It’s time to face yourself

Common dilemmas

“I want to look like the celebrities I see on TV and in

The sooner you accept that you can’t, the better. Celebrities
have to look amazing – it’s what they are paid to do. Unlike you,
they have time and money to spend on achieving the perfect look.
You would look just as fantastic if you had a personal trainer, a
beauty therapist, dietician, and stylists at your fingertips. And
don’t forget the manipulation that goes on in the media – magazines
use clever lighting, make up and staging to make their models look
as good as possibleÉ and then airbrush the results to make
them look even better!

“I don’t think I weigh the right amount”

How much you should weigh comes down to your shape, build and
muscle content. Some people have a bigger frame than others and so
the healthy weight for two people of the same height can be quite
different. To a certain extent your body shape is determined by
your genes, and there’s not much you can do about that. The best
way to achieve and maintain a sensible weight is by eating
healthily (with treats sometimes) and taking regular exercise.

“It would be better if I was thinner”

Happiness is not based upon your amount of body fat – just think
of all the skinny but unhappy famous people there are. When you
lose weight you may be able to buy a smaller dress size but that is
about as good as it gets. Your figure will be the only thing that
changes – life just isn’t as simple as that.

“But slim people have more friends”

Do they really? How popular you are does not depend on what
dress size you take, it is a result of how you behave. If people
only want to spend time with you when you look a certain way then
they are not worth the effort. Friends who really care will look
beyond your outer appearance and realise that it’s the person
inside who they value.

“I hate the way I look”

If you find yourself thinking like this then it’s time to stop
judging your self worth solely on your physical appearance. There’s
a lot more to a person than how they look – just think about the
qualities you most admire in other people. Rather than basing how
you feel about yourself on what you look like in the mirror, think
about all the other things that make you who you are such as your
family, friends, hobbies, and opinions.

“I get picked on because of how look”

Nobody has the right to tease others about their appearance as
nobody has the perfect body. While it’s hard not to be upset by
what others say, try not to take it personally. People often
criticise others because they feel bad about themselves, so
remember that it’s they who have the problem, not you. Imagine what
they look like naked – that will help you to deal with their
immature remarks!

Tips from an expert 

Kerri McPherson, a health psychologist who advises people about
how to gain a positive image, says:

  • Remember that everyone is different. “If we all looked the same
    we would all look fairly boring. People who are the most striking
    often look a lot different from everyone else. They have usually
    done their hair differently or are wearing different clothes.”
  • Work out which are the best parts of your body and concentrate
    on promoting those. “Everyone has got something bad about them.
    Just forget about it and look at your good bits. If you spend your
    life trying to better your negative aspects then you will spend
    your life being very negative.”
  • Dress in a way that enhances your individual body shape, don’t
    just go for the latest fashions. Remember that some clothes – like
    hipster jeans – don’t look good on everyone. “If your clothes are
    ill-fitting you’ll find yourself pulling at them to fit properly
    and you’ll end up feeling negative about yourself.”
  • Instead of worrying about the way you look, have a think about
    your other qualities – such as your personality. Everyone has
    characteristics that make them a good person.
  • You can’t change who you are. “Develop you as yourself, not as
    another clone.”
  • Diets don’t work. In the long run people often end up weighing
    more than when they started.
  • Choose who you hang out with carefully. “Be with people because
    you enjoy being with them rather than just because they are cool.
    If somebody expects you to change to fit in then they are not a
    good person to be with.”

Get moving

Exercise is key to achieving a healthy weight but that doesn’t
mean you have to become a sports fanatic. Even if you hate sports
there are certain things you can do in your everyday life that will
boost your activity levels – using the stairs, walking to school,
cleaning your room, going shopping, in fact anything that gets you
up off the sofa and moving around counts as activity.

A step too far

Sometimes people get so wrapped up in worrying about how they
look that they develop an eating disorder. Clues that things could
be getting out of control:

  • Continually thinking about food.
  • Dramatic weight loss
  • Making yourself sick after eating.
  • Exercising too much.
  • Eating unusually large amounts (known as bingeing).
  • Unable to stop dieting.
  • Weighing yourself all the time.

If you are worried about your or a friend’s eating habits then talk
to someone before it gets out of hand.

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