Thursday, 11 September 2014

Myths About Food, Weight, and Body Image

A survey by Dáil na nÓg in 2012 found that a third of Irish youths are dissatisfied with their body image. Peer pressure, advertising and bullying impact negatively on how young men and woman in Ireland perceive their body image. This problem is exacerbated by the many myths about body image that are now common place in everyday discourse. Below is an extract from an article from University of Alberta Health Centre examining these myths:

“Probably one of the healthiest things we can do for ourselves--whether we are male or female--is to learn to accept and appreciate the bodies we have right now. We need to be kind to ourselves, to nourish ourselves with foods that will build health and strength.

Perform a radical act--throw out your scale and refuse to diet ever again. Your body knows what it needs. Learn to listen to it, eat what you know is good for you, cut your consumption of dietary fats, and get regular moderate exercise.

Myths About Food, Weight, and Body Image
Myth: People are fat because they eat too much.
Fact: In fact, most people who are large eat no more than normal weight people.

Myth: Anyone can be slim; it just takes a little self control.
Fact: Weight is extremely resistant to change. Dieting doesn't work; in fact, typically when dieters stop dieting they gain back all their weight plus a few pounds each time they diet. Each person's body seems to have a "set point" weight where it naturally tends to stay. Dieting actually moves this set point upward in response to the deprivation the body experiences as a threat of starvation.

Myth: Being overweight is bad for your health.
Fact: Researchers are now finding that being underweight is just as bad for health as being overweight. The recurrent cycle of weight loss and gain (yo-yo dieting) is now thought to be more harmful than just being large and staying large.

Myth: Large = out of shape.
Fact: Not necessarily true. There are exercise and aerobics programs for large people, and some large people have excellent strength and endurance. (Conversely, some slim people have very poor levels of physical fitness.)

Myth: You can find out your ideal weight by consulting a weight table.
Fact: Weight tables disagree about ideal weights. If you have not distorted your natural healthy weight by yo-yo dieting and you build sensible, moderate eating and exercise habits and a positive body image, your body will naturally settle at its healthiest weight. This may not be the same weight as another person your height, but it will be right for you. Life insurance company weight tables have been revised upward in recent years as studies indicate that heavier people live longer. It has been realized that the weight tables of the past have been artificially and unhealthily low.”

Read the full article at: Food, Weight & Body Image 

You can keep your self informed by checking out Bodywhys

Related articles: Cyber & Text Bullying
Don’t Be ABystander to Bullying

If you have a concern about your body image contact Cindy Dring, Health Promotion Officer, at 091-492048. Alternatively e-mail her at or just drop in to Aras Ni Eimhigh.

If you found this article interesting you may want to check out: 

Tips for staying healthy on campus - Food & Water
Tips for staying healthy on Campus – Physical Activity
Tips for staying healthy on campus - Relaxation
Tips for Staying Healthy on Campus - Sleep 

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