Body Shaming and How to Stop it

| Women's Health

Complex, intricate, fascinating and beautiful, the body is one of most important tools we have. It gives so much and asks for little. For some reason, we are often lead astray by our minds and ignore what are bodies are telling us. We forget that our minds have been shaped by the culture we live in. A distorted image of what our bodies should be is burned into our brains by today's media-crazed society. We allow our perceptions of beauty to skew the amazing gifts that our body provides for us, because we aren't happy with what we see. Body shaming takes on many forms, whether we're victimizing ourselves, or people around us. Learning to accept ourselves for who we are, and in turn accept those around us, can be a difficult task, but with these 9 tips from Mind Body Green, we can reverse the distorted standards we've set for ourselves.

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Focusing on dieting rather than nutrition: Our body runs like an engine, which means it needs a steady flow of fuel to reach its full potential. One of the main sources of fuel is food. Because of this reality, nutritious diets should include variety and offer an array of vitamins, fiber, fat and even carbohydrates. When we give into dieting fads like calorie counting or cutting out carbs, we are acting on our desire to look a certain way, rather than focusing on supporting our body functioning in the way we need it too.

Refusing to indulge: Cooking a good meal, sharing a glass (or bottle!) of wine, having a decadent dessert — these are all ways in which we can give our body a treat. Despite knowing the pleasure these choices can bring, we have internalized the idea that "indulging" too much or too often is a bad thing. How many times have you heard, "You’re so wise to refuse dessert." Or, "A moment on your lips, forever on your hips." It's important to remember that there are healthful ways to have a treat (for instance, I like a few chocolate covered almonds after dinner). One aspect of being healthy is actually to allow ourselves these pleasures.

Idolizing body types as they are presented by the media: According to The Renfrew Center Foundation for Eating Disorders, it's estimated that only 5% of North Americans have body types similar to those portrayed in the media. While it may seem cliché, stopping body-shaming starts with the realization that bodies come in all shapes and sizes, and that few particular body types are overwhelmingly overrepresented in the media.

Shaming people who are "too skinny": Nature has created so many body types, it's unrealistic to expect us all to look the same. It's an often overlooked reality that thinner people also get shamed for being "too skinny," "body obsessed," "looking anorexic." Just like everyone else, these people are entitled to be free from the judgment of others when it comes to how their body functions and what it needs.

Want to read more tips on fighting body shaming? Click here to be taken to the original story on Mind Body Green.