You can’t weigh beauty

I always had the feeling that social media were dominated by young women with a skinny frame and flawless bodies, thus setting the standards for “beauty”. But when scrolling through Instagram lately, I see more and more photos of overweight women proudly showing their curves and flab. They smile into the camera without any shame. And also pictures, in which models reveal the magic of photoshop, flexing and perfect lighting, fill up social media. “Where do they get their confidence from?” I asked myself. Then my eye hit the…

…#bodypositivity

Body positivity is a movement used to show self-empowerment. It’s a way to liberate people from the social stigma of what a body should look like. It’s all wrapped up with the idea that even if your body doesn’t comply with what society deems to be beautiful, it isn’t necessarily something that needs to be fixed. Over the last few years, more and more people have become part of the movement. It promotes the idea that all bodies are beautiful, equal, deserves respect and that everyone should feel confident in their own body.

BodyPositivity

Reality

Unfortunately, not all bodies are treated in this way. Because of all the stigmas such as fat people being lazy, overweight people are hired and paid less on average. As a nation, we have to understand that not every body looks like perfectly-shaped fashion images. Not every woman is blessed with big breasts and no cellulitis. The social pressure to look the way society expects you to affects people of all sizes, but, in fact, many overweight people must deal with harmful comments on a daily basis.

Importance

Body positivity is often questioned by people who accuse the movement of simply glorifying obesity and sending people to an early grave. As a nation, we are overweight and this is a really huge issue. But making people feel miserable about themselves won’t work. And, fat shaming is extremely harmful and science has proven that it leads to weight gain. If you feel terrible every time you look in the mirror, you won’t be motivated to make a change. We need to accept our body before we can move in the right direction. For example, non-judgmental acceptance will allow people to make smart choices like adapting a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Shame on the other hand will just prevent them from fixing the problem and lead to irrational decisions such as crash diets. The sooner we accept the reality without adding extra negativity, the better we can deal with the situation.

Advice

For the people who have struggled with their figure for a long time, loving and accepting their body might seem like a Herculean task. One of the reasons is that our society and the media work against this acceptance by only showing flawless bodys, which isn’t an accurate representation of our society. And statements such as “real women have curves” and “strong is the new skinny”, only express how one body shape is superior to others. But by spreading the message that every body type is worthy of respect and by using models of all shaped and sizes, growing self-love would become easier. So, stop shaming others and show your body some love by accepting it with all its strengths and flaws!

Text & Pictures: Victoriy Fairley

Five things I hate about summer – and five things to make it all a little more bearable

Confession time: I haScreenshot_2017-07-19-15-54-14te summer. I know full well that I’m in the minority here, but it’s just what it is. It’s also not a very recent development for me, so I can’t really blame climate change or so. I know, though, that a lot of different things come into play which make me hate the favorite season of the majority of the population.

The most obvious reason is, of course, the heat. My favorite temperature is somewhere between 13° and 18°. In summer, it seems like it’s 30+° most of the time. There’s just no middle ground anymore. The thing is I’d be totally able to deal with it if it wasn’t so humid. This is what makes the heat so unbearable.

And this brings me to my third point. As a consequence of the heat and the humidity, I sweat. Yet I always seem to be the only one. Other people don’t suddenly have a very shiny forehead or little rivers running down their necks, slowly making their way down the back, even though they are not doing anything that could possibly lead to sweating. I, of course, do have to deal with both. All the time.

Screenshot_2017-08-02-16-36-17

Number four on my list of most hated things about summer would be spiders and bugs. Bugs simply bug me. German bugs more than others, though. In other countries, they seem to leave me alone most of the time. In Germany, they seem to attack me the moment I step outside, but, of course, they also don’t leave me alone when I’m inside either. They’re just always there. What makes it all so much worse is that outside they find a way in my mouth, even though I have my lips pressed tight together, and inside they have a tendency to drown in whatever drink I have standing on the table. It doesn’t even have to be something sweet like orange juice or lemon water. They’re just as alright with dying in a regular glass of sparkling water. Apparently, they really like the added thrill of the bubbles.

Finally, number five is that everybody all of a sudden flocks outside like a bunch of summer zombies. I actually spend a significant amount of time outside all year round, so naturally I wonder: where are all these people in winter?
So in case anyone feels the same way I do about summer, here are five tips to get through it all relatively unscathed:

  1. Obviously, you should make the air condition or your fan your new best friend.
  2. Don’t take a cold shower. This only heats up your body way faster afterwards.
  3. Insect repellents are your second best friend 😉
  4. Always look in your glass before you drink, you never know what’s floating on top.
  5. Count down the days ’till September 1st, the magical day of meteorological start of fall 🙂

Finally, hang in there: it’s going to be autumn soon.

 

Author & Pictures: Alisa Lechky

A mole on the campus

20170707_113730_edited_oval.jpegHi, let me introduce myself. My name is Stefie; like you, I’m a student at the university of Augsburg and I’m rather short-sighted. Please, let me assure you that I’m not one of those disabled super heroes who are often shown on TV or mentioned in newspapers. What I mean is that I’m short-sighted, but none of my other senses have developed in an extraordinary way. I’m a completely average student struggling, more or less, with the same issues as you.

Hail to the public transport service

I have to consider things that have possibly never occurred to you. Take, for example, the criteria for choosing the university you wanted to go to. In my case, I not only had to take into account the subject I wanted to study, or if I liked the city the university is situated in, but also if the university is one where everything is on the same site or if it’s easily accessible with the public transport system, or not. I’m not able to drive a car or cycle so I completely rely on the more or less (in some cases rather less) efficient public transport system, my own two feet or the help of my family for getting from point A to point B.

A mole in sheep’s clothing

What’s more, I have to tell people who I’m in a professional or close relationship with about my disability. So if you met me, you wouldn’t know that my short-sightedness is so strong. See, I’m a mole in perfect disguise; I wear glasses, but so do hundreds of other students. The difference is that many can perceive the world like completely healthy persons if they’re wearing their glasses, but for me this doesn’t work. Mine can only help me to perceive the contrast between different things more easily. And, so I’m talking about this to avoid misunderstandings like “I waved at you but you completely ignored me…”.

Communication, communication…

Of course, communication is very important for me because even when people know about my poor eyesight, I can’t expect them to think about it all the time. Take the lecturers at  university, for example; the majority of them are very nice and I’ve met no one who refused to help me or to make the slides for the presentation bigger so that I could follow the course. In order to be able to help me, they have to know that I have this kind of problem; and I have to remind them from time to time because they’ve not only got me sitting in front of them but sometimes over a hundred of students to think about.

‘Inclusion’ – what a wonderful word

In general, I like studying here but there are some things that still need to be improved. For example, there’s no general information anywhere on university website for people with disabilities. Well, there is someone you can consult for questions about studying with a handicap. But, it’s very difficult to approach this person and when you finally do, don’t expect too much. He probably doesn’t know more than you do.

 

Author & Pictures: Stefanie Sohnle

New year, new me

You might think it’s a bit late for a New Year article, but is it really? It’s only one month into 2017 and I don’t know about you, but I’ve already ignored half of my New Year’s resolutions at least once. If experience in the past few years is anything to go by, though, I’ll have to wait until next year to give it a go again. But there’s a way to break the trend and still achieve your goals. Yes, even today!

16216043_1494622783905241_462350366_n

Less chocolate, more sports

Judging from the commercials and articles I see around this time of the year, the top resolutions are: being healthier (including doing more sports, losing weight and downing smoothies for breakfast), as well as classics like quitting smoking. Being more organized is also a favorite, at least for me anyway. I don’t know how you feel, but the Christmas holidays, including New Year’s Eve, are (also) exceptional compared to other times of the year. So this might be the worst time to start working on goals that you want to continue to work on when you’re back in your normal routine. But that doesn’t mean
that you shouldn’t have them.

Start next Monday 

Know the feeling when it’s 3:11 p.m. and you have to study, but you just can’t because 3:11 isn’t the right time? You have to wait until 4 p.m.! I think most of us struggle with our resolutions in a similar way. But here’s the good news: you don’t have to wait a whole year to achieve your goals. There are so many new beginnings: start in the next hour, next Monday, next month – whenever you feel like it!

Small steps 

Needless to say, goals require a plan, and plans require to-do lists (written on pretty paper because that makes you more organized, of course). Instead of writing “Be a perfect student from next week on“, you might prefer “set aside fifteen minutes a day to keep track of assignments“. This not only sounds more doable and motivating, but actually ticking off things on your list will give you a good feeling.

16295384_1494622767238576_1732264789_n

Help! 

Still thinking this won’t work for you? It’s time to look for someone you can tell what you’re about to do. Whenever I tell someone about my plans, I get motivated on the spot. The next time you see this person, you’ll obviously want to tell him or her about what you’ve done since you last saw each other. And answering “Hmm…nothing“ doesn’t feel too good, does it? Let’s try to achieve our goals together (in 2017, not 2018)!

Author & Pictures: Laura Annecca

Wings for Life

Participants seen during the Wings for Life World Run in Izmir, Turkey on May 8, 2016.
Participants seen during the Wings for Life World Run in Izmir, Turkey on May 8, 2016.

Some people think walking is a waste of time, but others dream about being able to walk or just move their legs, for example, those affected by spinal cord injuries. This condition takes away what most of us take for granted, the ability to walk. Sadly, those affected are incapacitated for the rest of their lives because there’s no treatment available. One research foundation, called Wings for Life, aims to find a cure for such injuries and has a unique way to gather support. It organizes a running event where everybody can participate anywhere.

Finding a cure

The founders of Wings for Life are the two Austrians Heinz Kinigadner, a motocross racer, and Dietrich Mateschitz, a businessman who co-founded the Red Bull Drink company. They were personally moved by the injury of Kinigadner´s son, which left him paralyzed from the neck down. Soon, they had to realize that not enough resources were being invested in finding a cure, so they started the non-profit organization.

factsHelping out

Wings for life organizes an annual charity run that takes place simultaneously worldwide. All the money raised goes towards research efforts for finding a cure to help the injured to walk again. This year the world run will take place on May 7th and costs €43. You can start training for the race now and be fit on time.

Run until you are caught

This isn’t your typical race with a set distance. Half an hour after the race starts, a so-called catcher car starts its pursuit, though very slowly at first. As long as the car doesn´t catch up with you, you´re still in the race. Since everybody has their own fitness level, the catcher car will gradually increase its speed after one hour until it catches up with everyone – except for one man and one woman, the world champions.

Race anywhere

The nearest official location to join the race is Munich. However, you can participate anywhere as a selfie runner by simply downloading an application to your smartphone that simulates the car catching up with you based on your GPS-tracked running distance. As a selfie runner, there’s no participation fee, but you’re encouraged to donate to the cause. Even if you decide you´re not ready to run yourself, you can still enjoy the race via a livestream from all official runs worldwide. So take this opportunity to enjoy the gift of health, and having strong legs that can take you anywhere you want, even closer to your dreams, and run for those who can´t.

For more information, check out: https://www.wingsforlifeworldrun.com/de/de/

Author: Annelise López de Schwarzer
Pictures: Redbull Content Pool

What a feast!

Everyone celebrating Christmas knows the struggle. You do one thing on the days between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve: eating. No matter if it’s traditional stuff like roast, gravy and dumplings or more fancy dinners; it’s all about food.

scaleLittle helpers

Magazines, fitness tutorials and gyms seem to know exactly how everyone should lose the few extra kilograms after the Christmas holidays. But looking at those advertisements and instructions, it seems more like a torture. So, I thought of some fun ways to get your flat belly back without any kind of dieting or forcing yourself to a fitness marathon.

Sledging and aqua fit

Unfortunately, the most important thing for my first idea was missing until the beginning of January. I can hardly remember a white Christmas. In the last few years, there wasn’t even a single snowflake during the Christmas holidays and without snow there is no chance to go sledging. We’re lucky, because we’ve got some snow now, so you could go out, get your old sledge out of the cellar or the attic, run up the next hill or mountain and enjoy coming down. It’s as much fun for adults as for children and walking back up will shed the extra pounds you gained from too many biscuits.

You may have seen following sport once in an indoor swimming pool, but I guess you were too ashamed to participate. Personally, I had also been embarrassed to do aqua sports for years until a friend of mine – under the age of 30 – dragged me along to a lesson in my local swimming pool. Surprisingly, it was a lot of fun and it turned out to be very effective: I woke up the next day with sore muscles. The coach chose cool music and the movements got more and more difficult. So, next time you’re in a public swimming pool and they offer aqua courses, give it a try – you won’t regret it.

sled

Icy conditions

I discovered this new way of losing weight after Boxing Day. My nephews and I were stuffed with delicious food cooked by my mother and we were longing for fresh air and a bit of exercise. We took our table tennis bats and went out to the public table for a game. It had been rainy and chilly the whole day and the table was icy in some places, but we didn’t mind and started our first round. Whenever the ball hit the icy spots it glided uncontrollably in an unexpected direction. This made our match more fun. Don’t be afraid of an icy ping-pong table – if the ground is solid you’ll have an arduous game.

You can discover many more funny ways of losing weight. This was just my small contribution and if you’re too lazy to start right away, there’s plenty of time left to lose the extra kilograms by the summer holidays.

Author & Pictures: Marlene Hupfer

How to cure a New Year’s Eve hangover

Each of us has once vowed never to drink anything again, particularly after having had a hangover. Do you remember the odd feeling when your head is killing you, when you feel like vomiting all day and simply feel like **** most of the time? Well, we all know that sticking to your vow of sobriety is sometimes hard, and even harder on New Year’s Eve when you have the impression that everybody around you does nothing except drink and party. Suddenly, you find yourself looking at your glass thinking: “one glass of champagne has never killed anybody – have just one.” And then you find yourself waking up on January 1st with a huge headache and start wondering “how did I get here?” Of course, we’re all human and things just happen, so here are some tips how to get over your hangover. In this way, you’ll easily keep the damage under control.

20161229_130924

Water

I bet you would never have guessed! We seem to forget about drinking water, although we keep hearing how much water we should drink – doctors, mothers, everybody seems to be obsessed with its benefits. But believe me – they’re right. Water, the essence of life, is the best hair of the dog. Alcohol robs your body of the fluids it needs to function properly. By drinking more water, instead of vodka, you can avoid getting dehydrated. You’ll start feeling better in an instant. Do you want an extra boost? Add some ginger and lemon. It’ll work wonders if you feel nauseous. Give it a try; your body will thank you for it.

Coconut

Coconut? I know I’m nuts for drinking too much, so why do I need a coconut? You shouldn’t have a coconut as such, but you should have coconut water. It’s considered to be the queen or king of fluids and will help you cure your hangover asap. Honestly, this is better than any other remedy, because coconut water contains large amounts of potassium. This is why it’s an amazing drink after a workout because of its ability to provide your body with electrolytes, which you lose while drinking or while engaged in physical activity. And it’s easy to get your hands on coconut water. Because of its popularity, you can find it at any major grocery store.

Sleep

If you have time to sleep, you should definitely do so. The best way to make your sleep especially effective is to darken your room. This will stimulate the production of melatonin – the sleeping hormone. When you sleep, your body has time to restore its cells and work on things it doesn’t have time to during the day. And we all love sleeping, don’t we?

Don’t mix it – never!

Fast rewind back to your party – don’t ever mix the beverages you have. NEVER EVER DO THAT. Stick to one beverage and thank me later 😉

Avocado

You love guacamole? Great! If you don’t want to drink your potassium, just have an avo. It’ll help you restore the electrolytes in your body. And, because of its fats, it’ll also stabilize your sugar cravings, which usually occur after the excessive consumption of booze. Your jeans will thank you for that, too 😉

So, I hope these tips have been helpful. There are many more on the internet, so feel free to google them.

20160408_223329

I wish you a Happy New Year and good luck getting rid of your hangover 🙂

Author: Astrid Szegedi
Pictures: Henrike Wilhelm