Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Extreme Dieting Makeover

Today over at Campus Progress I have a review of the much-talked-about memoir, Thin Is the New Happy. I talk about how the book is instrumental in highlighting some of the more horrifying aspects of women's weight behavior:

In one experiment, she counts each time she has a negative thought about her body. She discovers it happens about 263 times in one day—that’s once every three and a half minutes. Her negative thoughts about her body surpassed her thoughts about sex, family, work, and money.

The results of Frankel’s experiment are hardly out of the ordinary. Most women today have a negative, chronic relationship with dieting and body image. A 2001 study showed that college women who diet have a much greater disparity between their perceived body image and their “ideal” body image than women who don’t diet. The misperceptions aren’t because their “ideal” body images are unrealistic; it is because they have unrealistic ideas about how heavy they actually are. A study this year explored a behavior known as “fat talk,” or intensive conversations young women engage in about food and body size that often lead to negative perceptions of their bodies.

Go ahead and read the whole thing.

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