12 July, 2012

My article in Mail Today

My article is published in Daily Mail today here.

This is what it says.

When you feel FATTER than you look: Millions of women across the world who suffer from poor body image 


It's not a problem restricted to teenagers and young women. Older women are also plagued by body image issues. 
Recent research has found that women over 50 are just as likely to suffer from eating disorders, like bulimia, binging, purging and depressive eating, as the younger generation. 
Millions of women all over the world suffer from poor body image
Millions of women all over the world suffer from poor body image
They experience pangs of 'perfect body' syndrome just as much. 
'The hollowness around the eyes and cheeks, reduction in breast volume and sagging, the out of shape abdominal area and even the slightest weight gain experienced by older women worries them and affects their self esteem and they start viewing their bodies more critically,' explains leading cosmetic surgeon Dr. Rajeev Kapoor. 
It doesn't help to be surrounded by stick thin images of models and celebs, as these simply add to the pressure of ageing.

There are no shortcuts to a fit body, says Sonali Chandok, pictured
There are no shortcuts to a fit body, says Sonali Chandok, pictured
'Women primarily look at themselves in parts rather than as a whole and are over critical about themselves. 
'They would always talk about reducing their hip size or waist size rather than aiming for a healthy body,' explains Delhi based fitness trainer, Kiran Sawhney. 
Though concern about body image is natural and common, it becomes a problem when the person starts evaluating themselves just on the basis of their looks. 
'The cultural pressure on women to look extraordinary has gradually taken the shape of an obsession,' says Pulkit Sharma, clinical psychologist, VIMHANS. Societal and media pressure has also added to problem. 
'We are surrounded by images of gorgeous looking celebs selling either a miraculous beauty cream or an unbelievable slimming lotion. 
Unknowingly, women start comparing their bodies with their beauty idols, and become victim of 'perfect body' syndrome,' says Sawhney. From Julia Roberts to Aishwarya Rai, our ideals of beauty lead us to believe that it's not inner but outer beauty that is loved and desired in the real world. 
'For women, beauty is directly linked to acceptance. They view acceptance by their spouse, family and society via their body image,' explains Dr. Rachna Khanna Singh, lifestyle expert, Artemis Hospital.


Menopause works as an alarm bell, suddenly alerting women to their declining youth. 
This reignites the female desire for eternal beauty and drives women to desperate measures, in order to cease the hands of time. 'Menopause for many women is a symbolic loss of their youth. 
It makes them unhappy and triggers anxiety and despair,' agrees Sharma.
On the physical front, the muscles become slack and flabby during this period, which makes women look fuller and the hormonal imbalance creates emotional and psychological turmoil. 
'Falling metabolism, mood swings, hot flushes and weight gain give a major blow to their self esteem and confidence. Sometime it also prompts mindless and depressive eating,' adds Sawhney. 
They seek more attention and affection, which brings their body under more scrutiny, and turns them to cosmetic surgeries and diet disorders in their desperation to look slim and young.
happy the way we are.jpg
Women today don't restrict themselves to using just facial cosmetic procedures. 
Today, the cosmetic industry is seeing a steep rise in demand for body contouring procedures such as liposuction, abdominoplasty (tummy tuck) and sagging breast surgery.
'More than 50 per cent of female patients that I see in a month come for such procedures,' informs Dr. Manoj Khanna, chairman – Enhance aesthetic & cosmetic clinic, Delhi. 
Besides these, non surgical treatments like lipodissolve injections (for breaking fat) and ultrasonic fat reduction treatment (for destroying fat permanently) are also gaining popularity. 
Dr Khanna states that these procedures bring about a big difference in their emotional stability and lend a great boost to their confidence. 
On the other hand, according Dr. Kapoor, modernisation of Indian society has also played a vital role in changing people's attitude towards such surgeries. 
'Nowadays, women prefer western wear over Indian. They are going bolder with their choice of clothes.
'They want to try bikinis and swimsuits irrespective of their age, and thus, are willing to go far and wide to get a toned body. 
'To my surprise, recently a 71-year-old woman came for abdominoplasty as she wanted to get rid of the extra flab and an old surgery scar,' shares Dr. Kapoor. 
However, experts insist that one must look at the pros and cons of such surgeries before going for them.
The majority of the women directly link food to fitness. 'It's easier to blame your problem on the food you eat than yourself,' smiles Dr. Sandhya Pandey, chief dietician, Columbia Asia hospital. 
From over the counter supplements to crash diets, today food has become a popular and indispensable part of all our conversations. 
'In recent times, there has been an information overload on diets and as a result it is seen as a culprit,' informs Sharma. 
The quick fixes like diets and slimming pill can adversely affect one's health and immunity, say experts. 
'Food allergies and sensitivities can come about when you do not introduce variety into your diet,' adds Shipra Saklani Mishra, Sr. Clinical Nutritionist, Fortis La Femme. 
Also, to follow fitness regime and balanced diet requires a lot of discipline and dedication, whereas most of the women look for quick fixes.. 
'Majority of the middle aged women come to us in hope of a miracle. A thin (not healthy) body in just few weeks is what they aspire for,,' shares Ashwini Gawad, nutritional and fitness expert, Talwalkars gyms.
'One should not succumb to the societal and media pressures and instead try to enhance other talents and capabilities. Concentrate on the body parts you feel happy. If a woman feels good about herself as a whole, she would not be so bothered by body image,' says Sharma. 
Begin with acceptance and appreciation. 'A 43 year old cannot compete with a 16 year old girl. And I have no qualms in accepting it. 
Women need to get realistic about their bodies and set achievable goals,' says Sawhney. Experts believe that women should start with lifestyle modification as soon as they cross 30 and concentrate on building strength and stamina, which will help boost their metabolism at the later stage. 
'Besides these, practice yoga, which is rejuvenating and helps in building endurance to deal with problems that come with ageing,' advises Sawhney.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/indiahome/indianews/article-2172238/When-feel-FATTER-look-Millions-women-world-suffer-poor-body-image.html#ixzz20NPAuEGl