There it was. That dreaded scale. The one I thought would ring a bell loudly and shout,”Oh, jeez, please get off of me!”
I remember when I was young and my mother was on a diet. She put a gadget inside our refrigerator that, after opening the door to find something to eat, would scream “Close the door, fatty!”
I hated that contraption.
Self-image is an important reason why women (and men) spend thousands of dollars on beauty products each year. According to an article inMarketWatch.com, the Commerce Department reported, “Americans spent a whopping $33.3 billion on cosmetics and other beauty products in 2010, up 6% from 2009.”
And according to a 2013 article in TIME article, “The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) says that while total cosmetic surgeries fell by 2% last year, the number of what they call “minimally invasive” procedures rose by 6%. The most popular of these were Botox and Dysport injections, followed by soft tissue filler injections, chemical peels, laser hair removal, and microdermabrasion.”
We all want to look good.
But at what price? Our self-image starts when we’re young. We begin by comparing ourselves to the most popular girls in grade school.
You know, the girls all the boys were going ga-ga over while our hormones were raging out of control. The ones with straight, shiny hair, button noses and long, slender legs who were good in gym and always wore the coolest clothes.
Sorry to digress. That was my memory. What? Did I hear you nodding your head? Phew.
Today, the news about self-image for young people is appalling. Take a look at recent statistics:
- One study reports that at age thirteen, 53% of American girls are “unhappy with their bodies.” This grows to 78% by the time girls reach seventeen. (Teen Health and the Media)
- The number of cosmetic surgical procedures performed on youth under age 19 more than tripled from 1997 to 2007. (The Representation Project)
- In 2011, Dove® released the findings of its largest global study to date on women’s relationship with beauty—The Real Truth About Beauty: Revisited. The study revealed that only 4% of women around the world consider themselves beautiful, and that anxiety about looks begins at an early age. (The Dove Campaign for Real Beauty)
I don’t know about you, but I find these numbers appalling. A female’s self-image needs a lift, and young girls urgently need our help.
How can this be done?
Through education and awareness. And the buck stops here.
As a baby boomer and a mother, I feel a sense of urgency to portray ourselves in a positive light, and to be good role models for young people. However and whenever we can, we need to write messages that clearly demonstrate we are beautiful no matter what the scale says.
What society deems, and what glossy magazines portray, is not reality.
I want my clothes to fit better, and I’d like to feel healthier. It’s simply unhealthy to carry any extra weight, especially when there are family genetics skewed in the wrong direction.
Taking steps toward wellness and living a healthier lifestyle is why I began the Jenny Craig program. I want to get back to eating regular portion sizes, bump up the amount of fresh fruits and vegetables I consume, drink more water and get more exercise.
When I was young I wanted to look like Christie Brinkley. Today, I am comfortable in my own skin.
I don’t have straight, shiny hair or long, slender legs. But I do have my own unique brand of beauty, and that is something that every one of us has.
What did the scale say to me? It said “job well done” and “thanks beautiful.”
At least in my heart it did.
What can you do to help change a young girl’s self image?*I received a free month on the Jenny Craig program and a discount on food products. There was no compensation. All opinions are solely my own. NOTE: Members following the Jenny Craig program lose, on average, 1 -2 lbs. per week. Read more from Cathy Chester on her blog, An Empowered Spirit