I used to page through photo albums from my mom’s wild days and run my fingers over photos of unruly hair, frozen laughs and Taylor-Swiftesque skinny bodies with an almost nostalgic longing for the era of spandex, Top Gun and neon pink.
People in the 80s looked like bright, geometric, hair lollipops and well, only Taylor Swift has a Taylor Swift body today. Turns out there’s a good reason why!
The journal of Obesity Research & Clinical Practice rather depressingly discovered that people in the 80s were about 10% thinner than people today.
That’s right, a 25-year-old today will have to work a heck of a lot harder to be as skinny as a 25 year old in the 80s.
‘Our study results suggest that if you are 25, you’d have to eat even less and exercise more than those older, to prevent gaining weight,’ says Jennifer Kuk, a professor of kinesiology and health science at Toronto’s York University, in a statement about the study.
Hardly fair, is it? Its things like chemicals (think pesticides and food packaging) that might be, to quote The Atlantic , ‘tweaking the way our bodies put on and maintain weight.’
Increased use of anti-depressants (wonder why we’re sad!), eating more hormone-pumped meat (do I hear the banting bell?) and using sweeteners (to be skinny!) could all be leading to a new era of Michelin men.
And you know what, this makes me feel great! I can indulgently throw up my arms, turn on the Great British Bake Off and wait for Uber to deliver ice-cream without any pesky pangs of guilt.
On the other hand though... the study did say things about ‘working harder’. Working Harder. Meh. I’m not a fan of Working Harder. I’m a fan of Chilling Hard and Taking It Easy. And I’m a HUGE fan of big hair and skinny bodies. Gazing at photos of my mom at my age, looking completely fabulous (and without much effort, I know now!) gives me paroxysms of jealousy. Our moms had all the luck!
At least if we have to work harder to show our midriffs, it’s a lot easier these days. Right next to Uber on my phone is a nifty little thing called myfitnesspal; a food diary app that – when I use it (and this is the clincher) – really helps me shed the kilos.
Food diaries are a great way to lose weight because it’s strangely easy to mindlessly scoff throughout the day. If you’re forced to keep track of every bite… you take a lot less of them.
I wonder what my daughter will think, paging through, well, not a physical photo album but maybe my old Facebook albums. Will she lament how easy it was for ME to keep weight off?