When my friends from the Strong Women Fellowship told me our upcoming speaker was a food blogger, I expected someone preaching about the importance of a good, healthy meal and how to change our diets. I was incorrect.
Whitney Fisch, a high school counselor, trainer and food blogger, spoke to our group about something completely different: She said that in order to be healthy, you don’t have to have the perfect body. Healthy comes in many sizes. As a teenage girl, the pressure of social media can lead to bad thoughts reflecting on your body. I can admit, seeing pictures of my friends in a bikini on Instagram makes me have bad thoughts on my body. With Whitney speaking to us about body positivity, it opened my eyes to think that I have a body just as beautiful.
An activity that Whitney had us do was closing our eyes and she gave us common statements that we might relate to, such as “raise your hand if you ever have negative thoughts about your body.” We raised our hands if that statement pertains to us. I raised my hand to almost everything she said. After, she shared the number of people who raised their hand to every question. It felt so good to hear that I’m not alone for feeling bad about my body. So many girls feel poorly about themselves, simply because they compare themselves to others.
Knowing that other girls feel the same way is comforting, but it also angers me. I wish I would stop feeling this way, and more importantly, I wish others would stop feeling poorly about themselves. People should be able to walk past a mirror and say “I love how I look” instead of saying, “I wish I looked like…” .
So many people often beat themself up for eating so-called “bad” food. Diet culture has led us to believe that eating something with less nutritional value is wrong for your body.
People who are underweight may go through the same hardships. People often tell them to eat more or eat something high in calories. They might be self-conscious because they’re smaller than others. Also, they might have the pressure of people telling them to stay skinny.
Small or large, everyone has their own problems. We can’t say things to others that may impact them mentally. We need to start being more positive to others, and especially to ourselves.
Pheobe Kaplan is a freshman at Riverwood International Charter School in Sandy Springs.
The Strong Women Fellowship is a program of JumpSpark, a nonprofit offering resources for genuine connection and growth to empower and educate Jewish teens in Atlanta. JumpSpark partners with VOX ATL to share the voices of teens through the Strong Women Fellowship teen empowerment program.