I am stating the glaringly obvious here but we have a major problem with body image and the impact this is having on our health. This is affecting us all in some way, whether be personally or our children and we all have a duty to change this for all of us. Some of the stats out there so upsetting and quite frankly horrific.
Research has found that girls between 3-5 are showing a preference for thinness. And girls aged 5-6 understand that dieting is a way to thinness. I have heard girls as young as 8 are dieting. Let that sink in. When children should be thinking about their next play dates they are considering their size. Something is going very wrong. And Is it any wonder when us mums are bombarded with messages of 'lose the baby weight' and erasing all sign of having a baby. This is madness. You created a whole new life inside your body and society wants you to erase that from your body? No wonder this is starting to seep into our young girls and boys minds.
Then there is the multibillion pound weightloss industry selling the dream of how wonderful your life will be if you were just smaller. Like your life can't already be wonderful. That not being thin means it is not possible to have an amazing and wonderful life filled with love, beauty, ambition and satisfaction. I also find it unforgiveable that they actually have the means to make some real change to this world but choose profits over this. I was horrified to hear that they are now targeting teens, creating a whole new cycle of clients for years to come.
The disturbing fact is that some serious damage is being done to our young people. Teens are more susceptible to eating disorders.
1 in 2 girls and 1 in 3 boys are using unhealthy methods to control food intake.
87% of teen girls have stated that are unhappy with their bodies.
And research shows that dieting is a gateway to eating disorders.
Girls who partake in strict dieting methods are 18 times more likely to develop eating disorders in 6 months and 5 times more likely if they use moderate methods. Disordered eating is a very real and serious problem with only 1 in 8 being treated.
Young women aged between 18-25 were surveyed for a magazine and 50% said they would rather be hit by a truck than be fat and 66% would rather be unkind or stupid than fat. How can we be living in world were young women would be willing to choose physical harm than fat? This is all the proof we need that fat shaming is a very real and serious problem.
And is it any wonder that we are all feeling not good enough when our hailed beautiful people, the celebrities, are torn down by the media every single day. Too fat, too thin, too much makeup, too little makeup etc. How can we as 'normal' people ever feel we will be good enough when our idols are destroyed.
So how do I think we can start to change this?
Well I certainly don't have all the answers and there are plenty of amazing people out there doing a better job than I am (i'll pop some of their names at the bottom of this blog) but here are my two cents on the matter:
Firstly, as much as the body positivity movement is amazing and so so needed we are still reducing our worthiness to our bodies. And like any big movement there are always extremist views. People excluding others from the community because they want to lose some weight. To me this is just another group of people telling me what I should do with my body.
I do believe we need to move away from this and the group called Beauty Redefined on Instagram are doing some amazing work on so go check them out
I think we need to learn to love our bodies despite our flaws. Not that we need to suddenly flip and proclaim to love our tummy, or our large thighs or whatever insecurity you have because that would be false and a lot of people wouldn't know where to start, would pretend and then mask the problem. We need to accept that our bodies will never fit this notion of 'perfect' as it doesn't exist and we are so much more than our flaws.
I have parts of my body that I don't love. For example I am not a big fan of my tummy. I have went from having a really flat tummy to having this overhang around my C section scar and my Diastasis Recti and it has taken a lot of time for me to accept that this is my body for now. I do want to change this because I have big love for clothes and expressing myself through clothes and there are certain clothes I just can't get on. This is down to my body shape not because I think you can't wear something at a certain size. Now I feel this is a big part of my identity and I don't want to completely lose this part of me. So I will work to change this but never at the expense of my health and I wont go hungry. But i'll be damned if I will have someone come tell me I don't love myself because I want to pursue this. If you have read any of my blogs and posts you know my main motivation is health but I would be lying if I didn't admit I had aesthetic goals as well. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with this.
But the one question I have had to ask myself (thanks to my faves Jessie Mundell and Anita Lambert) is how would I feel if my body never changes shape or size?
For me, I'll be ok with that because I am finding new ways to express myself through shoes, makeup and my colourful hair. And no matter how much I don't like a part of me I will never ever punish my body because it deserves love and nourishment.
I feel privileged to have this body. To have went through some immense changes. To be able to play sport, dance, dress up and my most proud achievement, carrying my 3 beautiful children despite it being really difficult. I will never ever hold myself back from something because of my looks. I will doubt myself but I will always show up and do what I want to do regardless of what I or anyone else thinks of my body. And I hope to pass this resilience onto my children.
At the moment there will always be celebrity endorsements of stupid products that will cause harm but as long as we stand up to say this is not good enough and shameful and put pressure on our governments to make changes to what can be promoted we will make a change.
So how would you feel if your body never changes?
How can you show up in this world in a way you deserve despite your insecurities? How can you live your life being authentic and who you need and want to be instead of chasing a goal weight?
You are worth it. You are amazing and you can do this.
Here are some of my fave people and accounts to follow
Megan from Bodyposipanda
Natalie from Stylemesunday
Healthy Habits Happy Mums
and Beauty Redefined