation prize for the pain I was feeling after I got my tonsils out that maybe, just maybe, I’d lose some weight on my jelly-only diet.

But then I grew out of it.

A couple years ago I started going to a gym with the vague goal of gaining strength and keeping fit and I enjoyed exercise for the first time in my life. I was pleased when I built some biceps, developed some core-strength and could actually do a push-up.

If I’m sick I don’t see it as an opportunity for incidental weight loss, I see it as a shame that I don’t feel strong and healthy an confident. When I’m sick, I just want to get back to feeling that way, and eating my normal diet, as soon as I can.

Now I realise I – quite naively –  assumed everyone else also got over their body image worries as they left their early twenties as some sort of natural progression.

If that comes across as patronising – like I’ve learned something other people haven’t and now consider myself a better person – I don’t.

I’m just genuinely surprised I’m not as normal as I once thought.

Do you hope to lose weight when you’re sick?

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