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Which Is Better: Being Skinny or Being Healthy?

Skinny vs. Healthy: Where Do You Stand?

skinny vs healthyIn 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.

Join The Conversation
Giasbash6260 Giasbash6260 6 years
Exercise daily, eat no sugar, sleep 8 hours +/- an hour every single night, and am very happy pretty much all the time. I think I am generally pretty healthy! :)
idawson idawson 6 years
Just started up tennis lessons again after several years and I soon found out what unhealthy was (no matter what I look like on the outside)! I feel like this whole debate goes around in circles sometimes. Anna Paquin is spot on the fundamental issue is being skinny does not equal being healthy. But at the same time we as a nation need to do something to address issues of weight, body issues, etc. As someone who tries to maintain a somewhat healthy lifestyle (and weight) I feel like in my struggle, I am doomed to fail. But then I have to ask myself what really is my end goal? Am I trying to look like the people I see in the magazines? Or is it a personal goal I am setting? I am hoping for the latter but I feel that the prior does influence to some degree (however minor) how I feel about my body and subsequently my attitude towards my exercise and nutrition regime.
cheyn1 cheyn1 6 years
Of course I want to be skinny. Everyone does. But I also have no desire to be unhealthy either. So I just try to exercise and eat right and hopefully stay slim in the process.
booglass booglass 6 years
SaraJeanQueen - I agree. I have never read any of her books simply because I don't want to take advice from a person who I feel looks unhealthy.
In addition, i LOVE that Anna Paquin is taking a stance on this very important issue. Many overweight people struggle with their weight; however, there is minimal discussion about when weight issues go the other way...People getting to a healthy space needs to be the focus... not on someone's pant size
I agree with myhousemd!
SaraJeanQueen SaraJeanQueen 6 years
I hate when blogs post that Bethenny Frankel "used" to have an issue with food growing up. Are you kidding me? Has anyone seen this girl? She's a bag of bones. Her jaw looks like the bone's going to rip right through if she smiles too tight. Sorry to be gross but she DEFINITELY still has issues with food. It's actually sad.
myhousemd myhousemd 6 years
I hate that everyone is trying to achieve the same body! Just be healthy, active, and happy with the body you have. The people you have in your life are so much more important than what you look like.
northen123 northen123 6 years
I've suffered from eating disorders and body image issues ever since I was in primary school. Now, I try my best to focus on looking after my body - eating the right foods, walking, doing weights. It's difficult for anyone to treat their bodies properly when we're bombarded with images of thirteen year old models masquerading as grown women, or when every single magazine has tips on how to "lose 20lb in 20 days" and so on. Of course, it's possible to be skinny AND healthy (although I understand that here the word 'skinny' is used as a generalisation), but being skinny shouldn't be the holy grail for those naturally of a different physique. People need to listen to their bodies more, and read less of those diet books!
JustineV JustineV 6 years
Ha ha, I had to laugh at the tonsil comment. I did have my tonsils out about 5 years ago and I couldn't eat AT ALL for 3 weeks, barely even drink either! I got super skinny, of course not healthy though!
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