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Growing up ain’t easy, even for the luckiest among us (I’m looking at you, Kendall Jenner). Even before the age of information and the internet there were tons of variables that played into how your body image would develop. Dealing with the constant barrage of messages we received on a daily basis from the media and society wasn’t an easy task. I can’t imagine how hard it is for kids in the age of YouTube commenters and The Jersey Shore.
Here is a list of things I wish I had been told growing up about how body image develops and how society and the media uses it to sell products, push magazines and generally make you feel like crap.
1. Don’t listen to fashion magazines
Fashion and beauty magazines aren’t great body image role models. The models in them are photo-shopped to the gills and these women usually have a team of experts to make them look perfect. Not only that but the entire beauty mag industry relies on women feeling down about themselves so they want to go out and buy products…products conveniently advertised in beauty mags.
2. Feeling insecure is okay
Everyone is insecure sometimes, feeling no-so-great about your body is normal, you are not alone! Sometimes just understanding that you aren’t the only one who feels a certain way can put your mind at ease.
3. Dieting isn’t healthy
Yo-yo dieting isn’t the way to be healthy. It promotes unhealthy eating habits and can lead to unwanted weight gain anyway, as well as other health problems. And being hungry all the time is no fun. The better choice is to maintain a healthy diet all the time and save unhealthy foods for occasional treats.
4. Exercise doesn’t have to feel like a punishment
Being active is good for the soul, not just your waistline. Exercising for the sake of weight loss alone isn’t a lot of fun and if it’s not enjoyable you won’t want to do it regularly.
5. You will have an awkward stage
Everyone, and I mean everyone goes through an awkward stage during puberty. Weight gain is a normal part of this stage and not something to panic over, nor is feeling out place, clumsy or weird.
6. Beauty is subjective
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, not only to other people but to yourself. You will look at photos of yourself years from now and marvel at how great you looked and how little you appreciated it.
7. Take a step back and really look at yourself
You are more than just the sum of your parts. Appreciate the big picture, don’t just nitpick at the areas you think are problem areas. This includes stressing over dress size. Proportion matters as much as size, too many people don’t see the forest for the trees.
8. There isn’t just one kind of pretty
(Photo: Johansmith6814 )
There is more than one way to be beautiful. The models and actresses you see on television almost always show only one example of beauty (tall, slim, white, cisgendered, etc.).This leaves out a lot of different types of beauty.
9. Healthy living is important for self-esteem
Eating healthy foods, getting the proper amount of sleep and exercise and enjoying your friends and family can go a long way towards your overall sense of self and well-being. Waiting until you’ve lost “that last 5 pounds” to live your life is a waste of time and energy.
10. Avoid the negative
Anyone who judges you based on your looks or weight is NOT your friend. Negative people will bring you down. Having supportive people in your life who will make you feel good about yourself is vital.
This post is sponsored by BIC Soleil.