In the recent issue of Health, actress Anna Paquin discusses Hollywood's distorted perception of what's considered healthy. She says:
"I think there’s also a really big difference between looking healthy and being healthy. People in this town have a weird tendency to say, if someone’s lost weight, "Oh my God, you look amazing." And you’re like, "I just had my tonsils out and didn’t eat for three weeks." Literally, I had my tonsils out last year. You’re on a liquid diet so, of course, you lose weight. But it’s not healthy."
Other celebs have also weighed in on this topic; Bethenny Frankel admitting to growing up with an unhealthy body image, and constantly obsessing over her weight. Hilary Duff admits that she let herself get too skinny between the ages of 17 and 19, eating nothing but steamed vegetables and broiled or grilled chicken. She soon realized that not giving your body enough of what it needs can be really dangerous.
Keep reading about the other side of this debate.
Who can forget about the infamous Kate Moss quote, when she said: "Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels." Moss's spokespeople immediately said that Moss's responses were taken out of context. Regardless, I feel that Hollywood certainly seems to praise those who have lost significant amounts of weight, rather than those who have bounced back from a serious illness, or are maintaining a healthy weight thanks to a healthy lifestyle.
Similar to being overweight, being too skinny can pose serious health risks. Some of these risks include low muscle mass, compromised immune system, anemia, osteoporosis, hair loss, and menstrual irregularities. To see if you are underweight, calculate your Body Mass Index with this handy calculator, and if your BMI is less than 18.5 kg/m2, than you are technically considered "underweight." Even if you fall in the healthy BMI range, keep in mind that this ratio doesn't always indicate how healthy you are (it's long been considered controversial but is still recognized as a good place to start). Where you carry the little fat you have can make a big difference. To see if you are at risk for cardiovascular disease, hypertension, or type 2 diabetes, you should check your waist. According to Dr. Michael Roizen and Dr. Oz, when you suck in your belly, your waist should be half your height or less in inches. The more fat you have around your middle indicates a greater amount of inflammation occurring in your body, increasing your risk for inflammatory diseases.
Overall, the best way to manage your health is to get about thirty minutes of physical activity a day, do some sort of weight training three times a week, maintain a healthy diet, and refrain from overeating. If you are naturally thin, exercise regularly, and incorporate lots of nutrient-rich foods into your diet, then bravo to you! But if you're thin because you restrict your food intake or don't get enough calories based on the amount of exercise you do, it's important to re-evaluate your lifestyle and get on the healthy train. Your body (and mind!) will thank you.