What comes to mind when you think of the word skinny? Is it a favorable feeling or negative?
My guess, based on my own experience on the weight roller coaster of life is that most of you associate skinny to an unobtainable dream or, if you're really persistent, you may end up coping with consequential eating disorders because of such unhealthy feelings associated with the word skinny.
In the article Why Do Women Hate Their Bodies, Carolyn Coker Ross, MD offers many insightful facts:
“In 1975 most models weighed 8 percent less than the average woman; today they weigh 23 percent less. Compared to the Playboy centerfolds and Miss America winners from the 1950s, at least one-quarter of present-day icons meet the weight criteria for anorexia. Meanwhile, the average woman’s weight has increased.
Whereas women used to look at role models who were average-sized, women are now comparing themselves with images (some of which are merely computerized conglomerations of body parts) that are unrealistically thin.”
She goes on to talk about the inappropriate messages instilled in our children from early ages based on unrealistic proportions of Barbie doll curves, the photo-shopped images in media, models with eating disorders portrayed as healthy, and learned behaviors from the adults in these children’s lives. If mom is always on a diet or mimics negative self-talk about her body image, how will these kids gain a healthy body-image?
In order to gain a healthy perspective of one’s body, the word skinny must be viewed in context to reality instead of a comparison to false advertised images. Skinny must be individualized and referred to as a healthy weight instead of an industry size 2. Skinny is different for someone with a larger body frame in comparison to a smaller framed person. This is reality.
In the fitness industry or with medical professionals, the Body Mass Index (BMI) is used to determine one’s healthy weight. Click here to view this chart. Find your height on the left and then your weight to the right to understand where you rate on this scale. Why do you care about this standard? Because by maintaining a healthy body weight you can offset crippling diseases that result in early loss of life.
The bottom-line here is that it is important to myth bust the societal disillusion of skinny based on its unhealthy portrayal and to rethink this term as an individualized healthy weight achievable to each of us.
Make sure your skinny goal is benched to your BMI instead of the negative marketing schemes and, as long as you’re trending in this favorable direction, pat yourself on the back for your healthy efforts!