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Answers to more than 1000 questions about psychology, mental health, healthy living and relationships, written by a team of experts appointed by the Commission of the European Communities.
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The aim of Web4Health is to give good and useful free medical advice, help and self help in the areas of mental health, psychology, personality disorders, relationships, stress, anxiety, depression, emotional abuse, substance abuse, sexual abuse, types of mental illness, etc.

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Unnatural Ideals of Beauty

Written by: Gunborg Palme, certified psychologist and certified psychotherapist, teacher and tutor in psychotherapy.

First version: 22 Jul 2008. Latest revision: 13 Aug 2008.

Question:

 My height is 170 cm and I weigh 62 kilos. I am far too fat, especially round the hips and the thighs. I have tried to reduce in many different ways, but as soon as I manage to lose a few kilos I feel compelled to eat more and I soon put on weight again.

Answer:

In ancient China, it was considered the height of beauty for women to have very small feet, and in order to achieve this ideal the feet of young girls were bound with hard bandages which were kept on for many years. This caused serious deformation and prevented these women from ever walking normally. Fortunately, this is no longer accepted.

Your weight is completely normal; it is the weight your body is intended for and that is the reason why it is so difficult for you to go down in weight. Women should have a little fat on their hips and thighs. It is probably a reserve which nature saves for pregnancy and breast feeding and is a part of the genetic programming.

You need to free yourself from unreasonable expectations. The weekly magazines and fashion designers who form unnatural ideals of beauty don't represent your interests. Slimming under what is biologically normal can be dangerous and can lead to serious eating disorders. Try to accept your body as it is. Choose clothes which bring out the best in you; use wide skirts which conceal hips and thighs, if you think it is necessary.

Concentrate on bringing out other parts of your appearance and personality instead of striving for unreasonable slimness. If you go in for accepting and developing your possibilities your life will be much happier.

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