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Body Image

How I Learned to Cope With Body Images And Feel Confident

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A young lady wearing a pink ballet uniform dancing in the ballet room with her hand and foot up.
Boston, MA

I love my eyebrows! They make me feel powerful, which is something I think I need because other parts of my body do not make me feel powerful, like my arms.

Especially when I was growing up, I thought my arms were too skinny, like twigs. It was great because I was a dancer, so I was supposed to be small, but it got to the point where people would ask me if I was eating enough and were constantly checking in about my weight and commenting on how I looked like a stick.

That started to get really tough to deal with because it made me very conscious of avoiding eating disorders. It was also difficult when people were checking on me because I would get angry or defensive, saying, ‘I know I’m healthy, it just doesn’t look like it because I dance so much and work so much, so I am naturally this way.’

I also started to feel guilty because in the dance world I have seen my fair share of eating disorders. I see the same thing in the media—all these dancers who have to try to watch their weight. And I see TV shows where the dancers are in the bathroom puking up their meals because they need to look a certain way.

I think I’ve been able to cope with body image issues by making sure that I know what I am eating and keeping an eye on being healthy. If I have a less healthy day, I counteract that by thinking ‘how can I make this healthier’ the next day.

I notice that if I stop dancing for a while, that’s when I feel worse about my body because I’m not moving as much. I start gaining weight and then I get scared, not as much because I look fat but more of ‘oh no, I’m not healthy.’

For me, it’s about finding that balance of exercise, diet, and just accepting my body for what it is. It does whatever it wants, and I can help guide it, but I can’t micromanage it.

It’s important for people to feel confident in their own bodies, but be careful of not being hyper-focused on it.

Growing up, worrying about it so much didn’t make a difference. In the end, it just had a greater effect on my mental health. I became stressed and tired constantly thinking about it.

Not putting as much pressure on yourself is some advice I would give. Go out there and find the things that make you happy about yourself. Like I love my eyebrows and I’m proud of them. Even though my eyebrows are a really small part of me, but if I can focus on that, that’s great.

Recognize there are parts of your body that you do like and focus on that. Love yourself despite the things you don’t like. I recognize that some days, I’m not as happy with my stomach or my legs, but I remember that it’s all getting there. As long as I’m eating healthy and exercising and taking care of myself, it’s okay.

I think everyone is going through something different and has a different view of what the ideal body image is. Find what you want to do for yourself and don’t let others define what your image should be. We have different bodies.

We’re all born with different bodies off the bat, so we all require different things to maintain those bodies.

It’s okay to not feel okay every day. You shouldn’t feel like you have to be happy with how you look at all times. We’re constantly changing and improving ourselves just by going through life.

Just remember we’re all on different paths and we will all get there in the end. Do what makes you happy and love yourself!

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Body Image

How I Strive to Become a Better Version of Myself

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A girl standing and smiling in front of a blue wall wearing a white shirt and red headband.
Killingworth, CT

I’m most insecure about my stomach because every time I eat, I feel like it looks a lot bigger. It feels uncomfortable and looks weird to me, compared to the perfect bodies we see through the media, all day every day.

We are conditioned to believe that the standards we see in the media are what we should strive for in real life, no matter how unattainable they really are. This creates expectations that are extremely difficult to meet in people’s perspectives of themselves, but also in how they expect others to be or look like.

Social media makes us constantly compare ourselves to everyone. It makes us feel jealous and inferior to models that have perfectly thin bodies.

It starts to make us even feel worse about ourselves because of the way everyday people try to put out the best image of themselves as possible even if it’s fake like photoshopped or edited with an app.

Constantly seeing perfect people, living perfect lives, that people show off on social media, have an impact on the way people see themselves and others, and ultimately how they live their lives.

When my body is in better shape, I feel much more confident and my self-esteem is higher. But when I’m not in good shape, I feel a lot worse about myself.

When I make an effort to start eating better and working out regularly, I feel better not only physically, but mentally and emotionally in the way that I see myself. But during times where I’m not motivated about my health, I’m a lot more self-conscious and down on myself.

I wish I could just be light without having to worry about what I eat. At the end of the day, eating healthy and working out makes me feel better about myself, and it’s how I try to cope with my insecurities when I’m not feeling great about my body.

You should learn to love your body for your own self, and not because society stereotypically says you should.

You should not try to live your life trying to be someone you wish you could be, but rather strive to become a better version of your own self.

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Body Image

How I Improved My Perception of My Body

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A girl with dark hair, wearing a blue jacket and white shirt, sitting down, smiling
Monroe, CT

I think high school was where everyone started having insecurities. High school is a very challenging place for most people, including myself. I was taller than most of the girls at school so it was already difficult for me to fit in.

Thinking about it now, I always perceived myself as bigger than the other girls when really I wasn’t. I used to have insecurities with my legs and stomach. I thought I was just on the chubby side, but I was really just taller.

I just had no idea what my body was doing to me at the time. I’d just tell myself that I would just start being healthy and watch what I eat. I ended up not eating at all.

That spiraled out of control to the point where I ended up being anorexic. It just got out of control for the most part.

While I was going through that, I still thought I was bigger than other girls. When people talk about body image issues, it is always perceived as being overweight or eating too much.

Anorexia is not being talked about when it comes to these types of issues and I think it should be. I did end up going to therapy for about two years and that helped a lot.

My therapist was also a nutritionist, so she showed me what healthy things to eat without starving myself. She showed me I could eat and that I did not have to starve myself.

She also taught me to take better care of myself such as working out and meditating. I needed that more than anything.

We aren’t meant to look alike. It doesn’t really matter what you look like, but it matters how you feel about yourself. Your perception of your body comes first.

When I was growing up, social media wasn’t as popular as it is now. I would say social media definitely plays a huge role when it comes to body image issues and insecurities in general.

Seeing all these Instagram models showing their perfect bodies really takes a toll on young peoples’ body images.

Whether I gain weight or lose weight, it is okay at the end of the day because that’s not what’s important in life. What’s important is how I am to reach happiness in life.

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Body Image

How My Body Image Is Shaped by My Positive Mindset

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A young brunette girl wearing a dark long sleeved shirt smiling, while walking in nature.
New York

I think that body image has affected me emotionally. As we all know, the media portrays unrealistic bodies and women edited down until they aren’t really like real people. Young girls are affected and compare themselves to all those fake people. Even if they look at realistic photos as well, the fake ones stay in the back of their minds.I’ve done it too—looking in the mirror and pinpointing all of the things I hate about myself, but people say, ” data-lasso-id=”837″>yourself of that as often as you can. I think we are taught to nitpick everything about ourselves because society tells us to.

Your friends affect your body body image because you think that if somebody else thinks it, it must be true.

To add on, I did research about this in my junior year of high school. I wrote a 12-page paper about the representation of women in the advertising world. The main thing causing such negative body image is how people are photoshopped to look unrealistic on social media. It’s an important issue and I think a lot needs to change to be where we should be in the future.

Instagram is a major part of the problem. Posting photos of yourself and photos portraying a life that isn’t necessarily real is causing others to compare themselves to you. It is this never-ending cycle of girls comparing themselves to each other. It’s a big issue.

Though there has been a lot of ignorance on the subject, I think people don’t realize that companies are going in the right direction. For example, the company called Aerie, stopped retouching their ads, though they still choose certain types of girls.

Even the company, Eileen Fisher, focuses on older women who are living their lives with success and are smart and powerful; I think that’s really nice to see.

Teach yourself every day to look in the mirror and say ‘this is what I love about my body’ rather than this is what I don’t like about it.’

My favorite part of my body is my arms, and I’ve always really liked having freckles. I used to have more of them and I actually miss them. My arms also have my freckles, so I think that’s why I like them.

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