Tag Archives: Health & Fitness

Boosting Plus Size Teens’ Body Image and Self-Esteem in Today’s Image Conscious World

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According to niddk.nih.gov, young people from the ages of two years through nineteen years, the obesity rate has skyrocketed to over 31% In a society whose media is crazed by ultra-thin models, actors, and Instagram stars, this means one of every three teens you meet is at risk for weight-related issues around self-esteem and body image. Given the toll taken by carrying excess weight, it’s as crucial to counteract the emotional strain of obesity, as it is to drop a few pounds.

What Is The Difference Between Body Image and Self-Esteem?

Put simply, self-esteem refers to the sense of inherent internal worthiness a person perceives him or herself to possess. Body image refers to the way they perceive their body, regardless of how it may appear to outside observers. This explains why people who are clearly in excellent condition may feel very critical about their bodies, whereas others, whose physical condition may not appear very healthy, can have extremely high levels of confidence about their physiques.

How Can I Tell Whether My Teen Has A Weight-Related Self-Esteem Problem

Parents and loved ones are often horrified to notice their once-confident teen has slipped into low self-esteem. Teens’ bodies change rapidly, and they face extreme pressure from both peers and the media to look a certain way. As they change schools and peer groups, formerly happy-go-lucky kids may suddenly display clear signs of discontent such as:

• Scrutinizing themselves in the mirror for extended lengths of time

• Excessively negative, criticism of specific body regions

• Comparison to other teens or celebrities

• Anxiety around leaving the home

• Signs of depression/anxiety, like sleeping more or less than normal, withdrawal from social engagements, malaise, or changes in grades

Jump Start The Recovery Process

So much of the teenage years is centered around creating social norms and a coherent sense of self. This sense of self will follow a young person into adulthood, and inform much of how they make pivotal choices and relate to others. That makes it incredibly important and productive to intervene as soon as possible. Helping teens to turnaround self-esteem and body issues will give them healthy physical habits as well as emotional resilience. Luckily, even the most rebellious teenager craves guidance, encouragement, and resources. Use the following steps at home, and you’ll not only improve teens’ physical and emotional well-being, you’ll reinforce the foundations of your relationship.

It Starts With You

Teenagers are more interested in what you do than what you tell them. Do you obsess about your appearance? Become upset when you aren’t satisfied with how you look in the mirror? Your teen is learning how to react to her own appearance by watching your example. Be mindful of more than how you look. Pay attention to how you look at yourself, and how you act toward yourself when you do.

Changing Self-Talk

Teens listen more than they let on. One of the things they soak up like sponges is the manner in which their role models talk about themselves. A young man who hears his father lamenting, “ Ugh. I hate my chest. This gutt is awful. I just have never liked the way I’m built. I guess I have your grandparents to blame for these ugly genes!” will certainly find himself looking at his body in the mirror, cursing his DNA. A young girl who hears her mother saying, “I just look so fat in these pants. I’m embarrassed to leave the house” will look into the mirror at her own image and wonder if she should stay home if she looks a little bloated.

Parents can change this feedback loop of negative self-talk by saying things like, “ I may have gained a few pounds, but I actually like how strong I look!” or “You know, it’s actually kind of nice to be filling out this dress a little differently!” Even better, saying things like, “I love myself at any weight. This body does a lot for me” can convey to your teen that she is also beautiful and productive at any weight.

Emphasize Health Over Weight Loss

The Oxford Health Journal confirms that weight management programs for children and teens may do more harm than good. Focusing on weight seems to chip away at a whole-person standard self-worth in children. Furthermore, according to NBC, even after losing weight, many girls continue to see themselves as overweight. In other words, a few pounds may drop, but negative body image remains. This is a clear indicator that we must all work on the inside first, building self-love that fosters healthy eating and exercise habits.

Move For Joy

When a person appreciates what their body can do, it’s hard not to love the body that does it. A loved body will be cherishes and maintained, making improved health a natural side effect. One of the quickest way to achieve this is through movement. Calories are burned and endorphins are released for relaxation and happiness. It’s a combination that makes movement a top tool for achieving whole-person health. In kids, this can be as easy as dancing, or adopting a yoga practice. Yoga, with its emphasis on non-judgmental approaches to individual bodies and internal balance, is of particular usefulness. Even severely overweight teens can put a mat down in a bedroom, throw on yoga tanks and a pair of shorts, and start.

The Prescribed Vacation: Why Travel is Good for your Health

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Most people look forward to their yearly vacation. Whether it’s just a short weekend here or a week there, getting away can have a great effect on your overall outlook. However, did you realize that a vacation can also help you to improve your overall wellbeing? It may sound bizarre, but a week by the sea or exploring an ancient city can help you be healthier.

Many people are skipping their vacation because of work demands, money, stress, or the ill effects caused from the time away. On average, the U.S. employee takes about 16 days off per year as of 2013. In 2000, the average was 20 days per year. When you deprive yourself of a much-needed break, you can cause damaging effects to your health. The stress overload is enough to kill you. Being able to immerse yourself in new surroundings can boost your brain power and allow your body to recharge. Here are five reasons why you should take a break. Continue reading

Five Reasons to Smile… A lot!

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“You always look happy.” One of my neighbors said this to me once while out walking my dogs. Guess I was caught smiling again.

A smile can make a positive impact in any situation. It’s contagious. This is something we need to remember now that the holidays are here. You can enjoy those holiday parties and meals more by simply smiling.

The holidays are an opportunity to help reinforce the values and beliefs that are important to us. Yet many people feel overwhelmed and complain that they just want to survive the holidays. That’s a red-flag that values are taken for granted and you should adjust the traditions that have been set.

Even if you don’t feel “it” or aren’t in the moment, the simple act of smiling can change that perspective. Who cares if your Aunt Betty brings a casserole dish over for Christmas dinner that you won’t eat and find kind of gross? Focus on the good things happening. It’s best to just smile and be thankful for the moment to be there together. Continue reading

4 Things Harvard Researchers Have to Say About Yoga

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Yoga is a term that means different things to different people. For some people, yoga is an exercise – a way to strengthen and tone the body and improve flexibility and coordination. For other people, yoga is a spiritual discipline – a way of life that includes but is not limited to the physical postures. For still others, yoga represents a combination of these factors.

For Harvard researchers, however, yoga is increasingly showing itself to be a source of significant health benefits quantifiable through the latest cutting-edge research practices. In this article, learn about four important things Harvard researchers have discovered while studying yoga. Continue reading

Exercise Can Save Your Life and Your Money

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You can build an exercise program that will improve your mental health, your physical stamina and your future. All of these benefits can be yours with very little investment but for your time and the desire to take better care of yourself.

Start Small

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Moving your body through space is easy and extremely healthful. Adding just sixty minutes of brisk walking per week can help you maintain a healthy weight and reduce your risk of type-2 diabetes. All you need are some comfy shoes! Continue reading

Intent of the Day: Best for Our Bodies

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It was this year that we got serious about our diets- how much sugar we were consuming, how much we were dining out, how many miles we were running. In little ways, we edged out the processed foods and replaced it for real food and it wasn’t very long before momentary relapses produced interesting results. A cupcake before was barely a speed bump but now it could bring on a headache within several minutes. When there was a routine schedule for eating, it could get messy to deviate from it. It was then that our team started to notice that our bodies really did have something to say! We just hadn’t noticed before because the airwaves were so noisy with all the things coming and going: stress, processed foods, children, spouses, dates, vacations, the list goes on and on.

So today our intent is to listen to our bodies and find what works best. Not every meal plan, exercise regimen or relaxation technique will work for you. Your job is to listen and notice.
Ready to listen too? Here are 3 resources to help: Continue reading

Intent of the Day: More Water

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We’re continuing with nutritional goals this week by drinking more water. How much is enough? You probably grew up hearing that 8 cups is the official goal, but is that still the case? The truth is it depends on things like our age, gender, and activity level. You can decide what is right for you here. Once  you know, join in on this intent to drink more water.

You too? Here are 3 resources to help: Continue reading

Intent of the Day: Cut Down on the Sugar

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Setting food goals is an important step for us in getting balanced nutritionally. This is why we decided to get a jump on one of the toughest aspects of eating- curbing the sugar.
It’s in everything at this point and there is so much to learn about sugar alternatives, processed sugars, even natural sugars like honey. In the meantime, our intent is to cut down on the sugar. 
You too? Here are three resources to help: Continue reading

Ten Tips on Feeling Beautiful from The Inside Out

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When you meet someone who is truly beautiful it’s not just the way they look that makes you take notice. Beautiful people glow and radiate self-confidence and inner peace that is hard not to notice. Here are ten tips to creating the most authentic and beautiful version of yourself. Continue reading

Why Making Time for Vacation is Important

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Family vacations were a high point for me growing up. It was a time to explore and learn about the world. We didn’t have a lot of money and that required a bit of creativity. I consider myself lucky that my parents took the time for breaks in their schedule to spend time with us.

A simple definition of ‘vacation’ is a time when someone is away from home, school or work, in order to relax or travel. I like to think of it as an intermission from your normal, daily life.

Many of us have a tendency to push ourselves too much and ignore the chronic stress that comes with that constant drive to achieve something.  In the U.S. we tend to take “time off” for granted and treat it as a type of luxury. It’s not. We all need a break.

Expedia did a study called Vacation Deprivation and found that a vacation for most can just be “a remote office away from the office.” People are still engaging with work, taking calls, and checking email regularly (guilty!).  And a lot of paid vacation goes unused for various reasons.

We’ve all had a conversation about work-life balance and its relevance. But are you actually doing something to create that needed healthy balance?

After our recent family vacation before school started, it was a great reminder that taking a break – a vacation – is healthy and a key part of stress reduction. Here are 7 reasons why it’s important to schedule vacation on a regular basis: Continue reading

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