It’s not good to obsess about your weight. We all know that. We all also know that we live in a weight-obsessed culture where being fat is wrongly equated with being lazy, stupid, lacking self control, and even dishonesty. Where fat people are villified, skinny celebs can do no wrong despite being caught on camera boozing it up, neglecting their children, and saying outrageous things. The fact is that your weight does not determine your character. We know this and yet we still believe the popular media myth if we were thin, then everything else would be right. We’d be smart, have glamorous jobs, make witty conversation at black-tie cocktail parties and, natch, be having all of the sex.
What is the price of all these mental go-rounds? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (you know, the folk who remind you to get your flu shot every year? Which, btw, I totally did. And I still got the flu.), people who worry about their weight
are more likely to feel physically and/or mentally unhealthy, even causing them to take more sick days. Although both genders were affected, unsurprisingly, the results were more pronounced in women.
Why would we worry so much about being skinny, even at the expense of our health? Here’s one answer
from Personal Trainer to the Stars, Gunnar Peterson:
“I had one actress who trained with me and took six Spin classes a week. And all she ate was lettuce and Swedish Fish. When the press asked her how she’d “transformed” her body, she said, “Oh, I do yoga and hike with my puppy.” That made me laugh. Don’t lie about how much you work out, because other women are going to think, I walk my dog, why don’t I look like that?”
“One client I had would stave off eating as long as she could — it was just coffee, coffee, coffee all day. She’d have a practically zero-calorie salad in the afternoon, skip dinner then go booze with her friends. Her organs were so stressed that when we trained together, I could literally hear her heart pounding away in her chest. Working out was a waste because she was so exhausted.”
Skinny Does Not Equal Healthy
Just like skinny does not automatically make someone more loveable, more honest, or more intelligent, it does not equate to health either. The New York Times sums it up nicely:
“We need to re-engineer what public health agencies are telling people,” said Dr. Peter Muennig, the lead author and an assistant professor at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia. “The ‘diet and exercise’ part is good, but the ‘get thin’ part may be dangerous.”