Why is our culture so obsessed with what we look like and how much we weigh?
Standing in the grocery store check out line, it never fails that a magazine claiming the ‘how tos’ for shedding body fat or dropping a few pounds, or selling the secrets for attaining the ‘perfect body.’
Check out this cover via US Weekly magazine—78 bodies of women that I should check out, compare myself to, and ultimately want to look like.
Sub-Conscious thoughts begin to run wild:
How can I put an outfit together like her?
Why can’t I have boobs like her?
If only my hair did that perfect wavey thing.
I wish I had abs like her.
I should check into getting some dewey skin product, false eyelashes or lip plump to look like that.
Just 5 more pounds, then I know I will look like that.
Sometimes I wonder if I am just hyper-sensitive or acutely aware to these messages and pressures based on the years that I struggled and strived to be that ideal.
But then…I read up on some statistics like this new study by bulimia.com on people’s obsession with weight-related search terms on Google…and it seems as though I am not the only one aware of this.
Recently, Bulimia.com (a website aimed at providing information and treatment options for men and women battling eating disorders), conducted an informal study (http://home/laurynlax/public_html.bulimia.com/examine/healthy-vs-unhealthy-body-image/) as to which weight loss terms were most searched for on Google in the U.S., examining which words and phrases have become more or less popular over the past decade.
In essence, they wanted to answer the question: So how many people are genuinely looking for advice on healthy nutrition, fitness and self-care, and how many just want to lose weight at any cost?
What did they discover?
Several interesting findings.
For starters: People want a ‘quick fix’ when it comes to weight and happiness with their bodies.
Of top Google searches, related to weight and ‘weight loss’ from February 2014- February 2015, the top ‘search term people Googled was ‘how to lose weight fast.’
In fact, “how to lose weight fast” was over 80% more popular than the term: just “how to lose weight”—(despite the reality that, nowadays, most people know that crash diets are neither healthy nor effective, and sustained weight loss requires a well-balanced diet and sustainable nutrition).
Additionally, ‘how to lose weight fast’ was most commonly searched during the spring and summer months—not January (New Years’ Resolutions) like one may speculate. The researchers reckoned that the interest in rapid weight loss may be correlated with the spring and summer bikini season, when people are intent on looking their best at the beach or pool (and less clothes in general).
The researchers also discovered that the terms ‘fitspiration’ and ‘thinspiration’ have also seen a gigantic swing in popularity amongst Googlers, rivaling those Googling advice on weight loss—and rapid weight loss.
On the surge of ‘fispiration’ Instagram posts, blogs and tumblr photos, the authors write, “Putting a more positive spin on health, [fitspiration] posts offer images of whole-body fitness rather than simply focusing on weight loss. These gym selfies and other images are meant to encourage getting in shape, though some worry that this could pose the same issue of presenting body ideals that may be unreachable for many.”
Case in point: A huge cry of the human heart is to want to look different, weigh different and have a body they are happy with.
In other words, if you are not 100% satisfied with what you look like, or what you weigh, you are NOT alone.
However, what if we spent all the brain power, time and energy we used towards our bodies (thinking and planning and striving to change what it is we look like, how much weigh, at war with ourselves), we, instead, used that same brain power, time and energy into genuinely honoring our bodies, practicing self-care, and speaking words of affirmation to ourselves when we looked in the mirror—(rather than bashing our bods!?).