MYTH: Being skinny automatically means that you’re healthy…
Every single day we are bombarded with pictures of skinny, smiling models, celebrities and stars, and each image is subconsciously telling us that to be happy, healthy and smiling like the person in the picture, we have to be skinny.
Unfortunately this is sending horribly mixed messages to the general population and has blurred the idea of true health. I am quite sure that eating next to nothing, smoking (as many celebrities do) and partying way too hard is NOT healthy and not a good way to live. Just because these people are thin and have lots of money doesn’t mean we should follow their examples. Some celebrities have interviews and in an attempt to seem more like an average person they boast about what they eat for treats. Whether they do or they don’t eat bad food shouldn’t dictate what we eat. This pressure to be thin is increasing every day and causing the spread of diseases such as bulimia and anorexia. These diseases are not just a teenage girl thing either, they affect people from all walks of life and are have severe impacts on the quality of life and health of the sufferer.
In many ways this pressure to be thin has created a whole new market entirely, and nowadays we see thousands of diet books, diet programs, meal replacements and fads all promising you the body of a Victoria Secret’s model. Some of the weird and wonderful diets and fads include the cookie diet, the cranberry juice diet, the 500-calorie per day diet just to name a few. I will let you in on a little secret…THEY WON’T AND DON’T WORK! Most diets are based on some kind of caloric restriction, which in a way is beneficial because eating a huge amount of calories each day won’t do you any good. But eating to few calories can be just as harmful. Also lots of these fad diets promise weight loss by just eating one type of food. This is never good because you need a wide and varied diet to receive all the nutrients essential for preventing disease, boosting immunity and maintaining good health.
If you have eaten ice cream and McDonald’s all your life, then you lose 50 kilograms on a diet, if you go back to eating ice cream and McDonald’s YOU WILL PUT IT BACK ON! It seems obvious but so many people try to use diets as a quick way to lose lots of weight, then once they have lost it they return to eating poorly. The only ‘diet’ if I must call it that, that will work is a sustainable, life-style change.
The other huge misconception in terms of health is that weight is the only and most important measure of good health. This is not true. Firstly, weight is affected by a number of factors such as height, body build, ratio of muscle to fat and many others. A tall person will obviously be a bit heavier than a petite person, in the same way a muscly person will weigh more than a person with little muscle. Weight is just one part of overall health, and although it is very important that you’re not overweight or obese, it’s not the be all and end all.
True health comes from eating a balanced diet, full of fresh and organic fruit and vegetables, lean protein, good fats, avoiding processed, sugary, junk, fake or just plain chemical food and doing plenty of exercise. Each person is different, depending on how much physical activity you do, your age, your energy needs and whether you are trying to lose, gain or maintain weight, the daily calorie intake will vary enormously. Calories are just one factor of health, but probably more importantly is the nutritional content of the foods you eat. In the ideal world everything you consume would be nourishing and natural and the people we would look up to would be the true health and nutrition experts.
I stress again, skinny doesn’t equal healthy. Some people are programmed to be naturally thin no matter what they eat, and others have a body that will always be on the larger side, this doesn’t mean anything! If you eat a beautiful and balanced diet, do plenty of exercise and live a balanced life your body has the ability and will sit at the perfect weight and size for you and will be free of disease and injuries. This is the true measure of health, not whether you look like the movie star on the cover of your favourite magazine.
P.S. To be clear, not all celebrities and models are horridly unhealthy. Many do lead by example by eating a clean and nutritious diet and partaking in lots of good exercise. We should cherish and celebrate these individuals, and not worry about what others eat.