Tell Young Girls and Boys How You Love Your Body (and mean it)

Tell Young Girls and Boys How You Love Your Body (and mean it)

We can’t expect children to love their bodies if we ourselves can not love ours.
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Tell Young Girls and Boys How You Love Your Body (and mean it)

We are the most self-conscious, low-self-esteemed, malnourished generation to ever live and it’s getting worse every day. With every Maybelline commercial, Victoria Secret Fashion Show, newest edition of Sports Illustrated, famous “Imshmacked” account post, featuring only the most ill-clothed (and oh by the way probably anorexic) females, overly-edited/overly-surgically-modified Kardashian post, popular-teen-Netflix-binge-watch-series depicting the “perfect American girl” (not naming names but Gossip Girl 2001-2012), and the list goes on, it’s getting worst. In case you are unaware of just how prevalent eating disorders are amongst people of all ages, genders, and sizes, here are some basic statistics reported in 2017:

  • At least 30 million people of all ages and genders suffer from an eating disorder in the U.S.
  • Every 62 minutes at least one person dies as a direct result from an eating disorder.
  • Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness.
  • The number of children with hospitalized eating disorders has shot up 72 percent in 10 years.
  • Genetics, environmental factors, and personality traits all combine to create risk for an eating disorder.

From this list, I’m sure you have already concluded that environmental factors are the main contribution to the rise in eating disorders within our generation due to the fact that genetics, and personality traits are unchanging factors. And by environmental factors, I mean medias societal stereo types that are portrayed, and unfortunately unavoidable, for our technology-crazed generation.

Kids are practically coming out of the womb watching television and they’re getting iPhones by the age of six (2017 study). By the same age, they’re having access to social media and the abundancies of the internet. As technology feens ourselves, we know what this access entails, and the societal pressures that can come with media if we allow it to become too big a part of our lives— greed, and self-doubt.

And if you think you have societal pressures now as a matured adult, think of the societal pressures of the children. Media is giving them disgustingly unrealistic expectations for their social lives and appearance at the age of just six years old. It’s no wonder our generation is experiencing an epidemic of eating disorders.

How can we fix it?

It’s simple really, tell young girls and boys the truth. Tell them that these computer-generated images are false depictions of human capabilities. Tell them that the model in the picture truthfully doesn’t look like that. Tell them God made them in His image and likeness and He does not desire for them to look like a paper-cut-out of the “hottest” celebrity. He wishes for them to look like them because uniqueness is what sets us apart as individuals. Tell them that difference is something to embrace, not shun away from. And finally, tell young girls and boys how you yourself love your body, and mean it, because it’s yours and there’s not a single one out their exactly like it. We can’t expect children to love their bodies if we ourselves can not love ours. To come to love your body probably means change for you, make it. Because truth is, the only way to change society is to first, change yourself. We can’t expect children to rise above the take over of illustrious media until they know the world will accept them as they are. This acceptance comes in one simple, primary form: acceptance from those adults closest to them, and exemplary self-loving. How beautiful of a movement would that be? Accepting others for their different shapes and sizes, all while loving our own shape and size. Imagine the lives we’d save.

Cover Image Credit: A beautiful friend

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I Weigh Over 200 Lbs And You Can Catch Me In A Bikini This Summer

There is no magic number that determines who can wear a bikini and who cannot.
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It is about February every year when I realize that bikini season is approaching. I know a lot of people who feel this way, too. In pursuit of the perfect "summer body," more meals are prepped and more time is spent in the gym. Obviously, making healthier choices is a good thing! But here is a reminder that you do not have to have a flat stomach and abs to rock a bikini.

Since my first semester of college, I've weighed over 200 pounds. Sometimes way more, sometimes only a few pounds more, but I have not seen a weight starting with the number "1" since the beginning of my freshman year of college.

My weight has fluctuated, my health has fluctuated, and unfortunately, my confidence has fluctuated. But no matter what, I haven't allowed myself to give up wearing the things I want to wear to please the eyes of society. And you shouldn't, either.

I weigh over 200lbs in both of these photos. To me, (and probably to you), one photo looks better than the other one. But what remains the same is, regardless, I still chose to wear the bathing suit that made me feel beautiful, and I'm still smiling in both photos. Nobody has the right to tell you what you can and can't wear because of the way you look.

There is no magic number that equates to health. In the second photo (and the cover photo), I still weigh over 200 lbs. But I hit the gym daily, ate all around healthier and noticed differences not only on the scale but in my mood, my heart health, my skin and so many other areas. You are not unhealthy because you weigh over 200 lbs and you are not healthy because you weigh 125. And, you are not confined to certain clothing items because of it, either.

This summer, after gaining quite a bit of weight back during the second semester of my senior year, I look somewhere between those two photos. I am disappointed in myself, but ultimately still love my body and I'm proud of the motivation I have to get to where I want to be while having the confidence to still love myself where I am.

And if you think just because I look a little chubby that I won't be rocking a bikini this summer, you're out of your mind.

If YOU feel confident, and if YOU feel beautiful, don't mind what anybody else says. Rock that bikini and feel amazing doing it.

Cover Image Credit: Sara Petty

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Give Yoga A Chance, One Namaste At A Time

Flowing through into something new.
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OK, hear me out. I believe that everyone should give yoga a chance. Yoga is a full mind and body workout that allows you to do things you didn't know you were capable of.

There might be the stereotype that it's just glorified stretching but anyone who has done yoga knows this is not true. There are so many different types of yoga. You just need to find the one that works for you.

Yoga might seem like a foreign language once you start looking for a class. Odds are you don't know the differences between Vinyasa, Iyengar, Ashtanga, Bikram, or Restorative yoga. But no worries! The yoga community is very welcoming to newcomers and will help you reach your goals. Unlike typical workouts, it's not a competition. Just you, your mat, and the instructor's voice. Everyone's concern is their own workout and bettering themselves.

Like all working out, yoga is self-motivated. The saying "you get out what you put in" is very true when it comes to yoga. You will more than likely hear you instructor talking about your practice. They are referring to what your body, mind, and effort. Whatever you want to get out of yoga is what you have to put in.

Don't get me wrong, I was a skeptic at one point too. I remember walking out of my first class saying "this is a cult." Looking back now I laugh and realize I might not have been as openminded as I should have been. Once you realize the Oms and Namestes are to help you relax and clear your mind, you won't even think about it. Going into yoga with an open mind is very important because you won't have the opportunity to better yourself if you never give it a chance.

If you are interested in trying but are hesitant or don't know what classes to take do your research. There are hundreds of articles explaining what each type of yoga is and what to expect in a class. Also, you could even call your local yoga studio and see what they recommend for newcomers.

Yoga might be a mystery to you but even if it doesn't seem like something you'd enjoy just give it a try. What could it hurt, right?

Cover Image Credit: Creative Commons

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