Anorexia – the new fat ?

posted in: Health | 0

Ok so the title is a little ‘off’ but equally its not as misleading as we all hope it would be.

Not just today but for many years, a large proportion of women and young girls in America and Europe are starving themselves to look like the models they see on cat walks, fashion magazines and television in the presumed belief that this is what they should look like.

I am sure most people would say they do this also to ‘look good for their man’ or to ‘get a man’ but personally I think some women at least have progressed a lot over the years and they do it to feel good about themselves.

Either way it’s misguided and all the aforementioned sources should be held accountable for their actions.

Personally as a man living in the UK my personal opinion of what looks ‘good’ is an athletic build with a little extra ‘fill’ so as to avoid the muscular ‘stick’ look.

According to viren.swami of the Department of Psychology, University College of London in the UK. research shows us that if we were a bit hungrier things would be different. In parts of the world where food is in short supply men are much more attracted to women with ‘heavier’ figures.

Photo manipulation

Adobe Photoshop has also taken a lot of abuse over the years, with magazines using it manipulate photo’s of beautiful and make them unrealistic perfect women, to be honest they may as well of just used 3D modeled women given the vast array of changes they make.

Personally I think the hatred of the software by the average Joe and is misplaced and it should of course be directed at the magazines etc that use it but newspapers that pump out this rubbish are after big headlines to get more readers as long as their stories have an element of truth that’s all that seems to matter to them. More readers equals more sales, which is understandable to be fair but I don’t see whats wrong with printing the whole truth as far as is possible.

model Rosie Nelson photo by bbc
Rosie Nelson at number 10
Rosie Neson at Number 10 - Image by Getty
In the News

In 2015 model Rosie Nelson was asked to slim “down to the bone” handed a petition to the government calling for better healthcare in the modelling industry.

At the time she was 21 years old, size eight when she was told by a top agency to slim down further.

She said she was “really excited” that her 113,000-signature campaign had attracted so much support. Ms Nelson gave evidence at a parliamentary inquiry into modelling and health issues.

Bullying in schools

(from 29 March 2017)

Professor Dieter Wolke and Dr Kirsty Lee, in the Department of Psychology, discovered that teenagers who are involved in bullying in any way – from bullies, to their victims, to those who both bully and get bullied – are more likely to develop concerns about their eating and exercise behaviours, and become preoccupied with losing weight.

Professor Wolke
Professor Wolke

Almost 2800 adolescents in UK secondary schools were screened for involvement in bullying, through self and peer assessment.

A sample of those involved in bullying – around 800 teenagers – was analysed for eating and exercise thoughts and behaviours, self-esteem levels, body image and emotional wellbeing.

They were asked to complete established questionnaires – such as Rosenberg’s Self-Esteem Scale, the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire, the Body Esteem Scale for Adolescents and Adults, and the eating behaviours component of the Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Assessment.

Results from these tests showed that 42% of bullies have extreme preoccupation with weight-loss, as well as 55% of bullying victims, and 57% of teens who both bully and are bullied. This is compared with adolescents who have no involvement with bullying – 35% of those are obsessed with losing weight.

The researchers say that bullies are preoccupied with weight-loss because they are driven by the desire to be the most attractive, strongest and fittest.

Victims of bullying suffer from reduced psychological functioning due to being picked on – causing weight-loss obsession, chronically low self-esteem levels, and eating disorders.

Teenagers who are bullied, and also bully their peers – bully-victims – have the highest pre-occupation with weight-loss and are most likely to develop eating disorders, as well as other psychological problems.

Bully-victims are doubly affected, by both the desire to be attractive, strong and popular, and the psychological harm and lowered levels of self-esteem which come from peer victimisation.

From the results of this research, Professor Wolke argues that clinicians dealing with victims of peer bullying should directly target their emotional wellbeing, and issues with self-esteem and body image.

Professor Wolke comments:

“Bullies are bi-strategic – they want to be popular by being dominant though bullying but also want to look good”.

“In contrast those who are bullied, the victims, are occupied with weight because they have poor body and self-esteem and are emotionally stressed and hope that looking good might make them feel better.

“If we could reduce bullying, it would help to improve self-worth, body image, wellbeing and healthy ways of keeping fit.”

The research, ‘Does psychological functioning mediate the relationship between bullying involvement and weight loss preoccupation in adolescents? A two-stage cross-sectional study’, is published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity.

It is co-authored by Alexa Guy and Jeremy Dale. 

Whilst the research from Professor Dieter Wolke and his team is very disturbing I think what makes this whole situation worse is the fact eat not all of those being bullied are obese in the first place.

Teens that are a few pounds above the ‘new norm’ are being pushed into losing excessive weight and in worse case scenarios becoming anorexic.

The perfect build

It not for me to say what the perfect build is and what I am about to say may sound weird or bizarre at best but personally I think its ironically quite accurate.

The guide for (most) dogs to be at their perfect weight is to be able to feel the ribs but not see them, from my perspective I think this applies to humans as well and I suspect if you think about it you will too.

The internet is filled with the ‘best methods’ to achieve this goal in its most simplified form is to eat healthy and exercise regularly and most of them do not require a big income.

Final notes

I think that most people that think they are overweight (whether they are or not) have depression on some level which makes the step to improving their life-style that extra bit more challenging.

Its often said ‘a healthy body equals a healthy mind, but I think a healthy mind goes a long way to helping you get a healthy body.

Feed back and constructive criticism is always welcome