A friend of mine posted an article on Facebook today from the website www.beautyredefined.net. I had never heard of this website before, and this is the first article I'd read from them but it made a real impact on me. It was about self image and how hard it is to attain a healthy one.
Like most women (and probably men?), I big-time struggle with self esteem and body image. I'm constantly setting goals to exercise more and eat less. And when I don't meet those goals, I mentally berate myself and imagine my future happiness slipping away because of my big butt. I put way too much emphasis on my appearance and assume that true love is only found when you're able to fit in a certain size jeans.
It's not an easy way to live.
And because of that mindset, this article really spoke to me. It talked about ways we can be healthier without the mental abuse we so often inflict upon ourselves. They also listed some ways to do this! Because it is easier just to stay on this page than to go to another, I will copy them here. Just remember, none of the following is my own content. It all came from this article.
I hope that if you struggle like I do, this is helpful to you!
Set a true fitness goal:
If you’ve held yourself back from running, biking, swimming, etc.,
because you felt self-conscious about what to wear, how red your face
gets from the workout, sweating in public, (the list goes on), it’s
time to set a goal and fight to achieve it! Make this goal about your
abilities and you’ll be much less inclined to care about what you look
like doing it. Run a certain distance without stopping. Swim 10 laps
faster than ever before. Do a certain number of crunches, push-ups,
pull-ups, new dance moves – any fitness achievement measured in actions
and not numbers on a scale, measuring tape or clothing tag.
Leave your keys at home:
If you drive or take public transportation to work, school, or
elsewhere when you could be walking or biking instead, why not give it
a try? Increasing activity is a beautiful way to release endorphins to
feel happier, get your heart pumping and enjoy the outside world!
Forget your number:
If you tend to fixate on your weight, measurements or clothing sizes,
pledging to leave those numbers behind is your key to freedom! Make a
goal to stop or limit the number of times you weigh or measure
yourself. It turns out that when we fixate on arbitrary numbers, that
often gets in the way of our health. Start judging your health through
your activity level by setting a fitness goal (see No. 1) instead of a
meaningless number, and you’ll get somewhere great!
Can the tan:
Studies show the first time you set foot in a tanning bed, you increase
your chances of skin cancer by as much as 75%! This stat alone is good
enough reason to set a goal to limit the time you spend tanning or stop
it entirely. The tan skin ideal is fleeting, leads to other “beauty”
problems like wrinkles and skin spots, and is achievable through much
less harmful means if it’s a look you just have to have.
Stop negative self-talk:
Too many girls and women have a constant script of mean thoughts about
themselves running through their minds. Recent studies show us that
girls who don’t like their bodies become more sedentary over time and
pay less attention to having a healthy diet. If you think you’re gross
and worthless, why would you take care of yourself? Set a goal to stop
saying negative things about yourself. Start with a day, a week, a
month, whatever you can do, and make it a permanent practice!
Think nice thoughts instead:
On the flipside of the last study, research has found that girls who
respect their bodies are more likely to be physically active and eat
healthy. They are less likely to gain unnecessary weight and they make
healthy lifestyle choices way into the future. Since what we THINK
about our bodies has a strong connection to how we TREAT our bodies,
set a goal to shut out negative thoughts as they come and replace them
with positive truths!
Put your $ where your mouth is:
Make a goal to only shop at stores that treat females respectfully in
their advertising and products. Speaking up with your pocketbook is
one of the most powerful ways you can show retailers what you will and
will not put up with.
When you see a media message that goes against what you believe about
girls and women, let your voice be heard. Make a resolution to write to
companies that produce and distribute offensive messages, as well as
those that you appreciate for showing females as valuable for more than
being looked at. This year, we’ve seen major companies pull advertising
and products that were offensive because girls and women speak up! Let
this be the year you let your voice be heard.
Go on a media fast:
Choose a day, a week, a month or longer to steer clear of as much media
as you can. That way, you can see how your life is different without
all those messages and images, and when you return to viewing and
reading popular media, you will be more sensitive to the messages that
hurt you and those that are unrealistic.
Just say “no”:
Set a goal to cancel out any media choices you view or read that tell
you lies about what it means to be a female. Cancel subscriptions,
throw away crappy things you already own, find a new TV show to love.
You’ll thank yourself!
If you are a photographer or like to take pictures, set a goal to steer
clear of any Photoshopping or image manipulation that Photoshops those
in your pictures out of reality. Signs of life are important and we
need to see reality!
Mother knows best:
If you are a mother, set a goal to never speak negatively about your
appearance in front of your children — especially daughters. Your kids
are listening whether you like it or not, and they will learn how to
view themselves from your example.
Critically analyze how much time you spend in front of the mirror.
Could any of that time be better spent? If you see a need to cut back,
set a goal to shave off a few minutes in front of the mirror each day
and set it aside for something more meaningful for yourself or others.
Be an advocate:
If you teach or lead a youth group of any sort, set a goal to integrate
body-positive messages, media literacy and real health goals into your
curriculum. Young people are in desperate need of positive, empowering
messages to counteract the harmful ones they’re surrounded by each day.
It will absolutely take extra time and effort, but we promise it will
be well worth your while.
Compliments that count:
Make a resolution to compliment girls and women for more than those
easy comments on pretty hair, weight loss, clothing, etc. When we
minimize other females to just their bodies, we forget to remind them
of their beautiful talents, characters, and gifts!
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