As a health, fitness, and lifestyle expert I am frequently asked by media to lend my expertise to assess some of the fitness trends and practices circling around. Since I believe in a balanced Green Living Lifestyle, this can be tricky because I must manage efforts to sensationalize and dramatize what some people do (in most cases stars) with the reality of what the perceived likes and desires of society are.
When should we be concerned? When the focus is on unhealthy likes and the desirable is dangerous. To illustrate, I was recently asked to comment on Katie Holmes' new "ultra-thin" look and the regiment of Olympian exercise and micro-dieting she is using to achieve it.
Although I've never worked with Katie, I can only imagine her mindset having gone so quickly from Dawson's Creek mini-stardom to Cruise's Wake of Super-Fame. I can understand how huge pressures to handle life-changing events can lead people to feel compelled to overcompensate. As an expert, all I can really say is that regiments of the type she is on are unhealthy and terribly dangerous. In reality, I know people often fall prey to something even more insidious than a blind urge to please: an unscrupulous predatory "trainer" that will make anything happen (this is especially true for stars who have money and recognition to offer).
I recently asked a friend who has drastically changed his body weight a few times for professional reasons what it felt like having lost over 60lbs for a role. Since his intentions where professional rather than personal, it was easier for him to step back and be critical of the effects. He told me quite bluntly that it was the worst experience of his life. Under-eating made him painfully hungry, constantly exhausted, and led to levels of depression, self-doubt, loss of sex-drive, insomnia, and pervasive malaise and incongruence he had never experienced before. He recalled vividly the concern everyone around him expressed and his terrible mental state throughout.
Clearly it would be difficult for anyone to find their balance and cope with daily life if they put themselves into similar mental states as my friend. On a grander level, the evolution of societies and ideas sometimes swings in strange directions. I consider the Scary Skinny trend that was so pervasive in the 80s and 90s alarmingly strange and I'm grateful it's gone. Going Green is the future. Since my focus has always been to balance internal, external, and psychological health with lifestyle I include think a Personal Green is part of a real Green Living Lifestyle.
This is the right direction for social likes and desires because it makes sense. Scary Skinny and such self-mutilation is a thing of the past because it never made sense. If you're going to abuse your body might as well drive an SUV, spray CFC's everywhere, burn rubber tires, and stop recycling altogether to abuse the outside world too. Any guru will tell you balance with the planet starts with a balance within oneself.