Good Health and Self-Love
As a healthcare and self-love and acceptance enthusiast, prioritize women's empowerment. I am specifically attracted to work with teenage and young adult women. I have witnessed too many instances where women's worth is valued by how they appear and how they submit. Not only do these sort of body-idealizations harm girls who do not fit the “ideal” body type, but these statements also damage women and girls who do have these body types.
These “ideal” women and girls are at risk for believing their worth lies only in their appearance. Instead of focusing on the objective of creating and promoting healthy lifestyles, our society is inadvertently spitting out rules and regulations. This causes many of us to become unhappy and at risk for experiencing health complications, both mentally and physically.
When I was a child, I was overweight, and according to my electronic medical record, I found out that at one point in my childhood a doctor wrote that I was obese. I am no longer obese or overweight, but for a time I did experience many development issues because of my unhealthy eating habits and lack of physical activity. I had very low self-esteem as early as eight years old, I felt exhausted and sluggish, and I had difficulty concentrating on tasks at school. Childhood obesity occurs when children's body mass index is at or above the 95th percentile for children of the same age and sex. In turn, children with a high body mass index are at risk for being diagnosed with metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome encompasses a range of different risk factors which include developing cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and other severe health issues later in adolescence and adulthood.
The way to prevent these health risks is not by body-shaming children into thinness, but by creating and maintaining an environment in which healthy foods, such as whole grains, fresh fruit and vegetables, and protein, are readily available. When consistent physical activity is possible, children are able to sleep the recommended number of hours every night, and the environmental stress factors are removed or reduced.
Not all families live in an area or have the financial means to ensure all of these factors for a healthy lifestyle can be provided for their children. Unsurprisingly, the rate of childhood obesity, in the United States, continues to grow. The issue of poor eating habits and lack of physical activity is not merely an individual’s problem; it is a national problem. Unhealthy foods, which contain products high in artificial sugars and saturated fats, are sold in stores at a fraction of the price for healthier foods. Additionally, while there are standardized tests and procedures done to measure children’s reading and mathematical skills in schools, there is no standard for teaching children healthy behaviors.
I could go on and on about how our country’s healthcare system while amazing at performing secondary and tertiary procedures after someone has developed a dangerous health condition, it fails at promoting and teaching preventive measures to minimize risks for contradicting preventable health conditions and diseases.
For clarity, I am not promoting the idea that all individuals should look a certain way or have the same body weights and measurements. There are natural differences in body types and sizes. As well as different interests–some people enjoy running long distances, while others cannot stand to run at all. There is nothing wrong with treating oneself to a favorite dessert or skipping a day at the gym. Many times, these treats can be valuable for mental well-being. The real health issues at hand in the U.S. are the severe health conditions caused by unhealthy lifestyles and self-hatred.
Too many women are made to feel as if they are ugly or less than for not appearing the same way other women do in magazines, on runways, and on television. A healthy lifestyle is not simply built on looking a certain way. There are cases where someone may be considered to be at the “optimal” weight, but they are not practicing healthy eating or favorable treatment towards themselves. We need to work together in creating standards for positive self-talk and implementing education towards healthy eating habits and physical activity.