How skinny is too skinny

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With tiny supermodels staring out from the covers of glossy magazines, weight loss diets bombarding social media, and diet pills starring in countless infomercials, it’s not surprising that Americans face pressure to be skinny. Too often, the thirst for thinness goes too far.

Johnilee Slark, a dietitian with Marshfield Clinic, has been working with patients for more than 20 years, helping them to achieve a healthier eating lifestyle. In her work, she counsels patients with nutritional concerns, provides and develops educational materials, and has a particular interest in eating disorders.

“There are some very unhealthy places on the Internet that portray very unhealthy eating habits to achieve a look that’s not healthy,” she said. “There is a large influence from society and media that can drive a person to an unhealthy relationship with food or keep them there.”

While easy to fixate on shedding pounds, being “too skinny” is actually not the problem. Rather, it is the relationship with food that is important to evaluate.

“I have found that making (size) the focus doesn’t help people change and embrace a different relationship with food,” said Slark. “It almost drives into the closet-type eating or the shame/blame condemnation, and that is not a model for change.”

For the majority of the population, a normal amount of time is dedicated to thinking about or actually eating. When that focus becomes disproportionate and overwhelming, professional help is needed.

“I like to talk with my patients maybe not about numbers as much as how much focus is on a number or how much focus of your day is on weight or don’t eat this,” said Slark.

source: wausau daily herald

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