WHEN FAT IS BET­TER THAN THIN

In a world ob­sessed with body im­age, is it pos­si­ble to be health­ier and live longer if you’re not skinny? ANNA MAGEE ex­plains why size does mat­ter – but not in the way we think

Marie Claire (South Africa) - - FRONT PAGE -

IGREW UP IN the 1970s and 1980s, be­fore waifs took over fash­ion and fat-sham­ing took over the media. Be­fore we all be­came hy­per-alert to the pres­sures on young women to be un­re­al­is­ti­cally thin. But I re­mem­ber the day it all started for me. In my teens I wasn’t both­ered by how I looked, but that all changed one day when I was 19 and out with my fa­ther, my 23-year-old cousin and his hand­some friend rlando. hen my dad o ered to set Or­lando up with one of my friends, he looked at me and said, ‘They’re not all mumsy like her, are they?’

That com­ment hit me like a con­crete block. Within two years I be­came a body fas­cist, dat­ing a per­sonal trainer and glean­ing his tips. Ev­ery night I kicked and jumped my way to ex­haus­tion, some­times do­ing two aer­o­bics classes in a row. My friends were all from gym, I ate the same thing – chicken and broc­coli – most nights, and my de­gree took sec­ond place. I spent the next two decades try­ing ev­ery diet. The more ac­com­plished I be­came in my ca­reer, the more ob­sessed I seemed to get about my body. It was as though my brain, while ca­pa­ble of un­der­stand­ing the most com­plex pa­per in a med­i­cal jour­nal, lost all abil­ity to

Body con­fi­dence

per­son­i­fied (clock­wise from far left): mod­els Crys­tal Renn, Amy Le­mons, Ash­ley Graham,

Kate Dil­lon, Anansa Sims, Jen­nie Runk and Lizzie Miller

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