Saying No to Diet Culture

Hi Everyone,

This week I’m talking all about diet culture. What is diet culture? It’s essentially a society and mindset that is centered on weight and size (over your actual health). Is this healthy? No. Is it super common right now? Unfortunately yes.

Society has a gravitation towards “thin” bodies because it’s what we see most in media and on magazine covers. Whenever you see notifications in your email inbox or advertisements for the latest skinny tea or magical vitamin, chances are the words “weight loss” will be in there somewhere to reel you in. How to get a bikini body, how to drop the pounds… these headlines are so common and are associated with “getting healthy.” While there is a lot of progress happening to expand the definition of beauty and less emphasis on the “ideal” body that truly does not exist, so many people worldwide are still get discouraged from the effects of diet culture.

Diet culture essentially ignores science and body diversity. Body-types exist for a reason! Genetics play a major role in how your body responds to nutrition and fitness, as well as different types of fitness. Weight loss has become more marketable than promoting how to maintain authentic emotional and physical health, and positive relationships with food.

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Why do you need a positive relationship with food? Because you don’t want to spend your life seeing food as calories. In fact, I wouldn’t recommend calorie counting to anyone, unless istructed by a doctor for health reasons. Seeing food as solely negative or positive for weight loss is not only restricting, but it creates stress and anxiety if you “slip up.”

My motto for food: if you do indulge in something that is low in nutrients, has higher saturated fat than you would like to admit, or is full of empty calories, indulge in moderation. For instance, I probably haven’t had soda in a month, but I had a root beer today while I worked on my website and it was glorious (shoutout to Trader Joe’s for making a more natural formula). I had zero guilt.

While we’re on the topic of guilt, stop referring to food as “guilty pleasures.” Even if it’s a joke between you and your friends, it could be effecting your relationship with food at a deeper level than you think. Peep me eating a cupcake below for my brother’s birthday. A cupcake, yes. It was piña colada flavored. 

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Diet companies are advertising weight loss in the form of trends, making them more attractive by categorizing them by season or attempting to customize them to you by pulling at your emotional insecurities with body image. The tricky thing is, we’ve become so used to it as consumers that it seems normal. And people feel bad if their bodies don’t meet the margins.

To be clear, I don’t read the magazines or look at celebrities diets they swear by to maintain their figures. I listen to my own body. This is crucial. If one take-away from this post resonates, I would hope that would be it. Focus on what works for you, learn what your body likes and dislikes. I can guarantee that piggy-backing on what works for someone else will frustrate you anyway. If this sounds opposing from what companies and sponsored instagram advertisements have been trying to sell you… good. That’s music to my ears.

A little background on my weight (not weight loss) journey. I had a somewhat negative relationship with fitness up until 2 years ago, given how much cardio I felt I needed to do to be “fit” and skinny. I honestly had no business doing cardio on top of my collegiate tennis training, and I was over-exercising. Yes that happens! I didn’t want to do extra, I just felt that I was more attractive being a lot lighter in weight. No wonder it was hard for me to gain a bum! How much I have learned since then, let me tell you. And I am spending LESS time in the gym.

I’m not saying it’s easy to navigate all the types of fitness or the broad spectrum of healthy diets. I myself am now questioning if I need to make changes for my digestion and gut health, not for a trend or for the goal of weight loss. I just want to live my life feeling good internally, because that is more important to me now, as I’ve jumped through hurdles with my body image in the past.

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I sincerely hope this discussion of body image and diet culture either resonated, or has inspired you to look at nutrition and fitness in a more positive light!

Stay bold and confident xx

Check out my Instagram for my recipes, fitness tips, and mental health  at k_stateofmind.

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-Kelly

 

2018 Initiative: Becoming Body Positive Through Fitness

Fitness has unlimited benefits to an individual’s lifestyle. Not only is it essential for cardiovascular health and disease prevention, it also improves mental health and body positivity.

It can be difficult to believe that fitness and body positivity can coexist, with the heavy influence around us every day. We see ‘fitspo’ imagery on social platforms, phrases like “beach body’ and articles on how to constantly cut food cravings. Following these phrases and trends can be confusing and skew the purpose of fitness.

Essentially, these phrases and terms that are thrown around through media are body-shaming readers. Fitness ‘gurus’ have workouts even called ‘beach body workouts’ or tips on how to be bikini body ready in (insert time period here). Which body type are you trying to promote? It can’t be a universal one, because that would be impossible, wouldn’t it? Genetics are a slight obstacle with that one…

Let’s skip the awkward labels and cut to the chase here. You should workout for you. Year round happiness over seasonal happiness is key as well. Summer is great, but it offers a lot more than your showing of how many pounds you shed with that at home pilates YouTube streak. You are more than your size, babes.

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Be PROUD of your progress so far, and take on the rest you have to go as a challenge, not a chore. ❤

Hitting the weights or making it to your favorite Zumba class can improve your confidence in your body, by being active and learning to love the progress you make. Fitness can be an amazing release, not a chore to get closer to an ‘ideal’ body that is unattainable. Embrace your body, and workout because you want to be healthier. Have your fitness goal be happiness, whichever exercises bring you that. If you’re bored, mix it up. 

Don’t workout to earn food, or obsess over a particular waist measurement. Discovering a true balance of focusing on how you feel rather than just how you look is an important step towards body positivity and the power of confidence.

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Nourish your body and give yourself credit when you push yourself. 

I’m not saying I don’t succumb to body critiques. I just don’t let them run my life, or my relationship with fitness.

When was the last time you told yourself what you’re grateful for with your body? What makes your body ‘yours’? Because you are one of a kind, don’t forget that. Use fitness to start finding the positives, such as increasing your energy or strengthening your immune system.

Set your own standards. There is no finish line, because fitness isn’t a race. You don’t need to make comparisons to another’s body when it’s not a competition. Give yourself encouragement and set goals that will make you truly happier, and ensure that those goals are for you and you alone.

Make 2018 about body positivity. Go with friends to workouts or enjoy hikes outside. Take a new group class you’ve always wanted to try. Make challenging yourself a passion as opposed to a hurdle. Learn to love what you were born with, and use it as your source of inspiration, not as a subject of critique.

Exercise as sight seeing? Yes please… 
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If you open yourself up to your surroundings and a bigger picture, you’ll see more than the small details. 

Why? Because you deserve that confidence. Self-compassion and acceptance is not always easy, and is a practice that is often overlooked. Step off the scale and push aside the numbers. Choose a starting point and go from there. And enjoy the process.

How are you going to become more body positive? Let me know in the comments. xx

-Kelly

Hiking: For Your Mind And Body

Hi everyone,

Given that Seattle has given us given us amazing weather the last few weeks, I’ve been taking to the trails more than usual. I’m much more focused on weights and interval training now as opposed to long stints of cardio, however, hiking is a much more enjoyable full-body workout. And it’s not just physical.

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Research shows that hiking is linked to higher amounts of brainpower. If you crave a better attention span on upcoming work or projects, spend the morning outdoors to clear your mind. Although physically being in nature allows your mind to de-clutter, being away from so much technology is just like hitting the reset button. How good is your Wifi in the woods? Exactly.

Good news for calorie counters: You can burn well over 500 calories in just an hour of hiking. I personally love walking on trails because I’m prone to shin splints, and the forest floor is way softer on your joints as opposed to asphalt or concrete.

Regular hiking activity lowers blood pressure and cholesterol. The cardiovascular aspect the ups and downs of hiking is extremely good for your heart and BMI. Changing altitude has been recorded to reduce fat loss.

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Hiking is a great alternative to traditional indoor workouts in the gym. I get the feeling of not wanting to workout indoors on the elliptical, or be inside at all. When it’s beautiful out, why not get creative? If you haven’t found your workout niche but want to get in better shape, hiking could be perfect for you.

Hiking is definitely great to do in a group. You can make a day trip out of hiking anywhere and go to a lake, hang out on the top of a mountain and eat lunch, or sunbathe. There’s something in it for everyone.

Some mistakes I’ve previously made (not just me my family was there):

  1. Remember where you started your trek. If you need to drop a pin on your phone, do so.
  2. Overestimate trail time. I always try to factor in traffic and add on time for sight seeing etc. Avoid planning a long hike the day you have a set appointment mid afternoon that you will be rushing to make. I’ve been there.
  3. Bring water if it is a longer hike. Altitude can get you more dehydrated, so even bring a small attachable flask if that’s more convenient.

John Muir once said: “In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks.”

Nature has been called a “mental health prescription” due to its positive influence. People often spend so much time in urban settings, and the change of pace brings a much greater balance of exposure.

A Stanford study revealed that city dwellers have a 20 percent higher risk of anxiety and 40 percent higher risk of stress when compared to rural residents. And we don’t often know we need the nature break until we are mid-hike, thankful for the minimal cell service.

I hope you all enjoyed my health check in. Enjoy what’s left of the summer months and go out in nature to clear your mind and senses.

For more photography, visit my blogger Instagram page @k_stateofmind and my portraits page @kellyzphoto

xx

-Kelly

 

Affordable Gym Gear and Where to Buy it

What’s on my mind: Ways of getting quality and fashionable gym gear, without the high cost. Interested? Read on, because these stores contain beautiful bargains. It’s all about the bargains.

First off, I want to love the gym gear I work out in and feel comfortable, because I’m doing a lot of movements that require both flexibility from me and the fabric. Getting super low for squats or doing shoulder presses, quality gym gear is key.

The top places I have found steals:

  1. TJ Maxx/ Marshall’s: These stores have the best deals. I find brands such as Nike, Under Armour, and Athleta in the fitness sections. Recently I got a pair of Nike cropped tights for $29, regularly around $85. You save a ton of money scouting these stores. Another thing to look for are zip ups and sweatshirts. I have also gotten my protein shaker, jump ropes, yoga mats, as well as free weights from one of these.
  2. Costco: I know Costco is a beautiful place due to free food samples, but the clothing section is actually pretty sweet. There are regular brands such as Calvin Klein or Adidas, and then less known brands that have recently collaborated with Costco. Ladies: the tights featured in the above photo are from Costco, a brand called Tufts Athletics. I bought two pairs, each for $16.99. They are super comfortable and flattering on, and the patterned one is fun to wear to weight sessions.
  3. Nordstrom Rack: This one is lower on the list because this store is such a hit or miss for me to find something, and usually the gym gear is shoes not clothing. Then again, I am very picky about running shoes in terms of arch support. However, if you want to snag a pair of Nikes for maybe $60 or less, go here.
  4. Target: So Target carries a lot of gear made by Champion, and I have on occasion gotten tights from there that lasted a long time. I find the brand to fade faster than higher end ones like Nike and Adidas, but the cost is super reasonable.
  5. Amazon: Shout out to those addicted to Amazon prime for fast deliveries and bargains. You find some really good gear and workout accessories on here. I purchased a spiked foam roller for my shin splints in college, made by a company is Utah. One of the best things ever, although rolling out shins is not a pleasant thing.

Another sidenote: I did work for Athleta for a year, and I absolutely love their clothes. The quality is amazing and the clothes are completely functional. However, it didn’t make the list because I wouldn’t consider the store “affordable” for many people. Athleta is a great store to splurge on. The reason why I own 5 pairs of yoga pants (as well as tights) from there and some tops is because I had a 50% discount as an employee. If you’re looking for a retail job and live in the gym, consider working there because you’ll be covered for a while.

These are the places I think of for the best deals on workout gear. Why buy full price when you don’t have to?

Where is your favorite place to get gym gear? I’d love any other recommendations for steals. Comment below! xx

-Kelly

 

Fitness: Without the Gym Membership

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Hi everyone,

For the past three weeks, I have been in the moving process. During this time I have not been going to the gym for workouts. I have to admit it has been a strange experience, given my consistency with this routine! I am now happy to be scouting for a new gym to join, although this decision has a few factors to consider. This transition has got me thinking about the individuals that may be in the same position.

For those on vacation or who live a lifestyle that requires traveling, finding alternative ways to getting a workout in is key to staying in shape and being healthier. There are so many substitutions if one does not wish to obtain a gym membership.

Reasoning individuals do not go to the gym could include:

  • Finances: Obtaining a gym membership does require a financial commitment, whether a small or large monthly expenditure. This definitely depends on the gym and what it offers.
  • Convenience/proximity: Depending on where you are located, you could have limited to no access to a gym that would be suitable for your schedule.
  • Work: Some individuals work long shifts that do not allow them to set aside the time.
  • A general disinterest:Everyone is different and obtains different goals, therefore some individuals do not have an interest in exercising.

If any of these factors sound familiar, perhaps you could get more creative with your options to boost your interest or make time for physical activity.

My methods for the past three weeks:

Main tip: Utilize the outdoors.Whether you have 20 minutes or an hour, the outdoors do not have a closing time.

My personal favorite outdoor workout is a long hike. My feature image is emphasizing the beauty of the outdoors and how a good view and good company could make for the best workout. Hiking gets your heart rate up on steep hills and you get the fresh air, as opposed to doing cardio indoors.

Running and walking are great for cardio. I go on walk/jog stints in intervals to get my heart rate up. I prefer doing interval training rather than just jogging because it brings more of a challenge for your body. Also try to choose a route with some hills as opposed to training solely on flat surfaces. This will work your calves and glutes more going uphill. 

HIIT (High intensity interval training)is one of my favorite types of training. If you are not familiar, HIIT is basically shorter periods of more intense exercise with less recovery time. If you are in a crunch for time, this would be a quicker workout on the days where you have a super busy schedule.

BodyFlow is a common gym session offered with gym memberships, however, BodyFlow includes a mixture of Tai Chi, pilates, and yoga, all exercises that can be completed at home with minimal equipment. It would be wise to invest in a yoga mat for the extra cushion and stability with these flexibility exercises, although a softer surface would suffice as well! These are body and mind workouts, and allow you to also relax your mind from outside influences. I would highly recommend incorporating them to improve mental health.

Weight training: In order to work with weights, equipment is required. Buying free weights is a one time purchase and would definitely help succeeding in working out at home. Balance balls, bosu balls, benches, and even small pieces such as strength bands could also be great investments. As opposed to getting these in sport stores, try shopping in the clearance section at stores such as TJ Maxx or Marshall’s. I have saved so much money simply by going to these stores.

I do a mixture of the above workouts when I go through transition periods without gym access. I currently have these pieces of equipment:

  • Jump rope (quick cardio and warm-ups)
  • Medicine ball (great for HIIT, squats, and lunges)
  • Yoga mat
  • Ankle weights (for glute exercises)
  • Free weights (I personally own 5 and 8 lb weights that are easy to transport)
  • Strengthening bands (prevention of injuries)
  • A roller (I swear by these! Proper stretching is so important for healthy exercise. I use my roller especially for hamstrings and shins)

Due to the internet offering so many programs, public figures that specialize in weight and fitness training have done workout programs online. Examples of these figures could be Kayla Itsines, Jillian Michaels, and even the P90X series. If you don’t have the time or finances to go to the gym, these programs are also a one time purchase.

Don’t underestimate YouTube. This platform hosts countless fitness videos and routines available at any time. I have on occasion used Cassey Ho’s Pop Pilates free workouts via YouTube during busy times such as finals or while on vacation without gym access.

As far as the factor of disinterest, workout out is much better when you actually enjoy it. I am not a person to recommend going to the gym to spend an hour on the elliptical or getting on the stair stepper with a book. There are a lot of options to choose from, and you may not be experimenting enough to find what you like best and what gets you the best results.

Being a person that is very consistent with working out, I think there is a type of workout everyone would enjoy. My advice is to aim to achieve a balance, and not to get stuck in the same workout routine that you dread finishing.

If you are on vacation: Take a long walk on the beach. I absolutely love doing this because it’s a natural exfoliation for your feet as well as being a killer workout for your calves and muscles to push through the sand. You also have a view!

I hope these tips helped for those debating on how and when to incorporate exercise into their lifestyle. Thanks for reading! xx

-Kelly

 

Reasoning to Ditch the Weight Scale

Hi everyone,

I’ve been very into posting about mental health topics and self-esteem lately due to the volume of literature I’ve been consumed in! I do believe that a healthy state of mind brings better  productivity and overall happiness.

Self-esteem is often connected to weight. Weight is often measured through the scale. Today I am going to share why I never look at the scale to determine my progress to meet my body goals.

Every year we go to the doctor’s office for a check-up (or maybe more often), and they often weigh patients. This makes sense completely, and this is the only time I step on the scale throughout the entire year. Why? Because it’s known to be an obsessive tool to measure your contentment with your body.

When I used to step on the scale in the gym or following my sister and mother I would always be surprised with my weight. I always fluctuated, and I often weighed more than I thought I would. I am an athlete, and muscle weighs heavier, but in a world of scrutinizing behavior and tragic self-loathing in terms of weight loss, even I had brief negative thoughts.

Muscle composition is healthy, and height also plays a major role in weight. I stand tall at about 5 foot eleven inches. Coupled with muscle from weight training, I have technically gained weight. Despite the number that reads off the piece of metal, I love my body more than ever. If that sounds off, you need to step off the scale and stop using it to determine your body image happiness.

I go off the mirror and how I look and feel to determine my happiness with my fitness results. After four years of being monitored with weight training and occasional nutrition plans I never felt completely satisfied throughout my college career. Now that I have complete control, I just use visuals.

Using the number on a scale is basically comparing yourself to others. I’m an athletic girl who is fit skinny, not fashion skinny or rail thin. I do freelance modeling in clothes that I feel comfortable in. I follow my own style and I practice a well-balanced fitness routine to cater to my whole body and mind.

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The scale is a negative thought that rests in your mind. You may never reach the goal you want from a number because your body proportions don’t match. You will soon focus on the number and possibly alter your lifestyle and diet, and become more and more unhappy. If you do reach the number, you may continue lowering it as your negative obsession spirals out of control.

Don’t let a machine run your life. A scale is an object. There are countless times I have been in a  locker room where there is a line to step on the scale, and I can practically feel the sense of hope and anxiety of people in that line as they await their number.

When is the last time you felt great about your body? Was it on a run outside, or a particular outfit you put on and loved? These small details and activities matter, and matter more than a number.

If you want the facts about scales:

  • They will be slightly different in reads, making the number inconsistent
  • They are very sensitive to clothes, accessories, shoes, etc
  • It matters what type of surface they stand on
  • They don’t give you any distinction of fat versus muscle composition

Does the above sound appealing?

Labeling yourself to a narrow vision of beauty by using a scale is just selling yourself short. You will not be the same as the person behind you with different proportions and varying genetic gifts from mom and dad.

I see body image and weight management this way: I workout and find ways to enhance my natural features as opposed to losing overall weight. Work with what you have and you might be pleasantly surprised with the result. Focus on what is positive and what you do like about your body, not what you wish you would change if you could.

Focus on how you feel and what your body visually looks like instead of trying to achieve a label or number. Using the scale to achieve the “perfect body” is so opinion based. What is even the perfect body? This is simply a comparison you would be happier without.

Consistent obsessions with weight scales has caused:

  • Development of eating disorders
  • Depression
  • Poor body image issues
  • Obsession of diet and calorie counting
  • Blindness to real results due to the number

There are ways to boost your self-image while going through your progress to the body you want. Wear a wardrobe that you feel confident in, eat to fuel your body and do not limit your food intake to reach an unhealthy goal. Eat regularly, and if you need to make changes in your current diet start with one or two foods to gradually eliminate and go from there. It’s all progression, not an immediate result.

Weight does not determine beauty.

The scale does not aid you in a healthy lifestyle. It should not run your life, nor should it bring you your primary validation to achieve your personal goals. If it helps more, have tunnel vision at the gym and focus on you, don’t focus on others around you that are at different stages and obtain varying physique.

I hope this message found you all well, and you will put yourself first before a self-deprecating path of weight measurement. Embrace what you have to offer, and love your body. Thanks for reading! ❤

-Kelly

 

 

Body Image Positivity

Hi everyone,

It’s summer time in the states and everyone is seen with way less layers. The “bikini body ready” concept floats around social media as well as sped up routines in the gym. It is great to have goals to improve your body, however, obsessing and comparing is not going to get you to a place of self contentment.

While we are on the topic of social media, these are the various ways people are comparing themselves to others every day:

  • Magazine spreads and covers of celebrities and even professional athletes
  • Social media platforms including Facebook and Instagram
  •  Television
  • Online sources (articles, blog pages, etc)

What needs to be understood: It’s not a competition.

Additionally, we only see what those magazines and pictures want us to see. We don’t see the behind the scenes, or know for sure what routines people really do to obtain those bodies.

Of course, professional athletes work extremely  hard to obtain their physical endurance and muscle composition. But that’s just it: they spend practically all of their time training. Comparing yourself to an elite athlete is not fair due to the fact that your lifestyles are completely different. If you are inspired by them, that is great. Comparing yourself to their body structures isn’t.

As for celebrities: A very common way of thinking of fans is to fantasize about having the life and body of their favorite celebrity. Those celebrities are placed on magazine covers to represent how to prevent aging and how to have the “best body of your life.” The issue here is everyone’s body type is different. They don’t train the same way or build the same muscle in the same places, and have varying metabolisms.

Also, photoshop is a real thing. Back in 2011, for example, Jennifer Lawrence was majorly photoshopped on the cover of Flare Magazine, and this caused a flare in her temper. Jennifer was completely right to question the changes made to her body. These included an overall slimmed figure, more pronounced collarbones, and the sinking of her cheekbones to make her less full. Why? Because the fashion industry sets unrealistic standards.

Perhaps the easiest industry to penetrate for flaws is the modeling industry. It’s harsh and unrealistic, and so many men and women practice unhealthy behavior to obtain the standards to get work in this industry. Many models, especially females, are well below a healthy BMI (body mass index). Being underweight for extended periods of time is harmful in a lot of ways, and prohibits one from functioning properly. Just for a reference, below is a BMI table obtained from the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention).

BMI Weight Status
Below 18.5 Underweight
18.5 – 24.9 Normal or Healthy Weight
25.0 – 29.9 Overweight
30.0 and Above Obese

The bright side of a better future:

French Legislature proposed a bill last year regarding BMI of models. French agencies that promote models under the BMI of 18 could receive major jail time and a fine (specifically up to 6 months and a fine of 75,000 euros). Models there are now required to have a medical certificate in order to sign with an agency. This effort in France should be considered an amazing opportunity to stop the idealization of dangerously thin body types and curb eating disorders such as anorexia.

Not all models are unhealthy and not all agencies promote overly thin clients, however, it is a very present issue and readers receive a false image of beauty and healthy weight.

Victoria’s Secret, another example,  is a very well known and beloved company in the States for its display of beautiful women often in very little clothing. There seems to be a universal panic attack of young girls all over the country when the VS annual fashion show rolls around. Again: these women have a very strict diet that they are constantly managed to follow, and their magazine photos are partially photoshopped.

On average, it is said to take approximately 6 hours to photoshop one model. Every detail is observed and examined for flaws. Have you ever seen the accidental photoshop errors in this company? I happened to see them in a class throughout my public health studies, and I love to see professors incorporating these topics to better aid the false depiction of ‘perfection.’

Breaking it down:

  1. Changing the figure of a person on a major magazine cover gives a completely false visual of body image and weight to any reader.
  2. As these unrealistic standards rise, eating disorders, body image issues, and overall self esteem of the youth population especially will continue to worsen.
  3. What is real and what is fake will be harder to differentiate.
  4. Those who do not feel they meet these standards see less of themselves, just due to comparisons.

There is a theory that has accurately described this comparison behavior. It’s called the Social Comparison Theory, originally described by psychologist Leon Festinger in 1954. Essentially, we as individuals tend to measure our self worth by how we measure up to others. This is directly associated to the issue of poor body image, because of the incessant need to self-evaluate.

How self-evaluation can be healthy:

  • We set higher goals to obtain
  • We work for higher standards
  • We analyze what we could be doing better and aim to improve

How self-evaluation can be unhealthy:

  • We degrade ourselves in our current state
  • We leave little to no room for error or mistakes
  • Instead of setting goals we become stagnant and negative

According to the Social Comparison Theory, we are actively comparing ourselves primarily through social interaction and media consumption. There has been an establishment of sociocultural standards of beauty, portraying idealistic bodies that immediately cause readers to then want to become more like those idealized individuals.

It is completely unattainable to have the same body as another person. This is due to genetics. A naturally curvy girl cannot become a girl without curves. A girl cannot lengthen her body to make her legs and torso longer like the girl she sees in photos. And these issues occur in men and boys as well. Men around the country feel the same burden of feeling scrutinized for not looking like their aspired male athletes and professionals in the tabloids.

We are all built differently. Some things we cannot alter, and as a human race that has so much diversity, one would think to find that fact beautiful. If we all looked the same, think of how incredibly boring we would be!

A way to catch yourself in the trap of social comparison is to ask yourself what you are gaining from doing it. Comparing yourself to others, whether tearing yourself down or putting yourself even higher than others in terms of body image, is not going to bring you real contentment.

I took a women and sexuality course my junior year in college that had a very interesting week dedicated to body image. The professor asked every student in the room to say what they would change about their body. As she went around the room we all begrudgingly answered, feeling exposed to what she might say. She said we were all wrong, because we’re all perfect the way we are. Not perfect in the sense of something unrealistic, but more perfectly imperfect.

**Side note: I have really long feet, something I loathed for years as I honestly could not find shoes that fit me in the clearance section (where I often go). I was definitely self-conscious as my feet continued to lengthen as I got taller. The truth of the matter is I’m 5’11, so if I had smaller feet I would probably fall over due to laws of gravity. It took me years to just get over it, and now I joke with people and say I have built in flippers when I go swimming (no joke I didn’t buy flippers while snorkeling in Hawaii). I make jokes of it because I can’t change the size of my feet.**

Exercise and eat healthy because you want to feel better for yourself. Don’t set goals based on another’s person’s unattainable genetic makeup. Work and focus on your body structure and improve what is in your control, and in a healthy way.

The truth is: As you obsess over what you would change in your body, another person may be looking at you and wishing they had your proportions. And it’s all harmful to everyone’s health and interferes with what really matters: pretty much everything else.

I personally workout and eat right to feel content, and actively tell myself that’s all that matters. I don’t care what my friends look like in comparison to me. I don’t lift myself up by tearing them down. I don’t question my desire to gain muscle while in a society that often favors the opposite.

Do what makes you feel good about your body, and everything is a process. The above information is all to create a more black and white scenario of what is real and what is fake. What’s real is you. Be your best self, and do it for you. Thanks for reading! xx

-Kelly ❤