Sorry for the missing posts this week! I’ve been working around the clock at both of my jobs, and the lack of sleep has given me a horrible cold. I’ve spent the last few days doped up on cold medicine, sleepy and confused. Fortunately, we’ve got BFDiva Becky to pick up some of my slack. Yay, Becky! Here is the article she brought to our attention. First, it talks about how much weight women in different weight categories would like to lose.
Although overweight and obese women expressed the greatest dissatisfaction with their bodies, the amount of weight they said they would “ideally” like to lose was so low that they would still be categorized as overweight, the researchers found… Meanwhile, “normal” weight women said they wanted to lose only a few pounds, rejecting the very thin images that we see glorified in fashion magazines, which also surprised the researchers…The same might not be said for the underweight women, who told researchers they believed they were at their ideal weight. “They didn’t seem to understand the health risks associated with being underweight,” she says. “We think that maybe once you get to be a member of this very thin group you get the kind of social messages that keep you there.”
The researchers talk a little bit about the implications of this, and imply that obese women should strive to be “normal” rather than just to lose a few pounds and be active. (Hmmph.) However, a more hopeful message comes at the end, where research basically dovetails quite nicely with the Big Fat Deal message of STOP HATING YOURSELF.
[O]verweight girls who were more comfortable with their bodies were less likely to gain weight as they entered young adulthood…girls who felt good about themselves were more likely to be physically active and pay more attention to what they ate. They didn’t lose much weight, but they made healthy lifestyle changes that at least prevented them from gaining more weight. Meanwhile, the researchers found that the girls who were the most dissatisfied with their size tended to become more sedentary over time and paid less attention to maintaining a healthy diet. Those who were unhappy with their bodies were, in fact, more likely to gain more weight. If the same holds true on a larger scale, then encouraging women to love and care for their bodies—even when they don’t match the Hollywood ideal—may be one way to reverse or at least slow the progression of the obesity epidemic.
This is certainly true of me. I used to be much more active and healthy before I started hating myself as a teen, thanks to puberty, peer pressure, and a horrible gym coach. I often wish I could go back in time and tell the younger me that I didn’t have to stop exercising and start binge eating. I would have been a healthier person in my 20s if I hadn’t given into those “you’re fat and disgusting” messages. I hope you are all treating the teenaged girls in your life with kindness. Go tell a teenager she’s beautiful! She might remember your words for a long, long time.
Posted by mo pie