How are you keeping up with your resolution of regular exercise? If it is not going well, you are not alone! On this Valentine's day renew your vows with your body. The other day at the end of my class, people got quite hyped up to make time to do something for themselves. Some of them made a commitment to start going to the gym. Sounded like a great idea! But experience tells me that, by the next class more than half will report that they didn’t have time or the motivation. So what would help to be more successful?
Three kids later, I still see beauty when I look in the mirror. I don't see just a body. Sure, I see crow's feet snaking out from my eyes when I smile; I see a mass of curly hair. But mostly, I see a person: my husband's wife, my children's mother, my students' teacher...
Being "too thin" may sound like a problem most women would give anything to have, but my reality is different. My culture places a greater emphasis on being curvy. I didn't realize the irony of my "problem" until I started working in a predominantly caucasian office. Most of my coworkers with were obsessed with being skinny. It was strange to me; all of these women were struggling for a body like mine, but when I looked at them, I secretly wished I were their size.
Too naïve to grasp the real root of my worries, I concentrated on the more quantifiable issue: My ex's new girlfriend was far skinnier than I was. My short, frumpy body paled in comparison to her long legs and magazine-worthy abs. I became determined to reshape my body.
In all my years as a parent educator, I have never met parents who earnestly wanted to hurt their children. Most parents sincerely want to encourage and empower their children to lead strong, successful lives. However, it is their lack of mindfulness that defaults into old patterns and belief systems that teach their children harmful messages rather accidently.
As a woman, body image issues have drifted in and out of my life for as long as I can remember. They're that little albatross I can't quite shake: Every time I squeeze into a pair of jeans or put on my swimsuit for my daughters' Saturday morning lessons, every time I turn sideways to see my reflection in a mirror or compare myself to someone beautiful. They're the questions that tumble around in my head: Am I old? Am I fat? Am I pretty? When my daughter started asking the same questions, I knew it was time to break the cycle.
From websites devoted to fat-shaming celebrities to "thinspiration" Pinterest boards, it’s safe to say there's a pervasive message out there: women should be skinny in order to be beautiful. And it's not men who are applying the pressure. Women are consistently more critical of other women than men are to women. Why are we so hard on one another?
A look at how "the perfect woman's body" has changed over the years.