This article was published in DREAMS online magazine on 3rd December 2013.
I have to start this post by stating that I am a normal girl with a healthy weight and BMI who loves to cook and eat healthy food most of the times.
However, I have days when I look at the mirror and don’t like what I see. I know I am not alone in this. There are times when all of us feel like we are not beautiful, our body is not normal, and basically have a bad day.
On good days, I think I have a good body which can be bettered with exercise. But on bad days, all I see is the flaws of my body. My muscles can be more toned, my face can be prettier, my stomach can be flatter, my hair can be better, my skin can be cleaner, and the list can go on forever. Basically, I want a supermodel body and flat stomach. I go on diets and workout hard for it. But the best part of this phase is that I wake up in a good mood, and so have a good day.
I am a mature woman, so I know the difference between reality and fantasy. Also, having a husband who thinks I am beautiful and attractive helps.
But all this made me wonder how girls these days are coping with the image issue. When I was growing up, I never wanted to be a Barbie or some hot supermodel. I never saw girls with super-hot body attractive, so I did not diet to look like them. Nor did I read any magazines that gave me body issue problems.
But kids these days have it very tough in this matter. They get ideas about what is a perfect body from a very young age from perfectly groomed role models with great bodies. The fairy-tale characters in children’s books, dolls, and cartoons are designed to be perfect looking, and so are everyone else from TV and magazines. No wonder so many children suffer from anorexia, bulimia and depression.
And then there are fads like “size 0 figure”, so that even girls as young as 10 think they don’t have a good body, and start dieting. Most of these kids are letting their body define who or what they are rather than their personality. They think that all thin people are happy with themselves, and they want to be one of them.
Then I look around to where these kids are inspired from. Just open any teen magazine, watch any movie or music video. What do you see? Skinny girls portrayed as hot. Look at fashion week, and it will be hard to see a model who has normal curves like everyday women. This is so sad to see.
Does that mean 95 percent of the population of the world who are not models are not normal and healthy? Did any of these organizers give a thought to why anorexia, bulimia and depression are on the rise among young people?
I always advocate that healthy eating habits with exercise is the best way to live life. 10 -12 years old kids are too young to worry about their looks and body. They should be running around in parks with their friends with no worries in their head. At 10, I am sure I was eating as many chocolates as I could get my hands on, without worrying about anything in the world. Body image issues should be the last thing on their mind.
We definitely need more programs which teach young people to accept that bodies come in a variety of shapes and sizes. It is normal for the body to change weekly and monthly in weight and shape. They need to know that apart from looks, everyone has other positive qualities and we should focus on them.
If you are an adult and you have body image issues, do something about it instead of getting depressed. Decide how you wish to spend your time and energy. Do you want the pursuit of perfect image to occupy most of your time? Or would you rather enjoy the people and positive things in your life?
Look at yourself as a growing, changing human being and be realistic, you can’t get 20’s body in your 40’s.
Most important, be aware of your own weight prejudice. I have never met any women so far who is perfectly happy with how she looks. So don’t be too hard on yourself.
Simply be happy, eat healthy and exercise regularly, and teach younger ones the same values. Everything outside of you is merely a reflection of everything inside.
Hope everyone is having a great week.
Till next post, take care.
M from nepaliaustralian
Ohhhh I have had body issues my whole life! I’ve swung from anorexia to bulimia in my 20’s and 30’s. Now at 45 i don’t have either but have to be very careful to not fall into bad habits. I’m a size 8 but still pick at my body all the time. I’m my worst enemy! I have good days and bad days. It’s the one thing I would love to change about my personality. Good post. Hope your having a great weekend, hugs Paula xxxx
It is so true that we are our worst enemy when it come to body issue but we wer emade to believe what is perfect from very small age that we believe all nonsense when we grow up. Glad you are doing well now . Take care 🙂
Thank you! hugs xxxxx
You have written a very good post here and featured someone special too.
I am still contemplating about the Blog of the Year Award for 2013. I feel bad because I don’t feel worthy and would like to encourage you to give this out to more people! I will think about it some more but definitely won’t post the photo/art clip or the Facebook link… I hope you will know I fully appreciate this gift though!
I understand so don’t worry.Have a nice weekend..
There’s a lot of pressure on young women in particular, and now comes this ‘thigh gap’ nonsense. it never ends, and I’ve seen firsthand what can happen. 😦
I know the modern society is so vain. Marilyn Monroe will be obsession in today’s society and they make a normal women feel miserable everyday making stick thin women role models.
its just heart breaking to see people suffering from distorted body issue. I have days where I feel absolutely fat (esp if I dont workout or eat unhealthy) but most days I am making healthier changes in my life. I havent really worked with eating disorder patients that much but from my brief experience, it is very complicated than what we see on the outside.
Initially I didn’t understood how people with anorexia thinks but learning more about them I find it so sad that some people will go such an extra length to fit into society. I know they say it is a disease and with proper help, they can live a normal life. I hope all of them get help so they don’t have to live in misery. I am sure people in your professions can help them a lot.
I am always inspired by your healthy recipes and fitness regime.
Fair point. I think my daughter (15) is fine in this regard. All of my children love food too much to starve themselves. We keep them active and therefore in control of their bodies. Our oldest son played soccer until he was 16, then went on to rugby. He is 19 now and has just joined a gym because he doesn’t get to play anymore with his work schedule. My daughter has never been a team sport kind of girl..so she does karate and has her brown belt. It challenges her mind and her body. My youngest son just finished his football season which included massive training 5 days/week plus he does hockey training before school 3 days a week and school sports like cross country and wrestling. I think keeping kids active is very important. That said, I am at my largest right now. It is depressing for sure. Why do we make sure our kids have physical opportunities while we continue to gain weight? I don’t know but I have been down the weight loss road before (27kg) and it’s almost like I’m scared to do it again. I’m NOT a dieter but I definitely spend too much time sitting during the day. I remember how good I felt after a workout, my moods were better and I had lots of energy. I do miss those days. But I am also happy being me and I would never jeopardize my health to fit into someone else’s ideals.
It is so great to know that you have such a active and healthy family. It is so important to keep kids healthy and active and I can see that you have done a wonderful job. I hope every parents think like the way do and make sure their kids have healthy life style. Have a nice weekend.
I agree with you M di, I’ve always been thin and thinner after giving birth. I wanted to gain weight so bad but I never succeeded and yes I’m not really happy with it. Being thin and able to wear size 0 clothes is not always fun as were being bullied and discriminated too, but i’m learning to embrace my body because it help me do things I wanna do.
It is so good to know you learn how to embrace your body. For some it is really hard task and society is not making it harder.