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I just spent the last 45 minutes with my seventeen year old daughter talking about her body, or what she perceives as her “lack thereof” and I found myself wondering if we’ve gotten anywhere in the last few decades regarding this issue.  

My absolutely beautiful teenaged daughter came into my room to show me how “hot” she looks in her new leather jacket. It was a sweet moment—she was feeling good about herself, as she should. She looked so good that I told her to put on her black boots so we could see how they looked together. She happily complied and came back looking like a super model—I’m not kidding. Other than the fact that she’s not tall enough to be one, (I’m not even tall enough at 5’ 71/2“) she truly looked the part. We were both having fun enjoying the fact that she looked so good in her outfit when suddenly she began picking herself apart (something I did regularly at her age). Out of nowhere, she started telling me that she thought that there might be something wrong with her! My jaw dropped—where was this coming from?? Confession time...  

She then proceeded to tell me that in sixth grade something happened that scared her so much that she never shared it with anyone. Something changed her—made her see herself as freakishly different—set her apart from all the other girls. Well, with mouth still agape, I awaited her recollection of the dread fateful incident, and what she told me was more than a little intriguing.  

One day she had to visit the nurse’s office at her middle school and on the wall of that office was a poster—of the stages of development for a female adolescent. "What could be so wrong with that?" you may wonder, as did I. Well, apparently, the poster depicted rather graphically specific and narrow parameters for said stages. And apparently, she didn't identify herself on that poster—at all! Now, I know my daughter, and I know for a fact that there's nothing wrong with the way she looks—on the contrary! All I could think was "My God! Have we made NO progress with regards to body image in this country? Why would such a poster be on the wall of a middle school nurse’s office, considering the vast array of body shapes and sizes, especially in developing teens?  

She was devastated by the poster—so much so, that she's only now able to bring it up—at seventeen years of age and about to enter her senior year of high school.  

We spent the rest of our time talking about how many other girls might have felt the same way when they looked at that poster that said they "should now be a ‘B’ cup” (among other things). What? And then we wondered how many of them were also too afraid to tell anyone that they "weren't normal" because they weren't on that poster. We talked about the fact that it's damaging to have a poster like that up because it doesn't take into account that the world is filled with diversity and that's what makes it beautiful. And we talked about the fact that maybe she could go back there to see if it's still up—and speak out about how adversely it’s shaped her self image.  

Look, getting fit helps you to be the most beautiful, vibrantly healthy you, you can be! If you're struggling with hating the way you look because you don't fit some image in a magazine, it's time to fight back. Too much damage has been done over the years with such narrow minded, shallow garbage. This is about YOU loving YOU enough to take care of yourself! It's about you loving your body because it's yours—and it's the only one you've got. Instead of buying into to that all or nothing craziness, join me in the revolution of loving yourself enough to be fit and healthy—because being healthy and loving yourself, is ALWAYS enough.



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