The Look Good Diet Persists
By MELISSA POLLACK
For many teenage girls, dieting to “look good” for special events such as holidays, Spring Break and Prom have become widely popular.
Special occasions offer girls the opportunity to have an excuse for improper diets which can possibly lead to long term health consequences. Halloween is a time for people of all different ages to dress up in creative costumes with their friends. In younger and more innocent days, girls dressed up in princess and witch costumes that don’t reveal a lot of skin. During adolescence, the focus shifts from candy to parties as teenagers transition to wearing revealing attire to impress their peers. Senior Olivia S. said, “A lot of girls want to fit in and wear certain costumes, feeling pressured to look good.” Although dangerous eating habits can result from Halloween dieting, teenagers think that the most important factor is looking fabulous.
Many girls find it hard to admit to unhealthy dieting for these occasions. Senior Shreya C. said, “I diet because there’s a pressure to look good for the day because everyone in Jericho, if they admit it or not, diets. Most people diet in a strict way and gain the weight back afterwards.” She admitted to poor dieting habits in the past, but found that when she dieted properly she was able to reach her personal goal. She added, “It’s just an overall pressure to be skinny, fit, have the thigh gap and look like the people you see in magazines, the internet and Instagram.”
Senior Julia L. added, “Everyone is so insecure about their bodies because of the many photos of celebrities they see in magazines that are photoshopped and sometimes not real.”
Another common dieting season for senior girls is around Spring Break. Before trips to the Bahamas, seniors are heavily focused on getting “in shape.” This is another opportunity for unhealthy dieting among teenage girls.
JHS social worker Mr. Benjamin counsels many girls who diet too much, and agrees that there is a lot of pressure on teen girls “to look a specific way and to be a certain weight.” Mr. Benjamin said, “I think true value comes from within, but it’s hard when society rewards thinness.”
Students who are concerned about these pressures should speak to JHS school psychologist Dr. Smith who discourages the look good diet and promotes healthy living. She said, “I wish that as a community and culture we would all speak the same language, and no one would feel ashamed or embarrassed about discussing these types of very real and common issues.”
Clearly no one should take drastic measures to reach unrealistic beauty standards. Maintaining a healthy diet is always best. Dr. Smith explained, “The more we educate people about this and talk about it openly without judgment, the more people will start to understand the dangers of unhealthy dieting.”