I found this picture a few years ago and was shocked at how tiny I looked! My arms were so scrawny! I remember thinking back then I was “fat” and had weight to lose. I would spend almost two hours in the gym some days. I wish I could go back and slap my former self! 😳
When I was a teacher, I always started our mental health chapter by showing this picture and beginning the discussion of body dysmorphia. I would explain that sometimes you can’t see what others see, especially when it comes to your body.
Body dismorphia by definition is the obsessive idea that some aspect of one’s own body part or appearance is severely flawed and warrants exceptional measures to hide or fix their dysmorphic part.
This was a topic I actually spent two days on in both my health and leadership classes. Body dismorphia has become so prevalent, especially with the amount of social media channels now available.
Two days may seem like a long time to discuss a topic like body dismorphia but you’d be amazed at how into the topic they got! Kids will tell you the struggles of social media and how it affects their view of themselves. It’s brutal for kids now days. Its just my opinion, but I’m thankful I grew up in a time with no social media and cellphones that didn’t take pictures!
One of my favorite discussion questions to ask was “if we did away with social media (yes I know we never will but let’s just say hypothetically) would body dismorphia be less prevalent?”
We then followed up with a question like….. “do you think social media makes kids/teens now days tougher or weaker?” This question led to a full day of back and forth discussion (most of the time). In my leadership class we actually used it as a debate question when we did our debate section.
I was so incredibly impressed by the raw honesty of some of the kids in my classes. I was pretty quiet in HS and was always afraid to share my opinion for fear of ridicule. Obviously that’s changed now! 😂
I have my moments where I’m critical of myself, but I think I’m more logical now. Maybe that’s something that comes with age. But I look back at old pictures vs current and I feel like I know what “healthy” looks like now on my body. I also use social media as a tool! I love to read what new recipes people are trying or how other moms are getting through similar struggles. Yes social media has negative aspects and some people use it to vent and complain. But if you ignore all of that there are some really fantastic people out there in the world talking about so many great things. Find those people who encourage you and follow them! Remember, positivity breeds positivity! 💙