The Skinny on Healthy Eating

By: ROXANNA COLDIRON

Edited by: KELSEY CRUZ

“Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” was the quote heard ‘round the world from supermodel Kate Moss in a 2009 interview with Women Wear Daily. What Moss proudly stated as one of her mottos quickly made its way into the fashion world as a mantra, hoisted up for all self-conscious women (and men) to cower under. Weight loss issues and scandals permeate the media and have wormed their way into our psyche, affecting the decisions we make and the things we say. Newspapers bleed with stories about models losing their jobs because of weight gain, ‘fat’ celebrities who emaciate from a size ten to a size zero, and seven-year-old girls beginning diets. Advertisers tease us, placating the latest get-thin-quick scheme placed right next to an advertisement for cake. Food is our guilty pleasure and our frosted shame, and our health has been pushed to the sidelines in the pursuit for thinness – an unrealistic and unreasonable goal for many Americans.

Pick up any magazine or watch a few commercials on television, and you’ll quickly see that thin is in. Advertisers sell weight loss as a necessity for beauty and acceptance and claim that it is easily achievable if you buy their products. They use terms like ‘diet,’ ‘low-fat,’ and ‘low calorie’ to promote their food and get you to feel like you need it.

Asha Goodner, APRN, BC and the Director of Student Health Services at Hiram College in Ohio, says these labels “provide a false sense of security.”

Advertisers want us to believe that our bodies are never good enough, that we only achieve full happiness if we buy their products. Unfortunately, that misconception can also set us up for failure physically, mentally, and emotionally. If you’re unhappy with your body and constantly being bombarded with diet ads and magic pills, you’re going to turn to dieting and it’s often going to be done in an unhealthy way.

Although Caitie Whittingham, a student at Hiram College, is naturally tall and slim, she struggled with bulimia in high school. As her disease progressed, she often received compliments on her weight loss.

“I remember thinking (at 5’7″ and 82 pounds) that if I could just get into the ‘seventies’ (79 lbs. or less), I would be satisfied,” she says. “The fact that a lot of women constantly talk about weight and dieting did nothing to help aid my recovery from the disease.”

Fortunately, Caitie overcame bulimia through counseling and has changed her mantra from “[not] eating to be thin” to “eating to be healthy.”

The language of dieting pervades our consciousness. As women, we often discuss weight more than we discuss family, friends, work, and dreams. We’re obsessed with calorie counting and dress sizes, feeling more elated with a weight loss than a job promotion.

According to Goodner, calorie counting is not an accurate method for achieving weight loss and health goals because our bodies need calories in order to function.

“It’s the type of calorie that’s important,” she says. “Good types of calories are generally proteins and complex carbohydrates, found in lean meats, soybeans, and vegetables. Calories that come from sugar and processed foods are empty calories – the wrong kind of calorie.”

Once and for all, say goodbye to yo-yo dieting and say hello to maintaining a healthy lifestyle! Cleanses and fad diets give temporary results because you are starving yourself and depriving your body of key nutrients. But once the cleanse is over, your body is craving all the things you kept from it and you quickly put back on the pounds. However, if you add more fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean meat, fish, and exercise to your lifestyle, you will see lasting results.

“Healthy weight loss requires a lifestyle change,” says Goodner. “Losing more than one or two pounds a week is too drastic a change.”

Health is more important than a jean size. We can be the generation to change cultural misconceptions about our bodies.

PHOTO SOURCE

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