I’ve had the opportunity to teach a couple of exercise classes in my day. The typical audience has been girls age 12-18. Whenever I start a discussion on the benefits of exercise the first suggested benefit is ALWAYS “it makes you skinny.” It bothers me every time. Because I’m a teacher, I twist their answer to make it more truthful and say something like “It is true that exercise can be an effective tool for weight management.” “Skinny” never makes an appearance on the board and I make a mental note to teach a lesson later about positive body image.
I realize that I’ve been blessed with incredible genes. Sometimes I’m convinced that I could eat nothing but hamburgers and sit on the couch all day and never weigh more than 120 lbs. (Although, I’m sure I’d feel awful and my health would be very poor.) My body’s natural state often elicits strange reactions. Women have asked me if I’m anorexic and I’ve been told “you’re so skinny . . . I hate you” numerous times. It makes me sad, and honestly not because people are rude, but because I wish people liked themselves more. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve talked with other women, young and old, and wished I had the courage to give them a big hug and tell them, “You are beautiful.” Because it’s true, and I’m not just talking about personalities.
I don’t know why we as women have such a great tendency to be so judgmental about ourselves – physically and otherwise. I myself have often thought I look too scrawny and I cannot count the number of times in my life that I’ve said, “I don’t have any talents.” Which, without being too prideful, I can tell you is an outright lie. Each and every one of us is beautiful and talented in so many different ways and I wish we’d each remember that more often. Here are a couple of Mormon Message movies that help me remember just how valuable I am as a person. Consider this my hug to you. Oh, and you’re beautiful.