Looking Further Than Skin-Deep

I’m laying on the lawn outside of the library and simply observing life passing by me. People come in many shapes and sizes and much of who we are can’t be seen solely through our exterior. It’s our life experiences that mold who we are, our personality and our ways of life not our image.

I struggled with my personal body image for much of my adolescence and it was not until recently that I’ve become comfortable in my own skin. Since I’ve embraced my image, I’ve noticed that my confidence has grown as well, and my willingness to try new activities has also increased. Overall, I’ve noticed a great improvement in my life and I honestly believe that it has much to do with accepting my self as is.

So, I could just sit here on the lawn observing people’s pass me by without taking into account what they’ve been through in their lives. However, I wouldn’t actually know who they are as a person until I took the time to get to know them beyond their looks.

March 10, 2010. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

How Does She Do It?

We all know or have heard of Tyra Banks. She’s the icon of glamorous, curvy, intelligent and confident and strives to help women of all ages and backgrounds become comfortable in their own skin. Whether it’s through her talk show The Tyra Show or her reality television series America’s Next Top Model, she broadcasts her knowledge and thoughts about a wide spread of topics ranging from fashion all the way to eating disorders.

In a short interview with Jessica Kumari that you can watch , Tyra gives top advice on being confident in your own skin. She says that we first must get strength from within and stop comparing ourselves to others.

With that said, I personally believe that everyone has something to contribute, something unique and something to be proud of. It’s a matter of finding what it is that you have to offer. We must first learn to love ourselves before trying to please others.

March 10, 2010. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Body Image and Wellness

First off, what is wellness?  As defined in class, wellness is a positive component of health. It is the freedom from illness and disease and provides a person with a high quality of life and an overall sense of well-being.

However, what is wellness in relation to body image. For me, it’s everything. But wellness is a broad term and is often difficult to understand when taken out of context. To me, in order to obtain ‘body image wellness’, one must first have a positive relationship with their body and mind. Oftentimes, people take their bodies for granted and don’t appreciate what it can do and provide as a whole.  Next time you look in the mirror, instead of pin-pointing flaws that make you unhappy, point out one or two aspects about yourself that you are happy with or that make you unique. By doing this, you are essentially taking steps closer to achieving wellness. Bodies are meant to be different, and by accepting ourselves, we will be in a better state.

I was looking through the University of New Hampshire Health Services website and came upon a link that provides twenty ways to love ourselves. Take a look and try to incorporate one or two into your day-see if you notice a change!  http://www.unh.edu/health-services/ohep/pdf/nutrition_ways-love-your-body.pdf

March 8, 2010. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Fiber for a Fitter You?

I stumbled upon a video that I wanted to share that suggests increasing the use of fiber as a main focus if you’re trying to shrink your waist. This is not the first time that I’ve heard that fiber must be used in one’s diet in order to gain maximum weight loss benefits. However, not all of us are fully aware of which foods contain the highest amount of fiber. Here in this video, Dr. Marie Savard outlines different foods that one can consume throughout the day to reach the recommended goal of consuming between 25-30 grams of fiber per day.

Take a look at this video and see for yourself what you should reach for next time your tummy growls. I don’t know about you, but that granola she makes sure looks tasty!

http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/Recipes/video/stay-healthy-eat-fiber-9976340

March 2, 2010. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

“Her Butt is WAY Too Big”

I went job-hunting today and took a break at a local coffee shop. I grabbed my cup of coffee and took a seat relatively close to a group of four women probably in their mid 20’s. I was just in ear-shot of their conversation and couldn’t help but listen to their conversation in astonishment of what was coming out of their mouths.

“No, I don’t like those pants on her they make her look really bottom heavy.”

“Ew-her hair is so greasy it looks like she hasn’t see a shower for days.”

“Her hips are way too wide for her body frame; she has such a tiny waist but there’s just way too much going on below her belt.”

“That shirt is a disaster, it looks like she’s keeping a spare tire around her stomach.”

I was (and still am) literally speechless. It wasn’t until a few minutes into the eaves-dropping that I realized that they were noting flaws on the women waiting in line to get their coffee. I was completely thrown that these four women were comfortable passing such cruel judgment on complete strangers. All of the trash talk that these women were talking about to one another were based on these people’s exterior without acknowledgment to a person’s personality, background or lifestyle.  It got me thinking-do people actually take time out of their days to down talk others without actually taking time to get to know them? Could they walk up to these strangers and tell them face to face what they dislike about their appearance-or is it simply gossip to chat with the gals about?

I wonder if I’m ever that girl in the coffee line whose pants don’t fit my body right, or whose hair is too messy for their liking. Who really cares? I think I’m better off not knowing.

February 23, 2010. Uncategorized. 1 comment.

Re-“claiming” Our Health

As I was grocery shopping today, I noticed all of the health claims emerging from the aisles. “Low-Fat” this and “High-Fiber” that, “Antioxidant rich” this and “Trans-Fat Free” that.  Talk about confusing.

You can find at least one of these claims on almost every food product out there, even without looking. Frankly, I think that loading all of these products with this advertisement leads to more confusion than it does anything else. I know that when I’m deciding between two products, I am drawn to the one that looks ‘healthiest,’ and I usually judge this by the Nutrition Facts and then back up what I see with what’s stamped all over the container such as “low-fat,” or “sodium-free.”

But, these food claims have overpowered our natural instinct as humans. They began to appear  when our nation started the obsession with body image, and there is no sign in these claims disappearing anytime soon. Our country has thrived thousands of years without having to rely on food claims to be healthy, so why now? When did we reach a point where we can not use our natural judgment to recognize healthy foods from ‘bad’ foods?

February 22, 2010. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

The Skinny with Being Skinny

I stumbled upon an article to go along with my previous post on what’s the “perfect” weight. This new article suggests that there is a perfect weight for every demand that someone must reach. That said, a runner’s perfect weight differs greatly from that of a wrestler and a dancer. The article posted by the New York Times titled, ” Slimmer Doesn’t Always Mean Fitter” discusses this idea into further detail and also explains why there isn’t a set body that every person should aim for. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/04/fashion/04best.html?pagewanted=2&ref=nutrition

It’s interesting to think in this manner because oftentimes our natural instinct as humans is to relate being skinny to being fit.  But, if you think about it, it is common sense that the more muscle you have, the more able you are to perform weight-bearing activities that require strength and endurance. They advise people to strive for their own personal best and to cater to their own needs rather than trying to fit into a mold for which is unattainable for their body type.

February 16, 2010. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

What is the “Perfect” Weight?

The answer to this question differs for each person.  The definition of perfect isn’t the same for everyone. For most individuals, being healthy is being perfect; but, what defines healthy?

We can begin to investigate by looking at a person’s Body Mass Index (B.M.I.) . This calculation measures a person’s body fat percentage and is based off of their weight relative to their height.  For most people, a healthy B.M.I. falls between 18.5 and 24.9. A person who has too little body weight, and consequently too little body fat usually has a B.M.I. of less than 18.5.  Alternatively, a person with too much body fat falls in the category of obese and has a B.M.I. falling above 25.0.  Other factors that affect this are age and gender because “healthy” weights differ within these sub-categories.

By measuring the B.M.I. of a population, researchers and health personnel are able to assess whether a given population falls in the underweight, normal or obese range. By knowing this, people are more conscientious of the changes that should be made in order to achieve optimal health.

Are you interested in finding your own Body Mass Index? There are many online tools that can instantly tell you where you fall http://www.nhlbisupport.com/BMI/bmi-m.htm.

February 11, 2010. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

Is Zero Too Small?

We’ve all heard and seen various discussions regarding our societies obsession with obtaining the ‘perfect’ body. But many of us neglect to look at our health in the long run when attempting to reach this idealistic body type.  In an article released in 2006, the question arose about what’s too skinny for a runway model. In this article http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-405600/Are-size-zero-models-catwalk.html the discussion of the topic is discussed in different aspects.

As I read through this article, one passage that struck me was stated in the “Fantasy” section saying, “But why, when nearly half the women in the UK are size 16 or over, can designers not get past the idea of beauty being all about size. I’m in the business of creating a fantasy,” (Anonymous) Everyday people like you and me over time are conditioned to believe that there is a specific body image that reflects a healthy or good-looking person. However, these ideas are implanted in our minds by the media and people such as runway designers, who get paid to release such statements. Isn’t it ironic that we believe that the truth is actually coming from people who are required for their jobs to make such statements.

Even more devastating is that as a result of this obsession with the perfect body, our society has lost the sense of diversity because collectively, we are focusing too much on what is perfect rather than what is healthy. Or for that matter, we’ve lost a sense of accepting traits that make us different from one another.

So, I guess for me the answer to the question that is stated in the title of this article, “Are Size Zero Models Too Skinny,” is pretty straight forward. If the model is healthy for her body type and frame at a size zero, then no she is not too skinny. However, if the health of the model is being compromised to obtain this ‘perfect’ body image, then yes, she is too skinny. For goodness sake, it’s about time we start to care for our bodies now so that our future wellness is not put in jeopardy.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-405600/Are-size-zero-models-catwalk.html#ixzz0f0TzvNo5

February 9, 2010. Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

A little about the who and why of this blog

I am a 20 year old student majoring in Nutrition and Wellness at the University of New Hampshire. I became interested in nutrition when I witnessed a good friend drastically change her lifestyle in highschool. As a result, I observed changes that coincided with the unhealthy habits she adapted. Ultimately, I saw her struggle to live her life to the fullest because of the barriers that her decisions beared upon her. Ever since, I’ve wanted to learn more about what causes people to make these decisions that alter their wellness and drastically change the number of healthy years that they are able to live.

In this blog, I focus on the discussion of body image and the crave for perfection. The news and media bombard people with information that leads people to believe that a “perfect” body image is the only acceptable way to fit into today’s society.

We’ve all seen models and even our own peers struggle with this need to obtain a flawless body image. I would like to discuss some of these articles that provoke this discussion, and also put in my own two-cents about this topic because who really knows what perfection is, and furthermore is it ultimately necessary for happiness and success?

February 4, 2010. Uncategorized. 1 comment.

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