Every individual has a different body type that calls for a celebration. Whether you’re ‘thin’ or ‘fat’ is irrespective. What truly matters is your health. I know a number of extremely skinny individuals who look fine on the outside but are suffering from various health conditions on the inside while a lot of individuals on the heavier side are perfectly healthy. But this doesn’t mean that heavier individuals are healthier than skinnier individuals or vice versa. It honestly all boils down to how much weight is ‘meant’ for your body. By this, I’m essentially referring to your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate). BMR is the number of calories your body requires to function while at rest. A number of sites online offer a calculator that lets you calculate your BMR and then using certain scales, you can identify whether you’re overweight, underweight or in the correct range. All you need is your age, gender (as scales differ), height and current weight.
The reason for calculating your BMR is to enable you to understand how surface appearances can be terribly false. Although someone may look unhealthy, they aren’t necessarily so. It depends more on your insides than on your outsides.
This is when the body image concept comes in. Almost all teenagers (especially girls) are in this constant want to change at least one aspect of themselves (mostly physical) – be it their nose, skin, hair, height, width or something else. What they want to change doesn’t matter so much as to why they want that change. Tabloids and magazines project images that are unrealistic but leave our youth in this constant need to conform – be it a zero waist or some other “perfect” size, hair, skin, teeth, hips. What is perfect and who gets to define perfection? What teens don’t understand is that Photoshop and other editing devices work wonders. Anyone can look “flawless” with a few tweaks here and there. It’s important to understand that this image is unreal. Makeup can cover blemishes and freckles but who said blemishes and freckles are a bad thing? Who said your skin has to have an even tone for you to look beautiful? Makeup isn’t bad but using it as a cover-up – because you feel insecure of who you truly are isn’t right. That’s not what makeup is for. It accentuates or highlights your beauty. It doesn’t make you beautiful which means with or without makeup, you already are beautiful.
While women are often subjected to such ideas, men too, undergo such issues. “Fair and Lovely” for men is one such example of how men too, are pushed into this need to comform- because only if you’re fair, you’re considered attractive – something terribly untrue.
Another issue is supplements and steroids that are often used by teenage boys to help them build muscle to improve their physique – something that works fine in the beginning but can have adverse effects in the long run.
While the results can be unbelievable, you have to remember that when you stop taking these supplements, your body will find it hard to live up to your expectations. While not all supplements are bad, it is absolutely essential to speak to a dietician or a nutritionist before ingesting anything that isn’t coming from a natural food source.
This constant need to comform is what adversely affects our youth. However, I’ve come across a number of body positive blogs that inspire people to love themselves and own their skin. Your body doesn’t have to be a hundred percent toned. You’re allowed to have softer areas. It doesn’t make you any less beautiful. Similarly, lack of mass on your body doesn’t make you any less desirable. And at the end of the day, you need to love your own body. It is only then that you will be able to appreciate yourself so much more.
Self-love plays a huge role in mental well-being. So many individuals suffer from anxiety, depression, anorexia, bulimia and other such health concerns. While these issues may seem trivial, they actually aren’t. They can cause an individual an immense amount of pain, mentally as well as physically.
So the next time you want to criticize someone for how they look, don’t. Instead, smile and encourage them in their journey towards self-love. Believe me, it’ll help you in yours.