Self Love: A Foreign Concept to Most Women

Self love.

Is it something that you have innately within yourself, or is it something that you work on and slowly develop over time?

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Well speaking from my own personal experience, self love comes from going through the ups and the downs and finally getting to a place where you can accept and love your body even if it’s not model-thin or outrageously curvy.

Growing up, every girl battles with image issues. Her mind tells her she needs to lose weight, or that her thighs are too fat.

Fortunately however, most grow out of this.

I myself found someone who loves me unconditionally and this spurred me to realize that if someone else can love me despite my flaws, that I can too.

Celebrities who preach self love are usually mocked, some claiming a PR team is sitting behind them whispering in their ear what to say.

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But I believe these celebrities shouldn’t be mocked for their stance.

Take Demi Lovato for example.

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Recently she did a nude, makeup free, non-retouched photo shoot with Vanity Fair’s Patrick Ecclesine and shared with the world her ability to accept and embrace her body in its natural state.

She shared in a candid video with Vanity Fair that her reasons behind the photo shoot were to inspire other women and show that they too can get to a place of self love.

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“The reason why I decided to do this photo shoot was because when I, when I think of confident, I think of many things but one thing in particular is feeling comfortable in your own skin.

“I thought there was something incredible about the idea of no makeup whatsoever, no clothes and no retouching.

“You know, that says something – I would’ve never thought that I would’ve ever gotten to a place in my life where I would feel comfortable doing that. It’s empowering and it shows other women that you can get to a place where you can overcome the obstacles of body image issues,” Lovato said.

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As a celebrity, you open yourself up to a world of criticism.

Paparazzi follow you around and there is always someone telling you what you should wear, how you should look and that you’re not good enough as is.

I think it’s empowering and inspiring that celebrities like Demi can open up and take a stance against this and say NO to self hatred.

The world needs more women like this.

Until next time,

SR

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Is Being #BodyPositive Promoting Obesity?

Every single day there seems to be a new Internet movement starting to form.

Originally, the fat acceptance movement had health experts shaking in their well-cushioned chairs for fears of rising obesity levels.

But now it seems all movements are beginning to share a common theme, one that is both empowering and detrimental.

The body positive movement is one that has sprung out of revolt, formed by women who were sick of being told that they needed to be size zero to be beautiful.

Georgina Jones, writer at Bustle.com, recently wrote an article titled, “Is It OK To Be Insulted When You’re Called Fat But Identity as Body Positive?” which brings up some interesting points surrounding the movement.

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Pictured above: Georgina Jones (Picture from Instagram)

Jones shared her insight into being a member of the body positive and fat acceptance community, but adds it can still hurt when labeled fat by critics.

She writes, “it’s incredibly easy to preach body positivity from behind a keyboard.

“It’s incredibly easy to laugh at trolls who have nicknamed me ‘hambeast’ from the comfort of my bed.

“Even in real life, it’s simple enough to explain why I’m reclaiming the word fat, why I’m calling myself fat, and why I’m happy to be called fat.

“But when a word is thrown at you with venom — when a word is aiming to cut you deep and produce hurt — it’s difficult to explain even to yourself that it “doesn’t matter,” said Jones.

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Pictured above: Georgina Jones (Picture from Instagram)

When preaching self love, body positivity and self acceptance, you unintentionally also become member of the fat acceptance movement which in itself can be detrimental to health.

It is true that everyone should accept and love themselves for who they are, but where do we draw the line between self love and encouraging obesity?

Health experts have proved time and time again that the key to health and weight loss begins with self acceptance, but at what point does self acceptance become denial?

Georgina Jones openly calls herself fat and encourages others to do the same.

She claims that labeling herself fat takes the stigma out of the term and writes:

“Body pos [positive] activists wouldn’t be reclaiming the word ‘fat’ if there wasn’t already a vicious and complicated set of attributions and associations placed onto the term, after all.

“By using it positively for ourselves, we’re already changing the perception of the word fat, of fat people, and of fat acceptance.”

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Pictured above: Georgina Jones (Picture from Instagram)

As a society, we are not allowed to say ‘being overweight is unhealthy’ without being called a ‘fat-shamer’ ourselves but the thing is, there is a difference.

The difficulty is that the line between self love and fat acceptance is extremely blurred.

Are we supposed to encourage body positivity whilst also encouraging the rising rate of obesity along with all associated health conditions or do we speak out, and be labelled a fat shamer?

Well, I’ll leave you to ponder those challenging questions.

Until next time,

SR

Share your thought with us in the comments below or tweet us @takebackthebod

Selena Gomez Fights Back, “I Did Gain Weight But I Don’t Care”

After photographs of 23-year-old Selena Gomez in a pink bikini began circulating around the Internet, people started body-shaming her for her apparent weight gain.

Selena recently revealed to US Weekly that these comments have caused her to have therapy sessions.

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“I’ve been working in therapy. Even if I did gain weight, I’m fine. That’s what the picture represents,” she said.

Selena also shared people would go so far as to yell disgustingly hurtful comments such as “You’re fat” at the artist.

“This was the first year I ever dealt with anyone talking about my body. I’d land at the airport and people would yell out, ‘You’re fat!’ It was awful,” she said.

The thing is, everyone’s body weight fluctuates. It’s just that most of us aren’t being snapped by paparazzi 24/7, unlike Selena who has swarms of photographersphotographing her every move.

Like every 23-year-old, Selena has had constant battles with body-image over the years however it is disgraceful that she has to put up with these types of comments on a day-to-day basis.

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Recently in a live Q&A with Adidas NEO, the star was asked what she would most like to see change in the world.

Selena responded, “I’d get rid of bullying. People are so mean, it’s exhausting.”

Despite the negativity, Selena has channeled her energy into her second album and told Extra TV that some of the songs are inspired by her experience of being body shamed.

“I was getting a lot of hate for my body and ‘you’re gaining weight,’ and so I was in Mexico and I was just feeling all of this stuff and I would be lying to you if I said it didn’t kind of hurt my feelings, but I kind of channeled that into my music,” she said.

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Body shaming is unacceptable. No matter who you are, no matter what your age.

We need to take a stand and say NO to bullying.

To read more about bullying and how to cope, check out National Centre Against Bullying for more information.

Until next time,

SR

Gigi Hadid Responds to Body-Shaming on Instagram

Most of the time, when the name Gigi Hadid arises in conversation, declarations of love and admiration are usually what follows.

However the latest discussions to arise around the infamous name are that of body shaming, with people calling the model fat.

Within the last month, comments such as:

“Is she a plus size model?” and, “Not the bum of a top model.”

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Gigi’s response to the critics was applaudable, with the star reaching out over Instagram  to tell people body shaming is unacceptable.

In her post, Gigi says, “So many people are so quick to comment negative opinions this month. Yes, judgement on social media comes from people who 99% of the time, have no idea what  they’re talking about, but I’m human, and I’m not going to lie, I did let the negativity get to me a little..”

She later adds, “No, I don’t have the same body as the other models in shows. No, I don’t think I’m the best at any given show. Yes, I want to have a unique walk but I also know I have to improve.

“No, I’m not the first or last model of my type in this industry. You can make up all the reasons you think I am where I am, but really, I’m a hard worker that’s confident in myself, one that came at a time where the fashion industry was ready for a change.”

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It’s astounding that one of the most widely followed models on Instagram can receive such negativity, especially since Gigi represents a role model to millions and exemplifies what it means to be body-positive.

In her final response to the haters, Gigi tells them to unfollow if they don’t like her. Basically politely telling haters to F-off.

“If you don’t like it, don’t follow me, don’t watch me, cause I’m not going anywhere.”

Until next time,

SR

Does One Cheek Count as “Cheeky”?

Victoria’s Secret photoshop fail has resulted in mockery and outrage all across the Internet.

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An image posted to their Facebook page, titled “Truly, Madly, Cheeky” has caused fans to express their outrage at the use of ridiculously unnecessary photoshopping.

Victoria’s Secret models are renowned for their slim, toned bodies however it seems they have pushed it too far.

This major photoshopping fail begs the question of ‘how much photoshop could VS models possibly need?’.

Let’s start by acknowledging the fact that Victoria’s Secret models are already slimmer than the majority of the population. This does not necessarily mean they are unhealthy, however why would such healthy models need any photoshopping whatsoever?

The list of VS models include the likes of Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Adriana Lima, Alessandra Ambrosio, Candice Swanepoel and Martha Hunt, all of which are extremely devoid of muffin tops or love-handles.

Therefore, what does this photoshopping nightmare mean for the rest of us?

If Victoria’s Secret thinks its models need photoshopping, then this implies that absolutely no one is perfect.

Comments under the image ranged from outrage, to comedy – some even mocking the photoshoppers skills.

Courtney Lee said, “look at the God awful photoshop that took literally everything good away from the shot.”

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Anna VeeTee added, “She is beautiful as she is, as are we all and that should be celebrated!”

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I, myself, would have to agree with most of the comments. I believe photoshopping Victoria’s Secret models is completely unnecessary as is photoshopping any other model.

Most models today are extremely thinner than the population, therefore why do they need photoshopping?

What do you guys think, do models need to be photoshopped or should they be made to include a statement such as, “Image has been photoshopped” at the bottom of the image?

Until next time,

SR

Learning from Kylie Jenner’s Lips

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Before Kylie Jenner admitted to using lip fillers, the online world was infatuated with her lusciously plump smackers.

Now, ‘what does this have to do with body image?’ you might ask, and the answer to this is, everything.

At the youthful age of eighteen, Kylie Jenner felt the need to inject her smile with temporary lip fillers.

After years of feeling uncomfortable with her lips, she decided to finally do something about it – good for her! The problem is however, that this is telling all other young girls that plastic surgery is necessary to be beautiful.

For a while, Kylie tried to keep the injections secret until finally she decided to tell the truth in regards to her lips. The reason for her hesitations she shared, was her fear of people judging her.

“I want to admit to the lips but people are so quick to judge me on everything, so I might have tiptoed around the truth, but I never lie,” Kylie said.

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The thing is, I’m actually not against plastic surgery. I think if you’ve thought about it for years, have a sound reason for the operation, have enough money and have the doctor’s go-ahead then that’s everyone’s individual choice.

The problem with the media idolizing Kylie’s lips however is that the majority of people, young girls especially, don’t have the money nor the need to alter their appearance.

Kylie Jenner getting lip injections is basically saying to young girls that they need plastic surgery in order to be considered beautiful.

Insecurities. Everyone has them, every woman battles with them, but not many can do anything but diet, exercise, get a haircut or use different makeup.

Kylie admitted insecurities were the reason behind her choice to plump her lips, stating, “I have temporary lip fillers, it’s just an insecurity of mine and it’s what I wanted to do.”

The thing is, everyone has their own reason for changing their appearance but this is reinforcing the idea that in order to love yourself, you need medical “enhancements”.

Kylie Jenner has every right to get lip fillers, it’s just that for the millions of young women and girls who idolize the star this is saying to them that natural beauty isn’t of value. That you’re not good enough as you are.

Our generation is becoming increasingly surgery obsessed, and this scares me.

The other day, a good friend of mine confided in me that when she has a baby she will get a C-section and a Nip-and-Tuck following the child’s birth.

As the trend to get surgical enhancement is on the rise, all one can hope is that finally we will come to our senses and realise we are beautiful in our natural state. Surgery does not make beauty, kindness and love do.

Until next time,

SR

Ban the Bones: British MPs Discuss Banning Skeletal Catwalk Models

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After being repeatedly told to lose weight and slim “down to the bone”, 23-year-old size 8 Model Rosie Nelson  began a petition to protect models from being forced to lose unhealthy amounts of weight.

Her petition has since gained over 55,000 signatures and this has prompted British MPs to consider banning extremely underweight models.

Caroline Nokes, MP who heads the All Parliamentary Party Group on body image, will lead an investigation into whether thin models should be banned from catwalks.

The inquiry is set to begin in November and Nokes hopes to introduce a code of conduct or, if necessary, legislation to combat this problem.

“Legislation should be a last resort, but I’m conscious the fashion industry isn’t responding to calls for change,” she said. “We would prefer a code of conduct, if we could feel confident it would be adhered to.”

Nelson, creator of the petition, is a healthy size 8 to 10 however modeling agencies repeatedly tell her to lose weight.

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“When I walked into one of the UK’s biggest model agencies last year they told me I ticked all the boxes except one — I needed to lose weight. So I did,” she said.

“Four months later I lost nearly a stone, 2 inches off my hips. When I returned to the same agency they told me to lose more weight, they wanted me ‘down to the bone’.”

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Although Nelson is healthy, she believes that models need to be protected from the pressure to be emaciated and mandatory health checks need to be put in place.

“When I look in the mirror I see someone that is healthy and comfortable in their skin. That’s because I had the guts to carve out my own path and refuse to let people pressure me into losing more and more weight,” Nelson said.

“But with London Fashion Week the reminders are everywhere that we need a law to protect young girls, and boys, who are put under pressure to be dangerously thin.”

Earlier this year France banned models with a BMI of less than 18. If any agencies or designers are found to have broken this law, they could face a fine or up to 6 months in prison.

Spain was the second country to follow this trend by banning models with a BMI of less than 18 from walking runways however Nelson believes body mass index is an inadequate measure of health.

“I don’t think BMI is the right measure, because many models I know are size six to eight, and very conscious of their health and fitness,” the model said.

“I would prefer a mandatory health check for models every three to six months, which would be an incentive for agencies to take better care of the models they work with, making sure they’re healthy.”

Although there are models who are naturally extremely thin, this is not the norm.

“There are always going to be some people who are naturally that thin but for the majority, it is not a body shape that is attainable healthily,” Nelson said.

“We have to bear in mind that many of the girls entering the industry are very young, and are very likely to want to do whatever it takes to succeed.”

Well, that’s all for now.

Until next time,

SR

To sign the petition and contribute to changing the legislation, visit https://www.change.org/p/dcms-create-a-law-to-protect-models-from-getting-dangerously-skinny-lfw-modelslaw

Are You Fat? Your Perception Matters.

The journey to health is paved with many obstacles. Now it seems that even your own perception of your body may play a factor in your weight-loss efforts.

A recent study published in the International Journal of Obesity found that participants who believed themselves to be overweight were subsequently more likely to gain weight.

Within the study they noted that, “Participants who perceived their weight status as being overweight were at an increased risk of subsequent weight gain.”

They found that “Perceiving oneself as being overweight was associated with overeating in response to stress and this mediated the relationship between perceived overweight and weight gain.”

The results found contradicted the main school of thought which is that, “Correctly identifying oneself as being overweight is presumed to be a prerequisite to successful weight management.”

Results indicate that in order to be successful at weight loss, one needs to first begin by addressing body image issues.

Body image issues stem from numerous factors and seem to be extraordinarily common amongst women especially.

National Eating Disorders Collaboration found that an astounding 70% of adolescent girls are dissatisfied with their body.

In order for an individual to pursue his or her health, they must first address any negative body perceptions and begin to accept themselves at their current weight.

Self-love is something not often practiced by our society and this needs to change as not only is it causing eating disorders and negative body images, but now it is also perpetuating obesity.

We, as a society, need to begin by changing the way we view ourselves and this begins at home.

When looking in a mirror, most people think ‘I look fat’, or ‘I look disgusting’.

This only exaggerates the problem as when we think negatively, this then leads to emotional eating which then becomes a circle of negative behavior and thinking.

Instead of practicing negative self-talk, we need to begin by focusing on non-image related attributes.

Men and women need to begin by putting more importance on being kind, caring, intelligent and loving instead of always finding fault within themselves and others.

This is a necessary change that will only come about through accepting and loving yourself in your current size, shape or weight.

Until next time,

SR

Harmful ‘Healthy’ Eating Habits: Are We Taking Our Obsession With Health Too Far?

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Okay ladies, it’s time for us to own up to our obsession with health.

Pictures of smoothies, salads and slim stomachs are crowding the Internet as women become more and more obsessed with weight loss and #cleaneating, but are these habits actually healthy?

Sometimes we might need to drop a few pounds but is our obsession actually doing more harm than good?

Orthorexia, a disease on the rise whereby people adopt an unhealthy obsession with eating healthily all the time.

Dietitians Association of Australia defines this disease as “Strict and inflexible eating behaviours, where a person has rules about how much food should be eaten and the timing of meals or avoidant-based eating practices due to misguided beliefs on what they perceive as healthy.”

They add that “this type of restrictive eating behaviour can be a concern if it prevents a person from enjoying food, leads to feelings of guilt or anxiety before or after eating, restricts social interactions or cuts out entire food groups.

Orthorexia can have serious physical and psychological consequences, and professional advice and support is recommended.”

Oftentimes, it seems that people who develop this disease have misunderstood or misinterpreted information surrounding health and nutrition.

Unfortunately the large amount of misleading information on the Internet can lead to serious consequences for those who decide to follow nutrition and health advice from non-qualified individuals.

National Eating Disorders Collaboration explains that this obsession with health can be caused by numerous factors but that the main influencers are genetic predispositions, social, environmental and cultural factors.

According to National Eating Disorders Collaboration, warning signs of disordered eating include:

  • Weight loss, weight gain or weight fluctuations
  • Loss of or disturbance of menstrual periods
  • Compromised immune system
  • Signs of damage due to vomiting including swelling around the cheeks or jaw, calluses on knuckles, damage to teeth and bad breath
  • Fainting and dizziness as a result of dehydration
  • Preoccupation with food and eating
  • Preoccupation with body shape and weight (in men this can be a preoccupation with increasing muscle bulk)
  • Extreme body dissatisfaction
  • Having a distorted body image
  • Sensitivity to comments relating to food, weight, body shape or exercise
  • Heightened anxiety and/or irritability around meal times
  • Depression, anxiety or irritability
  • Low self esteem and feelings of shame, self loathing or guilt
  • ‘Black and white’ thinking – rigid thoughts about food being ‘good’ or ‘bad’

Other Behavioural Signs include:

  • Dieting behaviour
  • Evidence of binge eating
  • Frequent trips to the bathroom during or shortly after meals which could be evidence of vomiting or laxative use
  • Compulsive or excessive exercising (e.g. exercising in bad weather, continuing to exercise when sick or injured, and experiencing distress if exercise is not possible)
  • Eating at unusual times and/or after going to sleep at night
  • Changes in food preferences
  • Obsessive rituals around food preparation and eating (e.g. eating very slowly, cutting food into very small pieces, insisting that meals are served at exactly the same time everyday)
  • Anti-social behaviour, particularly around meal times, and withdrawal from social situations involving food
  • Secretive behaviour around food
  • Increased interest in food preparation
  • Increased interest and focus on body shape and weight
  • Repetitive or obsessive behaviours relating to body shape and weight
  • Increased isolation, spending more and more time alone and avoiding previously enjoyed activities

If you notice yourself or a loved one beginning to develop any of these habits, it is essential to get professional help immediately.

If not treated, disordered eating such as orthorexia, anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder can cause detrimental effects and have long-lasting impacts on your body.

Until next time,

SR

If you or a loved one needs help, contact your local GP or call:

1800 ED HOPE / 1800 33 4673

Email:  support@thebutterflyfoundation.org.au

Pregnancy Shaming is a Thing

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Since Kim Kardashian’s first pregnancy with North West, a new trend of pregnancy shaming has emerged.

The recent MTV VMAs opened the door to the creation of a new Kimmy K Internet meme comparing the reality star to a baked potato and Danny Divito’s character, The Penguin, from Batman Return’s.

All of this comes after the star revealed intimate details about why she no longer smiles in photos.

“It was the worst. I couldn’t help it, and everyone would say, ‘She can’t stop eating.’ I delivered at 180, and they were like, ‘She’s 210 pounds’.”

Even for a reality star who is used to being photographed by the paparazzi, it seems criticism can bear a heavy weight.

“[They’d say] ‘She’s getting dumped because she’s too fat’ and all these ridiculous stories. It really took a toll after the fact, when I was losing weight. I gained 50 pounds, and it’s tough to get it off,” Kim revealed.

Although some might say Kanye is to blame for Kim’s lack of smiling, the star shared that fat shaming is the real reason behind her newly solemn face.

“I was dedicated, but also, it changed the way I viewed wanting my picture taken.

“Before I was always smiling, and so into being out and about. After I had the baby, I was like, ‘These are the same people that made fun of me, and posted the stories that were so awful, calling me fat for something I couldn’t control,'” she said.

Although most pregnant women aren’t being photographed by the paparazzi, this new pregnancy shaming trend is causing new mothers to hate their pregnancy curves instead of embracing them.

Gabriel Gavin, neuroscientist at University College London shared his insights into fat shaming stating, “It is clear that pressure to conform to some notion of desirability is present from a young age and to not fit into that can cause serious mental health problems.

“It is becoming clear that victimisation and discrimination against people who are overweight isn’t a motivator in reducing their weight.”

Gavin also said, “Bodies don’t all look alike and pursuing what is, for many people, an unrealistic and unhealthy ‘ideal’ can only give rise to eating disorders like bulimia and anorexia, which currently impact over 5% of women.”

Instead of obsessing about weight, or thinking they need to conform to the media’s ideals, pregnant women need to be encouraged to focus on their health as this is a critical time for their baby’s development.

Gaining weight during pregnancy is completely NORMAL and needs to stop being something that brings women shame.

Women need to be encouraged to embrace their curves instead of constantly criticizing their journey into motherhood.

Until next time,

SR