Team photos - 1984, Netball.
I have been trying for the last couple of weeks to write a blog about body image and self esteem. I feel very saddened that we, as a society, have a group of people growing up who are upset by the way they look and want to change physical features to enable them to look more perfect. A couple of weeks ago I heard on CBC that the cosmetic industry has seen an increase in business because people are dissatisfied with how they look in selfies. The Doctor's answer to many clients was to purchase a selfie stick so the photos were not taken so close! Great answer and a lot cheaper option! But it does not help solve the underlying issue of poor self esteem in our society.
It is this underlying discontent with ourselves that really saddens me and I think it is worse than when I was growing up. I feel social media is really playing a bigger role now, because being able to follow celebrates gives us a false sense of realism about how perfect we should look all the time; and life is just not like that.
If only we could feel more comfortable in our skin. If only we could have better self esteem. If only we could feel happy and content in ourselves then we would be more at peace personally and in our lives. This may be something we grow into and develop as we mature, I'm not sure. But I do feel that the media and fashion industry has a big part to play in this feeling of inadequacy.
Cutting a watermelon in Thailand. 1990.
I used to think my arms land legs looked great.
I remember as a teenager growing up, I was dissatisfied with me, but playing sport really helped my self esteem. I remember always wanting thinner thighs and I recall standing in front of a mirror as a young girl, pulling back my inner thighs to make them look skinny. They look the same now as they did back then but the difference is I am now comfortable with the fact that they will never be skinny and I actually do not want them to be skinny.
Being strong means I am fast and healthy.
So yes, I have been aware of how much I ate, what I would wear and my body image, but this all changed when I trained for my first marathon. I used to eat about a 1000 calories a day during my twenties and early thirties to ensure I was skinny; and then when I started my training, I could not physically survive on this little food. The training completely changed everything. I was eating so much more than I had ever done in my life and I lost weight. But more important, I was healthier, stronger, fitter and feeling good about me.
London Marathon finish line in 1996.
We need to redefine the way we think, see and view health, beauty and self esteem.
To be honest talking about body image and self esteem is like opening up a can of worms. There is so much more that causes these general insecurity issues, and they are not just seen in women but also in men.
So I think to summarize, try to love yourself, don't believe everything you think. So many of our ideas have been manipulated by the false world of celebrates and what we should look like.
"Positive body image isn't believing your body looks good, it is knowing your body IS good, regardless of how it looks." Lindsay Kite PhD.