It’s well-known that the media sets crazy standards of beauty and behavior, especially for women. You’d think since we’re all aware of this, it would start to change. However, it seems that the problem is just getting worse. Change will come eventually, but only if we all decide to stop letting magazines, commercials and our daily news tell us how to look, think and act.
We’ve got our list of 10 things the media tries to tell us to get in our heads and influence how we view our bodies. We’ve also included why we think they’re a bunch of hooey.
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In her new book, Yoga XXL: A Journey to Health for Bigger People, author Ingrid Kollak asserts “Yoga is for everybody.” In this thoughtful illustrated guide for beginners and beyond, Ingrid, a registered nurse and yoga teacher, focuses on the benefits of yoga for the mind and body, regardless of the body’s size.
At the DietsInReview compound, we’re routinely bombarded with books and DVDs about weight loss and exercise. Many titles in our library contain the same healthy buzz words over and over including, “Diet this” and “Walk off that,” so we were intrigued when “Yoga XXL” arrived in the mail.
The in-your-face title not only got our attention, it left us a bit stunned. Was it politically correct? Was it unkind? After interviewing the German-born author, I’m convinced that regardless of the title, her motivation was completely sincere.
Before she became a teacher, Ingrid remembers attending yoga classes where students with larger bodies were treated with either indifference or outright cruelty. “In classes I saw yoga teachers who plagued their students physically and mentally,” she recalls. “Many yoga teachers had an outdated view that all yoga students should look a certain way: lean and limber. I noticed that these teachers did not encourage or help students who did not fit that strict model.”
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Imagine a person just standing there minding his or her own business, and that person happens to be fat. If you place a clever caption underneath of the photo pointing out just how fat that person is and suddenly, somehow it becomes funny, right? Wrong. I’m sure you’ve these photos floating around on the interwebs. This is what is referred to as fat-shaming.
Personally, I have never found any photos exploiting overweight individuals as a “joke” to be funny at all. Being overweight in itself is not funny. And I have to wonder why this type of discrimination and bullying is still so acceptable in our culture. Even in Hollywood, consider how much negative attention a celebrity gets when they gain weight. Their image is shown on the cover of a magazine with a caption stating something about how fat they’ve gotten, and we’ve allowed that to be acceptable!
I gained a great deal of weight in my early teenage years and in high school, I was somewhere over 200 pounds. My saving grace was that I was funny and well-liked, so I didn’t become the target of much bullying (and most people would never have made fun of me to my face). I thank my lucky stars that things like Facebook and Twitter (heck, even cell phones or texting!) didn’t exist back then, because it’s so much easier to bully someone when you’re sitting behind a computer.
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It seems anywhere you go these days the odds are pretty good that you will catch someone taking a selfie. What’s a selfie? Well, Oxford Dictionaries just named it the 2013 Word of the Year, and defines it as, “a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website”.
Honestly I think selfies get a bad rap. I think often times people look at others who take selfies and write them off as possibly being arrogant, full of themselves, and at times down right annoying. We, as a society, are quick to judge others from the outside without actually knowing the story that person has to share.
You see, for me, selfies have a unique meaning. I have been overweight for most of my adult life; the picture below was me at my highest weight in 2009 at 480 pounds.
I don’t have a lot of pictures of myself from that period of my life; the reason being I was scared of the camera. I didn’t want to capture myself or what I looked like. I didn’t want to see the reality of what I had done to myself. At social functions when people would pull out their cameras wanting to capture the moments, I would mysteriously disappear or be that awesome person who volunteered to take the pictures for everyone else.
There were even a few times when people would sneak up and take pictures and I would kindly ask them afterwards to please delete any of the pictures I was in; they never really understood why.
The bottom line was I was not happy with many aspects of my life and I didn’t want proof of that published in the form of a picture as a constant reminder.
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No, we’re not talking a long-awaited sequel to the film that introduced us all to Heath Ledger. Instead, we’re confronting some of the biggest issues we all have with ourselves. Body image is an issue that many people face. “Body image, the way you feel about your personal appearance, is linked to self-esteem,” said Mary Hartley, R.D. “The satisfaction you have with your body is based on the satisfaction you have with yourself.”
We want everyone to feel satisfied with themselves, so it’s time to quit the hate-speech and make peace with our bodies. Sure, you may not love everything about yourself, but that doesn’t have to prevent you from doing something about it. Here are our top ten beefs with our bodies and what we can do about them.
Jiggly Arms – If your arms make you self-conscious, you aren’t alone. To make your arms less jiggly, add triceps dips to your daily routine. By doing a few reps every day, your flapping arms will soon be nothing but a not-so-fond memory.
Lack of Energy – At one time or another, all of us feel completely devoid of energy. Combat this by making sure you are getting enough restful sleep. It may seem impossible to fit sleep into your busy schedule, but doing so impacts your overall energy levels and your ability to accomplish everything in your day.
Dull Skin – Do you feel like your skin is beginning to look a little zombie like? If so, make sure you are drinking enough water throughout the day. Staying hydrated does wonders for the complexion. Add some of the best foods for healthy skin to your diet, too, like fresh fruit, Brazil nuts, tuna, and avocados.
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