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Love your body, just not too much!

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JUNE 27, 2013

All of us have those friends who seek advice on whether or not that fourth goldfish cracker should be eaten. And God forbid they end up actually eating that fourth goldfish, worth 2 1/2 calories, leading them to talk about how “fat” they are, leaving you questioning your body as you munch on your 55th goldfish. You end up swearing that you’ll never eat in front of them again.

Okay, maybe the details were dramatized, but there are those people whose definition of health has the potential to be not-so-healthy.

This “love your body” vibe is a welcome change in perspective concerning the topic of body image. It has fostered a communal sense of acceptance of all types of bodies and has strengthened groups of people, such as mothers, through this campaign. Sure, manipulated photographs of “perfect” men and women will probably still make their way onto the covers of many magazines for a while, but nevertheless, this newly adopted outlook is a step in the right direction.

Adopting a healthy lifestyle has become a part of the process of truly loving your body. Organic foods, or at least nonprocessed foods, are the new craze. Active wear is a new fad, considering physical fitness has become a priority for many people. Websites promoting healthy living and gyms now have a community feel and are more popular than they ever were before.

There is a noticeable, positive difference in the way the issue of body image is addressed, and while this movement for living healthy has stayed genuine for so long, it has become infected with bad intentions over time.

While nutritious foods are indeed healthy, structuring a diet around only a few foods can be unhealthy, such as eating only raw vegetables for all three major meals, neglecting the other groups in the food pyramid. This unbalanced may lead to short-term results such as expedited weight loss, and at first, it seems like a good change. But it will eventually harm your body as it seeks the vitamins it lacks. This can lead to compulsive calorie-counting in pursuit of the ideal body that tabloids advertise, which can distract a person from the bigger purpose of this campaign — to make the right choices as you learn to love your body.

A prime example is the booming fitness program called CrossFit. These highly intense workouts can be physically detrimental if you go about doing it yourself or are not trained by an excellent and experienced coach. One can say that this is a given when attempting any fitness program, but Crossfit can especially lead to serious injuries, like herniated discs, if cautionary steps are not taken, like choosing a gym with coaches whom you trust will come up with the smartly constructed workouts. This program has taken working out to a whole new level making it competitive and serious. CrossFit requires unwavering commitment for results and will inevitably become addicting — too severe for my taste.

It truly is wonderful that there is a keen desire to love our bodies, but it is important not to be misled or make uninformed choices about what is believed to be healthy living in pursuit of the perfect body. Also, as we grow as a collective to praise and adopt healthy lifestyles, it will become easier to pass judgment on others who choose not to take any fitness regimes, forgetting that part of this campaign is to be accepting and understanding of the fact that healthy bodies can take on many different body types. Ultimately, whether one chooses to eat 168 or two goldfish, it is his or her choice.

Monica Mikhail contemplates the truth of the matter in her Thursday blog. Contact Monica Mikhail at [email protected].

JUNE 28, 2013

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