Fitness experts put focus on health, rather than size or weight

Fitness experts put focus on health, rather than size or weight

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Trainer Sarah Van Sickle McClain helps members of the Knoxville Beauty Hunters throw away the images that are holding them back. Trainer Sarah Van Sickle McClain helps members of the Knoxville Beauty Hunters throw away the images that are holding them back.
Siri Khalsa-Zemel says one of the most important things you can do is to have social support group or person Siri Khalsa-Zemel says one of the most important things you can do is to have social support group or person

By TEARSA SMITH
6 News Anchor/Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Many women struggle with the pursuit of the perfect size.

From the teen years to their twenties and even just months after having a baby, the pressure to look model-thin seems to be brought up constantly.

Magazine cover after cover, it's clear that a size two is the new size six.

For many women, it's hard to stack up to the image of slim perfection being sold everywhere as ideal.

"The expectation has been set on what the perfect female body should be. Where did that come from?" asks Siri Khalsa-Zemel who works with teens and women whom battle eating disorders at MoonPointe: Focus Treatment Centers Outpatient Program for Eating Disorders.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the average American woman is about 5'4" and weighs 166 lbs. It makes it hard to compare to someone like supermodel Gisele Bunchen who is 5'11" and weighs 115 pounds.

Khalsa-Zemel says the pressure to measure up can be overwhelming.

"When women start to punish themselves, 'I had that piece of cake at the birthday party! Okay I can't eat anything at all tomorrow' or 'I've got to work out for two hours at the gym 'cause I was bad.' Because I was good or I was bad based on my body, we really need to get away from those messages," she said.

There is a group of women in Knoxville who are taking the quest for the perfect body and redefining beauty. They're called The Knoxville Beauty Hunters.

Trainer Sarah Van Sickle McClain helps them throw away the images that are holding them back.

"If it's not by the magazine body, a lot of the women in this group it's driven by their old body, how they used to be before they had kids," says McClain.

Angee Stichler is one of McClain's beauty hunters. She initially joined to shed a few pounds, but six months later, she has totally revamped her outlook on herself and on life.

"My self esteem? I am just a completely different person because of this group," proclaims Stichler.

She and her fellow beauty hunters are more focused on overcoming physical obstacles like rigorous workouts and sharing personal self image struggles, taking the emphasis off weight.

"I know that one day I had mentioned to her [McClain], you know I am having problems weighing myself. I'm not going down in the numbers. It's just, it's giving me a negative look at how I am going to eat the rest of the day and she was like bring me your scale! Bring me your scale!" says Stichler.

McClain often takes away the scales of the women in her group because she says it serves as a distraction of what's really important.

"I am hoping I can reach in their hearts, grab their hearts and show them what's inside of them is already beautiful that they just don't recognize," she said.

Khalsa-Zemel says one of the most important things you can do is to have social support group or person, like the Knoxville Beauty Hunters do, to get whatever feelings of pressure or inadequacies out because secrets thrive in the dark.
 
The Knoxville Beauty Hunters currently have workout groups going six days a week in the morning and evenings. All classes are free of charge and are open to any woman who wants to join.

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