Category Archives: Weight Loss & Peer Pressure

Did you say “Perfect Body”?

What would you consider to be the “perfect” female or male body? Instead of embracing diversity in all body types, shapes and sizes, we are often far more preoccupied with appearance. That is, how dissatisfied we’ve become with ourselves rather than appreciating our individual uniqueness. Far more emphasis is placed on how we appear to others, placing us at a much greater risk for engaging in dangerous behaviors to control weight and size.

We are constantly being bombarded with messages pertaining to body image and what the “perfect body” should be. Advertising and mass media have had such a great influence and are definitely amongst the biggest culprits. It should come as no big surprise then, that instead of our focus being placed on a healthy self, we worry about how we will appear to others. Our body image is often based on others looks, we examine how that relates to our own personal goals and aspirations for our bodies. These images become incorporated into our self-perception. Airbrush anyone?

Body image is not a concept that is static as there is constant change. It is not based on facts, but rather influenced by our self-esteem and psychological nature. Our body image is sensitive to our emotions and our moods. We learn how to perceive our body image to the interaction we have with our own families, friends, peers and coaches, but it is only a reinforcement of what is learned from the culture.

Receiving negative feedback as we age can give us a distorted perception of our body shape. One can perceive parts of their body to be unlike they really are. They are convinced that other people are attractive and that body size or shape is a sign of personal failure, which can lead to behaviors such as extreme dieting, exercise compulsion, laxative abuse, vomiting, smoking and use of anabolic steroids – These practices are associated with negative body image.

Many people can become so conscious of their body image they will go the extra mile to achieve the same sculptured body like those that are splashed in the pages of the magazines, billboards, TV, and movie screens. Others try to find sensible and sustainable ways to achieve and maintain a physically fit body, yet overlook another important aspect of their well-being: their emotional health.

If you’ve ever lost weight and managed to reach your dream goal, do you recall what your emotions were like? Were you as happy as you initially anticipated you would be? Although dieting in a manner which uses unhealthy practices such as starvation dieting may result in substantial weight loss, it will certainly affect your overall emotional well-being.

Not all experts agree that human beings are born with a full range of emotions. Instead, some theorize that people were born with instincts and urges, along with an innate capacity for feeling. As people grow older, they develop personalities and nurture relationships with others, which are valuable experiences that help them expand their feelings into full-fledged emotions. Having a complete range of emotion is important for overall health and well-being. We must be aware of our emotions.

Emotionally healthy people are in tune with their emotions and can identify and acknowledge them as experience. After connecting with your emotions, emotionally healthy people will typically develop appropriate ways of expressing them – we must be able to process our emotions. The ability to identify with one’s own emotions enables emotionally healthy people to identify emotions in others and to have an intuitive sense of what it feels like to experience them – showing sensitivity to others and to their emotional state while having the ability to empathize.

Emotionally healthy people honor their emotions which in return empower them to fulfill their goals. As the saying goes, a healthy body cannot be divorced from a healthy mind or a healthy spirit. Emotional health is considered an integral part of an individual’s overall wellness, if neglected, it can certainly cause damage to your physical health in the process. Research has shown that one of the leading contributing factors to illness is stress caused by unresolved emotional issues.

Emotions course through our conscious and unconscious mind at critical junctures or during seemingly inconsequential moments of our lives. Emotions such as grief and anger can be far more difficult to control or reason with. The interplay of various emotions makes that form of “reasoning” not an easy one. Just as emotional health can affect a person’s physical health, the same is true with one’s lifestyle making a direct impact on emotional health. It is important to take vitamins and minerals as they stimulate the production of chemicals in the brain. These are known as neurotransmitters that regulate our physical and mental health functions, including the way we process emotions. Minor deficiencies of these nutrients can lead to depression and irritability, as well as hamper our ability to concentrate and stay motivated.

Unhealthy foods can adversely affect emotional health. An excess amount of caffeine intake can demonstrate many of the same physiological and psychological symptoms as people suffering from anxiety, while a diet with high sugar content has been linked to depression, aggression, and impaired judgment. The real goal in altering your body image must always be health related. Whether an individual is trying to attempt to achieve a healthy weight or a healthy, toned body, the goal must be to achieve good health.

Individuals who desire to change their body image and self-perceptions do not need to change the way they look, feel, act, or live. Instead they must change the way they think about themselves and how attractive they believe themselves to be. Each of us are individuals. We cannot duplicate the current top model and they cannot duplicate us.

The first step for individuals who want to change their body image is to be sure that the weight is within healthy limits by checking with their primary care physician. We must learn to appreciate the diversity that we bring to the human race with our own individual interpretation of our bodies.

When you hear yourself, saying negative things – STOP!  You can be your own worst enemy or your own biggest fan. You need to be realistic about the size you are likely to be based on your genetic and environmental history. By staying active (biking, walking, dancing, yoga, etc.), regardless of your size, you can expect normal weekly and monthly changes in weight and shape. Work towards self-acceptance and self-forgiveness; be kind to yourself.

Make no mistake my friends, children are watching their parents or people dear to them very closely to learn what body image is and how to integrate it into their own lives. When children are learning from parents whose body image is tied to what they see as perfection, it results in raising a generation of children who aspire to perfection to the point that they become anorexic, starve themselves, are constantly dieting and never eat a nutritious well-balanced meal.

Do NOT be afraid to ask for support and encouragement from friends and family or a professional – especially when life is stressful. Most importantly, decide how you wish to spend your energy – do you spend it on making positive changes to yourself? Or, is it spent on focusing on a negative body image? Would you rather spend your valuable time pursuing the “perfect body” or enjoying family, friends, school and life? Clearly, the latter is the healthier choice that can and will lead to a happier and healthier you.

Advertisements

Overweight Children and Peer/Parental Pressures – PLEASE READ!!!

It is very important to me that I am selective when deciding on what topic to write about.

We’ve all heard the wise cracks and jokes about overweight individuals. Generally, we’ve all been on one side of the fence – some having to listen to the hurtful and disparaging remarks, while others are guilty of expressing negative comments without any forethought as to how it may affect that person.

There is no safe place from cruel words and taunting assaults to those who struggle with weight. If you happen to be a person who carries extra weight, you know how horrible some people can be. The adolescent and teenage years are often considered the most difficult in life, particularly in the latter’s case.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 15 percent of children and teens ages 2 to 19 are considered to be obese. While maintaining a healthy weight is an important skill for teens to learn, it is also important to remember that a teenager does not have the emotional and mental developmental level of an adult. The teenager must be approached with caution, in a patient and compassionate manner, coupled with a healthy attitude. We must keep in mind that teenagers are already in the throes of hormonal surges, which can impact their emotional balance. It is a very sensitive subject.

One would assume that such remarks come from other teens or total strangers. Having worked with and spoken to teens (as well as living it myself) about this very subject almost always leads to the same story. It’s their mother, father, sister, brother, grandparents, best friends, and/or teachers, among others, that make such remarks. Many peers of overweight children do not accept them, further fostering negative self-perception.

Teenagers can be annoyed with excess fat on their body and they often have a distorted body image as it is. When weight loss is addressed to teenagers these issues must be included in the plan. Without better knowledge and understanding, teens see themselves differently than they really are, you will not be able to help motivate them to continue to make healthy life choices. Negative and hurtful remarks certainly will not help matters.

Teens often suffer from poor self-esteem and poor self-motivation. It is a parent’s job to help gently encourage them. Research shows that parents who nurture a positive attitude and actively show their child qualities of resilience and optimism will make a dramatic difference that continues into successful, healthy adult years.

Teenagers continue to require appropriate nutrition to feed their growing body. As a parent, believe in them! To foster optimism and resilience in a child who struggles with weight issues, assure them that you are on their side. Assure them that you expect them to be the best person that they can be, although you don’t expect them to be the best at everything. After all, no one person is perfect.

It is necessary to find other adults who also legitimately believe in your children. Teachers, aunts, uncles, neighbors and friends can help you make a positive difference in your child’s life. Other adults that can see beyond the weight and also believe in him/her can help your child take control of their life. We must encourage our children to stay interested in activities. Let them know that their interests are valuable and deserve to be developed, whatever it is. Celebrate your children’s winning experiences and help them to accept defeats graciously.

Knowing you appreciate their efforts and positive attitude to win or lose is crucial to a child’s growth. Positive attitude and effort is far more important than any victory. Be a role model for perseverance. Be sure your children hear you say that some tasks are difficult, but that you are not a quitter.

Some teens may need to see a nutritionist to evaluate their eating and determine how to change their habits. Professionals can often give teenagers advice that they accept rather than from their families and friends. However, professionals are more distant and do not have as much invested in the relationship. Weight loss plans designed for teenagers should be approached in a supportive family environment.

It is so much easier to achieve your goals when you are working with like-minded and supportive people. Even though you are able to change the foods that are brought into the home, teens can eat improperly outside the house. That’s why education about healthy nutrition and good food choices are so important to the success of any weight loss program. Keep nutritious snacks in the home. Teens snack constantly! They will reach for what is available and if chips and dip are handy that is what they’ll be eating.

Try keeping snacks like celery, peanut butter, bananas, apples, or other various fruits and vegetables in the refrigerator to serve as healthier alternatives.

While many people are searching for weight loss plans to achieve fast, easy and painless weight loss, it is important to note that any plan should be initiated with the long-term effects in mind. Making strong, healthy lifestyle choices will eventually lead to permanent weight loss and a healthier life.

Each individual person is unique. Genetic make-up varies from individual to individual. Lifestyle and exercise habits also impact the body’s ability to lose weight. Please, please, think before you speak – your words have the power to affect a person’s life forever. Everyone is the son or daughter of somebody.

Overweight Children and Peer/Parental Pressures – PLEASE READ!!!

It is very important to me that I am selective when deciding on what topic to write about.

We’ve all heard the wise cracks and jokes about overweight individuals. Generally, we’ve all been on one side of the fence – some having to listen to the hurtful and disparaging remarks, while others are guilty of expressing negative comments without any forethought as to how it may affect that person.

There is no safe place from cruel words and taunting assaults to those who struggle with weight. If you happen to be a person who carries extra weight, you know how horrible some people can be. The adolescent and teenage years are often considered the most difficult in life, particularly in the latter’s case.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 15 percent of children and teens ages 2 to 19 are considered to be obese. While maintaining a healthy weight is an important skill for teens to learn, it is also important to remember that a teenager does not have the emotional and mental developmental level of an adult. The teenager must be approached with caution, in a patient and compassionate manner, coupled with a healthy attitude. We must keep in mind that teenagers are already in the throes of hormonal surges, which can impact their emotional balance. It is a very sensitive subject.

One would assume that such remarks come from other teens or total strangers. Having worked with and spoken to teens (as well as living it myself) about this very subject almost always leads to the same story. It’s their mother, father, sister, brother, grandparents, best friends, and/or teachers, among others, that make such remarks. Many peers of overweight children do not accept them, further fostering negative self-perception.

Teenagers can be annoyed with excess fat on their body and they often have a distorted body image as it is. When weight loss is addressed to teenagers these issues must be included in the plan. Without better knowledge and understanding, teens see themselves differently than they really are, you will not be able to help motivate them to continue to make healthy life choices. Negative and hurtful remarks certainly will not help matters.

Teens often suffer from poor self-esteem and poor self-motivation. It is a parent’s job to help gently encourage them. Research shows that parents who nurture a positive attitude and actively show their child qualities of resilience and optimism will make a dramatic difference that continues into successful, healthy adult years.

Teenagers continue to require appropriate nutrition to feed their growing body. As a parent, believe in them! To foster optimism and resilience in a child who struggles with weight issues, assure them that you are on their side. Assure them that you expect them to be the best person that they can be, although you don’t expect them to be the best at everything. After all, no one person is perfect.

It is necessary to find other adults who also legitimately believe in your children. Teachers, aunts, uncles, neighbors and friends can help you make a positive difference in your child’s life. Other adults that can see beyond the weight and also believe in him/her can help your child take control of their life. We must encourage our children to stay interested in activities. Let them know that their interests are valuable and deserve to be developed, whatever it is. Celebrate your children’s winning experiences and help them to accept defeats graciously.

Knowing you appreciate their efforts and positive attitude to win or lose is crucial to a child’s growth. Positive attitude and effort is far more important than any victory. Be a role model for perseverance. Be sure your children hear you say that some tasks are difficult, but that you are not a quitter.

Some teens may need to see a nutritionist to evaluate their eating and determine how to change their habits. Professionals can often give teenagers advice that they accept rather than from their families and friends. However, professionals are more distant and do not have as much invested in the relationship. Weight loss plans designed for teenagers should be approached in a supportive family environment.

It is so much easier to achieve your goals when you are working with like-minded and supportive people. Even though you are able to change the foods that are brought into the home, teens can eat improperly outside the house. That’s why education about healthy nutrition and good food choices are so important to the success of any weight loss program. Keep nutritious snacks in the home. Teens snack constantly! They will reach for what is available and if chips and dip are handy that is what they’ll be eating.

Try keeping snacks like celery, peanut butter, bananas, apples, or other various fruits and vegetables in the refrigerator to serve as healthier alternatives.

While many people are searching for weight loss plans to achieve fast, easy and painless weight loss, it is important to note that any plan should be initiated with the long-term effects in mind. Making strong, healthy lifestyle choices will eventually lead to permanent weight loss and a healthier life.

Each individual person is unique. Genetic make-up varies from individual to individual. Lifestyle and exercise habits also impact the body’s ability to lose weight. Please, please, think before you speak – your words have the power to affect a person’s life forever. Everyone is the son or daughter of somebody.