Why are we so obsessed with ourselves? We obsess over our looks, clothes, weight, fitness level and more. We spend a great deal of time staring in the mirror and picking apart our bodies. It’s safe to say that many of us have glared at the reflection in the mirror and felt disgusted with the woman staring back.

But why? Why do we spend so much time focusing on the outside, when it’s a deeply rooted inner issue that tears us apart?

Let’s talk about society. We are a part of a visual culture. A culture that places worth on appearance. Outward appearance is the first impression people have when they meet. Without knowledge of character or personality, opinions are usually based on the obvious first impression: looks. Thus, weight is a prominent factor in a typical self-assessment. But why does it control so much of our self-perception? Why are we more concerned with being skinny than being healthy?

From a young age, we learn that thin is beautiful and assume a body outside of that standard is undesirable. Media outlets expose young girls to images of thin, alluring women. The pressure increases as we get older.  We find a sense of identity in our style, makeup, hairstyle, and so much more. We feel an increase in standard when comparison consumes us. When we begin to notice the boys, this body image obsession delves deeper. Suddenly, we are concerned with more than being thin.

How do we counteract this concept that has become so ingrained in us?

Let’s talk about health! Thinness does not equate healthiness. Just as an overweight body is unhealthy, an underweight body can also have complications.

How do we focus on health rather than weight? It begins with a change of attitude. Put away the scale and focus on the feeling. Striving to feel good rather than look good will lead to a wholesome attitude toward wellness. We need to focus less on the quantity of food we consume and analyze the quality. Health is not as much of a reflection on the amount of food we eat but a result of the choice of food.

Fitness is also a factor. We don’t need to spend hours upon hours, killing it at the gym. Instead, we can turn to exercises that are high-intensity and will maximize our time. We can choose activities that increase the heart rate while working multiple muscle groups. This will guarantee results and improve overall endurance, stamina, and health.

Being healthy is about more than weight or appearance. So, celebrate your health as you strive for improvement.