Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Positive self image

A friend of mine posted an article on Facebook today from the website 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.
Speak up: 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!
Picture perfect: 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.
Mirror, mirror: 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!


Katherine said...

Love it! Thanks for sharing!

violet50 said...

There are a lot of good ideas in this article and I am going to use them in my day. Thanks!

Heidi said...

I can get kind of obsessive about the scale. It mocks me in my bathroom. And having a baby made it even worse. But I totally believe the "forget your number" thing. It helped me feel a lot better about myself. And with number 15, I found back a few years ago that I had a hard time making friends (or I judged them) so I would make a point of finding something about everyone I talked to that I could compliment, like shoes or hair or something. It made conversations with strangers a lot easier and helped me make more friends! I hope anyway :). I love this list. And I love you Elizabeth even if your jean size is smaller than mine.