With reports of several films in the works about Marilyn's life, photos and stories about the icon have been resurfacing. And one issue that always seems to be fodder for debate is the actress' famous figure.
Some say it's perfection, while others argue that Marilyn was overweight. According to her dressmaker, she was 5'5 ½ and fluctuated between 118 and 140 pounds, with measurements that ranged between:
At either weight (118 and 140), Marilyn's body mass index would fall within the normal 18.5 - 24.9 range - the numbers work out to 19.3 on the low end and 22.9 on the high end (I know BMI is flawed, but without knowing her body fat percentage, it's the only viable estimate of weight status). Even at her heaviest, Marilyn was by no means overweight.
But even though Marilyn appears much healthier than many of today's stick thin models, she struggled with food. Nearly 60 years ago in the September 1952 issue of Pageant magazine (a monthly magazine that covered celebrities, health and popular culture), the beauty revealed her diet:
1 cup of warm milk
Piece of steak, lamb or liver
4-5 raw carrots
Hot fudge sundae
I don't think Marilyn could have maintained even 118 pounds with such a strict, unbalanced regime (I estimate the total is somewhere around 1,000 calories). Over the years I've read numerous reports about her love-hate relationship with food and periods of indulgence followed by crash diets. I've counseled models and actresses who struggle with the same pattern, one that many women (and men) who aren't in the spotlight also battle.
So what my point? Two things:
1) When you hear about what a celebrity does to maintain her figure, take it with a grain of salt. It might be what she really does or what she thinks she should be doing, but it could be off the charts unhealthy.
2) Whether someone is curvy like Marilyn Monroe or slender like Sarah Jessica Parker, being (truly) healthy and having a healthy relationship with food is what really matters.
Who do you admire, not just for height/weight/size, but for as a living example of health inside and out. It can be a celebrity or someone in your personal life. Please share what you love about how they live and why!