America’s on a yo-yo diet and it’s ugly. It seems there isn’t much of a happy medium between all-you-can-eat buffet lovers with bursting bellies and image-obsessed scale jumpers who dip leaves into a drop of balsamic vinegar and call it a meal.
We are an obese nation with a high rate of eating disorders. Our schizophrenia hit home the other week when two teachers at my son’s daycare, weighing in for an employee “biggest loser” competition, modeled after the reality television show, cooed over his ample thighs and told me they hope I have a “fat little baby girl” one day.
We’re confused, we’re too fat, and we’re too image-obsessed. We’ve got it all wrong, so I decided to look into what is going on in other regions of the world — from Tonga to Toulouse, France. There are some inspirational examples, and some scary ones, too.
Spain — Power to the Pear-Shaped
The Spanish government recently measured the bodies of more than 10,000 women to help create new guidelines for the clothing industry. The government is trying to promote a healthy body image and recalibrate current sizes, which are based on pre-1975 models. According to a WeNews story, the study concluded “that Spanish women come in three basic shapes — hourglass, pear, and barrel — which consumer advocates say should serve as a more accurate base for sizing.” It’s not rocket science, but it’s a step in the right direction.
France — Crack Down on Skinny
The French parliament is working on a bill that would levy fines and possible prison sentences on those who encourage “extreme thinness.” Wonder what the French prisons will look like if that bill comes to fruition…
Tonga — Size XXL Rules
Being fat is a status symbol in Tonga (an archipelago in the South Pacific), where reports show that more than 90 percent of the people are overweight. Tonga is starting to advertise itself to the larger world as a place where plus-size travelers can come to feel skinny.
Nigeria — Fattening Rooms
According to BBC News, rich Nigerians sometimes pay to visit “fattening rooms” to pack on the pounds.