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Jewish Journal

Dying to be Skinny | What’s Really Going On?

by Nicole Behnam

June 25, 2013 | 1:54 pm

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.

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