The period preceding Prom is one of rapid fasting and exercising to wedge oneself into an impossible suit or dress. Even with the rigorous academic lifestyle at SIS, students manage to fit in the time to embark on this spontaneous and extreme journey of dieting. Students tend to think little of how dieting would reflect on their health and strive to reach the singular goal of losing weight or looking thinner. Because the number shown on a weight scale is a complex amalgam of relative muscle and fat percentage along with a number of bodily factors, simply endeavoring to lose weight without a specific goal counterproductively damages one’s metabolism.
The common and contemporary understanding of a “proper diet” requires balanced eating and exercise that allows one to gradually progress in a healthier direction. As dieting alters one’s body chemistry, it should be an extended task that is taken on over a course of months, ample time for the body to adjust to changes in food and exercise. Yet students find such dieting difficult to fit into their packed schedule. Thus, they resort to the more “convenient” method of fasting, as it only requires cutting snacks, skipping meals, and enduring hunger cramps. The combination of academic stress, lack of sleep, and nutrient drainage, however, leads to heavy lethargy throughout the day, consequently reducing the overall productivity of an individual.
This type of dieting is neither the healthiest nor the most efficient, but it is definitely the most appealing to students who desire a short-term dedication into what should be considered a long-term project. Whatever the occasion may be–Snowball, Prom, or school trips–a large portion of the student populace find dieting a prior necessity, despite the fact that much of the weight lost is regained after the event.
“I have been dieting for the past few weeks,” said Jaywon Yi (12), captain of the girl’s varsity swim team. “I embarked on this project because I realized that weight affects my performance in swimming negatively. Therefore, just by controlling what I eat, I was able to kill two birds with one stone: I could be a faster swimmer and also prepare my body for events like Prom. Still, cutting down on food has been a difficult process because I began to feel weak and light-headed in my first week of dieting.”
Nonetheless, there are definitely cases in which dieting can be conducted in a healthy manner—in a way that is specifically dedicated to one’s body build and fitness, not simply as a means of losing fat. Such an example can be seen from individual sports like cross country and track-and-field. Before and after sports events and throughout the entire training season, athletes of these sports tend to adhere to a fulfilling dietary regimen along with consistent and abundant exercise.
Although it is difficult to rapidly immerse oneself into a mindset of body positivity, it is one thing for students to be dissatisfied with their looks but another to perform a deleterious form of fasting that breaks their body balance. Before going on such a consequential journey, perhaps students should ask themselves why they choose to do so, as well as whether or not the repercussions are worth their course of action.