Fear and Dieting: Let’s Do It The Right Way Instead.
As a young woman, I hate seeing all of these “get skinny fast” ads plaguing my Facebook news feed, Aren’t the magazines, music videos and judgement of our peers enough? We know it’s getting out of hand. People shouldn’t feel guilty for looking the way they look. We know the messages are horrible and exaggerated. Even real models don’t look like that (for a fantastic Photoshop video proving this, click here), so how can we expect to become that?
And yet… we still want to be skinny.
It’s an epidemic. Dieting is the ultimate form of control. If you aren’t good enough as you are, and the standards you’re being set up against are impossible to obtain, you will never be happy. And if you’re never happy with yourself, someone somewhere is winning. Some people would say it’s the advertisement agencies who cash in on our fears. Others would say it’s the patriarchy controlling women to keep them in line. I’m not sure what I believe, I just know that being bombarded with messages to lose weight from everywhere is certainly not doing any good for my self esteem.
So what can we do?
This isn’t to say that eating well and exercising are bad things. They’re great! But only as long as you’re doing them for the right reasons. Interested in getting in shape and gaining some muscle mass? (I can assure you, the thin celebrities we idolize aren’t just skinny, they’re muscular. I don’t know why women are afraid of having muscles.) Here’s some easy tips for how to be healthier and happier, and doing it for the right reasons.
1. Be realistic about your body. Not everything is “bad”. There isn’t one ideal that you need to aspire to be. Realize that your curves are beautiful, and compliment yourself every day. Smile. You’re beautiful. And I mean that.
2. Eat healthy. Crash dieting will only make you miserable. Eat less fast food, drop the soda, and aim for more fruits and veggies in your diet. You don’t have to starve to lose weight (if that’s your goal), and you don’t have to give up entire food groups.
3. Find an exercise regime that you love. For me, it’s pole dancing. For others it’s running, Zumba, dance, weights, aerobics, boot camp classes, etc. Do you prefer a class that keeps you going? Or do you like to go off on your own and do your workout solo? There’s no “right answer” here. It’s personal preference. If you love your workout it will stop feeling like a workout and just become a fun activity that has the added bonus of keeping you healthy. And I’ve found that having a class twice a week that I have to go to keeps me from backing out at the last minute. If you’re not a morning person, don’t plan on getting up at 5 every day and going for a jog all winter long. It’s about being realistic and knowing yourself.
4. Finally, change your attitudes. Stop judging yourself or saying things like “I’m so fat today”. It won’t make you feel better. Challenge the negative things you say to yourself by adding in positives. Look in the mirror and tell yourself what you like about yourself. Don’t let other people get to you. If you want to wear that dress, wear it. Don’t say “I don’t have the body to wear this”. If you’re comfortable in your own skin, people will notice. And best of all, people don’t try to belittle people who are confident in how they look because it will have no effect. The people telling you you aren’t good enough are really just insecure with themselves and are taking it out on you. Don’t be fooled. You’re stronger than them.