“We live in a wrapping culture: The marriage contract matters more than love, the funeral more than the dead, clothing more than the body and Mass more than God. ”
How much time do we spend to choose our profile picture on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter? Why is it so difficult to find clothes that “fit” us? Nowadays, for many, their image is everything.
We live in an era of hypercommunication. Thousands of websites arising every day (source), social networks, and if we add to that the traditional media such as television, radio, newspapers and magazines, we find ourselves with a media oversupply as never before.
Being fair, this is in someway positive, but it also brings a big issue, disinformation.
The competition emerging from this excess of media makes that people with interests in them (owners, investors, sponsors, cloth designers, etc.) offer anything in order to get consumers (clients, readers, viewers, etc.)
The health and beauty industry is an ideal terrain for these scoundrels.
Unreal bodies = health disregarded
We are constantly trying to get indoctrinated through images of models displaying the type of body we should have.
Many people, especially the young, take those bodies as a reference and get obsessed with the idea of being like them at almost any price.
However, we should ask ourselves what do models do to get those bodies? The answer is, nothing healthy.
The first thing to know is that these guys live exclusively for their body. But not to have a healthy body, but to have the body that modeling and entertainment industry demand.
They spend hours exercising, they take supplements of uncertain long-term effects and they live with a considerable stress regarding what they can or cannot eat, the gym, competition with other models, etc.
Second, the body they are showing in the photos is not the body they have most of the year. They prepare exclusively for one day, the day of the photo shoot or parade.
And how is that preparation? Let’s have a look to an example for male models for the week before the shoot.
He carefully distributed the amount of carbs to eat each day of the week before the session (for example, from 75 g per day they drop to almost 0 g) seeking to get into ketosis, and finally doing a super intake (refeed) 24 hs before which includes for example the “delicious” rice crackers.
To achieve it, they drink 15 to 20 liters of water per day during the 6 previous days. 24 hs before the session, they do not drink at all. And how about going to the sauna for a while so we get a bit more dehydrated?
Diuretics: Some of them take magnesium pills, others prefer dandelion tea, any strategy is valid to get rid of liquids. One of them, Seb Gale, said: “basically, you need to be going to the bathroom every 10 minutes” (source).
Sometimes, mainly bodybuilders, they drink large amounts of wine the night before to become even more dehydrated and highlight that venous appearance.
This week they perform a few high-intensity sessions to empty their muscle glycogen reserves. Have you tried the sensation of doing HIIT in ketosis or in a hypocaloric diet? I can tell you it is not pleasant.
On the day of the photo shoot, they eat enough salt to re-hydrate and get that “bloated” effect in the photos. Sometimes they actually train during the session.
They recognize the paradox that demonstrating that (supposed) physical perfection, makes them feel very far from being healthy. “I had no energy, I was really dehydrated, and felt very close to cramping, and it was basically very uncomfortable. I just wanted to sit down and eat. When I returned home I ate whatever I found: nachos, cheesecakes, chocolate bars, anything” said Gale.
In addition, during the photoshoot there are other factors considered such as the angles for the images, makeup, lighting, the use of filters, etc.
If that is not enough, and to make it clear that those bodies are fictitious, there is our beloved technology to make the final touches. A little bit of Photoshop and we are ready.
Finally, there are the genetic differences we all have.
Let’s suppose that a model aspirant carefully followed all the necessary methods before an audition: diet, training, etc.
So this person would have reached the maximum potential, or at least close to it.
But it turns out that the industry is looking for certain ratios for its models (length of legs and arms, shoulders width, waist width, facial symmetry, distance between eyes, eyes to mouth, nose to mouth, jaw shape, hip width, etc). Simply for statistics, there are only a few who have all these features and are “approved” as models.
Health comes first, always
Now that you know how those unreal bodies are achieved and that you should not take them as an example, you may wonder what a healthy and attractive body really looks like.
The answer is that there is no particular body type. There infinite possible physical variants of what a healthy body represents.
The good news is that it is possible to achieve this. How?
Well, firstly do not focus on getting a six-pack, super bloated biceps, or a peach-shaped butt to show. Don’t compare yourself to those false standards of health and beauty. The only possible comparison is with yourself.
Finally, focus on not stressing over situations that are beyond your control (e.g. your body ratios which are determined by your genetics as explained above).
Follow those principles and the logical consequence will be a healthy, strong, attractive and, the most important: a real body.
It will be the best version of yourself.