Future CHS seniors must tread carefully with prom diets


Kaylee Aguilar

Although Coppell High School recently canceled prom, which was scheduled for April 4, dieting for prom usually becomes popular around this time of year among students. The Sidekick executive news & enterprise editor Pramika Kadari believes extreme diets before prom should be approached more carefully as they can be damaging to a person both physically and mentally.

Pramika Kadari, Executive News & Enterprise Editor

A gorgeous dress, perfect hair, flawless makeup – all these and more form most girls’ idea of a perfect prom night. Often, a skinny body is another ideal female students strive for. 

Although CHS is no longer hosting a prom this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, usually dieting for prom becomes popular around this time of year with numerous students, especially girls. But many times, these diets can turn incredibly unhealthy, both physically and mentally. Looking flawless on prom is not that big of a deal; it is one night, it doesn’t matter that much. It’s definitely not worth months of starving yourself, pressuring yourself to lose weight and putting yourself at risk for developing an eating disorder. 

Through a poll posted on The Sidekick’s Instagram in early March – before the event was canceled – posing the question, “Are you dieting for prom?”, 17% of respondents responded yes. I suspect a poll of all Coppell High School students who were planning to attend prom would have had an even higher percentage. 

“I decided to go on a diet for prom because I wanted to feel as good as I could and look the best that I could for prom,” CHS senior Reina Raj said. “I’m really just trying to eat whole foods and not eating junk foods and processed foods. I’m trying to focus on eating proteins, carbs and fats – mostly just cutting out processed foods.”

Although Raj has a healthy outlook on her diet, many other girls do not, as they count calories and harshly restrict their food intake instead.

“Some people can take dieting and instead of making it change their life for the better, they make it into a competition,” Raj said. “They see how far they can go without eating, almost. Obviously there’s a lot of occurrences of eating disorders, especially among teenage girls, where they feel the need to starve themselves to get results they want.”

If teens want to become healthier overall, rather than trying to cut an extreme number of calories through dieting, they should aim to incorporate exercise into their lifestyle as well, as doing so will boost metabolism and burn calories while also keeping them generally healthy and improving their mental state. 

“There’s a time and a place for calorie counting – if someone’s wanting to be more informed,” Coppell-based dietician Heather Finley said. “But in general, it just leads to being more obsessed with food, feeling like you need to be more rigid and in-control of food; in my experience that leads to eating disorders or disordered eating.”

After spending large chunks of time on social media and the internet, it’s easy to be sucked into one of the hundreds of diets endorsed by celebrities, influencers or acquaintances. If we feel the need, we should not hesitate to take a break from Instagram or unfollow certain people. 

“In our social media-focused culture, I would advise people to be extremely careful of who they follow and what they do, and also to take nutrition information they get from the internet as a grain of salt,” Finley said. “There are a lot of influencers and people out there promoting really crazy fad diets, promising astronomical amounts of weight loss. The reality is that none of that is healthy or sustainable. The question to ask before starting any diet is, ‘Is this something I could do for the rest of my life?’ If the answer is no, it’s probably not a good idea.”

Although prom has been canceled this year, the tradition will continue for future CHS seniors next year and in years beyond. They must understand that despite what magazines, television and social media might tell us, physical perfection is not the most important thing; seeking it is never worth damaging our physical, emotional or mental health.


Follow Pramika (@pramika_kadari) and @CHSCampusNews on Twitter