“I decided to go on a strict diet. I cut out alcohol, all fats and sugar. In two weeks I lost 14 days.” —Tim Maia
A Mighty Girl brought this Toronto campaign by the National Eating Disorder Information Centre (NEDIC) of Canada to my attention. It reads: “For years, body image among girls and women has taken a hit from the beauty industry’s ubiquitous message that ‘skinny is hot’ and any other look is ‘not’. Now is your chance to send the beauty industry a message. If you think it’s time fashion editors and lifestyle advertisers broadened their definition of beauty and inspired us with a range of different shapes and sizes, ditch one or all or your women’s magazines through the slot on the other side of this transit shelter.”
The NEDIC reports that 81% of 10-year-old girls are worried about being fat, and findings from Project EAT (population-based study of approximately 5000 teens) found that more than half of girls and one-third of boys engage in unhealthy weight control behaviors (e.g., fasting, vomiting, laxatives, skipping meals, or smoking to control appetite).
What are we doing to ourselves?
That’s why I appreciate a step taken by the Dovercourt Community Centre here in Ottawa. They removed weight scales from changing rooms. Bravo!
The reason they give: “. . . it’s [body weight] simply not a reliable indicator of overall fitness.”
Too many people obsess about “the number,” and in many cases the number a person obsesses about is not a healthy one for their body type or overall life plan.
Dovercourt is interested in the health and fitness of patrons, so they suggest this:
“If you need a number to set your sights on, consider this: practice girth measurements with a cloth tape measure. Start by recording the measurements of your chest, torso, hips, and arms, and revisit those measurements in comparison after a number of weeks. Even better, keep a record of your resting heart rate moments after waking each day, and see how that number lowers over time, after increasing your cardiovascular threshold. Monitor the weight you’re able to lift over time, and increase that weight as it becomes easier to handle over a set number of repetitions. And feel free to keep a note of how those clothes fit; if the number on the tag continues to bother you, cut it off and keep on moving. If you must weigh yourself, avoid checking daily, and take it with a grain of salt: a healthy diet combined with cardiovascular exercises and resistance training is a key to success, and the best measure is feeling good, inside and out.”
Good advice. And if you want to get rid of those magazines that portray a narrow definition of Photoshopped beauty, NEDIC has the perfect place for them.
Read the full Dovercourt notice here: A Weighty Issue: Where has the scale gone?