We are living in a time of drastic change…one in which the media’s messages about body image and the “ideal” body type are slowly becoming more realistic. Little by little, we are starting to see figures in magazine ads that are more larger and healthier looking than the “typical” model and closer to that of the everyday woman. Many magazines are also dedicating regular features that promote loving your body no matter the size. But, with this change also comes great contradiction and confusion. “Half their size” and other “before and after” weight loss stories still remain to be an endlessly popular (and admittedly fascinating) topic that appear in the same magazines. If these magazines that promote “flaunting curves” and “loving yourself the way you are” truly practiced what they preach, then why would they also praise those who have worked endlessly to achieve a size that is more traditionally accepted by society?
This leaves a girl in a very compromised position. She can either assume that society’s view of the body will not change quickly enough and will constantly work to achieve a slimmer figure OR she can be courageous and try to embrace herself, while risking the social obstacles that come along with it.
Honestly, neither of these options sounds appealing nor will they truly boost a girl’s body image or self-esteem. Bottom line: When the focus is on size, one will never feel good enough. This is why it is possible to be unhealthy and unhappy in both extremely small and large sizes, alike. Instead, more emphasis should be placed on the choices we make. The only, guaranteed way to truly feel good about ourselves and achieve a positive body image is to take pride in those small, everyday choices we make on a regular basis.
It all starts with one little decision…eating an apple and yogurt for breakfast instead of Corn Pops…not going for that second or (eh-em) third cookie…taking the stairs instead of the elevator. It’s the small things. They can either build you up or slowly tear you down. And this is what creates self-esteem: knowing that you have treated yourself with respect and care. When we do this, we aren’t constantly worrying about sizes and scales because we leave no room for error, worry or regret. The body is very smart: when treated with respect and care (i.e. a balanced diet and regular exercise), it will put us at the size that it functions best at, which is always guaranteed to make us feel our greatest. Now, that’s beautiful.
A Few Ideas:
-take a study break and go for a walk (the books will be there when you get back, I promise!)
-replace sugary snacks with something natural such as fruit, almonds, wasabi nuts, or veggies
-never skip meals
-park further away in the parking lot for some extra steps
-learn a new form of exercise (core-based exercises, like Zumba and Pilates, can especially be of use during summertime bikini season!)
-get more servings of fruits and veggies by blending them in a smoothie…mmmm
This is your time to put yourself first and both look and feel uniquely beautiful!