Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Characteristics of Thin Women

     While I no longer succumb to disordered eating, I still struggle with beliefs that were instilled in my mind years ago. I have an unreasonable fear that if I don't worry about my weight, I will "let myself go." I worry that my weight will balloon if I don't make a constant, conscious effort to keep it under control. 
     These ideas are illogical because I know that I would notice any weight gain before it became substantial, and I could make adjustments to my diet and return to my former size fairly easily. I know that it's not necessary to think about my diet constantly to prevent weight gain. After all, I do enjoy the taste of many healthy foods, and I genuinely like to exercise. But for some reason, it's hard to defeat this belief. Part of me wants to engage in obsessive tendencies, deny myself certain foods and at times, go hungry.
     This study, on the characteristics of thin women, has given me permission to relax. Women who report being thin in childhood, adolescence and adulthood share some traits, including lower rates of dieting and binge eating, greater health satisfaction, higher self-esteem, and lower perfectionism and body dissatisfaction.
     For me, dieting is a trigger for binge eating. And even for those who don't suffer from disordered eating, dieting doesn't often work in the long run. That's why I would rather focus on having a healthy, imperfect diet that I can maintain. When you choose to allow yourself all foods in moderation, it's amazing how those "forbidden" foods lose their appeal.This study seems to support that idea.
     I don't know if these women have high self-esteem because of their appearance, or if their appearance is because of their self-esteem, but either way, it's beneficial to improve your self-concept. These women don't focus on telling themselves what they can't do. Their thoughts are positive. A goal is much more likely to be reached if it is positive than negative. For instance, it's easier to say "I will eat more fruits and vegetables than it is to say "I will never eat junk food."
     If you constantly think about how much you hate your body and how much you want to change it, this can lead to depriving it and abusing it. If you try to think about the good things about yourself, and treat your body well, your appearance will show it.
    I've tried to adopt this mindset as my own, and while I am not "naturally skinny," I choose nutritious foods, and exercise regularly, but I don't deny myself anything, and I remind myself of the perils of trying to be perfect.

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