Celebrities on magazine covers, Instagram feeds and Facebook photos, shows on TV… what we’re seeing from all of these is a smoothed-over, skimmed down, ‘perfected’ look which we’re supposedly meant to imitate…
It’s always worse in the run up to summer when we’re encouraged to flit from one fad diet to the next – we’re force-fed mixed up messages about health and dieting. Hardly ever are we reminded that our natural body shape might not be streamlined and super-skinny, and more importantly that this is perfectly ok!
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to tone up a bit, yet our generation has taken reaching that size six ‘ideal’ to some crazy extremes. Body image is so prominent in our media and our minds that it leads so many girls, and boys, into thinking they HAVE to look like that and nothing else will do.
Many young people cut out carbs and head to the gym, then wonder why they have no energy. Others keep to a strict diet of self-loathing and baggy clothing.
I know it seems clichéd to come out with phrases like ‘beauty is on the inside’, yet it couldn’t be more true! Many teens are led from fad diets to eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia, which last longer than just the summer.
Dieting almost feels like something we should feel guilty about not doing, but yo-yoing from diet to diet has actually been shown to do more harm to our bodies than good, never mind what it can do to our minds.
It’s almost impossible to change an entire nation’s view on body image when it’s so engrained as perfect; what we can do is change the individual – ourselves and those close to us. Everyone is different and we can all learn to love ourselves given time and the right tools.
If you feel pressured or know someone who feels pressured about body image or their relationship with food, Get Connected can offer free and anonymous help to anyone under 25.
You really don’t have to cope alone.
This post was originally part of the Get Connected website. YouthNet and Get Connected merged to form The Mix in 2016.
Published on 20-Feb-2015
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