Posted by Nicole Behnam
Will becoming skinny really make us happier? The amount of times my girlfriends and I have concluded that losing weight was the answer to our problems is truly outstanding.
Every time I hear someone say “I feel so guilty” after enjoying a meal, a combination of pity and disgust brew in my mind. Why are feelings of guilt, shame, and anxiety arising after people eat? How did the excitement of our parents buying us an ice-cream cone transform into hesitation towards salad dressing?—“On the side, please.”
Girls, we’re getting too thin. The body relies on fat for energy. Your aim should be your health, not the approval of insecure women who view the game of getting thin as a competitive battlefield. You’ll never win. Let them deal with the insanity and pangs of jealousy that accompany a desire that eventually turns into a disease—anorexia.
The social media world has created a den of comparison through which girls spend hours scrolling through pictures of models with abs of steel and arms the size of toothpics, which, by the way, were “retouched.”
Ponder the root of your desire to be thin, and there you will discover the unnecessary underlying motivation for a goal that will hurt you more than help you in the end. Are your friends cleansing, dieting, and going to the gym at an unnatural, excessive rate? Are you comparing yourself to girls with abnormally thin, childlike bone-structures? And at what point did you somehow reach the conclusion that maintaining 97 lbs was the answer to what really is… a self esteem issue.
Unfortunately, our confidence issues do not end at weight. After you’ve lost enough weight, the constant urge to compare yourself will remain with you. Your face will lose its baby fat, and you’ll want your cheekbones back. Your hair won’t look as healthy due to a lack of nutrition, and you will eventually feel the pain of what it’s like to be borderline anorexic. It’s never over. There is always something else you’ll want to fix or improve.
How shallow our world is, that maintaining appearance has become almost everything to women. Being thin may impress other women, but polls and statistics show that most people, especially men, prefer curvy and voluptuous women to women who look like stick figures.
For anybody who has, until now, contended that girls who are thinner and prettier have more friends, get more attention, and are ultimately happier—consider this: How many times have you heard about women who may have looks and aesthetic appeal, but were dismissed for lacking personality and depth?
Looks may get you in the door faster, but personality will determine whether you stay. If you’re going to choose between working on confidence and personality or your weight and aesthetic appeal, choose the former first, because your esteem will shine through.
Take it from the girls who have suffered so much that they were admitted to hospitals for eating disorders. Virtually every story or documentary will highlight the same premise: that if self-esteem and confidence were present, the victim of anorexia would have thrived and achieved her personal goals instead of suffering and being tube-fed just to stay alive.
This example may sound extreme, but this is where we are headed if we don’t fix our body image issues.
Surely, the modeling industry hasn’t helped us much either, but even they are catching on. Israel has become the first country to legislate minimum weights for fashion models. And this is purely because of the proliferation of eating disorders causing mental health problems and even deaths all over the world.
In her article, “The Mind of an Eating Disorder,” Kelcey Zakarese writes:
Food is just something we have control over when life throws you things you can’t control like sick relatives, shitty friends, or a bad economy. When you know that you can at least have control over your weight, life seems a little more tolerable. Yet in the end, it only makes everything darker.
I hope that one day I can sit down to a meal and not worry about thinking what it will do to my body. I hope that one day I can wake up and not tempt myself to step on a scale and cringing at the number that appears before me. I hope that one day I can go out with friends and binge on pizza and enjoy it instead of throw it up hours later. I hope that one day I will overcome my eating disorder. I hope one day my mind becomes free.
I’m all for looking beautiful, reaching a goal weight through healthy means, and feeling good about yourself, but take it from someone like Kelcey, who knows what it’s like to reach the depths of this eating disorder. Let go of the obsession. Free your mind. This issue was not meant to stress us and drive us up a wall.
10.30.13 at 6:36 pm | Twitter has enabled us to read news headlines. . .
9.3.13 at 5:35 pm | We are going to be spending a lot of time at. . .
6.25.13 at 1:54 pm | Unfortunately, our confidence issues do not end. . .
4.22.13 at 8:29 pm | As for the bouncers and promoters whose only form. . .
4.12.13 at 5:40 pm | We weren’t built to sit at our desks or scroll. . .
2.5.13 at 1:33 am | He tried to cut himself off immediately. He even. . .
12.22.11 at 12:31 am | People often joke that a New Year's resolution is. . . (58)
12.2.12 at 11:23 pm | Leah passed away due to a sudden stroke. I. . . (9)
8.8.12 at 4:04 pm | Rarely have I spent a day out of the house. . . (9)
April 22, 2013 | 8:29 pm
Posted by Nicole Behnam
Determined to make your way in through a sloppy crowd, you start talking to the bouncers and dropping promoter’s names with your ID in hand, hoping to reverse their permascowls. It doesn’t matter if it’s your best friend’s birthday, or that you’re Sam Nazarian’s “cousin.” It’s 12am on a Saturday night and you’re not an anorexic blonde.
And as for the bouncers and promoters whose only form of power lies in vetoing the unattractive or poorly-dressed who are merely trying to have a good time, they will likely categorize you abruptly and pay no further attention unless you’re willing to spend at least $600 on a table. Is this not a form of prejudice? Look around and you will occasionally see desperate hopefuls who have been ditched by their friends as well.
It’s sad, really. Welcome to Los Angeles.
How clubbing has somehow become an integral part of an Angeleno’s weekend is baffling. The club regulars seem to have no hobbies other than "popping bottles." And a majority of these people are uncomfortable dancing or letting loose without any alcohol. The club is the ultimate venue for the passionless—for people who are often so overly-eager to pick up a stranger because they feel there is no other outlet through which they can meet another person with a shared common interest.
Even the fancy white tufted couches don’t make the idea of dancing provocatively seem remotely classy or alluring. To tolerate the thumping bass—so loud that when you walk out, you experience a constant ringing in your ears—requires a certain level of alcohol buzz.
A group of friends who party at clubs to celebrate once in a while is understandable, but for the people who attend clubs regularly, they’re out to find happiness, companionship, and temporary escape where it doesn’t exist.
I’m no Saturday-night elitist, and I’ve definitely spent enough of my Saturday nights in Los Angeles nightclubs to know what they’re like. But a thoroughly enjoyable weekend for me involves conversations and laughing and good food with friends and family. I’m sure most of us would rather sit around with our friends and exchange funny stories than wear uncomfortable clothes and shoes hoping to catch someone’s eye in the unbearable darkness that is somehow essential to the club’s atmosphere.
A club is like Physical Education class, where one person’s worth depends on being “chosen” by another similarly-lonely stranger who finds you physically adequate. How flattering. Is this how you want to meet people? Even online dating provides more information than your 30-minute drunken encounter. Think about it before you decide to become a club regular.
April 12, 2013 | 5:40 pm
Posted by Nicole Behnam
"Successful people never worry about what others are doing." -Unknown
Log in to your Facebook account and you will seldom notice a self-deprecating post on your Newsfeed. Nobody wants to share with their friends the inevitable failures or pitfalls that occur routinely, and why should we?
The biggest mistake we make is unconsciously affirming the notion that our social media worlds (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, et al.) represent real life.
Graduations, job promotions, engagements, weddings, college acceptances, baby showers, bachelorette parties, and pictures of lavish vacations are daily reminders that we are not currently enjoying the same luxuries. As we scroll down, we feel compelled to “like” all of these posts, but secretly—very secretly—we are wondering when our time will come, and why our lives aren’t as exciting.
We weren’t built to sit at our desks or scroll through our phones, reading the overwhelming heaps of useless intel about other people—we were meant to LIVE.
But even as I write this, I sense a mild hypocrisy within myself. My cell phone is almost always within reach, and I cannot avoid my computer, because my job requires me to use it. So I am compelled to check my social media accounts, and I’m even guilty of posting at least once per week.
So what’s the solution? How can we separate ourselves from a generation that thrives on cell-phones, social media, and multiple apps?
The answer is Mindfulness—paying attention to what’s happening in the present moment, by channeling our bodies, feelings, and our minds. In a recent Los Angeles Times article, I read that a Professor at Claremont’s MBA program takes 15 minutes per day during his lecture to teach his students the art of mindfulness.
Google has offered mindfulness training to its employees for years as well; The reason being that mindfulness helps tune out distractions and enforces a healthier “work mode” as well.
If you’re dating your cell phone or your laptop, break up with it. But before you do, look up mindfulness and learn how to routinely exercise this lesser-known phenomenon.
Our generation deserves better—we deserve to be happier and undisturbed.
January 15, 2013 | 1:18 am
Posted by Nicole Behnam
Are antidepressants being prescribed too often and too much? Has the definition of clinical depression become too broad? And why are mass shootings now being linked to antidepressant use? The risk that antidepressants will ignite violent or self-destructive behavior has been the subject of renewed controversy.
After evidence that several gunmen involved in mass shootings were taking antidepressants during the time of their outburst, a number of threads have been appearing on the Web regarding this issue, but the media refuses to bring it up.
After all, companies like Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline might stop advertising with news outlets if this notion is ever addressed, or even worse, researched in depth.
Under the influence of three powerful constituencies—the pharmaceutical industry, the social work industry, and the psychotherapy industry—along with their handmaidens—the government, the media, and advertising—it has become exceedingly difficult for people to believe that unhappiness might just be an ordinary reaction to unpleasant circumstances.
Because of false advertisements, millions of people per year are tricked into renaming their unhappiness “depression.” Even a television advertisement could lead you to believe that you are clinically depressed.
Leading questions like “feeling tired and hopeless?” are geared toward subconsciously convincing people that any given pill can cure all of their symptoms.
But try reading about the symptoms and reactions caused by these pills. Suicidal–and perhaps homicidal—thoughts are almost always prevalent in the long lists of side effects written in small print on a flimsy sheet of paper folded several times over.
Many psychiatrists have admitted that antidepressants may also cause manic or aggressive behavior, especially for those who are prone to bipolar disorder. So why are tens of millions Americans taking antidepressants?
Instead of solving their problems and building resilience, people are choosing to medicalize their situations in hopes of finding a simpler solution through a happy pill that will miraculously banish symptoms of what is probably just conditional unhappiness. While some people may need them, it shouldn’t be so easy for everyone to obtain these drugs.
Of course, depression is a serious illness, and those who are truly afflicted with the disorder should seek help. But it is important to consider that perhaps advertising has allowed the mental health and pharmaceutical industries to turn human unhappiness into a cash cow through these medications—and at a cost we cannot accurately measure.