By Supreeta Singh

Sociologists in Pennsylvania have just discovered that teenage girls who think they are overweight, but are not, are more likely to get depressed than girls who are overweight and know it.
 
Fortunately, obsession with size zero seems to be receding the world over as more and more women come to terms with their bodies and are happy with what was earlier shunned as “extra kilos” as long as they are healthy. The new mantra in Kolkata and other Indian metros: Fat is fine if you are fit!
 
Rubena Chatterjee, classical dancer and choreographer, says: “I don’t believe in size zero. According to the Natyashastra, a  woman should have a proportionate figure so that she looks attractive in her dance costume. Just look at the women carved in the temples of Khajuraho or Konark – they are voluptuous!”
 
“I’m afraid a skinny woman has nothing to flaunt except her hair.”
 
Young photographer Anjali Kanakia adds: “I am a bit plump but I won’t starve myself to lose weight. Be strong and confident if you want to be happy. Movie stars and models are not my beauty icons.”
 
A recent study in the UK revealed that nearly a third of women are so desperate to lose weight that they are cutting out entire food groups, some of which are rich sources of bone-strengthening calcium.
 
But changing attitude in India are reflected in Mahi Talwar, lead character of the daily soap Mahi Way. She shamelessly munches on chocolates, takes large bites of pizzas dripping with cheese and eats whatever she fancies to the horror of her on-screen family. She is like any other 20-year-old with her share of boyfriend and career hassles. Except for one detail: Mahi is fat.
 
Against the trend of size zero made popular by Bollywood actress Kareena Kapoor, Mahi aka Pushtiie Shakti is unapologetic about being fat. There is more good news – Mahi is happy, successful, in love with herself; her confidence level is soaring.
 
Pushtiie says: “I think size zero is just a passing fad with limited appeal. Frankly speaking let a thousand ideas bloom. I think I am perfect the way I am.”
 
There was a time when Indian women were known for their curvaceous figure. But there was a drift after the likes of Sushmita Sen and Aishwarya Rai were crowned international beauty queens. Bombarded with visuals of celebrity thin women, young girls began copying them by starving themselves.
 
Throwing up her hands, actress Delnaaz Paul describes the obsession with size zero as weird.
 
“It’s incredible. Earlier no one was size zero. Look at Madhubala, Meena Kumari or Asha Parekh. It’s simply not true that you cannot be happy or successful if you are fat.”
 
Delnaaz is proud of her looks. Thanks to her weight, she has bagged roles to portray chubby, pretty girls. She likes it when people call her cute. “Every morning, when I begin my day, I am full of enthusiasm and exuberance. That’s the most important feeling.”
 
According to fitness consultant Mrinalini Mukherjee, it’s better to be a little overweight and happy than be skinny and unhappy. Moreover, thin women are prone to osteoporosis.
 
“Mental well-being is more important than what the weighing machine tells you”, says Ms Mukherjee.
 
Singer Jojo who carries her bulges with aplomb is known for her vivaciousness. She candidly declares that she has no ambitions to resemble Bipasha Basu!
 
“A woman should feel sexy in her skin. At the end of the day, every guy is not Aamir Khan or Shah Rukh Khan. Then why should every woman try to be Priyanka Chopra or Katrina Kaif”, remarked Jojo who loves her fish and rice.
 
Kookie Jar’s Lovey Burman’s advice to women who lose sleep over weight: the real glow comes from inside: believe in yourself: don’t trust the mirror too much!

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