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What is body shaming?
In order to conquer body shame, we must have a clear understanding of what it means. Simply put, body shaming is the expression of mockery or criticism about a person’s body shape or size. Body shaming can lead to over or under eating, eating disorders and other destructive behaviors. No one is immune. Men, women, boys, and girls can all experience body shaming. Often, body shaming is self-inflicted, meaning we shame ourselves and our own precious bodies.pub-4561044891259873, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0
So, here we are. Post holiday indulgences and New Year’s resolutions, swimsuit season drawing near. What thoughts have you recently entertained about the current shape of your body and habits? Have you promised yourself that you will eat only salads for dinner and carrot sticks for snacks? Have you vowed to work out harder and more frequently than ever before?
It’s no secret that through social media, advertisements for plastic surgery centers, gym memberships, and weight loss enrollment plans, we are constantly bombarded with urgency to take action in improving our body shape. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not advocating that one should be satisfied with unhealthy behaviors or dangerous weight status. Without doubt, obesity is directly linked to heart disease and stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea, gallbladder disease, and some cancers. Consistently eating unhealthy foods and a sedentary lifestyle only intensify the likelihood of the development of health problems. However, we live in a society that trains us to shame our own bodies as well as others, generating a culture that perceives bodies as either “good” or “bad”.
Barbie and Ken don’t count
Barbie, Ken and celebrities not included, how many people do you know that have “perfect” bodies? Certain things lie within our control. Some things simply do not. We know that genetics play a significant role in mental health, addiction, certain diseases, and physical abilities/disabilities. Genetics determine foot size, whether or not you can curl your tongue, your body shape, and metabolism.
Shamefulness towards your body is downright detrimental
Feelings of shamefulness toward your body is not helpful; it is downright detrimental. Did you know that body shaming is the primary barrier to making positive self-care choices?
Together, I believe we can conquer body shame by changing this culture for the next generation. With this intention, begin by not shaming yourself and certainly don’t shame others. Adopt this mantra or a similar one of your own: “My body is not a problem, culture is; therefore, I will not criticize my body today, but be kind to it”.
Click here to learn ways to help your kids have a positive body image
Learning to Love Yourself and Your Body
You can conquer body shame by learning to love yourself and your body will provide the priceless gift of compassion. Self-worth will give you the desire to treat your body with the respect it deserves.
I would like to thank my beautiful neighbor and friend, Leighanne, for inspiring me to write this article.