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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

weight issues in the UAE... (I am dealing with it too!!)

back in the day before modernization,western fashion, television,film, etc... were the local women obsessing with their weight?

I grew up in the US and so I KNOW that girls and women are obsessing with theirs. I know because I have always obsessed over it and I have been loosing the battle BIG TIME and its depressing, but I have the power to change that and I am currently working on it, inshallah I will succeed.

I just have this strong feeling that although women have always obsessed about their beauty (or lack of)throughout the ages, before the modernization of UAE women did not obsess about weight. Even now many people still accept women with meat on their bones but I have a feeling it was even more accepted back in the day.

ever since I came here I have noticed how much the local women talk about their weight and/or the weight of other people.

from women I know online, I have seen plenty comment how people around them tell them they are so thin and they don't need to lose any weight, yet they think they need to lose.

the worst though, is when I hear people who are over our home talk about weight to younger girls. one girl at 12 years old is constantly hearing people make comments toward her. once she was eating something and as one woman walked by to take her seat to eat she told the 12 year old "that is what makes your butt big!" and this girl gets teased about her body shape/weight all the time especially because her brothers are super duper skinny and eat like crazy. this is all I have heard in front of me but I know she hears a lot from people commenting on her weight and how she needs to diet.

it is so so sad because she talks about her weight all the time. once I decided to take her with me to several different places and the pharmacies had scales. you have to pay 1 dirham for it and she weighed herself at all 3 places that had the scales. she found out I have a scale and now every time she comes to my room she wants to weigh herself.

once she told me when she was 11 yrs old, she heard her father (in a different room) tell her mother "daughter(her name) is getting fat--please do something about it"

she also wants people to acknowledge her dieting efforts. she was alternating staying at our place and at her grandmother's nearby in the neighborhood and everyday when we ate she would say "wow, did you see how little I ate? I get so full quickly nowadays. I just can't eat." and this wasn't just once that she pointed this out. it was after almost every single meal that week.

another time another family came to visit us for Eid Al-Fitr and their youngest daughter is around 10 or 11 years old. we were sitting around with other women and my MIL commented that she (the girl)should eat more and her mother, right in front of her, said "no, she is getting fat, her doctor said she is too fat and she has to loose weight" and the poor girl was obviously embarrassed but kept a smile on her face. I just felt so bad for her.

these girls are going to grow up obsessing about their weight. I know this because it happened to me with my step-family. and the thing with the obsession is not all girls try to lose weight in a healthy way. inshallah they will grow up and choose a healthy way to live to control their weight instead of constantly being on a diet or getting stuck in a cycle of gaining and losing weight now and then.

what makes me angry is that families put the burden on their children to have to be aware of their weight/body shape and to diet themselves while the families serve up foods that don't help with weigh-loss. families need to stay silent and create a more healthy environment in the home and the children won't even think about it and naturally have a healthy weight (barring those with genetic problems, obviously)
so the culture nowadays is moving away from wearing jalabiyas all the time. this is what the women have worn for centuries. now it is western clothing, the latest fashions like the skinny jeans that are in style right now.

this is so for many of the girls/women whether or not they wear the outer-garment properly over their clothing. All my sister-in-laws wear western clothing, and so do their friends.

for weddings it is no longer the fancy jalabiyas for many women too. it is tailored western fashion dresses/gowns or designer dresses/gowns.

if the youth are watching all of those music video channels, even the Arabic ones, they are seeing women dressing in skimpy clothing and dancing around. a lot of the youth watch western television programs and movies, and any of us Americans know how much being thin is emphasized with the celebrities in the US. also, the fashion magazines here are decked out with the latest western fashions and like in the West, the models are stick thin.

is this one of the consequences of modernization by emulating the West?


  1. It's really hilarious how these same women that want their girls to be tiny to make them more marriageable, hand them huge plates of kibbe and oily rice with lamb. And not to mention some buttery desserts for good measure.

    And then these same older women are generally rather large themselves. Sadly, they have silly ideas for dieting like wearing a huge belt that will make it hard to breathe or weird voodoo things like honey and garlic.

    Next thing you know ideas like Alli and the South Beach diet will take over. The problem is no one is eating organic food anyway from what it sounds like.

    I feel for you Twizzle I really do. I would be so tempted to say something to the 12 year old's dad. I love that despite living over there you are retaining the good things about American culture (i.e. eating healthy)

    Love you Twizzle!

  2. Twizzle,

    SubhanaAllah i find it so sad that that poor girl is being psychologically scarred at such a young age!

    Children remember the hurtful things said to them when they're young. Because of irresponsible comments, this young girl may end up with an eating disorder and may have a life-long struggle with her weight! She may even develop body dysmorphic disorder where she loathes her body!

    As for women in skimpy outfits dancing on TV, that kind of behaviour is unIslamic! It gives the impression to young girls that all you are is an object to be desired and that you should be skinny in order to succeed! Totally unhealthy attitude! Audhu'Billah!

  3. If I lost a pound for every time I called myself an Orca or fat I would weigh nothing at all.

    It is a highly unfortunate situation the world is creating for it's children.

    good post.

  4. Great story.. Yes, it seems that we should talk about healthy eating instead of weight loss or diets. Anyway the purpose of any diet is to move your eating habits to new healthy level.

    Thanks for sharing and possibility to comment! Welcome to visit Ideal Weight Blog to find some recipes and great articles! Thanks!

  5. owh this just remind me of myself. i still remember wen i was in final year in high school. im well know to b short where my height was 153 n my weight was 58kg! at 1st i didnt care but everywhere i go my family start to comment me saying that im fat n the make faces. i wass soo hurt. even when i wana buy new pants i couldnt fit in, i start to cry in the fitiing room saying im ugly n im fat. so i did this stupid diet which was super wrong. i start to keep my meals everyday.usually i dnt eat anything for my breakfast but once i come back from school i dnt eat my lunch n i just said im not hungry evntho i was. the only thing i ate is a small piece of chocolate because i know choc provide u energy. and i did it for almost 1 month. i weight myself

  6. continue:
    i was soo happy n shocked too see that i lost 11 kg for 1 month. but bcoz of the extreme weight lost i start 2 have other problems dats is pimples!! urgh. and here it goes, ppl start to comment about me , my family, my relatives, and outsiders n bcoz of that my mum force me to undergo facial treatment for 2 months.