Kate Winslet is one of the curvier Hollywood stars around. Her curves are beautiful and make her the gorgeous woman that she is. Unlike other stars, she does not try to hide her curves. Instead, she flaunts them…obviously she loves her body.
Recently, this beautiful quote from Kate Winslet that was featured on bodyheart.com caught my eye.
Asian culture being more conservative than Western culture, it’s very unlikely that here in Singapore we would have heard our mothers, aunts or elder sisters say they love their bodies either.
But this quote certainly opened my eyes to issues surrounding body image.
As mums ourselves, is this something we should be saying to our own children? I think it is. Children – especially girls – are swamped by images from every imaginable source about what the perfect female body should look like.
From well before their teen years, children are already forming an image in their mind about ‘the perfect female body’. In fact, over 80% of Singaporean girls in their early teens are not happy with the way they look.
This is unhealthy on so many levels and can lead to a variety of physical and psychological issues if not nipped in the bud. And who better to help children develop a positive physical outlook than their very own mothers?
Perhaps you are thinking “easier said than done”. Many of us as mums have our very own body image issues that in some cases start from the moment we find out we are pregnant.
It’s no secret that pregnancy causes rapid changes to our bodies – from enlarged breasts to giant tummies, stretchmarks to acne – it’s the full package of body changes within less than a year!
But all you mums reading this know the changes don’t just stop at pregnancy. Post-baby bodies can, to some of us, be very confronting too.
The tummy that never seems to go away; the stretchmarks that look like a zebra’s been imprinted on you; the breasts that change shape forever; hair-loss…the list goes on.
And it doesn’t help when we, as mothers, are also bombarded with images from every direction about how we should look.
A photo posted by Jamie Yeo (@iamjamieyeo) on
From Singapore celebs like Jamie Yeo who have the perfect post-natal bodies, to beauty salons inviting us to come try their miraculous fat-burning, hair-loss stopping, stretch-mark erasing magic potions…it’s overwhelming to say the least!
If these images are so influential on us as adults, imagine the effect they have on the impressionable young minds of our kids?
So then how do we teach our children about building a positive body image? Perhaps first learning to love our body and appreciating the miracle that it is, is the way to go.
Building a positive body image…next page please!
Learn to love your body! As women, we are all beautiful.
7 steps to a positive body image
1. Appreciate everything your body can do. You grew a baby inside you who your body gave birth to and nourished with milk it made – if that’s not amazing, what is? Stretch marks? More like proud love-marks, and each wrinkle on your belly is a testimonial to the beautiful child YOU created (ok, with a bit of help from your partner)!
2. Remind yourself constantly that “true beauty” is not skin-deep. When you feel good about yourself, you carry yourself with a sense of confidence that automatically makes you beautiful. Beauty is a state of mind, not a state of body.
3. Look at yourself as a whole person. When you look in a mirror, don’t focus on specific body parts. See yourself as a whole person.
Beauty is not skin deep!
4. Wear clothes that are comfortable and that make you feel good about your body. Work with your body, not against it.
5. Start critiquing social and media messages that promote unrealistic body-image expectations. Pay attention to images or attitudes that make you feel bad about yourself or your body. Protest about these messages.
6. Do something nice for yourself. Let your body know you appreciate it. Take a bubble bath, get a massage or make time for a nap.
7. If you can, find time for some exercise. This helped me immensely in losing (much of!) my post-pregnancy weight after I had my second child. It also helped me re-build confidence in my own body.
Once you are able to appreciate your own body for what it is, and what YOU are, saying that you just love how you look in front of your children becomes natural and genuine.
As Steve Maraboli says in his book “Unapologetically You: Reflection on Life and the Human Experience”:
“There is nothing more rare, nor more beautiful, than a woman being unapologetically herself; comfortable in her perfect imperfection. To me, that is the true essence of beauty.”
Do you love your body? Take our poll below: