Tag Archives: diet

Fit for danger

So last night a friend shared a diet that was followed by an actress in preparation for a film role. Having followed various links on same subject it is easy to see how quickly the initial article has been disseminated in to the wider world, with the message becoming blurred.

The reason my friend shared it was her concern over young girls coming accross this article, and more like it and influencing them. Girls look toward images presented to them in the various mediums, whether it is via social media, TV, film, magazines for idea of what they should look like. As girls grow up, they look around, outside their own immediate family, and peer group to understand what is normal, social norms, what is considered attractive.

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When you are told a diet that works is 80% just fruit and veg with the images next to it of the actress having lost 12 lbs … it sounds like the perfect solution. It seems deceptively simple and easy to stick to. So of course, this will be a great idea to shift those imaged layers of fat. But it is a diet. Diets are short term. Many athletes use diets when training. You only have to follow someone like Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson on social media to understand the importance diet has when training. Actually please follow him, he genuinely is an inspiration.

We see it all the time as well on shows like Strictly Come Dancing, where the contestants lose weight, but what is actually happening is that they are toning up. Because they are dancing around 8 hours a day 5 or 6 days a week including the performances. This isn’t something most people will be able to replicate. It is an unrealistic look for people to attain.

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We need to change what we present to people, instead of advertising a quick fix, maple syrup diets, 80% diets that work in short terms, CRASH diets by any other name as a normal, and healthy way to get the body you want. Instead of focusing on the shape and size of the body, the focus should be on healthy living, doing things that make you happy and finding passion in your life, about spending time outside, finding a sport that you enjoy and doing it with friends, about healthy choices with food. It shouldn’t be about the size of your waist, thigh gaps, how prominent your hips or rib cage is.

The focus should be on healthy attitudes and eating, on being healthy, active and moderation. Of course there will always be sensational articles and sales pitches to do something quickly, to cheat, articles will be misquoted and torn up to suit an agenda. But if we can change the conversation so that teenagers see messages that are predominantly positive, so they are going to be able to make more educated choices about their life, so they are able to make more informed choices. So your body is not the most important thing in all transactions.

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A body of expectation

So in the show, and I guess, a follow on from my Body Shaming post a few weeks ago…. unrealistic expectations of body image. 

The images we see everywhere, in films, on TV, in advertising…. it is all smoke and mirrors, even day to day, people wear slimming aids, support wear, enhancing underwear, and dress to suit their shape. 

When you look at yourself in the mirror? Are you happy? I know I am not, some people look fantastic naked – others… (like me) look much better in clothing. And I mean that from a personal perspective. I don’t make a habit of looking at people naked, but all those I have seen in a state of undress look fantastic! For example, the always stunning Aura – she is a fantastic model – check out her page : Aura – Alt Model and I love seeing what she has come up with. But don’t get me wrong, I don’t look at her with any jealousy!

But when we are subjected to images from every direction it is easy to start doubting yourself, so it is important to make sure you understand the work that goes into the images you are seeing – for example, Victoria’s Secret Angels that walk in the VS catwalk show are contracted for 12 months, where personal trainers, chefs, physiotherapists, nutritionists are all on hand to make sure that they are on top form for their show. They aren’t living the same life as many of us. 

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Then we have people like Liz Hurley and Elle Macpherson who are refusing to let age be anything but a number. Liz quotes ; ‘it’s part of my job description to not be too fat. As you get older you have to make more effort’. She apparently avoids sweets, bread, pasta, cheese and crisps. For both these women, it is vital to their career to make sacrifices. 

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But more and more, we hear that children are thinking they need to diet – you know something is wrong. It is important to make sure that children understand the work that goes into looking so good. There is a rise in eating disorders in children. Reading more and more stories of people having ribs removed so they can have a more slender waist. The models, people in the public eye, like Liz are role models, but as much as they can do interviews and explain what does into their daily regime, people do need to make sure they take this in, and it filters down to the next generation. We need to start looking toward out athletes to provide a good role model for not only children, but everyone. Is there any other industry that has such a varied range of bodies, in both men and women? Any other industry where you body will not be judged on the outside alone? Where strength, commitment and endurance are lauded? So while I am not for a moment knocking the hard work the ladies I have mentioned already in this post, maybe we can look at people like Jessica Ennis-Hill as role models?

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Jessica Ennis-Hill competes in the womens long jump during the Loughborough European Athletics Permit Meet at Loughborough University, Loughborough.

What I am trying to say, is that transparency is great, and we need it. But you need to be honest with yourself. You need to be prepared to do some work. By blaming models for their bodies, is body shaming. It isn’t okay just because they are slender, and tanned, that they are tall, they work hard, and although I wish society would not put so much pressure on women to conform, beating each other up about it is not going to change anything! 

Remember, you are beautiful, you are strong, and it is your body. You are the only person that should matter when making any decisions with regard to your body, how you dress, how you eat. It does mean you take responsibility. It also means, appreciate the work that goes into that ‘perfect’ body you wish you had. Don’t try and find something negative when looking at WWE’s Naomi – just remember all the training, bumps, bruises, all the missed holidays, all the nice food she won’t be treating herself.

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