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Body Image

  • Body Image, Confidence, Health

    My Fitness Journey

    My Fitness Journey

    Learning the Difference Between Self-Sabotage and Self-Care

    When I was 14 I decided to make a change. Chubby and tired of being labeled “the chubby friend”, I started a 30-day workout video called “30 Day Shred” by Julian Michaels. I also downloaded the My Fitness Pal app to count calories. All of this was completely new to me and I had zero knowledge of working out or healthy eating.

    However, I did know that the Google search results on “how to lose 20 pounds in a week” were not working.

    Within the first week of counting calories and working out, I noticed results. Because I was in the ninth grade, my metabolism was probably in its prime. I just needed to put in a little effort because of bad genes. Thanks, Mom and Dad. Without realizing it, I lost 30 pounds in a month! Often, I lost motivation and did not want to work out, but watching the scale go down helped me to persevere.

    If you know anything about counting calories – you know that once you factor your weight loss, it lowers your calorie intake and so on. Ultimately, this created an obsessive behavior. As the weight continued dropping, I managed to still see myself as the chubby, 130-pound girl I was determined to erase.

    I was miserable. I constantly thought about food, and wouldn’t hang out with friends if I hadn’t worked out. If I missed one day of working out, I felt like I had gained 5 pounds. If I ate more than 2 slices of pizza I would take laxatives to make up for it. After diving straight into an incredibly unhealthy mentality, I didn’t eat cake on my birthday because I was afraid it would make me fat. I was afraid of food and terrified of gaining any weight.

    This went on for a while until I was miserable enough to confess to my sister – which wasn’t much of a confession because all I ever talked about was food and working out so she had already noticed.

    My mentality was so messed up. I started to research on maintaining my weight and tried to find stories about people who had gone through the same thing. I found nothing.

    It wasn’t until I came across a girl on Instagram who had just finished a workout guide called BBG. Grace had abs and that was what I was striving for. I worked hard and wanted abs to prove it. So I started doing BBG and I did not like it, at all. I thought the workouts were boring because I was a runner. I didn’t finish BBG but I continued to follow Grace and her fitness journey. BBG lead her to fall in love with lifting weights and cured her unhealthy relationship with food.

    Finally, I found my solution to this madness. Although the weight room was unfamiliar to me, I threw myself in. To be honest, I was clueless and felt like a man. Eventually, I  learned the correct form, put my headphones in and pretended to know what I was doing – using the Nike Training app as my guide. I fell in love with the gym. It became my stress reliever and my favorite part of the day. My body was sore, but seriously who doesn’t like that feeling? I felt so strong but just wanted to transform my body.

    Weight lifting resolved my eating issues. I fell in love with healthy eating and learned how to balance my meals and fuel my body according to my new active lifestyle. I stopped counting calories and solely focused on how my body felt and the nutrients I was consuming.

    It is incredible the way my body has transformed. Now, I workout 4-6 days a week and love it. Also, I’m much stronger and am learning a lot about form and technique with the help of Youtube and Instagram. It is crazy what you can accomplish if you just change your mentality. 

    Be healthy and take care of your body! WE can do anything. Girl power!

     

  • Body Image, Health

    Society and Unrealistic Beauty Standards

    Society and Unrealistic Beauty Standards

    Nowadays, it isn’t uncommon to see how a young woman’s body standards can be so easily influenced by outside factors. Ever see a girl scrolling through celebrities’ Instagram pictures and hear them say, “They’re so flawless, I want to look just like her”? This scenario happens every day with teens and young women. Although some might express this as a light-hearted and innocent comment, some truly want to change their appearances to please society and their peers to be more desired and fit in better.

    This isn’t to confuse with wanting to improve someone’s appearance for a positive reason, such as a healthy weight goal or changing the way one does makeup to enhance their beauty more. The problem arises when a girl wants to change how she looks due to seeing unrealistic perfection or because of the constant pressure from society’s standards of beauty.

    It is no secret that, for years, the beauty industry has given this idea of looking flawless 24/7 to impressionable young women. We grow up looking at beautiful magazine covers, gorgeous makeup ads, and perfect looking hair, nails, body, etc. Although it’s understandable for a company to want beautiful models to sell their products, it gives off unrealistic beauty standards. Why? Because regular people on the street don’t usually look how companies and social media portrays women to be! If you don’t have an hourglass shape, that’s okay! If you don’t have white, straight teeth, that’s okay! Everyone is unique in their own way and should not change who they are because of what society says is “the best.”

    Since social media is so prevalent among celebrities and young people, it worsens the problem even more. Different types of apps allow filters, editing, and photoshop. If a girl wanted to improve her appearance online, she has the tools to do so. This applies to physically altering one’s appearance as well, whether it be through plastic surgery, injections, fillers, etc. Of course, most celebrities do not like to admit that they have used certain measures to make their appearance seem better, but the girls viewing their content can easily think that “this is what perfection looks like, society likes this type of look, and I want to obtain it too.” These types of thoughts usually make girls compare themselves to others, and that is not a healthy thing to do, self-esteem wise.

    Thankfully, companies are starting to realize the self-deprecation girls and can feel while looking at beauty ads or models selling clothes. More and more companies are allowing diversity into their ads, and this gives off a very positive message to young women who do not always fit the “perfect body type” or other types of standards that society has deemed to be “perfect.” Many people, including myself, are applauding these companies for their realistic models that look like the majority of people and not the small niche of beauty and fashion models that have a very specific and hard to obtain look.

    This is a great step in the right direction for the beauty and clothing industry, and more companies should follow their example. The good thing for girls is that if you are aware that today’s beauty standards are unrealistic, then you won’t be as influenced. You can recognize that there are so many different looks of being beautiful. One person’s ideal may not be someone else’s. Don’t be focused on pleasing everyone else. It’s okay to focus on yourself! Self-love is very important for self-esteem and one’s mental health. Sometimes we’re so focused on little details, like always covering up your body or always covering up blemishes that they can take over our lives. Just be yourself, be happy with who you are, and everything else will fall into place.

  • Body Image, College, School

    Three Rules for the New School Year

    Three Rules for the New School Year

    guest post by Martha Underwood, CEO of Executive Estrogen

    This year, how will you navigate making new friends, encountering new teachers, growing physically and emotionally all while staying cool. It can seem overwhelming but it doesn’t have to be. You are unique and beautiful in your own right. Here are a few tips to navigating the school year.

    Get a Mentor & Meet a New Friend

    Approach new teachers and new people with the intention to learn about them and yourself. Find a good teacher that can serve as a mentor to you. Also, you may be able to use them as a confidant or tutor should you need one. Be open to meeting a new friend and seek out friends that may differ from you, doing so will help expand your perspective of people and  in the end you may find that you are more alike than you may have thought.

     

    Embrace Physical Change and Growth

    Your body and emotions will change. It’s natural. I was so skinny, I used to get teased that I walked on stilts. Instead of staying indoors looking at all the photoshopped bodies in magazines, I made it a point to ride my bike and enjoy the outdoors. Being outside reminded me that everything is always evolving and my body and emotions weren’t any different. So instead of staring at Instagram all day,  go for a walk.  Enjoy the outdoors, it offers the opportunity to immerse yourself in a new environment which will help balance all of the physical and emotional ups and downs you will experience.

     

    Be You

     

    Most importantly, be you! Even if you feel like you look silly doing the floss, do it anyway. Even if you feel like people will pick at you because you still love Harry Potter, love it anyway. Someone will always have an opinion about how you look, what you say or how you dress, in the end the only thing that matters the most is how you feel about it. Take note of how you feel when you are experiencing new people and new things. If it makes you happy, keep doing them, if it makes you uncomfortable or sad, remove it from your life.

    Here’s to an awesome 2018-2019 school year!

    Keep Shining,

    Martha

  • Body Image, Celebrities, Confidence, Fashion, Makeup

    How To GLOW UP This Summer

    So, it’s finally the summer. You’re looking forward to laying out in the sun, hanging with your besties, and taking some time to yourself. But the summer is good for something else too, and we all know what it is…. glowing up. No, I don’t mean playing with glow sticks. I mean glow up. Urban Dictionary defines glow up as “when someone becomes really attractive after they hit puberty.” Now maybe you’re thinking to yourself “I’m past puberty! I missed my glow up time!” No need to fret, my friend! It is NEVER too late to glow up. And the summer is the perfect time! You have a couple months off from seeing everyone at school, so you can come back looking completely different. Without further ado, I present to you, how to glo up this summer.

    Visit a hairstylist

    Visiting a hairstylist is one of the easiest (and most fun!) ways to change your whole look in a single day. A new haircut can completely change your appearance and face shape, so a good hairstyle is a must. It’s important to visit a hairstylist so that you can ask a professionals opinion on what hair color and cut will look best with your look! Make sure if you set an appointment to bring photos of the hair you want, so your stylist will know exactly what you’re going for.

    Experiment with make up

    If you’re a girl and you’ve never experimented with make up before, it can really change your appearance! One of the best ways to get exposure to make up and how to learn some tips is by the magical and wonderful world of no other than Youtube. You can simply search “Make up tutorial” on Youtube, and millions of videos will pop up. The good news with the summer is that you have plenty of time to practice and perfect your look! That way, if a makeup tutorial goes wrong, you can just wash it right off and nobody even saw! And if you decide you don’t like wearing make up, then it makes your life even easier!

    Get healthy

    Something good for your body, skin, and mental health is deciding to get healthy! Getting healthy can be as easy as deciding to work out a few days a week, or limiting the amount of junk food you eat. The healthier you become, the better you will feel! Plus being healthy helps you live your best life, so this one should be near the top of your list.

    Take care of your body

    Whether it be through skin care, working out or taking time to yourself, taking care of your own body can make a huge difference. From treating yourself to a mani pedi, finding a toothpaste that whitens your teeth, or even finding the perfect shade of self-tanner, taking care of your body has a huge impact on the way you look. This means going to the doctor, dentist, dermatologist- you name it! Your body is all you’ve got- so treat it with some respect!

    Become confident with who you are

    If you have any sort of transformation this summer before coming back to school, let it be this- learn to be confident in your own skin! You don’t have to look any specific way to “glo up” because glowing up should be the way you feel about yourself. If you learn to love the reflection in the mirror, it will translate into the way other people see you!

  • Body Image, Bullying, Dating

    Love is Setting Boundaries: When Boundaries Aren’t Respected

    In a relationship, both people have the right to set their own boundaries AND have those boundaries respected, no matter what. But what happens if someone crosses a line? How do you deal with it? Here’s what to consider if…

    …Your Relationship Is Safe:

    In a healthy relationship, open communication is crucial. If your partner does something that upsets you or makes you uncomfortable, you have a right to address it with them. If you don’t have any safety concerns and you feel like your relationship is in a pretty healthy place, having a conversation with your partner about a boundary violation could be really helpful. Depending on the situation, you can address it as soon as it happens, or you can take some time to think about what you want to say. It might even help to write down what you want to say before talking with your partner.

    For example, let’s imagine you and your partner are hanging around the house and your partner slaps your butt as you’re walking past. If that makes you uncomfortable, in that moment you could say, “Hey, I’m not ok with that,” and take your conversation from there. But if you and your partner are out to dinner with family and your partner does something that makes you uncomfortable, you might feel like it’s best to wait until the two of you are alone to bring it up. Either way, you do have a right to say something to your partner.

    When discussing the situation, use “I” statements (ex. “I feel this way when…”), and talk with your partner about why the boundary was crossed and any steps you can both take to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Being able to hold each other accountable is part of building a healthy relationship.

    …Your Relationship Might Not Be Safe:

    If your partner is repeatedly crossing your boundaries, they aren’t willing to discuss boundaries with you, or you notice that your partner is guilt-tripping you for even having boundaries, your relationship is likely very unhealthy and could become abusive if your partner’s behaviors continue and escalate.

    If you are in an unhealthy relationship and a boundary is crossed, having a conversation with your partner may not be a safe option for you. You do have the right to be firm and clear about your boundaries, because you always deserve to have your boundaries respected, but it is also important to consider your safety. You might talk to a trusted friend or family member or chat with a loveisrespect peer advocate, and try thinking about whether or not this is a relationship in which you can feel safe and respected. It’s important to remember that if someone doesn’t respect you, they won’t respect your boundaries, and vice versa.

    You might also consider documenting any instances of harmful or abusive behavior in case you decide to file a protective order or get legal help in the future. Having your thoughts or feelings written or saved somewhere where your partner can’t access them may also work as a reminder of times you were hurt or major boundaries were crossed, in case you ever start to question yourself or believe the abuse was your fault (hint: it never is).

    …Your Relationship Is Definitely Not Safe:

     

    Maybe you’ve realized that your relationship is abusive and your partner isn’t a safe person to talk to about your boundaries. What now? If your partner isn’t allowing for you to be safe, it might be time to consider leaving the relationship. Breaking up can be really difficult, especially when feelings are involved, and if your relationship is abusive breaking up might also be dangerous. You have a right to make your safety a top priority, so it’s important to have a plan in place for how you can break up safely or stay safe in the meantime. You might talk to someone in your support system about what’s going on.

    We recognize that your safety is the top priority and you are the best person to decide what is right for you. If you want to talk about your plan to stay safe whether you want to stay in a relationship or you feel ready to leave. To talk to an advocate, call 1-866-331-9474, text loveis to 22522 or visit loveisrespect.org to chat via our website 24/7!

  • Body Image, Celebrities, Fashion, TRENDING

    Tim Gunn blasts designers: They don’t make clothes that fit American women

    The “body positivity” movement may not be a new phenomenon, but after Tim Gunn’s recent Washington Post essay, it’s seen such a boost in relevance that it may as well be.

    The average American woman now wears between a size 16 and a size 18, according to new research from Washington State University,” the 63-year-old fashion consultant and TV personality wrote in an essay that slammed fashion designers for their role in dismissing the bodies of larger women.

    “There is money to be made here ($20.4 billion, up 17 percent from 2013),” Gunn continues. “But many designers — dripping with disdain, lacking imagination or simply too cowardly to take a risk — still refuse to make clothes for them. This is a design failure and not a customer issue.”

    Women who are larger than a size 12 shouldn’t be cast aside simply because designers don’t believe they can make clothes that will look good on them, he says.

    “There is no reason larger women can’t look just as fabulous as all other women,” he writes. “The key is the harmonious balance of silhouette, proportion and fit, regardless of size or shape. Designs need to be reconceived, not just sized up; it’s a matter of adjusting proportions.”

    He’s also quick to point out that moves to include plus-size women in fashion campaigns are generally “the exception, not the rule.” And even when they’re not done in poor taste, they often feel like “tokenism,” as he believed to be the case when designer Ashley Nell Tipton won this past season of Project Runway with her plus-size collection.

    To Gunn, her win felt less like an achievement and more like a forced milestone.

    “I’ve never seen such hideous clothes in my life,” he explains. “… One judge told me that she was ‘voting for the symbol’ and that these were clothes for a ‘certain population.’ I said they should be clothes all women want to wear.

    “I wouldn’t dream of letting any woman, whether she’s a size 6 or a 16, wear them. Simply making a nod toward inclusiveness is not enough.”

    #bodypositivity

    Article From: Today