Most women already know that the best way to be healthy and maintain an appropriate weight is to eat healthy, balanced meals and to exercise regularly. Logically, you also know that you are "supposed" to love your body—but how can you embrace it when you perceive it as being riddled with flaws? One way to help yourself stop focusing on these perceived flaws is to consider the message you are sending to the young girls in your life—your daughter, your niece, or even your granddaughter. Every time you skip a meal or lament about your "fat hips" in front of your daughter you are sending her the message that your body—and therefore her body, and the female body in general—is flawed.
The only real person who can put an end to this "thin is in" epidemic is you. Ditch the diet soda cans in your fridge and replace them with natural fruits and vegetables. Avoid pre-packaged salads from fast food places and prepare a truly nutritious meal with your family. When you go to the grocery store, don't pore over the latest celebrity gossip magazines—and don't let your daughter do this either. Remind your daughter (and yourself) that all magazines airbrush their models, and then give her real heroes to look up to, starting with yourself.
Finally, don't forget the importance of exercise. Exercise helps the body function properly, and it also helps boost your mood and your self esteem. Just one workout session can leave you feeling stronger and more confident, so incorporate this into your routine as much as possible.
The Truth About the Numbers of Weight Loss
Exactly how many women struggle with body image? A study conducted by Self magazine found that 67 percent of women (excluding those with actual eating disorders) are trying to lose weight, 13 percent smoke to lose weight, 37 percent regularly skip meals to try to lose weight, and 27 percent would be "extremely upset" if they gained just five pounds. The women in this survey came from all walks of life and spanned a range of ages and ethnicities, yet they had one thing in common: they all wanted the "perfect" body.