By now we’ve all noticed today’s obsession with being as thin as possible. This desire to be extra thin seems to begin earlier and earlier in childhood. According to a recent Australian study that included 500 school-age girls and boys, even a first grader is likely to believe that “thinner is better”. This precocious willingness for small sizes can lead to unhealthy eating behaviors, especially since we’re talking about a time when good nutrition is essential to healthy physical development. Close to one in three 10 to 14-year-old girls restricts her food intake, shows a Canadian survey of 2,220. Unrealistic expectations about what a body should look like are emotionally damaging and can also lead to bad eating habits. So how can we educate ourselves towards a healthy body image?
1. Smile: Smiling helps release chemicals in your body which stimulate cell reproduction. This also means you’ll have more energy to strut your lovely stuff in the day.
2. Accept that it’s what’s on the inside that counts: Anyone who judges you based solely on your appearance, rather than your personality, is not worth a second of your time. People are much more than just a body, we’re hopes, dreams, aspirations, memories, feelings and we are all beautiful.
3. Do not compare yourself to others. Each person is unique, you are you, and that is wonderful. Have confidence in yourself, because there is no one out there exactly like you.
4. Make sure to exercise: Working out is great, not only because it makes you healthier, but physical activity also releases feel-good endorphins. Exercise two to three times a week, skipping a day between sessions.
5. Remember to talk to someone: If you have trouble accepting your body, don’t be afraid to open up and talk to someone: a family member, a friend, a counselor. You shouldn’t be ashamed to talk to people about your feelings, you’d be surprised to know how many people have a low self esteem, even those that appear to be very confident.