The absurd and insanely incorrect notion that skinny equals fit has seemingly found its way into the minds of millions of young beautiful girls who are so much more than their waist size. Every single day, girls are bombarded with pictures of women who have taken on a huge caloric deficit just to maintain a weight that society has deemed beautiful and sexy. They see thigh gaps and bulging collarbones plastering “fitspo” pages on Instagram and Tumblr, conveying the message that to be fit is to be thin.
Naturally thin girls can be judged and looked down upon in the same ways as overweight girls are and suffer from many of the same body image issues as those struggling with their weight. In fact, a study conducted by teen psychologist Barbara Greenberg found that, “80% of teen girls dislike their bodies by the age of 17.” Did you read that? EIGHTY PERCENT of girls look in the mirror and are upset with what they see. That’s skinny girls, fat girls, girls with huge boobs, girls with no boobs, athletes, singers, brainiacs and even that girl who seems to have it all together.
What’s so incredibly disheartening about this is that bodies weren’t made to all look alike, and lack any set standard for what’s perfect and right. In fact, our bodies were made to do so much more than please the eyes of others. The last thing a young girl should have to wake up worrying about is what people are thinking when they see her, if they see sexy or if they see someone too lazy to put the effort into reaching nearly unattainable ideals of beauty.
The National Eating Disorders Association found that in the United States alone, 20 million women suffer from a clinically significant eating disorder at some point in their life. Nothing about starving your body of nutrients is fit or healthy, nor should any one ever feel like this is the way to acceptance and perfection. Food has become just another outlet of control and punishment instead of a way to fuel your body through its daily tasks and activities. Let me make this one clear girls, you need food, you need carbs, beating yourself up over eating a cookie isn’t going to make that cookie’s calories disappear and skipping dinner to “look thinner” is one of the craziest sayings I’ve ever heard.
Girls should be basing their fitness and health not on what they see on a scale or in the mirror but on what their wonderful body is capable of doing. Whether you’re running 10 miles every morning, lifting hundreds of pounds in the weight room, climbing mountains or carrying around kids and groceries all day you should be proud, not only proud, but amazed at what your body can do!
You don’t have to have defined abs and a gap between your legs to be healthy, you just have to be able to wake up every day capable of completing the physical and mental challenges the day presents you with.
Honestly, life is so full of worries and stressors that we should be able to lay in bed at the end of a long day and feel comfortable and happy in our own skin, not full of negative thoughts and the echoes of judgmental unwarranted opinions of others. So what if you’ve put on a few pounds since last summer? You’ve probably put on a few incredible memories too, loaded with hours of laughter and good talks with even better people. Who cares if you jiggle a little when you walk? You’ve got two working legs that take you everywhere you need to go, give you the freedom of dancing in the rain and look damn good in whatever pair of shorts you’re too ashamed to wear out. You are so much more than a number on a scale or printed on a tag.
You deserve to be happy when you catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror and confident when you walk the halls of school.
Get out there and use your body for what it was created to do. To move, jump, run, spin, walk, lift, or whatever it is you love doing. Once you start appreciating your body for all the work it does it’s hard to be anything but amazed and appreciative. Next time you look in the mirror try thanking your body for getting your through another day, taking you on another adventure and pushing you through yet another set of challenges and obstacles. Because bashing yourself is getting you nowhere but loving yourself will bring you peace and an incredible amount of confidence, which is way sexier than a thigh gap.