A key ambassador for the Campaign for Body Confidence which launched in 2010, Central YMCA CEO, Rosi Prescott explains what’s so important about body confidence, how she stays positive, and why she’s excited about Spabreaks.com’s upcoming Spa for All initiative to make spas more accessible to anyone with a disability …
What is the Campaign for Body Confidence aiming to achieve?
Central YMCA is campaigning to tackle the issue of body image anxiety. From our research we have found that young people in particular feel under enormous pressure today about their bodies and this can manifest itself in various ways – from appearance-related bullying; preventing people from participating in school or extra-curricular activities; or just generally chipping away at self-esteem and confidence. Together with a range of other organisations we hope to equip young people with the tools to deal with the pressure to conform to unrealistic and unattainable ideals and recognise that so long as they lead healthy lives they shouldn’t worry unnecessarily and be comfortable with who they are as individuals.
Why do you think body confidence an important issue?
How you feel about yourself and how you value yourself as a person is fundamental to so many of today’s public health issues. We are increasingly living in an appearance obsessed society. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to make the best of what you’ve got, but we have concerns when that tips into an unhealthy obsession. Individuals are increasingly sacrificing their health for appearance, whether that is through yo-yo dieting, steroid abuse or undergoing unnecessary cosmetic surgery. We also know that individuals who feel far removed from the body ideal that is promoted in society may be stigmatised or feel excluded. At a time when we are trying to encourage individuals to live healthy lives, it is alarming that many are deterred from exercise or activity because they don’t feel like they belong.
The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) released a report earlier this year that investigated nationwide body confidence – was there anything that particularly surprised you from it?
I think the most eye-opening finding from the inquiry was that body image dissatisfaction affects everyone – regardless of age, gender, sexual orientation or ethnicity. We also found that the body image ideal that is promoted in society is unattainable for the vast majority (over 95% of us). There are biological and genetic limitations to change our bodies but this isn’t reflected in diversity of images that are presented to us.
What do you think are the key factors in changing our attitude towards body image?
It is going to take time to reverse the trend of body image dissatisfaction – it will require a generational shift in attitudes. Our attitudes towards body image are influenced by a range of socio-cultural factors whether that is the ideals promoted by the media or through advertising; the environment in which young people grow up, and the extent to which we equate health with a certain body ideal. We need to diversify the images that are presented to us, give children, young people, parents and teachers the tools to make them resilient to some of the most toxic aspects of body image pressure and promote a positive attitude to their body which enables everyone to live happy, healthy lives.
We think time in a spa can really boost your body confidence – what do you think?
I would agree wholeheartedly! Anything that encourages us to both value and listen to our bodies is fundamental to promoting a more positive sense of self. Spas provide a wide range of activities which enable individuals to relax but also to take part in activities which can make them feel good about themselves.
How do you make sure you feel comfortable in your skin?
I recognise that like everyone I have flaws but don’t let these get in the way of enjoying life. My self-esteem isn’t just based on my appearance but a whole host of other sources, including good relationships with friends, a wide-range of interests and making the most of my leisure time!
You’re a busy lady – do you get time to relax? How?!
During my free time I try to keep fit by making use of Central YMCA’s Club, cycling and running on the South Downs at weekends.
Are you a spa fan?
Absolutely! As a member of the YMCA I am a big advocate of health in mind, body and spirit and feel that it is important to have a good work-life balance. For me the occasional spa break is a treat which helps me to relax and unwind.
Do you have a favourite spa treatment?
There are so many treatments to choose from so it is quite difficult to select a favourite, although I do enjoy Swedish full body massage followed by unwinding in a whirlpool.
Spabreaks.com is soon to launch Spa for All – spa breaks and packages catering to a wide range of disabilities – what do you think is important about Spa for All?
We are delighted that Spabreaks.com are launching Spa for All. It is so important that the spa experience can be enjoyed by everybody, including disabled people and I applaud Spabreaks.com for breaking down the barriers to enjoying spa treatments. There are currently around 10 million people in the UK living with a disability and it should be possible for everyone to access the benefits of spa breaks and not feel like that this experience isn’t designed for them.
Spa for All will be launching on 28th August 2012 supported by Claire Lomas, Ellie Simmonds MBE and James Price.
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.