Of the many things that I don’t like about the lockdown, the weight gain jokes are pretty high on the list and I definitely want to socially distance myself from them. That picture where a woman is trying to roll her quarantine belly flat is cringe-worthy. And I couldn’t look back at the image which shows a group of women unable to come out of the car. Presumably, they are off to attend a party after the lockdown has been lifted. I fail to see the humour in these, for me, it is body shaming normalized all over again. It is a way to beat loneliness and find laughter in the otherwise morose day you say? Depression and weight gain are also directly related. So, what about the people who have eating disorders, the stress eaters who are staying alone? Yes, you may put on some weight during this quarantine but are the scales the only thing you have got to worry about during this pandemic?
And why is it that putting on weight means we have done nothing and been lazy? Doesn’t homeschooling kids, ordering groceries, cooking, cleaning, mopping, working from home, count as work? I am always playing find-me-a-spot-please game with my grocery delivery app and that keeps me on my toes.
Yes, you may put on some weight during this quarantine but are the scales the only thing you have got to worry about during this pandemic?
This lockdown is our golden chance to redefine what is “normal”. The female body has always been under scrutiny to be a certain way, then why are we hell-bent on driving home the point that thin is the only beautiful? In India, poor diet or malnutrition is such a big problem that no one cares to talk about eating disorders such as bulimia.
In a news report published in Pune Mirror, Dr Udipi Gauthamadas, says “Various studies of Indian school children have shown that disturbed eating attitudes and behaviours affect about 25 to 40 per cent of adolescent girls and around 20 per cent of adolescent boys. While on one hand there is increasing recognition of eating disorders in the country, there is also a persisting belief that this illness is alien to India. This prevents many sufferers from seeking professional help.” Dr Gauthamadas is a well-known Chennai-based neuro-behavioural medicine expert specialising in treating eating disorders. These observations were made in a pre-corona world. These numbers are bound to be very different under the current house arrest situation.
In India, poor diet or malnutrition is such a big problem that no one cares to talk about eating disorders such as bulimia.
And even if you are one of those who have hoarded and has food in abundance, a live-in house help to do your bidding, spend a minute thinking about the people who are on the mercy of government rations, who are getting beaten up for stepping out of the house. Who have left part of their families back in the villages of Bengal, Jharkhand or Bihar and come to your city looking for a steady income? Will you still find the jokes as humourous?
And even if you are one of those who have hoarded and has food in abundance, a live-in house help to do your bidding, spend a minute thinking about the people who are on the mercy of government rations, who are getting beaten up for stepping out of the house.
Isn’t it okay to exercise daily even if you are unable to burn as many calories as you want to? What we are facing is an unprecedented health emergency, a lot of us may come out of this after paying a heavy price. Can we not be more compassionate to others and ourselves too? Be proud of what we can do despite the hardships and pat our backs that we are doing the best we can.
The views expressed are the author’s own.