Thursday, December 10, 2015

Is skinny the new beautiful?

[As published on HERE]

I'm not shy to admit that I’m an Instagram addict. The first thing I do in the morning is to check for updates on my IG feed. I follow 408 people (most of which are celebrities/models/bloggers). I love looking at their amazing lives because let’s be honest – escapism has never felt so good. I get to see what the world, outside of Malaysia and other places I’m familiar with, looks like. I get to live the lives of famous people through the lenses of their own cameras. I’m probably more acquainted with Taylor Swift’s life than my neighbour’s.

Anyway I’ve been following a fashion blogger, Rumi Neely, for quite some time now, and I’ve noticed of late that she’s been getting thinner. This was what she looked like last year.

This is her a few days ago.

There have been a lot (A LOT) of comments concerning her weight, and although I’m certainly in no place to say anything, the internet has had its fair share of skinny girls this year.

With the prevalence of social media and photo apps that make you fairer, slimmer and taller, I think that body image has hit a new low. Remember a few years back it was all about fitness and working out? This year, it’s been about juice cleanses, thigh gaps and losing weight. I feel the pressure. If it’s happening to me at 29, I can’t image how bad it is for young girls in their late teens or early 20s.

As age catches up, I begin to feel guilty for choosing the pasta over the salad. For reaching for a second helping of French fries. It’s been a long time since I voluntarily ordered (and finished) a plate of fried kuay teow, though I love it.  I worry about going up a dress size and I sometimes obsess about eating clean. I’m trying to work out more than once a week so that my muscles (if any, cue sarcastic laugh) stay in shape.

But it’s also for that reason that I refuse to buy a weighing scale. When I was 20 and I was visiting my cousin in Sarawak for two weeks, she had a digital scale. I found myself standing on top of the scale every single morning, afternoon and night. I weighed myself after waking up. Before lunch. After lunch. After dinner. Before going to bed.

Before my holiday was up, I’d already drained the scale’s battery from using it too much (although I didn’t admit it was me when my aunt asked). Tracking my weight so often made me feel a bit too conscious of what I ate. If my weight went up by 0.2 kg the next day, I began to worry.

Now, I only weigh myself when I go back to visit my parents. Despite my efforts to lose a couple of kgs, I still weigh the same. On good days, I feel like I could probably wear a body-hugging top and get away with it. But on bad days when I’m bloated and cranky, I hate my body. How is it that my body can look so different on certain days, but my weight is still the same?

I try to convince myself that the weight I haven’t lost has been converted into muscle mass (yeah, right). I make a mental note to eat less at dinner, but I end up eating at 9pm and I’m freaking hungry so I order rice. And to make up for it, I eat ice-cream for dessert.

Sure, I feel guilty for eating all that food, but sometimes I think it’s ok to be bad. Not too often (because I’m not getting any younger), but whenever I feel like I deserve a treat. So I eat a bit more healthily during weekdays, and I ‘cheat’ on weekends.

If you ask me, “Are you happy with your current weight/shape?”, I’d still say no. That I would love to take 2 kilos off my frame. That I’d love to have a smaller waist and perkier butt. But I also think of my favourite gelato and McD nuggets, and I also think that I would love to be able to indulge whenever I can.

You don’t have to be skinny to be beautiful. Of course, I would love to have abs that I can show off, but it takes a lot of hard work, which I am definitely not ready for. Maybe one day I’ll be able to do it. But I’m going to take things in stride. For every top that I can’t fit into anymore, there’s 20 more waiting to be bought.

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