We’ve all been guilty of it before, even if it was just for a fleeting moment - “Celebrities always have the perfect bodies – I should try their diets. If they can do it, so can I. Whatever they’re doing seems effective, maybe I should give it a go, even if the methods seem a little iffy…”
Well, here’s the thing - maybe you shouldn’t.
It’s time to rethink the way we look at celebrity diets – the problem is, the ‘celeb-route’ leading to the ideal body can be a highly-toxic journey, where one would emerge from it weary and broken.
Let’s take the K-pop (Korean-pop) phenomenon, for example. K-pop idols are renowned for their immersive performances, addictive tunes and glamorous looks, with enviable figures to boot. But how far did they have to go in order to possess such bodies? Ideal body proportions are often acknowledged with distinct terms that further reflect the strong emphasis on physical features that is so commonplace in its culture; honey thighs (thighs that have little fat and are well-proportioned to the rest of the body), chocolate abs (a well-defined six pack that resemble a chocolate bar) and S- Line (curvy figure) are just several terms that are frequently fished out to echo one’s envy or their resounding laments of attempting to attain these coveted figures. So it’s not surprising to hear of celebrities being chosen as someone’s fitspiration.
Dieting is an omnipresent part of the entertainment industry. Rather novel yet literal names for dieting regimens have emerged - Paper Cup diet (where three paper cups are filled with fruit, rice and side-dishes and only whatever fits into the cup can be consumed), Baby Food and Drunk diets are some of the few drastic plans concocted to keep waistlines trim and legs lean and slim. They often hold zero to little medical merit, and although its effectiveness is certainly questionable, these diets that are propagated as low-calorie and low-fat are also extremely lacking in nutrients. They tend to sacrifice nutritional value for drastically lower calorific values, but if there’s anything we’ve learnt, it’s that we so often can’t judge a meal by its numbers.
Here’s Why You Shouldn’t
Speaking from a more logical view, a lower calorie count – at the expense of proper nutrients - will only lead to you feeling more fatigued that ever. In more severe cases, those who embark on these impractical dieting methods may suffer from nutrition deficiency as well. Our bodies go through specific metabolic processes to help conserve energy when food isn’t present – essentially buying time to search for nutrition. When you’re not eating enough, autophagy occurs – since all the fats have been broken down at this point, the body turns to breaking down the muscles to garner energy, essentially wasting your muscles away. That sounds scary, doesn’t it?
Another element for your consideration is that meal plans should be tailored to individual factors such as body types, gender, height, and levels of physical activity. For instance, eating 800 calories a day is way too little, even for a sedentary woman who weighs 50kg and is 165cm tall. Moreover, body types play significant roles too - an endomorph would require a vastly different fitness plan and proportions of carbs, protein and fat compared to a mesomorph. Moreover, celebrity diets are crafted with a specific person in mind, targeting specific (usually short-term) goals. A celebrity is also someone who has access to any type of conceivable aid possible (dieticians, trainers) to maximise their output.
Do It For Yourself and Not For Anyone Else
It’s normal to have fitness goals to strive towards, or naming a celebrity as one’s fitspiration, but what’s worrying is that the methods for achieving their bodies are often controversial, unhealthy, and not sustainable in the long-run. The kicker is still the terrifying reality that young men and women globally are subjecting their bodies to extreme dieting regimens in order to possess the ‘ideal’ figure. They could also be thrust into a state of limbo, where irrespective of how physically slim a person is, they will never be emotionally and mentally satisfied with how they look. Losing weight isn’t just about the ‘outside’, it is about how you feel on the ‘inside’ too, a fact that’s often overlooked.
Holding up an inner banner that screams ‘Love Yourself! Respect Yourself! Accept Yourself!’ in full-on caps is actually more powerful than you can imagine. Having higher self-compassion levels are linked to lower levels of body image dissatisfaction and eating disorders. To put things into perspective, a study in Korea discovered that body image distortion and dissatisfaction in adolescents may play crucial roles in the development of problematic compensatory behaviours such as excessive dieting, exercising, and purging. Believe in yourself and engage in an open, honest dialogue about your health - where you are in terms of body positivity, and what you want to achieve. Weight loss should be done in a way that reflects a need for self-improvement and out of love for yourself as a worthy human being. Strive to become the best version of yourself, instead of being another version of someone else!