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How Young is too Young to Start Caring About your Body/Weight?

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teenagegirlRecently, a question came in from a 13 year old reader, Summer, who expressed discontent with her thighs. That question is posted below.

I wanted to do a separate post for Summer because many people may think 13 is just too young to be worrying about one’s body – and sure enough there was a reply to Summer saying just as much.

Sidebar: I put out a question on the facebook page asking how old people were when they first started trying to lose weight/eat healthier/look better. So if you’d like, chime in there or leave your answer in the comments section below.

On with it, here’s Summer’s question with my thoughts below:

I want a thigh gap and j don’t care about the people who are horrible with words just because of there irrelevant opinions I’m a teenager and I want a thigh gap and I want to get one by doing excerisse and diet the right way just like camille did. I’m a shorty to and I would like to look taller I’ve never had a guy like me and I’m not saying that this would make guys attracted to ME^^ but I’d like to fell like I’m on top of the world! For once I’d like to fell like people weren’t judging me because of my body figure I’m not really curvy but I have not really any it’s just muscle or fat in my thighs mu thighs are bigger because of the workouts I’ve been doing and I don’t like it at all and I’m definitely not fat I have a flat stomach but it can get a little chubby when I don’t watch what I eat I’m 13 and I want a thigh gap if anyone has a problem with that I really don’t care it’s my choice.
Camille I would really like a thigh gap and I need help I’ve looked at anything and everything and nothing has worked
I wanted to leave the school year feeling horrible and come back in august feeling slightly better about myself
I don’t have money because I’m 13 and idk where to get your book I looked it up on my nook/kindle and they dint have it
If you could reply that would be awesome

The first thing I thought when I read this was, it could have been be writing it! lol. Summer really reminds me of myself at 13; Average sized, intelligent, feisty, and stubborn. When I was younger, once I set my mind on doing something I was going to do it. I’m still that way today, and I think this can be a great trait, Summer! Summer also appears to be very well adjusted as she wants to contour her body the right way (through healthy eating and exercise) and not through starving, throwing up, etc.

I say all of that to say, I can totally relate to Summer’s question and I’m sure a lot of women in their 20’s, 30’s, 40’s and above can too. I think I was about the same age when I started trying to look good/better or the best possible way I could look. Certainly, by my freshman year of high school I had crushed on a few boys, gone out on ‘dates’ and put effort into looking better (whether that be doing my hair in certain styles, asking my mom to buy me cuter clothes, eating healthier and yes, exercising).

I used to do my mom’s old exercise videos, the ab roller (whoop whoop if you remember that!), the thigh master, drink tons of milk (not so good in hindsight), and all that jazz. So, do I think 13 is too young to care about how you look, health, food choices, exercise?

My simple answer to this question is, no. To be clear, I don’t think being obsessed about these things to the point where one is very unhappy and never satisfied or can see improvements in themselves is good. Being able to look in the mirror and think well of yourself (especially when you’re exercising and trying to eat right) is important and healthy – give yourself credit where it is due.

I actually believe the sooner a girl can care about her body/skin (obviously we’re not talking about 5 year olds here) the better. If a girl’s parents has instilled the importance of eating good whole foods and exercise, which can be in the form of any movement such as dance, a sport, etc., the healthier she will be throughout her life.

It’s much harder to be an adult and try to change unhealthy habits as it relates to exercise and food, so I don’t think it is wrong for a 13 year old girl to be into diet/exercise and I wouldn’t tell Summer or any other girl it is wrong to be caring about what she looks like now. It’s not the best idea to be obsessed to the point where you are never satisfied or think poorly of yourself, but I think caring about these things only helps with developing self esteem and confidence in the long run.

Related posts:

Why Plus Sized Barbie is a Terrible Idea
Help! What to do when You've Lost your Thigh Gap
Urban Outfitters pic of model w/ "Thigh Gap" Banned? Outrageous!
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facebook comments:

  • Summer hutchen

    Thank you so much!! It was very helpful

    • thighgaphack

      Of course! Glad I could help 🙂

  • Maria Rama

    Im 14 and i think like Summer, but there’s a slight difference. Im very tall, and i could say curvy too, so when summer starts my thighs get slightly fatter because i dont do the exercise i do during school time (ballet and P.E) and also my stomach gets a bit fatter to, what should I do? i you could reply, it would make my summer 🙂