Body Image is still the topic of the day. It’s a major issue that affects a lot of people across the world. If you don’t believe this, check out that statistics at http://thebodyimagecenter.com/education-awareness/eating-disorder-statistics/ – The Body Image Center.
- 45% of children in grades 3-6 are unhappy with their body size, CHILDREN!, 70% of women and 43% of men are unhappy with their bodies. Yes this issue affects men, women, and children.
One of the main reasons many of you will want to get on the health track is to look better. Hopefully you will find other reasons too. But you’re not fooling me and I’m not fooling you…many of you will want a better body image. The idea here is that it really isn’t how thin we are, how overweight we are, or how much muscle tone we do or don’t have. Most likely you do not really need a better body. Body Image is about how we actually perceive ourselves and how we perceive ourselves in comparison to others’. Yes it is likely you are comparing yourself to others’.
A recent blog post I read described how even when people are fit, they don’t feel “fit enough”. Because a lot of their focus includes views, then comparison of fitness models, they get sucked into that idea of perfection that is portrayed. Check out Molly at Girls Get Strong. Others’ may simply be focusing too much on people in the media. And despite advances in positive body image, advances in photography and social media and tons of information somehow we still want to believe that we can look like the people in the media. We believe there is some actually perfect body to attain to.
Poor body image isn’t something that just affects overweight people or unhealthy people. I have read stories from the most beautiful people, ones that the rest of us admire, that believe in the same negativity the rest of us fall into. I have heard comments from young, beautiful women and men that boggle my mind. How could they think that about themselves, they look beautiful and healthy with natural muscle tone? Not only that, but they appear to have personality, dedication, and they’re obviously spending part of their life doing something good. Then I go home and look in the mirror….and have to remind myself….
I will admit that I’ve had body image issues. funny thing is that they seemed to dominate my life more after I achieved the best body I’ve had in my life. I’ve never liked my body, always thought I was too chunky, not overweight, but not great. I have had many ups and down with my weight since my early 20’s. After attaining a healthy weight after my second child, I realized I didn’t just want to be skinnier . I wanted to be healthier and have better muscle tone. Be able to keep up with my kids and perform better at physical activities.
Fearfully, I decided to enter the weight room. I excelled, I had results, great results. I liked the exercises, it helped me focus. But paradoxically, I also got sucked in to the devils of poor body image. I started looking in the mirror more. I started checking out other women and what long-term results could like. I fell back into the media myth (because I was paying attention to it more). And luckily, reality hit, my body, many women’s (and men) bodies I know are as great or better than the media. Only difference is we’re not on a tv and we don’t live the same lifestyle…so we don’t “appear” that way to ourselves. We’re real people and look like real people, damn good looking real people! At the end of the day, I reflected on the people I thought were beautiful, and you know what? All of these people looked different in so many ways, but I still perceived all of them as equally beautiful. Now my version of beautiful might differ from your view because you are YOU and that’s okay. I’m sure you are equally beautiful too!
Looking in the mirrors? Taking pictures? Is it good or bad? I’m not going to pretend to have the answer. It might be helpful to you. One thing I realized when I thought back to my overweight days of still being happy, not caring that much to cause disruption to my life. I hardly ever looked at myself in a mirror. Those imperfections weren’t obsessed on because I wasn’t looking for them every day. Even though I started looking in the mirror more to appreciate my progress and my health, imperfections were jumping out of the mirror. So I guess like everything else we all have our own degree or moderation to how often it’s helpful to see ourselves and when it becomes an unhealthy obsession. I still look more than before, but just like stepping on a scale, it’s not something that needs to be done often. Selfies and mirrors are not reliable or valid methods to determine how others’ perceive us.
“You’re your worst critic!” – my husband
LOOK FOR THE BEAUTY, LOOK FOR THE HEALTHY! LOOK FOR THE YOU!
Your body is your body. You can, and should, do whatever the hell you want with it. You don’t need anyone’s permission, nor should the opinions of others* be a determining factor in what you do with your body. Do what you want — straighten your teeth, lose excess fat, build muscle, or get insanely strong — and own the hell out of it. Do so because you want to, not because you think it’s a flaw that needs to be fixed, and not because you think achieving those goals will make you happy. – Nia Shanks
Nia Shanks discusses some good thought processes on body image in her post Should Women Fix Their Flaws. I am interested in her perception that we should not embrace our flaws. Why? Because they are not flaws, they are what they are. They are parts of our body that don’t need to be oogled upon, or compared, or thought of as something that is flawed.
How do you perceive yourself? Over a year after hitting my lowest weight ever, quickly going from a 16 to a 6, it still took me more than a year to actually perceive my body as looking differently. Now that I’ve actually put on a few more pounds, hopefully from massive muscles! And travelled further into this journey of a fit lifestyle, I have finally found my way back to being satisfied with being a normal person.
What to remember about comparing yourself to people in the media:
ß most of these people very well are makeup-ed
ß with tailored outfits
ß sometimes phototouched, well probably most of the time. Most people have apps on their phones…
ß presented in the best possible lighting and sometimes use oils
ß expensive professional makeup in their bathroom
ß a personal gym
ß a personal trainer
ß maybe even a personal chef
They have access to things that just aren’t realistic for the rest of us and that’s okay. And.. yes I’m going to reveal the truth, not every body is real. Even in your local town, but especially rich people.
ß people get botox,
ß people undergo procedures that change their body
ß people take unnatural supplements, medications, etc. to change their body
ß people wear fake hair
ß more women than you think get boob jobs.
I realize its tempting to think these things and access to that kind of money or fame would improve our body image…but it won’t. Most of these people don’t even have a good body image. Reality is that these people are still people, they’re not super beings and they often have the same kinds of thoughts and feelings as the rest of us.
Putting all the fancy things aside, here’s something else to think about. What is your life like? What is your main job? Why does your body need to be so perfect? What does a perfect body even look like? Now there are people in the media and people with certain types of jobs where what you look like and how great your body looks, is going to be important. But that’s not me and it’s probably not most of you either. Too often, I have to remind myself that there is absolutely no reason that I NEED to have a great looking body. I do believe it’s important to be healthy and confident, but I don’t need a perfect body for that. I have been with my husband for 20 years, with a lot of ups and downs, and he isn’t going to love me less or more for my weight. Factor in that I am currently a stay at home mom who rarely has a need to dress up or even see other people who are older than 6yo for that matter. My children are going to love me no matter what. When I go back to work, I will likely be a counselor or a teacher, neither profession requires my body to look a certain way.
WHAT THE H___ ARE WE WORRIED ABOUT?
Check out the Embrace trailer, https://youtu.be/__2AayArYfs Taryn Brumfitt of the The Body Image Movement shares her powerful story.
My daughter is my biggest inspiration. When I look at her, I think she is soooo beautiful. She should always feel beautiful. I realize that in order for that to happen, she needs to have good body image role models. My plan of action is to teach my daughter through positive role modeling and I hope the rest of you will help be her role model too!♥
I have decided that I want to have a positive body image in a natural way. Numero uno, if I had enough money for a boob job or cellulite removal (my worst culprit) I could never ever justify spending it on such a thing. Having said that about myself, I do believe that you have the choice to do what you want with your body and you should be able to have that choice without judgment. (However, I do hold the belief that having unnecessary procedures and surgeries on our body is harmful to our health. This is not a judgment, but rather a place in my heart that has worry and concern for these people’s health. Number 2 it would be difficult for me to have a positive body image of ME. In my mind, having procedures, taking unnatural supplements, etc. is not a natural version of me, it’s a made-up me. I do not take supplements, pre work-out, special shakes, wraps, etc. other than a little protein powder on a gym day, my body, my muscle tone and growth is strictly from the work I put in. What you see is a what you get, a naturally middle-aged ME!
I hope for YOU to find a more positive body image of a natural YOU and I hope that we can all reach out to the young people of today to encourage positive body image through positive role modeling!!
Believe in yourself, believe in what YOU see! Many different kinds of people are equally beautiful. Be a role model for your children and others’.
SO EVERY TIME YOU LOOK IN THE MIRROR, I WANT YOU TO TELL YOURSELF OMG LOOK AT THAT BODY!! WITH A SMILE AND A POSITIVE THOUGHT ♥