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To Be or Not To Be Thin?
Vogue, Cosmo, Vanity Fair, Elle–these are only a few of the most popular magazines that women read today. In almost every magazine, girls see skinny models posing for a brand of clothes or a watch. According to a study conducted by Kashubeck-West, 142 out of 164 women (roughly 87%) want to lose weight. Due to social norms, women have tried desperate measures to lose weight. This can be difficult with the rise of fast food and junk food. This is how eating disorders were born.
People often interchange bulimia and anorexia. Though these two words are closely related in terms of goal, they have different meanings. Healthline defines anorexia as an eating disorder where the person resorts to extreme starvation to achieve the ideal body weight. Bulimia, on the other hand, is a disorder wherein a person eats a lot and try to expel the food in one way or another. Healthline lists two types of bulimia: purging bulimia and non-purging bulimia. Purging bulimia is when someone tries to induce gag reflex to expel the food previously consumed. Non-purging bulimia, however, is a different type of bulimia wherein, instead of purging the food, they will try to sweat it out through strenuous exercise or fasting.
Our organs need certain nutrients to function. With the lack of nutrient supply that comes from food, some organs might fail to operate and, in worst cases, shut down, leading to death. Anorexia or bulimia are never solutions to losing weight. Exercise paired with a proper diet is the key to a healthy body and mind.
Obesity: A Global Dilemma
While young girls and women try to lose weight, others suffer from obesity. The average body mass index shown in a BMI Chart will tell you how much the ideal weight is for a healthy male and female at a certain age. Similarly, a BMI calculator can also show you the perfect height to weight ratio for adults and kids.
Being overweight and being obese are two different things. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a BMI of 25.0 to 30 is considered overweight, while a BMI of 30 and above is deemed to be obese. Though being overweight is different from being obese, it is already on the borderline, so one must exercise some caution to avoid such circumstances.
Obesity is one of the leading complications that cause death in the US. According to the World Health Organization, at least 2.8 million people die yearly because of obesity. It has many serious health consequences from heart-related diseases, bone-related diseases, to depression. However, obesity is preventable. As long as you live a healthier lifestyle, the chances of having obesity are low.
Weight: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly
People gain or lose weight for many reasons. Pop culture, in a way, has created some mass effect and set acceptable social standards. The media has capitalized on marketing the wrong concept of what’s beautiful and what’s not. Women try to lose weight to emulate their favorite actors or Instagram models, whatever health factors are involved. Resorting to desperate measures to achieve what’s considered “normal” has become a social dilemma. However, some people’s reasons are not all that bad.
Others lose or gain weight to enter a particular weight class or division (e.g., lightweight, bantamweight, heavyweight). Athletes train and follow a strict diet to achieve the ideal weight on the day of the weigh-in.
However, losing weight can be difficult. And thus, its ugly side has surfaced and derailed the rest of society.
Performance Enhancing Drugs and Growth Hormones
Ben Plucknett was the first athlete to have been discovered using performance-enhancing drugs. He was a controversial track star in the discus throw. Right after testing positive, they have immediately stripped off his record. Since then, sports committees have continuously discovered athletes who have been doping to win competitions to this day.
What are Performance-Enhancing Drugs?
Performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) are drugs that help enhance one’s performance by increasing body muscle mass, alertness, and strength. Our bodies naturally produce the chemicals in these drugs. However, some people try to induce these drugs in order to gain a leg up above others. What they fail to realize is that taking these drugs has dire consequences. No one can have too much of everything.
What Are The Common Types of PEDs?
There are plenty of PEDs available in the market. However, the Food and Drug Administration or FDA has prohibited the sale of these drugs and have required consumers to get a doctor’s prescription for purchase. Mayo Clinic lists three of the most common PEDs used by teenagers:
Creatine: This kind of PED can help increase muscle mass, alertness, and strength.
Anabolic Steriods: Perhaps the most common type of PED, it is used by athletes to build muscle mass and increase strength.
Steroid Precursors: They are substances that are converted by the body to anabolic steroids, as such, obtaining a similar effect as an anabolic steroid.
Creatine and Steroid precursors are usually available over the counter, that’s why teenagers usually prefer them over other illegal PEDs.
What’s So Bad About Trying to Make Yourself Look Good?
Steroids and other drugs can boost one’s self-esteem. Body-shaming is prevalent in today’s culture; that’s why these drugs exist. Though it sounds beneficial, PEDs are the last thing you’d want to resort to feeling good about yourself as these can have long-term side-effects.
There is a reason why the FDA has banned the use of steroids for non-medical reasons. The human body has its limitations, and it can only take too much of something. When you try to stretch those limits, it can have dire consequences.
Blame It on Genetics
If you don’t know it yet, there are three different body types, according to Runnersworld: ectomorph, mesomorph, and endomorph.
Ectomorphs are tall, lean individuals who have trouble gaining weight. If you eat a lot and yet have difficulty gaining weight, chances are, you have this body type. This can be a problem, especially if you are in sports where weight divisions and weight classes matter, such as boxing. As a solution, your diet has to include healthy, high-fat foods such as avocados, whole eggs, and chia seeds. Additionally, they need to do resistance training.
While ectomorphs are naturally skinny, endomorphs are the short, stocky individuals who gain weight quickly even if they only eat a small amount of food. The suspect is usually their slow metabolism rate. Thus, they have to be extra careful with the food they eat and practice eating 45 minutes right after waking up. Advisable exercise routines include HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) and CrossFit.
In between these two body types are the mesomorphs. These are individuals who can lose weight and gain weight quickly. They usually have a longer torso and shorter limbs. Additionally, these individuals can build muscle mass quickly compared to other types. Once you find out what type of body mass you have, then it becomes easy for you to figure out the kind of training and diet that is suitable for you. Avoid “bro-science” and rely on scientific studies on exercising, losing weight, and gaining weight.
Most of our human abilities today depend on adaptation and survivability. Nature tends to choose those who have superior genes over ones who don’t. For example, people with darker skin can survive more in tropical areas because of their ability to deflect UV rays. In contrast, people with whiter skin can survive more in colder regions due to their ability to absorb as much UV light as they can with the little light that shines from the sun.
According to Harvard Health, we can also blame our fats to what are called “thrifty genes.” In ancient times, famine is common. When people fall on hard times, crops die, and hunting becomes harder. Thus, people often experience starvation. During these times, people who can store fat (a source for extra energy) survive better than those who don’t. As a result, these genes have survived throughout history to this day. So you can say gaining weight is pretty much also a genetic factor. Despite following a strict diet and exercising strenuously, if it’s still hard to lose weight, chances are, it’s because of a genetic factor. Thus, you may need to consult a doctor for guidance in losing weight and may need to hustle more than others.
How Do You Lose Weight Using a Weight Chart?
It’s hard. We know. With the existence of pizza, it’s challenging to follow a diet plan! And oftentimes, we refuse to listen to trainers. That’s why we’ve listed for you a few steps to follow in losing weight:
Step 1: Determine Your Body Type
Try to find out if you’re an ectomorph, mesomorph, or endomorph. Don’t try to assume what your body type is based on what you feel. Yes, we understand. Sometimes, it’s difficult to embrace your body type. But an exercise routine that works for one person would not necessarily work for you. People will have different metabolism rates depending on body type. Embrace who you are!
Step 2: Design a Meal Plan That Suits Your Body Type
Once you know what your body type is, you should be able to find out what food maximizes your potential to lose or gain weight. Ectomorphs are people who earn less weight compared to others. So the food that is best suited for them are ones that are high on carbs such as oats, quinoa, rice, and potatoes. Endomorphs, on the other hand, gain weight more than others. According to Healthline, their diet should include macadamia nuts, olive oil, beef, egg yolk, fatty fish, walnuts, and cheese. Mesomorphs, Healthline says, need to add eggs, white meats, fish, beans, lentils, and high-protein dairy into their diet. Fruits and veggies should consist of at least a third of their plate.
Step 3: Exercise Efficiently
Since ectomorphs find it challenging to build their muscle mass, they should focus on primary lifts and auxiliary lifts. Primary lifts are the basic ones–squats, bench press, deadlift, barbell row, and overhead press. Auxiliary lifts are ones that focus on a single part of the body for the whole day (e.g., arms, legs, chest). Endomorphs are suited best for cardio workouts. HIIT or High-Intensity Interval Training and CrossFit are recommended cardio exercises. Mesomorphs, since it’s easier for them to build muscle mass, can do heavy to medium weightlifting with limited rest. Regardless of the body type, a daily workout routine can also be bad for the health. So try to limit your workout at least to thrice a week.
Step 4: Consult a Fitness Trainer
If, no matter how hard you work out, you still couldn’t get to your ideal weight, then maybe it’s high time for you to get a fitness trainer. Choose a trainer who is an expert in his field. By that, I mean his workout plan is backed by scientific evidence or that he has studied extensively on the matter. With the right trainer, you can get to your ideal weight effectively. He will also help you chart the perfect meal plan that will help you lose weight.
Whatever social norms there are towards weight, that should not affect your principle in living life. Don’t try to live by the standards that society has set. Instead, focus on how you can live healthier because a healthy body equates to a happy life!