I’ll admit it. I want to be skinny. I always have. I’ve never been overweight, but I’ve never been skinny either. I used to want to be bony skinny, especially as a teenager and into my twenties. That little bit too thin. Why? I’m not sure. Maybe it’s because it’s what society says we should be. All those pictures in magazines and on TV. Maybe the teenage me thought that’s what was attractive or it was what I should look like for other people. Maybe it was my own brain saying that’s what I find attractive.
Whatever it was, I never was. I never had the willpower to not eat a lot. Because generally, that’s pretty much what it takes. Unless you’ve got natural genes, metabolism and small bones.
But, I still want to be skinny. Well, actually now, I guess it’s not really ‘skinny’. I want to be lean. Healthy. Toned. Thin but not bony. And, well, I guess I’m pretty much there. I’m happy with the way I look. And feel. I judge my well-being on how I feel inside, what I see in the mirror and how I feel when I run or do exercise. I’ve never owned a pair of scales, and doubt I ever will. I feel pretty healthy, and know I eat [mostly] healthy stuff, exercise a decent amount and don’t smoke. Ok, I probably still drink a little bit too much but hey, I’m not perfect. And I’ve realised that if I feel healthy and do all those things, I feel good, and I’m happy with what I look like in the mirror.
That’s not to say there’s things I wouldn’t change. Of course there is, everyone’s got them. The bits they’re not that keen on. But really, I can live with them, and overall I’m happy with how I look. It all makes up me. Character, as my Dad would say (generally about anything that’s a bit different, wonky, not quite right or imperfect).
But why do people, women especially, get so hung up about what they look like? Why are women never happy with the way they look? According to surveys, most women are unhappy with their bodies. One, commissioned by REAL magazine, found that only 3% of the 5000 women surveyed were totally happy with their bodies. 3%? 3%? That’s bloody awful. (Link here, sorry for Daily Mail link but it’s the only write up I could find)
Why ladies? Why so negative and down on yourselves? Do you treat others that way? Would you say the kind of things apparently said to yourself to someone else? I doubt it. The survey found that 91% of the women surveyed were happy with the way their partners looked. So what do you think their partners think about them? They’d probably say the same surely? But if you told some women that I guess that wouldn’t make any difference. Whatever they were told they wouldn’t believe it because those thought processes are so ingrained. They don’t want to accept compliments. Don’t believe them. Unfortunately it’s not a new thing either.
Interestingly, a survey conducted for Fitness magazine shows slightly different results. Still not great, but a bit better. The numbers and % seemed to be a bit better. I’ve read before that people who exercise tend to feel better about themselves and their bodies, whether they look different or not, the fact they are doing something seems to help the way they feel about themselves. And this can only be a good thing.
People come in all shapes and sizes. We should learn to love ourselves for who we are and what we look like. Character and all. We should look after ourselves, eat healthy stuff, do a bit of exercise and have the odd bit of indulgence. Give ourselves the credit we are due. Accept compliments. Take pride in who we are. And if other people don’t like it? Well, it’s none of their business is it? Their problem, not yours.
Confidence. It’s a powerful thing. Remember, no one can make you feel inferior without your consent. So, go forward, accept yourself and your character and always realise this: “those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind”.