Plastic This, Plastic That

Plastic surgery has become a common topic of conversation in my circle of friends. With some already having gone under the knife for nose jobs or breast augmentation, it’s no wonder that changing our bodies is becoming a less taboo topic. Helping this process along is the commonality of reality television shows broadcasting plastic surgery like it’s just another day at Disneyland.

Extreme Makeover premiered in 2002 and is one of the first shows that gave individuals a makeover via plastic surgery. From liposuction to dental work, they did it all to cosmetically enhance the “lucky” chosen one. We can thank Extreme Makeover for paving the way for other shows such as Bridalplasty and The Swan where women are now competing to receive the procedures they want. It showcases plastic surgery as the answer to all our insecurities. If you don’t like it, fix it. Is this really the message we want to be sending our children?

In a recent study by Nabi (2009), she found that young people who watch reality makeover shows and relate to the characters may be more likely to partake in plastic surgery. Some young girls are being so impacted by these shows they begin to feel positively towards getting a procedure done. While we might just look at this as a form of entertainment it is effecting our youth and their body satisfaction.

With their daunting insecurities, we watch the contestants deal with these by getting a quick fix with a nip and a tuck. While some might claim other reasons for undergoing a variety of procedures the underlying tone in all of these shows is that women are so insecure and unsatisfied with their bodies that they have no other choice but to fix it via surgery. Unfortunately, this train of thought is being passed on to the youth of today where a boob job is a common high school graduation present.

Nabi, R. L. (2009). Cosmetic Surgery Makeover Programs and Intentions to UndergoCosmetic Enhancements: A Consideration of Three Models of Media Effects. Human Communication Research, 35(1), 1.

Is Clean Really Better?

Summer is quickly approaching and many women are looking for the quick fix to get bikini ready. With this, the popularity of the cleanse is sweeping the nation. From The Master Cleanse, to the SkinnyGirl Cleanse, a variety of juice cleanses, and many, many more, it’s no wonder we might turn to one of these to shed those last couple of pounds.

With the abundance of cleanses they each claim relatively similar effects while having slightly different procedures. In the end, they all say they can help you lose weight and have better health. The scary truth is that most health care professionals do not find cleanses a healthy way to lose weight.

Marissa Lippert, a registered dietitian, says that most people who turn to cleanses do not see long term weight loss, rather it is just a quick drop of weight that is added back on once you begin eating normally again. Cher Pastore, R.D., agrees that cleanses are not a way to lose weight for the long term. She, along with M.D. Susan Blum, say that a short one-three day cleanse can be ok, but anything longer than that is not necessary and can be harmful (2011).

According to an article in USA Today many dietitians do not believe in or condone any sort of cleanse (Hellmich, 2009). It was stated that most are deficient in necessary nutrients and proteins. It seems that a cleanse can actually do more harm than help. Salmon (2010) discusses the trend of cleanses and a doctor’s point of view. The author says that there are times when people in certain fields of work or those who have particular medical conditions may benefit from a cleanse. However, it is reiterated that we have many organs that are in charge of detoxing our bodies without our help.

So if you’re going to dive into the world of cleanses, make sure you do your research and think about the results you are looking for. If it’s long term weight loss a gym membership might be a better way to spend your money.

Are juice cleanses really healthy? Why some wellness experts worry. (2011). http://www.wellandgoodnyc.com/2011/03/09/are-juice-cleanses-really-healthy-why-some-wellness-experts-worry/#

Hellmich, N. (2009). ‘Cleansing’ diets lure celebs, but not health experts. USA Today, retrieved on November 7, 2011, from http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/weightloss/2009-03-24-cleanse-diet_N.htm

Salmon, S.B. (2010). Deconstructing Detox Treatments: Myth or Health Restorative? Environmental Nutrition, 33(1), 1-6.

Don’t You Think You Should Lose a Few Pounds?

Who hasn’t thought that they could drop a couple pounds. But how does it feel when the pressure of the media pushes your own family to ask you that same question?

Reality TV has taken over the television airwaves. With channels like Bravo, E!, and MTV, who have begun to spend more time on reality shows than any other, it is not wonder it is taking over our lives. One show that has dominated E! for years is Keeping Up With the Kardashians.

On an episode a couple years ago Khloe Kardashian was asked to pose naked for the PETA I’d Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur campaign. During this episode, step-father Bruce Jenner asked her if she thought she should lose a little weight before posing naked. Khloe Kardashian is 5’10”, wears a size 8, and weighs between 165-170 pounds. According to The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention the average body measurements of US women over the age of 20 is a height of 5’3″ and weight of 164.7 pounds (2009). So why do people constantly berate Khloe for being an “ogre” or a “fat cow” if she is technically the average weight of an American woman, yet she is seven inches taller! Have we become that warped that if someone in the public eye isn’t 5’10” and 115 pounds we think they are HUGE?

With mainstream networks showing programs like the Victoria Secret Fashion Show or America’s Next Top Model how are we not expected to think that women in entertainment should be tall and thin. What’s more disturbing is the mere fact that instead of being supportive of someone like Khloe Kardashian we, and her step-father Bruce, think she should lose weight before posing for a naked ad campaign. Our media has brainwashed us to the point that we belittle someone in the entertainment industry who doesn’t fit the super model criteria, yet, 79% of the US population is overweight. We sit back on our couches guzzling down empty calories and judge people on TV for being fat, while really it’s the average American who should lose a few pounds.

Center for Disease and Control Prevention. (2009). Body Measurements Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/bodymeas.htm

Pro-Anorexia Websites: They Might Effect You More Than You Think

There’s a rising trend on the world wide web that you may or may not be familiar with, pro-anorexia websites. These sites are made to support this dangerous eating disorder through having forums, tips and ticks, and “thinspiration.” While you might not be searching for these sites, at some point you may come across them, or even worse, your daughter or son may already be looking at them.

Pro-anorexia websites have been developed for those who believe they choose to be anorexic. They provide an avenue for these people to discuss their habits and find support from others who are going through the same thing. The scary thing is that they do not believe they are suffering from a disease, rather they view anorexia as a lifestyle choice.

These sites can be potentially harmfull for a few reasons.

First, these sites are filled with information on how to be anorexic. You can go on them to find ways to trick friends and family so they don’t know you’re anorexic. You can also learn tips on how to eat only an apple a day and ways to trick yourself into not thinking you’re starving.

Second, “thinspiration.” This is where people on the site post pictures of extremely thin models, actresses, singers, athletes, and even sometimes everyday people. These pictures are to act as inspiration to continue starving yourself to look like them.

Third, even those who are not anorexic are harmed by these sites. Research has found that women who are exposed to these pro-anorexia websites have higher body dissatisfaction after viewing them. They also found that women would also show signs of disordered eating after looking at these sites.

While you might not be personally seeking out pro-anorexia websites, it’s important to be aware of them for you and your child’s sake. You need to know how harmful they can be for yourself or someone else in your family. By talking with your children and being mindful of what they might find on the Internet you can try to protect them from these dangerous sites.