It seems nearly all the headlines or stories I've been reading about Miranda lately have to do with her weight. Or her body. Or her diet. Or her fitness regimen. Even though she just turned 30 and dropped an absolutely phenomenal album, Platinum, over the summer. But we're not talking about that. Instead, we're now somewhat obsessively focused on her new "hot" body.
Why do we do this to women, celebrities or average Janes? Frankly, it needs to stop.
There's something really disconcerting when you hear remarks about your body, either positive or negative. I've been there. Following a health crisis that destroyed my ability to eat normally for a year, I lost a lot of weight. And while I was just starting to get my appetite back, I heard so many comments about my body — words ranging from "tiny" to "anorexic," "skinny" to "perfect." (I guess it depends on your taste.) But all of a sudden, I was more a body than I was a person. Everything was about my size and my weight. And no matter how "body love" or "health and happiness first" you are, that noise gets in your head.
"Weight talk is a vicious cycle for women to get involved in," says self-esteem and body image expert Jess Weiner, author of Life Doesn't Begin 5 Pounds From Now. "It can create pre-occupation and obsession with body size versus the more meaningful qualities of life."
Therapist and certified eating disorder specialist Maggie Baumann, MFT, agrees with Weiner. "What happens is the human being identity gets lost in the identification of the body as the human," she explains. And no one wants to be just a body, as that false perception will destroy your soul.
Baumann explains that the media fixation on Miranda's size is not just dangerous for Miranda, but for the consumer, as well. "The 'weight talk' is not healthy for anyone — not the celebrity, nor the public consumed with focusing on weight and body image. The media is sending an unhealthy message to the public. When women or men focus on others' bodies as an 'ideal,' it makes them actually feel there is something wrong with their own bodies."
Baumann says she has clients who have eating disorders and continually soak up the celebrity news. While developing an ED is complicated, it can be influenced by external factors like environment and society. And we can't not compare when we see celebrities. "What I say to my clients is, 'You are not a number on a scale,'" Baumann says. "'Letting your identity be defined by what the scale says is losing who you are as a human being.'"
From a regular nutritional standpoint, dietitian Barbara Linhardt, M.S., R.D., says excessively commenting on anyone's weight will probably motivate the person to keep going — but not in the way you want. "Trash talking about someone's size or excessively praising weight loss may motivate them to eat differently or drop dress sizes, but likely won't motivate them to do so in a healthy way," she says. "Everyone, including Miranda Lambert, has their own personal history and relationship with food. The best thing we can do when confronted by the weight-fixated media is focus on what makes us feel healthy and strong."
Weiner's advice? Stop. Just stop focusing on Miranda's weight loss — or your BFF's dress size, or even your own. Just be healthy. "It's hard not to compare yourself to your friends, let alone celebrities," says Weiner. "But my advice? Run your own race, love your own body and learn to take care of it the best way you can."
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