Don't Let the Media Mess With Your Mind

Don't Let the Media Mess With Your Mind

Britney Spears No Airbrush

Confessions of the typical American woman's mind

Oww, your hand is hurting. You squirm as you try to readjust. Standing at the grocery store checkout line, you are kicking yourself for grabbing a handheld basket rather than biting the bullet and getting a cart. You look down at the red crate style basket, overflowing with spinach, eggs, chicken, cottage cheese, and apples, realizing once again that you always end up getting more than you originally planned on. Kelly Ripa Shape MagazineHmm, you wonder if there is a shorter line. You stretch up onto your tippy-toes to see over the racks of magazines, searching for that golden ticket of the cashier setting up shop, getting ready to open. Why is it that grocery stores have 37 checkout lanes, but only open 3? Sigh. Your eyes lower to the magazine rack and you see Kelly Ripa on the cover of Shape Magazine. WOW, she has a hot body. And she’s birthed three children!! How does she do it? She probably doesn’t even have to work at it. She probably just has one of those coal-burning rip-roaring metabolisms. Why can’t you look like her? You work so hard, busting your butt at the gym 6 days a look down at your basket full of healthy goodies, noticing your fingers turning a shade of purple as the blood get pinched off by the handles. You start to feel sad because all you want is a great body like Kelly’s. How do celebrities do it? How do they look so awesome? Yeah they’ve got money, but surely money can’t buy everything, can it? This is the inner monologue that goes through the mind of many American women, and men... however for men it’s most likely not while they are looking at pictures of Kelly Ripa...well, it could be, but that is a whole different article all together. If this is the type of self-talk you find yourself doing when you flip through the pages of your favorite entertainment/fitness magazine, I’ve got one word for you. Photoshop. These pictures are not real life. Stop comparing yourself to and beating yourself up over an image that isn’t real. Celebrities and models don’t actually look this way in real life. It is so ironic and possibly even comical and sad all at the same time, that we set standards in society that are not even achievable. We set standards that no one can ever measure up to, not even the model in the picture.Cindy Crawford once said, “I don’t even look like Cindy Crawford when I wake up in the morning!” I want you to take a look at the following pictures and browse the following websites. You will be surprised at how shocking the Photoshopping really is.

Photo 1

This is a photo of Faith Hill, taken for a Redbook Magazine cover. Notice the size of her arm and her waist in particular.

Photo 2

See...even models can have stretch marks, and even Kim Kardashian has cellulite.

Examples of Celebrity Photoshopping Go to the Portfolio tab at the top of the page. Then click on a picture and move your mouse away from the picture to see “after” and place your mouse over it to see “before”. Click on the picture, which will pull up a bigger version. Click again and a drop down menu will appear so that you can click on various parts of the model’s body to see specifics on what was airbrushed on the photo. So why do magazines do this? Why are they on this never-ending quest to create this “perfect” image? Because we as a society ask for it. We buy more magazines with skinny, “perfect” looking models on the cover than we do of models who are more average looking. “Pretty” sells. Granted, we are all aware on some level that the photos are touched up. Sometimes its more obvious than others. I find it funny when I look through a Victoria's Secret catalog and it appears that the model is wearing cartoon underwear because they are so airbrushed. But other times, it is easy to forget. And it is easy to look at the photos and get down on yourself because you think you’ve got a little more jiggle than the cover model does. Don't let yourself go down this path. Consciously change the mantra that you hear in your mind. The next time you are standing in line at the grocery store and you see a magazine cover model, see it for what it is - a form of “art”, not reality.
We learn from many time-management teachers that a great way to start our day is with a to-do list of what we want to accomplish throughout the day. That way, we can move through our day and get the most amount accomplished in the least amount of time. A to-do list helps to keep us focused and on task. That was the whole point of creating a Live Well 360 List, right? As a society, we’ve become really good -- great in fact -- with action. We can squeeze a lot into one day. Yet what affect does this constant need for productivity have on the quality of our time? Have we come to a place where we value productivity over connection, both with others and with ourselves? Some might point out that having a to-do list allows us to get imporant things done efficiently, which frees us up for other important things like spending time with family, time for ourselves, etc. But I wonder... does it really? Or could it just continue to strengthen a way of thinking that promotes getting more and more and more things done in a day? For many people, it’s not uncommon to spend an entire day with one main thought in their minds – what’s next? I think this is both innate and programmed. It’s innate because we yearn for growth and challenge, yet it’s programmed because we inadvertently learn from others that our worth is something that should be proved through the value that we provide.

Making health and fitness fun

What the hell does this have to do with making fitness fun? Well, today I challenge you to take a look at your to-do list and measure the value of a task by the amount of fulfillment and connection it provides. To-do lists are awesome for productivity and don't be scared, I'm not going to suggest that you throw yours away. But realize, there will always be more to do, and THAT is part of what makes life most fun. So, take the pressure off of yourself to constantly produce. Fill your schedule with tasks that are fulfilling and teach yourself to appreciate all things that you are doing, no matter where they fall on your list. Cleaning the house takes on new meaning when you blast your favorite tunes and turn it into a dusting dance party. A full, healthy, and fit life is not about action for the sake of crossing one more thing off of the list, it’s about action for the sake of enrichment, i.e. doing something because it adds to the quality of your life. And you never know, you might be surprised at the number of things that “get done” by relaxing a bit and focusing more on connection than on checkmarks. What tasks need to move up in priority on your to-do list today? Check out the entire Live Well 360 30-Day Challenge series.
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