Healthy living under the pressure to be thin

By on January 29, 2013

Girls have stressed about their appearances since the beginning of time. From hair and makeup to clothes, we are expected to master each look perfectly. The latest fashion trend seems to include “size 0.” In America, the general measurements for a “size 0” is a 32” bust, a 23” waist, and 34” hips, but the term loosely refers to thin girls. Many women in the media and in television have set the trend by flaunting their skinny, runway-type bodies.

Healthy living is more than just abstaining from junk foods. Healthy take-out choices is one way to eat out without cheating a diet. MCT Campus

Healthy living is more than just abstaining from junk foods. Healthy take-out choices is one way to eat out without cheating a diet. MCT Campus

Looking skinny has gripped girls and women across the country. New diets, workout routines, and lifestyle tips to help lose weight reverberate on television and computer screens. Girls trying to lose weight suffer much heat from the media, however. Public opinion tends to depict all models as weight conscious and on the verge of anorexia. Anorexia and bulimia are both eating disorders, but also considered psychological disorders. The medical definition of anorexia is defined as the “obsessive desire to lose weight by refusing to eat.” Moreover, Bulimia is defined as a condition that involves binge-eating, followed by depression, vomiting, and purging. Between 50 to 60 percent of American teenage girls believe that they are overweight, yet only 15 to 20 percent of them actually are. Much controversy surrounds the European modeling industry because of deaths due to eating disorders. French model Isabelle Caro was the face of an anti-anorexia campaign. Weighing only sixty pounds at 5’4”, she suffered from anorexia since the age of 13. Using Caro’s emaciated body, the campaign aimed to shock women across the globe in hopes of preventing anorexia.

Yet, many women still want a skinny figure. There are, however, many ways to be in shape and look trim that don’t involve starvation, unreasonable diets, or vomiting. Eating is not a sin when it comes to looking trim but what you eat does determine how you look. Cutting down on unnecessary junk food, candy, and sodas limits excess calories. Replacing the oily fast food with a fresh salad and some fruit can make a huge difference as well. Processed foods are also loaded with salts and carbohydrates. Fruits and vegetables are low on calories and high on nutrients, making them a healthy alternative that keeps you full.

Exercise is also a key player in looking good: it results in burned calories and new muscle, a double advantage. Many people have New Year’s resolutions to eat healthier and hit the gym. Even though most people break their resolutions within the first few months, if people who want to be healthier design a routine for food and exercise, they can transform their lifestyle into a healthy one. All this requires is motivation.

Being slim and in shape can be a healthy and happy experience for women of all ages around the world. Eating disorders are self-destructive and only a temporary way to be thin, whereas diet and exercise are sustainable ways for women to be comfortable with their weight and appearance.

Natasha Mehra
Staff Writer
nmehra16@uab.edu

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