On Nov. 7, BBC released an article describing the fears students experience at the gym due to issues with confidence and body image.
More than one-third of girls ages 14 and up experience insecurities while exercising and hate having people watch them, BBC reported.
Time magazine published an article earlier this year stating that the use of anabolic steroids mostly occurs in young men looking to improve the appearance of their bodies, not in athletes looking to increase performance.
While the issues with body image have been covered for years, its prevalence has not decreased.
We at the Scroll believe quality of life is not made up of your physical attributes. A healthy life is compiled of making choices that will improve and benefit your short– and long-term wellness.
Fifty-eight percent of college–aged women feel the need to be a certain weight, Statistic Brain reported. Using this statistic and BYU-Idaho fall enrollment numbers, approximately 11,600 female students experience these feelings.
Men feel the pressure as well. ScienceDaily published a report last year, stating 20-40 percent of men are dissatisfied with their weight, muscle tone and physical appearance.
With BYU-I fall enrollment statistics and if male students follow this trend, up to 5,000 men’s feelings align with these beliefs.
For myself, I’ve struggled with this issue since the fifth grade. I have never been that “ideal” girl in my mind, mostly due to how I look physically. I decided last year that I was going to change. Instead of experiencing the dreaded “freshman 15,” my goal was to achieve negative 15 pounds.
Now that in theory sounds great. Especially if done through the implementation of safe and healthy practices. The problem is that I didn’t take that route.
I met my goal but to get there, a lot of days I only ate one meal. I left for classes early in the morning and would not eat until I went home, anywhere between five and seven p.m. Late meals allowed me to head to bed not feeling hungry.
I look back at that decision and I can see how it influenced my routines. When I went back home I weighed myself constantly; every morning, before I would go out and sometimes again in the evenings. I was obsessed with seeing the numbers go down.
Coming back to school this semester I decided to take SCI 204, The American Epidemic. In that class, my teacher, Jason Shaw, issued an assignment to us to exercise for 150 minutes every week, spreading it out over at least three days, for the entire semester.
Along with promoting exercise, Shaw teaches the science behind fueling your body, good nutrition and ways to improve wellness, along with possible health risks resulting from improper care of your body.
The most impactful thing Shaw teaches students is that you exercise and take care of your body because it will make you feel good. Not because it makes you look good. But taking this advice will make you look good eventually.
This sentiment, although by no means revolutionary, clicked. I could continue to skip meals and lose weight, but that would not better the true measurements of my health.
Needless to say, I do not keep a scale in my apartment.
Wellness, as defined by Dictionary.com, does not mean just being physically healthy. It includes the implementation of habits that will benefit mental health as well.
Reader’s Digest reported that implementing exercise and proper diet can help improve depression, feelings of fatigue, the immune system and increase your life span.
By taking baby steps towards a better lifestyle, we can begin to make strides in achieving a truly healthy and happy life.
An article with an opinion and story about dealing with body image will not change the struggles that others face. Becoming educated on the effects of our choices though, both good and bad, can steer us in a direction that creates positive change both physically and mentally.
While being physically beautiful does not define our ability to live, achieve our goals or determine our worth, taking care of ours bodies and mental health will make us fit to live life to the fullest.