Last week, I got to experience something amazing. On my Facebook page, you may have seen mention of a presentation happening in Salt Lake City that I was so excited to attend. And boy am I glad I did! These two amazing women, twin sisters Lindsay and Lexi, have dedicated their studies and lives to making a change in the way women view their bodies and created a non-profit organization called Beauty Redefined. They travel the country to speak to groups of women to talk about the dangers of unrealistic ideals we have toward our bodies and give strategies on how you can change this unhealthy way of thinking. There was such fabulous information from these gals, and I just wanted to recap some of the things they covered in their presentation. The information was just so invaluable and I knew I needed to share it with all of you!
* The majority of women are more afraid of getting fat than they are of war, getting cancer, or losing a parent
* 6 out of 10 women believe they would be happier if only they were thinner
* 6 out of 10 women have said that their body “disgusts” them. (For the record, I didn’t realize I do this, but my wife told me after the presentation that I often tell her that I feel disgusting about my body. I didn’t realize how much I still hang on to some of these unhealthy beliefs and thoughts about myself. Looks like I have some work to do still! Baby steps, right?)
So many women, the majority really, give their weight, appearance, and body type so much power, to the effect that they feel worthless, depressed, and even sometimes suicidal. When are we (YOU!) going to realize that we are more than our appearances. We are not a pair of boobs, a piece of ass, long silky hair, or flawless tan skin. We are hard-working mothers, business women, strong athletes, talented artists, decision-makers, peace-makers, determined students, and so much more! Lexi and Lindsay reminded us that worrying about our appearances while trying to be awesome only gets in the way and distracts us from doing amazing things. Think about it… how can you give a kick-ass confident presentation at work when you are only worried about how you look and what other people are thinking about your appearance?
Where did we learn to think and behave this way?
I think we all know the cause of this sort of thinking. MEDIA! You’re not surprised, I’m sure. I know you are aware of just how much celebrities are distorted with photoshop through print media, but did you know this is carried on through screen media? I had no idea, but actresses are filmed only in diffused light that makes their skin look flawless and only at certain angles that flatter their bodies. We only see these ladies through filtered lenses. We are made to believe that it is normal to look this way and in order to be successful, we must have a certain (and specific) appearance. Long and silky hair, skin without pores, big breasts, tiny waist-lines, long legs, light (but glowing) skin, and just an overall sense of perfection.
We must come to the realization that these are not real people. The people we see on television, in magazines, and on the internet… they do not exist in the way they are portrayed. Believing what we see in the media only sends messages that cause us to feel shame and the desire to “fix” ourselves in order to obtain the “success” they have obtained.
Do you know that being skinny does not necessarily mean that you’re healthy? There are plenty of people who may not LOOK to be in shape that are in incredibly good health. Active people with a little more curve to their body are usually in better health than sedentary thin people. It’s all about getting up and moving! Your scale, dress size, or measuring tape does not measure anything of worth. The things that will measure your health are things such as how long you can run, how many laps you can swim, and how much weight you can lift. How you feel in your own skin. How the food you eat makes you feel. You know those awesome endorphins we get when we work out? You cannot get those from seeing a lower number on the scale. It just doesn’t happen. The true endorphins happen when you work your body and start achieving your fitness goals!
Strategies to Become Happier & Healthier
There are ways you can start working toward seeing yourself for your true worth and not your outward appearance. Here are some strategies that Lindsay and Lexie offered at the end of their empowering presentation.
1. Consciously recognize negative thoughts about and toward yourself and replace them with positive and loving thoughts.
2. Focus on how you live and how you feel.
3. Dress in a way that you feel comfortable. Not to get attention. Not to look hot. Not to look modest. Just dress how you feel comfortable while you’re doing amazing things in this world.
4. Set activity goals. NOT weight/BMI goals. Ex: Set a goal to run or swim a specific length.
5. Compliment others on their skills or character traits rather than looks. Put the focus on other people’s true worth. The compliment “Your hair looks so great today” is such a fleeting comment and usually the recipient finds a way to get out of it and doesn’t truly believe it. The compliment, “You are so compassionate and caring with the people you work with” is something that will stick. This is a statement of the person’s true character, and these are the sorts of statements that matter!
Isn’t this information just invaluable? After the presentation, I had the opportunity to meet Lexie, and she is just amazing. I felt so empowered walking out of there, and all I wanted to do was get home and write about it so I could inspire and educate you! There is so much more information like this over at these ladies’ blog, Beauty Redefined, and of course they are also on Facebook. This is a site that we need to pay attention to. Their words are true. They are beautiful. And they are going to change you!
So I’m going to ask you: