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THURSDAY, AUGUST 4, 2016
The Rockaway Times
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Body Image
For months I have contem-
plated writing on this topic but I
was hesitant, not really knowing
enough about it or having expe-
rienced a negative body image
myself. I have always been hap-
py with my flaws thinking this
is what God gave me and I am
not going to change anything.
I worked towards being strong
and feeling good. But I began to
become aware of others and their
inaccurate images of themselves.
Social media certainly doesn’t
help anyone who feels the least
bit inadequate. Can we please
stop posting selfies or images
of ourselves in bikinis and yoga
poses with little clothing on our
body? It doesn’t help us, it actu-
ally makes some people feel in-
ferior or that they have to strive
to be this person. Sorry if this
becomes a rant but I am serious
about what we are creating in our
youth. They are beautiful just the
way they are and we don’t want
to change their bodies. We want
to improve and create a healthy
lifestyle where they are solid in
their bodies, minds and spirits.
I was brought up in a family
of seven children and we ate as
much food as we could get our
hands on. We also exercised six
days a week at the YMCA, swim-
ming competitively and work-
ing up a really healthy appetite.
Never were we concerned about
our weight or what we looked
like because we felt pretty good
about ourselves being strong and
healthy. There was no such thing
as no carbs or gluten. The three
major group types: protein, carbs
and vegetables was all we need-
ed on a daily basis. Dessert was
offered to us on Sunday evening
and oh what a treat it was: ice
cream sundaes. No one spoke
of dieting, just eating a balanced
diet, exercising and going to
church to thank God for this life.
Now I am living with my
grown-up college kids and they
are all very focused on what they
look like. They look at their por-
tions and stay away from carbs.
They exercise six days aweek and
are strong and healthy. This I am
very proud of, but I often ques-
tion their reasons for keeping in
shape. Are they concerned about
what they look like or do they ex-
erciseandeat healthybecause it’s
the right thing to do for their in-
ternal bodies? I am all about the
inner workings and not so much
about external. I do not practice
yoga with mirrors because it is
counterproductive to what I be-
lieve in. We work from the inside
andonly thenwill the outside be-
come and feel beautiful. I do not
believe in fasting, dieting or in-
tense extremes of exercise. It is a
slow, steady andpositive practice
of living with good intentions but
nothing excessive. Practicing
yoga in the traditional way gives
me a foundation of awareness.
With this awareness I am happy,
content and full of gratitude for
this body and mind. There is no
such thing as perfect, in fact im-
perfection is normal. Let us teach
our children that they are beau-
tiful and to work towards being
kind to one another. Less judg-
ment andmorepraise. It is awork
in progress but be aware. We are
capable of change without ex-
treme measures. This I know to
be true. Take time to listen, be
quiet and be in your own person-
al space deep within. Namaste
my friends. Be well, be happy, be
content.