Information for Preteens:
Body Science, About Body Image
When your body is changing all the time, it's hard to accept it all at once.
Body image is how you see your body. You only get one body and it's your home, so love the one you have. There are billions of different bodies, and yours is unique. Nobody should tell you how to look or what is acceptable.
All bodies are different. There is no perfect body, no matter what you might see on television or in magazines. Your body is entirely yours – and special. You look like you do because of your genes, and if you eat right and exercise, your body is what it should be.
Even if you do exercise, studies show that your general body shape will always be the same – you can't change it if you have wide shoulders or hips.
Your doctor has charts that describe a range of normal heights and weights for someone of your age. If you exercise, eat right, and fall within those ranges, you are doing just fine. If you fall outside those ranges, your doctor can tell you whether you need to do anything to be healthier.
There is no reason to look a certain way unless it means your health will improve. You should try to follow sensible nutrition, but don't diet unless a doctor tells you to. Exercise regularly, but don't go overboard.
Exercising in moderation and eating right can make you feel good and reduce stress. Going overboard can hurt your health instead.
Even if you want to be taller, shorter, bigger, smaller, or stronger, you'll always be yourself on the inside. Think about why you want to change – who's telling you that you'd be better if you were different? It's probably not coming from you.
Messages from the media, friends, parents, or others influence how individuals think they should look, but that doesn't mean you have to listen. Changing your size or shape won't make you happier, smarter, or more confident. Those things come from the inside out, not the outside in.
If you are worried about your weight, talk to your parents and/or your doctor. Don't take it into your own hands. If you have a friend who is developing strange eating rituals or exercising a lot more than usual, tell an adult. Your friend might be developing an eating disorder that makes them very sick.
No matter how much you wish you had green eyes or size 6 feet, it won't happen. It's best just to accept who you are, because you are one-of-a-kind and fabulous, and you deserve to love who you are.
It's not your body that counts. You are not your stomach or arms. You are you on the inside, and that is what is important.
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