Wednesday, October 31, 2018

The Wrong Reason

A friend told me the story of her friend, a mother of 3 in her late thirties. I don't intend to dwell on the full detail of her life story, not that I know very much of it anyway. But in a nutshell, what I know is that her husband divorced her for a younger and sexier woman after about 10 years of marriage. Apparently, she started gaining weight after having her first child, and the pounds kept adding up over the years.

After the divorce, however, she was determined to teach her ex-husband a good lesson. She started exercising regularly and watched her diet, and over a period of almost 2 years, lost all the weight she'd gained to become a slender woman once again. I neither know her nor have met her in person. According to my friend, when the ex-husband saw her recently, he seemed to have regretted divorcing her. I wonder if his second wife has also gained too much weight by now? I don't know the truth of this story, but I can't help thinking that it sounds a lot like something that has been extracted from a book.

Anyway, I suspect that this is the kind of story that many, many women would love to hear; there is that sense of triumphant ending for the woman. But while I'm happy that she now has a healthy, lean body once again, I'm rather sad that she's having that healthy body for the wrong reason. I mean, it's obviously the right reason for her; but not to me.

The story reflects what's going on in the heads of many women. I said "many", not "all". I just feel that the reason for wanting a lean body should be, first and foremost, for the health benefits, i.e. with the hope of keeping diseases at bay for as long as possible. All too often women go through a lot of pain and sacrifice by dieting and exercising mainly because they want to look pretty and sexy. But once they are married and the "hunting season" is off, they no longer take care of themselves. There is no control on food intake, and there is very little time spared for exercise, if any. The most common excuse is that they don't have the time to exercise, and they always eat more because they need the extra energy, especially if they have children. So it is inevitable that they would gain weight sooner or later.

Yet, in the case of my friend's story above, she was able to take steps to reduce weight, thus indicating that if she had really wanted to maintain a healthy body weight, she could, but chose not to. Why only take the trouble to lose weight to teach the ex-husband a lesson? Why not do it for herself? For if one keeps a healthy body weight for oneself, one is likely be able to keep off the pounds for good. But if one is only doing it for others, sooner or later the dam will burst, and it will be downhill thereafter—the weight will just keep adding up.

Being fat or obese is usually the starting point of many health complications including diabetes and heart diseases. But that is usually not the main focus when women keep themselves slim, although of course to some people, the reason is not as important as the result.

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