Body Shaming Must Stop – Love the Skin You’re In
Body Shaming is something that has come about more recently, with the advent of massive social media outlets like Reddit, Twitter, Facebook and plenty more. From celebrities to everyday folks, people are speaking their mind on someone’s appearance, as though they have a right to it. The trouble with this is that mob mentality takes over, and more and more people jump on board shaming the person for nothing more than wearing a bikini with a ‘less than perfect’ body. Who are we to be so judgemental? We are all on a journey to a better self, so why should we treat another who is brave enough to just BE themselves as a lesser human being?
Erika Vargas, MA, an Adolescent IOP Clinician at the Walden Clinic in Waltham, MA defines body-shaming in a few different ways. In summary it is “criticizing yourself or others because of some aspect of physcial appearance which leads to a vicious cycle of judgement and criticism.” She details a few points as well, in how it manifests itself:
1. Criticism of self appearance, through a judgement or comparison to another person.
2. Criticizing another’s appearance in front of them.
3. Criticizing another’s appearance without their knowledge
There is a huge growing problem here, that leads to things like online bullying and massive self-image problems. It’s also saying that we should care more about our physical image as perceived by others than in being healthy or happy. Huffington Post has an article that describes how we can stop doing this to ourselves and others, and best of all, why it matters so much.
If you can’t love the skin you’re in, it doesn’t matter how much weight you lose, how healthy you eat, or reshaping yourself to perfect dimensions, you are probably always going to find fault with yourself until you learn to find things you DO love about yourself. You’ll probably find them inside rather than outside, but the outer things will come as you learn to not just accept yourself, but also celebrate it. The media is partially to blame for the fact that there’s this huge pressure put on image, but so are all the people who feel compelled to comment on how someone looks.
There’s an old passage from the bible that says, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone” and whether you’re religious or not, or even believe in the bible or not, those are really great words because it suggests that we’re all imperfect, so who are any of us to judge another having never walked in their shoes? Somehow within the past 15 years or so, as social media moguls have transformed the internet as we know it and made the world a much smaller place, we have become overly concerned with our appearance, but more so with others. It’s none of our business to decide what someone else ought to wear or weigh, or how they apply makeup or anything else. Someone isn’t “brave” for wearing a dress out in public that might be less than flattering to one person’s personal opinion. The dress made her feel beautiful and romantic, so she wears it… perhaps it really is that simple.
If getting your body to the right size for YOU is going to help you stop a cycle of criticism and comparison, then it needs to start now. The best way to feel great about ourselves comes from identifying our strengths, things that we can do best, without comparing to anyone else but our past selves. After which, we can worry about working in a program that will help us reach our own personal weight loss and body-shaping goals. Ultimately the only person you need to be making proud is yourself. Choosing to eat healthier options and working in at least 5 minutes of exercise 3x a day are simple decisions to make that can change your entire outlook on fitness and weight loss.
It can be rather difficult to find a way to work in time for exercise, and costly to consider replacing all your normal food for health foods, but it’s not as hard or as costly as you might think. There’s no gym membership needed to get where you want to be in terms of body size, all you need is the commitment and dedication to see it through. You also don’t need to replace everything in your pantry or freezer, most people have families who eat differently than someone who is dieting and don’t actually need to eat the diet friendly foods. Unless your whole family can benefit from eating healthier, and are also suffering, you only need to worry mostly about your portion control. After that it’s choosing not to add extra sauces, or gravy, or anything else that adds empty calories simply for a bit of taste.
Be sure when embarking on a new nutrition plan that you’re doing it for the right reasons. If you’re doing it because you posted a picture on Instagram and complete strangers from all parts of the world decided to weigh in on how they think you look or shamed you for doing it in the first place, then you are probably not going to stick to the program anyway. You have to do it for yourself, and not for anyone else, because YOU see the need for improvement in your own health, for longevity and personal happiness. Doing it for anyone, even someone you love just isn’t enough of a personal motivator, not long-term, and it skews personal vision. At the base of the entire journey you still need to love yourself, even if you’re at your largest size and have never felt lower. You’re still YOU, and there’s things about you that have not changed along with your clothing size, and it’s those things you can still feel pride in while you journey onto a healthier version of yourself.