Everywhere I look at the moment someone is talking about one extreme or the other when it comes to weight. It isn't because I work in the health industry, it isn't because January is coming to a close and we have all spent a month going crazy for fad diets (although that is no doubt a factor), it is bigger than that, and it is really quite scary.
This week reports on the news have talked about rising rates of anorexia - terrifying observations such as children as young as eight showing signs of the illness, that as many as half of young girls skip meals with the explicit aim of slimming down, and that around one in 250 women and one in 2000 men are thought to suffer an eating disorder as a teenager. It isn't as though it's all at a wonderfully abstract distance - it's in everyday dialogue - someone I know gloried in the 'rexy' girls at the gym at the weekend, the phrase coined by Kate Moss to mean incredibly skinny and sexy.
All of this runs parallel with a study that says that up to two million people in England could be eligible for weight loss surgery and the belief that the prevalence of childhood obesity has doubled in the last 25 years. How we all manage to get up in the morning and know whether we are coming or going baffles me.
On typing 'anorexia' into Google, the third predictive suggestion that comes up is 'anorexia tips'; I don't think it is a weight problem that we have, I think it is a deeply ingrained social one that is having a devastating effect on national health. The worst part about all of this is the impact it must be having on quality of life, not just physically but psychologically - from anyone in the midst of a serious disorder to those on the periphery who feel under constant pressure to be 'better' somehow. It's worrying.
With headlines like these I thank my lucky stars that there are people like Natasha Devon at Body Gossip, Rosi Prescott at the Central YMCA, and Jo Swinson MP at the Campaign for Body Confidence pioneering a change in attitude; a helpful and positive perspective rather than a derisory or aggressive one, to help secure a long-term change in the way we feel about ourselves and subsequently treat both ourselves and one another. These are the people from whom I take inspiration with the message behind the marketing at Spabreaks.com, endeavoring to make well-being accessible and enjoyable and friendly.
Natasha Devon has often said in the past that in her opinion people who feel good about themselves look after themselves - a simple, but shrewd, cyclical observation as far as I am concerned, and the reason I stand by my belief that health and wellbeing are not things that should be seen as luxuries, or things to fit in at the end of the day.
We need to find a way to help everyone, ourselves included, to build wellbeing into our everyday, to take for it and for ourselves. It isn't selfish, it isn't decadent, it's vital.