In my mind, those magazines were fashion and beauty authorities.
If they said purple was “in” I bought a purple top. If they said brown eyeshadow was the best for my eyes then I bought twelve different shades.
The other day, I was at my parents house and flipped through a copy of my little sister’s Seventeen.
There were still the same classic articles: best jeans for your butt and how to get your crush to ask you out.
Then I began reading a section that my teenage self never had: health and fitness.
I’ll be the first to admit, after age 12 or so I was never what you’d call a skinny girl. I preferred the term “athletic” but my swimsuit bottoms always called it XL.
Luckily for me, I grew up with parents who taught me that God gave me a butt that could win a market hog show and there was nothing wrong with that so I might as well embrace it.
They taught me to eat healthy, balanced meals, served fresh vegetables and sensible sized portions.
(Though as a kid I didn’t call it “portion control,” just having too many siblings to eat all the dessert I wanted to!)
Like any teenage girl, I had issues with certain aspects of my body but I never felt any need to go on a new “diet.”
Dieting to me didn’t mean a drastic life change, only skipping on the splurges of candy and soft drinks that I had unlimited access to outside of my home.
I never wasted any time on the “health and fitness” sections of my beloved magazines.
Today, however, I realize that I was the minority.
As I read the articles, I realized that every food item suggested was labelled with a low calorie, non-fat or all-natural type of description.
There were two sentence sections that suggested eating only organic or cutting out meat with little or no factual information to support the claims.
I stared in disbelief wondering if there were really high school girls out there putting that much effort into making sure that everything they eat fits into some “dietary” label just because a magazine said so.
When it came to make-up, my 16 year-old self did whatever those magazines suggested. Logically, there must be 16 year-olds today doing the same thing with their food choices.
Where did this concept of a “one size fits all diet” come from?
When did we as a society start feeling like we had to jump through every new hoop that some magazine or talk show discussed just to be “healthy.”
What ever happened to figuring out what worked for your body?
I remember a high school friend who went on the “Special K diet” and had great success losing weight. Another friend in college only succeeded in making herself hate every flavor of Special K.
Every individual person is different.
I think parents would be better off paying for an appointment with a dietician for their teenage daughters than a subscription to a magazine that promotes “one size fits all” eating habits.
As a teenager, I began meeting with a dietician due to my reactive hypoglycemia.
My dietician gave me suggestions for healthy snacks and foods to avoid that were based on my individual needs.
It is truly empowering to have the facts you need to make healthy food choices for your body.
When I went off to college, I was able to save money knowing when to pay extra for “diet” or “low fat” items and when to save money for a product without those labels that was just as healthy for me.
When I began planning my wedding, I was realistic about losing weight and never went through the struggles of crash dieting to fit into a certain dress size like so many brides do.
When we found out we were expecting, the only dietary change I had to make to stay healthy while “eating for two” was kicking the diet coke habit I had picked up in college.
I enjoy the food I eat and prepare for my family because I know that it is healthy for us.
I don’t agonize over every food choice I make.
I don’t search magazines and talk shows for the newest diet tips or tricks.
I know better than to fall for the latest “one size fits all” diet.