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You Don’t Need Steroids And Starvation For A Well Sculpted Body: Here’s Why!

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By Rajaram Suresh:

Whether a Hollywood actor plays a watchman or a cop, a nurse or a secret agent, we’ve always envisioned them with extremely fit bodies, rippling six-pack abs or lithe, curvy torsos. In Bollywood, Salman Khan was the reigning fitness icon every time his beefy frame adorned the screen. The buck then passed to Hrithik Roshan, when he seamlessly transitioned from a boyish actor to India’s alpha male. With subsequent Khans in their 40s joining the bandwagon, the six-pack was no longer as tough as it once seemed.

health

Drawing numerous examples from Hollywood, and more recently Bollywood, the perfect figure had earlier been a distant dream for the common man. However, nowadays, with more and more actors sporting sculpted bodies with ease, the dream of a six-pack or a size zero is moving closer and closer towards reality. What is seen on-screen is the result of weeks and months of hard work, the magnitude of which most of us fail to comprehend. Some of us focus solely on the end result and not always on the means. This, apart from being the wrong way to go, could also take a severe toll on your body.

How thin is Size-Zero?

A woman or an adolescent girl with size zero would mean that she has a waistline of just 56 cm. This means that she could wind a meter-tape almost twice round her waist! While it’s meant to give a feeling of fitness and look easy on the eye, there have been examples which achieved neither. What happens when an average teenager sets out to look like Kareena Kapoor in Tashan? She begins to starve every day, reducing her intake to the barest minimum. As a result, she is forced to cut down on the essential nutrients, without which the body uses its reserve fat, making it a very unpleasant way to lose weight. More often than not, once she hits size-zero, she finds it near impossible to sustain her brutal dieting regime. As a result, she starts eating more, while the body is still devoid of reserve fat. Eventually, rapid fat accumulation takes place, defeating the whole purpose of what she initially set out to.

In some instances, starvation triggers multiple diseases pertaining to vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Marasmus and Kwashiorkor are direct causes of malnutrition. In most cases, starvation also leads to lower concentration-levels and shorter attention spans, not to mention the constant sinking feeling and the inner voice that whispers, ‘I am not good enough, and hence I need to thin down’

The Six-Pack Craze

It all began when Aamir Khan and Shah Rukh Khan came out and showed the boys how it’s done. Ever since Om Shanti Om, Indian men have gone gaga about six-pack abs. While there have always been those who succeed in striking the right balance between a healthy diet and a rigorous workout, many cases of diet-pills and steroid abuse still find their way to our ears. With almost every gym showcasing bodybuilder-models with bulging muscles, it’s only ironical that the very place to train hard for natural abs, publicly displays steroid-fed muscular models for their advertisement.

Why Steroids?

Steroids are widely perceived to be performance-enhancing shortcuts to bodybuilding, as they increase the production of testosterone, rendering the body capable of lifting more weight, hence beefing it up very quickly. But the disadvantages far outweigh its benefits. Some of the most common cons of anabolic steroids are male pattern baldness, hepatotoxicity, acne, and gynecomastia. When there are so many reasons to keep from using them, why do people still turn to steroids?

A major proportion of steroid users are older men, searching for ways to beef up easily. With age, the biological metabolism slows down, making it that much tougher for older men to develop muscles in the same time as their younger counterparts. Another fraction of steroid users are bodybuilding fanatics who have little else on their mind other than bodybuilding, leading to overtraining, which, more often than not, is uncalled for.

Which side do we choose?

A healthy body is indispensable for a disease-free lifestyle. However, a lot depends on what the individual’s perception of a ‘healthy lifestyle’ is. Bigger muscles don’t always imply a fitter body, and succumbing to the size-zero features nowhere close in the ‘Top 10 health tips’ that any trainer would suggest. That being said, it is not unhealthy for one to desire a sculpted body. The first step one should take is approach a reputed trainer and place oneself completely under his/her control. Systematic training, with adequate supplements — if necessary — would easily suffice. Obviously, natural body building and slimming would take much longer than ‘easier’ drastic measures, but it certainly has a positive impact on our body, health, and most importantly, our psyche.

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  1. Veer Subhash

    Applaud the writer and YkA for publishing such article. Well Done..

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

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She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

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A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

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A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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