February 22 to 28 is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. We'll be sharing information about this important issue throughout the week, from what to do if you or a friend is suffering from an eating disorder to how to love your body just the way it is! Be sure to check out all of our content here.
The never-ending stream of TV shows and ads about losing more weight, getting smaller waists and achieving skinnier legs makes it seem as if you aren't beautiful until you've tried the latest fad diet and managed to squeeze into a size negative two dress. Let's admit it: the constant pressure for self-improvement can get a bit exhausting! What happened to appreciating your body just the way it is?
It's easy to forget about all the amazing things your body is doing every moment you talk, walk, think and breathe. It works hard around the clock to keep you functioning so you're able to attend all of your classes, go to sports practices and enjoy your favorite extracurricular activities. So instead of striving to make your body look impossibly perfect, show yourself some love by appreciating your body's strength, functionality and beauty. Take a look below at nine reasons why your body is truly amazing!
1. Your Eyes
Your eyes can process 36,000 bits of information every hour, distinguish about 10 million colors and also express your colorful personality—those are definitely some eye-catching qualities! Kelsey Mulvey, former HC editor, loves her eyes because they "look super brown one day, and oddly green the next,” she says. “Personally, I love it! I feel like you can't accurately describe my hair and eye color. Instead, I'm uniquely myself.”
2. Your Nose
Your nose lends character to your face and makes you recognizable. You wouldn't look your beautiful self without the one that you have right now! Your nose can also remember 50,000 different scents (an excuse to go perfume shopping), and it's a fact that women are born better smellers than men and stay better smellers for the rest of their lives. Let's also not forget that your nose makes it possible for you to experience all of those amazingly delicious flavors whenever you dig into a meal, since flavors result from a combination from both taste and smell. Loving your nose makes perfect scents (pun intended)!
3. Your Arms
Your strong arms allow you to do everything from hugging to playing sports, and they can even be used as a canvas for art. University of Rochester senior Katherine Varga says, "I really like my arms because they're covered with freckles. When I'm bored, I connect the dots on them to form constellations."
4. Your Chest
Has any other body part ever been so celebrated in art, literature, pop culture or life in general? From paintings of Greek goddesses and pictures of pin-up girls to modern-day lingerie ads, there’s a lot of hype about that region of our bodies. No matter which bra size you wear, be proud of your femininity. After all, you're #flawless!
5. Your Stomach/Waist
Women have a lot of guts—literally! The lower portion of the colon, called the sigmoid colon, tends to be longer in women than in men. Also, about 80 percent of your immune system resides in your gut, so you can thank your stomach for keeping you strong and healthy.
6. Your Hips
It's basically historically proven that curves are beautiful (think the original supermodels of the past and Kim Kardashian and Beyoncé of today). It's also scientifically proven that smart women have curvy hips, so embrace yours!
7. Your Butt
Your glutes are a powerful muscle group that represents both power and femininity. The gluteus maximus is the biggest muscle in your entire body and allows you to walk and run upright. It also doesn't hurt that your assets make your new pair of jeans look amazing! It's no wonder that both Jennifer Lopez and Kylie Minogue have insured their backsides for millions.
8. Your Thighs/Legs
It takes 200 muscles to take just a single step, so your legs are a real powerhouse! Your thighbone is stronger than concrete and is the longest bone in your body, measuring about a quarter of your height. Bigger thighs have also been linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease later in life. Strong legs are so in! Just look at Queen Bey—she doesn't have a thigh gap, but she's considered one of the most beautiful women in the world. Her thighs even have their own Facebook fan page!
9. Your Skin
Your skin does so much more than make you look presentable—without it, you'd just evaporate! It also guards the body against extreme temperatures, sunlight, chemicals and infections. It's magically recuperative and elastic; humans shed about 600,000 particles of skin per hour, so your entire outer layer of skin replaces itself once a month like a waterproof, self-cleaning fortress (talk about a new you!).
So the next time that little negative voice in your head starts to say mean things about your body, remember all the wonderful things your body does for you. Admire all your body parts equally, because each is an extension of who you are. Love and respect your body, and it will love and respect you back!
Go ahead and treat yourself to some pizza, indulge in some chocolate or take a nice, long bubble bath (or all three!) —your body deserves it. Beauty comes in all sizes, shapes and forms; always remember that your body is already beautiful just the way it is.
Think you might be suffering from an eating disorder? The National Eating Disorders Association has a free and confidential screening to help you determine next steps. If you're looking for more information, be sure to call the NEDA helpline. Looking for ways to help spread the word? Find out how you can get involved on your campus.