The skinny on healthy eating

The movie Never Been Kissed contains a detail that was not fully appreciated when it was released 10 years ago. In the film, the editor of the Chicago Sun-Times tells his news reporter, played by Drew Barrymore, that nutrition is not front-page material, because readers do not care about health.

Today, childhood obesity and eating disorders are commonplace. The University News’ lead story three weeks ago was about nutrition at Saint Louis University. On campus and across the country, eating and nutrition have come to the fore.

Americans today are obsessed with skinny women and buff men. If you’re not stick-thin or ripped, respectively, then you are neither “healthy” nor accepted. Americans crave knowledge about whether Jessica Simpson has lost weight or (gasp!) gained more, or how many ribs show through the tank top of one of the Olsen twins.

As this week’s Eating Disorders Awareness Week proves, both women and men are feeling the heat of the body-image spotlight. Unreachable physical standards turn the wheels of multi-million dollar businesses. Just as women are influenced by models and copies of Cosmopolitan, men are vulnerable to images of bodybuilders and issues of GQ.

Just as American men and women are feeling the weight of skinny standards, they’re also stretched to eat past capacity. Hardie’s is calling: It wants its customers to eat a “real” burger, double the calories, for a meal. Diners don’t want a “nannerpuss” for breakfast-they want the real deal from Denny’s.

At SLU, students are surrounded by picture-perfect statues (such as eye-candy Doug, with his washboard abs and full head of luscious hair).

At our newly renovated gym, students are greeted by a leaping Olympian statue at the entrance. Inside, the gym is filled with many “frat lifters” working on bench press, abs and curls, and girls who are running off calories that they haven’t even consumed that day.

Of course, students who want to use the gym shouldn’t be intimidated by those whose lives center around work-out time.

Except for a few places like Terra Ve, Au Bon Pain or the relatively unknown Fresh Gatherings on the medical campus, it is clear that SLU could do a better job in providing students with healthy eating choices.

Where do we find the balance? Must students turn to Weight Watchers and transform all food into “points?” Should they scarf Salsarita’s nachos without a second thought?

Take advantage of the resource of SLU’s Eating Disorders Awareness Week, and get inside information about being healthy.

Health is not just about how to lose 15 pounds of fat or gain 15 pounds of muscle before spring break-it’s about feeling good and being happy with yourself.