Beauty defined by health

Feeling in the mood for a good rant this morning!  My target is a topic that’s been in the news quite a bit lately.  The concept of feminine “beauty”.  Gender, unfortunately, is a profound factor in personal dietary choices in most industrialized nations sharing the common dysfunctional aesthetic of women deemed more sexually attractive on the basis of their thinness, especially in this social media fueled era of ‘body shaming’.  The real-world dietary result of this shallow premise marketed by Madison Avenue and Hollywood is the endemic cultural meme of women ordering “light fare” such as salads devoid of protein on restaurant menus, whilst their male counterparts indulge with shameless abandon in high-calorie fatty foods such as steak and potato, washed down with copious quantities of beer and spirits.  Speaking anecdotally, I have observed this phenomenon firsthand every time I eat out at a fancy restaurant.  I’ve watched women despondently pick away at their food with their fork, as though it were about to leap off the plate and attack them.  Meanwhile, the man or men at the same table mindlessly shovel food down their gullet as though it were going out of style!  The aforementioned disparity presents as neither fair, healthy, or sane.  Food restrictions as a vehicle for attempting to attain unrealistic standards of physical attractiveness is quite simply a dysfunctional behavior, an eating disorder, one that I blame on our society, not on the population of women who are being pressured to look like cokehead supermodels and genetically-blessed freaks of nature.

There was a time long ago in Western society when “full-figured” women were not only the norm, but also considered highly desirable by the opposite sex.  So I have a great idea.  Why don’t we all endeavor to be as emotionally and physically healthy as possible, realizing that our “uber health” will radiate a beauty that transcends superficial shallow notions of what women should look like, a version of beauty that is easily recognizable by any person operating outside the vacuous confines of commercially-defined aesthetics.  And I’m not even talking about the tired old cliché of “inner beauty”.  I’m talking about a kind of physical beauty that cannot be found in a Victoria’s Secret catalog, but one which you can find hanging on the walls of any world-class museum anywhere in the world.

Beauty should be defined by health, not by fashion.  When I first meet a person, I look at the pallor of their skin, the sparkle in their eyes, the sincerity of their smile, and whether or not they radiate that “healthy glow” that is so obvious to anyone with a pair of eyes.  I’m checking out their posture and muscle tone, not their curves or lack thereof.  I’m not judging them superficially, and neither should any of us.  A person can be a bit “overweight”, yet still perfectly healthy, or they could be outwardly thin while physically devastated internally, carrying around deadly visceral fat padding their vital organs, i.e. what we nutritionists call “skinny fat” and doctors call “Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease” (NAFLD).  So I can honestly say that when I lay eyes on a super-fit fitness model with a six-pack, male or female, the first thing that comes to mind is “Let me see their bloodwork and an ultrasound of their liver!“.  Ironically, numerous studies have shown that a person can be extremely fit, yet quite unhealthy at the same time.  Professional bodybuilders for instance, on the day of competition, are usually on the verge of death when they walk out on stage looking absolutely shredded, sporting networks of protruding veins caused by extreme dehydration.  Impressive?  Yes.  Healthy?  No.  Don’t be fooled by external appearances!

So let’s give the girls a break, fellas.  Have you taken a look at your beer belly in the mirror lately?  Rest assured that Jennifer Aniston will not be jumping on that protuberance any time soon!


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