My Best Advice to You: Love Yourself

As women we used to play with our dolls and often see little girls playing with their Barbie's... but what happens when they grow up wanting to look just like her?
A new survey conducted by teen magazine, Girlfriend suggests that 60% of the 1005 females surveyed do not think they are beautiful. Faced daily with stick-thin models, celebrities and other influential women it is easy to see why females constantly battle with their own confidence, body issues and self-worth. The age range of the teens and young adults surveyed by Girlfriend was 13-20. Girlfriend editor, Sarah Tarca, says, “The Girlfriend survey has found that comparison is the number-one thing that makes Aussie girls feel bad about their bodies – proving that body image and self-esteem are enormous problems that span far beyond the media. It’s such an intricate issue, and we all have to be part of the solution."

While results show that Australian teens and women are not happy in their own skin, it is important to remember celebrities who choose to embrace their curves, love handles and cellulite. Take for example Jennifer Hudson, Adele, Kate Winslet, Beyonce and Kelly Osborne. These five beautiful women are stunning in their own unique ways and on top of that they want to inspire women to love themselves. 

Here are some more results from the survey:
- 66 per cent said losing weight would make them feel better about their appearance.
- 56 per cent of Aussie girls have skipped meals.
- 19 per cent admit to throwing up after eating.
- 45 per cent know someone who’s been diagnosed with an eating disorder.
- 67 per cent say they feel bad when they compare themselves to their friends.
- 96 per cent would change a part of their body if they could.
-  75 per cent have been victims of negative comments about their bodies.
- One-quarter say they don’t like what they see in the mirror.
- One in four think plastic surgery is acceptable. 

But not all is doom and gloom for women and teen girls out there as 54 per cent say they have a healthy body image... hoorah!

On a personal note... As a female who has personally battled with body image and the fight to stay thin, I want to share a few images of me over the years. I was never a tiny 'stick-thin' girl and have always had big thighs and small boobs. My mother is overweight so for me it has always been a battle to stay looking healthy and avoid unhealthy foods. I have had that "baby fat", lost weight to the point where I was too skinny, and then early last year I became rather sick, packed on 15 kilos and found out I was suddenly both gluten and lactose intolerant which cut out almost everything I used to eat!

While I did not want to dig up my past demons, I felt in myself that it was important I share my obstacles with you so you too can see you are not alone in this crazy battle we put ourselves through. The point I want to make is to try and eat healthy - enjoy yummy foods in moderation. Sure, it is ok to feel a little guilt if you indulge in a cake or fries or miss the gym here and there but once you fret over your image on a deeper scale, it becomes hard to pull back and see it is not the end of the world.

Back when I was a frumpy 16 year old with bad hair and no makeup sense... 
still the best year of my life!
By the age of 20 my body was fit and lean and I was ready to embrace it!
After a tough year aged 23, I lost about 7 kilos off my rather healthy frame to become 
a tiny size 6. Family and friends were worried to day the least.
Back to the healthy me, I wore this risque number to a
work Christmas party and got more than a few cheers!
I hate this photo!! After getting sick last year and being diagnosed as Lactose
and Gluten Intolerant last year, I put on more than a little bit of weight...
After 6 months of hard work at the gym and embracing
my new diet, I am back to the me I know and love 
Know yourself, love yourself and embrace what you have to offer in life.

Read more in this month's edition of Girlfriend magazine is available at newsagents now.

How do you feel about your body image?