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Teeny-tiny Kareena sparked off the size zero fad. But now that she and a host of other stars have got their curves back, starving is no longer a fashion necessity. Today, the shapely woman fights back, with meat on her thighs and food on her plate
For a few years now, Kareena Kapoor has been the goddess of lean. Her love of paranthas notwithstanding, the Punjabi kudi managed to slim down all the way to super-skinny size zero. Thousands of young girls starved themselves to get to that elusive size. But now, Kareena has done a U turn and gone from skinny to pleasingly curvy.
Other Bollywood stars like Kangna Ranaut and Katrina Kaif too have discovered the magic of curves and figure-hugging dresses. Dabangg girl Sonakshi Sinha may have dropped 30 kilos but she was noticed for her rounded figure. And, most telling of all, this year the Filmfare Award statuette has gone back to its original, curvy 50s look.
So what made Kareena bid adieu to her skeletal frame? Rujuta Diwekar, author of the just launched Women & Weight Loss Tamasha (Westland) who helped Kareena acquire her new look, says, "Bebo never strived to get into the size zero frame. She's been lean throughout and with the right kind of eating and diet just started looking good - in fact, so good that people just sat up and took notice. In fact, Tashan and Jab We Met were shot at the same time, and her look in both the films is different. In the former she looks very slim, and in JWM, she looks a little plump - this was the result of makeup, camera angles, etc. "
Diwekar says the concept of size zero took off from the ramps of Paris and Milan. So, what exactly is size zero? It is a concept relating to models with low body mass. A US size zero is equivalent to a UK size 4 or a European size 32-34. It is a petite size for women with busts of 31.5 inches, waists of 23 inches and hips of 32 inches. Size zero has often been linked to anorexia nervosa and bulimia as many women have to lose a large amount of weight to become so thin.
That's why when fashionistas saw Kareena in Tashan, they just called her look size zero and the tag stuck. "The West had their size zero in Posh Spice and we had ours in Tashan's Bebo, " says Aruna Kapoor, mother of 19-year-old twins. "Despite everyone talking about its ill-effects like anorexia nervosa and bulimia, young girls went wild and started this frenzied dieting. With the media raving about how gorgeous being thin was, the psyche of young girls was getting affected. "
Ask Diwekar if Kareena is to be blamed for this and she defends her star client, "We never bothered about size zero. Her look was the result of wellplanned, on-time meals. Kareena is still doing that, giving fitness precedence over all else. "
While many may still be queuing up at gyms, others are taking the opposite road. Says businesswoman Shikha Trivedi, "With the help of yoga and walking, I managed to knock off quite a few kilos and got a very lean frame. " But now, post a few additional kilos which are not making her unhappy, Trivedi wonders why it became such a rage. "Indian women with their big hips and busts can't easily slip into that frame. In fact, most of my male friends don't find the skinny look attractive. Some of them who're models confess they'd never date one!"
TV actor Rakshanda Khan thinks this was always a "fictional concept". "Why would a zero (in anything) be aspirational?" she asks. "There has to be something different in the anatomy of two human beings - each one is good in his or her own way. Fitness is what ultimately matters. " In any case, Khan adds, "A woman has to look like a woman and not like a 14-year-old boy. "
Dentist Amandeep Sapra lost about 28 kg, all in a bid to become a part-time model. But has now put back about 8 kg. "Of course, losing all that weight made me feel great but there's another truth I can't run away from is that I love food. So, although I do give in to the temptation of eating well, I also enjoy my new slim self. And will ensure that I keep a balance of both. In any case, size zero is passê, " says Sapra. Fashion designer Charu Parashar who also designs for bigger size women says fitness should be the prime reason for losing weight. "What size zero brought in its wake was an anorexic look which is hardly attractive. The face needs to reflect good health and a good, happy attitude, " advocates Parashar.
With size zero falling from grace, 'bigger' individuals are celebrating their bodies like never before. There are special clothing lines (Etcetera and Lakshita, among others) and even dating sites for the 'big built' that celebrate women with curves.
Susmita Pattjoshi, a yoga practitioner, has had her share of students "wanting to hit size zero". Thankfully, she says, "it was a temporary phase and the reason could be both scientific and practical. Its after-effects started becoming a health issue. That's why ramps in the West are no longer looking at size zero models. "
Pattjoshi recalls her students' efforts to become stick thin. "One of them, in trying to look like Kareena, did lose about 15 kg - so it did do her a good turn. Another one started with additional rounds of suryanamaskars. But now, fortunately, this zero business is out of their minds. " Pattjoshi's only piece of advice to her students is: "Just be 'sensible' - do some brisk walking, eat a balanced diet and do some yoga or other physical exercise. "
None of the yesteryear stars were size zero, says artist Vivan Sundaram. "Of course, there's a culture difference between those times and now, " he says. "The notion of dieting is a recent one and some part of it has to do with being healthy. But it got pushed to this extreme because of the presence of fashion, though fashion models at one point were supposed to be these skin-and-bones creatures who would not take away from the look of the garment. "
The skinny frame reminds him of 17th-century Mannerist art with its "slender, elongated, exaggerated forms". Sundaram has been creating "sculptural garments out of trash, but none of them are for size zero - they're for size 8, 10 or 12 models which will be displayed on the ramp and then in an exhibition".
And he goes on to add, "But a part of me likes the provocation of size zero, the way it's given youngsters a sense of freedom from the hitherto known notions of sexiness and beauty. "
But, as Dr Daljeet, consultant (Paintings) at the National Museum says, "There's no escaping Vatsayana's definition of beauty in Kama Sutra with his nayikas Padmini, Hansini, Shankhini, Hastini. Like them, our yakshis and women in miniatures and on the walls of Khajuraho and Konark all had heavy breasts and hips with a thin waist. And yet, they had a delicate look about them, something that the girls with their well-toned, 'gymmed' bodies lack. "
Diwekar's advice to women is that they should "eat right and eat stuff that's locally available". When you start doing that, she says, you get closer to your optimum body composition (fat levels in body decrease and muscle and bone weight increases). "We should love and accept our body the way it is, " she adds.
LOSING TOO MANY KILOS CAN LEAD TO. . .
Nutritional deficiencies of vitamins and minerals which can, in turn, weaken the immune system Anemia, a condition in which there is low haemoglobin, leads to weakness and tiredness
Skipping meals slows the body's metabolism which further adds more caloric load on the body
Loss of muscle mass and osteoporosis which is weakening of bones. It can precipitate gout which is a type of arthritis
Irregular menstruation in young women. Sometimes, ovulation can stop
Hair-loss and loosening of skin and muscles
Swelling of hands and limbs
Dehydration and electrolyte imbalance
DR ATUL KAKAR, Consultant physician & rheumatologist, Ganga Ram Hospital
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