Promoting Healthy Body Image Begins With You

I know this subject has been covered, recovered and written about again and again, but the issue of weight with girls has seriously become insane. I do not understand why (so it seems) everyone has become obsessed with how much they weigh, what they eat, how things fit, etc. Food is an essential ingredient in life; therefore, everyone must eat and continue to eat to stay alive. I write this article to those girls who know there is something wrong: pleeeease get help. Life is not about who can be the skinniest or who can spend the most time at the gym; rather, it is about enjoying everyday and living every moment to the fullest. Worrying about calories, numbers on a scale and diet regimens shouldn’t blur your plans and goals. And whether you realize it or not, you also make the people around you feel uncomfortable about their perceptions and eating habits. My final straw broke last night when I was eating dinner with friends. One of my friends said, “All of those girls at the gym strive so hard to be perfect, but their vision of perfect is so skewed.” Playing a varsity sport, I am not able to frequent the students’ gym that often; however, from what I gather, it can be a madhouse. I asked my friend what she meant, and she went on to explain that many female students are determined to stay on the treadmills and ellipticals until their legs snap. Girls refuse to leave the Stairmaster until their calves burn and they finish every last sit-up on the foam mats in the corner. I am totally for being in-shape and working out, but I don’t think planning an exercise around how much you ate that day is justifiable. By no means at all am I saying that every girl at Colgate has a problem with body image. I just think we need to pay closer attention to what we’re saying, thinking and doing about this subject. Don’t let the thought of food consume you! If we could stop with the “she’s gotten so tiny” and “I feel fat” comments, maybe we can start feeling more comfortable in our own bodies. Instead of constantly putting yourself down about how you look, realize that beauty is what you make it to be. You do not need to conform to what guys think is “hot,” or what models look like in the media. Instead, be yourself, and make people like you for who you naturally are. A major reason I felt the need to write this piece was the shock I witnessed after watching a recent episode of Gateline on CUTV. During an interview with a male student on the Cruiser, the question was brought up about why girls “pack on the pounds” once winter arrives here in Hamilton. I took this question totally as a joke, until I heard what this male student and his friends responded. Their answers were along the lines of “girls feel the need to eat more when the snow comes, but they really shouldn’t,” “girls should be on the treadmills getting rid of their fat,” “no guy likes a fat girl” and “if you’re not skinny, you’re not hot.” Although girls here on campus are the ones in control of their bodies, comments and mindsets like these only further body image problems. I know it is much easier said then done, but everyone please just chill out about appearance. Feel the way you want to feel, act how you want to act and your looks will reflect how happy you are. Just remember that nobody is perfect, and there is a reason for that. I never thought I would ever quote Christina Aguilera, but her lyrics “You are beautiful, no matter what they say” really are true if you let yourself believe them. Please treat yourself well, take care of your health, respect your bodies and love who you are!