Summer is coming at us full speed ahead, and what does this mean? Sun, fun, no school, and swimsuit ads plastered everywhere! After the past little while in particular, the topic of body image has been on my mind and it seems to be for more than one reason. I can’t help but notice myself falling down the slippery slope when it comes to being at peace with my own body. Now, I’m a healthy young woman who exercises regularly, eats well, and generally I can say that I have always been confident in the person I am! So, why do I look at myself in the mirror and not always like what I see?
Well, there is never a complete black and white answer to this question. It occurs in everyone from girls and women, to boys and men. The problem for me is that I’ll go for a while thinking I’m fit and healthy and I feel great about myself! Then I see an ad from Victoria’s Secret or something from a magazine and I look at myself in a totally different way. Unfortunately, I’m not alone in doing this. There are people all around the world who are in the habit of comparing themselves to celebrities, models, sometimes even cartoon characters (believe it or not). These are just a handful of tweets from girls all over, while watching the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.
To put it very simply, this is so beyond not healthy. Practising a healthy lifestyle shouldn’t involve starving yourself or working yourself to the bone (literally) to look like a model who is airbrushed repeatedly. Keep in mind, this is coming from a girl who absolutely loves watching the VS Fashion Shows and I probably know the name of almost every VS model! It has taken me a long time to come to this conclusion, because no matter how many times I told myself these things, I never practised what I preached. Of course these girls are absolutely beautiful and fit, but this is their career choice. To be beautiful, fit, and essentially “perfect”. What should matter to you is your health above anything. Having a goal set or a healthy inspiration that works for you is a great idea. But we should look up to people who live healthy lifestyles that involve good eating and exercise. Most of the Victoria’s Secret models smoke cigarettes, and live by very strict diets. Being skinny is essentially their lifestyle. It doesn’t matter if your body is naturally skinny or naturally curvy, the question you should really ask yourself in front of the mirror is if you are healthy.
The idea of a perfect body has changed throughout the years, but the general consensus I see is if a woman is confident with herself, she exudes beauty. Generally the main goal is that we want to be comfortable in our own skin, and be physically fit and healthy. You can be all of those things with curves, and we shouldn’t bully ourselves because of it. On the other hand, bodies come in all shapes and sizes. We also shouldn’t bully ourselves if we are naturally skinnier than other girls. Your body is your body, and is beautiful because it is unique. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle should not revolve around whether you have a thigh gap or not. It should revolve around how you treat your body, and you should treat it kindly! There should be no body you have to have in order to be beautiful. We have to try and be confident in the people and shapes we are, because that will make us feel and look beautiful in the end 🙂
Now, I can’t just preach things and not practice it myself! I am also working to maintain a healthy way of life, by eating well (but having candy when I want to), exercising (while taking breaks when I need to), and avoiding thinking I am the wrong size because I don’t look like a model. I can’t stress it enough that if you feel this way, you are not alone. Surround yourself with positive influences and people, then your life will change for the better in more ways than one! And if someone you care about is feeling a major lack of confidence, it always helps to remind them of all of these things. Sometimes all we need is someone to tell us that we are beautiful just the way we are 🙂 Or handsome, even. We are our harshest critics, and that can be so destructive. So whether you look like Marilyn Monroe, Mindy Kaling, or Adriana Lima, remember that your health and happiness come first.
Until next time!