February 22 through February 28 is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, something that is very near and dear to my heart.
In today’s age of media and unbelievably unrealistic and preposterous (bringing it back to 1700 with my word of the day calendar on this one!) cultural expectations, the never-ending stream of TV shows and ads about losing more weight, getting smaller waists and achieving skinnier legs makes it seem as if you aren’t beautiful until you’ve tried the latest fad diet and managed to squeeze into a size negative two dress (the fact that there is a size negative anything makes me want to karate chop a mango and throw said mango at whoever created a size negative anything!) Let’s admit it: the constant pressure for self-improvement can get a bit exhausting! Okay. It’s all of the exhausting and completely and 110% unnecessary! Good Goobers (mmmm…Goobers)! What happened to appreciating your body just the way it is?
It’s so easy to forget about all the amazing things your body is doing every moment you talk, walk, think and breathe. Believe me, I have been there. In fact, I still am trying to remember these things. It’s often times an ‘every day I have to try and remind myself’ kind of thing. But that’s okay.
The fact is, our bodies work hard around the clock to keep you and I functioning so we’re able to get down with our bad selves on the dance floor, attend that concert or baseball game, give your bestie a big ‘ol bear hug and do so many of the other fun things we love and are passionate about doing. So instead of striving to make your body look impossibly perfect, let’s show ourselves some love by appreciating our body’s strength, functionality and beauty.
In honor of this week, I wanted to take some time and remind you, yes YOU, of just some of the many reasons why you are the amazing and beautiful person you.
More importantly, I want to remind you, yes YOU, why you should CELEBRATE how amazing and beautiful you are!
1. Your Eyes
Your eyes can process 36,000 bits of information every hour, distinguish about 10 million colors and also express your colorful personality—those are definitely some eye-catching qualities if I do say so myself!
2. Your Nose
Your nose lends character to your face and makes you recognizable. You wouldn’t look your beautiful self without the one that you have right now! Your nose can also remember 50,000 different scents (an excuse to go perfume shopping or wax-on, wax-off with some sinfully aromatic candles)! Let’s also not forget that your nose makes it possible for you to experience all of those amazingly delicious flavors whenever you dig into a meal, since flavors result from a combination from both taste and smell. Loving your nose makes perfect scents (pun intended)!
3. Your Arms
Tickets to the gun show, please. 😉 Your strong arms allow you to do everything from hugging and playing tug of war with your pup, to carrying in all of your groceries in one trip and kicking your boyfriend’s bum at the batting cages.
4. Your Chest
Has any other body part ever been so celebrated in art, literature, pop culture or life in general? From paintings of Greek goddesses and pictures of pin-up girls to modern-day lingerie ads, there’s a lot of hype about that region of our bodies. No matter which bra size you wear, be proud of your girls–or in my case, lack there of ;).
5. Your Stomach/Waist
Women have a lot of guts—literally! The lower portion of the colon, called the sigmoid colon (try saying that five times fast), tends to be longer in women than in men. Also, about 80 percent of your immune system resides in your gut, so you can thank your stomach for keeping you strong and healthy.
6. Your Hips
As Shakira famously once said, the hips don’t lie. It’s basically historically proven that curves are beautiful. And if you don’t happen to have apple-bottom jeans [boots with the fur] hips, don’t you fret! As Shakira famously once did, don’t be afraid to shake what your momma gave you and own it! You’re beautiful, girl!
7. Your Butt, Booty, Bum, Tush, Fanny
Baby Got Back! Your glutes are a powerful muscle group that represents both power and longevity. The gluteus maximus is the biggest muscle in your entire body and allows you to walk and run upright. It also doesn’t hurt that your assets make your new pair of jeans look amazing! It’s no wonder that both Jennifer Lopez and Kylie Minogue have insured their backsides for millions (apparently this is a very real thing–a very real[ly] weird thing, but a thing nonetheless). Whether your derriere is big or small, round or flat, your seat is perfect just the way it is.
8. Your Thighs/Legs
Check this stat out! It takes 200 muscles to take just a single step, so your legs are a real powerhouse! Your thighbone is stronger than concrete and is the longest bone in your body, measuring about a quarter of your height. Bigger thighs have also been linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease later in life. Strong legs are so in! Just look at Queen Bey—she doesn’t have a thigh gap, but she’s considered one of the most beautiful women in the world. Her thighs even have their own Facebook fan page! WHAT?!
9. Your Skin
Your skin does so much more than make you look presentable—without it, you’d just evaporate! It also guards the body against extreme temperatures, sunlight, chemicals and infections. It’s magically recuperative and elastic; humans shed about 600,000 particles of skin per hour (kind of gross yes, but also SO FROGGIN COOL!!), so your entire outer layer of skin replaces itself once a month like a waterproof, self-cleaning fortress (talk about a new you!).
So the next time that little negative voice in your head starts to say mean things about your body, remember all the wonderful things your body does for you. Admire all your body parts equally, because each is an extension of who you are. Love and respect your body, and it will love and respect you back!
Go ahead and treat yourself to some pizza, indulge in some chocolate or take a nice, long bubble bath (or all three!) —your body deserves it.
Beauty comes in all sizes, shapes and forms; always remember that your body is already beautiful just the way it is.
For more information on eating disorders, or how to become a part of spreading awareness and raising support, please check out the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA). Let’s stand together (on our beautiful and strong thighs, legs, hips and bums) and do our part to help millions of women and men, girls and boys kick ED to the curb, once and for all!