Let me make this very clear: I love old people. I think they’re great, extremely valuable, hilarious, knowledgeable and interesting. But I’ve come to learn (whilst living with C) that they also have their own hang-ups about their bodies and their self-worth – a piece of information that I’ve struggled to swallow.
The 1940s and 1950s were times where women didn’t work; they didn’t study – the idea was absurd. Rather, their job was to look after the children, the house, feed their husband and look good for him when he came home from work. So we’ve placed this expectation on women for a long time – is it any wonder that there are older women in our society who have body image issues?
C quite often manipulates her diet in order to achieve weight loss – this week it’s the “soup and fruit diet” which is what it sounds like – eating only vegetable soup and fruit all week – and I was more than horrified when she told me about it. Apparently, the diet is set by a well-known hospital and claims you can lose up to 5.5 – 8kg in the week. Clearly, a lot of the weight lost would be due to a loss of water in the body … and it seems wrong to me to not provide your body with the carbs, proteins and fats that it needs in order to maintain health. Plus, weight cycling is sure to ensue.
So when we are addressing body issues such as eating disorders, we need not only direct our attention to the young people of our society. This is obviously something that affects not only males and females, but those of various ages. Perhaps those who are older don’t recognise that young adults look to them and model their behaviours – why wouldn’t they if they didn’t know any better? And so we need to better educate those who are older, in order that they can better educate those who are young.
Just something interesting to mull over, and another eating disorder myth exposed: older people can engage in eating disordered behaviour too.