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What do You ‘Really’ Weigh?

Lose some weight. Twist your waist. Put your right leg forward. Point your toe. Breathe in. Fake laugh. Flick your hair. Airbrush your skin. Whiten your teeth. Filter the image. Perfect – that’s the Instagram shot.

Today’s culture teaches us to want to change our bodies and aspire to look like somebody else. That is all about to change. Cheers to the revolution of self-love, body positivity and a healthier mindset.

Next month is Mental Health Awareness Week, and the theme for 2019 is Body Image. From Monday 13th to Sunday 19th May, every body will be celebrated across the UK. Following Jameela Jamil’s ‘I Weigh’ body positivity movement, it couldn’t come at a better time!

We are all growing up in the generation of Instagram influencers, Facetune and the Kardashians. Before social media, unrealistic body ideals were plastered across billboards and magazines; now, they’re ubiquitous among our phones too. No-longer is it just models, and celebrities being airbrushed and filtered, but our friends, families and ourselves feel the need to as well.
Instagram influencers are taking over the world, one pointed toe and pout at a time. Daily I scroll through my Instagram feed and see petite, tanned girls with curves in all the right places. I don’t see cellulite, spots or frizzy hair. Of course, how could you possibly portray yourself as perfect, if you’ve got a giant zit? No, you must airbrush that out!

We are all guilty of comparing ourselves to others. Admittedly, it is hard to learn to love yourself when you are surrounded by photos that look quite the opposite of your mirror image.
But, wishing you had a smaller nose, a thigh gap or longer legs isn’t going to change your appearance, and certainly isn’t going to make you any happier. It is time to stop hating on your body and start loving what your mama gave you!

Body image, self-esteem and mental health are all linked. If you don’t like the look of your body, it’s difficult to feel good about your whole self. Concentrating on your ‘flaws’ can make you feel down, despise your body and yourself.

The solution? If we all learned to love our bodies a little bit more, and in turn love ourselves a lot more, we might be able to protect our mental health too.
Among the photoshopped bodies and perfectly-angled figures on Instagram, is the revolutionary ‘I Weigh’ movement. ‘I Weigh’ encourages everybody to feel valued and confident in their own skin – which is exactly what we all need! Jameela Jamil, 26-year-old-actress turned body-positivity preacher, kickstarted the Instagram page and now has almost 500k followers.
In a revolution against shame and self-hatred, Jameela is leading the way with self-love and body positivity. Challenging people to consider all the attributes they value about themselves, Jameela asks people what they really weigh.

In light of the ‘I Weigh’ movement, and to kick-start Mental Health Awareness Week, I am going to practice what I preach …

So, here is my #IWeigh: A hefty dissertation, a student, great friends, an amazing family, hard-working. And I smile every day.

Join the era of self-love, and ask yourself ‘What do you really weigh?

About Nia Dalton

c.n.l.dalton@reading.ac.uk'

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