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Ideal Beauty "You can initially lose 5 to 10 percent of your weight on any number of diets, but then the weight comes back," said Traci Mann, UCLA associate professor of psychology and lead author of a comprehensive study on the subject. "We found that the majority of people regained all the weight, plus more. Diets do not lead to sustained weight loss or health benefits for the majority of people."

If dieting doesn't work, what does?

“I can’t bear to look myself in the mirror” tells me Laura. “I just hate my body” says Julie in a whisper. Their pain is real, and so is the suffering of millions of women who feel fat compared to society’s standards of beauty. Doctors calls them healthy, man are attracted to them, but they still feel ugly. Both Laura and Julie have tried losing weight by dieting with little success, and have now chosen counseling as a way to improve the relationship with their body. Should they change their appearance? Not necessarily, they could change their mindset instead, correcting the cognitive distortion which don't let them see their beauty, and society should urgently do the same.

Governments have recently tried to push for a healthier image of beauty. Spain has led the way by banning very skinny models from the catwalk.

My hopes in the effects of similar initiatives took a big hit when I saw a television interview of Italian designers Dolce & Gabbana: they mocked the whole concept of hiring healthier-looking models, adding that designers give consumers what they want. Reading between the lines, it was clear then nothing would ever change in D&G image unless there was a financial gain to be made.

Fortunately, at least one Italian brand has made serious money by associating itself with healthier looking models: Elena Miro. If such brand was to became a big success, top designer labels would have to notice, and fashion houses would immediately become more open to non-skinny models.

And what about beauty products? Well, if Dove campaign on “Real Beauty” was to increase sales twofold, you can be sure that other corporations would notice, and similar marketing campaigns would soon follow.

In short, if we want our society to gradually embrace a healthier ideal of beauty, let’s buy Dove, Elena Miro, and any other product which is advertised by non-skinny women.

In the meantime, if we still want to lose weight, let’s remember that "Eating in moderation is a good idea for everybody, and so is regular exercise," Professor Mann says. " Studies consistently find that people who reported the most exercise also had the most weight loss". Oh well, we didn't need a study to discover that... ;)

Comments

The Elena Miro models are gorgeous - no bones jutting out, perky breasts, hips and a waistline - all the things men want to see on women! The guys I've spoken to hate seeing "size sero" models, and don't find them at all attractive. Thanks for this article, it's good to see fashion promoting healthy, attractive women for a change!

You are right YoyoDoll, many guys are not physically attracted to super-skinny models, but that might still be the "ideal" of beauty they compare every woman with...: paraphrasing your post, instead of making us extra-thin, we should make all models extra-healthy!

I agree with you for the most part, but I think you'll always get into trouble by framing it as an issue of 'who men find attractive'.

Firstly, because, thank goodness, different men find different bodies attractive.

Secondly, because to the extent some bodies are preferred to others, it's often related to questions of status and class, fashion, ultimately.

And finally, because it just ends up shifting the goal posts anyway, and ending up with a different group of women feeling inadequate.

Good point Tara. Leaving the 'average man' opinion aside, my dream would be to help making a healthy look fashionable: wouldn't it be great?!

I do a few main things that really help me.

1. Don't leave food everywhere around you. If there's food out, you'll eat it even if you're not hungry. Just leave it in the fridge and ask yourself if you're hungry when you eat.

2. Drink a lot of water! Sometimes, you're thirsty but your body thinks you're hungry.

3. Eat slowly. That way, your body has more time to tell you that you're full. Never eat until you're really really full.

4. Eat a lot of small meals throughout the day instead of a few big meals. It helps speed up your metabolism.

5. Eat breakfast!!

6. Give into your candy/junk food urges. Being really strict with yourself and feeling guilty about it makes it easier to binge. When I was a kid, my mom never told me not to eat candy, but she bought it sparingly and served juice/water instead of soda. Now that I'm older, I don't think of candy as a guilty pleasure... it's just another food that I can eat if I feel like it, but I just don't really buy it a lot when I go grocery shopping!

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