1) There are younger girls looking up to us for guidance. We are the ones teaching them how to find value in their bodies. We are the ones teaching them what beautiful is.
2) You are too old to be swayed by the media. If you are not questioning the images in the media, then you did not learn enough in college. If you should learn one thing in college it is to think for yourself and question the things around you.
3) Its time to grow up. You can no longer blame anybody else for your own health or body issues.
I have struggled with body dismorphia issues since the 7th grade. Almost ten years later I have this to say: we need to stop teaching girls that beauty is equated with body size and I mean all body sizes. Skinny is not necessarily pretty nor is it always healthy. Some people ARE more petite than others. They may also have a faster metabolism, but it is an injustice to teach them that they are beautiful because they are small. This is not always the case, but they could potentially be engaging is some very unhealthy practices that keep their body that size.
On the other hand, it’s an even bigger injustice to teach girls that are overweight or obese that their bodies are beautiful. I think that these girls are mentally healthy and I will support confidence in your body size until the day I die; however, these girls are not physically healthy. They are potentially killing themselves very, very slowly. They’re increasing their risks of diabetes, hypertension and other diseases. I also don’t want to support a super muscular body as beautiful either. These athletes put a lot of stress on their bodies and may not be able to maintain that sort of lifestyle for a lifetime.
In fact, I don’t want to support ANY body size as beautiful because at the end of the day each person defines beauty in a slightly different way. Yes, there are cultural norms, but everyone’s brain is programmed differently and we must recognize that.
I’m not going to tell you to lose weight. Or that you need to be a certain size. I’m also not going to tell you that you need to be able to run a half-marathon or deadlift more than you weigh. I AM going to tell you to eat more healthy foods, to workout in some way. Whatever YOU like and whatever will help YOU be the healthiest version of yourself. Get out there and move your body. You don’t have to go on the paleo diet or do crossfit 6 days a week to be healthy. Eat ice cream or cake or your favorite candy every once in a while. Just don’t eat them all the time. You’ll actually come to enjoy them more. Eat with your appetite (i.e. when you’re hungry).
Don’t worry about your weight. It is just a number, especially if you do start lifting weights. You won’t lose a lot of weight because you’ll be gaining muscle, but your body WILL change. I promise all you size 0s that you can pick up a bar and not look like a muscle woman. Lifting weights will NOT make you bulky unless you intend it to. It takes a very specific diet plan to make you really bulk up.
Yes, I did crossfit (still do it when I get the chance). I really enjoy running and yoga and just moving in general. I have a lot of energy and exercise is the easiest way for me to get rid of it. I do also attempt to eat healthy on a regular basis, but I also eat ice cream and drink wine every week. My only “diet” is eating healthy foods and restricting fast foods. I don’t weigh myself. Period. Point black. End of story. I refuse to define my value by a number on a machine. After these ten years of struggling with my body I have learned that when I focus on my health and not being a certain size, weight, or even “beautiful” that I am the happiest.
I hope you can find the same happiness in your own health.