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000: The Triple Size Zero Weight Loss Trend In Hollywood Threatens Our Health

Kim Hookem-Smith
#ICYMI
25 June 2014

It's sad times indeed when size zero is big. And sadder still when double size zero still isn't thin enough.

But while most of the world is heading towards obesity, Hollywood and those inspired by it are flirting with extremes on the other side of the spectrum and slimming down to impossibly tiny depths: The triple size zero.

Alexa Chung's skeletal frame is held up as the idea by many young girls (Twitter)
Alexa Chung's skeletal frame is held up as the idea by many young girls (Twitter)

According to Grazia, "It’s not about size zero anymore. These days, double-zero sizes don’t cut it either. Size triple zero is the number-one goal here."

Thin is 'in'.

'Size Zero' is an American sizing that equates to a UK size four. Double zero is a two and triple size zero would be zero over here. It's not widely available but it is on sale in some American stores.

Even among her super-slim peers, Kate Bosworth looks incredible thin and frail (REX)
Even among her super-slim peers, Kate Bosworth looks incredible thin and frail (REX)

It's is all the more frustrating as outside Hollywood, the 'strong not skinny' movement has taken hold, with women celebrating their fitness, and female weight training - so good for strengthening bones, speeding up metabolism and keeping trim - becoming more mainstream.

Healthy selfies and #fistpo on social media has celebrated women with, yes, washboard stomachs, but also with muscular physiques, who don't look thin, but instead slim and toned.

But this far healthier aim could be under threat as women turn to super skinny celebrities as body inspiration.

#strongnotskinny (Instagram / NatalieJillFit)
#strongnotskinny (Instagram / NatalieJillFit)

Don't get us wrong. Some women of course have body types that would put them into the size triple zero category, and we're not out to skinny-shame anyone. Health should always be the goal when it comes to diet, body weight and exercise, not conforming to an arbritary view of what's beautiful this season.

For most of us, however, the only way to achieve this celeb 'look' is extreme dieting.

The 000 size has a wasteband of 23 inches. That's the same as a 6-8 years label in children's clothing.

This seems crazy in a country where bodies - and dress sizes - are on the increase, with the average dress size in the UK now a 16, eight times larger than the triple size zero.

For many women this is completely healthy, their size in proportion to their height and bone structure. But for others, going up to this dress size could push them into the unhealthily overweight or even obese category on the doctor's weight table.

Kate has gone from slim (2003) to skeletal (2013) over the past few years (REX)
Kate has gone from slim (2003) to skeletal (2013) over the past few years (REX)

Being overweight carries many health conditions, but being too thin for your body frame is extremely bad for you too. Not eating enough can cause a huge array from problems from brittle bones and to muscle wastage. And as the heart is muscle, this increases the risk of  heart attack.

The threat to our bones is tremendous.

"Up to the age of 30 women build the strength of their bones," explains leading women's health expert Marilyn Glenville. "And then it plateaus until the menopause when it begins to deteriorate naturally thanks to the changing hormones levels in the body.

"So it's vital that you make them as strong as posisble before it levels out."

She adds: "Women who go through extreme diets as teenagers are prone to the serious bone condition osteoporosis. This is a fatal disease. At its most extreme, sufferers can break a bone just by sneezing."

Starvation diets can also stop your periods, threatening to ruin your fertility forever.

(In 2007 and 2014) Alexa has explained that she loses weight because she forgets to eat when she's busy or stressed (REX)
(In 2007 and 2014) Alexa has explained that she loses weight because she forgets to eat when she's busy or stressed (REX)

As if that weren't enough the same hormonal issues can cause bad skin, excessive body hair growth, and mess with your metabolism, so after a while your body goes into starvation mode, where eating a normal amount of food will lead to weight gain and you're forced to eat less and less to maintain the same tiny frame.

And most of us don't have Hollywood dermatologists and experts on hand to correct the more unplesant side effects of being unnaturally thin.

It goes without saying that these tiny portions also won't contain the nutrients you need to stay healthy. Ever wondered why every other interview you read with some of the skinnier actresses they seem to be battling a cold? That's their immune system shutting down, causing them to catch every bug going.

If that's not enough to put you off, there's the premature ageing. Good fats, nutrients and antioxidants in your food help your cells renew, maintain elasticity in your skin and preventing age spots and wrinkles. But if you're not eating enough, you won't get these benefits and the skin will start to look haggard.

It doesn't sound worth it to us. Health is a precious thing and when it's gone it can be impossible to get back. We should do everything we can to enjoy and preserve it.

There are fears about Nicole Richie's plummeting weight (REX)
There are fears about Nicole Richie's plummeting weight (REX)

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