She peers into the mirror directly in front of her and releases the heavy sigh that has been building within her. She slowly brings her hand to her midsection and pinches the skin, disgusted by her appearance in front of her. “Why can’t I look like other girls?” she thought, blind to the beauty of her own reflection.
I know I have certainly had these moments in my life. Those moments of insecurity…where you hate your body…where you’d just assume go into hiding rather than be seen looking like that.
For the past year, I have been writing nutrition curriculum for a local Boys & Girls Club. (The ultimate goal of this internship is for the curriculum to be available for Clubs across the United States.) One of the chapters I was recently working on concerned body image. As a person who has struggled with body image herself, I wanted to do my best to make these kids feel good about themselves and emphasize that your worth is not found in your appearance or a number on the scale.
As I was sifting through the research, I discovered that 20 million women suffer from clinically diagnosed eating disorders at some point in their lives (Wade, Keski-Rahkonen, & Hudson, 2011). Even more startling, 40% of youth ages 6-12 years begin expressing a concern for their weight or becoming too fat (Smolak, 2011).
Today, I want to remind women of all ages that you are so much more than how your body appears. You are more than a number on the scale. You are more than the thin image that the media promotes young women should look like. Also, remember how you heard older women put down their bodies when you were a child. I encourage you to be so, so cautious about the things you say regarding your body and be careful of your audience. Precious children look up to you and model how you treat your own body.