Do you have to be beautiful to be loved? Song writer Al Dubin certainly thought so when he wrote his 1933 hit ‘Keep young and beautiful’ – ‘it’s your duty to be beautiful, if you wanna be loved’. No pressure then. Liz Hinds wonders if this is actually true or is inner beauty more important?
‘Forgive me for I have synned!’
‘What did you do, my child?’
‘I ate a whole box of Maltesers – and not a small box but a big box!
Although I did share them with Husband. By which I mean I gave him some. Well, a few … okay, not that many.’
The trouble with synning is that once you start it’s hard to stop. I suppose that’s true of sinning too. For those lucky people unfamiliar with the jargon I should explain: a syn is a dieting word, used by Slimming World dieters to measure those things you shouldn’t eat too much of. Things like Maltesers. Or cheese or bread or anything nice. No, I shouldn’t say that. Can you tell that I haven’t succeeded in changing my mindset yet? Which is what is required if you want to lose weight and keep it off.
I joined Slimming World last October after I’d seen my weight creep up and up and all my attempts to do it on my own at home had failed miserably. Since joining I’ve lost just over a stone taking me to my target weight. (It’s staying there that’s the problem!)
But why did I want to lose weight in the beginning? A number of people asked me that because I’m not – nor was I – obese or even particularly overweight. Even at my biggest I was still only just into the ‘Fat’ bit of the height/weight graph, hardly a health risk.
Careful dressing i.e. loose baggy clothes, allowed me to hide my flabby bits, but I knew they were there. I also knew that my weight would continue to rise if I didn’t take control, which is another aspect of it: being out of control isn’t a nice feeling.
So I wanted to lose weight before it got too much. But it’s more than that. I prefer how I look when I’m slimmer. It gives me more confidence. And when I’m more confident I’m happier.
But should how I think I look affect the way I feel?
I have a blog (for those unfamiliar with blogs, it’s like a diary but on the internet so anyone can read it) and when I headed one of my entries ‘I’m gorging not gorgeous’ I realised my thinking had gone a bit crazy.
I had fallen into that trap of thinking that extra weight and gorgeousness don’t belong together. Which perpetuates one of the biggest lies in the world: that gorgeousness depends solely on appearance, and appearance that is defined by the media at that.
But true beauty doesn’t depend on outward appearance; it comes from inside. Kahlil Gibran, a Lebanese artist and poet, wrote this: Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart.
In the bible, Peter, my favourite character because he’s a bit of a bumbler, commends a quiet and gentle spirit over make-up and jewellery for real beauty. When we know and can accept who we are, adored children of the Father, our spirit can be at peace, and when we have that contentment the radiance that shines from within makes us truly beautiful.
So to go back to my question, why do I feel better when I’m slimmer? If I am assured of God’s love why should I be bothered about how I look?
Whether we acknowledge it or not most of us do care what others think of us. Who hasn’t nipped to the local shop, on a bad hair day, in our scruffiest clothes and prayed that we won’t see anyone we know? It’s deeply ingrained in us. I suspect it goes back to cave men. Prehistoric man, driven by his subconscious desire to ensure survival of his species, chose his woman by the child-bearing potential of her hips. Just look at Fred Flintstone and Wilma. And it’s been the same, more or less, ever since.
‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it may be necessary from time to time to give a stupid or misinformed beholder a black eye.’
But this doesn’t mean that we should knowingly judge ourselves or others on appearance. Our inherent value is far more than that, far more than rubies the bible tells us. Worth the life of the son of God. Do I believe it? I’m working on it.
I’d love to hear what others think about the subject. You can find me on facebook.com/liz.hinds1 or on my blog at liz-and-harvey.blogspot.co.uk
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it may be necessary from time to time to give a stupid or misinformed beholder a black eye. Miss Piggy, The Muppets