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I always thought that the ideal body image is a tall thin woman with sleek hair! Why do I think that? Maybe it is because I do not have any of these traits. Do we all want what we do not have? What we cannot have? Is this the ugly truth? What is the ideal body image? Why do we need a body image?
I was inspired to write about body image, since the moment I read an article Gorgeous little girl by Kate Fridkis on her blog. She writes about body image, beauty, and self-esteem.
I was procrastinating writing this piece because body image is a critical issue in American culture. What should I write? Will I add value to the discussion? Should I write my opinion or the professional one? I do not want to bore you, with the statics and facts about body image. We all know it is a serious issue. I was reading about solutions and suggestions for changing the way you see yourself. There are tons of advices in personal blogs, mental health experts’ opinions and, dietitian’s advice. Nevertheless, the problem is growing.
Honestly, I never had issues with my body image when I was a kid, I never saw my mom gazing at the mirror, complaining about her body. She had a lot of responsibilities, six kids, home chores, and teaching. She did not have time to worry about her looks. We never discussed this in my home. My mom was not worried about my looks but about my education, grades, confidence, and good manners.
I always thought I was beautiful enough, never worried about my body image and body shape. I 'm not the goddess of beauty. I 'm not beautiful by many standards of beauty. When I got married, I gained weight and started to look at the mirror repetitively. I wanted to be the prettiest girl my husband would ever see. I started to hate my body and lose confidence in myself. I tried to lose weight in a healthy way; I did, but it took me over a year. I was not interested in fashion, makeup, or anything that could make me beautiful, until my late twenties when I became pregnant. I was intimidated. I was worrying about what my body would look like? How big my belly will be? Will I look older than my real age if I gain a lot of weight? Will I look like a boring mother who forgets that she is a woman in the first place?
During my pregnancy, being a nutritionist helped me a lot to gain the expected weight, and to lose it after delivery. In contrary to my thoughts, gaining weight in pregnancy for the sake of my baby, made me glow. Seeing my growing belly every morning, and counting the remaining days made me really happy about how my body looks. Now after four months of delivery, I lost the excess weight and this helped me a lot for accepting my body.
Do I feel good about my body? Not every day, I 'm human. I can go out with a bare face, even when my face looks pale. I 'm not a manikin, I am alive, I can breathe, I can talk, I can smile, and I can hear birds singing at the sunrise. Why do I need more than that? Why do I need an approval permit from society, affirming that I 'm beautiful? I believe that everyone has a distinctive personality and a special charm, and it does not have to be in their body or their faces.
As nutritionist, what I can do to participate in solving this problem? Will giving people more diets, more nutrition advice work? Are not we sick from all the rules? What I can say is the ideal body weight does not mean one should be skinny; there is a range for body weight related to the height. We do not have the same body types and, that is what makes some people look thinner or heavier. We should respect our body types. It gives us the uniqueness, or we all would look like replicas! Some women are curvy; others have an apple shape, or a pear shape. Even if, you follows a healthy plan diet carefully and, works out most of the weekdays, you may not attain the thin skinny body you are dying for it. I 'm not telling you that to frustrate you, but to be realistic and so you will not anticipate something that may not happen.
What I’m trying to say here that the culture we live in has a strong influence on the way we see ourselves in the mirror. We may struggle changing the culture that judges us by our looks, but we should work tirelessly together to change the way we see ourselves and others.