Our TED Talk: Body Positivity or Body Obsession? How to See More and Be More

In September 2017, Beauty Redefined Co-director Dr. Lindsay Kite presented a TEDx talk at Kingsbury Hall in Salt Lake City, Utah. This 16-minute talk summarizes nine years of body image research and personal passion for promoting increased understanding of the importance of positive body image. With perfect illustrations by Michelle Christensen, this talk walks viewers through Lindsay’s personal and professional evolution regarding what it means to have positive body image and how girls and women can better understand and promote it. Lindsay outlines she and Lexie’s theoretical model for achieving body image resilience, where women choose three possible paths in response to body image disruptions. By learning how to see more in our media and cultural messages, everyone around us, and especially in ourselves, this talk paves the path for women to see more and be more than bodies to be looked at, evaluated and consumed. Our favorite excerpts are outlined below with time stamps.

If any of this talk resonates with you, please share it with those who might benefit!

2:15 – Over the last 15 years or so, lots of well-meaning people and companies have tried to improve women’s body image by pushing this message that “all women are beautiful – flaws and all!” This is a really nice message, but it is not fixing the problem. Girls and women aren’t only suffering because of the unattainable ways beauty is being defined, they’re suffering because they are being defined by beauty. They are bodies first and people second.

5:09 – Negative body image and self-objectification go hand in hand. Almost 3/4 of the women in our dissertation studies felt very negatively toward their bodies. And almost all of them were self-objectifying. That was especially noticeable in the way they answered the first question I asked: “How do you feel about your body?”

6:28 – Just like we need to redefine beauty in ways that are better for our health, we need to redefine health in ways that have nothing to do with beauty.

8:10 – In our studies, Lexie and I were interested to see that most of the women who felt good about their bodies also described painful experiences that had sparked or magnified their body shame at some point. Their experiences pointed us to a hopeful process and a theoretical model called body image resilience. Through this process, some women grow stronger and love their bodies not just in spite of the pain they experience, but because of what they learn through that pain.

10:52 – Since body shame and appearance fixation are the norm for so many of us, we might not even recognize when we’re reacting to those issues. Sinking into shame and clinging to our uncomfortable comfort zones might just be our defaults, not deliberate choices. But no matter how many times you’ve found yourself on these two paths, it is always possible to recognize your disruptions and respond to them in a better way.

14:50 – I saw that I had been stuck in an endless loop of trying to fix my body that never needed to be fixed, in order to do something I never stopped being able to do. I was still a swimmer. Any fear about what I looked like that day disappeared, because I was finally using my body as an instrument rather than looking at it as an ornament.

Direct link to YouTube video for Dr. Lindsay Kite’s TEDx talk, “Body Positivity or Body Obsession? How to See More and Be More”: https://youtu.be/uDowwh0EU4w

This Iskra Lawrence TED Talk Will Change the Way You Look at Your Body

@iskra Instagram

British model Iskra Lawrence (you might know her as the face of #AerieReal) just gave the TED talk we’ve all been waiting for. She spoke at the University of Nevada’s TEDx event in January about body image and self-care, and it’s everything you’ve ever needed to hear about loving yourself.

Iskra is no stranger to speaking out about body positivity. She already opened up to us about why everyone needs to stop calling her plus-size, partnered with StyleLikeU for a raw, real “What’s Underneath” video, and stripped down to her skivvies in the NYC subway in name of the cause.

She starts out her TEDx talk on the topic with a simple but often overlooked point: “The most important relationship we have in our lives is the relationship we have with ourselves, and we’re not taught about it.”

Of all the things we learn in school or from our parents, self-care is a forgotten part of the life curriculum; perhaps it’s because social media, which Iskra calls a “weapon of mass destruction to our self-esteem,” is such a new-yet-powerful influence on our mental and emotional health. Whether you’re looking at an influencer’s carefully curated Instagram or the photos advertising your favorite activewear, Iskra emphasizes that it’s important to realize that it’s not real-she admits that photos of her have been retouched so heavily that her family didn’t even recognize her. “I can’t even look like that, and it’s me,” she says. “That’s wrong.”

But that doesn’t mean body image wasn’t at play pre-Instagram: “I know, when I was younger, I would look in the mirror every single day and hate what I saw,” says Iskra. “‘Why don’t I have a thigh gap? Why does it look like this thigh ate the other one?'”

She goes on to describe her own journey of self-love, as well as what she’s trying to do to spread the self-love movement-like partnering with the National Eating Disorders Association for a high school counseling program called The Body Project, which has been proven to reduce body dissatisfaction, negative mood, thin-ideal internalization, unhealthy dieting, and disordered eating among both the teenage participants and adult facilitators.

Iskra might be the face of body positivity, but it doesn’t mean she’s immune to bad days. She shares two confidence-boosting tricks that help her reset and remember why she loves her body exactly the way it is: a mirror challenge and a gratitude list.

The mirror challenge is as simple as standing in front of a mirror and picking out 1) five things that you love about yourself, and 2) five things you love about what your body does for you.

The gratitude list is something Iskra recently used herself in a clothing store dressing room (which she insists is a place where “your inner demons are there waiting to pounce on you”). Keep a list of things you’re grateful for-whether it’s in your head, on your iPhone, or in a notebook-to help bring you back to the big picture and dissolve any negative thoughts you’re having about your body or otherwise.

Watch her full TEDx Talk to get thefull scoop on her personal experience and the two tricks that get her through even the toughest body-image crises. (And then try these other ways to practice self-care.)

  • By Lauren Mazzo @lauren_mazzo

My ego feared the worst—I’d be the biggest, I’d be the slowest, I’d be left behind.

Louise Green, a sought-after trainer, speaker and writer, disturbs the status quo regarding body image and the distorted “ideal” body type that still clutters the minds of so many women. Her upcoming book, Limitless, challenges society to ponder a more inclusive fitness and body-size idealism. In a recent TED talk, Green addresses her own experience of discovering that “bigger bodies could be athletic bodies.”

Related: One Runner Just Halted Body Shaming In The Best Way

“Until this point, I didn’t know that bigger bodies could also be athletic bodies,” she recalls prior to training for a 5K. “It had never occurred to me, because it had never been shown to me.”

Listen to her full TED Talk, where she talks about running pioneers like Kathrine Switzer and the power we all own to “change the message through social media.” She also touches on how fitness magazines are already following the shift in body image ideals, listing Sports Illustrated and our own August cover as examples. The message she really drives home? How these positive shifts still need to reach our youth—young girls pursuing healthy lifestyles—so that “they can grow up believing in themselves no matter their size.”

5 TED Talks Worth Watching For Body Positivity

TED Talks for Body Positivity

I love TED Talks. You can ask any of my REBEL Dietitian coworkers (and pretty much anyone else that knows me). It was my New Year’s Resolution to watch 1 new TED Talk a week. I do have to admit I haven’t stuck to this resolution. BUT, I did watch a ton of interesting talks during the first few months of the New Year. So, why do I love TED Talks so much? Well, I love seeing other people’s perspectives.

Everyone who does a TED Talk is an expert in their own way and they see the world through a different and unique lens. I love getting insight into different opinions—it makes me think, feel motivated and want to discover more about the world and about myself. I thought it would be helpful for our clients for me to write a blog about my favorite TED Talks—maybe to help you all feel a little motivated and get you thinking!

1) The Power Of Vulnerability by Brene Brown – This talk by Brene Brown is my all time favorite. I’ve probably watched it at least 10 times. Not only do I love the topic, by Brown is such a great speaker. She has an amazing presence on the stage and not to mention her sense of humor. She talks about vulnerability, shame, fear, courage, connection and whole-hearted living. How can you connect to other people and live a whole-hearted life? Surprisingly, vulnerability is the key. I think I’m going to take a break from writing this blog to watch it again!

Brene Brown on the Power of Vulnerability

2) The Dangerous Ways Ads See Women by Jean Killbourne – Most people these days have admitted that the media has unrealistic representations of women. Jean Killbourne does an awesome job of breaking this down. It really gets you thinking about how absurd the media is. It’s a great way to open the conversation of these unrealistic standards.

The Effect of Advertising on Body Image

3) Why Thinking You’re Ugly is Bad for You by Meaghan Ramsey – Ramsey works for the Dove Self Esteem Project. Each month, did you know that 10,000 people Google the phrase “Am I ugly?” Did you know 70% of women won’t show up to a job interview on a day where they weren’t feeling confident? Did you know teenagers who think they are fat will score lower on exams in school? This talk talks about why having a negative self-esteem can be hugely negative for your health and why standards for beauty are ridiculous.

Meaghan Ramsey on the Effects of Negative Body Image

4) Eating Disordered From the Inside Out by Laura Hill – Okay, so this one isn’t actually about body positivity. But, I like this one because it gives an inside look of what it’s like in the mind of someone who struggles with an eating disorder. If your loved one struggles with food, I would highly recommend watching this to understand him or her a little more.

Laura Hill Speaking on Disordered Eating

5) Your Body Language Shapes Who You are by Amy Cuddy – Body language is so powerful. Appearing more confident through your body language will actually make you more confident. Such an interesting talk! Worth the 20 minute listen!

Amy Cuddy Speaking on Body Language

Many times, we have watched TED Talks during our Empowered Dining program as a way to stimulate discussions surrounding the ideals women are held up to. How might these TED talks support recovery? How do they get you thinking in a different way? How can the information in a TED Talk help to develop your relationship with food and improve your nutrition? These are some questions that we have asked in Empowered Dining and your REBEL Dietitian may want to explore some of these topics with you individually.

If you are interested in learning more about our Empowered Dining program, or would like to meet with one of our Registered Dietitians, please or call (301) 806-0556.

Iskra Lawrence

Iskra Lawrence is a British model represented by JAG models in the Americas and Models1 in Europe. A champion of body diversity, Iskra has long been committed to improving the image of women in the media, having been told she was both “too big” for straight-size modeling and “not big enough” for plus-modeling. As Aerie’s #AerieReal Role Model Iskra stars in unretouched intimates, loungewear and swim campaigns and tours universities across the USA to speak with students about body positivism. She is also a brand ambassador for the National Eating Disorders Association, creating the NEDA Inspires Award and working to generate awareness and support for individuals and families affected by eating disorders. Iskra is a guest author to many publications including SELF, Time, and the Huffington Post, and the managing editor of RunwayRiot, a fashion, style and beauty site for women of all sizes. Iskra is committed to posting unretouched images on her social media channels and has launched her #IskrasArmy campaign to introduce compulsory self-care education for boys and girls in UK schools.

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Iskra Lawrence’s TED Talk Is Brimming With Body-Positive Quotes

TEDx Talks

Iskra Lawrence, the Aerie model and body-positive babe we can’t get enough of, is reminding us yet again to love ourselves and our bodies. But rather than posting an inspiring message on Instagram or a candid video on YouTube, this time Lawrence took to the stage: She recently spoke at a TEDx event at the University of Nevada to share her own journey to body-positivity, and offer the audience a few tips for staying mentally and emotionally healthy. Below, we’ve rounded up our 10 favorite quotes from the talk, titled “Ending The Pursuit Of Perfection.”

RELATED: The Best Body-Positive Moments of 2016

On the value of self-love

“The most important relationship in our lives is the one we have with ourselves.”

On the power of self-talk

“Speak to your body in a loving way. It’s the only one you’ve got, it’s your home, and it deserves your repsect.”

On screwing unfair body standards

“What the hell are these jeans right here, this piece of fabric , trying to break me right now? I refuse, flat out refuse, to let them ruin how I feel about myself.”

RELATED: 25 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be a Happier Person

On appreciating your body

“Pick out five things that you love about your body for what it does for you, because we want to change that discussion. It’s not just what your body looks like. Your body is an incredible thing.”

On what it’s like to have an eating disorder

“When I was younger, I would look in that mirror every single day and hate what I saw. Why don’t I have a thigh gap? More pimples? Are you kidding me? I hate myself. And that’s so sad because I can’t get those years back of self-loathing, calorie obsession, and jealousy.”

On social media

“Social media is a curated, filtered, often airbrushed, and sometimes even lifestyle illusion.”

On what we’re taught to believe

“From a very young age, we’ve been conditioned to believe that our success and our happiness is highly dependent on our attractiveness.”

On our responsibility to each other

“If you see anyone tearing themselves down, build them back up.”

On redefining beauty

“Watch your life positively grow when you give up the pursuit of perfection, because the real beauty ideal is being imperfectly you.”

On self-acceptance

“We need to stop trying to embrace perfection because we’re good enough already.”

February 07, 2017 – 15:59 GMT hellomagazine.com Watch plus size model and Instagram star Iskra Lawrence’s Ted Talk.

Only a handful of models have hugely coveted Ted Talks under their belts, and now Iskra Lawrence follows in the footsteps of Ashley Graham, Cameron Russell and Geena Rocero by taking to the famous stage. The stunning – and seriously inspiring – model, who boasts an incredible three million followers on Instagram, used the platform to share her thoughts on body image, eating disorders and the importance of self love.

STORY: Iskra Lawrence urges women to love their curves in new inspirational Instagram post

“We have a problem. The most important relationship we will ever have is the one with ourselves—but we aren’t taught about it,” Iskra opened the talk. “Could self-care education enrich our lives, combat our insecurities, and enable us to reach our full potential? Yes. And I’m connecting with you today because this matters. Self-esteem affects every part of our lives: Our relationship with ourselves, our loved ones, with coworkers, even food and exercise.”

The star has been in the modelling industry for years – but hasn’t always accepted her shape or size. “I’ve had to forgive myself for the times I saw retouched pictures of myself with slimmer arms, a thigh gap, unachievably smooth skin, with no cellulite or back fat, and thought that’s how I should look in real life,” she said.

Iskra is known for championing self-love and positive body image

WATCH: Iskra Lawrence strips down on subway to share inspiring message about body confidence

“I now know that just because people decided to alter my appearance to look ‘perfected,’ it doesn’t make me any less beautiful in the real world – where I can’t walk around airbrushed.” We couldn’t agree more this sentiment – or the rest of Iskra’s speech, for that matter. Make sure you give it a watch!

Ted talk body image

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