Eighty-three per cent of young college women spend much of their time dieting, no matter what they weigh, according to a survey published in Nutrition Journals the US, while 45 per cent of American women are on a diet on any given day – statistics courtesy of newbellyfatburningtips.com. And the numbers of men doing the same thing grows every year, with 25 per cent of males on a diet on any given day.
By their teens, over half of girls practice unhealthy diet-related behavior, such as skipping meals, fasting or taking laxatives according to a US report in 2005.
A 2006 magazine survey of young women found that one in three thought about their body shape most of the time every day. This was not in a positive way but negatively, reducing their self-confidence, reinforcing their poor body image. Indeed, over half said their body image spoiled their sex lives.
Each time a woman or man embarks on a new diet to try to lose weight, and fails, or loses then regains the lost weight, this also reduces self-confidence and reinforces poor body image.
The Tyranny of Skinny; Are You At Risk?
Here are five key points to show when/whether you’re at risk from becoming (or are already) a victim of the tyranny of skinny, followed by some simple suggestions for how to change your behavior and/or thought patterns in order to escape:
You weigh yourself daily – perhaps even more often. You even check your weight on other people’s scales when you get the chance.
Compulsive weighing shows obsessive body-image problems and an irrational belief that measurable weight loss can take place in hours rather than over a realistic period of time. (In fact, short-term weight loss can only be comprised of body fluids, rather than fat.)
If you’re a hyper scale-hopper you should, at least in the short term, throw out the scales, rely only on looser feel of waistbands for a sense of weight loss, and concentrate on how you feel (e.g. more alert, less breathless, more stamina), rather than how you look or what you weigh.
You avoid a long list of behaviors or circumstances (e.g. buying new clothes or applying for a new job, ditching the dead-end boyfriend) and tell yourself you will allow these to happen once you are at what you consider a suitable weight.
The belief that your life is ‘on hold’ until you lose weight, and that overweight is intimately linked with what you are allowed to do in terms of success, goals, experiences, is a dangerous, but extremely common one.