Does A Healthy Body Image
Matter To A Teen?
Oh yes! For a Teen, a Healthy Body Image is not an Option, it's a Must!
Because if you sprout an unhealthy body image, you may become depressed, lose interest in activities or friends or even hurt yourself or resort to alcohol, drug abuse or a destructive eating habit.
Yeah, right. You've heard many stories of these kinds. I believe they're invariably the results of teens having wrong perceptions about their bodies.
What then, is a Healthy Body Image?
Very simple. You like and accept yourself and your body the way they are.
This healthy attitude frees you to explore other aspects of your life - cultivate good friendship, become more independent from your parents, discover your talents, pursue your dreams and challenge yourself physically and mentally.
When you develop these parts of your life, they help to boost your self-esteem.
It requires your positive and optimistic attitude. You know what makes you happy and what helps to meet your goals. You feel capable, strong and in control of your life.
I think a positive attitude and a healthy lifestyle (such as exercising and eating right) are great foundations for you to build up a good self-esteem.
I also want to point out here - a healthy body image is part of your total self-image.
Though just one part of your self-image, it's the thing that decides your personal behavior and attitude.
This is especially so during teen years and during puberty. It can become the one thing that matters most to you. You care very much how your body looks and how others look at it too.
The thing is this - don't be swayed by your friend's or peer's nasty comments about you: you're ugly, so fat, rounded, out of shape, so short, not curvy at all, stupid, dumb.......
I find that these kinds of bad and hurtful comments are the killers that put teens out in bad light, which affect you tons both physically and emotionally.
And stops you to build a healthy body image.....
What about picture perfect?
You feel the heat and pressure of picture-perfect photos and images?
Most of the times the "as advertised" body is just not attainable. The girls you see in those pictures may not even be real.
For all you know, the photos or images of models are either already airbrushed or put on a good-looking face on someone else's buff body.....
Inevitably, after looking at them, you've all kinds of thinking jabbing at you like:
"I'd be happy if I were taller"
"I'd be happy if I were a few inches shorter"
"I wish I could have curly hair like Jennifer's"
"I'd be OK looking if my legs are longer and slimmer"
Etc, etc, etc......
These sound familiar to me! Of course, I've been there, done that. During my teen years, that is.
Your Perception of your Body is the Key
I think healthy body image boils down to how you feel about your body which can affect how you feel about yourself.
If you get too picky about the way you look, your self-esteem can take a beating and your confidence can slide. You constantly put yourself down. That's not good at all.
Self-esteem is about how much you value yourself, the pride you feel in yourself and how worthwhile you feel.
It's the number one thing because feeling good about yourself can affect how you act. When you've high self-esteem, you'll make friends easily and be in more control of your behavior. You enjoy life more.
I would like to share my teen experience on how I was so flopped in my self-esteem and how I got hold of the truth of developing a healthy body image.
You see, I used to mind very much how my body looked. I was downright very conscious about my rounded and short body stature.
If you so much as just looked at me, I'd feel you were laughing at me and my instinct was to dig a hole and hide myself!
I couldn't ward off this inferiority complex - the feelings I was "small" and "unworthy" and "no match" to girls who were taller, slimmer, prettier and more talented than me. I would avoid going out with them because I felt like the "ugly shorties" amongst them.
I thought I needed to change how I looked or acted, to be like them, to feel good.
It was a destructive thing to do because it eroded my self confidence big time - in school work; sports; relationship; social behavior...... I simply couldn't "jell" in, so to speak.
Until I got hold of this - that my body is my own, no matter what shape, size, or color it comes in.
It's no one else's business but my own what my body is like. The end story is - I've to be happy with myself, with what I've got!
I then changed the way I see my body and how I think about myself. I got down to identify which parts of my appearance I can realistically change and which I can't.
I wanna say here that every one of us has things about ourselves that we can't change. Period. We need to accept them.
Come on, things like your height, body shape, skin color, facial features (well, for these, I'm not too sure because you can always go for cosmetic surgery to fix your nose, mouth, eyes, cheekbones and what nots....) aren't likely to change, right?
Then, there are things about yourself that you want and can change.
In my case, I wanted to get fit.
So I started an exercise program. And eat more healthy food as well.
As my body got fitter and more trim in shape, my self confidence also soared. I could wear the clothing I fancied and felt good about it.
What's so good about exercise and healthy food?
Well, exercise helps you look good and feel good about yourself. And you develop a trimmer, slimmer body physique too.
There's no need for you to work out until you "drop dead" to achieve a good body physique. Your routine can be as simple as exercising 30 minutes to 1 hour per session, 3-4 times a week.
Want to try this out? Here, this workout routine can work wonders for your body!
What about healthy food? Oh, you literally "glow" from within, with such energy and vibrancy! And mind you, you've sharp, keen mind and spirit to boot!
That's how I got a healthy body image. It has since stayed with me........
Love your Body
The 3 biggest things I want you to understand about healthy body image are these:
- Don't trash your body, respect it! Take good care of it. Practise good grooming habits that can improve and enhance your teeth, hair, skin and facial features. Project a "cool" and "smart casual" fashion style that suits your body type
- Be yourself. Your body is just one part of who you are. You've got other attributes that go along with you - your talents, skills, beliefs and other virtues that make you uniquely "you"
- Don't be too self-critical about yourself. You probably look great already but because you're too busy being self-critical, you just might miss it!
Seek Help if you are Stuck at having a Poor Image of yourself
I would encourage you to seek help if you feel getting nowhere building up a healthy body image.
It helps to talk to your parent, coach, guidance counselor, therapist, church counselor or a trusted friend.
They should support you and not bring you down and help put your body image in perspective by giving you positive feedback about your body, your skills and your abilities.
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