We have all seen the pictures of ‘size zero’ celebs like Victoria Beckham, Nicole Ritchie and the like, who are supposedly style icons of the 21st century. But do these celebs actually look good this size? When we see them with their tiny frames, in their tiny clothes that no ordinary woman would fit into, does it make you go; “wow, she is gorgeous”, or does it actually make you gasp and say; “wow, she is too skinny”?
According to the experts, to be a size 0 (UK size 4), you need a waist that measures 23 inches. Recently Victoria Beckham revealed she has a 23 inch waist, which understandably has caused a great deal of debate. To put this onto perspective, her waist is 11 inches smaller than the average British female and measures the same as a football.
The World Health Organisation classifies a BMI (Body Mass Index) of 18.5 or less as underweight. With the average catwalk model weighing in at less than eight stone but with a height of 5’9” – a BMI of 16 – you’ve got to wonder what the fashion industry are thinking. Some argue that fashion clothes fit better on the smaller frame, but is this merely because we are used to seeing these clothes on emaciated women and due to this we are just conditioned to think it looks better?
Is it possible to maintain a size zero figure naturally? If one does what good nutrition practice suggests and eats 3 balanced meals a day, then surely they would not be able to remain such a small size. What’s more, this confuses the average young girl who looks to these celebs as role models. They are told that being a size zero is merely a result of healthy eating, so they are eating healthily but are still no where near as skinny as these women, due to the fact that every female frame is different and some women cannot realistically obtain that size. This will no doubt cause them to develop issues with their self image, which could be one of the causes of the rise in eating disorders among young women.
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Unfortunately many stars and models have failed to grasp the fact that size zero is not a suitable size for all, taking into account height, bone size etc, and striving to achieve these elusive measurements have endangered their own lives, and other people’s by setting an abysmal example to their impressionable fan base.
The most important issue to address here is to what extent size zero can actually damage your health.
The trend has already caused death on a number of occasions. The 21 year old Brazilian model Ana Carolina Reston died of anorexia following a diet of just apples and tomatoes. At 5’8” she weighed just six stone, a shocking two and a half stone lighter than the desirable minimum weight for her height. Ana had a BMI of just 12.5. Her death came hot on the heels of that of Uruguayan model Luisel Ramos, who followed a diet of just lettuce and diet drinks. She suffered heart failure shortly after leaving the catwalk at a fashion show in Uruguay. Tragically, her sister Eliana also died of malnutrition some six months later.
Those models paid the ultimate price for the fashion that hails ‘malnourished’ as the look of the decade, but there are many other health risks associated with size zero.
The reduction in weight below the recommended minimum BMI of 18.5, can result in infertility, insomnia, lack of concentration and kidney or liver failure. Most shockingly, the use of diet pills to assist with the weight loss may even result in incontinence; hardly attractive and stylish to lose control of your bowel and bladder while wearing the size zero. This is probably one of the most depressing facts, symbolically depictive of how tragic this all is.
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Furthermore, the lack of nutrition causes a chemical imbalance in the brain and this can result in fierce mood swings, loss of any sense of proportion and inability to see what is right in front of your face. This could explain why some of these super skinny celebrities are showing worrying, diva-like outbursts.
The fact is the heart needs the energy provided by the consumption of all the food groups to burn as fuel for the body. When we deprive ourselves of the necessary calorie intake, the basic functions of the body begin to seize up. So, starting with the brain, this illness spreads to the other organs and eventually the heart just stops – no more stores of fuel to burn so the body just gives up.
I don’t mean to bring you down but I feel that these issues need to be addressed and taken in by all women who are obsessed with losing weight.
Let’s take a moment to appreciate some the curvier celebrities who are adored by men and women around the world for being women, not skeletal frames that can only be described as freaks of nature! These vivacious, voluptuous ladies; Salma Hayek, America Ferrera, Kate Winslet, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Jennifer Lopez, Beyonce Knowles, to name but a few, are an inspiration to us all and should be revered for what they represent to our society.
So, in closing, I futilely implore everyone to stop giving size zero the attention it doesn’t deserve and concentrate on your own well being above your appearance.
Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman has reignited public concern over “size zero” models by writing to the main fashion houses demanding they send magazines bigger clothes. She says the samples they provide for photoshoots are tailored for the painfully thin and she complains that this makes for disturbing pictures.