Obesity is unhealthy, but anorexia is a killer too. And it is never a good idea for young people to go into starvation mode just to fit in and look fashionable. It can do more than make you weak, it can even kill you.
For many youngsters, fashion is like a mirror and it isn’t surprising that many young women today want to be stick-thin. They try to imitate movie celebrities and models they see on the ramps of fashion week. For years, the fashion brigade has peddled an unrealistic image of women as the epitome of feminine perfection. Thin was in. With time, it deteriorated to rail-thin and then to the anorexia chic.
Then came a wakeup call and the world realized that thin wasn’t all that right. A revolution of sorts occurred a few years ago when the organizers of the Madrid Fashion Week turned away underweight models. The widespread concern about girls and young women trying to ape the anorexic look and developing eating disorders to attain the look of the excessively thin models themselves finally reached a climax. With this line of thinking, there should actually be a collective sigh of relief among models and youngsters. The fashion industry is responsible for projecting an image of beauty and health, rather than the “crack chick” look. Young women need role models who look like real women and not like moving cloth hangers on the ramp.
Hate your Body?
It is tragic that in today’s world, the promotion of thin as the ideal has created a situation where the majority of girls and women don’t like the look of their healthy bodies. Body dissatisfaction has led girls to practice unhealthy behaviors to try to control weight gain. Semi-starvation and excessive physical activity will result in deficiencies of vital vitamins and minerals.
Infections, skin conditions, poor wound healing, low blood pressure, muscle wastage, heart problems, kidney damage and thinning of the hair on the scalp are just a few of the ill-effects. Excessive hair growth on the body, exhaustion, emotional fragility, depression, lack of energy and lethargy due to the low-energy content of their diet are some of the definite consequences.
The Negative Side of Diets
A low calorie diet usually leads to weight gain, rather than weight loss. Initially there could be a rapid weight loss, but the body then starts to slow down in order to conserve calories. Up to fifty percent of the weight that is lost is not fat, but lean muscle tissue because the body starts burning up its own muscles, as the fat tissue requires fewer calories to maintain than muscle tissue. The body thus ends up retaining more fat and burning more muscle as this is a natural defense mechanism designed to overcome the effects of a food shortage.
A very low calorie diet of less than 1000 calories can lead to serious nutritional deficiencies, involving extreme tiredness, bone weakness, skin and hair problems, as well as hormonal problems. One of the reasons that adults experience weight problems and ill health is because they follow drastic or unhealthy weight loss diets during their younger years. Dieting to reduce weight is not recommended until body growth, including all the internal physical development, has ceased, which usually happens around the age of 18.
Lose Weight the Healthy Way
If you’re fixed on losing weight, a wiser option would be to maintain a balanced, low-fat diet that provides sufficient energy through carbohydrates and all the protective vitamins, minerals, trace elements, essential fatty acids and bioflavonoids. A healthy daily diet should consist of a wide variety of foods providing your body with different nutritional contributions. Choose a variety of foods from the main food groups, fruits, vegetables, grains, lean meats and dairy products. The thumb rule being, foods high in complex carbohydrates, fibers, vitamins and minerals but low in fat and free of cholesterol. These should make up the bulk of the calories consumed. A healthy diet doesn’t mean depriving yourself of higher-calorific foods like ice cream, toffee, popcorn and cheeseburgers. You can enjoy these but in moderation or as occasional treats.
A sensible slimming program would be to eat six small meals. Eat in moderation once every two hours and do not skip meals. Exercise regularly and adopt weight training. And also, keep in mind that all of us have our limitations. Get realistic. Be healthy and fit instead of waif thin and sick. Our body shape is predetermined. Each one of us is one of a kind. You are your best model.
Staying in shape is a good thing, but suffering and killing yourself slowly just to look fashionably-in for a few years of your lifetime is just not worth the chance.