Societys Perception About Weight
The topic of weight is very prevalent among people in today’s society. Everywhere we look we find people of all sorts of different weights and appearances. Tall, small, thin, wide, fat and skinny are just a variety of the words we use to describe people. Almost no one is completely happy with their weight. We are constantly looking for ways to better ourselves and improve our physical appearance. It is this paper’s purpose to provide information in helping a person feel comfortable with their weight and aid in determining an ideal body weight for you.
Topics also include: society’s view on weight, the dangers of various weight-related disorders and diseases, and methods of achieving a recommended healthy weight. The goal is that once you have the proper information you will be able to achieve this ideal weight safely and on your own, giving you an ultimate sense of satisfaction. The question that is constantly being asked is just what is the ideal healthy weight? The ideal body weight is different for every individual as healthy ideal weight depends on a person’s sex, race, and genetics.
To quickly simplify and determine an individual’s ideal weight we use a simple chart called the Body Mass Index or BMI for short. This chart determines how much a person should weigh. People can calculate their BMI by dividing their weight in pounds by their height in inches squared and multiplying the resulting number by 704. 5 (Woods 98). A person who weighs 164 pounds and is 68 inches would do the following calculation: 164/4624 x 704. 5 = 25 BMI. A BMI between 18. 5-24. 9 is normal and is called the safe zone (Woods 98).
The people in this recommended safe zone are considered to be in the best health. A BMI less than 18. 5 usually means that a person is underweight (Woods 98). Studies indicate that the underweight have an increased risk of death compared to those of normal weight. A BMI of over 30 means obesity, and obese people take a lot of health risks (Woods 98). People with obesity have an increased risk of: high blood pressure, heart attacks, stroke, the most common form of diabetes, gallbladder disease, arthritis, respiratory problems, and certain types of cancer.
As long as you fall into or close to the recommended safe zone you should feel comfortable and happy with your weight the way it is. This paper will now discuss the dangers that society’s infatuation with weight can have on a person. It will also provide methods on how a person can change to find a comfortable and healthy weight. Eating disorders are a common and very realistic part of our society. They are seen as the most dangerous health related risks involving weight. Dieting, binge-eating and food obsessions are prevalent among all weight groups.
Many people strive to be lighter than their natural weights and exercise excessively and eat sparingly to attain an often-unrealistic weight goal. Societal pressures share blame for producing eating disorders. Some victims of eating disorders feel that others are pressuring them to be thin, making them feel guilty about what they eat (Washington 99). They become isolated from family and friends and turn to food as a release and source of comfort (Washington 99). People with eating disorders excessively exercise and are known to induce vomiting after eating or drinking (Washington 99).
Eating disorders target many people in society. The main target group is females, especially in the traditionally masculine cultures. Society places a great deal of emphasis on the physical appearance of a person’s body and this alone is enough to drive someone into an eating disorder. An example is the supermodel with the skin and bones look whom you see on television. With this in mind many women might look at their weight and find themselves socially unacceptable. The result can be an eating disorder. Another target group is athletes.
For example, in the sport of gymnastics there is pressure on the female athlete to maintain a low weight and petite slim figure. Since gymnastics is judged on how an athlete looks in competition many gymnasts develop an eating disorder as a result of the importance of body image to the sport. Another example of the occurrence of eating disorders is in boxing and wrestling. Sometimes there is pressure on the athlete to have a rapid weight loss in order to compete in a lower weight class where he or she might have a better chance of winning.
There are two main eating disorders that effect many people in society. They are anorexia and bulimia. Anorexia is a deliberate and obsessive starvation in the pursuit of thinness. It is characterized by an intense fear of gaining weight or becoming obese, or the disturbance in the way one’s bodyweight size and shape is perceived by another individual (Clark 96). Bulimia is described as recurrent episodes of binge eating and a lack of control over one’s eating behaviour resulting in purging (Clark 96). Purging can be achieved by using laxatives and/or vomiting.
Many of the symptoms of eating disorders are similar; however, each disorder is somewhat different. If someone is anorexic, symptoms might be: an extremely thin person, isolation, loneliness, obsessive preoccupation with food as regards: obtaining it, cooking, and eating, and compulsive exercise (Washington 99). If someone is bulimic, you might expect to see: the use of food as a comforter, laxative abuse, mood swings, constant concern about body image and weight, quick trips to the bathroom after meals, excessive exercise, some isolation, and low self-esteem (Washington 99).
Both forms of eating disorders are dangerous to your health and can cause major problems, both now and in the future. Some immediate physical problems include constantly feeling cold, bloodshot eyes with dark circles, finger calluses, dizziness, weakness, moodiness, insomnia, swollen glands, sore throat, or dry skin (Washington 99). Some of the long-term effects include gastrointestinal pain, diarrhea and/or constipation, malnutrition, heart attack, permanent damage to internal organs, kidney failure, and death (Washington 99).
Family and friends of people affected should be aware of the symptoms and risks associated with disordered eating patterns. It is imperative to avoid becoming a victim to an eating disorder. You will only end up hurting yourself and loved ones around you. Now that the dangers of weight have been discussed an effective method of weight gain and loss will be presented. This information will help you reach a desired ideal weight so you can be happy and take pride in yourself. The topic of weight management is prevalent in today’s society and is discussed from two different perspectives.
People might think that they are too small or weak and in this case they will want to put on more weight. On the other hand, others might think that they are too big. In this case they will try to reduce their weight. Requirements of caloric intake differ for everyone. These requirements are determined by age, sex, weight and activity level. The simple definition of weight is the balance between caloric intake and caloric expenditure (Berning 96). Your body weight will change when there is a difference between calories taken in and calories burned up.
Taking this into account, for the average person to lose weight the caloric intake must be less than caloric expenditure. Put simply, to lose weight you must eat less, exercise more, or a combination of both. For the average person to lose one pound they would have to run about 35 miles or eat 3,500 fewer calories (Berning 96). This is impossible to do in one day. To put this into perspective the following formula is given: 3,500 calories 7 days per week = 500 calories per day. It can than be said that eating 500 calories less per day will result in a weight loss of one pound per week.
The same can be said by combining 250 calories less per day and burning 250 calories in exercise. Weight loss is most successful when diet and exercise are combined. The safe weight loss recommendation for the average person is no more than 1-2 pounds per week (Berning 96). By using this method of losing weight a person will decrease their chance of health problems and achieve their ideal weight. This method of weight loss will leave you with a sense of satisfaction and pride in reaching your ideal weight. The same basic theory applies for weight gain.
In order to gain weight you need to consume more calories than you expend (Berning 96). Family history plays a major role in the development of a body. For example, people from thin families are less likely to transform their bodies into bulky muscular ones. A person can increase his chance of gaining weight with improved nutrition and appropriate weight training. Muscle is gained through intense training and the consumption of additional calories. For each pound gained as muscle you would need to consume 500-1000 additional calories each day (Berning 96).
The key to weight gain is consistency and with a little hard work the average person should be able to get to his/her desired ideal weight. By combining a high calorie diet and a rigid exercise program you will find that your body will produce weight in the form of muscle, making you healthy and giving you your desired physical body image. We all must act together and make it our priority to help change society’s perception of body images. This can protect everyone by making others feel comfortable with their weight and prevent them from developing eating disorders.
Education is essential. By studying our ideal weight in the BMI chart and keeping an eye on the amount of calories in our diet we can stay healthy and feel good about ourselves. This process is aided through complete reinforcement and support from our family and friends. It doesn’t stop there as we all must refrain from prejudicial treatment of fat or thin people and see beyond their weight. It is only then that we can feel comfortable with our weight and develop satisfaction in knowing that we have obtained an ideal healthy lifestyle for ourselves.