Transforming the way you see yourself one post-it note at a time
Meghan – thank you so much for sharing your experience! It’s so important to hear about these girls and gain inspiration from what they’ve accomplished. I think everyone can relate – every girl sees something she wishes she could change or improve about her body. Shopping for clothes, wearing a bathing suit, etc. are experiences that can challenge our self-esteem, our sense of self-worth, and our confidence. But, as you explain in your story, surrounding yourself with positivity and support is essential in breaking from these challenges. As someone who often struggles with weight and body issues (as we all have), I am lucky to have amazing friends and family who discourage any negative self-thinking and motivate me everyday through their love and encouragement to look at myself in a positive light.
Meghan, thank you again for sharing your story!
It was heartbreaking to read of your story, when I kept reminding myself that these girls at your camp are only 11 years old. This should be the least of their worries at this time, instead it’s the biggest. I strongly agree with your idea of positive word encouragement. I hope to be able to do the same and let people realize how special they really are. It is amazing to see how quickly someone’s attitude can change after losing even just a few pounds. Overall, Meghan sounds like you did some good change in these girls lives. Mothers all around would be proud to see you take an intiative.
This was an amazing article! As someone who frequents this blog often, it is always great to read such inspriational words. I’m so pleased to hear that you’ve impacted so many young girls lives already – I wish I can do the same some day! Growing up, I was always ashamed of my large calves and thighs but it is great to know that I am not going through these things alone. In recent years, I have come to accept and love my own body. It’s not perfect, but it’s mine!! I couldn’t have come to this without the help of my loving friends and family. Surrounding yourself with people who think you’re beautiful just the way you are helps you to realize that you are indeed beautiful. Thanks again for this amazing article!
Our society is so focussed on looks and weight. I love your insight that girls have to love themselves first. Self esteem is is number one! thanks for sharing your stories and experiences.
Meghan, your story is so inspirational! As a student in high school, I see many people who could benefit immensely from some self-confidence. I agree that people would feel much better about themselves if we could eliminate all negative attitudes and replace them with love and support. Thank you so much.
As the mother of a overweight 13 year old daughter. I know your side of the story. My daughter is constantly stressing about her looks, yet I always try to remind her how beautiful she truly is to her dad and I. I try my best to be as loving as possible, however a lot of the girls at school, unfortunately get the best of her. All of us mothers need to remember that our children are God’s gifts to us. They are truly perfect.
Meghan, Thanks for your wonderful article with its insight into a problem near and dear to my heart. Women are so easily the target in our male dominated/double standard world. I hope that more people can get the message and change their built in prejudices.
Meghan–Thank you for your eloquent words. As the mother of two girls, I try and remember that my words and actions can have a powerful influence on them. Instead of looking in the mirror and finding fault in what I see, I try and say positive words about my own appearance. And when my daughters are critical of their own appearance, I point out their many positive attributes and remind them of their beauty–both inside and out!
Meghan – Thank you for your touching – and informative – sharing about your experiences with overweight girls. How fortunate they are to have ended up with a knowledgable and caring counselor like you.
In my work as a therapist at UT Southwestern EAP, I sometimes meet adult women with the same self-critical thoughts as you describe the young girls having. Those messages that girls absorb when they are young only get more difficult to manage as they get older and have even more exposure to negative outside influences. I agree – – a great sense of self begins on the inside. We can support one another’s innate value as women, encourage each other’s self-care practices, like exercise, healthy eating, and life/work balance, and we can praise and recognize one another’s unique gifts, such as compassion, musical or artistic talent, and intelligence, creativity, and humor.
I wholeheartedly support your “transformative crusade” – to encourage, support and lift up women of all ages.
You said it well: We are “enough”, just as we are.
Meghan–thank you for sharing your thoughts and experiences. As a young woman I can’t even count the hours I have spent analyzing my weight, my body and my appearance. It is so important for women of all ages to embrace who they are and love themselves inside and out. It is heartbreaking to hear about such young women pressuring themselves to fit an ideal so often impossible to achieve. Women are beautiful in every shape and size and it is because of the support of advocates like you that we are able to change the reflection we see in the mirror, embracing who we truly are.
Great blog! I echo the comments above — beauty is found within, and we should have that be our reflection to the world.
Wonderful blog! truly inspirational words! It breaks my heart to hear that girls at such a young age are already so worried about their looks and feel so pressured to fit an impossible norm. I’m uplifted, though, to read all the feedback above and know that there are people out there who value what is on the inside! It took a while for me to appreciate myself, but I do realize that in order to feel good we must love ourselves! we are all beautiful, strong women (and men)!
As the mother of three teenagers, two boys and a girl, I can assure you that boys are not immune from weight-related bullying, although I would tend to say that the problem is more apparent with girls. Parents can make a huge difference in their children’s lives by openly discussing with their kids the fallacy of equating beauty with personal worth. Every teenager will struggle at some point with feelings of inadequacy, and the kids without a strong support system of friends and family are especially vulnerable. It’s great to see this problem being addressed, and hopefully reduced. Great article!
Meghan demonstrates great insight and compassion in her article about disordered eating and body image in young girls. As a registered dietitian, I am cognizant of how the constant barrage of publicity on childhood obesity tends to tip otherwise sensible parents into becoming overly-anxious and reactive when they see their children gain weight. Parents can make a huge difference in their children’s lives by reinforcing less superficial views of beauty and providing unconditional love and regard. Thank you for increasing awareness in this important health area.
Great post! It is wonderful that these girls had an advocate that felt so passionate about the cause! Keep it up!
Great article! The statistics you cited are pretty astounding to someone somewhat removed from this age group. I’d be interested to see if those numbers match parents’ and teachers’ perceptions, or if they still are surprisingly high. This is a great reminder to look at the whole person, not just appearance. Thanks!
I strongly agree with the influence that parents have on girls’ body image. Whether they would like to admit it or not, teenage girls look to their parents as sources of wisdom. And when words of affirmation are replaced with negative comments about weight and appearance, it destroys the safe environment home should be, away from the teasing from peers and pressure from advertisements constantly featuring women with the perfect body type.
Its sad that all this happens to be true and not only a story. I am a high school student and have actually have seen these things or comments about oneself. Even I sometimes stand myself in a mirror and start to point out the things i don’t like about my body. I know I might be the least person to be complaining about my body but we sometimes cant help it. I believe the media and magazines have a huge take in this situation. Many girls who are over weight try to hide their body because they don’t have the body of the girls in bikini magazines. Bulling, I have witnessed in reality shows and so but I have not been a witness of someone being bullied in person to a point where they are affected major. In fact in my school there has been times where are friends are always encouraging us with “girl your not fat” , or “girl your fine ” we get our confidence boosted. Even though i believe its the inner mind of the person. I have seen many girls who are not the thinnest nor tallest yet they have more confidence than even my self. They know they do not look like the rest of the girls yet they believe they are the most beautiful of them all. Its hard to make someone realize they are perfect the way they are yet its all up to them if they accept to open up and see for themselves. But for now all we have to do is encourage and keep trying to open their eyes and see how there is nothing wrong with being different shapes and sizes.
I think you’re right about focusing on stopping day-to-day body issues. I really don’t think anyone is immune to negative thoughts about eating and weight, and it is something we all need to work on in ourselves. I totally agree with banning the words fat and ugly from our vocabulary, that would be the best first step for everyone. Thank you for calling this problem to our attention.
What a great job you did taking your summer to do this type of things that shows what kind of great person you are (: I agree us as tennagers shouldnt worry to much about looks but more about many other things. Like the future we have ahead of us. Because appearnce is not going to take you anywhere in life.
I can tell what a great person you are by taking ur time during the summer to do these kinds of things /: Is true many young people like this happen and is just wrong . The appearence of someone in my perspective this dosent take u no where in life. Instead of worrying about this kimd of things everyone should worry about the future and stuff.
Meghan, what an wonderful article! Thanks for sharing your ideas and experiences. It is obvious that you and your campers had a great experience, each learning valuable life lessons! We change the world one person at a time, doing their part in the chain of kindnesses necessary for the transformation. Thanks for the call to action!!
Reading this article is heartbreaking. Most of the us girls or guys have problem of being over weight or not being to good enough to anybody view. Personally, I believe we feel this way because most people rely on looking at magazines, models, television, mainly is the media over coming with our perspective views on life. We don’t have that encouragement that we want to have, but we all are all beautiful in the outside exact as in the inside. What we all just need to do have that great encouragement with one another, even if we don’t know that person. Giving any compliment to anybody can and will light up someone’s day.
Meghan, It’s heartwarming that you’re so passionate about such a delicate issue. And yes, how fortunate your campers were to be under your care! Despite what society/media leads us to believe, all body types are beautiful, but not as beautiful as the spirited young women they hold on their life journeys. Best of luck to you!
Meg, you’re amazing! It’s so wonderful to read about your experience, and I also agree that eliminating fat and ugly are great ideas. Often, my friends and family members (usually very thin women) tell me they feel fat, and I always counteract those statements. And sometimes I am insecure about weight and body issues too, even though I know I shouldn’t be. I also agree that the media has a lot to do with how women view themselves, and unfortunately most of the models are incredibly skinny – to the point of unhealthiness.
But I think that with inspirational ideas like yours, and the camp, we can begin to make positive changes. Thank you so much!! 🙂
Meghan: With intelligent, articulate people like you advocating change in the way we all think and act, I believe change is possible. In fact, you’ve already had an effect on me. I too easily find fault with people rather than responding with compassion. Your first-hand experience, conveyed so well in your writing, encourages me to re-examine the way I react.
Thank you for all that you are doing for these young women. It is so important that these ladies not only get support and encouragement on body image from parents but also from someone who is an outsider. It seems girls are placed under much scrutiny about body size, complexion, and clothes beginning at a terribly young age. Parents as well as mentors need to build these ladies up from the moment they can comprehend social interactions and identify differences in body shape. Parents also need to teach and demand tolerance and kindness of all. God has made each person special regardless of size, skin color, or financial situation. Ladies, hold your head high!!!
Meghan, thanks for sharing your story and raising awareness of a problem in our society that continues to unfortunately increase. I was surprised to learn that most of this negativity starts with family members and close friends. I commend you on shedding light to this issue, and join you in supporting others. We are all special in our own unique way! As you put it – we are ALL strong, smart and beautiful!!
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *