The Healthy Body Survey
By Abigail H. Natenshon
Author of When Your Child Has An
How does a
person know if she is taking the very best care of her body?
If in one’s childhood, he might be preparing his body to enjoy a
healthful adulthood? If she
is eating correctly and exercising the right amount?
If our beliefs and assumptions are as accurate as they need to be
about nutrition, fitness and mental health so that if we can live out
our lives in the most
productive and gratifying way? The following is a True/False quiz that
will allow you to check out the accuracy of some of your beliefs.
Check your answers at the end of the exercise.
1. I know that very skinny
models and actresses have unhealthy eating and exercise lifestyles.
I must not model myself after them. T
2. No one can know how fit
or unfit I am simply by looking at me.
3. Body shapes and sizes
vary from one person to the next.
No two bodies can or should look the same.
4. People become
overweight because they eat too much.
They need to eat less.
5. You will be thinner if
you skip breakfast. The fewer your meals, the thinner you become.
Sweets are not good for you.
7. Eating fat in your food
makes you become fat. T F
8. I worry that the more I
eat, the more weight I will gain. T F
9. If I am overweight, I
deserve to be teased or not accepted by my peers at school.
A person can gain a pound or more from eating a serving of cake,
meat, or ice cream. T
It is unnatural and unhealthy to try to get your body to be
thinner than it needs or wants to be. . . .no matter how normal the
models or actors make thinness seem.
When you eat right and stay active, your body will determine the
best weight for you and will maintain that weight to keep you feeling
good and fit.
Nobody can tell how fit you are simply by looking.
Largely built or overweight people are frequently strong, healthy
and in very good shape; their heredity may determine their large size.
Did you know that many overweight people exercise regularly and
vigorously and are fine athletes?
…..all this, despite the fact that they may not look like fashion
models or track stars?
3. T. Just as every
fingerprint is different from every other, no two people are created to
look just the same. We all
come in different sizes and shapes, with different strengths and
weaknesses, with different talents and interests.
Our unique qualities set us apart and make us special.
Who we are as people has less to do with how we look and more to
do with how we think, feel, and behave.
No one becomes overweight because he or she eats too much good
food. People become
overweight when they eat too much of the
wrong kinds of foods, ( foods
that are not nourishing to the body,) and/or when they do not remain
active, riding bikes or engaging in sports or other forms of regular
exercise. Moving your body
vigorously through space in some form of exercise is one sure way to
keep your metabolism healthy and capable of burning fat, giving you
energy and keeping you trim.
When people are overweight, they do not need to diet or eat less.
They need only to learn to eat differently,
to establish a healthier eating
and exercise lifestyle.
You can’t expect to be alert and to learn efficiently at school
unless you feed your brain well after its extended overnight fast.
People who skip breakfast damage the function of their
metabolism, interfering with their body’s capacity to burn fat
effectively. In addition,
excessively hungry people tend to overeat
their next meal or snack;
non-breakfast eaters are more apt to develop weight problems in
their childhood and into their adult years.
There is nothing wrong with eating sweets. A dessert now and
then, even once a day is fine.
Candy on Halloween, and cake and ice cream on birthdays is great
fun and in the spirit of the celebration.
It would in fact be problematic if you could
not feel free to indulge
yourself in this way. Sweets
become problems only when people eat them in excess, or instead of foods
that nourish and build strong bodies.
Eating fat in your diet does not make you become fat.
Though an over abundance of saturated fats can be unhealthy,
other kinds of fats are necessary to keep your body healthy and
functional. The healthy eater is the person who eats all types of foods,
as long as they are eaten in
moderation (not too much and not too little).
When your body is well fed and healthy, it will eventually arrive
at what its called its “set point” weight.
The body’s set point weight is the weight your body wants and
needs to be in order to be healthy.
Once this weight is achieved, there it will stay…. give or take a
pound here or there. If one
day you eat more than usual, the scale may show a slight increase in
weight, but within a day or so of eating naturally again, your body will
settle comfortably back to its set point weight. You can count on it.
9. F. You do not deserve
to be teased, ever, for any reason.
If you have something to learn about yourself from another
person, there are more constructive ways to communicate those things
than through teasing. You have done nothing wrong in being uniquely who
you are. What is most important is that you learn to take care of
yourself. If you have
concerns about your weight or how you look, there is a lot you can do to
bring about constructive changes short of feeling shame, going on a diet
to restrict food, or becoming the butt of others’ jokes.
It is important to understand that neither meat nor dairy
products are bad for you.
Quite the contrary. Some people believe that when they take in food, it
will immediately be visible on their body as excess weight.
This is not how food works.
In fact, when a person eats food, it is broken down by the body
into energy and fuel for growth and alertness.
Particularly when you eat nutritionally dense or nourishing foods
in appropriate amounts, it all gets used up and disappears before it
could ever be stored as fat.
How can you tell if you might have a problem with food or
- You don’t eat three
meals a day. There is never
time for breakfast.
Some “meals” consist of foods that are
not nourishing to your body, like chips
You don’t eat a wide variety of
You do not eat a cooked hot dinner with
your family every night.
Your home does not have a lot of
nutritious foods on hand for meals and
You spend a lot of time eating in front
of video games or television.
You rarely go take a walk or participate
in any form of exercise.
You feel guilty after you eat.
You are embarrassed about how you eat or
how you look.
It takes trying on many outfits before
you can find one that you feel looks
good enough on you.
You are afraid or uncomfortable about
eating in front of others.
You feel that you should never leave the
dinner table feeling full or satisfied.
Remember that big changes
come of smaller changes, and that the smaller the change, the easier it
is to accomplish. If you
decide you would like to change something about yourself, start out
slowly, making one small change at a time.
You needn’t be in a hurry.
How difficult was it to make that one change one time?
How did you feel after doing it?
Is it something you might want to try again?
If not, what might be preventing you from doing so?