We women are obsessed with our bodies. Whether it’s our wrinkles or our butts or our lovely varicose veins, we can’t stop critiquing and trying to improve. To wit:
- Americans spend more than 40 billion a year on diet and beauty products
- 8 out 10 women are not happy with at least one aspect of their physical appearance
- The average American woman is 5’4″ and 140 pounds
- The average American model is 5′ 11″ and 117 pounds
- The current media ideal of thinness is achieved by less than 5% of the female population
And it gets worse. We pass along our obsession to the next generation:
- More than 50% of 10-year-old girls wish they were thinner
- 80% of 10-year-old girls have dieted and 90% of high school junior and senior women diet regularly
- Young girls are more afraid of becoming fat than they are of nuclear war, cancer, or losing their parents
What to do about it? Here are 3 simple things we can all do to feel better about ourselves in no time:
- Stop the beat-down- Would you ever tell your boss she looked fat in that dress or your friend she had sausage legs? The answer is probably no, so extend the same courtesy to yourself. ”Treat yourself as you would treat others, and you’ll find negative thoughts will lessen over time,” explains Leslie Goldman, body image expert.
- Get rid of all the things that make you feel less than- negative friends, fashion mags with photo shopped supermodels, or TV shows that portray unrealistic women with unrealistic lives.
- And most importantly, don’t compare yourself to others. Beauty comes in all shapes and sizes!
And what can you do for the girls in our lives?
- Compliment them on qualities other than looks.
- Talk about the unrealistic sizes of women in the media.
- Encourage them to get moving and get messy.
How do you help the women around you feel better about themselves? Please share your strength!
Fee’s amazing, isn’t she?
Shes so amazing she was able to convince me to do my least favorite thing…write. Even more impressive to write about me & my weight loss journey. But neither you or I have the kind of time it would take to write much less read….so Ill just touch on some of the highlights….
I agree with many great thinkers who believe that at birth we are only born with a desire to love, everything else is learned. In time the messages we receive; the good and bad, the subtle and not so subtle, we eventually begin to believe about ourselves. For example, in 2nd grade I was put in front of my class to read aloud by the school librarian. Sr Marian informed the class I was a good reader, and from that day forward, I believed I was a good reader. Eventually some of those messages we hear in our formative years become our own truths.
In Fees blog, she recalled that early in her life someone sang her a song about her weight and “the hurtful words I can remember to this day”. That happened to me too and I will share the hurtful words with you..
This is my very first recollection of being told I was overweight, it happened when I was a child. I was lucky to have a very best friend that lived next door to me, and we were together all the time. Lisa was tall and skinny. One day, someone (and thankfully I can’t remember who it was specifically ) saw us together and in a sing-song voice recited:
…Fatty & Skinny went to bed
Fatty rolled over and skinny was dead….
I knew instantly who was Fatty.
I am pretty sure thats when I first started dieting. Which brings up another classic tune; heard at some point in my teen years…
Mary’s on a diet !
Isnt that a riot!
Somethings the matter!
Mary’s getting fatter!
I guess I grew up in a tough neighborhood. LOL
So those messages; that I am overweight became: There is something wrong with me, I am not good enough, I’ll never change
….eventually they created a spiderweb of nastiness in my head that I still can get caught in.
I am a charter member of the yo-yo dieters club, in the course of my life I must have gained and lost the same 40lbs more times than I can count. I’ve tried most every diet there is; no carbs, no sugar, no fat, all fat, all protein, cabbage soup, Atkins, Weight Watchers…..I still get sucked in to the miracle methods they show on late night informercials. And my “active” life mirrors my yo-yo diet life. I have been committed enough to spin 5x a week sometimes even at 5:45am, I’ve trained to cycle in events where I would complete 150miles in weekend, I’ve even completed a sprint triathlon. And I can honestly say each of those times I thought I was finally crossing the threshold into an active lifestyle, only to find myself a few months later, a re-born couch potato.
When I first met Fee she was in her “Im ok being a big gal” - place. Back then she would say it to me often, usually in reaction to witnessing my ongoing struggle with diet and exercise. She was trying to encourage me to accept myself as I was. But it was if she was explaining physics while speaking Chinese, the idea was completely foreign to me. In the years since Kathleen and I have honestly shared our weight loss journey with each other. I envied her confidence and her ability accept herself. If she was bothered about her weight she never let on, at least not to me. When she made the commitment to wellness, and began her running program and the weight melted off of her I envied her discipline and commitment to her goals. I wanted what she had. I had no idea how to get it, and cards on the table? I still don’t. Here’s the kicker, 2 years ago, i was a size 4!!! yep…smaller than I was in high school — and I remember calling Kathleen and admitting. “Im still not happy”. Over time, I abandoned the strict plan I was following and I also began to avoid the scale…And the weight crept back on. So today I have gained back about 25lbs of the 40 I lost to get to my lowest weight. And I want to get off the roller coaster for good.
When Fee sent me the picture of her notes on her scale — I thought that is BRILLIANT! I need to do that too! I need to change the messages I am giving myself!!! And with friends like Kathleen and so many others who love me, and encourage me, this part of my journey began.
I dont know what will come next, but…What I do know is this,its an inside job…I can’t do this alone; I need friends like Fee who love me unconditionally, who support me unconditionally, who encourage me to believe in myself and most of all who understand. I hope your are all blessed with such a friend. I hope for both of us that one of those friends is you.