The Seitzgeist


Posted by in June's Magazine

I was told by a friend today that my column a couple of months ago was hateful. To recap, I wrote that I was tired of people commenting on what I do with my own body. That I was sick of being spoken to with disdain about my training habits (which frankly are in no way extreme), or being told that I’m boring for not wanting to eat a biscuit, or that I’m insane for taking the stairs instead of the lift. I said that I take umbrage at being told that I shouldn’t aspire to have a toned stomach because it looks “gross on a woman”. My response was that essentially, people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. In my experience, the very people who think it’s ok to comment on my body and my habits tend to be the same people who themselves are very vocal and frequent in their complaints about being overweight, and about wanting to lose inches. It would appear that these are the same people who get upset when I have the audacity to respond with brutal honesty (and no, I’m not referring to the friend in question). Aren’t these the people being hateful?

I maintain that one of the primary motivations of people who say these things to me is envy. I am not doing a Samantha Brick – I am by no means in amazing shape, nor am I a complete saint when it comes to my eating habits. But I do understand the basic principle of input/output and what I AM is disciplined. The people who comment on my body and my habits are the same people who say they don’t like their own bodies, and want to be fitter. But when I say I was pulling on my trainers at 7am to go for a run while they were still in bed, the reaction I get is almost always that of disdain. Because I’m doing it, and they’re not.

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No quick fix
My friend said that I should consider more carefully how these things make people feel. I’m afraid I’m not going to censor my beliefs about health and well being in order to protect the feelings of people who would do well to actually listen to them and put them into practice. If someone is bold enough to tell me to my face their negative feelings about my body, I will respond publicly. This is not hateful. It’s in your face perhaps, but so are the people who tell me they don’t think I should look a certain way, or live my life in a certain way. My response is that I don’t agree with the way THEY look but that I don’t go there because it’s not my interest or my business.

She also referred to something I wrote a while back attacking diet programs like Weight Watchers and fad diets like Atkins. If I remember correctly, I made the point that fad diets are not the answer. Changing your eating habits for the better and doing exercise is the answer. I can honestly say that I don’t know anyone who has lost weight – and KEPT IT OFF – using Weight Watchers. If I do, and I’m unaware, then I’m willing to bet that they have managed to keep the weight off by CHANGING THEIR EATING HABITS, which is what I advocate in that piece. And I stand by all of that. I’m never going to agree that someone should count points, or replace wholesome food with so-called nutritional drinks, all the while sitting around on their ass waiting for the weight to fall off.

To anyone who believes this is the way to go about changing your body healthily I say this: get real. I don’t believe in it and I think that people who do are completely deluded. I stand by that and I won’t apologise for it. The diet industry makes billions of pounds out of these people every year and it is the companies who advocate this kind of unhealthy approach to weight loss and fitness who deserve disdain. Not the people who champion a healthier lifestyle – which means taking responsibility for yourself, eating wholesome and nutritious food and increasing your activity levels. It also means taking the time to get to know yourself better and understand WHY you have issues with your weight and/or health. There is no such thing as a quick fix.

So this is the deal: you don’t comment on my body, and I don’t comment on yours. If you do, I’ll respond and I won’t sugar the pill. And in the meantime, I’ll continue to eat a healthy diet, exercise often, and aspire to maintain a strong, fit, healthy body. And if you’ve got a problem with that, I couldn’t care less.

This month I’ve been mainly…
LOVING my new iPhone, especially the Nike+ GPS app; spending a lovely rainy weekend in Cornwall doing little more than eating and snoozing; watching the amazing Breaking Bad; reading What Do Women Want? by Susie Orbach; eating my body weight in quinoa; cheering on the London Marathon runners; teaching my junior designer Scottish words – he now has a firm understanding of the meaning of both peely-wally and boak.

One response to “The Seitzgeist”

  1. Burger King says:

    You sound like you need a good burger.

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