The Modern Body Issue

I battled with two eating disorder when I was in high school, I struggled with my body image. It has been 4 years since overcame my disorders and I’m still healing my mind. According to National Eating Disorders Association, “At age thirteen, 53% of American girls are “unhappy with their bodies.” This grows to 78% by the time the girls reach seventeen.”   Every day I have to tell myself I’m strong and beautiful. There are moments where the shadows of my past darken my perspective but I work on keeping myself positive. I have learned to create a relationship with food where I eat to nourish myself and focus on what I eat rather than how much of it.

I now live a healthy lifestyle based on an organic vegan diet. I found my cure to the madness of my body issues through fitness. I create a sustainable relationship with my workouts, I base my fitness on how I feel rather than how I want to look. I have found role models within the fitness industry that keep my focus such as Kathryn Budig (Aim True), Katrina and Karena (Tone It Up), Tracy Anderson (TA Method), and Erin Motz (Bad Yogi).

Magazines, tv, and social media bombard me as well as millions of women with images of extremely skinny and toned women, bold words across the screen and covers saying “Lose Your Muffin Top”, “Get Kim Kardashians Butt!” No matter where you look and read you never see anything about positive body image, it all revolves around looking like someone else and dissecting the body into specific parts rather than a whole unit. Our fitness industry is a social construct of the perfect and unattainable body. “The body type portrayed in advertising as the ideal is possessed naturally by only 5% of American females,” (ANAD).

It’s not just a statistic anymore it’s a natural process that when a female enters this world, she will grow up and battle with body image issues. The mental disease of not being satisfied with how you look leads to the extreme measures of depression, eating disorders, plastic surgery, and suicide. “Approximately 91% of women are unhappy with their bodies and resort to dieting to achieve their ideal body shape.” (Palmer, Mario). How can women and girls feel content and confident about their looks when everything they see in the media is promoting them to strive for an unreachable perfection?

Our culture creates the norm of womanhood to hate themselves. As if being a woman comes with baggage. During the transition to high school, I began to claim the baggage of my womanhood. It wasn’t a specific moment that triggered my self- disconnect, but rather a collection of moments that altered my reality. “Because of the media, we are under the gigantic pressure to be thin and sexy, especially when we are young, still impressionable, and susceptible to believing what we see,” (K.Schwarzenegger100). Magazines {Fitness, Shape, and Self) promote a lifestyle that does not sustain wellness, positive body image, and healthy habits. “Self magazine has 1.63 million print readers and 6.9 million online visitors a month between the ages of 18 to 30 years old,” (Vega2013).

I am what you call a workout warrior, I’m constantly trying new things within the fitness world and adding them to my 6-days a week workout plan. Working out should be fun, there should be honest advice in modern magazines that allow those young girls and women to personalize their fitness experience and enjoy the movement of the body. For example, my weekly workout routines consist of 45min to hour sessions of yoga/pilates, Tracy Anderson Method, Tone It Up, and self-defense. I know it seems like a lot but it is what keeps me living an active lifestyle and allows me to connect with the inner warrior that all woman have. “Exercising releases endorphins in the brain, physical activity helps to relax the muscles and relieve tension in the body. Since the body and mind are so closely linked, when your body feels better so, too, will your mind,” (Jeanne Segal, Ph.D). The fitness industry messages are corrupting the mental state of girls and women, the disconnect of the mind and body is leading them down paths of self-destruction. It takes years to learn self-love and develop a sustainable relationship with the mind, and for some women and girls it will never be attained.

Things You Can Do:

  • Stop supporting magazine, blogs, fitness videos, and companies that support the goals of obtaining the perfect body and making women feel they need to look like someone else.
  • Create a fun workout plan for yourself. Try working out with a friend and support each other with positive affirmations
  • Create a mantra each day to set a focus. Ex: I Am Strong
  • Reach out through social media and by talking to those around you and tell them your story.
  • Don’t talk bad about your body
  • Find ways to cook new healthy meals with your family and friends. Try new foods and work on making earthy based snacks throughout the day.
  • Follow trainers (via social media) who support your mission of being the best version of you mentally and physically.
  • Do what makes you happy. Treat your body with respect and learn that loving your self is a process worthwhile.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s