Friday, March 16, 2018


Two pictures, taken on the same day -
one before breakfast, and the other after a hearty lunch.

Proposition: I look more attractive when I am hungry than when I am full.

True or false? There may well be a subjective element involved - although that pretty much guarantees that there will be at least some who think it is true. Are they wrong? And if so, is it possible to change their mind? But what if they're not? I must confess that I am attracted to slender frames, and I do think I look less attractive when I am carrying what you might call a "food baby". There is also the question of to what extent the food is responsible, because in either case - full or hungry - I can make the conscious choice to suck in my stomach or let it all hang out, and in either case, I think the sucked in stomach looks more attractive (provided it's not sucked in to an unnaturally excessive extent). On the bottom line, whether it's "true" or not, I think there are a lot of people in modern society who think that thin is attractive, and many of them are likely to come to the conclusion that less eating will make them thinner.

This is what I would call an inconvenient truth. Obviously, eating is not only important, but a necessary activity for survival. Starving oneself in order to look attractive is not what I would call a mature or even a sane perspective. Watching what one eats, however, is a healthy strategy. That some take this to an unhealthy extreme doesn't mean we can't acknowledge the inherent truth behind it. Even though it may be a sensitive issue that tugs on people's heartstrings. Even though it may trigger some people who have unresolved issues. And even though those who are unhealthy may use this acknowledgement to reinforce their toxic beliefs. Even to the extent that this may contribute to their self-destructive tendencies.

This is what I consider a mature, intelligent, evolved mind. A simpleton can only consider one variable at a time. Thinness is either attractive, or it is not. If it is, then people will starve themselves to become attractive. The only way to discourage people from starving themselves to become attractive is to convince them (and ourselves) that thinness is not attractive. But life is not that simple. The world isn't black and white. And this is not the approach that a competent, professional therapist would take, anyhow. The solution is to understand that there are multiple variables involved. That, just as eating sustains us, yet eating too much can kill us, it is also true that eating less may make you more attractive (albeit according to subjective standards - and also depending on an individual's metabolism, what you eat, and other factors), but eating too much less can kill you, too.

It's like acknowledging that bodies can be sexually appealing, and yet at the same time that nudity is not intrinsically sexual. That beauty has value in our society, yet you can strip your clothes off among nudists and relax and have a good time no matter what you look like. (It's worth having a conversation about how much beauty matters; because you don't have to be a model to be happy and have a fulfilling life). It takes a complex, evolved mind to understand these things. And I expect no less from Homo sapiens, even though I am frequently confronted with less than that. Are my standards too high? But this world would be a better place, and people would be happier, if they could live up to these standards. Is it fair for those of us who are evolved to live by the standards of the lowest common denominator? And is it merely egotism for me to say that, or do I actually have a point?

In any case, you can rest assured that I am not going to starve myself to look attractive. We all have good days and bad days. And I've learned that even more important than watching what I eat (because I still eat pizza and soda and candy - just not usually to excess - and look at me!) is getting regular exercise to keep me in relatively good shape (although your mileage may vary). I have a healthy, balanced approach to these issues - not a distorted one, which would be true if I thought I needed to starve myself in order to look attractive, but also if I tried to force myself to believe against belief that I didn't really think I looked more attractive with a flat stomach than a bloated belly (which I unequivocally do - think I look more attractive, that is. Your opinion may differ, and that's fine). Self-deception of any kind is not healthy.

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