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London says bye-bye to body shaming ads


London’s subway system will be body-shaming free as of next month. After a weight-loss protein ad that featured a bikini-clad woman and the question “Are you beach body ready?” sparked controversy, the city’s mayor is banning all ads that promote an unhealthy or unrealistic body image.

In a statement reported on by The Standard, London Mayor Sadiq Khan said, “As the father of two teenage girls, I am extremely concerned about this kind of advertising which can demean people, particularly women, and make them ashamed of their bodies. It is high time it came to an end.”

Body shaming is a common side-effects of advertising, especially in beauty and weight loss ads; the marketing strategy often (inadvertantly or otherwise) serves to make women feel insecure about their bodies so that they'll buy whatever product promises them a slimmer (or otherwise "better") physique.

Mayor Khan continued to say that no one should feel pressured into unrealistic body expectations while on public transportation, and that the advertising industry should take note. Who wants to feel bad about their bodies anywhere?

If you find that body shaming ads take a toll on your self-esteem, you’re not alone. Luckily, Mindbodygreen's Dr. Sooji Rugh has some tips to help you banish invasive, body-shaming thoughts.

1. Make mindfulness your mantra

Dr. Rugh describe being mindful as “being more aware of your knee-jerk reactions, thoughts, and feelings about your body.” Mindless or automatic thinking can contribute to self-conscious or negative thoughts about your body, so be aware of those negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones instead.

2. Accept yourself now

Many of us promise that we’ll start accepting our bodies tomorrow, or when we lose 10 pounds, but why not start now? No matter what we look like, we’ll always convince ourselves that we can somehow look better—when there’s nothing wrong with the way we look now.

3. Use affirmations

Reprogramming your negative internal thoughts into positive ones can have a huge impact on your outlook. Not sure where to start? Try these 20 affirmations that just might change your life.

4. Default to compassion

Research has shown that compassion works better than criticism—so next time you find yourself thinking negative thoughts about the way you look, Dr. Rugh suggests you replace, “I am so gross for eating all those donuts this morning” with, “everyone eats unhealthy foods sometimes; it’s ok.”

5. Turn your focus away from what you look like and toward how you feel

Feeling healthy and fit is way more important than looking good. Plus, feeling good on the inside equals more confidence, which equals a glowing, beautiful exterior.

While it’s easy to tell someone to ignore such ads or “just look away!” avoiding body-shaming advertisements is easier said than done, especially when they’re everywhere. Hopefully cities around the world will look to London as an example for celebrating bodies of all types and refusing ads that encourage low self-esteem.

What do you think of London's decision to ban body-shaming ads in the subway system? Do you find yourself battling body-shaming thoughts?


by Kristin Helf | 6/21/2016
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