Staying Confident This Summer

Avoid Feeling Self Conscious in a Swimsuit

swimsuitsAs the semester soon comes to a close, warmer weather is on its way along with day trips to the beach, class outside, and of course the tease of summer vacation. While this time of year is supposed to be pleasurable, it also seems to create a type of dread for some people I know, specifically my female peers.

Almost like clockwork, every year girls will start their “summer diets” in order to look attractive in summer clothing. While I know that I have had my own fear of fitting into my bath­ing suits that have been crammed in the back of my closet for almost eight months, I have seen women’s desire to be attractive go overboard with crash dieting and excessive exercising.

Before you continue reading, I would like to say that there is nothing wrong with losing weight or exercis­ing to stay healthy. Those who main­tain a regular healthy lifestyle, I ap­preciate your commitment to eating right and exercising properly.

The main point I am trying to ex­plain is the unhealthy dieting, which women and men in our country suc­cumb to every day. Some people may think they are getting ahead by try­ing to lose weight in a short amount of time, but they may end up severely harming their bodies.

According to the National Associa­tion of Anorexia Nervosa and Associ­ated Disorders (NAANAD), out of 91 percent of college women surveyed, 86 percent reported having the start­ing symptoms of an eating disorder by age 20.

This quest for physical perfec­tion does not just affect women. The NAANAD reported that an estimated 10-15 percent of people suffer from anorexia or bulimia. Even children as young as 11 are insecure about their bodies and desire to be thinner due to the media’s interpretation of the per­fect physique. These issues affect over 24 million people of all ages, races and genders with dire consequences .

Those who struggle with bulimia can suffer from vocal cord damage, dental issues, insomnia, hair loss and damage to internal organs. Anorexia also has dangerous side effects such as kidney failure, fatigue, heart prob­lems and paralysis. There are also major mental side effects including a higher risk of anxiety and depression as well as drug and alcohol abuse.

As a girl who has suffered with years of low self-esteem when it came to body image, I know that that skip­ping a meal, or spending a few extra hours at the gym can seem like a quick fix. However, it is a short burst of instant gratification with even shorter-term results.

Several times I would stand in front of the mirror cursing myself and hat­ing my body. After a while I realized that there were so many other things that I could be doing rather than loath­ing myself because I did not look like a Victoria’s Secret model.

After having this epiphany, I did a little research and found out a sur­prisingly happy fact. According to the Center for Disease Control and Pre­vention, the average weight and size for an American woman 20 years and older is 166.2 pounds at roughly 5’ 3’’ tall. While the men’s average is 195.5 pounds at 5’ 7” tall.

That doesn’t mean that if you are under this average weight you should scarf down Big Macs from McDon­alds or start cutting out foods from your diet if you are overweight. It is merely showing that not everybody is a 6- foot twig- thin model. We all have different body shapes just as we have different ideas and talents. If ev­eryone were the same then our world would be utterly boring.

There is such a pressure to be thin and perfect that people can sometimes take it over the edge. Still, what peo­ple may not realize is that most pho­tos of models in Seventeen, Cosmo, GQ, and Sports Illustrated have all been altered in some form, whether it was perfecting their skin, thinning their legs or hiding a “flaw” in their bone structure.

We seem to have this fascination with people’s weight. Tabloids are rid­dled with articles about which celebri­ties have lost 15 pounds after having a child or who gained weight after their recent break up. It is crazy how much we let people’s weight influence how we perceive and judge them. There is more to a person than their looks.

As all of you hit the beaches and the pool parties this summer, remember this: you are your own worst enemy. Don’t let the possibility of what peo­ple might think or say stop you from doing what you love because they don’t control you.

Instead of worrying about the negatives, think of the positives and be happy, because the one thing that looks good on everyone is a happy confident smile.

IMAGE TAKEN from fashionadexplorer.com